"Comic book boomerangs, rather than being just sticks with a vague tendency to curve around, are nearly supernatural items with an ability to return where they started no matter what happens. They can bounce off the interestingly ridged skulls of alien conquerors, latch onto weapons or jewelry, or run off to the bar for a quick Jack and Coke, and yet still return to the waiting hand of whatever costumed goon threw it."
A real-life boomerang is simply a stick carved in such a way as to get some rotor lift when thrown turning end-over-end. Thrown properly, the boomerang will curve back on its course and return to its point of origin. It was designed as a hunting tool. If it missed, it would come back for another shot, and if it hit, the hunter would have to retrieve the kill anyway. Some boomerangs allow for more complex trajectories, though these are more for sport than hunting.
In fiction, however, a boomerang is virtually a living creature possessed of the single goal of returning to the thrower's hand, come Hell or high water. This results in boomerangs doing things that are flatly impossible, such as continuing to fly after striking multiple targets then returning to the user. It becomes humorous in older video games, where boomerangs are crudely programmed to return to The Hero after being thrown, even if that means following him all over the map until he stops to catch it. Does it really have to be stated that the Rule Of Cool is involved?
This trope covers all weapons that can perform this trick, not just boomerangs. Bonus Points if it's a weapon that was never meant to be thrown in the first place.
Most would allow a Boomerang Comeback.
An extreme example from Fate/stay night: whenever Archer throws one of his dual swords, it will always return to him as long as the other is still in his possession (due to their being "married" swords). Shirou uses this to great effect against Saber Alter: he throws both from the first pair, and Traces a second. The first pair is deflected, but when Shirou attacks with the second set, the first set flies back to hit from behind at the same time.
Sango's boomerang from Inu Yasha is as tall as she is, can shatter boulders and returns to her after carving out a swath of total destruction (or even after being deflected!). To be fair, though, it's made out of youkai bones and is magical, probably very nearly a living weapon. (In the manga, it is revealed that it does have its own thoughts.) Inu-Yasha defeated her one time by knocking her off balance while her boomerang was away. When it returned, she wasn't prepared to catch it.
Sepikmon's boomerang from Digimon Frontier. Also double as a mysteriously conspicuously invisible camera.
Eureka Seven's LFOs use "Boomerang Knives" for combat, several thousand feet in the air, yet when thrown, they always manage to make it back. This is even worse in the Video Games, where the boomerangs will actually chase you to come back.
Gundam SEED introduced beam boomerangs, which sound absurd, but might be justified by the fact that they're mechanized weapons, potentially with their own thrusters and guidance systems. And safety-shutdown-mechanism, since they are Beam-edge Boomerang — it's not safe to hold them or ridiculously catch them, even for a Gundam.
The Gurren actually uses two pairs of giant Cool Shades as boomerangs. It actually was once lost in the middle of a battle and thrown back at the user. Later, the Gurren Lagann uses both the sunglasses and its (wing-shaped) jetpack.
The Chouginga Gurren-Lagann also used it's shades (both the head-face's and the torso-face's) as an EXTREMELY big boomerang. It even returned to the mecha after cutting one of the attacking Ashtangas in two along it's entire length.
The Kinjakan: a polearm weapon with a metal ring attached at the head. The user can send the ring flying with devastating force, ricocheting off walls, ceilings, people, and the ground (usually carving deep gauges where it impacts) and it will always return to the pole, with similar force and momentum. Novice users tend to run away when they see the ring coming back.
In Busou Renkin, this is actually the power of the Motor Gears.
The title character of Cutey Honey has her Honey Boomerang.
Averted in Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo. When Jiggler is attached to a power-draining ball by Pana, Bo-bobo uses a move to hit it like a pool ball. Jiggler tries to bounce off the walls and hit Pana, but he ends up smashing into the first wall he hits because he's "non-bouncy".
In Yu Yu Hakusho, Kazemaru's shuriken will stay in the air until they hit a target. Justified as they are powered by spirit energy.
"Moon Tiara Action!" Note that it obeys her commands — Sailor Moon once ordered to stop right before it'd hit an ally.
Zoisite used an actual boomerang when he was impersonating Sailor Moon (and it came back after it hit).
Used in the first episode in Trigun. Unfortunately, the wielder is incapacitated shortly after throwing it, leading to a landslide.
Chikuma Koshirou from Basiliskdual wields kama scythes. He once threw them so that both of them cut off half a human head and still returned to his hands. They work solely by Rule Of Cool, no magic involved, since when Kisaragi Saemon and Kasumi Gyoubu knocked the weapons off course, they just fell to the ground.
Nightwing has even been shown doing this with escrima sticks (which aren't even meant to be thrown to begin with), bouncing them off the heads of two mooks, a wall, the floor, and back to his hand.
So does Marvel's Daredevil with his billy club. Most egregiously in one of Kevin Smith's issues, where Daredevil throws it through a glass window where, instead of shattering the window completely, it just leaves a small hole, approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Then it bounces around, knocking out the mooks and returns through the exact same hole.
Needless to say, DC supervillain Captain Boomerang is pretty good at this. To the point that he was once able to make (specially prepared) boomerangs travel through time.
His son Captain Boomerang Jr. is also capable of such stunts. He does have the advantage of Super Speed, but his feats including picking bullets out of the air with bent paperclips, and holding his own in a prison riot with things he managed to find on the spot.
There's also Marvel's (just plain) Boomerang (who's basically Capt. Boomerang with jet boots).
Marvel's Boomerang, like the Green Arrow/Hawkeye, also carries an arsenal of different boomerangs for different jobs, including razorangs, gasarangs, etc..
Captain America's shield is basically a giant, indestructible boomerang, capable of flying through a hail of weapons fire (ballistic and laser), tagging multiple targets and returning to Cap's hand without even losing velocity. Handwaved by it being made from an alloy of the indestructible metal vibranium, which is able to absorb vibrations. Lampshaded somewhat by the fact that Cap's temporary replacement, John Walker, could never get the shield to do more than fly in a straight line, while Cap (as "The Captain") was pulling off nearly identical feats with an inferior copy.
Soon after Cap was thawed out, Iron Man put gadgets into the shield. By using controls in his gloves, Cap could control the shield in flight. He soon took them out, for they messed up the shield's balance. So it can be done, he just doesn't like to do it.
In Liberty's Torch, a tie-in novel, it's definitely skill on Cap's part. Steve Rogers totally pwns another character at pool, and makes a casual comment about starting to play when he realized calculating angles on the fly would be handy "at work".
When Cap (temporarily) dies, Iron Man looks for somebody else to take up the shield. Everybody who tries to throw the thing accomplishes little more than making themselves look like idiots. Then Iron Man goes to Hawkeye, who isgood enough to pull it off, but after a brief trial period deems himself unworthy to be the new Captain America. Cap's former sidekick Bucky Barnes then ends up as the new Captain America, and his cyborg enhancements allow him to pull off the crazy shield-throwing tricks.
Thor's hammer Mjolnir is enchanted by Odin to always return when thrown, among other things.
In a comic book of The Tick (not the original comics, a licensed-from-the-cartoon version), The Tick invents a "Tick-arang". With typical Tick logic he believes it will return because he's written his name and address on the side, with the phrase "Return Postage Guaranteed." The amazing thing is... it works.
Spider Man villain Tracer has a variation on this; his guns fire bullets that lock onto their target and will avoid any obstacle to get to them. This allowed him a leg up on Spidey in the quipping department; after Spider-Man claims he laughs at bullets, Tracer notes that his bullets laugh back.
Sin City has Miho who occasionally uses her manji-shaped shuriken in this manner.
Tintin in America features a Chicago gangster with a literal boomerang doing this.
Lev Gleason's Daredevil (no, notthat one) uses a boomerang as his main weapon. He's so incredibly skilled with it that in-story people falsely assume that he uses some kind of superpower to control its trajectory.
Films — Animation
In Disney's Hercules, the title character bends his sword and throws it like a boomerang during training. It conveniently cuts the heads off all the training dummies before returning to him, and even snaps back into sword shape once caught again, as if it were spring loaded.
Films — Live-Action
The Predator's disk and shuriken weapons are a high-tech version, though occasionally they won't come back due to being lodged in a wall. Or somebody's chest.
The Road Warrior has the Feral Kid's sharp metal boomerang. It slices off fingers and returns to him without a problem. Partially subverted when it gets buried in a dude's head.
The Feral Kid wears a special glove to catch it, though. Too bad poor Toadie didn't have one of those.
The Farmer's weapon of choice in the infamously bad In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is the boomerang, which he must hurl with great effort, apparently. And he carries it with him at all times along with his sword, even when he's harvesting.
The Glaive from Krull: a magical five-bladed throwing weapon controlled in flight by its wielder's will. Lost at the end when it couldn't free itself from The Beast's body. Justified (assuming the Glaive even qualifies) due to the fact that this ridiculously powerful magic weapon could fly, cut through Nigh Invulnerable barriers, and hover in place.
In TRON and TRON: Legacy, the Identity Discs can, among other things, be thrown this way. In skilled hands one can weave around obstacles to seek its target, reorient and attack several more times from varying angles if blocked (usually by another disc) or dodged by that target, and still seek out and return to its owner's hand.
Spoofed in Black Dynamite with Fiendish Dr. Wu's kung-fu projectiles, which rather than returning to the user's hand return to wherever it was that the user was aiming. This is done deliberately when he attacks Black Dynamite with one by throwing it to the side of Dynamite (Dynamite looks confused but then dodges it before it comes back), and later when Dynamite uses one against Dr. Wu by throwing it before he entered the room, and then somehow it came in through the window from outside.
Blade's glaive is used in this fashion right from the word go: in the opening sequence of his first film, he stood at the entrance of a circular room, while several vampires stood at regular intervals around it, ready to attack him. He proceeds to decapitate all of the vampires with a single throw, before the glaive dutifully returns to his waiting hand.
In an old Italian film starring Toto, such a boomerang is used in the climax. It's so effective that not only it takes down a whole room of bandits, but it even knock on a door in order to return to the thrower (of course, hitting him in the head).
Subverted in the movie Batman Returns — Batman takes a Batarang, programs it to hit multiple targets, and lets fly. A small dog catches it like a Frisbee before it can return so that it can be used to frame him later.
The Flying Daggers in "House of Flying Daggers" are used in exactly this way. They can attack targets from multiple sides, curve around enemies, continue to attack if blocked by SWORDS, and even CUT AWAY BONDING ROPES.
The Beastmaster inherits a "caber," a pivoted, curved, bladed throwing weapon. He usually hits with it, but it also curves around and at least once homes in on a mook. How he catches the spinning bladed without losing fingers is an open question.
At one point in The Avengers Captain America breaks up a fight between Thor and Iron Man by throwing his shield in such a way that it bounces off both of their heads and returns to him.
Wulfgar's warhammer in R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realmsnovels always returns to him after he throws it. In this case, it's not a matter of the hammer flying through the air, though — the hammer, being magical, simply rematerializes in Wulfgar's hands after it falls to the ground.
Averted in The Last Continent, a Discworld novel, where the eponymous continent's Creator is described as having a boomerang "that does not return to the thrower, typically because it's stuck in the ribs of whatever he threw it at."
Ian Cormac, the lead protagonist of Neal Asher's The Polity books, has a shuriken that is programmable and can fly under its own power, returning to the user and even being remote controlled in flight. Another character in the first book has a knife that will return to his hand as long as he is wearing the ring that comes with it.
Xena: Warrior Princess has a Precision-Guided Chakram which always returns to her after ricocheting off walls, rocks, and enemies, often in really convoluted ways. This culminated in a Groundhog Day Loop episode where Xena, realizing she has no time to fix every problem on her own, spends some time planning ridiculous trajectories and using the chakram to interrupt every problem. Note the real-life counterpart of a war quoit is sharp all the way around and definitely not something that would return like a boomerang, not that you'd want a ring of razor-sharp metal hurling back at you in the first place.
The lethality of the chakram entirely depended on whatever the plot needed it to do. Sometimes it was insanely sharp, severing ropes and tree branches in a single flight, and other times, Gabrielle was using it as a back-scratcher. After a while, the fans just accepted that there was a button, somewhere on the chakram, that turned it blunt.
It got even better when the chakram got upgraded into a weapon that could split in two after being tossed, bounce off of multiple objects, strike many people, and recombine in mid-air before returning to Xena. At this point it was all Hand Wavedby magic, not that anyone cared about how it worked.
Its ability to selectively bounce off of a surface or become lodged within it for use as a stepping stone/grabbing point/etc. as demanded by the plot was also highly questionable. Consider the Fridge Logic at work when Xena once threw the chakram into a rock and then proceeded to use a whip to grab onto the chakram to pull herself out of some quicksand (somehow without cutting the whip). Even if you accept the magical laser precision of the chakram, the mere physics of that makes your head hurt. All said and done, Xena's chakram may very well be the biggest piece of Applied Phlebotinum in existence.
In The Outer Limits episode "Fun and Games", the alien creature Mike and Laura fight has a boomerang with a serrated edge. It can return to the person who threw it even if it hit something while in flight.
Averted in "My Boomerang Won't Come Back", the tale of an aborigine who can't get his boomerang to just return.
In the 4th Edition, all magically-enhanced throwing weapons have this effect by default, presumably because nobody in their right mind would throw an expensive magic weapon if there was a chance they wouldn't get it back.
In the 3rd Edition it isn't a requirement, but almost always standard for weapons with an enchantment over +1, except arrows, bolts, and bullets.
There are also a few prestige classes that allow a character to pull the trick off even with nonmagical weapons. The Hammer of Moradin can do it with hammers, and the Bloodstorm Blade can do it with any melee weapon.
Better still when the Bloodstorm Blade takes levels in a class with skill at improvised weapons, becoming able to make boomerangs out of dinnerware, broken bottles, and furniture.
In the 2nd Edition (and perhaps the later, too), the thri-kreen (mantis-like insect humanoids) wield combat boomerangs called chatkchas. A chatkcha always returns to its thrower if it hits its target, but it won't return if it misses. Which is quite probably an error in the initial description, the chatkcha being supposed to come back if it misses and not if it hits. Unfortunately, instead of correcting the mistake, later sourcebooks ran further with it.
Dungeons & Dragons also has the Dwarven Thrower, which is inspired by Mjolnir. Additionally, the returning enchantment can be applied to any throwing weapon to turn them into an impromptu boomerang.
Early editions had the Axe of Hurling and Darts of Homing as well.
Several characters in Warhammer 40000 (most commonly, Eldar) use variations of this trope. Maugan Ra, an Eldar hero armed with a shuriken-launching BFG can cause his projectiles to ricochet off walls, depriving his enemies of the benefits of cover.
A better example would be the Eldar weapon called the triskele, a three-bladed dagger-like weapon that can be hurled like a boomerang or used in close combat.
Interestingly, the actual Boomerang weapons only return on a miss, and even then are not a guaranteed catch.
The Iron Raptor Technique enables you to throw any melee weapon like a boomerang and have it return to you.
You can attain similar effects with legitimate throwing weapons, such as the sky-cutter (a literal precision-guided boomerang). For the rare occasions anyone with a sky-cutter can't gain 2 successes on a Dexterity + Thrown roll, you can learn a Thrown-based version of Call the Blade to make it leap back into your hand.
Anything with the Loyal Weapon enchantment will do this in GURPS and will keep trying if someone tries to stop it.
Ratchet & Clank in the original game, your wrench can be thrown boomerang style in a straight line and will always come back after hitting a target. in the original only you are unable to move afer releasing your boomering. from the sequel and on you CAN move after throwing your boomerang and it always come back to wherever you are (though you can only move maybe a couple feet in the time the wrench is flying)
Mega Man has a number of weapons like this, some boomerangs (Quick Boomerang), some... not (Rolling Cutter, Shadow Blade, Ring Boomerang). Unfortunately, you don't get your weapon energy back if you catch them (a flaw that Mega Man X's Boomerang Cutter corrects). Mega Man Zero has a Shield Boomerang weapon that also returns when you throw it, though the throwing arc differs between games - in Zero 3, you can trick the Shield Boomerang into indefinitely revolving around Zero.
This is actually pretty common for video game boomerangs, right down to being able to keep it going indefinitely. Model PX's charged shot (which is an especially bad example, as it holds still for a second before returning) can orbit Aile in Mega Man ZX, without having to keep moving or anything.
In Alien Vs Predator Capcom, the disc would go through enemies and bounce off of walls, but always rebounded straight back at you at the wall or the edge of the screen. If you weren't there or you were in the middle of a damage animation, it flew by you and was lost forever. In the PC second version it lost ability to bounce, but can be "recalled" to you, using part of your energy; also, its guidance system is (still?) very loose.
In the 2010 game, the Predator's disc will always find its way back to you. Also, it's targeting is tied to your Laser Sight, so you can steer it around a bit in midair.
In Tron 2.0, the Disc Primitive is just what it was in the film, and is the main non-energy-weapon. No self-guidance, but can be manually "corrected" through the flight. It ricochets off nearly any surface and will always return sooner or later — though it can be forced to return in case you need to use it as a shield. Ricocheting can be a problem, if you're using disc near "civilian" programs.
The Guardian and Nomad bloodlines from Bloodline Champions. The former has an "Axe of Zechs" ability, while practically half of the latter's abilities consist of this. The former does it with a two-handed axe, while the latter at least really uses a boomerang.
Link's boomerang allows for limited control. Once he upgrades to the magic boomerang, it can travel the full length of the screen. The boomerang in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker physically locks onto multiple targets when you aim, and will hit them all when you release. And it's not even said to be magic! The similar Gale Boomerang in The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princessis explicitly magic, as it's inhabited by the "Fairy of Winds". One little trick with the boomerang in The Wind Waker was to throw it upwind then sail down wind and watch as the boomerang chases the boat when trying to return to Link.
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and sequel The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks takes it to a new level, with a boomerang that can follow any path you draw, making it no problem at all to throw it around corners, hit two enemies, grab an item, then navigate back to you. And, unlike many boomerangs in the Legend of Zelda series, such as the above Twilight Princess example, they don't Hand Wave it by labelling the boomerang magical.
The Magic Boomerang in Oracle Of Seasons is similar, but instead of drawing a path it's controlled with the d-pad. It doesn't turn very well, though.
What really takes the cake is the boomerang from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. If you have the boomerang and the flying cuckoo at the same time, you can throw the boomerang and pick up the cuckoo before it returns. The cuckoo will make you hover several feet in the air, and the boomerang will spin around underneath you until you land. You can move while hovering, and the boomerang will follow you wherever you go, which basically makes you into an invincible flying engine of death, since Link can't be harmed by enemies while airborne, and the boomerang is easily the most powerful weapon in the game. Almost anything it is capable of affecting will die in one hit, including the final boss.
There's also a spot in the Great Bay Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask where you can throw the Zora Boomerangs while being pushed around in a circle by the water current, letting you move faster than normal. If you keep running away, you can avoid the boomerangs indefinitely as they continue to chase you in a circle.
The only time the 'rang is not guaranteed to return to Link's hand is in Super Smash Bros.. It will attempt to get to where Link's moved to but can't always make it, passing him by and travelling a good distance across the stage; this can be very useful in Break The Targets or for simply more amounts of projectile spam. Link can't use the move again until it's vanished.
In Pokémon, the bones that Cubone and Marowak wield in battle exhibit this trope when Cubone or Marowak uses the Cubone family's signature move, Bonemerang.
Jet's boomerang in Wild AR Ms 3 acts the same way, and is necessary to activate some switches.
Averted in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for the NES; boomerangs follow a fixed path, and if the player doesn't catch them on the return, they are lost. Boomerang-wielding Mooks, on the other hand, play it straight.
In the original Ninja Gaiden, the giant shuriken — the Windmill Star — would return to you, no matter how doggedly you dodged it. A skilled warrior could use a single star to fight over a long period of time, simply by repeatedly jumping over it. The Xbox remake also features the Windmill Star as a somewhat hidden weapon. It's the single best subweapon in the entire game, being the only one (other than the bow, and that doesn't really count) that can hurt bosses, and also capable of killing sufficiently weakened mooks.
In the Dynasty Warriors series, any weapon thrown as part of an attack will return to the wielder's hand, follow them as they turn — or move, if the attack allows it — and can hit multiple targets. This is odd enough with Zhu Rong's Boomerang... but it gets weirder with Sun Shang Xiang's chakrams, which aren't returning throwing weapons; and Yue Ying's War-Spear/Dagger-Axe, which she shouldn't even be able to use as a throwing weapon at all.
Cham Cham out of Samurai Shodown II has one of these as her primary melee weapon (her heavy slash is basically to toss it about a metre in front of her). This actually makes it one of the best projectiles in the game, since it will plow through and disrupt all but a few other projectiles in the game: it can't destroy other melee weapons, and some projectiles escape just by not being where the boomerang goes. And it always returns, even while she's being grappled and pummelled. "Oh! How dangerous a boomerang is!"
Goofy's shield and Axel's chakrams also return to them when thrown.
In the Ultima series, there is a weapon called the Magic Axe which acts EXACTLY like the cliche boomerang: when thrown, it will fly straight ahead, and return to it's wielder once it hits it's target or hits the edge of the screen, no matter how its wielder moves. It's one of the more powerful weapons in the game, up to the seventh in the series, Ultima VII — which introduces a two-handed sledgehammer called the Juggernaught that does the same thing. Itself subverted within the same game (perhaps unintentionally) if playing the game on a slow PC — the terrain tiles are moved before the weapon tiles are, making it entirely possible to have either the Magic Axe OR the Juggernaught wind up embedded in the terrain and unrecoverable. Which is painful in both, because there are limited numbers of Magic Axes (five) and Juggernaughts (one) in the game, so once embedded they are lost to the player for the rest of the game.
In the doujin fighter game Eternal Fighter Zero, Mizuka Nagamori throws her cello bow as a boomerang for one of her attacks. Her bow will hone in on her position on its return voyage, remaining airborne until she regains it. Mizuka can also control its direction by waving a conductor's baton.
The main character of darkSector has a glaive which acts like this, going so far as to have a puzzle at one point where you have to throw it over a fence and curve it down to hit a switch. Somewhat justified since when he first gets it, it actually seems to be coming out of him, meaning it's organically attached to him or something.
Some of the Fire Emblem games have throwing axes which can be thrown from a distance. The attack animation has them 'boomerang'. This, however, does not seem to apply in the ninth and tenth games, as the thrower now, instead, takes out new axes from Hammerspace.
The Boomerang class of weapons from Secret Of Mana can defy all sorts of conventional physics when sufficiently charged up, but will always return to the wielder when thrown.
The videogame adaptation of The Jungle Book has a boomerang as one of the weapons; interestingly, while it comes back to you after being thrown, you still lose one boomerang whenever you throw one.
The Kirby series features a boomerang-like copy ability called Cutter, though it typically doesn't try to follow its thrower. However, in Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards, the Cutter ability causes Kirby to throw a piece of himself as a boomerang, and given his greatly reduced mobility during this, it's guaranteed that the projectile will return home shortly after rebounding. Also, in Kirby's Dream Land 3, using Cutter while teamed up with Rick causes Rick to throw Kirby as a boomerang, though this time it's possible to avoid catching the projectile and even set up a situation where Rick can just stand still and have Kirby orbit endlessly around him. In the same game, teaming up with Pitch for certain copy abilities turns Pitch into a returning projectile, though for Cutter he becomes a crescent-shaped blade that does not spin like a boomerang.
Much more enjoyable is the Booterang, which can be used in a daily quest. Note that these items obey the trope perfectly, following you around literally forever as long as you don't catch them or change zones, and it's easy to outrun them on a fast flying mount. Since the items' use cooldown works independently of the graphical effect, it's also possible to have a ridiculously huge number of them on screen at once. Yes, this means you could fly orbits around Shattrath pursued by a swarm of 100 Booterangs, if you really wanted to.
Cataclysm introduces the engineering-exclusive Loot-a-Rang, which allows you to rifle through the pockets of a fallen foe and collect piles of gold and/or items from a distance.
Dead Rising has a boomerang that will return to you even if you move from where you threw it. It will only fail to return if you step behind something or leave the area.
In Mortal Kombat 4, Tanya's weapon of choice was a boomerang. While all characters could throw their weapons, hers would actually return to her if it misses the opponent. However, the trope is averted in that she has to retrieve it if it hits.
Super Double Dragon allows players to pick up and throw boomerangs at enemies, complete with return flight. However, in an odd and unintended aversion, they deal damage to the user as well. This was because the developers had yet to program the ability to catch them (along with many other things) when they forced to rush-release the U.S. version, which was based on an incomplete build. They were able to add the ability to catch them for its slightly more complete Japanese release, Return of Double Dragon, although in a more conventional aversion, they're still lost forever if the player fails to catch them.
Somewhat subverted in Bart Simpson's Escape from Camp Deadly, where boomerangs were the main weapon. They could ricochet at 90 degree angles from the ground and hard objects, but if you missed them on the way back, they were gone.
The Doomerang, which is player-controlled while your character stands immobile and vulnerable, making it Awesome, but Impractical, unfortunately.
There's also the Megarang, which automatically targets crates and enemies, and will merrily bounce from enemy to crate to enemy, before returning to Ty's hand, er, paw.
For that matter, Ty's ability to dual wield boomerangs that ALWAYS return directly to him certainly counts, considering they're the most frequent theme in the games.
Castlevania has had boomerangs as a secondary weapon since the first game. Some of them are crucifixes, some are X-shaped, and some are actual boomerangs. see here for more info
In Vampire Killer, the crucifix and the axe both act as boomerangs, but you lose them if you don't catch them.
The Axe Armours do this with their axes.
The boomerang in NetHack is a decently powerful missile weapon that moves in a circular pattern when thrown. Among other effects, this means that you can't throw it in narrow passages. And yes, if it actually hits, it doesn't come back.
Though NetHack also has Mjollnir, which has a 99% of magically returning to you after being thrown if you're wearing gauntlets of power (or otherwise have artificially maxed Strength).
The Infinity + 1 weapon of Breath of Fire I, the Tri-Rang, split and flew in three directions at once and hit every enemy it it's path at least twice - multiple times if the enemy was big enough. (The game also featured lesser boomerangs of the lesser "hit and return" variety)
Subverted in Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. Boomerangs are one of three weapons in the game, follow an improbably far-reaching curved path, and float around in the air upon return. They do disappear if you don't grab them again, however... and they don't return if they hit an enemy.
Once thrown, the Boomerang acquired in Joe And Mac will literally chase you wherever you run as long as it does not lodge into a mook on the way.
A couple Turok games feature the Razor Wind, a thrown circular saw that passes right through most enemies and, if it manages to get stuck, simply appears in the wielder's hand. What's more, it never seems to hurt the wielder despite its lethal shape.
The extended re-release of the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children features Cloud hurling one of his swords several hundred feet, where it flies in a wide lateral circle and slices through three monsters along the way before returning to him. Not only does he throw it, the sword splits in two in mid-flight. And he catches the second sword with the blade of the first one.
In Final Fantasy XIII, Hope Estheim's Weapon of Choice is a folding boomerang that can make a figure eight-shaped arc to hit the mook at least twice before returning to him, the game justifies this, he has a device on his wrist that makes his boomerang follow his arm movements.
Darksiders features a Crossblade that works exactly like Wind Waker's boomerang.
Star Wars games often have "throw lightsaber" powers that let Jedi turn their lightsabers into Precision Guided Boomerangs. This is more due to the Jedi's telekinetic Force abilities than the lightsaber, but to an observer, it looks the same.
Your hammer in God Of Thunder, when thrown, comes back directly towards you, no matter how much you move after throwing it. If there's an obstacle in its way, it will stop against the obstacle and hover in mid-air until you move aside to give it a clear path to you.
Twisted Metal II's Roadkill had a boomerang missile that would shoot straight out, make a 90° turn and swing back to you. It was pretty sporadic as to whether or not you got credit back when you "cought" it, and sometimes it would just decide to fly circles around you. As a bonus it did double damage if it hit an enemy on the way back.
Looney Tunes on Game Boy gives Bugs and Daffy auto-return frisbees that would swing around you if you dodge their first attempt. If you do manage to throw it off, it's pointless because the frisbees are actually infinite.
Averted by Batman Arkham Asylum. Regular Batarangs, after hitting their target, would simply bounce off, never returning to Batman. You can even find them lying around after tossing a few. (However, they would cut through ropes fairly flawlessly, though that's more of an Absurdly Sharp Blade.) Also, the usual "multiple targets" of other video game boomerangs is averted in that you can only hit one target with a single Batarang; later upgrades let you throw more than one, letting you pick more targets (but never more than the amount of Batarangs you can throw). The Remote Control ones are justified, seeing as... well, they're remote control. (And they can be guided back to Batman, whereupon he will actually catch it. You don't have to do this, however.)
Your frisbees in Purple always return to you after throwing. Should they fail to do so, they immaterialize and return as soon as possible passing through everything (or in case of Cluster F., split).
In Star Ocean 1, Fear Mell fights with two throwing knives that always return (and some versions hit on the way back too). She wears a magical ring (that cannot be removed) to give her this power. Marvel Frozen similarly fights with a flying orb that she manipulates with her telekinetic power.
Stiletto Anyways from Anachronox fights with daggers. Depending on which set she's equipped with, they're thrown at the enemy and return every time.
In Crusader Of Centy, the first skill the hero learns is throwing his sword, which will indeed spin around and come back like a boomerang.
In Maximo the title characters shield acts very much like the Captain America example above: it always returns to him (regardless of what it hits) and with the right upgrades can bounce between ememies and/or hover in mid-air.
In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Captain America's shield can be controlled in midair, probably through the controls mentioned in the above comic book section. It's worth noting, however, that controlling it is damn near impossible in-game. It's better to just throw the shield and let it do its own thing. It'll return to you regardless.
In League of Legends Sivir has two abilities that do this. The first causes her auto-attacks to bounce and hit nearby enemies, the other throws her crossblade straight forward, where it will return to her. She can move while it's in flight to alter the angle of its return so that it hits an enemy it would otherwise miss.
Lux has an odd defensive version of this. She throws her wand, and every allied champion it hits gains a defense shield. As with Sivir, moving while it's in flight can be used to make it hit more people, or hit the same person again on the return journey to reapply the shield.
Kid Kool and its Spiritual Successors by Vic Tokai all featured a partner that could be thrown at enemies but would return after a few seconds, though you would lose it if you took a hit:
The skull in Decap Attack (whose counterpart in Magical Hat no Buttobi Turbo! Daibouken was an egg named Robogg).
Chakrams in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Not only do they come back when thrown, but they can do a few tricks in the air like hitting multiple targets before coming back to you. Justified since they're explicitly magical weapons.
In Suikoden V two characters Sialeeds and Sharmitsa have Chakrams as their weapons which are actually considered boomerangs and come back on return, they can also learn a skill for boomerangs which another character who actually has a boomerang cannot use.
In Suikoden Tierkreis Various characters can use a boomerang as their weapon, a chakram is one of the weapons included in the boomerang category and works like one as well.
Tribes: Vengeance features the Buckler, a weapon/shield exclusive to the Assault class. When the thrown, the buckler will follow the player's crosshair, then after a certain point (or upon hitting an enemy) will bounce back in mid-air to return to the player's hands. If the buckler gets caught on an object, it will teleport back to the players hands.
The comic parodies this, when it is revealed that Ryu's Windmill Star always returns, but he had slept through the class on how to catch a giant spinning blade of death. He eventually stops it — by embedding it in a Dragoon's back.
Chief has a spear that materializes in his hand after throwing it. It also splits into lots of spears when thrown.
Kin also had a crossbow with bolts that regrow in the quiver... but that takes an hour.
In the KateModern animated episode "The Wedding Video", Ninja!Charlie throws a bent katana at a group of enemies. It slices straight through them all and arcs around, coming to rest embedded in the wall next to where Charlie is standing.
In the That Guy with the Glasses Anniversary Video, That Aussie Guy whips out "The Stereotype of Doom", throwing a boomerang that knocks down Linkara, Handsome Tom, MarzGurl, and Ma-Ti, before he effortlessly reclaims it, spouting a menacing "Oi" at the end.
In The Gods Of Arr Kelaan, this is a major plot point that Satan triesto plan around. The magical pink mallet still goes through him to return to Ronson.
Sokka's boomerang does this to a lesser extent, and has been known to simply show back up after being lost, or be found again by sheer luck — a more mundane form of returning, but you can't doubt its loyalty. Lampshaded once when Sokka was stuck in a pit and an apple was just out of reach. While struggling to get free, the boomerang dislodges from him and falls in front of the apple, and Sokka remarks: "Now come back, boomerang." Furthermore, in one episode, the group's packs are stolen, and Sokka's boomerang with them. Later in the same episode, they run into the thieves and the boomerang is dropped. When Sokka sees it, he snatches it up, cuddles it and proclaims "Boomerang! You really do always come back!"
Then subverted in the Grand Finale, where Sokka throws it in a last-ditch effort to save himself and Toph. He then guesses (correctly) that it's not coming back when he realizes that he only delayed the inevitable... only to be saved by Suki's timely comeback. Made all the funnier by Toph (who is blind and thus only heard the ensuing carnage) asking the question, "What happened? Did boomerang come back?"
The Tick's most colorful apprentices from "The Tick vs. Education": the Babyboomerangotan! A man in an orangutan costume... throwing baby dolls which returned to him. Except for the doll dubbed "the middle child", which exploded.
In the classic Disney short Mickey Down Under (1948), Mickey uses a boomerang that's borderline self-willed. It barely needs to be thrown and just flies in circles at the slightest touch. Pluto struggles for a while with it, and both he and Mickey end up chased by the boomerang at the end.
In both Batman Beyond and The Batman, the Batarangs are much more often just bladed throwing weapons that may or may not curve. And sometimes they're not. However, The Batman might also be a justified case, since here the Batarang is equipped with the same kind of weird technology found within the Grappling-Hook Pistol, the BatWave, etc. — remember that strange zinging noise the Batarang makes.
Skysurfer, Soar Loser has a total of five boomerangs at his disposal and throughout the course of the show, they always came back.
Just for Fun: R.W. Wood (physicist, enthusiast of boomerang and surfing, and sort of daredevil) at one of his open demonstrations decided to show how the boomerang flies and sent it into wide loop over tribunes. Then one of his students raised an umbrella high enough to be in the way. Boomerang cut it down.