There are heroes who prefer swords
. Others think Katanas Are Just Better
. Then there are those who need neither. No, if they have to cut their opponent in tiny pieces they will just use their bare hands
. Of course there will usually be some magic or Applied Phlebotinum
behind this, but the idea is that they don't need any tool whatsoever. A swipe of their extended palm with jointed fingers, and the job is done. Alternately, the hand can be used as an unstoppable piercing weapon
When this trope is present in western media, It's normally Hand Waved
by the user knowing Karate
and is also commonly Played for Laughs
Note that an example doesn't qualify if the "hand" is an actual blade or spear. Examples of that should go to Blade Below the Shoulder
. It must have the appearance of a normal fingered hand. Let it also be known that a Brick Break
doesn't count as "cutting", even though it may look like it (it's just a shockwave splitting the blocks).
See also Heroes Fight Barehanded
. Compare Absurdly Sharp Blade
, Laser Blade
and Implausible Fencing Powers
. For a defensive equivalent, see Bare-Handed Blade Block
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Naruto the Chidori technique in its basic form consists of concentrating lightning chakra in your hand and charge very fast to make it cut and pierce through anything. The Third Raikage has a similar technique, except he takes it to One-Man Army levels. While Kabuto uses a repurposed medical technique, making his hand like a scalpel which lets him cut tendons and arteries without breaking skin but more often he can just use it to slice enemies in half.
- The Kyotoryu school from Katanagatari has been noted to slice through not only flesh but also other swords with bare handed techniques - even if those swords have been specifically made to be indestructible. One user even manages to create Razor Wind with a cut of her hand, which gives another character a perfectly-styled haircut.
- Tao Pai Pai in Dragon Ball has toughened not only his hands and feet but also his tongue to the point he can pierce through anything and effortlessly kill enemies.
- In Bleach, all of the Arrancars can do this as they have the ability to toughen their skin. Some shinigami practice forms of hand to hand combat which allows them to perform both this and Bare Handed Blade Blocks if they're sufficiently more powerful than their target.
- That's how Fuuma prefers to kill his victims in X1999 (impaling them through the chest).
- Shinryaku! Ika Musume: Chizuru has this ability, but only demonstrates it on Squid Girl's tentacles. In the manga, she's holding a knife while doing these actions. This only makes her even more awesome in the anime.
- Alucard from Hellsing cuts through a Death Dealer card and the holders arm with his hand
- Fist of the North Star has a whole family of fighting disciplines that generally works this way called Nanto Seiken. Most famous among the Nanto fighters is side protagonist Rei, whose Nanto Suicho Ken style can literally slash his enemies to ribbons; and Shin, whose piercing fingers were responsible for the Seven Scars that Kenshiro bears.
- In Baki the Grappler, Shinogi Kanno practices a fighting style that allows him to sever nerves with his fingertips, allowing him to cripple or blind his opponents.
- Inuyasha is capable of shredding things with his bare hands, as are many other humanoid youkai and hanyou.
- Kotaro of Mahou Sensei Negima!.
- Sieglinde Jeremiah of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vivid. A missed swipe from her hand tore a deep crevice across the ground that ended in a destroyed arena wall. A flashback through the eyes of her ancestors shows them literally tearing through armies of knights with her bare hands, decapitating several soldiers and horses with each swing of her hands and feet.
- Toriko's Fork and Knife techniques work this way.
- The Strider manga shows that Strider Hiryu could slice cleanly through humans with a karate chop.
- In Campione!, Athena destroys Liliana's clothes just by running her finger along them, even slicing through her belt buckle.
- In the DC Comics series Hero Hotline, Diamondette has this power with her hands acting like diamond-hard knives. She's part-timing as a hero for hire to pay for medical school, as she plans to become a surgeon.
- Superman's fingernails are harder than diamond, and have to be cut with either heat vision, special kryptonian metal, or bitten Depending on the Writer.
- During Alan Moore's run on Captain Britain, the professional assassin Slaymaster provided a variant on this trope. To prepare for his career, he had repeatedly punched stones with his right hand over a long period of time to the point where the entire hand was covered in thick callus, and then sharpened the callus to a razor-sharp edge. He freely admitted that his right hand was practically useless for anything other than killing.
- One of Darkseid's Female Furies, Guilotina, has this power. Her hands can cut through just about anything, making the Absurdly Sharp Swords she wields almost redundant.
- In Casshern, there is a four minute action sequence in which the hero mows down an entire army of war robots. The first one is dispatched by punching it through the heart using the artillery shell the hero has just caught in front of his own face. The second one has his head ripped off at the neck and is then bisected with a single vertical chop to the neck stump. It's as crazy as it sounds.
- In John Carpenter's Vampires, the Vampire Lord at one point uses his bare hand to first jam it into a human's chest, then swings the arm in an upward motion to completely rip the poor victim in half.
- In Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman, the last one, to demonstrate his strength and scare Zatoichi, cuts down trees with a single blow of his bare hand.
- In Fist of Legend, Jet Li is discussing philosophy with a Japanese warrior. Jet Li's character says it's about power, and punches a rock. The Japanese fighter effortlessly swings his hand through the air, cutting a piece of paper in half and says it's not about power, but focusing that power.
- In 1988 Soviet animated adaptation of Treasure Island, Jim discovers that his kung fu doesn't work on a gigantic, hulking pirate. He runs to a tree about a meter in diameter and karate-chops it down, so it falls on the pirate and breaks over his head. The pirate hardly notices this.
- In Hancock, every part of Hancock is invulnerable, even his hair, but he can shave using his fingernails.
- Subverted in The Fifth Elephant; the assassin/aide Vimes is assigned on his diplomatic trip to Überwald appears to decapitate a bandit with his bare hands, but shortly afterwards it's revealed that he's really carrying a palm dagger.
- The Epic Level Handbook in Dungeons & Dragons includes feats that improve effectiveness of a character's (usually monk's) unarmed strike, culminating in giving it a vorpal effect.(instant kill by decapitation on a natural 20 critical hit.)
- Forgotten Realms has the spell "Laeral's Cutting Hand", making the caster's hand work as a weapon equal to dagger +2.
- 3rd Edition GURPS Supers. The Buzzsaw power allows the user's hand to vibrate at hypersonic speed, allowing it to cut through things and cause massive damage.
- GURPS Supers supplement GURPS Wild Cards. The super villain Mackie Messer (AKA Mack the Knife) has this ability: his hands can cut through anything physical.
- This is how the titular character of Bayonetta cuts off the tentacles of Iustitia. Sadly you can't use that move during gameplay.
- This is Yasha's weapon of choice in Asura's Wrath, by contrast to Asura's fists. As a bonus, he can even throw Sword Beams with them.
- Devil May Cry 4: Dante did this to a slab of stone (and later, many slabs) when he acquired Gilgamesh (a set of supposedly non-sharp gauntlets and boots). Unfortunately, that only worked in a cutscene.
- Resident Evil: Wesker is a big fan of this move, most notably when he kills Oswald E. Spencer with a stab to the chest in Resident Evil 5.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies : Simon Blackquill, who often speaks in odd sword metaphors only he seems to understand fully, obviously can't bring one to court. So he resorts to this instead, being able to slash your glasses in half from across the courtroom without moving from the prosecutor's stand, and without even harming you.
- In The King of Fighters, Iori Yagami, Goenitz, Leona Heidern and Mature use their hands to slice their opponents like a knife. In Leona's case, she inherited her razor-sharp hands from her biological father Gaidel.
- Iori begins to rely only on his bare hands in XII and XIII after being forcefully Brought Down to Normal by Ash Crimson, but he retains his ability of his claw-like hands to slash his opponents.
- In Transformers Prime, Starscream kills Cliffjumper by impaling him through the chest with his hand.
- Played for laughs in an episode of Futurama, when Bender the Do-Anything Robot makes his hand spin rapidly to mimic the function of a saw and cut a plank of wood. This is especially implausible considering that his three fingers are thick, cylindrical and wider at the ends, as poorly suited to cutting as anything imaginable.
- SpongeBob, Sandy and (in one episode) Patrick due to their knowledge of Karate.