This is where a character can destroy solid objects by detecting or otherwise targeting their "weak point" or "breaking point" or "flaw point" and striking the object with a comparatively light blow. Not to be confused with Pressure Point, which is essentially this for human bodies, or with The Last Straw, which is the proverbial straw-and-the-camel's-back rendered literal. Compare with Glass-Shattering Sound.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Ryoga Hibiki of Ranma ½ does it with his Bakusai Tenketsu technique. While going through the training for the technique both he and Ranma thought that it worked on everything, including human flesh, but it turned out to only work on rocks. However, surviving the Training from Hell required to learn the technique did have the benefit of rendering Ryoga Super Tough.
- Dove from Hawk & Dove #15 (1990). When the heroes find themselves stranded in Druspa Tau, a place of magic different from their superheroic world, Dove gets this as an upgrade to her Order-based powers.
- Karnak of Marvel's The Inhumans developed this as a Charles Atlas Superpower.
- Temugin, son of supervillain The Mandarin, has this as part of a larger suite of martial arts-derived superpowers.
- Karate Kid of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes learned how to do this as part of his martial arts training. He's so skilled at it that he's been able to shatter objects even guys like Superboy and Mon-el couldn't dent, and has found weak points in everything from superstrong metals to godlike cosmic beings.
- Orc Stain: One-Eye has the ability to see the weak point in any object and break it open with a tap of his hammer, even if it is alive.
- Detective Dee from the eponymous wuxia movie could do this with his very sword-like Dragon Taming Mace.
- There is an entire Star Wars Expanded Universe novel about this concept, titled Shatterpoint and starring Mace Windu, who is a master of this technique.
- Other Jedi show up with this power from time to time; for instance, in the Legacy of the Force series, Jaina learns the physical form to face off against her brother, who has fallen to the Dark Side (she needs it to break his otherwise lightsaber-proof Mandalorian Iron armor), whereas earlier Mara Jade demonstrated a variant that works on walls or structures and can cause them to collapse after a precise interval. Other characters master the mental form, which treats situations or conflicts this way, seeking out the vital points where those conflicts can be changed by the proverbial Right Man in the Wrong Place. What makes Mace special is he knows both, and explicitly thinks of situations in terms of crystalline constructs that can be manipulated or broken.
- In the Sword of Truth book "Faith of the Fallen", Richard carves a statue from a block of marble that has a flaw in it, taking care in his design to minimise the flaw. When ordered to destroy the statue, he hits it once in the weak spot with a sledgehammer and the entire statue crumbles at once.
- An accidental version occurs on Life. The opening of the season 2 episode "The Business of Miracles." Dan Auerbach was killed because someone swapped his oxygen tank with pure liquid nitrogen... he was frozen solid. While Crews and Reese are looking at the scene and conversing with the guy who owns the lab. Crews leans forward and gently pokes the corpse with a pen... and the corpse shatters into a thousand tiny frozen pieces! Which Reese follows by asking, "Do you have to touch everything?"
- "Forensics had to bag each piece individually. You might want to send them a bottle of something."
- The MythBusters examined breaking safety glass by poking it. It didn't work.
- In Drake & Josh, after hearing his father's advice on how to open a pickle jar, Josh taps a jar of pickles and the whole jar breaks.
- One Daemon Engine in the new Chaos Space Marines Codex is described as "tapping along fortress walls, listening intently", and when it finds what it's looking for, hits the wall once, causing it to collapse.
- In Champions this took the form of the skill/talent/power Find Weakness. It halved the protection an object (or person) had, making it easier to damage them.
- Worth noting for being eventually removed in the course of an edition change for being a potential Game Breaker, although that was more a problem with the concrete implementation (notably, costing too few points for what it did for superheroic campaigns in particular and requiring its own special defense power to stop). The trope itself can still be implemented in the Hero System, it's just that this specific broken mechanic is gone.
- In Mage: The Ascension, this is the first power of entropy (magic dedicated to fate and decay of things). A wizard can use it to see weak spots in everything, from people and objects (which allows him to hit them For Massive Damage) to finding an entry to a guarded building by spotting the flaw in security procedures.
- There are literal living walls blocking your paths in Ōkami that can only be destroyed with the celestial brush. When you approach them, you get a brief hint of where the weak points are in the enemy, then you have to use the brush to tap each of the weak points in the order that they appear to destroy it. If you miss even one, you have to start over. Quickly becomes That One Sidequest when you encounter one with eight such points.
- In Touhou, Flandre Scarlet has the ability to destroy anything. She can see the 'eyes' in objects, and using her power she can move the 'eye' into the palm of her hand and crush it, destroying the object.
- Mousehunt: The Master of the Cheese Claw's picture has her do this to a wooden pillar.
- Tohno Shiki of Tsukihime has the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. As the name implies, they allow him to perceive the "points of death" on anything, and if he stabs it right there, it dies. He uses this to pick locks, depower vampires, and cure poison.
- Faultline from Worm has a variation of this power that lets her make her own shatterpoints.
- The Number Man, a thinker with the power to see the numerical measurements and values of ... well, everything, threatens to do this to a superstrong parahuman's skull. With a pen.
- Wet Hare starring Bugs Bunny and featuring Blacque Jacque Shellac:
Bugs: "Yeah, but what if one of those little rocks at the bottom came loose? That could be di-sas-ter-ous!"BJS:"You mean, like thees one?"Bugs: "That's the one!"BJS: "Thees is seely! What could happen by taking one leetle..."
- In Hercules, Phil has a statue of Achilles which he uses to demonstrate the hero's infamous weakness; he touches the statue on the heel, and it shatters.
- Parodied in an episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, where Gadget is seen tapping lightly on a pane of glass, claiming that she's trying to find its "harmonic weakness." Once she apparently finds it, she smashes the glass with a hammer.
- A Running Gag on the Ice Age films. Scrat's attempts to bury his acorn make cracks that spread through the ground, causing glaciers, mountains, even the Earth's crust to split apart.
- In the Pixar Short La Luna, a large star falls on the moon while a boy, his father and his grandfather are cleaning it. While the father and grandfather fail to remove the star, the boy climbs up to the highest point and gives it a tap with his hammer, causing it to shatter into dozens of smaller stars.
- Like his comic book counterpart, the Karate Kid of JLA Adventures: Trapped In Time has this ability. His misuse of it accidentally starts the plot of the film going, and later he uses this skill to punch a glacier out of existence.
- The ending of one episode of Ed Eddn Eddy has Eddy dressed in armor made out of an old-fashioned iron stove to keep himself from being beaten up by Kevin and Rolf. Rolf lays his tongue across the armor, and then hits it in a certain spot, which causes the armor to split apart.
- Rupert's drops are specially prepared glass teardrops: The bulbous end can take a blow from a hammer without incident, but if you so much as scratch the thin end, the entire thing explodes.