Either a Macross Missile Massacre, a plethora of Ki Attacks, or The Worf Barrage are sent towards the enemy. This results in a cloud of smoke or dust obscuring the opponent.
If those attacking really want to doom themselves, they can make comments to the effect of "No One Could Survive That!"
The cloud dissipates; and either the enemy is revealed without a scratch (often surrounded by a Beehive Barrier), or they're not there anymore, having jumped into the sky when nobody was looking, and are quickly descending upon the attacker's head. They may even be running on the edge of the opponent's sword if it was what he used!
Expect this trope to be accompanied by a pause in the music during the smoke formation, after which it either doesn't resume if the enemy escaped, or come back on loudly, usually with liberal doses of bass instruments, if he survives.
Rapidly becoming a Dead Horse Trope in modern cartoons; it usually can be anticipated the moment you see smoke.
See Out of the Inferno for the even morebadass version.
Dirt Forcefieldsounds similar, but is a completely different trope.
Frieza. From his very introduction to when Goku goes Super Saiyan, he just waits until the smoke clears, with no visible damage. If he was matched, he just said he wasn't going all out, and proceeded to beat the crap out of his match.
The battles with Perfect Cell bumped this trope up a notch. When he decided to tank Vegeta's Final Flash to prove he could, it cost him an arm and a chunk of his torso - too bad he could regenerate. Later, him teleporting onto the scene after being presumed dead caused a smoke cloud all by itself, and he took advantage of this to shoot Trunks. The guy pictured above was at least pushed back by the barrage, so the shots had some effect.
Happens frequently in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. In the first season, Fate uses Photon Lancer: Phalanx Shift to attack Nanoha, the smoke clears and Nanoha is revealed to be (mostly) unharmed. In A's Nanoha used Divine Buster Extension to snipe Vita, but when the smoke cleared it was revealed a third party had intervened and shielded Vita from the attack. And finally in StrikerS Dieci tries to snipe the Mobile Section 6 Helicopter, and seems to score a direct hit, but the smoke clears, and Nanoha is revealed to have gotten there just in time to block the shot.
Frequently used in Narutaru. After a while, it seemed the Japanese defense forces had stuffed all their missiles and shells full of sand, because obscuring dust was just about all they produced.
Happens a fair amount in Bleach, at least once every few fights. This happens twice during Ichigo's fight with Yammy at the beginning of the Arrancar arc. In both cases, the smoke clears to reveal that Urahara interposed himself and nullified the attack.
Another example: Barragan, the number 2 Espada, is obscured by a cloud of smoke after being attacked by Soi Fong's bankai, and of course emerges unharmed.
Ga-Rei -Zero-: Kiri and Zinguchi vs Yomi. Between the two of them, they manage to get her restrained long enough for Zinguchi to use her Gatling-leg. Yomi comes flying out seconds later and runs Kiri through with her blade.
Zinguchi: "Did we get her?"
Kiri: "We got her...I think."
Kei in Special A walks out of a smoke shield created from an exploded rocky cliff, completely unharmed. (Though Akira did think he was dead, if only for a few minutes.) He walks out carrying a lion on his shoulders.
Lampshaded in Neon Genesis Evangelion when Shinji engages the fourth Angel with an automatic cannon, shrouding it in smoke. For a moment it appears the assault was successful, but then Misato yells at him, saying "You idiot, you hid the enemy behind your own smoke!". Cue the counterattack.
It's also parodied when Jack tells Negi to punch him with hisFinishing Move to prove his strength. Negi does so, and Jack emerges dramatically from the smoke...only to cough up some blood and sock Negi in the head for punching too hard.
Variation from the AKIRAmovie: after throwing a pile of rubble onto Kaneda during their duel, Tetsuo stands over it smirking... until a blind shot from Kaneda's laser cannon comes through a wall and damn near takes his head off.
Ushers in the final fight scene in Pokémon: The First Movie After an overloaded cloning machine explodes, Mewtwo delivers his speech about how he plans to used his army of cloned Pokemon to annihilate humanity and the Pokemon who serve them. This is where Ash Ketchum steps through the smoke, the real Pokemon in tow, and ballsily declares, "You can't do this. I won't let you."
Märchen Awakens Romance makes use of this trope in a few fights, for example the first time Snow fights in the War Games.
In One Piece you can expect this to happen frequently, like when Luffy is revealed to survive after Don Krieg uses an explosive attack.
Stinkbomb actually manages to use this as its entire premise. The main character actually gives off a cloud of colored gas that not only visually obscures him but also knocks people unconscious and disrupts electronic equipment rendering the aiming systems of everything from tanks to sidewinder missiles ineffective.
In InuYasha, it is safe to assume that any villain obscured by a cloud of smoke after one of Inuyasha's many attacks has survived, usually completely unharmed.
Justified in Cannon God Exaxxion. In Exaxxion's battle with Dagunov-1, because they're both using high-powered railguns, the clouds of steam they kick up are saturated with magnetized particles, meaning even advanced sensors can't see through them.
Happes to The Hulk quite a bit. In World War Hulk it happens at least twice; the first time, Tony Stark injects the Hulk with something meant to neutralize his healing factor, then launches a pair of missiles at him, which only reminded Hulk of the explosion that killed his wife. The second time, Storm and The Human Torch combined a lightning bolt and a massive fireball to blast the Hulk. Didn't work out so well.
The X-Men annual "Lost in the Funhouse": The assembled team throw everything they have at the one-off villain, who is revealed to be completely unscathed when the smoke clears. Out of all of them, Storm was the only one who didn't bother to attack, knowing there had to be a catch.
In the 2007 Transformers movie, happens in the fight between the soldiers and Scorponok before he is finally seen escaping by burrowing under the sand after being damaged by an AC-130 Spectre gunship.
Also done in the Transformers: The Movie, the animated film from the eighties: Unicron is devouring Cybertron's moons, where the Autobots have situated bases; Bumblebee and Spike evacuate one of the moons moments before Unicron arrives, but not before setting massive explosive charges designed to blow up the moon as Unicron eats it. As they fly away in their ship, they see a massive explosion and celebrate, reassured that "Nothing could have survived that!" only to despair once the smoke clears and they see that "It isn't even dented!"
In the 1953 version of The War Of The Worlds the "smoke" is caused by an atomic bomb being dropped on some Martian war-machines. It still doesn't work.
Nuclear weapons are used against the alien ships in Independence Day after conventional weapons fail to breach their Deflector Shields. They don't do the job either.
Cloverfield, unsurprisingly, does this too. After the characters manage to get on one of the last evac helicopters, they get front-row seats to the monster being bombed. In this case, "Clover" waits just long enough for a Hope Spot but not for the smoke to disperse on its own.
In the tactical game X-COM major explosions will always fill up at least a small area full of smoke, which obscures vision for both you and the aliens. Unlike most other examples of this trope, smoke inhalation is actually a problem, too, and inhaling too much can cause both you and the opponent to fall unconscious.
In the game X-COM: Terror From the Deep, the Lobster Men are so tough that the entire squad of ten to fourteen soldiers will often have everyone in throwing range throw explosives at one of them while the rest shoot lasers and rockets at him. The explosives go off together and then the Lobster Man gets his turn.
This is used as a gameplay mechanic in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable. Since a lot of the game relies on watching your opponent's moves in order to quickly counter them, a player who's been obscured by smoke (generated when a large attack hits) is usually at an advantage.
Various permutations of this occur in Bob and George. Including one time with an entire room full of steam. This is also a running gag throughout the comic in which characters who are seemingly blasted into oblivion are actually just "blown clear." Unless they aren't, in which case some sort of insanely convoluted series of events is at work to explain their survival. They usually involved time travel.
Invoked in Star Wars: Clone Wars. The ARC Troopers fire on General Grievous, creating a massive dust cloud. They avert the standard "wait and see" technique and continue firing into the dust cloud. Unfortunately for them, Grievous emerges unharmed.