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Symbolic Blood
That's gotta hurt.

And then our flag will fly, against a blood-red sky!

When a fluid (or highly flexible solid) falls and/or spreads in a way that it is made to look like blood. This is either to show a symbolic loss or to perform a standard parody.

Often the fluid will be red in colour, and sometimes this is a trick shot to make it appear like someone has been injured, only to later reveal otherwise. It's sometimes used in kid- friendly shows to imply violence that would never pass the censors.

See also Alien Blood for strangely colored fluids pouring out of alien beings. See A Bloody Mess for red liquids being mistaken for blood.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • There was a PSA that ran on American TV sometime in The Nineties, in which a boy pretends to shoot his sister with a toy gun. The sister drops her teddy bear, and her glass of red juice spills all over it...

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Ghost in the Shell whenever an android got severely damaged, white artificial blood would splatter all over the place.
    • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Missing Hearts: Motoko stabs toward a criminal cowering in the corner and a liquid sprays out. The next shot reveals that she stabbed an organ transplant bag she was carrying.
  • In the Death Note anime, when Light kills off Aiber, he spills the red wine he was drinking, and the screen goes to a short still of the puddle.
  • In the first episode of Cowboy Bebop you see small vials of a red drug floating in space, near the woman that was carrying them in a bag inside her dress, who just got killed. The drug is a liquid (which is sprayed into the user's eye and appropriately named "Red Eye" or "Bloody Eye"), making the symbolism doubly effective
  • In one episode of Rosario + Vampire the Gory Discretion Shot for a character's fate is a splash of curry sauce.
  • In an episode of Azumanga Daioh, Osaka goes to wake up Yukari with a frying pan. When we see her enter Yukari's room with a knife instead, we get a quick shot of Tomo putting ketchup putting a huge amount of ketchup all over her breakfast and some even ends up on Kaguras face, who's sitting next to her.
  • In 08th MSTeam, the battle between Norris and the Team has this when Norris stabs a guntank, resulting in a massive gout of oil being sprayed across his mobile suit.
    • Riddhe's Delta Plus does the same in Gundam Unicorn, when the Banshee destroys it.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Android 19, Android 20/Dr. Gero, and Android 16 leaked red oil when damaged. Vegeta even notices this with 19.
    • It comes so close that some of it is removed in the edited version.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! has this when the fourth form of Fate, Quartum appears to promptly slash Chachamaru in half at the mid-section, leaving her bleeding and crying fluids all over the deck of the Great Paru-sama, implying that she's powered by hydraulics.
  • In Rebuild of Evangelion when an Evangelion is injured the corresponding body part of the pilot is wreathed in a stream of foaming bubbles.
  • A non-spill variant shows up in the Hellsing anime. Seras asks for a glass of Tomato juice after tailing a possible leak into a pub. She probably just wanted something that was non-alcoholic, but given that she's a recently turned vampire...

    Comicbooks 
  • There's an issue of the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic book which flashes back to a human accidentally shooting a non-human (leading to the Great War). The victim is seen lying in a puddle of... grass?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At one point, the Hellboy movie had Hellboy beating a monster with a payphone, the coins spraying out suspiciously like blood (or teeth). Apparently, it was Ron Perlman's idea. Later in the movie, gears play a similar role when Hellboy fights Kroenen.
  • The films in the Alien franchise have androids with similar hydraulic fluids (indeed it acts as a plot point to reveal when someone is one).
  • The movie High Anxiety had a shower scene much like Psycho, only it had a newspaper instead of a knife and the ink from it instead of blood.
  • Short Circuit 2 takes this to its symbolic extreme with Johnny 5's battery; when it's punctured during his beating from the bad guys, one of the baddies gets sprayed by the battery's fluid, and the supporting cast refer to the leak as him "bleeding to death". Which, given how batteries don't work AT ALL after they're punctured, despite how it clearly does after it's "patched" in the movie, opens up a whole new can of Fridge Logic.
  • In the Transformers movies, blood from the bots is represented in some cases by flourescent blue liquid (which the fandom believes is Energon).
    • In the second movie, a not-quite example is the use of 'fountains' of fire/sparks... kind of hard to explain without a visual aid, but surprisingly effective as a replacement for blood.

    Live-Action TV 
  • That '70s Show Kelso is in the shower and Laurie catches him using her shampoo (which happens to be red). This causes him to spill it, at which point we see it going down the drain as she hits him is a stabbing motion (parodying a scene from that movie no one remembers...)
  • Sparks fly when a Power Rangers character is hit, and on some occasions, a character has had a stream of sparks spraying from the same point for an extended time (usually the Monster of the Week, after being dealt the Finishing Move that's about to result in utter kablooification.)
  • White Collar: After Elizabeth is kidnapped by Keller, the FBI shows up to the crime scene, and Peter sees a red pool on the rug from a spilled pot of spaghetti sauce.
  • In Robot Combat League, the robot fighters sometimes get so damaged, they spray hydraulic fluid everywhere. Without hydraulic fluid, the robots' limbs won't work properly, essentially paralyzing the limbs and leaving the robot at a disadvantage.

    Theatre 
  • In Leonard Bernstein's Mass, the Celebrant contemplates the shattered Chalice:
    "Glass—and brown wine—thick—like blood... Rich—like honey and blood... Hey—don't you find that funny? I mean, it's supposed to be blood. I mean, it is blood... His... It was..."

    Toys 
  • One BIONICLE commercial showed Kalmah's tetacle being cut off, and a dark liquid flowing into the water. We know that characters in the Matoran Universe don't bleed, so it was either some other fluid (ink?), or completely non-canon. Pridak also has some suspicious red markings around his mouth...
    • Pirdak's markings have been confirmed to be just that, but since his design is based on a shark's it is obvious that they meant for it to be reminiscent of blood. Also, unlike the rest of the Matoran Universe, the Endless Ocean does have fully organic creatures, like fish.

    Videogames 
  • In the Japanese Rockman Zero series, robots give out a spray of red oil when killed with the saber. This is censored for some bizarre reason in the American Megaman Zero localizations.
  • Mega Man X4: Red liquid gushes out from the Maverick Hunter HQ reploids when they are cut into pieces by Double's battle mode.
  • Possibly done in Mario Partys Horror Land board, where there's a red bloodstain type puddle, which is just about shown coming from a huge overturned ketchup bottle that's been held by a gravestone.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, when fighting the Hydra, the heads being chopped off lead to leaking smoke instead of blood. In the movie and the Japanese version of the game there's slime instead.
    • The series kind of seems to like using darkness as symbolic blood, actually. The remade version of the Deep Dive scene in 358/2 Days has a moment where the dark smoke from the Heartless he just slew flies in front of his face like he was in some kind of samurai movie. The best example, though, is when Terra shot Braig in the face in Birth by Sleep - the reddish smoke fountaining from his missing eye and dark splotch where his scar will be might not necessarily be blood, but they sure do look like it, and the game never really bothers to make sure you realize it isn't.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Raiden's white cyborg blood on Vamp's crotch-knife. Do Not Want.
  • The robot/cyborg characters from Mortal Kombat would have their 'blood' coloured black as if it were oil being knocked out from the uppercut. Some other nonhumans ended up with green blood.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, after you defeat Ganondorf's gerudo form he falls to the ground, with his red cape unfolding around him in a way that makes it look like blood is actually flowing out of him.
  • In Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, Shalua is killed by Azul, in a scene in which she holds a door open with her mechanical arm so that the others can escape. When the arm is destroyed, some medical liquid starts to flow from under the door. And as you may guess, blood-like.
  • In 'Splosion Man, whenever a scientist dies, meat (steaks and ham) replace the blood. Played for Laughs.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 uses a dark purplish/black energy to instead of blood when Noel, Serah and later Caius are stabbed/impaled; it represents the Chaos bestowed on every human's heart by Etro.

    Webcomics 
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, when Antimony falls off the bridge, there's a Flash Back to a glass of water—that she dropped—spilling and shattering. Annie then thinks, "Well, now I know how the glass felt," as she falls.
  • In this page of Homestuck, Mom and Dad are shown holding hands over a wine-stained table cloth. On the next page, however, the same picture is shown as a reflection in Bec Noir's glasses, making it look more like blood. The next time Mom and Dad are shown in the comic, they're dead.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Robots in Samurai Jack spray oil as if it were High-Pressure Blood. Word of God says this was done so they could include violent, high-octane action sequences in the style of old-school samurai movies but still be age appropriate for a TV-PG show.
  • One episode of The Simpsons has Homer get clobbered by baby Maggie with a hammer, while he's painting. The red paint spills all around him like... well, you know. The entire scene is a parody of the Psycho shower scene at that, complete with the paint swirling into a floor drain.
    • Another has Marge accidentally fold up Homer's power-adjustable bed while he's sleeping in it. A red liquid pours out from the bed. It turns out to be Homer's juice box.
    • This was deliberately parodied in "Girls Just Want to Have Sums", when the Simpson family had gone to an Itchy and Scratchy-inspired play. On stage, when Itchy attacks Scratchy with a knife, red streamers pour out from the dummy, and fly everywhere. Lisa and Bart both find it appealing, but not for the same reason.
    Lisa: I love the use of streamers as blood, it robs the violence of its' power.
    Bart (excited): Woo-hoo! I'm drenched in blood!
  • Justice League Unlimited featured a scene where it appears the past incarnations of Green Lantern and Shayera were stabbed while on a bed, but as the camera moves up you see that it's a puddle of wine— which poisoned them.
  • Used on Total Drama Island. Heather makes Lindsay drop some limited-edition nail polish, and the 'camera' goes to a bird's eye view of it pouring out of the bottle onto the carpet.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Guru," Katara is attacked by Ty Lee, and drops her waterskin when she falls, which spills and forms a pool around her, as if she'd been stabbed (although she actually went down because of a Vulcan Nerve Pinch).
  • The Batman vs. Dracula had a scene where Dracula attacks a waiter who then drops a bottle of red wine that spills all over.
  • In Watership Down, Fiver sees the sunset turning the field red and is horrified to see it covered in blood. Although the red is simply light, the animation style makes it appear to run down like liquid.
  • Futurama in an episode entitled The Honking, Bender is becoming a "Werecar," which is a reference to werewolves, and at one point Bender wakes up in a parking lot covered in transmission fluid, fearful of where he's been.
    • Also in "The Silence of the Clamps" when Zoidberg cuts of Clamps' handclamps sparks shoot out from the stumps like blood.
  • When the Lemons blow up Rod "Torque" Redline in ''Cars 2'', we actually see a puddle of oil trickle under the Lemons' tires once Redline is finally dead.
  • Transformers: Beast Wars: when some bot got hit, bits of metal and hydraulic fluid go everywhere.
  • In Transformers Prime all the 'bots "bleed" Energon. A lot. Sometimes they're even shown lying in a pool of it while near death.
  • A memorable episode of Dexter's Laboratory had a clan of ninja newspaper delivery boys (roll with it) attacking the neighborhood, flinging bundles of papers with deadly accuracy at everyone and thing besides porches and leaving Dee Dee's father collapsed in a pool of his morning coffee. After he gasps in her arms and she goes off for revenge, she returns home, finds him still lying there, and asks if he's overreacting a little.
    Dee Dee: You know, it's just coffee.
    Dad: (opens eye) Yeah, but it was really hot.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Puhoy" when Finn kills the Blanket Dragon he slashes it's throat and a bunch of feathers spray from the wound.


Standard Bleeding SpotsBloody TropesTears of Blood
Swan BoatsSymbolismSymbolic Mutilation
Sword SparksSpectacleTainted Veins
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