A form of Heroic Sacrifice where, when a villain fires a weapon at someone and another character leaps into the path of the bullet, receiving the injury instead.
Time will often slow to a crawl, and the shielded one will often shout a Big "NO!". The leaper will then have a scene where they weeping-ly tell the character how important they are before losing consciousness, while cradled in the arms of the survivor. Sometimes they get better, sometimes not, but it's close, either way. Usually results in tears and/or an angry How Dare You Die on Me! moment, especially if the person they took the bullet for loved them in any way. A More Hero than Thou dispute may result, even though it's obviously too late.
This may be a minor character protecting a major one, or sometimes a villain will do this following a Heel-Face Turn, in which case they're probably not going to pull through.
This turns into a Diving Save if the rescuer pushes the victim out of the way without being hit by the shot. Can be done with any other projectiles: a common gag is to do it with something utterly harmless, and really ham up the shot.For some reason, the Big Bad rarely succeeds at any attempt to empty the next bullet into his original intended target. Nor will the diver not get there in time to stop the bullet, or the bullet continue through the diver to the original target. Considering how much could theoretically go wrong with this trope, it's almost surprising how (relatively) rarely it gets played with.
The United States Secret Service (which protects the president) calls this, "catching the bullet", although it is rarely actually performed. In real life, technique is obviously different, as bullets are far too fast to react to. Instead, the human shield will stand in front of the defended individual (hopefully) prior to the shot being fired. For instance, when Kennedy was shot, the agent with Johnson threw him to the floor of the car and then threw himself on top of him until they reached a secure location.
If this trope is executed poorly, usually because there were more intelligent alternatives to Taking the Bullet, it can come off as a Stupid Sacrifice.
Compare Jumping on a Grenade, Load-Bearing Hero. Human Shield and Bulletproof Human Shield are the unwilling versions that often happens in hostage situations. Misguided Missile is when you do this with air-to-air weaponry.
In Real Life, this is another term for Taking the Heat. Try not to confuse the tropes, though.
Due to the nature of this trope, spoilers are likely. You have been warned.
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Anime & Manga
Semi-minor character Brad does this for Vash in episode 21 of Trigun.
In the episode 72 from UFO Robo Grendizer (one of the Mazinger Z sequels), during an aerial duel between Grendizer and another starship, Rubina flies her own ship between Grendizer and an energy beam to save Duke. She dies shortly after. Her Heroic Sacrifice is done more tragic because Duke had accused her from betraying him shortly before. The whole episode was a Tear Jerker.
Hellsing: At his first meeting with Integra, Alucard protects her from a gunshot with his own hand. Of course, for him it's not that big a deal.
Iruka has a Taking the Shuriken moment in the first episode when he jumps in front of Naruto to save him from Mizuki's giant shuriken. This was mirrored later in series when Mizuki throws a giant shuriken at Iruka and Naruto protects him the same way.
In Shippuuden, Chouza Akimichi is nearly killed after taking a hit from Pain to protect Chouji. He later turned out to have survived. Which was proceeded by one of Pain bodies taking the Raikiri for the other. And Kakashi's sacrifice with the whole using his Kamui to save Chouji straight afterwards, and dyiing from the efforts himself.
Chouza does it again against zombie Asuma, jumping in front of a giant burning ash cloud and getting badly burned.
And in what is probably the most Tear Jerker example of them all, there's somewhat of a subversion. Hinata was ready to pull this trope on Naruto to protect him from the Ten-tails' fatal Mokuton -Sashiki no Jutsu... but the one who does it in the end is actually Neji, shielding the other two. He ends up Impaled with Extreme Prejudice... and very much dead, much to the sadness of both Hinata and Naruto.
Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist does this in the 2003 anime version. When military troops notice Lust and open fire on her, Scar instinctively leaps in front of her and takes the hits, despite knowing fully well that Lust wouldn't have died. She gently reprimands him for this afterward.
Lust: You fool. You know it takes more than bullets to stop me. Scar: It wasn't for you. This damn body has a will of its own.
Wolf's Rain has a particularly cruel twist on this trope: Toboe sees Quent and Darcia pulling guns on each other and leaps between them in an attempt to take the bullet for Quent — but ends up taking Quent's bullet instead. Especially ironic since Quent has previously tried to shoot Toboe on several occasions. The irony is compounded because the shock of having shot the wolf who tried to save him causes him to drop his guard and get shot anyway. The only small consolation is that the wolf and wolf-hunter share a brief moment of reconciliation before they die.
And before that (production-wise) at the tail end of Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, as Dekim prepares to shoot Relena for attempting to persuade Mariemeia to stop obeying him, Mariemeia pushes Relena out of the way, causing Dekim to accidentally shoot her.
In the actual series, Trowa takes the blast meant for Heero in episode 25, causing his mech to blow up... but not before he gives a heartfelt 'I Know You're In There Somewhere' speech.
During the Eclipse in Berserk, Judeau protects his female commander Casca from a demon set on killing and eating them as everything is literally going to Hell for them and the rest of the Hawks. He throws himself right on top of her and takes multiple blows from the demon's whiplike tentacles followed by two spikes right through his body for her before putting its eye out with his last throwing knife, setting it up to be finished off by Casca. The wounds are fatal and he dies soon after.
In the first episode, C.C. takes a headshot meant for Lelouch. She gets better.
Happened in R2 too, where Kaname Ohgi takes several kunais to the chest in an attempt to save his ex-girlfriend Villetta from Sayoko's attack.
Suzaku arguably tries to invoke this trope in Turn 18 by firing his Hadron Cannon at Zero while telling Kallen to move out of the way, apparently having hoped that she'd take the shot for him and be knocked out of the fight. Boy is he surprised when she blocks it and isn't even scratched.
A random soldier did this to save Cornelia from Todou during the Black Rebellion.
Piccolo's switch from villain to Anti-Hero happens when he takes a lethal blast for his pupil Gohan. The scene gets lampooned in Dragon Ball Abridged.
Piccolo: Wait a second... why don't I just grab him? I could probably still do that now actually! Yeah, that's it! I'll grab him and throw him out of the waAAAAAAAGH!
He also does this for Goku in the Frieza saga, taking a Death Beam from him; he survives, but he comes close to dying.
In the Cell saga after Vegeta has been knocked unconscious trying to avenge Trunks, Cell is about to shoot him with a huge Kamehameha. Gohan jumps in the way of the blast and takes the hit; he survives, but it costs him the use of one of his arms.
Later exploited by Wapol's Quirky Miniboss Squad member Chess, who shoots three arrows (very large ones at that) at a group of innocent bystanders, causing Dalton to hurl himself into their path. It works, but, like every other non-flashback character, he gets better later.
Done quite cruelly with Portgas D. Ace, who has a Taking the Magma-Coated Fist moment to protect Luffy from Akainu. It works, but, unlike the above example... he doesnotget better.
Happened also with Queen Otohime, who jumps to save a Tenryuubito at the Fishmen Arc.
Setsuna does this for Konoka during the Class Trip. Odd in that she managed to do this atop a 30-something story castle when she was on the ground seconds earlier. Maybe justified by her later Wing Pull. Or, considering that she had, earlier in that storyline, demonstrated the ability to jump over buildings in a single bound, it's not that weird.
Later in the same arc Negi tried to do this for one of his students. She swatted him aside upon spotting the danger and took the incoming stone spear through the midsection rather messily, but that merely irritatedEvangeline... as the attacker promptly regretted.
Also, near the very beginning of the manga, in a game of dodgeball Asuna catches a ball aimed (with enough force to hurt) at Negi, and he does the same for a fallen Asuna later.
Next Arc Nodoka gets to do this for Negi with a bullet that sends the person hit forward in time by 3 hours. However before Chamo reminds Negi and Yue of this, they do the standard grief sequence.
In later chapters, Aisha, Mama (the bear woman), Tosaka, and Emily all do this; Taking the Bullet for Nodoka, Natsumi, Ako, and Yue, respectively. Although it turns out that all of them would actually have been just fine if they hadn't done it. Well, it's the thought that counts. They are revived ater, too.
Tuxedo Mask does this for Sailor Moon at least once in each season, and it usually results in his death/capture, eliciting from Sailor Moon a Big "NO!". Also, in the Marine Cathedral episode, Neptune sees Eudial threatening Uranus with a gun and proceeds to run towards them while being shot from all directions and ultimately takes the shot intended for Uranus, who goes on to kill herself anyway. Also, Neptune was captured previously in the same episode by taking a hit from a stone that would have hit Uranus otherwise.
DiC apparently disapproves of this trope, as they recut the first season example (where he gets between Sailor Moon and Zoisite's ice crystal) to look as though Tuxedo Mask was the intended target all along; though it's possible that they only did this for established heroes, since they don't edit out Prince Diamond doing the exact same thing as mentioned below.
In the R movie, Usagi saves Chibiusa from a plant this way, and Tuxedo Mask does the same thing when Fiore tries to stab Sailor Moon.
Similarly, in the series Neo Queen Serenity does this to protect Chibi-Usa during the Black Moon invasion. She's severely injured and thus must be frozen into crystal for her own sake; Chibi-Usa goes to the past to seek Sailor Moon's help and the Silver Crystal unaware that she is Usagi's Kid from the Future, as the Neo Queen is Usagi's adult self.
All four inner scouts die in this way in the last season when they take hits from Galaxia in order to protect Sailor Moon, Chibi Chibi and the Starlights.
An also does this, throwing herself in the path of one of the Makaiju's branches to save Ail. This troper remembers it being a real Tear Jerker.
Prince Diamond does this for Sailor Moon when Wiseman fires an attack at her.
Hawk's Eye in the fourth season does this for Fish Eye, when Mr. Magic Pierrot tries to kill him with a projectile from his hat. We even see the smoking hole where it hit. And then he gets better about several minutes later.
Sometimes, Seiya's best friend and partner Dragon Shiryu will do this for his friends, but he has the advantage of wielding the Dragon Shield (said to be one of the strongest shields ever) on his forearm, making it a much more reasonable act.
In Blue Seed, Momiji receives her mitama when she attempts to shield Kusanagi from Orochi's attack, complete with a Big "NO!" and stuff.
During the first Osaka mini-arc Conan takes a knife to the gut for Ran when a lunatic with a knife attacks them. He gets better because the blade hit a metal amulet he was wearing, thus he got just a bruise on his chest. Though this was actually a double Taking The Bullet: Heiji lent Conan that amulet because he had a nightmare where they both died, and the amulet is a good luck charm that seems to work. So the knife bounces off the amulet and Conan is relatively unharmed, but while confronting the real murderer Heiji is shot.
Just before the Desperate Revival arc, while the Shounen Tantei are trapped in a cave by a group of murderous bankrobbers, Conan takes a bullet for Genta and nearly bleeds to death.
In the 13th movie, Inspector Megure took a knife wound on the belly from a charging woman who then realized her mistake. Good thing Megure is overweight. And in the proper series/manga Megure took a metal pipe to the head to protect Sonoko from a Serial Killer targetting girls who wore special footwear, since one of them accidentally ran his son over due to said footwear. (Sonoko had purchased similar shoes, so that made her a target). Her's so Made of Iron that he doesn't get knocked out (though to be fair, he was wearing his Nice Hat), and even manages to deal a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the killer.
In the fourth movie, the reason for Ran's Laser-Guided Amnesia is that her mind was temporarily broken when Sato took at least four shots for her to save her from the movie's Big Bad. They both get better: Sato survived, and when Ran saw the killer threaten Conan similarly, Ran got her memories back and kicked his ass.
Grimmjow, during a fight with Ichigo, fires five darts which can knock down buildings at Orihime, which Ichigo has to block with his body. Counts as an Invoked Trope, as Grimmjow did it specifically because he knew how Ichigo would react and was trying to get him to stop holding back.
In a straighter example, Byakuya does this for Rukia when Gin tries to kill her with his shikai.
In the manga, Ginjo does this for Ichigo. A somewhat unusual example, as taking the stab reverted Ginjo's memories back. In the following chapter, Ginjo stabs Ichigo himself.
Riruka took a slash to the shoulder and a Close-Call Haircut from Tsukishima to protect Ichigo (and Rukia, whose body she was temporarily inhabiting until then on) and get the attacker to listen to her as well. She's later healed by Orihime.
Crona ends up taking the bullet for Maka during a battle with Medusa.
Later on, Asura uses this trope to his benefit during a battle with Shinigami-sama and intentionally aims for bystanders during the fight to make his opponent take the bullet.
Earlier than both those examples, and not technically a bullet, but Soul puts himself between Maka and Ragnarok after Maka can't bring herself to use him to defend against the sword (Ragnarok at the time being the vastly superior Weapon).
Fridge Logic in the Shinigami example, because while the bystanders — and Asura appears to be aiming specifically for Kid — obviously would be harmed by the Kishin's attack, what Asura does doesn't look much different from his other attacks which Shinigami avoided or blocked with Spirit. And yet on that occasion he threw himself into the path of the "bullet", also placing his Weapon out of the way of a direct hit.
In Requiem for the Phantom, Zwei's assassination run on Scythe Master ends in failure when Ein takes a bullet for Scythe, who responds by shooting a despondent Zwei in the back and leaving him for dead.
Uesugi Kenshin of Sengoku Basara goes one step further and takes three bullets in order to save his Ninja love interest. And she's meant to the bodyguard!
Tomoe steps in to try and wrestle the knife out of an enemy's hands, but thanks to Kenshin being blinded earlier in the fight he can't see her and accidentally kills them both.
It happens once more in the end of the Shishio battle where Yumi steps in front of Shishio to shield him from Kenshin's attack only for Shishio to stab Kenshin through her, resulting in her death in his arms.
Also happens again at the end of the fight with Enishi, where Kaoru tries to take a bullet for Kenshin, but is stopped by Enishi himself, who delivers a blow to the person firing, knocking the gun out of his hands.
Aoshi Shinomori took a bullet for one of his followers in the Anime. (In the manga it was already aimed at him) Aoshi's followers later took several bullets to save Aoshi and allow Kenshin to defeat the shooter.
In Godchild Riff takes bullets (and other things that would have the same effect) for Cain quite frequently (well to a point where antagonists are annoyed he keeps getting in the way)
Myotismon aims his deadly Grisly Wing attack at Kari and Gatomon, but Wizardmon gets in the way, and is killed instead.
Wizardmon's act is actually a strange example of the this trope. There's a bit of Fridge Logic here when you think that there's no possible way Wizardmon could have gotten there fast enough to be standing square in front of them, as he was blasted several meters away, severely beaten and exhausted, moments ago... and then Fridge Brilliance can take place if you think this is simply the result of another strange power he has — either Super Speed or Teleportation; the sheer number of powers he has compared to other Digimon could stretch the imagination to imply he had either.
This happens a few more times in Adventure first when Chuumon takes a dagger from Piedmon who was going to kill Mimi and when SabreLeomon takes a hit from MetalEtemon meant for Mimi and Joe. As a bit of a partial subversion, he manages to kill MetalEtemon before expiring.
Another example is when DemiDevimon fires a toxic dart at Sora and Biyomon takes it for her. In this case, Biyomon is actually not in danger of directly dying from the attack, as it's only fatal to humans (though it makes Digimon extremely sick.) Still, she did save Sora's life in the process and probably didn't care rather it'd kill her or not.
In Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2 - Shiroki Ryuu no Miko OAV, Yoritada shields Karin from a flying sword — although because of the way he does this, he only gets a non-fatal arm injury. Nevertheless, still dramatic.
In the Hachiyou Shou TV series, Yorihisa protects Tenma from a sword-wielding mook this way, mirroring an incident from his past where his brother Sanehisa did the same to him. Unlike Sanehisa, Yorihisa survives, although the wound makes the subsequent battle significantly more difficult (at least until they get a power-up).
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3 - Owarinaki Unmei has Masaomi taking an arrow for Nozomi; at first, it looks like he might have simply pushed her away without getting shot, but no...
Much earlier, When Mai is trapped and about to be attacked Yami Marik's Winged Dragon of Ra, Joey jumps in tries to free her from the chains. Marik then decides to attack them both. Just when the attack is about to connect, Yugi jumps in front of them in time and takes the brunt of the attack. He's temporarily knocked unconscious.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, one of Asuka/Alexis's signature cards is the Trap Card Doble Passe, an anime-only card that is activated when her monster is attacked, protecting the monster by letting the attack hit her. In return for that, the monster is then able to make a direct attack against the opponent. Asuka used this Trap frequently, and in the Series Finale it was a symbolic card that she used to escape the World of Darkness.
Triela does the literal version for Roberta during vol 7 of the manga. Later she takes a smoke grenade to the head while shielding fellow cyborg Beatrice. She survives both, as does Roberta (though still wounded), Beatrice however..
In Darker Than Black, Hei takes bullets (he's armored) to shield a girl he assumed to be the assassins' target. It sort of backfired. Later the girl jumped before him, intercepting a Tele-Frag power aimed to tear his heart out. Another time he knocked prone his partner and covered her with himself from falling rubble. Which, yes, looked not like what it was.
The Lupin III special Memories of the Flame ~Tokyo Crisis~ plays it straight in Maria's flashbacks. Zenigata also does this later on to protect her, but instead of killing him, the bullet only injured his leg.
In the manga version of Tokyo Mew Mew, immediately before the final battle with Deep Blue, Pie and Tart aim a powerful attack at Ichigo — all four other girls jump in the way and take the huge bullet themselves. Mint actually manages a laugh about how "we're all thinking the same thing," and they send Ichigo aheadwhile they stay and fight.
Though literal bullets are rarely used, Tsukune is very notable for his habit of throwing himself in front of attacks to protect his friends. He is (or was) technically the weakest among them, leading to his Emergency Transformation.
Ginei did this once as well... damn near killed him.
Laxus shoots a lightning bolt at Levi that probably would have killed her had Gajeel not jumped in front of her to take it. He does something similar at the end of the final battle to stop Laxus from finishing Natsu off; he turns his arm into iron and uses himself as a lightning rod.
Simon takes a bullet for Natsu and Erza. About fifty chapters later Gerard, who shot the first "bullet" takes a bullet for Natsu as well.
And in chapter 334, Gray shoves Juvia out of the way of a laser beam and gets shot multiple times in the chest and head as a result.
In Durarara!!, volume 9 reveals that Izaya didn't stab Shinra like a lot of people think he did. Shinra took a knife wound for him when a student named Nakura demanded that Izaya give his money back in a bet he lost. Naturally, this incident seems to start something inside of Izaya as he declares that Nakura will suffer for hurting Shinra. Many years later, it comes off as Izaya stalking Nakura and then declaring to him at the end of volume 9 that he framed him for two major incidents that had been going on in that volume and that those people will hunt him down.
Ash Ketchum actually does this at the end of the firstPokemonfilm as an attempt to end Mew and Mewtwo's battle.
Played straight with Ginga Densetsu Weed when Jerome manages to alert the other dogs of the humans shooting at them. Poor Jerome literally takes a bullet for the pack. Heroic dog, indeed
Played for Laughs in an episode of InuYasha. Soten, the younger sister of the two Thunder Brothers defeated by Inu-Yasha earlier, sends her dragon minion to incapacitate Kagome and Inu-Yasha using Kagome's arrows. When Inu-Yasha jumps in front of Kagome in order to save her, it's revealed the arrows don't even harm anyone.
In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu takes a superheated crossbow bolt to the chest for Barnaby. Seeing the lengths the other hero is willing to go in order to protect him, Barnaby begins to drop the Jerkass act and let himself trust Kotetsu.
Sabahku does one himself in the end, saving Yuri and Tsubomi from Dune.
A non-fatal version occurs in The Movie "Fashion Show in the City of Flowers?!" as Cure Blossom takes a shot from her own partner, Cure Marine to save the Brainwashed and Crazy Olivier. She loses her hairbow, her now-loose hair snapping him out of it as he recognizes Cure Blossom as Tsubomi.
In the Fatal Fury first animated special, Joe Higashi is gravely wounded when he takes a bullet for Terry Bogard.
My Bride Is a Mermaid plays this for laughs, as Nagasumi constantly has to "take the bullet" for various mermaids whenever something threatens to splash them with water (they revert to mermaid form if they get wet, and he has to maintain The Masquerade). It's played seriously in the series finale when he takes a literal bullet for Sun. Fortunately, he's also capable of catching the bullet.
In the 9th episode of The Vision of Escaflowne when one of Dilandau's spike's goes out of control on his Guymelef, one of them heads straight for Hitomi, Allen dives in front with his Guymelef and takes the hit, he survives but he's seriously injured.
Has happened at least twice in the comic book version of W.I.T.C.H.. During the fifth saga, Cedric gets in the way of a beam which would've killed Orube, and in the seventh saga Liam is killed by a sword that the White Queen threw at Mariko.
In the Chick Tract "Murph," Murph's partner, Officer Donovan does this for him, since he believes he, being an "unsaved" Catholic, isn't ready to die. Interestingly enough, Donovan gets off with flesh wounds while Murph is mortally wounded.
In Birds of Prey a young teleporter calling herself Batgirl (complete with homemade Batgirl outfit) teleported herself in front of a bullet meant for Huntress. Fortunately her teleportation came with a Healing Factor and she teleported herself to Barbara in time to save herself.
In Ultimate Spider-Man, we have the eponymous Spidey doing this to save Captain America from a sniper's bullet. He dies, yes, but not before going out in a blaze of glory by fending off the Sinister Six.
That deserves a bit more detail: After taking a bullet for Cap and being left to be found by paramedics, Spidey starts making his way to a hospital. Unfortunately, he realizes the Sinister Six are going after his family and friends, so he makes a detour to save them. After repeated hope spots and barely managing to fend off and defeat the Sinister Six while bleeding out, he is actually rescued by Aunt May and Gwen Stacy. But, after seeing Norman Osborn get back up, Peter uses the last ounce of his strength to stop Osborn and save his family and friends before bleeding out on the front lawn of his own house with all of Queens watching. So one physical bullet and dozens of metaphorical ones.
In Sonic the Hedgehog, a heart-broken Mina Mongoose throws herself between Princess Sally and Sonic (who had just reconciled and admitted their feelings) and a bullet from Nack the Weasel. The comic makes it seems she died, but then she's seen in a hospital room recovering.
In Uncanny X-Men, Rogue took a sustained laser blast meant for Wolverine and Mariko. This after Wolverine had said to her face that he would have liked nothing better than to cut out her heart for what she had done previously to Carol Danvers. The blast was enough to nearly kill even her; since she won his respect by this sacrifice, Wolerine risked his own life (he had been poisoned and badly wounded earlier on in the issue) to let her absorb his Healing Factor.
In the Tamers Forever Series, Gallantmon recieves a Trump Sword meant for Taomon and later, Kazu recieves a Flame Inferno attack meant for Suzie]]
Films — Animation
Something of a reversal in the 1986 Transformers: The Movie: Optimus Prime has bested Megatron, and is about to finish him off with his gun. Megatron begs for mercy to buy time to try and get a nearby gun. Just as Optimus Prime is about to finally blast Megatron, Hot Rod jumps in the way to stop Megatron getting to it. Megatron simply overpowers Hot Rod, gets the gun, and mortally wounds Optimus Prime.
King Harold on Shrek 2 jumps in front of Shrek when the Fairy Godmother shoots her wand at the ogre. The spell bounces off his armor and hits her, turning her into a mass of bubbles. Rather than killing Harold, the spell just turns him into a frog, which is what he really was to begin with.
And earlier, 2 does the exact same thing, pushing 9 down as the Fabrication machine initially powers up.
In the Hungarian animated film Vuk, or The Little Fox as it's known in the U.S., Vic or Vuk's uncle Karack sees a hunter from the distance pointing a gun at Vuk and his mate Foxy he dives in front of the bullet taking the hit for them.
In Kung Fu Panda 2, Shen fires his cannon at Po, only to have Tigress push him out of the way and take the blast herself. She survives, but is badly wounded.
The Incredibles has Mirage trying to pull this on Syndrome when Mr. Incredible, consumed with grief with the possible death of his entire family, and enraged at Syndrome shooting down their plane, lunges at him while confined to energy wires. Syndrome repays her by daring Mr. Incredible to kill her when he claims that he could crush her like a toothpick.
At the end of The Iron Giant, the title alien robot's original programming as a killing machine is restored, and he goes apeshit on the US military. The paranoid government official who calls in the troops grabs the general's radio and orders the nearby submarine to launch a nuke at the giant, not realizing that the giant is right in front of him. Realizing what the nuke is going to do, the giant flies off and intercepts the nuke on its way down. Slightly different in that the nuke was meant for him but was going to destroy the entire town.
The first Ice Age movie has Diego taking the blow for Manny during the battle with Soto after his Heel-Face Turn.
Somewhat inverted on Final Fantasy VII: Last Order, a 30-minute animated special that tells the story of Zack and Cloud's escape and how Sephiroth went bezerk on Cloud's hometown. The special is "half canon" since many things in it are changed from the original game (since it's the Turks' point of view and not the main characters'). At the end of the special Zach and Cloud are lying at the back of a pickup truck and Zack asks the driver how far is it to Midgar, the Planet's de facto capital city, then does not finish his sentence as he spots a sniper (who wanted to shoot him instead of capturing him or waiting for further orders), then orders Cloud to run. The screen goes black and we hear a shot, implying he took the bullet.
This was later cleared up on Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, an extended version of the original Advent Children movie, when Zach peeks through the truck (not asking the driver) and the bullet misses him, eventually leading into Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and the original game's ending in which he is shot by 3 regular soldiers.
When a MiG fires a missile at the title aeroplane, one of the escorting F-15 pilots flies his aircraft directly in the way, destroying it and dying while saving everybody on board the 747. In a subversion, shrapnel from the destroyed jet tears up the tail of Air Force One, making it unable to continue flying. Although this is still less damage than the missile itself would have caused.
A more traditional example happens earlier, when a cowardly official gets his heroic redemption.
Sue Storm in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. She was trying to use her forcefield to stop the javelin thrown by Doom on the Silver Surfer, but it went right through it since it was formed from the energy of the Surfer's surf, which was shown to be able to go right through it earlier in the movie.
Parodied in City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold when Jon Lovitz' character takes a bullet for Billy Crystal's character, shares some tearful last words with his brother, and black out... then immediately revives upon discovering the bullet was a blank.
Subverted in an intense scene of The Caveman's Valentine when Romulus tries to do this for his daughter. He throws himself on top of her as a badguy starts shooting. She then continues firing at the bad guy while pinned under her hysterically yelling father. Romulus, seconds later: "Are you shot? Am I? We're alright? We're not shot? You're alive? I'm alive? How can that be?"
Though it never happens, in Dave, Ving Rhames' job is essentially to take a bullet for Kevin Kline. He later admitted he'd do it for Dave as well.
Inverted in Supertweak, where a Secret Service agent jumps in front of the President. The shooter just waits for him to hit the ground, and then takes the shot.
Clint Eastwood's Secret Service agent from In the Line of Fire, at the last possible second, figures out who the assassin is, and jumps in time to take a bullet which was aimed at the President.
Agent Sam Simms (Sinbad) jumps in time to take a bullet for the President's son in First Kid.
In the third Spider-Man film, Harry takes a hurled metal spike aimed at Peter.
In The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc a French knight takes an arrow for Joan of Arc.
Occurs near the end of the Fatal Fury motion picture. The newly resurrected god of war immediately launches a blast of fire at the nearest person, which happened to be Mai... until Andy leaped in front of her... until Laocorn leaped in front of ''him'', screaming his sister's name. Powerful... but marred by the vaguely irritating fact that Sulia had already died to redeem him.
In the Oscar scene of The Bodyguard Kevin Costner's character does this for Whitney Houston's character.
Hot Fuzz, Danny takes a blunderbuss shot to the chest to protect Nicholas. He gets better.
Played straight... no, inverted... no, subverted in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Gay Perry takes a bullet for Harry, allowing him to save the day and the girl! But then, the girl notices a bullet hole in his jacket. Turns out that the bullet went straight through Perry and still hit Harry. But not to worry! The bullet hit a paperback book in his pocket! Aaaaand went straight through. Harry sticks his finger through the hole in the book, wiggles it, pokes at the hole in his chest, then faints.
In X-Men: The Last Stand, Mystique throws herself in front of a dart containing the mutant "cure" that's fired at her lover Magneto. Despite this selfless act, Magneto abandons her because the dart has turned Mystique into an ordinary human.
Murder at 1600 has this happen at the end of the film, with a disgraced Secret Service agent protecting the President from his National Security Advisor. It was a weird movie.
In a manner of speaking, this is how Randy Quaid saves the Earth in Independence Day. By flying his plane into the "barrel" of a Death Ray and causing it backfire into the ship.
In Crash, the locksmith's little girl jumps in front of him to protect her father from a gunman with her invisible "invincible cloak." In reality, the gun had been loaded with blanks, unbeknownst to the shooter, and the little girl lives, convinced that she really saved her daddy's life.
Batman: The Movie (1966). Batman and Robin are trapped on a buoy with a torpedo coming toward them and there's an explosion. Later:
Robin: Gosh, Batman, the nobility of the almost-human porpoise. Batman: True, Robin. It was noble of that animal to hurl himself into the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life for ours.
In Stargate, Daniel Jackson takes a staff blast meant for Colonel O'Neil, and dies. Ra resurrects him with his sarcophagus.
Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight pushes the mayor out of the line of fire when the imposter honor guard turns their weapons on him and is shot in the back. He gets better.
Archie Moses (Adam Sandler) takes a bullet for Jack Carter (Damon Wayans) in Bulletproof. He gets better.
One of the Haters in the Christian movie Revelation from the Apocalypse film series sacrifices himself to block a bullet Willy Spino fires at his half-sister Helen Hannah after he receives the Mark of the Beast and ditches the wheelchair. Her protector, though, gets better.
Subverted in The Scorpion King. Cassandra, upon prophesizing the future, realizes that the Scorpion King is most likely to die at the hand of one of Mammon's archers, and that it is about to pass, attempts to take the arrow for the Scorpion King, but instead, he ends up getting her out of harms way, thus getting himself hit anyways. Luckily, he's just that tough and survives.
In Young Sherlock Holmes, the villain shoots at Sherlock, but his love interest Elizabeth takes the bullet, and her death ends up being a Freudian Excuse for Sherlock's famed status as a bachelor.
In Deryni Checkmate, Duke Alaric Morgan is sailing to a meeting with the Hort of Orsal aboard his ship Rhafallia when the auxiliary helmsman, a partisan of rebel Warin de Grey, attacks him with a poisoned knife. A royal squire named Richard Fitz William happens to turn at the right moment to see the helmsman leap at Morgan, and he threw himself between them while shouting a warning. Richard takes the dagger in his side, and he asks to be allowed to swear the oath of fealty so he can die as Morgan's liege man. Morgan grants his request, and Richard just manages to recite it before he dies. The assassin had taken poison himself before attacking, and he defiantly resists Morgan's questioning until he also dies. Morgan gives orders to have Richard's body buried with full honours at his capital Coroth, while the assassin's remains are dumped overboard.
In The Last English King, a novel about 1066 and the Norman Conquest, Harold Godwinson's housecarl Walt puts out his arm to stop a sword slicing down at King Harold. The sword lops Walt's arm clean off and strikes Harold anyway. Walt later bitterly regrets not taking the sword strike with his whole body.
In the first Xanth novel, A Spell for Chameleon, Bink's to-that-point unknown talent was revealed when an increasingly implausible string of obstacles kept intercepting Trent's transformation spells. Turns out Bink can't be hurt by magic means. Which simply caused the ever-pragmatic Trent to draw his completely un-magical sword and try to run Bink through. Leading to a second bullet catch, as Chameleon (changed into a deer by Trent's spell) took the blade instead.
Subverted for the premise of David Allan Greer's short-lived sitcom, D.A.G.: Greer's Secret Service agent dove to take a bullet aimed at the President, but dove the wrong way, leading everyone to assume he was diving out of the way and to his demotion to the First Lady's security detail.
Done with a crossbow bolt in Feet of Clay, and several times with actual gun-fired bullets in Men at Arms as well. Detritus proudly says that there's five shots in his breastplate but not his backplate because his body got in the way. He oozed quite a bit though. Carrot takes a shot in the shoulder for the Patrician. Angua takes four shots to her body for Carrot and Vimes.
A minor tech-priest in one of the Ciaphas Cain stories does this to protect Ciaphas from a Necron shot. Unfortunately, given the power of Necron weapons, he is instantly torn apart and vaporized, but he manages to save Cain, even if Cain loses a couple fingers from the sheer proximity of the horrible weapon fire.
Rockjaw Grang in the Redwall novel The Long Patrol, right before his You Shall Not Pass moment. Also, Veil took a spear to protect his adoptive mother. It's unclear if this was a Heel-Face Turn or not, because even as he's dying he bitches her out and won't accept comfort, and she decides that everyone who said he was bad to the bone during his life was right.
Inverted in Airman, by Eoin Colfer; Victor performs a dramatic leap in front of a bullet to save King Nicholas, but, because he's just that bit too old, the bullet hits the webbing between his outstretched fingers and hits its intended target anyway. And then Victor gets shot, too.
In the Honor Harrington novels, taking a shot for someone would probably be a bad idea given the speed and force an average pulser dart moves at — you'd both just die. The beloved head of Grayson's church does take an old-style slug for Honor, which causes the assassin sent to kill her to break down.
In I, Jedi, Mara Jade and Corran Horn spend some time honing their Jedi laser-deflection skills on several remotes. If a remote's laser hits flesh, it really stings, but there's no permanent damage. At one point while the two are engaging in Casual Danger Dialog Mara is almost shot in the face, but Corran intercepts with his hand. Amused, Mara says she owes him one. She delivers in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
In The Silmarillion: the elf lady Aredhel takes a javelin thrown by her husband and meant for their son. It's only a flesh wound, so she asks to the king her brother that her husband be spared...and then she dies in the night, because the weapon was poisoned.
In Tigana, Dianora combines this trope with Human Shield by jumping in front of a crossbow bolt.... but yanking a guy she doesn't like along with her. He winds up taking the shot in the shoulder.
In the climatic battle at the end of the first Safehold book Off Armageddon Reef, a midshipman tries to Take The Crossbow Bolt for his king. King Haarahld instead grabs the midshipman to Take The Bullet for him instead. The king dies from bloodloss soon after, though his Heroic Sacrifice makes him a martyr and hero to his people.
In Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! series novel, The Widow's Son, the elderly schemer Pietro Maldonado intervenes in a duel where his nephew Sigismundo, a hothead who knows nothing about guns, has trapped himself in a duel with the best pistol-shooter in all of Napoli. Pietro, in his intervention, surprises the protaganists and takes the bullet meant for his nephew. Who, on his very first go with a firearm, has Beginner's Luck in that he shoots the best gun in town full in the groin.
In Warrior Cats, throughout the book SkyClan's Destiny, Stick believes that a cat named Harley "stole" his daughter when she really does love him. In the ending Stick is about to kill Harley when his daughter Red leaps in front of him and dies because of it.
Prince Almorante in The Chronicles of Magravandias dies taking a sword for his enemy Valraven. People who hated him only minutes before were moved to tears by his sacrifice.
In Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi, DV-9 takes a blaster bolt for Tash Arranda. He lives — er, "lives", being a droid — and just needs some new parts, later claiming that he will bear the scar forever. Even though as a droid he should be able to replace that battered outer shell.
In the Halo novel Fall of Reach, the orbital shipyard Cradle pulls an epic one, maneuvering into position between the UNSC and Covenant fleets and using its massive bulk to absorb the Covenant fire.
Happens twice in Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce. In the second book, Alanna takes an arrow for Prince Jon, but it only results in a painful arm wound. In the fourth, Liam Ironarm dies by taking several arrows for now-King Jon during the coronation coup.
In the Firefly episode "Jaynestown", a character in the town of Canton takes a shotgun blast meant for Jayne, whom the town has idolized as their hero. In a twist, Jayne tells him it was a stupid thing to do, and fully means it. It's interesting that Jayne is so clearly troubled by this, given that he's been shown to be an amoralson ofa bitch in previous and subsequent episodes. His distress is evidently because the man died for someone like him. Due to how troubled he was by it, his method of dealing with the the one who pulled the trigger (an old partner no less) is especiallybrutal.
Spaced: Mike takes a paintball pellet for Tim, complete with side dive and long "Noooooo". The parody also includes the fact that Mike was a good twenty feet away and loudly announced his presence, making it seem like the shooter was willing to patiently wait while Mike ran in the way of the shot. And Mike starts coughing up paint. (Because he'd been eating paintballs.)
In Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Apple", Spock pushes Kirk out of the way of some lethally poisonous thorns and takes them in the chest in his stead. Luckily, it turns out that the toxin isn't all that harmful to Vulcans, and Spock claims to be in more distress from the antitoxin McCoy gave him before he woke up.
The episode "The Doctor's Daughter" has an example of this in Jenny, who jumps in front of a bullet for the Doctor.
Dalek-Human Sec does the same thing, except it's a Dalek laser instead of a bullet. Seems the Doctor forgot about it in the series finale Journey's End, when the Doctor has flashbacks of all the people who gave their lives for him in the past.
And AGAIN in Eleven's first series where Rory takes the bullet for the Doctor, and expires. He is also immediately deleted from history having had the misfortune to die near a timey-wimey crack of doom. Fortunately, he got better several episodes later, albeit in a very complicated manner.
Handled realistically in the last episode of NCIS Season 2. Kate dives in front of Gibbs, but it's not done in slow-mo, and she yells "Shooter!", not "Nooooo!" She is hit in the chest but is unhurt because she's wearing a vest. She stands up, the team congratulates her and then she gets promptly sniped in the head by Ari, the main recurring bad guy for that Season.
"Into the Fire", season 4 episode 6: Happens with two coalition ships (one Drazi and the other a full-on Minbari cruiser) taking missiles meant for the White Star (well, really meant for Sheridan, Delenn, and Lorien; not that a missile would do much to Lorien). This immediately after the Vorlons and Shadows bragged about how the other races would fall in line. Oops.
Delenn twice surrendered her life to fate to protect Sheridan. Once by asking a Vorlon inquisitor to kill her instead and again walking into a thrown knife.
Make that three times — when he temporarily returns to his proper time frame after becoming Unstuck In Time, she gives him her time stabiliser, becoming lost in his place.
Near the end of the Bones Season 3, Booth steps in front of a bullet meant for Brennan. We get the tearful pleading to hang on and not leave, but it's worth noting that first, Brennan grabs Booth's gun and shoots the attacker dead, in the throat.
In The Invisible Man, the protagonist's brother pushes him out of the way of a gunman (they're running side by side at the time) and takes a full spray of machine gun bullets in the chest. Obviously, he doesn't make it.
In an episode of Monk, Harold takes a bullet for Dr. Kroger. Slightly subverted in that Harold decides to gloat to Monk about his action by telling him to "beat that", causing distress to Monk.
Played with in Friends, when Joey appears to try to do this for Ross when the boys mistake the sound of a car backfiring for a gunshot. Turns out he was actually trying to save his sandwich, which was right next to Ross.
Alia, the "Evil Leaper" of Quantum Leap completes her redemption by throwing Sam to the ground before the also-Leaped Zoey can shoot him. She Leaps just as the shotgun blast hits her. It's never explicitly stated that she survives, but most fans assume so.
Oz. Kareem Said's life is saved when one of his Muslim followers throws himself in front of a knife wielded by a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Ironically that same inmate had joined the Muslims to kill Said, but ended up converting to Islam for real. Likewise Augustus Hill takes a blade meant for surrogate father Burr Redding. These acts cause both characters to suffer a Heroic BSOD.
The Vampire Diaries, Damon does this for Elena in 02x03 then tries to deny this is because he cares about her.
The X-Files, "Monday". The girlfriend of a bank robber saves Mulder's life this way. Her death breaks the "Groundhog Day" Loop in which they are all trapped.
Ace Lightning. Lady Illusion takes the bullet for Ace. Interetsing in that she actually knocked him out and morphed into him prior to the battle.
Stella's mentor and father figure shields her with his body from a gunfight between his brother and Mac. He's fatally shot, while Stella's uninjured.
Also done when the characters are all in a bar that's shot up. Danny was sitting nearest the window, but the other main contributing factor to his being shot in the back was that he threw himself over his wife, Lindsay, to protect her from the flying bullets.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has Ecklie do this, pushing himself in between his daughter Morgan and a drive-by shooting. However, this could or could not be an example, because it's unclear whether he was the target or her.
Not as serious as an actual bullet, but the scene itself was very traumatic for Seira in the Japanese drama Shokojo Sera. After losing heart and begging down on her knees in front of the Alpha Bitch, Maria decides it would be funny if they started throwing tomatoes at the despairing Seira. She then bullies the rest of the class to do so, including Seira's close friend Masami. When Masami reluctantly was about to do it, Kaito the servant boy runs in and shields Seira, getting hit instead.
The A-Team: Howlin' Mad Murdock jumps in front of a mook trying to shoot Hannibal in Season 2's "Curtain Call".
In one episode of Misfits, future Simon jumped down in front of Alisha to save her from being shot by a crazy dude as in his timeline she died.
In the Series 5 finale of Law & Order: UK, "Deal", DS Matt Devlin takes several bullets for friend/colleague Alesha and Kaden (the young man he was about to escort into Witness Protection.) He doesn't execute the purest form of the trope; instead, he pushes both them down/out of the way first, resulting in no time to duck himself. We are told in the beginning of the next episode that he took two bullets directly to the chest, dying of his wounds off-screen. The person giving us this information, his partner Ronnie, expresses regret that he was not able to get to Matt in time to do this for him.
In an episode of Sliders that first shows that Anyone Can Die in this series, the following season's Big Bad extracts a chemical he needs to survive from Professor Arturo's neck, rendering him half-conscious. He then plans to shoot Quinn, Arturo's brilliant student, only for Arturo to step in front of him. As this Earth is about to be destroyed by pulsars, they end up having to leave Arturo's body behind to be incinerated with everything else. Interestingly, they never encounter any other double of Arturo, presumably because John Rhys-Davies left the show for good.
An episode of Legend of the Seeker: Panis Rahl does it to save Zedd from a thrown Dacra. He's the previous Lord of D'Hara, who has learned the error of his ways. Also, he killed Zedd's father, after the latter plotted to have his infant son Darken killed.
In the pilot episode of Earth: Final Conflict, the wealthy enterpreneur Jonathan Doors jumps in front of a sniper's bullet meant for the Taelon ambassador Da'an. He's pronounced dead at the scene, and the shooter escapes. Halfway through the episode, the season's protagonist William Boone discovers that Doors faked his own death in order to lead La Résistance against the Taelons. The shooter and the doctor who confirmed his death are working for him. Later on, we find out that the Taelons are, in fact, Energy Beings and can't be harmed with bullets.
In the Alternate Reality Episode "The Wish" Angel throws himself in the path of Vampire!Xander as he's about to stab Buffy with a crossbow bolt. As Wishverse!Buffy is a cold-blooded killer without loved ones of any kind she just walks through Angel's dust to stake Xander without even changing expression.
When an assassin starts shooting inside Sunnydale High, Oz pushes Willow out of the way and gets shot in the arm himself. Luckily it's just a scrape.
In the 3rd season episode of Glee, "Michael", Blaine shoves his boyfriend, Kurt, out of the way of a slushy being thrown by his Smug SnakeStalker with a Crush to keep him from being humiliated. (Little did he know he was also saving him from taking rock salt to the eye).
During the climax of one episode of Person of Interest, Detective Fusco dives in front of a bullet to save the life of the POI of the Week. But the Heroic Sacrifice part is subverted: the bullet hits him in the rear, and he's basically fine (gets taken to the ER by the paramedics). As they roll him into the ambulance, he says he can already hear the guys back at the station laughing at him for getting shot in the ass.
Stargate SG-1: In the second episode of season 7, Jonas Quinn takes a staff weapon blast aimed at Daniel Jackson, expiating for having caused Jackson's death (and ascension) at the end of season 5. He survives, though.
In the Merlin episode, "The Disir", Mordred jumps in front of Arthur to take a spear that was thrown by one of the Disir.
In the first season finale of Space Cases, Bova jumps in front of a (harmless to him) Lightning Gun blast meant for the ladies, before retaliating with his own electricity powers.
In the season 2 finale of Highlander Richie shields Joe from a drive-by shooting. Being an Immortal, Richie got better.
In Tower of God, to protect Miseng, who just jumped into the fray between Viole and Urek, Viole grabbed her and took Urek's One-Hit KO technique to the back, causing a bloody mess.
In Orange MarmaladeMa-ri and Soo-ri have a conversation under a group of pipes badly tied up, it snaps and Ma-ri pushes Soo-ri out of the way, taking the entire lot herself. While badly hurt, Ma-ri's fast acting healing kicks in which reveals her to be a vampire.
I would die for you — would you die with me? No, you can't deny! Would you catch the bullet that was meant for me? Blaze across the sky!!
The whole point of the song by The Rasmus called "Shot". Sample lyrics:
''I'll take the shot for you I'll be the shield for you Needless to say I'll stand in your way I'll take the shot for you I'll give my life for you\\"
The song "San Francisco Fan", performed by Cab Calloway among other singers, is about a female performer who takes 'a dozen slugs' for her no-good gambling boyfriend after he's caught cheating at a game and someone tries to shoot him for it.
Once they caught him cheatin' And he knew that he was beaten When a miner aimed a pistol at his head. Fanny when she seen him Ran and jumped right in between 'em And she stopped a dozen slugs of poison lead.
But still I'd leap in front of a flying bullet for you
The Bruno Mars song "Grenade" references this trope in every chorus
I'd catch a grenade for ya Throw my hand on a blade for ya I'd jump in front of a train for ya You know I'd do anything for ya I would go through all this pain Take a bullet straight through my brain Yes, I would die for you, baby But you won't do the same
The tragic conclusion of the David Geddes song "Run Joey Run" has Julie taking a bullet from her enraged father meant for her boyfriend Joey.
In the official video clip for Madonna's "Give Me All Your Luvin'", three of the quarterbacks throw themselves before the fire of a Tommy gun to save the singer.
Call of Cthulhu supplement "The Asylum and Other Tales", adventure "The Mauritania". A Russian count has six bodyguards who all have Block (a special skill appearing only in this product). It allows them to hurl their body in between an attacker and the person they're protecting to absorb the attack.
Edition 3.5 contains the "Shield Other" spell, which shunts most of the damage the target takes onto the caster.
In the supplement Drow of the Underdark, the illustration for the feat "Constant Guardian" shows a drow male taking a crossbow bolt for a female. The feat doesn't actually consist of this, though it is a prerequisite for a feat that does. (Which probably means the illustration's caption is wrong.)
There is also the "look out sir!" rule in Warhammer Fantasy Battles where a rank and file unit will do exactly this for a leader who is in the same formation.
In d20 Modern, the Bodyguard advanced class gains an ability called Harm's Way, allowing him to take a hit meant for an adjacent ally as if he was the target instead.
The Imperial Guard has the "look out— ARGH!" rule to protect some of their COs.
Then you've got the Ogryn bodyguard Nork Deddog. Nork can take the bullet plus goes into a mad rage trying to protect his commander if Nork dies in close combat. The codex actually has IN HIS RULES "desperately attempts to 'smash dem wot is tyrin ta 'urt da kernul'... slumps to the floor asking his officer 'did we win?' before passing out form his wounds."
In Dark Heresy, the Crusader class can shield an Inquisitor from any attack if they are within range.
Tau shield drones are programmed to get in the way of incoming fire to protect their user. They have Deflector Shields. Sometimes they don't effectively deflect the shot, but hey, a destroyed drone is better than a dead Tau.
In Magna Veritas, Jean-Luc, Archangel of Protectors, grants his servants the power "ultimate sacrifice", allowing them to magically redirect any harm from a single target to themselves, with some damage reduction at high levels.
In The Complete History of America (abridged), Uncle Sam fires a bullet at Spade, and Flush takes it. The bullet is an oversized prop on a stick—the same one used in the Lincoln assassination, in fact.
In The Golden Apple, when Circe hands the apple out to Ulysses, he turns to make his back an easy target for Paris's knife. Seeing this, Achilles calls out to Ulysses and intercepts the blow for him, dying in his place.
If you've played an Escort Mission, chances are you've tried this at least once.
In Kingdom Hearts II, a boulder is hurled towards King Mickey and Goofy pushes him out of the way, taking the full force of the giant rock. Feeling sad and full of angry vengeance, Sora, Donald, and the King run forward, battling through hordes of Heartless only to find that Goofy was only knocked out the whole time.
Warriors can learn an ability called Intervene which allows them to take a shot or melee attack for a party member, thereby preventing the Squishy Wizard or even squishier Priest from being... well, squished.
There's also a warrior protection talent Vigilence which allows the warrior to transfer threat generated by another character to his/herself and redirect the path of attacks from the enemy.
Paladins also have an ability named Hand of Sacrifice, which will redirect 30% of incoming damage from the target to the paladin, up to 100% of the paladin's hitpoints. Like Superman above, they have the ability to become (briefly) invulnerable...
In the end of the Gilneas storyline, Liam Greymane is killed by Sylvanas Windrunner when he takes a poisoned arrow intended for his father, king Genn Greymane.
Sonic is quite adept at these in all continuities, having taken the bullet for Shahra the Genie in Sonic and the Secret Rings and Cream and Chris in Sonic X.
Speaking of Shahra, she pays Sonic back for the deed when Erazor offers up Sonic's life in sacrifice to gain the power to control the World Rings. Rather than slicing the hedgehog in half, Erazor lands the blade in Shahra's back.
Maria did this for Shadow. Shadow was traumatized, although not as much as his creator and Maria's (and Eggman's) grandfather, Professor Gerald, who in a fit of nihilism altered Shadow's memories and a few other things so that Shadow would destroy the world. Ironically, Gerald had earlier set up a Xanatos Gambit to allow Shadow to defend the world.
Beat attempts what may be the stupidest examples of this trope ever when he tries doing this, instead of a more appropriate Diving Save, to save Rhyme from being hit by a car.
He also does it again later for Neku. A mind-controlled Shiki is attacking the pair; Beat sees no choice but to take her out. Neku turns to face him as he angrily says they'll do no such thing. He gets attacked by Shiki from behind for his trouble. Beat is quick to take the hit for him.
Ness and Lucas are being attacked by Wario. Wario fires his trophy gun at Ness a few times, and Ness dodges all the shots easily. An irritated Wario then changes his target to Lucas. Lucas, being the cowardly little brat he is, doesn't even try to dodge, so Ness pushes Lucas out of the way, complete with slow motion camera panning, and is turned into a trophy in the process. It should be noted that in this world, being turned into a trophy is like death.
And Donkey Kong for Diddy Kong (in their case, Donkey Kong actually had to punch Diddy Kong out of the way).
Bloodline Champions used to have this effect for the Guardian's Thrust ability when hitting an ally with it — part of the damage the ally would take while the effect lasted would be done to the Guardian, the amount of damage the Guardian taking from that effect also being reduced. Also was an example of Synchronization.
Near the end of Fable II, Your dog does this when the Big Bad captures and tries to kill you. The Big Bad then subverts things by shooting you anyway.
The series often gives Paladins and Knights the ability "Cover," which, when active, will make the character automatically receive any physical attack aimed at a weakened teammate. Especially if said attack would have killed the target. Even if the attack will kill the Paladin/Knight.
Those classes also typically have the "Counter Attack" ability, which lets them retaliate for free whenever they're hit. This, combined with Cover, makes these characters into excellent meat shields, taking the pressure off your weaker party members while also dealing extra damage.
In Final Fantasy IV, as soon as he sees him, Tellah starts beating up a Spoony Bard named Edward. His daughter, Anna, ran away to be with Edward because she loved Edward. Sadly, when King Baron attacked, we find Anna played this trope straight (with arrows) at the cost of the person's life.
In Final Fantasy IX, Zidane has the Protect Girls ability, which, as the name implies, is a variant of Cover that only protects female characters.
Tidus takes one of The Emperor's Flare attacks for Yuna in Dissidia 012: Duodecim, despite him being on Chaos' side and not holding any memories of being with her on her pilgrimage in their original game. This prompts Jecht to transfer his own energy to Tidus in order to save his life, allowing the Emperor to abduct Jecht and use him in the following cycle.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has two examples. First, Jarod's friend jumps in the way of the Black Knight's sword, prompting Micaiah to tell the Black Knight to let Jarod escape and bury his friend]]. Later, if this is not your first play-through, Micaiah has the option of jumping in front of the knife meant for King Pelleas — a rare case of Taking the Bullet for someone who actually wants the bullet.
There is also the skill Guard, which allows a character to protect a character that they have a support with if they are next to them, though it doesn't always work.
In Persona 4 party members with high-enough Social Link rankings will do this for you. This comes to play in the True Ending's boss, where each party member knocks you out of the way to take Izanami's lethal attacks in your place.
The same mechanic appears in Persona 3 Portable, which is based off Persona 4's combat system.
In the original Persona 3, Shinjiro takes a bullet meant for Ken as an apology for having caused his mother's death, and later, Junpei takes a bullet for Chidori. As a result, Shinjiro dies, but Junpei survives when Chidori sacrifices herself to heal him.
Subverted in Disgaea 2 when Adell takes an energy blast meant for Rozalin, fulfilling every aspect of the trope... Except for the fact that, in an incredible example of Cutscene Power to the Max (the blast-ee is a Hopeless Boss Fight), the blast doesn't so much as faze him.
Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has Captain Bartlett draw a missile away from Nagase.
In Tales of Symphonia, Kratos takes an energy blast in the back for Lloyd. It's also right after it's revealed he's Lloyd's father, so it makes a lot of sense. And a lot of ouch. Luckily it doesn't kill him.
In Tales of the Abyss, Tear does this while jumping in front the petrified Luke and gets slashed in the arm instead.
In Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Milennium, Alys does this for Chaz, taking the hit from Zio's Dark Wave and leading to what may be one of the saddest video game deaths of all.
In the final chapter of Super Paper Mario, Nastasia takes an attack meant for Count Bleck. She gets better.
In Dragon Quest IX, the Warrior class can learn Whipping Boy which lets a warrior take blows meant for a teammate. And, better yet, the Paladin class is the master of this, with high defense plus the ability to deflect all attacks for all party members. Both classes make great meat shields for your magic users.
If you romance Jaheira in Baldur's Gate 2, a band of thugs will hold her hostage and demand your valuables during your travels. You have the option of offering to take her place as a hostage. If you do, the bandits shoot you instead and boy does this piss off Jaheira. After your party demolishes the bandits (they aren't that tough) Jaheira will be absolutely furious with you for risking your life for her this way.
If your character is equipped with the Shield of Arrow Reflection, the shot will instead bounce back at the bandit, inflicting major damage on him. Jaheira still throws a fit.
In the Flash game Immor Tall you spend the entire game doing this as an alien trying to protect the family it befriended during a war. As you shield them from machine guns, tanks, and bombers, your movements become slower and slower, until you finally succumb to your wounds and die.
Helena's mother in Dead or Alive does this to save her daughter. Dead or Alive 2 has her pushing Helena out of the way while 4 has her run in front. Dimensions uses both.
In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Naked Snake ends up pulling this in order to save Tatyana from Ocelot's bullet. It also had him knocking into Ocelot as well, causing his aim to awry, and resulted in Big Boss getting a muzzle flash burn on his right eye.
In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Jonathan ends up rushing to Big Boss, warning him of an attack from one of the paranoid soldiers (Gene had earlier driven his own men into a mass panic about being executed by an inside man by Gene for "betraying" him using his voice.), and ended up taking a bullet in the head and the chest for Big Boss. This action was more than enough to have Big Boss screaming in anguish.
In Super Robot Wars Gaiden, this happened to Ricardo in an attempt to save Tytti from imminent death from her arch-nemesis. As a result, she became Allergic to Love.
The patient of a Medic in Team Fortress 2 is expected to do this: that way, the Medic stays alive, hopefully continues to heal the patient if they live, and gains uber-charge, which builds faster on injured team-mates. This is especially seen on Arena "sudden death" matches, where Medics are necessary to keep the team alive.
In MOTHER 3 Flint winds up taking two extremely powerful psionic attacks for his son Lucas.
Most skillshots in League of Legends can be intercepted by another body, so this is an option, although one you only want to use if you're more expendable and you're sure your target wasn't going to dodge it anyway. A number of spells that aren't blocked outright also have their damage reduced for each target they pass through, so this can be used to mitigate the effect. Of particular note is Caitlyn's Ace in the Hole attack, a long-range sniper shot that locks onto a target and never misses, but can be intercepted by a nearby teammate. Elise is also noted for being extremely difficult to skillshot in spider form because of the spiderlings that follow her around
In The Walking Dead, when Lily suspects Ben (If you saved Doug in Episode 1 instead of Carley) being the one giving the bandits supplies and tries to shoot him, but Doug jumps in the way and takes the bullet instead.
One Paragon version of the encounter with Conrad Verner in Mass Effect 3 has him dive in front of a gunshot to save Shepard from an assassin. Then it turns out a quick-thinking bystander sabotaged the gun with her omni-tool, and the gunshot sound was the gun's mechanisms breaking.
The game Puppetshow: Destiny Undone ends with Cricks, the insane Big Bad with a vendetta against the Puppetmaster, throwing a vial of acid at him with the intention of blinding him. However, the Puppetmaster's young daughter Felicia jumps in the way and takes the acid intended for her father.
In Ace Attorney Investigations, Shi-Long Lang takes a bullet meant for Shih-na, despite the fact that she's just been revealed as The Mole and as a murder they've been tracking for years. The reason? Lang still considers her part of his 'pack', even though she's a traitor. Don't worry, he was only shot in the leg and he's Made of Iron so it's not even mentioned again.
During the BBL route, Yuuya takes the blade that cut at his brother. The attacker tried twice and was intercepted twice. Analysis of handedness and which shoulder the blood appeared on leads fans to believe that Yuuya basically acted a shield and covered Sakuya with his back turned on the attacker, focused purely on defense. Semi-official fanart of Yuuya's gijinka, created by someone who collaborates with the creator, shows a multitude of scars, but the attacker did decide to just leave after that.
Suddenly, Sakazaki Yuuya blocks out the sun.
In the sequel AU game, Holiday Star, Yuuya pushes Hiyoko out of the way of a tank shell and is burned too badly to stand for his efforts.
Subverted in the Space Tree episode "Kill or Kick": When Space Tree hears that Ghost Spider's plan went off without a hatch, Space Tree executes his plan. With a gun. The Commander leaps in front of Ghost Spider, slow motion, "NOOOO!" and all, but the gun hasn't even fired. Turns out Space Tree's plan was just to kick Ghost Spider.
During the final Dragon Shrine showdown of Bunnykill 4, Snowball, after defending an unconscious Ruby from a storm of giant shurikens hurled by Flint, gets his sword knocked out of his hands when Flint hurls a powered-up shuriken at him. Ruby wakes up as Flint hurls his final shuriken at him (complete with the requisite slow-mo), and sacrifices herself to save his life by taking the shuriken in the back. Snowball proceeds to go into "White Avenger" mode and proceeds to kick seven shades of hell out of Flint.
In City of Reality, Action Girl AV leaps in front of a bullet intended for The Ace, Todo, after the latter is unable to comprehend the gritty nature of Magic World and defies a mugger.
Subverted in Girly: Officer Getskilled leaps in front of a bullet for Policeguy and Hipbone, but another character gets in front of him. The character is not only immortal but imperviable, and spirits Getskilled away to the immortal realm as a reward for his courage.
In Gunnerkrigg Court, Ysengrin forms his arm into a giant blade and attempts to skewer Antimony. Renard leaps between Annie and the blade. This isn't entirely necessary, as Mr. Donlan's magic shield would have saved Annie either way (in fact, the shield ends up protecting Reynardine), but Annie certainly appreciated Rey's intent.
In Homestuck, Dream Jade does this for John. Only no, it's not a bullet, it's a meteor.
Spoofed in Schlock Mercenary when Private Aardman throws his overly-large nose in front of a bullet to save Ensign Ventura. That's OK though, as he's been trying to injure his nose so he can get free cosmetic surgery (only provided for injuries in the line of duty).
Bizarrely used: one second Growp is trying to kill Emily, and the next he's throwing himself in the path of a fatal laserblast aimed at Emily — because Growp considers himself the only one allowed to kill her.
And later, Gurf does the same thing. Except it was a non-lethal laser blast, he's the biggest of the party, and now they have to carry him back to the ship.
In Eerie Cuties, Nina takes a magical gender changing beam for her friend Ace. It doesn't do any good though, because while Nina is trying to figure out what just happened to her, Blair doubles back and hits Ace anyway.
Subverted in v1 with baseball players Michael Suarez and Scott Jameson. Barry Coleson High's baseball team was so close to each other that they were almost like brothers to each other, so when the two finally meet up and start to talk, Mike pushes Scott out of the way when he hears someone behind him, taking the bullets that would've killed Scott and being paralyzed by them (though he says "Scotty, look out!" not, "No!"). The subversion comes when Scott doesn't run like Mike tells him to, transfixed due to fear, and gets fatally shot anyway.
Played more straightly in v4, when Jonathan Jarocki shoots at Charlene Norris. Alex Campbell does indeed jump in front of her, getting a bullet to the shoulder. Charlene, however, was injured, but not as bad as Alex.
In the final battle of There Will Be Brawl, the End of Days (a Game and Watch octopus) starts spearing everyone in sight. Fox pushes Marth out of the way of one tentacle, getting himself speared in the process. Made all the more significant because until that final battle, they were on opposite sides of the law.
Subverted in the final chapter of Sailor Nothing, as Aki is merely wounded, not killed, in the process. It's also toyed with in that two people dive for the same bullet, the second pushing the first out of the way in addition to the original target.
In Interviewing Leather, when Todd Chapman is exploring the scenes of Dynamo Girl's heroics, he mentions seeing the city councilman she caught a bullet for.
In the Downfall parody series Llama Priest by YouTube user The Silver Universe, Gunsche does this to protect Hitler from being killed by Goebbels.
Apu takes a bullet for James Woods, only to find it bounced off another bullet.
Another episode had Homer attend bodyguard training, where he was tested for this. Attendants were marked on the effort put into their "Noooo!" among other things.
And yet another episode had elderly Springfieldian Cornelius Chapman taking "a bullet for Huey Long" in his past: the assassin opens up on Huey Long, who takes a few hits before Cornelius leaps by (with the obligatory "Nooooo!"), taking exactly one bullet and then landing.
Also parodied in an episode where Ned Flanders is going to baptize Bart and Lisa, only to have Homer leap in the way of the water at the last second, complete with slow-motion dive and Big "NO!".
Bart: Homer, you took a baptism for me. How do you feel? Homer: Oh, Bartholomew, I feel like Saint Augustine of Hippo after his conversion by Ambrose of Milan. Flanders:(astonished) Homer, what did you just say? Homer:I SAID SHUT YOUR UGLY FACE, FLANDERS!
In a subverted example, Fry saves Leela by taking a giant space wasp sting meant for her. Fry ends up dying from this, and Leela starts to have hallucinations of him telling her to wake up. Ultimately it is revealed that the space wasp's stinger pierced right through Fry and nicked Leela, thus injecting its venom into her instead of him. She's been in a coma ever since, and the hallucinations were the real, healed up, Fry. He's been at her bedside trying to wake her up. Quite touching, really.
In "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences", Fry leaps in front of Leela and takes it when she was about to be shot by a vaporizer. Subverted when everyone realizes it was actually a teleporter. Though at the time Fry was unaware of this.
In the final battle against Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko takes a full-on lightning blast (complete with a Big "NO!" in Slow Mo) meant for Katara. He had been taught to redirect lightning, however, which meant that he was just badly injured instead of killed outright, since he couldn't fully redirect it in the middle of a Diving Save.
Humorously played with in an episode of Family Guy where Peter tells the family one of his relatives took a bullet for someone (a president if I remember). Cut to a scene where the intended target is being shot by a rapidly firing gun several times. Suddenly a Peter look-a-like relative jumps in between the gunner and target, takes exactly one bullet complete with bullet time slow motion and a big no and drops to the floor as the scene resumes normal speed and the target is shot several more times.
SpongeBob SquarePants. An interesting inversion of this was played when SpongeBob leapt in front of Patrick just as a speeding car was about to spatter mud all over him, protecting the ultra rare and super valuable Mermaid Man trading card he was holding in his hand.
In season 1, it is frequent for the Lyoko Warriors to be taking a laser beam to protect Aelita — especially Odd, since he was unable to block them. Quite justified, since a devirtualization isn't fatal for them, while it would be for Aelita (and even if it weren't, only she can deactivate XANA's current scheme, often with mere seconds to spare). Much less prevalent starting season 2, since XANA wants Aelita alive at this point.
In season 3, it is Aelita's turn at taking the laser beam to save the Lyoko Core.
In an episode of the fifth season, Musa got turned into a giant mutant seal after getting hit by one of Tritannus' spells that was meant for Aisha.
In another episode of the fifth season, Icy actually takes one of Bloom's attacks that were meant for Tritannus, which Bloom considers an Out-of-Character Moment for Icy as she had clearly not expected her to do so.
In Justice League Superman takes a ball that apparently annihilated matter for his friends. Luckily for him, it turned out to only be a time travel portal.
An episode of Care Bears has this. Wish Bear saved the distressed kid of the week by taking a blast from one of Professor Coldheart's inventions for him. It didn't kill her, just turn her grey and apathetic. Cue the Swiss Army Tears.
Parodied when Peggy starts throwing tomatoes at King Phillip at the Renaissance fair one of his men dives in front of him and takes a few hits.
In another episode ("Dog Dale Afternoon"), after Hank successfully escorted Dale out of the college watch tower in which the police mistaken him for a sniper when he was actually exterminating bugs, a vigilant sniper locked in at Dale and Hank jumped in taking the bullet for him. Good thing Hank was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Done in the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers episode "One Million Emotions". An alien artifact that is charitably described as "the emotional electric chair" essentially subjects anyone who touches it to Mind Rape as the stored emotions within blast into that person's mind and drive them insane. The object goes flying straight at Niko, causing Shane to leap in front of her and intercept it. He takes the full brunt of the emotional blast, but manages to retain his sanity because his altered genetics offered some protection. Fanon speculates that it changed him more than he admits.
In the episode "Stannie Get Your Gun", Stan (paralyzed by a gun accident) took the bullet for Hayley when a fired gun mascot aimed a sniper at her upon singing an anti-gun song. The bullet helped cured his paralysis when it dislodged first bullet that hit him before.
A suicidal lemur takes a bullet for Francine in another episode.
Squire Winston takes a lethal energy blast for Sir George.
In the episode "Enemy of My Frenemy", Kevin takes a blow for Gwen; he recovers.
Metalocalypse. At the end of "Klokblocked", the extremist faction Succuboso Explosion fires their electrically charged "loin extractor" at Nathan — Murderface heroically dives in front of him and takes it full in the crotch.
Terra in Teen Titans deliberately invokes this by aiming a boulder towards Robin and Starfire, knowing that one or the other would inevitably take the hit and only leave one titan to deal with afterwards.
The attempt on Ronald Reagan's life by John Hinckley Jr. may have succeeded had it not been for the actions of Secret Service agent Timothy J. McCarthy, who leapt in front of Reagan, receiving a wound in his abdomen. He survived. This remains the only time since the Secret Service was officially charged with protecting Presidents in 1906 that a Secret Serviceman has actually taken a bullet for the President.
It should be noted that all Secret Service agents assigned to the president are trained to do this. Not necessarily the "leaping in front of the bullet", though: they are trained to shield the President with their bodies -or their body armour in practice, as many rifle rounds will go straight through unprotected flesh without stopping- but jumping in front of the gun is usually a dramatic device. In addition, agents are also trained to draw their weapon and fire back, even when wounded or dying.
All personnel recruited as agents in various police/military-based VIP protection units (with some exceptions like the Secret Service) are trained to do this if the worse should come to the worst when the VIP is in danger. Hence the nickname "Bulletcatchers".
A somewhat extreme example is Alexander Matrosov, a Red Army soldier during World War II. During an assault on Chernushki village, the Soviets were held off by a German MG 42 (which is the fastest firing single barreled machine gun in history) firing from a pill-box. Matrosov threw himself in front of the massive amount of dakka, blocking the fire and allowing his unit to advance. He was posthumously awarded Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest honour that can be bestowed by the USSR.
Matrosov's deed was praised and exemplified as a device for motivation and morale via newspapers, and afterwards entered the Soviet\Russian culture via the history books and propaganda (like several other greatly romanticized, though largely non-invented acts of heroism). What's interesting is the surfacing number of "firing-port jumpers" both before and after Matrosov. The rough estimate puts them at between 200 and 400. Note that the very definition of the feat means it was voluntary and by all means "above and beyond the call of duty" — which, combined with other realistic considerations, kinda goes against the whole "cannon fodder peasants 'motivated' into frontal assaults by machine-gun-armed NKVD squads" tripe that is so widespread in the USA and is occasionally touted as "the grim truth of the Eastern Front".
During the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Soviet aerial convoys were protected from Stinger-wielding Mujahideen fighters by Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships. According to some, the pilots were instructed to use their helicopters to physically block the missiles should they get too close to the planes, earning them the nickname "Mandatory Matrosovs". Not as bad as it sounds, however; the Hind is built to stand up to considerable punishment.
After the July 20 Plot to kill Hitler failed, the plot's conspirators were arrested and placed in front of a firing squad. When Claus von Stauffenberg (one of the plot's ringleaders) was about to be shot, his adjutant, Werner von Haeften in a crowning moment of awesome defiantly placed himself in front of von Stauffenberg, taking the bullets intended for von Stauffenberg. Though the truth of this is disputed somewhat, as the bullets would have gone straight through him and still injured Stauffenberg.