An ineffectual character shows up with an ineffectual "weapon", usually something that's not a weapon at all. Har har har! He's without a chance— wait a minute, turns out that this weapon is really dangerous! Related to Improbable Weapon User
and Improvised Weapon
Sometimes used as an end to an apparent Brandishment Bluff
Can be done with a Finger Gun
, especially if the user has Finger Firearms
. Compare Lethal Joke Item
and Shoe Phone
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Anime and Manga
- In Banana no Nana, bananas are Nana's Weapon of Choice. With her powers, she can turn bananas into a sword, a shield, a spear, a whip, a bow and arrow, a tent.... The list goes on and on.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Inverted by Giorno Giovanna whose ability can turn inorganic objects, including weapons, into organic objects and back. He even performed this trope literally by turning a gun into a banana and tricking a gangster into shooting himself with it.
Films - Animation
- In the Babar movie, when Baber, Celeste, & Zephir's attempt to impersonate a rhino Totem Pole Trench style with the aid of a cape and a banana doesn't work out, Zephir quickly finds another use for the latter:
Zephir: Stand back!
Retaxas: Watch out! He's got a banana!
Zephir: And I'm not afraid to use it! *squirts it in Retaxas' face, temporarily blinding him and letting Babar snatch his sword*
Films - Live Action
- Played for drama in Chronicle where Andrew points a Finger Gun at a local gang member and uses his telekinesis to knock him down.
- Used in the Hancock when Hancock uses a candy bar to disable a would-be robber.
- Subverted (or something) in the Discworld novel Sourcery. Rincewind is desparate enough to attack Living God and Reality Warper Coin with… a half-brick in a sock. Coin initially assumes it's some item of power he hasn't heard of; his next guess is this trope. It isn't either, but Coin is so fascinated by the concept (half-bricks in socks don't ever really occur to you when you have limitless magic at your disposal) that he spares Rincewind, so the ineffectual weapon got the job done regardless.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry expands a bit on his past in Ghost Story. Part of this past included knocking over a gas station when he was sixteen. Present-day Harry can use magic to make bolts of pure kinetic energy with his spell "Forzare." What was clearly the prequel to that spell was Harry sticking his hand in a bag and yelling "BANG!" to use the spell, and intimidate the store clerk.
Live Action TV
- The Goon Show - "You fool, you can't shoot me with a banana, it's-" Bang! Bang! "... swine ... it was ... loaded!" *thump"
- In another episode, Seagoon is told that Moriarty killed himself by pointing his finger at his head, and saying "bang".
Seagoon: That’s ridiculous. [Laughs] How can a man shoot himself by pointing his finger at his head like this and going -
[Gunshot, body falls]
Undertaker: Mine, I think.
- The New World of Darkness supplement Armory provides weapons stats for common, everyday tools. More than one cocky player has met their end because they didn't believe that a sufficiently skilled combatant with a screwdriver could be any harm.
- Using the first level of the Improvised Weapon Fighting Style in odd places can lead to some of this.
- The Orks in Warhammer 40,000 are so latently psychic that anything they believe should behave like a gun, will. If you handed an Ork a figurative or literal banana and told them it was a real sneaky shoota, bullets would come out. From where is anyone's guess.
- An inadvertent example from a stage play. The scene involved two men, one of whom was supposed to draw his gun and murder the other, but he realized after he was on stage that he had forgotten to bring his prop gun. Desperate for improvisation, he kicks the other person. The murder victim is willing to go with it. He falls off his chair, writhes in the floor and gasps out a last line... "His boot was poisoned!"
- In the TimeSplitters series, there is a tendency to give the player a massive abundance of powerful weapons from destructive to plain Game Breaker and BFG, however in every installment they include the weapon "Brick", which may sound stupid at first, but tends to be more of a Lethal Joke Item. Bricks can be thrown as fast as you can pull the trigger, they do acceptable damage, and they have pretty good range and consistent accuracy. Best of all, they ricochet with full force, so if it hits someone and bounces off into a wall, it could bounce back into them and repeat until the target is dead.
- In the Worms games (especially the ones from Armageddon onward), the sillier a weapon is, the more dangerous it is. Sheep, bananas, and little old ladies can and will explode violently. And let's not get started on the Concrete Donkey.
- Plants vs. Zombies is based on the premise that you defend your home during a Zombie Apocalypse with assorted vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and other plants that can do massive damage to endless hordes of invading zombies.
- The Heavy in Team Fortress 2 has a taunt where he points a Finger Gun and "fires" it at someone. If you happen to be in its line of fire, it's a one-hit kill.
- In Soul Calibur Ghost Pirate Cerevantes normally uses a pistol gun thingy, but his Joke Weapon is a wooden toy sword… which can still use the bullet firing moves.
- The 1993 Amiga game Hired Guns by DMA Design had a banana as the most powerful explosive weapon in the game as a joke item, similar to Worms.
- Often used in Looney Tunes shorts.
- Bounty Hamster - "Hah! You didn't think that banana was loaded!"
- "Listen to me. I can capture anyone that I want, at anytime. IN BUNS!!" Also, Coiffio sending a Tree to kill Gerald.
- In Filmation's Ghostbusters, the heroes have to get past Fangster and Long John, who are guarding a room. Tracy takes out a cute wind-up toy tank and sets it towards the two henchmen. They look at it, and then burst out laughing... Then it fires a freeze ray, freezing them sold. (Unfortunately, it only freezes them for seven seconds, so the heroes have to run past them quickly.)
- The 6th finger, which is a toy that shoot darts.
- Leading up to the 1948 War of Independence, the fledgling state of Israel had a problem: they had more success with their underground bullet factory than they had smuggling guns, so they had more bullets than they could conceivably fire! They had to figure out novel ways to deliver bullets to invaders, and one of these ideas was one-shot walking canes for Jerusalem's (otherwise defenseless) elderly.