Man, Leo's going to get piss— what? You kicked his ass? Never mind.
"YOU! — BROKE! — MY! — SWORD!!"
While the heroes get kicked around a lot, after a certain point we don't worry so much. But if you want to really show off how badass a new antagonist might be, not only should they beat the hero in a fight quickly, but they should hurt their pride. The easiest way to do that is smash up
their signature weapon/accessory
Although this is sometimes a cheap and inexplicable device
to show off a new transformation
, more often the hero is figuratively neutered
, and has to deal with the emotional aftermath. Even if he has a buddy who can fix it up, that won't be as important as him coming to grips with either his reasons for fighting or just learning not to be such a clod about it. If this is a videogame, it's by far the easiest way to REALLY piss off the player
along with their virtual avatar.
Naturally, this is much more emotional for the character if they also have a Empathic Weapon
and even worse if it's a Equippable Ally
or other Living Weapon
. If the weapon is an actual part of the character's body
, it's a Fake Arm Disarm
, which makes the crippling somewhat more literal.
May lead to Reforged Blade
, Give Me a Sword
or even It Was a Gift
In a mundane "real world" series without magic or swords, the easiest way for a villain to do this is to trash the hero's ride
Compare Breakable Weapons
, where this is a gameplay mechanic instead of a plot event. Contrast Like Cannot Cut Like
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Anime & Manga
- Nova breaks Hikaru's sword in the second season of the Magic Knight Rayearth anime. This cuts off Hikaru's connection with her living Humongous Mecha and intensifies her Heroic BSOD.
- Mazinger Z: Mazinger-Z Rocket Punch is its most popular and most iconic weapon (Mazinger Z is both Trope Maker AND Trope Namer, and it turned Rocket Punch into all Super Robots signature weapon). Whenever Mazinger-Z fists were destroyed or shattered in one fight you knew Kouji was going to be in trouble. Maybe the first time happened when Kouji was fighting Spartan K5 and the Mechanical Beast easily ran its trident through its fist before beating the crap out of Mazinger-Z. A very memorable also happened in the Mazinger-Z versus Great General of Darkness, when General Juuma caught his flying fist before eating it.
- Multiple instances in Bleach. The fact that the swords can heal themselves makes this trope much more repeatable in the series, since no story time needs to be spent in getting the swords repaired.
- In fact, one of the training montages in Bleach involved, among other things, learning to not break stride when (not if) an opponent shatters your weapon.
- Played straight at the begining of the first major arc, when Rukia's brother and best friend turn up to take her back. The former ends up snapping Ichigo's unreleased Zanpakuto like a twig and piercing him in his "spiritual organs" (organs that produce spiritual energy), making him unable to create Reishi anymore. He has to undergo Training from Hell to get his powers back, and unlocks his sword's Shikai state upon doing so.
- Used again much later when Haschwald snaps Tensa Zangetsu. Then it's revealed that Reforged Blade is not an option for zanpakuto in bankai state. Ichigo has to work really hard to get a new bankai.
- In InuYasha, the sword Tessaiga suppresses the main character's demon blood, so breaking it leaves nothing to prevent him from going into a mindless, feral rage whenever his life is threatened. He eventually gets the sword reforged. Then it suddenly becomes insanely heavy and he can hardly use it. Once he masters using it again, he has a new attack, the Backlash Wave.
- At least two instances in Trigun: Vash's boot knife gets destroyed in a fight with an assassin and the knife he lent to Wolfwood broke when he tried to use it on a robot.
- Happens in the Manga, in which Nicholas' Punisher gets destroyed after a daring escape from the Bad Guy's giant Ark ship. Luckily, he met just afterwards a quite crafty gunsmith.
- Arguably averted when Louie's magic wand breaks in Rune Soldier Louie; the titular character is happier smacking enemies with a sword, or just punching them. His adventuring party forces him to fix the wand anyway.
- Nanoha's and Fate's wands cracking each other in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. In the second season (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's), both Nanoha and Fate have their weapons heavily damaged in separate duels against the new antagonists.
- Taken to a new level in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S when Subaru does this to herself right after her Robotic Reveal by pushing her device past the breaking point after her Berserk Button is pressed.
- Also in StrikerS, Vita breaks Graf Eisen trying to break through the shielding on the Saint Cradle's engine. However, Eisen's tip lodges in the engine after her last attack, eventually shattering the engine.
- Before this, Vita breaks Graf Eisen fighting against Zest.
- And more recently in the FORCE manga Signum does this to Laevatein by trying to fight a new villain with heavy Anti-Magic powers and a body tough enough to provoke the mighty Belkan sword to crack like a cookie, obviously, things do not end well for our beloved Lady of War.
- A Chevalier showed off just how powerful he was by destroying Saya's signature sword in Blood+, just by yelling.
- Bubblegum Crisis. Priss's motoslave armor is destroyed by Largo's Hyperboomers, one of them crushing its head underfoot, and her hardsuit absolutely trashed to the point that it falls apart around her. Under the original script, this would have been followed by Priss being killed due to the voice actor's contractual complications. However, Priss was saved by an 11th hour fan-led campaign to save the character. In an ironic turnabout, when her new armor and motoslave conveniently show up in time to save her, the first thing the new motoslave does is crush the head of the Hyperboomer that destroyed its predecessor.
- Overused in Digimon Savers. Even before Burst Mode is introduced, the Geo-Grey Sword gets trashed by nearly everyone Shine Greymon tries to hit with it, making it possibly the most useless auxiliary weapon in history.
- Battle B-Daman used it to the point of frustration to replace heroes' old marble shooting chibi robots with new ones built around a new system.
- By contrast, one of the villains earlier gets a Kick the Dog moment by destroying his own B-Daman just to show that he has a new one.
- Fairly significant in the Violinist of Hameln, where the titular violinist appears helpless when said magical violin is destroyed; right up until the point where he crushes the foe's head with one hand in a demonic rage.
- The manga takes the concept and runs with it, giving the other characters their chance to shine as they daydream about taking over the entire series. After all, if Hamel's violin is destroyed, what's the point of the manga being called Violinist of Hameln? Better make way for The Adventures of Flute or Tron Bone Z...
- Rurouni Kenshin:
- Sanosuke breaks Jin-e's sword mid-strike by intercepting it with a statue. Unphased, Jin-e stabs him in the arm with the broken end, then retreats. He has replacements.
- Saito notes that he only likes to use katanas because all other swords are too brittle. His Cane Sword breaks after one use. Kenshin ends up slicing his katana in half. As a government agent, Saito quickly gets another one.
- Kenshin and Sojiro break each other's swords in a duel. However while Kenshin is effectively disabled while seeking a new and stronger sword, and dealing with the mental stress of fighting without killing; Sojiro merely has to ask Shishio for a new sword, in addition to the fact that Sojiro has no qualms about killing.
- Tyki Mikk of D.Gray-Man demonstrates how powerful he is by destroying protagonist Allen Walker's Innocence single-handedly, after we've seen that barely anything can even scratch it. This is particularly nasty because Allen's Innocence happens to be his left arm, and it's also been made very clear that (1) Allen can't be an Exorcist without an Innocence, and (2) forcing anyone to synchronize with Innocence that's not destined to be theirs is at best fatal. He gets better, and his Innocence is stronger for it.
- The Millennium Earl's goal in early volumes is to destroy all the Innocence. It's still a secondary priority, as there were only 109 Innocences at first, they can't be replaced (although they can sometimes be repaired), and they're the only things that can hurt his Akuma.
- Also, Kanda's and Lavi's weapons break in the Ark arc which prevents them from fighting in the lvl4 arc. Or that's what you thought.
- Buggy the Clown puts three knives through Luffy's precious hat early on in One Piece, which leads Luffy to an angry new attack. After the battle, Nami fixes the hat.
- Additionally, Zoro has broken at least two of his swords on different occasions. The first time he just bought a new one, the second time he defeated a master swordsman and took his.
- In the Manga three, in the Anime at least four. Manga would be his two unnamed swords he had when he met Luffy, later Yubashili would be destroyed in a small panel in a big fight against the Marine. The Anime got these examples, but also includes a flashback when Zoro met those two pals of him (see Baratie part of the story). Flashback goes that Zoro returns to a swordsmith and says "Sorry, I've broken them again..." or somesuch, gets into a fight and those two hand him their swords and he strikes down the troublemaker and is astounded that the swords DIDN'T break. Oh, and he didn't buy Yubashili or the Kitetsu, they were a gift from the weapon merchant when Zoro demonstrated that his luck is stronger than the Kitetsus curse.
- In Fate/stay night, Servants can use this as an ultra-powerful attack by overloading their Noble Phantasm with mana so that they shatter on impact (called a Broken Phantasm), doing devastating damage. Archer, the Servant who does this in-game uses it without any setback at all, since he is a 'Faker' who duplicates any Noble Phantasms rather than 'owning' one, meaning that he can endlessly re-make Phantasms and break them as long as he has the mana for it.
- In Samurai Deeper Kyo, Sasuke's knockoff sword gets a crack in it when he meets the wielder of the real version. When he takes it to its maker to get repaired, he gets a new one.
- Inverted in Mai-Otome, with one of the good guys doing this to a villain's weapon: Miyu splits Tomoe's Valkyrie spear in half with a single swipe, just as the latter is about to kill Arika by using a Desperation Attack Pattern Delta.
- Happens a lot in Code Geass.
- Kallen's Radiant Wave Surger on her Guren is broken 3 times over the 2 seasons, once at the end of the first, once about a quarter into the second, and finally in the last episode. The first time, Suzaku is nearly beaten, but manages to get free and blast the arm off. The second time, the trope is played straight, showing off the power of Suzaku's new mech against Kallen. She got a replacement within 2 minutes, then gave back nearly as good as she got. Finally, the arm is lost in her final battle with Suzaku, but at that point it was meaningless.
- Kallen then does it to Suzaku in R2 episode 18, breaking every single one of his mech's weapons, and cutting off the mech's leg when Suzaku tries a last-ditch Hurricane Kick.
- Bismarck has this happen to him during his mech rematch with Suzaku. He's strongest Knight in the world wielding a BFS larger than the mech he's riding on. The BFS is even named Excalibur. Cue Suzaku delivering a very clean cut of the sword from the tip to the hilt with an equally clean Diagonal Cut of the mech.
- Then said broken weapon is reforged into two new swords, and Suzaku broke those, too.
- Happens dramatically to Andromeda Shun in Saint Seiya. When Pisces Aphrodite destroys the Andromeda Chain, Shun is left with no other choice than to unleash the Nebula Storm. This is a serious moment given its due gravitas, as the Chain was Shun's Weapon of Choice and a companion at times. The strange thing is that the Chain had been broken dozens upon dozens of times before, and it had merely regenerated from its fragments every time...
- The same thing happens with the Bronze Cloths, which are wrecked if not outright disintegrated at least once per arc, causing so much annoyance and / or despair for the protagonists. They get better. (And, unlike the broken Gold Cloths, the Bronzes get much, much better in the Grand Finale.)
- In Vinland Saga, Thors' sword promptly snaps on Askeladd's armour halfway through their duel. It at first looks like an Oh, Crap moment, until Thors proceeds to win the duel anyway.
- In the early chapters of Rave Master, a member of Demon Card hunting Shiba and the Rave stones fights against Haru and snaps his sword, "Ten Powers" (in some translations, "Ten Commandments"), the sword with ten forms, clean off at the hilt, prompting Haru to seek out a master blacksmith to reforge it better than ever. Later in the story, Haru fights Let of the Palace Guardians, and Let breaks the sword in half with a punch. Rather than be distraught over this development, Haru grabs one part in each hand and unveils the weapon's fifth form, "Blue Crimson", which actually is two swords. When he shifts the sword back to its default form, it is undamaged. The sword is destroyed for good near the end after Musica forges an even better one for Haru, since the sword's creator believes it is no longer needed in the world.
- Happened once in Ronin Warriors. After gaining the Inferno Armor transformation, Ryo broke his swords of Wildfire through the power of the armor. After reforging them, he had to quest into a volcano to find the swords that went with the armor.
- The classic example from Berserk is Guts breaking Griffith's sword with one blow after deciding to leave the Hawks, which starts Griffith on the downward spiral that would ultimately lead to the Eclipse.
- Ed's prosthetic arm in Fullmetal Alchemist. Besides the fact that he tends to actually transform it into a weapon with alchemy all the time, he needs to clap his hands together to use alchemy in the first place (on a whim, anyway), making him completely helpless if it breaks or is severed (granted, you could say the same for his other, real arm, too...).
- In Dragon Ball Z:
- Trunk's sword chipped on contact with Android 18's arm. After this he decides not to use it in combat anymore because it clearly won't do the job, and he stops carrying it with him.
- This also happened later on with the Z sword, but that turned out to be Sealed Good in a Can.
- In ''Toriko, Komatsu's beloved knife is broken when he accidentally tries to cut through a Don Acorn. But by the end of the next arc he has a new one that can create gashes in mountains from SWINGING IT.
- In Kirby of the Stars, the Demon Beast Kirisakin breaks Sword Kirby's sword, leaving him with no choice but to use Galaxia in order to defeat him.
- Similarly, Sword Knight and Blade Knight's swords get broken upon contact with Masher 2.0's nearly-impenetrable exterior.
- A anti-climactic battle in Samurai Champloo: In Ep. 26, when Jin and Mugen finally have the showdown promised in Ep. 1, they break each others' swords in half on the first pass. Unusually, this does NOT cause either one to fly into a rage. Rather, it gives them an honorable exit from a promise both now recognize as silly and destructive.
- Weapons get destroyed all the time in Gundam Build Fighters, since the show is about model kits rather than actual Humongous Mecha. However, a character's Gunpla being wrecked usually serves the same purpose as this trope; for example, Fellini's Wing Gundam Fenice gets mauled by the Qubeley Papillon just before Sei and Reiji's match against Aila to demonstrate how fearsome the Embody System is, and in the next episode Maoh's Gundam X Maoh is irreparably destroyed in a free battle against Julian McKenzie's F91 Imagine to show that he's on the same level as the current Meijin, Tatsuya Yuuki.
- In Kill la Kill, Satsuki's Bakuzan gets snapped in half during her rebellion against Ragyo. The Elite Four turn the shards into a separate sword and dagger, and eventually return them to Satsuki (only for them to be finally shattered in the last episode).
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, the Red Frame Astray's Gerbera Straight katana is destroyed by the Gold Frame Amatsu chopping its blade. Lowe spends a sidestory getting it reforged.
- Subverted in the Champions comic book when Flare teams up with the Galloping Galooper, a non-powered hero who "fights with his great-grandfather's cavalry sword". His blade is broken in the fight, but when Flare consoles him over the loss of the heirloom he explains that his great-grandfather made swords, and he has dozens more at home.
- The "figuratively neutered" part of the trope comes in from a different angle, when she clobbers him in response to his ham-handed attempt to talk her into another sort of "consolation".
- The Punisher has traditionally had a nasty habit of breaking all of his coolest toys. Much like the T-car, the Battle Van is wrecked in almost all of its appearances.
- In one storyline in the City of Heroes comic, Statesman suspends Manticore from the Freedom Phalanx and then breaks his bow for no reason other than to be a dick. The subversion is that while Manticore looks crushed, he goes home and gets another bow from an entire wall of them.
- Happened to The Mighty Thor's hammer many times. What's interesting, mostly Mjolnir was broken because of magic, but last time it happened it was because Thor punched something too hard and powerful even for this weapon — his grandfather.
- Thor's foe the Crusader is powered by faith. If his faith wavers, then his powers falter. Frequently this results in his sword being shattered, usually just before his defeat. He always reforges his sword when he regains his faith.
- Evil Star, with his Starband, was able to take away and destroy Hal Jordan's power ring twice and Hal was powerless to do anything to stop him from doing that.
- A new enemy damaging Captain America's shield is generally a sign that this foe is to be taken very seriously indeed. For instance, Odin's brother the Serpent in Fear Itself breaks the shield into pieces as an indicator that he is ludicrously dangerous and powerful. Also, the pieces of the shield are seen lying around Cap during his Heroic BSOD in the Bad Future of Age of Ultron, which indicates that the world really has gone to hell in a hand-basket.
- In issue 10 of Loki: Agent of Asgard Thor breaks Gram the Sword of Truth, because he thinks Loki is not worthy to wield a hero's blade.
- This appears to be Saionji's fate in Undocumented Features. First, when Kaitlyn Hutchins attacks him with the Hyakken no Arashi, his blade breaks. Then after becoming her apprentice, he fights Lafarga, performs the Hyakken no Arashi himself, and his blade breaks after he's done. A while after that, he fights Sith Lord Psi Cop Roger Tremayne, and gets his sword cut in half by his lightsaber. Is it any wonder after this record that he claimed Tremayne's lightsaber for himself?
- In Bad Future Crusaders, Captain Rumble breaks Apple Bloom's pistol by merely stomping on it.
Films — Live Action
- Excalibur is broken in the film of the same title when Arthur uses it for an unjust purpose — namely, killing Lancelot to satisfy his ego. When he realises the depth of his error, the knight is revived and his sword returned to him in one piece by the Lady of the Lake. This sequence was added so that Arthur could receive Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake as well as pull it from the stone earlier in the film.
- Star Wars
- In The Scorpion King, Balthazar and Mathayus' first sword clash shatters both their weapons. They just resort to fisticuffs.
- In The Punisher (2004), the bad guys send a Russian mercenary to beat up and kill Frank Castle. After taken quite a beating, Frank tries to grab his trusty revolver, only to have it smashed by the Russian's hammer. The look on Frank's face when he sees the bent barrel is priceless.
- In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Michelle Yeoh's character battles Zhang Ziyi's character, who wields Green Destiny. Yeoh is a superior swordswoman, but she must repeatedly draw a new weapon out of a rack every time Green Destiny hacks through the last one. During one lull, the camera lingers over the many dents and pits in a bronze bar she wields for a few moments.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean, Davy Jones snaps Jack's sword a few inches from the hilt, and later bends Will's at right angles while it's sticking out of his chest. He gets killed with the broken one.
- Lone Wolf:
- There are many ways to break ordinary weapons in the series. In general it's a really bad idea to attack powerful supernatural entities, like the Darklords or Demonlord Tagazin, with a non-magical weapon.
- A few special weapons can also be damaged or outright destroyed if they encounter even more powerful magic:
- In The Legacy of Vashna, Helshezag and the Dagger of Vashna will not survive to the end of the book if you bring them with you.
- In Vampirium, your Kai Weapon is damaged after a failed attempt to destroy the Claw of Naar. In gameplay this means that its Combat Skill bonus is permanently reduced by either one or two points. Conveniently, this means that there is actual incentive to use the unique weapons that can be found in the previous book.
- The "Oh shit!" factor is quite high in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry's wand, the special powers of which had saved him twice over in battles against Voldemort, is blown in half and (almost) irreparably damaged during a fight.
- Earlier, in The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry's Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick was shredded by an extremely vicious tree.
- The Lost Hero: Jason's Imperial Gold javelin explodes during his fight with Enceladus while trying to save Piper's dad.
- Subverted in Malleus, the second book of the Warhammer 40,000: Eisenhorn trilogy. Hero Gregor Eisenhorn's sword Barbarister shatters during his duel with Big Bad Quixos. Rather than being played for emasculation imagery, this actually allows Eisenhorn to win, as the sword shatters while Quixos was blocking a thrust, allowing the half remaining in Eisenhorn's hand to impale Quixos through the heart — had the blade not shattered, the blow would have been deflected and the duel continued.
- Played straight earlier in the novel, when Eisenhorn loses his two previous weapons of choice during an encounter with recurring nemesis Cherubael. His power-sword explodes when he attempts to impale the aforementioned daemon with it, and he loses his bolt-pistol during a fall from a hover-bike shortly afterwards.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: Possibly subverted with Narsil , which wasn't broken by Sauron but by its wielder Elendil after he fell on it (he and Sauron killed each other during the melee). Isildur then grabbed the hilt and used it to cut the Ring from Sauron's hand. Three thousand years later, it was reforged into the even-more-badass And˙ril, the Flame of the West. The movie version has a moment where Boromir comments that even shattered, the blade is still sharp.
- A bit more straight playing is when Gandalf meets Saruman after Orthanc is ruined. "Saruman, your staff is broken." Boom.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Necropolis, Gaunt's sword is ruined by chemicals in a thing he fights with it. Even as he fights, he laments this; his mentor had given it to him, he carried it for years, in many battles, and its destruction was like losing history.
- In The Amber Spyglass Will's subtle knife breaks because he thinks of his mother while he's using it, while at the same time it's assumed to be somehow Mrs. Coulter's fault (she certainly takes credit for breaking it) because he was distracted by her hotness even as she reminded him of his mother. The whole scene has slightly creepy Oedipal overtones.
- A variation occurs in A Song of Ice and Fire. Eddard Stark's signature greatsword Ice isn't broken in combat — you can't break Valyrian Steel — but the Lannisters use it to behead its owner, then melt it down and use the metal to make two new weapons.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, when Fulgrim and Ferrus Manus fight, Ferrus Manus breaks the sword he had given Fulgrim. This is when Fulgrim realizes that the break is irrevocable; he takes the warhammer he had given Ferrus Manus, leaves, and orders his Legion to open fire on the Iron Hands.
- In C.S. Goto's Blood Ravens trilogy, Rhamah's Vairocanum. Made from part of a Wrecked Weapon that had been Forged by the Gods, and then broken again in the course of the trilogy. Blood Ravens perform funeral rites with the part that was all they had left of him. Later reformed.
- In the Redwall novel Mossflower, the sword of Martin the Warrior, used by the protagonists of most of the books, is broken early on. Since this is a prequel, however, the sword is reforged using Thunderbolt Iron into the iconic weapon.
- In Brisingr, the falchion that Eragon uses after Murtagh takes Zar'roc, and before he forges Brisingr breaks after he accidentally swings it into a rock wall in the middle of a fight.
- At the end of The Dark Tower, Susannah, having crossed over into another dimesion to live out a normal life, discovers that one of Roland's revolvers has become completely unusable as a result. Roland abandons the other pistol in order to gain entry to the titular tower.
- The Eastern Emperor in the Heralds of Valdemar series sits on a throne made from the personal weapons of every monarch the Empire has conquered.
- In Robert E. Howard's "The Phoenix on the Sword", Conan the Barbarian's sword is broken. He uses it anyway.
- The Broken Sword from the Father Brown story of the same name turns out to have a sordid tale behind it.
- From the 13th century V÷lsunga saga: In battle with King Lyngvi, the old hero Sigmund's sword breaks on Odin's spear, causing his death.
- A twofer from the Dresden Files novels: in Changes, a vampire assassin destroys Harry's cherished car, the Blue Beetle, as well as his staff (which happened to be in the trunk). Even several books later, he's metaphysically hamstrung by the loss, since he hasn't had time to build a new staff, and is much less effective at controlled, long-distance magic as a result.
- The vehicular variation comes up in the X-Wing Series book Starfighters of Adumar. Much is made in the initial portion of the book about how superior the X-wing is compared to their local counterparts, the Blade-class fighter. When the Big Bad convinces the perator to turn on Wedge's pilots and exile them, their X-wings are impounded, and they are forced to fight several pitched battles using borrowed Blades instead — including a four-on-four combat against Imperial TIE Interceptors, which are on par with the X-wing and therefore have a huge advantage over their Blades. Once they manage to seize the hanger where the X-wings are stored, though, they return and lay a Curb-Stomp Battle on the enemy forces.
- In the Discworld story Mort the titular character ends up in a duel with The Grim Reaper. He manages to chop off the shaft of Death's scythe, but Death simply grips the remaining part like a sword and keeps on coming.
Live Action TV
- On Heroes, Hiro confronts Sylar and tells him that he must kill him. Sylar responds by daring Hiro to do it, then, when Hiro can't bring himself to do it, he cracks Hiro's sword in half using cold-based powers.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's final season, the Dominion got a major power-up when the Breen joined their forces — a point driven home when they destroyed the Defiant, which had been the good guys' own power-up a few seasons earlier. Sisko was particularly attached to it, having had a hand in its construction.
- Highlander: Immortals occasionally have their swords broken during a fight. Normally this happens when they're losing badly, and they get killed immediately afterwards. In one episode, it happened to Richie when running away, and he later had to figure out how to get a replacement.
- This was used to show Katanas Are Just Better in the flashback episode where Duncan gets his katana. Having just washed up on shore in old Japan, Duncan draws his European blade on an older samurai who simply breaks Duncan's sword off just short of the hilt. The dumbfounded look Duncan gives the now 2 inch long blade is hilarious.
- The Doctor in Doctor Who has had his sonic screwdriver (not a weapon, but still an Iconic Item) trashed several times.
- Played for laughs in the pilot of Kamen Rider Ryuki. Shinji goes into battle before gaining a contract monster, and the flimsy-looking sword he gets as a default weapon breaks from an Offhand Backhand (technically a swipe from a Giant Spider's foreleg).
- At the end of the first major arc of Mahou Sentai Magiranger, Kai breaks Wolzard's sword in a one-on-one fight before he and the rest of the team defeat Branken, the Disc One Final Boss. Wolzard takes Branken's sword and spends a few episodes re-forging it into a replacement (which is perfectly identical to the first, so it's not for merchandising purposes.)
- In Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, the sword that is actually made from the souls of his family gets damaged, so Juzo has to make do with one of the swords used by the Mooks for several episodes.
- In Power Rangers Wild Force, Cole has his Cool Bike ruined protecting a child who turns out to be the human form of Animus, Lord of the Wild Zords. After the heroes learn that and pass a Secret Test of Character, Cole is rewarded with a new bike based on a different Wild Zord. It flies. It is definitely merchandising-based, but nobody much cares.
- In the finale of Power Rangers S.P.D., Emperor Gruum's Last Villain Stand ends pretty conclusively when Cruger breaks his spear in two.
- In the finale of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Akudos Gill gets his sword broken about halfway through his Rasputinian Death.
- Since at least Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman, its very common for the a gattai robo's sword to be broken once a season. In those without organic creatures substituting for actual mecha, having a gattai robo losing an arm might also qualify.
- When the Beast makes his appearance in Season 4 of Angel, he trounces our heroes in a Curb-Stomp Battle which includes crushing Gunn's signature axe made from a hubcap.
- The fourth season of Game of Thrones opens with Lord Tywin Lannister watching (with just a touch of villainous smugness) as Ice, the Ancestral Weapon of House Stark, is melted down into two smaller swords for the use of his own family. At this stage in the war, House Lannister has apparently triumphed over all their enemies. Just to emphasize this point, Tywin throws the wolfskin scabbard (the wolf being the sigil of House Stark) into the fire.
- Taken into account in the swordmage class or Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition. A bound sword can be reformed from a single fragment with an hour of meditation.
- The Sunder feat tree in Dungeons & Dragons 3/3.5e lets any GM pull this against the players. There's a certain Jerk Ass-ish aspect to using it, though, as combat encounters are scaled to assume a minimum value of gear — in other words, a fight appropriate for a 10th-level party is appropriate for that party with full gear worth at least 49,000 gold pieces each. And given the costs of a good magic weapon, having that villain break yours means you may have just seen a massive set-back in your effectiveness.
- Can happen as a matter of course in tabletop RPGs whose rules allow for weapon breakage in regular combat as a result of a fumble, critical hit, or even a simple outcome of "attack meets parry"; RuneQuest and The Dark Eye for instance are examples of the last in particular. Of course, in these games it then doesn't make much sense to get overly attached to a given individual "signature" weapon that the rules all but guarantee will break eventually in the first place, thus subverting the trope from that direction.
- In the Hero System, this is one risk of taking powers or the like with the Focus limitation — you get a significant cost break (or may not have to pay points for it at all in the right setting), but you pay for it with the power not always being available because it's embodied in a physical item that can get stolen, lost, or, yes, destroyed. A plain Focus can eventually be replaced if this happens since the points invested in the power remain with the character; also giving the item the Independent limitation, however, makes it considerably cheaper point-wise once again, but means that when it is lost (and it will be — it wouldn't be a limitation if it never came up) the points invested go away with it, leaving the character whose player paid them weakened either until they can retrieve the item or else simply permanently.
- The Red Shadow in The Desert Song has this happen to him for refusing to fight an opponent.
- In BIONICLE, after Lewa tries to intimidate the Piraka Reidak with a tale of how the Toa had defeated the dreaded Rahkshi; Rediak grabs one of Lewa's Air Katana and snaps it over his knee. "Rahkshi? I pick my teeth with Rahkshi." The defeated Toa were then stripped of their weapons and imprisoned, further humiliated by being made slaves. After being rescued, a villager offered to make a new Air Katana.
- The Like Likes in The Legend of Zelda series, monsters that look like a stack of pancakes and eat shields and tunics.
- There's also the Giant's Knife from Ocarina of Time, that can only take so much blunt trauma until it breaks, leaving you with a handle and some broken metal jutting out. Still works as a weapon, but does minimal damage. Interestingly the broken knife is a Lethal Joke Weapon against Dark Link thanks to a Good Bad Bug: He blocks as if he were defending against the full blade and the broken handle slips right past and lands a hit every time.
- "So much blunt trauma" meaning 8 swings. Tops. And that's only if you've bought at least SIX of them already.
- When the Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater doesn't want to kill someone, she just beats the crap out of them. But first she simply takes away her opponent's gun and neatly breaks it up into its parts with her bare hands, and then hands back the pieces.
- Alicia's sword breaks dramatically in half in Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria, at the climactic moment when Rufus is apparently killed, Lezard reveals himself as a villain, and kidnaps Odin. Oddly, the sword is mysteriously in one piece again in time for the next battle.
- When Gordon Freeman's crowbar gets destroyed in Half-Life 2, you know it's time to get vengeance on Breen. Luckily enough, the process that destroys your trusty hardware also gives you the perfect weapon for the job.
- Though considering how the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator has apparently become Gordon's new Weapon of Choice, this could also possibly be considered a very rare inanimate version of Take Up My Sword.
- Gordon's signature crowbar was never really one-of-a-kind anyway - he went through two in the first game alone - so he's very likely to obtain a new one in Episode 3 or Half-Life 3, assuming one of them ever comes out.
- In the GBA game Summon Night: Swordcraft Story and its sequel you can win boss battles either by reducing the boss' health to 0 or by destroying their weapon (this is done by blocking the boss' attacks, reducing both yours and his weapon durability). The cool thing is: when you destroy a boss weapon, you gain the ability to craft it. Those weapons are much stronger than any other weapon the hero has at that moment.
- Also, all the boss fights in the first game (besides the final boss, since it does not have that secondary win condition), can be made much easier by equipping your forging hammer, which is unbreakable, and simply blocking through the whole fight.
- In Chrono Trigger, the breaking and reforging of the Masamune is a major plot point.
- In Samurai Shodown II, every character had both a weapon, and a manoeuvre to break the opponent's weapon. This typically left them without some, most, or all of their special moves (Cham Cham would obviously not be able to throw her boomerang, but still had her other moves; Wan-Fu's specials all involved his weapon swinging somehow).
- Galford can use every move without his weapon, including his super moves (because his dog is doing most of the work in the majority of his moveset.)
- In Dead Rising, although all weapons eventually break with use, there are two weapons that are specifically designed to increase their "mileage" by falling apart and changing forms: The mailbox and the push broom. Once they have reached their "damage limit" they will be stripped to their handles and be usable as spears. They are otherwise unremarkable weapons. Along the same lines there is also the mannequin, which falls apart after one hit but its individual limbs especially the torso last longer than most other weapons and deal better damage than the broom and mailbox.
- A meta example in Muramasa The Demon Blade; it becomes annoying whenever an enemy wears out your sword, and it also forces you to switch weapons, which generally results in a screen filling slash which could be construed as the characters really pissed off about losing their sword... until it heals.
- Also in Lufia & The Fortress of Doom, when the Sinistrals destroy the Dual Blade.
- In Fire Emblem: Geneology of the Holy War, all weapons break after fifty uses, and then need to be repaired. In a case more relevant to the trope, the holy sword Tyrfing ends up broken (presumed to be due to Lord Byron having charged across a desert, while being persued by an army) and Sigurd's father has to crawl across the battlefield to give it to him. And Sigurd then gets it... and it costs 50000G (aka the maximum amount of gold you can carry) to repair it. But it's the Infinity+1 Sword, so it's worth it.
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has a few different abilities spread out through the job classes that can steal, or outright destroy, enemy weapons and armor. This can be a double whammy, as not only is the unit disarmed, but if the unit is still learning a new ability, then destroying the weapon means they stop learning. This can be especially aggravating if the weapon is a relatively rare item that you only have one of that can't be purchased in shops.
- The original Final Fantasy Tactics has a few classes whose abilities revolve around breaking your weapons or other equipment. This drastically decreases your stats, is expensive or even impossible to replace, and can be quite problematic if in a series of battles. Samurai accept the possibility that their katanas may break if they use their special skills.
- In God of War 2, Kratos snaps Perseus' sword, but Perseus keeps attacking with his shield and sling.
- In 3, Kratos' Blades Of Athena are eroded by the River Styx, so he replaces them with the Blades Of Exile. In the final battle, Zeus destroys all of Kratos' weapons.
- And after he's done kicking Zeus's ass the chains that were seared to his arms - bonding his various chain blades to his body and making him a weapon — simply drop off his arms, symbolizing the end of his violent ways.
- In Super Robot Wars Original Generation Gaiden, Sanger Zonvolt's trusty Zankantou is shattered on the mech of Shura Magnus. Magnus expected this to win the fight for him, until Sanger revealed that the DyGenGuar's original weapons (which were non functional when it was first activated, hence the Zankantou), had been repaired. Magnus promptly eats a General Blaster to the face.
- Shin Super Robot Wars: As the Voltes team sorties in Scenario 14 of Space Route, the aliens spring their trap: the Namazunga flies over to wreck their Ultramagnetic Generators. Voltes is in dire straights to say the very least, and the group loses touch with Voltes as they slow the transport down to try to allow an emergency landing. After a quick rescue by the others, Ken'ichi is the first to wake up, disoriented and in considerable pain from whatever the bad guys did. He frantically asks after his other pilots, who are still out cold, though Megumi wakes up in short order. The bad news is that the Ultramagnetic Generators of all the Volt machines are toast, and they can't even move, much less combine. Ken'ichi is heartbroken, seeing as how they just got good at combining and all. Nothing for it but returning to Japan!
- Zaeed of Mass Effect 2 has a broken rifle named Jessie that was the most reliable weapon he'd ever used until it finally jammed and would not fire anymore. Zaeed laments that he'd give anything for "one last mission with that shitty old rifle." If he's still alive at the end of Mass Effect 3 you can learn that he's custom-ordered all the parts required to repair his rifle, so he can take Jessie along for the last battle.
- Shepard pulls a heroic variant on Kai Leng. If you take the Renegade interrupt after the final fight with him, Shepard will spin around and smash his sword to bits with a backhand, then draw an omniblade and gut Leng like a fish.
- Near the end of Eien no Aselia, Desire is broken in a confrontation. Yuuto is left unable to fight. Until he gets Wisdom, anyway.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2 much of the plot revolves around recovering shards of a silver sword used to fight the King of Shadows. Said sword exploded and embedded a silver shard in the player character.The fragments must by reformed to fight the second coming of the King of Shadows.
- The plot of the Mask of the Betrayer expansion carries on from this exact same sword, which was also the key to Akachi the Betrayer's backdoor into the afterlife and a central tool of his war to bring down the Wall of the Faithless.
- Any player of Mabinogi has had a weapon wear out in the middle of a dungeon at least once.
- Also, you can get a worn-out weapon repaired, but the repair process has a chance of permanently damaging the weapon. Eventually the weapon will become unusable, usually after you've spent several times the weapon's retail value on upgrades for it.
- In Thousand Arms, Meis' sword splits in half when he tries to show off in front of Sodina when she gets attacked by a group of thugs at the beginning of the game.
- Caliburn in Sonic and the Black Knight gets broken defending Sonic from Merlina's attacks. He gets repaired and receives an upgrade once Sonic receives his latest Super Form, Excalibur Sonic, though.
- The duel between Anduin Lothar and Orgrim Doomhammer Warcraft ended in the orc's favor when he shattered Lothar's Great Royal Sword with the Doomhammer. The Doomhammer went right through the sword and into Lothar's chest.
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has Acharn, the shattered sword formerly owned by Talion's son. Talion keeps it both as a memento of what motivates him and a secondary weapon, though he can have the blacksmith Wraith who accompanies him refine it into an actual knife.
- Daikatana's third episode consists of the characters running around sixth-century Norway, collecting pieces of a sword called the "Purifier" in the hopes that restoring it will cure the king that owned it of insanity that has afflicted him since he first broke it. Given that it's a magical weapon, much like the game's eponymous Daikatana, it works.
- During the battle of Remonton in the Godslayer arc in The Gamers Alliance, an ice elemental shatters Ax's sword Dawn. The shattering of her magic weapon affects Ax emotionally and leads her to leave her allies for a while after the battle so that she can do some soul-searching and find a way to repair the sword.
- Arguably, when Captain Hammer breaks his hand by holding an exploding gun in Dr. Horrible (his main weapons being his fists, though they aren't the hammer...)