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Action Bomb

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Warning: Explosive temper.
Ardam: I wonder how a species that explodes at the first sign of trouble managed to not make itself extinct.
Drecker: If you were a predator, would you go after Bombats?
Ardam: Good point.
Adventurers!, from this comic

An Action Bomb is anybody or anything which tends to use "Blowing Myself Up" as a combat technique. Though it kills the user, this is actually a logical tactic for those willing to expend their lives; the more accurate an explosive device is, the more likely it is to accomplish its goal, and how much closer do you get than right next to the target?

A common variation is the enemy that won't commit suicide (other than trying to attack you in the first place), but will detonate violently upon death or defeat (see Last Ditch Move and Dead Man's Switch). In a video game, these enemies are best handled by either using ranged attacks, or getting away when they're about to blow.

If the user is expendable enough, he'll die. If the user is special or a hero, expect to see him either have it as a Dangerous Forbidden Technique that will one day get him Killed Off for Real, or resurrected and re-deployed ad infinitum.

See also Defeat Equals Explosion, Having a Blast, Mad Bomber, Taking You with Me and Why Am I Ticking?. Compare Suicide Attack, which involves killing oneself to take out a target but doesn't necessarily involve a violent explosion. May be a Desperation Attack if the user only uses it if their foe is already beating them and they're going to die anyways.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Deconstructed in the very first chapter of Assassination Classroom, when Nagisa tries to blow up Koro-sensei at point-blank range using a makeshift pellet grenade hidden around his neck. This makes Koro-sensei absolutely furious, even though he (and Nagisa, for that matter) escapes unscathed. Surprisingly, he isn't outraged over the fact that he was almost duped by a mere student—in fact, he praises the plan for its ingenuity and Nagisa in particular for flawlessly executing it. What disgusted Koro-sensei was that Terasaka, the student who came up with the plan, coerced Nagisa into doing it for him despite the high risk of the boy getting injured in the process.
  • The Church of Drowning in God's Grace from Book of Bantorra have the tendency to turn their "meats" (brainwashed slaves) into living bombs by implanting the bombs in their chest.
  • In Cyborg 009, three teenagers get bombs implanted in them and are given the mission of killing someone they know and love: the eponymous Cyborg, Joe/009.
    • Also, in the older TV series Albert/004 has a nuclear bomb stored in his stomach. And in the 80's movies, he does use it to save his teammates. He manages to survive, though.
  • Daimos: Episode ten featured a Mecha Soldier designed to latch on Daimos and detonate the nuke built in its body.
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund has vampires pull creative twists on this twice so far. One reporter secretly involved in a conspiracy has herself turned so she can cut herself open and sew a sizable block of C4 in her abdomen before attending a press conference given by Mina Tepes. In an apparently separate case an agent of a rival vampire clan implants vials containing a chemical that reacts explosively with the blood of vampires and rigged to rupture with a cell-phone signal inside the bodies of numerous minions, and tries to blackmail Mina by dispersing them within the Tokyo subway system.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Chiaotzu blows himself up to kill Nappa. Yeah, he still lived.
    • Vegeta and Cell also try exploding to defeat their enemies at least once, and Cell actually kills Goku doing it.
    • Most, if not all, of Dr. Gero's Androids incorporated very powerful self-destruct devices. 17 and 18's are removed by Shenron on a wish from Krillin, (which is used as a plot point in GT because 17 was not made aware of that fact,) while 16's is removed by Bulma. The problem is that she doesn't make him aware of that either, so 16 attempted to use his nonfunctioning self-destruct mechanism against Cell. When it failed, Cell kills him, not that the bomb would've helped anyway according to him.
    • The Saibamen used by Nappa and Vegeta in the Saiyan saga, which infamously managed to kill Yamcha long before the other Z Fighters even took on Nappa.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Fu tries to commit a Heroic Sacrifice by jumping at Wrath while covered in lit dynamite. The explosives never go off, but he dies nonetheless.
  • Getter Robo:
  • In Happiness, Koyuki's Sphere Toms have the ability to blow themselves up, which they use several times over the course of the series.
  • In Hunter × Hunter this was Netero's trump card against the Chimera Ant King. By stopping his own heart after all of his other efforts barely scratched the King, he activated the extremely powerful bomb implanted in his body. It very nearly worked too.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Diamond is Unbreakable has Sheer Heart Attack, a sub-stand of Killer Queen. It's a small, vaguely turtle-shaped object on tank treads which follows heat sources and explodes whenever it makes physical contact with one. This is also Played for Drama in that Sheer Heart Attack is completely indestructible, survives its own explosions, and the only way it could be stopped was by getting its user, Yoshikage Kira, to deactivate it, which was not an easy task to do.
    • JoJolion: Yoshikage Kira possesses a different iteration of Sheer Heart Attack, which can be manually guided and detonated at will, with multiple Sheer Heart Attacks being summoned at once.
  • In the Mazinger franchise:
  • Quatre Winner's Sandrock Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. It sacrifices itself while letting Quatre escape to safety.
  • Zig-Zagged in Naruto. Deidara's weapon of choice are self-made explosives. When cornered by the heroes he claims to explode himself but what he actually does is detonate an explosive clone. Later Deidara does however use his self-destruction technique. He is then revived by Tobi's Impure World Resurrection technique. Suddenly he has an infinite amount of chakra and his body pulls itself together automatically. Even though he even lampshades himself the fact that he could use his self-destruction technique as many times as he wants, he doesn't do this because it would decrease the value of his "ultimate art". Deidara also turns a few mooks into bombs by booby-trapping them with his explosives.
    • There's also Clone Great Explosion, a Shadow Clone that explodes. This is one of Itachi Uchiha's signature techniques.
  • In Ninja Scroll, Zakuro is a sadistic explosives expert who specialises in setting explosive traps to kill her enemies... including using living creatures as disguises for her bombs. She turns a mutilated captive ninja into one of these in her first battle, then kills Yurimaru with a setup involving a rigged warehouse and a small explosive sewn into a living rat.
    • She ends up being used as one herself (sadly, she didn't realize that carrying a large amount of potent, powerful explosives at all times can be a liability if those explosives are highly flammable) seeing as the Cool Old Guy managed to distract her and use her to blow a hole in the hull of the ship.
  • One Piece:
    • Mister 5 of Baroque Works has a Devil Fruit power that lets him use any part of his body as an explosive. From his leg to his boogers, to his breath. Late in a battle with the Straw Hats, he grabs Usopp and attempts to obliterate the guy with a "full-body explosion". Unlike most examples, Mister 5's powers also come with immunity to explosive force, meaning that he can blow himself up repeatedly without actual harm to himself.
    • Among the homies that Big Mom creates with her Devil Fruit are living cannonballs. These are actually a brutal deconstruction of the trope as many of the cannonballs don't want to be blown up.
  • Shana and Alastor in Shakugan no Shana do this to end the first season in a Dangerous Forbidden Technique version, although she thought it was a certain fatality when she did it.
  • In Soul Eater while battling the Kishin's forces on the moon the desk receptionist for Shibusen manages to temporarily stop Kagura by leaping inside her defensive shield while it regenerates and setting off an entire bag of bombs. Both survive the explosion, however.
  • The Marriage in StrikerS Sound Stage X are composed of some sort of material that allow them to turn their arms into weapons. This same material can be converted into a powerful liquid explosive and detonated by the Mariage at a thought, letting them perform a final attempt at their enemies' life should they somehow be captured alive.

    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: Other Cone Konchos are used as ammo by their boss; they are launched to fly towards an enemy before latching on to them and blowing up. They only look severely dazed afterwards at most however.

    Audio Play 
  • We're Alive: Kalani saves the tower by flying a helicopter into a tanker truck rigged to explode.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: A number of cards have the ability to deal damage to an opponent by sacrificing themselves, often representing something along these lines. Goblins in particular have a combination of a love of destruction and a lack of self-preservation that makes them particularly prone to this sort of tactics, as depicted in Mogg Fanatic, Goblin Grenade.
  • Star Realms: Some cards allow the player to scrap (remove a card from their deck) certain ships and bases for additional damage points. Notably, the card Battle Station has this as it's only ability.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • In All-Star Superman, the first issue begins with super-scientist Leo Quintum and his comrades on a dangerous mission to study the Sun…which becomes much more complicated when one of them turns out to be a Lex Luthor-designed living bomb. When Superman comes to dispose of the Action Bomb, it responds with the supremely absurd line "The purpose of my existence is to explode! You have no right to limit my ambitions, fascist!"
    • Grant Emerson alias Damage (member of Teen Titans and JSA) has the superpower (coupled this with enhanced physical abilities) to take the energy that he generates to detonate himself like a bomb. This power is the most dangerous of the abilities he possesses and also the most tied to his emotional state and the most likely to lose control.
    • Used as a joke in an issue of Legion of Super-Heroes. Tryouts. Next applicant: X-Bomb Betty. "I can create an explosion of 150 million megatons." Rejected for having a power that can only be used once. For comparison, the Chicxulub impact was a "mere" 100 million megatons, and The Tunguska Event is estimated at no more than 30 megatons. A blast of 150 million megatons is approaching biosphere killer.
    • There's two DC characters called The Human Bomb, whose superpower is exactly what you'd expect. He is a super-hero who generates massive explosions, usually a member of the Freedom Fighters (DC). This dangerous condition requires him to constantly wear a containment suit.
    • The premier superteam of the USSR, the People's Heroes, featured Molotov, a heavyset man who could make himself go kaboomski and reform sooner or later depending on the magnitude of the 'splosion.
    • Frag, of DC's Blasters, who haven't been seen much lately.
    • One of these was present when Judomaster was introduced to the Justice Society of America title, working as a Yakuza super-assassin. Built like a sumo wrestler, called himself Kamikaze, and self-detonated by shouting "Banzai!". Set up the loophole to her Nigh-Invulnerability powers - only direct attacks against her are deflected - then probably never showed up again.
    • The solar flare is a new power that Superman developed in the New 52. As of Superman (vol. 3) #38, he has the power to cause a massive explosion of concentrated solar energy, incinerating everything within a quarter of a mile. According to Batman, his heat vision was just a precursor to his new ability. The drawback, however, is that the explosion depletes all the solar energy in his cells, rendering him human for the next 24 hours.
    • Superman's cousin Supergirl can release the solar energy within her as an explosion without harming herself. In Red Daughter of Krypton She used this ability to knock down Worldkiller-1.
    • The supervillains Shrapnel and Frag (who tend to be Jobbers rather being a member of any particular hero's Rogues Gallery) both have the ability to explode and scatter their metallic bodies like shrapnel before reforming. Frag was actually created as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Shrapnel during a period when Shrapnel was supposed to be dead.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Nitro is a B-list exploding villain who can go off as many times as he wants, exploding into atoms and then reforming. He's best known (in universe) for killing the alien Captain Marvelnote , and for kicking off the events leading to Civil War (2006) by blowing up six hundred people in Stamford, Connecticut.
    • Marvel also had z-lister Powderkeg, a mutant baddie who sweated nitro-glycerin.
    • Rockslide of New X-Men: Academy X turns out to have the power to self-explode and reform himself.
    • Elsie-Dee, an android who was built to kill Wolverine, looks like a five-year-old girl and in her own words is 80% high explosives. However, as she was accidentally given the highest available intelligence at the time of her creation (making her as smart as a well-educated human rather than being as smart as an average kid as she was intended to be), she immediately decided that she was not interested in blowing up and disarmed herself.
  • One of the Dirty Pair comics had bioengineered exploding chihuahuas.
  • Fred Perry's Gold Digger has the Peebos, which originated as artificially intelligent robot bombs before developing into a group Robot Buddy for the series. Brianna would later install a system that flash-downloads their A.I. into a replacement body when they go off, allowing them to blow themselves up to their hearts content without sacrificing themselves.
  • Invincible:
    • The Heroic Sacrifice of Rex Splode in the one-issue summer blockbuster crossover "The Invincible War''.
    • One of the first villains Mark ever faced was a disgruntled teacher abducting students and turning them into walking bombs. Only one of his victims is still alive, and while he's no longer volatile his torso is still metal and wires.

    Fan Works 
  • Paul in With Strings Attached, though he would never use it around any living thing more advanced than a plant, and even then he'd hesitate. Though it feels really, really nice....
  • In When There Was a Tomorrow: The Covenant-Reaper alliance has turned out Grunts husks called Gremlins, which run at and suicide bombs their enemies.
  • The Pokémon fanfic Pickles and Depredation has an Eevee that learns the move Self-Destruct, allowing it to detonate like a demolition bomb at will.
  • Ladies and gentleman, a "ponified" bomb. Apparently she follows Cartoon Physics when she explodes, though, as the last time she did she "almost did as much damage as Rainbow Dash at the Weather Factory".
  • The Discworld fic by A.A. Pessimal, Hyperemesis Gravidarum, has an explosives-minded Assassin giving creative thought to Agatean Fireclay, and reflecting that a golem made of explosive clay, with a suitably written suicide-chem in its head directing it to the location of the client, would be an elegant weapon for inhumation. Lord Vetinari advises her to turn her mind to less dangerous lines of philosophical reflection. She also reflects that Adora Belle Dearheart would have words to say to an Assassin seeing golems as disposable weapons, and decides it's safer to shelve the idea.
  • In Flawed Crystals, the Serpent enemies in Pearl's dungeon have only one attack: exploding to deal a ton of damage. They will spend the first turn picking a target to help you brace for impact... unless you're doing Pearl's dungeon last, in which case they will explode immediately.
  • Remnant of a Worm: Taylor devises a strategy of unlocking the Aura of her bugs and then coating them in Dust. Activating their Auras makes them into tiny explosives.

    Films — Animation 
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part has the sentient exploding hearts fired by Sweet Mayhem's ship.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: The Bomber Bill is a gargantuan Bullet Bill. Bowser fires it in an attempt to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom during the climax. It is fully alive and able to steer itself, like the other Bullet Bills. Mario takes advantage of this by getting its attention, causing it to follow him away from the castle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, during the battle at Helms Deep the Uruk-Hai set a bomb in the drainage tunnel at Helm's Deep, with an Uruk with a torch blowing himself up to set it off.
  • Russel Casse in Independence Day: "Hello boys! I'm baaaaaaack!"
  • Robert Neville in the theatrical ending of I Am Legend.
  • Dr. Strangelove, in the famous scene where Major T J Kong rides the nuke down to its destination below, thereby causing the Soviets' doomsday device to detonate and end the world.
  • In Armageddon (1998) Harry Stamper manually detonates the nuclear bomb, sacrificing himself to save the world.
  • In Iron Man 3, the Extremis soldiers' Power Incontinence is used to turn them into living bombs. Tony also activates the self destruct on some of his automated armors to take out Extremis users in the Final Battle.
  • The Dark Knight: Joker, while imprisoned, requests 'his one phone call' multiple times. When he's finally granted it, it turns out that the number he intended to call connected to a cell phone set to trigger a bomb implanted in one of his henchmen several cells down, allowing him to escape.
  • In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Miss Ivory is revealed to be one of Spring-Heeled Jack's creations and his lover, and she carries a bomb in her workings that will detonate when she reaches Buckingham Palace.

  • In the later Flinx and Pip novels of Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth series, the eponymous hero has learned how to deliberately trigger the Super-Power Meltdown of his Psychic Powers and uses it intentionally to escape tricky situations, since he knows it won't hurt him or anyone he really cares about. It doesn't always work, something he remains frustratingly Genre Blind about.
  • Lidia Leoni decided that she had a long life and she rather go out fighting for the Resistance than waiting for old age or a stray bomb to kill her.
  • In T.J. Bass's The Godwhale, the character Drum has an explosive planted in him during surgery, then is sent to a rebel group as a "diplomat" by the world government. It's discovered and temporarily defused, but will detonate at any attempt at removal and kill him if left alone. Drum goes back home and pulls a Self-Sacrifice Scheme... right next to a major reactor. The destruction isn't that widespread, but it's enough for the schemers to reconsider their plans.
  • John Varley's science fiction short story "Bagatelle" is about a lunar police officer dealing with someone who has had an atomic bomb implanted in his body, and warns everyone that he will explode in a set period of time.
  • In Wind and Sparks some necromancers like creating "fishes". It is a walking corpse covered by small scale-like pieces of metal, hence the name. It walks to a group of people and explodes, killing them with shrapnel. What's worse, when a powerful necromancer dies, "the breath of Abyss" starts raising nearby dead and some of them spontaneously become "fishes".
  • It the conclusion to Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, Glaedr mentions that during the fall of the dragon riders, a Rider who lost his dragon converted the matter in his body to energy, producing what's heavily implied to be a nuclear blast. Galbatorix does the same thing in the book's climax when Eragon forces him to have a Villainous BSoD.
  • In John Steakley's Armor, if a Space Marine flips all the switches in his Powered Armor to "On," the safety features are overloaded and it goes Prompt-Supercritical. This is used twice.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • Foundation Series' "The Mule": Captain Pritcher convinces the remaining democratic underground, who had been resisting the tyranny of the Indbur family for eighty years and now struggled against the rule of the Mule, to let him try a suicide bombing attempt with an atomic bomb small enough to fit in his mouth but powerful enough to explode the entire mayoral palace.
    • "Let's Get Together": Each of the humanoid robots that have infiltrated "Us" is equipped with components for two types of bomb. One is a normal chemical explosive. The other is a Total Conversion bomb, which requires all ten of the robots to meet in-person.
  • War Girls: Near the beginning, a suicide bomber starts the attack on the War Girl camp.
  • Swamp dragons in Discworld have a tendency to blow themselves up when ill or enraged (as well as a tendency to be one or the other for most of their lives). One is actually weaponized in Men at Arms to blow a hole in the wall between the Fools' Guild and the Assassins' Guild.
  • Dragonlance: Some draconians (the Aurak and Bozak variants) explode after dying.
  • Marooned in Realtime: The "grenade beetles" that have evolved after human civilization disappeared. Distinctive slow-moving herbivore/scavenger insects that no local predator would dare to bother — they're too slow to keep a human from picking one up and shaking it — because none are stupid enough to bother a hand-sized bug capable of exploding like a hand grenade when annoyed enough. One cripples Marta's foot a few years into her marooning — and Wil is able to use them to drive off a pack of near-dogs stalking him and Della when they are stranded during the climactic battle.
  • In A Practical Guide to Evil, Catherine, as a cadett at the War Academy, comes up with the tactic of filling dead goats, antilopes or oxes with goblin munitions, leading them towards an enemy target through necromancy, and then targeting the dead animal with a fireball to let it violently explode. These "undead suicide goats" work wonders against fortifications.
  • In Worm, Oni Lee's power is a mix of Villain Teleportation and Me's a Crowd; he teleports, leaving behind a copy of himself and all his equipment for a few seconds. His equipment includes a belt of grenades, allowing him to be the world's only serial suicide bomber. This, along with his Undying Loyalty and/or Empty Shell "personality," makes him a horrific force multiplier for Bakuda, who's Mad Scientist bombs would otherwise be in sharply limited suppy.
  • In The Locked Tomb, there's a technique where a necromancer detonates their entire thanergy reserve at once. Palamedes uses it to damage Cytherea enough for the others to finish her off, and nearly gets Gideon in the blast too. The Fourth House, the vanguard of the Emperor's army, is particularly fond of it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Stargate SG-1. In "Singularity" SG-1 rescues a small girl who turns out to have had an inoperable Naqahdah bomb put in her by Nirrti to destroy the SGC. Ultimately the girl is given to the care of Dr. Janet Fraiser, the SGC physician, after they discover that the bomb will dissolve if she is kept away from the Stargate.
  • Star Trek: Voyager.
    • In "Basics" the crew of Voyager pick up a wounded Kazon who unfortunately turns out to have been chemically altered to become a suicide bomb. Unfortunately for Voyager, it came off as a weak copy of TNG episode 81, "Reunion", which used largely the same stunt.
    • Enterprise featured a group of Scary Dogmatic Aliens on board, can guess from the trope name.
  • In Lexx, the state of the art in both spaceships and bombs consists of semi-sentient, biomechanical insects.
  • Played with in Heroes, where anyone with the nuclear explosion ability will survive their own explosions. Not so much for everyone around them.
  • Dave Lister's suggested method of dealing with a Polymorph (in the Red Dwarf episode Polymorph. natch) was "why don't we go down to the armory, get a nuclear warhead and strap it to my head. I'll nut the Smegger to oblivion!". this after said creature had drained all his fear.
  • In TekWar, on two separate occasions, androids are used as suicide bombers to get close to their target and then explode.
  • Choujuu Sentai Liveman: Arashi Busujima, being reverted back to his old self, straps dynamite onto himself and charges to the incredibly tough Monster of the Week. All while being fired at. He runs the whole way and successfully makes it, killing both of them.
  • One of Ultraman Taro's most powerful abilities is the Ultra Dynamite, a Finishing Move in which he sets himself aflame and grabs his foe before exploding and annihilating them. Unlike most examples though, Taro reforms shortly afterwards albeit with a great deal of his life energy drained.
    • Ultraman Mebius has a similar ability called the Mebium Dynamite, which he actually learned from Taro.
    • Ultraman Orb Burnmite (a fusion of Taro and Mebius) has his Finishing Move called the Stobium Dynamite which in fact a combination of both Taro and Mebius's respective attacks.
    • Ultraman Tregear, a dark Ultraman who was formerly a warrior of M-78 and former best friend of Taro, is also able to use the Ultra Dynamite. In contrast to Taro's conventional red flames, Tregear's flames are bright blue when he uses the technique.
    • Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes gives Ultraman Ginga Strium the New Generation Dynamite, where Victory Knight, X Beta Spark Armor, Orb Trinity, Geed Ultimate Final, and Groob charge Ginga with their power to replicate Taro's technique.
  • Dean agrees to be this in the season 11 ender of Supernatural, as they desperately need to take out the Big Bad and he's the only one who can approach her. He gets a Soul Power bomb implanted in his chest and preps for a Heroic Sacrifice. She senses the bomb as soon as he gets near, and simply takes it out of him. Luckily, he's then able to talk her down.
  • The Boys (2019): Naqib. He can detonate, and live to do it again.

  • Joe in The Protomen's Act II (accidentally) becomes this to destroy Wily's control tower. It works, but things don't change.

  • Destroy the Godmodder is based in Minecraft, so of course there are creepers. Several larger mechanical entities have had self-destruct abilities.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech has several advanced optional rules allowing for 'Mechs and the occasional other unit to explode for damage if hit the right way or if the pilot decides to self-destruct, all the better to emulate certain dramatic scenes from the novels with. And of course, the Booby Trap piece of equipment will, for a suitable investment in tonnage for explosives and wiring, simply let a unit blow up right on cue.
  • Brave New World: In the World War II supplement Glory Days, a "Bomber" is a delta who can make his body explode and then reassemble himself. The Japanese perform kamikaze attacks by dropping Bombers on Allied ships.
  • d20 Modern: Survivable in Urban Arcana if you use Outside-the-Box Tactic. Strap yourself with some C4, cast "Resist energy: Concussion" on yourself, and make some fireworks. If you play your cards right, "Resist energy: Concussion" should absorb the damage you would take, and damage every enemy around you.
  • DC Heroes. If the Bomb power is combined with the Self Link power, a character can use it to blow themselves up (and re-form later).
  • Dungeons & Dragons monsters, especially in 4th Edition, have the all-too-common feature of exploding upon death, usually doing more than any of their regular attacks would do. Results in many an amusing combat with everyone swarming an enemy for a round or two, then scattering to let the mage kill it with fire from range and watch it go boom.
    • In the 4E Eberron book, there are details about if a PC is infected with Filth Plague, and if it progresses to it's critical state, the infected loses all surges, cannot heal, and when reduced to 0 hit points, explodes and all creatures within a burst 3 contract the Filth Plague.
    • Balors have had this ability since the beginning of the game. Draconians from Dragonlance were notorious for these nasty deaths. A wizard breaking a Staff of the Magi or Staff of Power can invoke this trope, though the damage is technically survivable.
    • The unliving weapon spell is used by necromancers to turn lowly undead into Action Bombs, making them violently explode from a mere scratch, or at a set time within the spell's duration.
  • GURPS: Transhuman Space has "Autonomous Kill Vehicles", small ships piloted by sometimes A.I.s (which may or may not be sapient) or occasionally Ghosts whose main function is to ram enemy ships (since explosives aren't very effective in space). If a suicide attack isn't necessary they're also armed with coilguns though, and if it is most infomorphs have backups.
  • Heroscape: Deathstalker 7000, compared to its 8000 and 9000 compatriots, carries no guns and has only average attack and defense characteristics. It's much faster, though, and carries a special Suicide Attack rule that allows it to blow itself up and deal massive damage to anything standing too close.
  • Pathfinder: As a last resort in combat, xulgath gutragers can cause themselves to explode by violently contracting their guts, showering their foes in a torrent of acidic viscera.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: Borr the Unstable, one of the Scions of OblivAeon, builds up counters as he takes damage, then, when he runs out of HP, flips and creates a massive explosion that scales based on the number of counters; if you want to do a controlled detonation, hit him on as few turns as possible to kill him, since he only gains counters once a turn. This blast can be devastating if your entire hero team happens to be in the area at the time, and very, very funny if your team aren't and instead OblivAeon has a strong presence in the arena; it'll almost certainly clear out all his Aeon Men, and may kill Scions if they're wounded enough.
  • Traveller: Teleportation conserves energy, converting potential energy (from going up or down) into thermal. Go too far on purpose (which requires more psionic power than is usually available, but can be arranged), and this trope results. (Going too far down results in an explosion. Going up far enough may result in an implosion, which can still be deadly if the teleport ends right next to the target.)
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Tau Empire has an upgrade for battlesuits that allow them to detonate upon losing a melee fight.
    • The Imperial Guard's Demolition Charge borders on this trope. It has a huge blast radius, usually doesn't land exactly where you want it to, and is thrown by HAND. It gets the job done, but its operators rarely collect on their pensions.
    • Eversor Assassins' playstyle is focused on this; find a target, make a beeline for it, then watch the hilarity. Since Eversors explode on death and they prefer to engage in melee, this means that there will be a high number of enemies clustered around it when it does go off.
    • Boom squigs are a variant of the fungus monsters that follow Ork hordes around that has a natural defense mechanism that consists of the squig violently exploding at the smallest provocation "to ward off predators", although they also just explode when startled by loud noises or as a result of indigestion. Orks have a variety of uses for these creatures, such as using them as ammunition, scattering them as living landmines, and planting them under each other's seats as practical jokes. There are also bomb squigs, regular squigs whom Tankbustas load up with dynamite and other explosives, then send to chase down enemy vehicles. Sometimes, though, they get excited and rush an Ork vehicle instead.
    • Tyranid Spore Mines are biologically engineered action bombs; being essentially a floating sack filled with caustic and volatile liquid that will explode with the power of a grenade when agitated (you piss it off, it go boom). They can be dropped by larger Tyranid fliers in bombing runs, dropped in larger sacks who's entire purpose is to deliver these, or launched into combat by biovores.
    • It's less reliable, but in some editions, a common tactic for walkers against horde armies is to hurl them into big units and hope that the eventual power claw strike penetrates and rolls a 6 on the vehicle damage chart — which results in a massive explosion, hopefully laying waste to the surrounding models.
    • Though they have not been seen in-game since 3rd Edition (and even then, only through an ancillary set of rules), 40k lore has the Catachan Barking Toads, widely considered the most poisonous creatures in the galaxy (and considering their competition in that category, that's saying something). Hailing from the deadly jungle world of Catachan, the toads blow up whenever they feel startled or threatened, spreading virulent toxins over their surroundings. Lesser Catachan Barking Toads explode with the force of an anti-tank shell, killing everything within a several metre radius. They have nothing on their larger cousins, though; the Greater Catachan Barking Toad kills everything within a kilometre when it goes off. Even power armour offers no protection such is the corrosivity and potency of their toxins. A White Dwarf article that gave rules for the Lesser Toad stated that the Greater Toad wasn't appearing because a game containing one would last until the first shot was fired, at which point the entire battlefield would be wiped out. Do not boop that merry suicide bomber.
    • Gorkamorka: Optional rules include buggies with explosive rams under the name "Kamikazee Karts".
  • Warhammer Fantasy: A player in 8th Edition can try to cast a spell with more power than their wizard can safely handle, hoping for an "unlucky" miscast surge of violent magical energy. This can be devastating when the wizard is in a unit and his unit is on the losing end of an engagement.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Schlock Mercenary, probably as a Shout-Out to the Voyager/TNG example above, features former Ambassador Ch'vorthq. Ch'vorthq is a genetically engineered bomb, set to go off at a meeting between the Creethlings (for whom he is the nominal ambassador) and the Golbwerians, killing the Golbwerian diplomats and allowing the Creethlings to attack in force. He's disarmed before he can do any actual damage. Unusually, Ch'vorthq doesn't know he's a bomb; he thinks he's a legitimate diplomat, and is horrified to discover that his employers/designers didn't actually want him to make peace. However, the 'disarmament' only stoped him from being forcibly detonated - he could still blow himself up at will. Or, rather, (since he's ugly, not crazy), setting a part of his anatomy on a short fuse and throwing it. After losing both his arms and one eye that way he retreated to the background for several years before an emotional crisis set off an irreversible chain reaction that caused everything but his brain (removed and stored in a jar in time) to detonate.
  • Girl Genius: Agatha's Dingbots have the ability to do this, a rather uncomfortable fact that the Baron's army learned when they found themselves fighting several swarms of them.
  • In Sluggy Freelance Bun-Bun uses this tactic during his last fight with Blacksoul:You're not taking me with you. I'm taking you with me."
  • Bob and George: Ran is built of shoddy Soviet materials, and breaks so often (and is made so cheaply) that his creator simply set a machine to automatically download his memory and personality into a new body and teleport it back to the location of the previous one when he dies. Result, when the heroes are facing an army of Robot Masters? Ran Bombs!
  • Nuclear Dan's entire strategy in Another Gaming Comic is to do this. Subverted in that he's normally immune to fire, but justified that any time he isn't, he still does it. It is surprisingly effective.
  • Clubs Deuce attempts to invoke this during the Midnight Crew intermission in Homestuck, by running around with a hat full of bomb and a head full of empty. It manages to terrify Fin, but not Stitch, because C4 is a stable explosive and thus unlikely to detonate with gunfire.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Damien turned himself into this in order to kill Grace.
  • Awful Hospital has the Biobags (also known as Molly Juniors), biohazardous medical waste bags filled with everything you would expect a medical waste bag to be filled with. And also used needles, which shouldn't be stored in a plastic bag, but, well, look at the webcomic's title. Whenever a Biobag sees something that shouldn't be where it is, she runs toward it and explodes, spraying contaminated blood and needles everywhere. Eventually, we get to communicate with one via the Eyeslob, which gives us something of an insight into their explosion-related Blue-and-Orange Morality.
    Commenter Instruction: >Ask if we're friends
    Molly Junior: Well, sure, but I'm not being much of a friend if I still haven't exploded you.

    Web Original 
  • Orion's Arm: The early modified humans Homo Jihadi had a modified endocrine system, "naturally" producing explosives that accumulated in their bones and other calcium-containing tissues. They were modified at the zygote stage and have not been known to reproduce. It did not help the reputation of genetic engineering...
  • In Pokémon Apokélypse, a Voltorb is used to blow up a car.
  • In Noob, neogicians have a kamikaze ability.
  • At one point the superhero guide How to Hero mentions an anthropomorphic nuclear bomb as the kind of supervillain a superhero might find themselves fighting.

    Western Animation 
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers; one episode has three shapeshifting aliens visit Earth, one of which likes the place too much, and doesn't want to leave. When the other two find out he's taken the form of Dale, they threaten to blow the Earth up unless he shows himself. Gadget thinks their bluffing and points out the obvious - that if they did so, they'd blow themselves up - but they just laugh, and give her a demonstration of this Trope, saying that they like blowing up. (Dale gets a better idea, drawing the guy out by tempting him with alien food the other two says he loves.)
  • The Mad Bomber from 'Napoleon Blown-Aparte' in DePatie-Freleng's The Inspector series is revealed to be a literal bomb when he takes his hat off at the end of the cartoon.
  • Making Fiends has the exploding pigeon fiends in "Mama Vendetta". Naturally, they proceeded to follow Vendetta everywhere they went after they hatched, thinking that she's their mommy.
  • Ninjago: In the finale of Ninjago:Rebooted, Zane, an Android, blows up his power source to destroy the main villain, The Overlord.
  • This is the main/only attack of Grenader from Skysurfer Strike Force. It's 'OK' though, he's a Robot, and he reforms shortly afterwards.
  • Many of the slugs in Slugterra have some effect that involves blowing up. Particularly Grenukers.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan has the Ridiculously Cute Critter, Tashy 497, a living bomb designed to set off an Earth-Shattering Kaboom the instant it dies.
  • Starscream of Transformers: Animated once used two decoy clones as bombs that began a countdown to detonation after they were captured and placed in close proximity.
  • The Venture Bros. had the Goliath Serum, which turns any living thing into an explosive. Hank had a brief bout with it in "Ice Station Impossible!"

    Real Life 
  • Throughout history, countless armies and fighters have employed this strategy.
    • The Kamikazes of World War II and the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks, both of which involved deliberately crashing planes into what they wanted to destroy (and in the 9/11 hijackers' case, taking the passengers and crew aboard the plane with them).
    • Suicide bombers, who kill people by detonating explosive-filled vests, usually against nonmilitary targets.
    • While it wasn't always intended for the rammer's plane to explode, aerial ramming techniques carried out by pilots in WWII sometimes resulted in the plane becoming an explosive device on wings; if the pilot could successfully get out of their plane in time before the aircraft hit its mark, then the plane exploding on contact with the targeted aircraft was just a bonus.
    • During WWII Soviets trained dogs to dash to the nearest tank and crawl under it, and then wired them with pressure-triggered explosives. 300 German tanks were destroyed this way, but the practice was deemed too expensive and unreliable (explosives often triggered prematurely when dogs bumped into things, and it was hard to ensure the dogs would go to the enemy rather than home).
    • There were also variants of Kamikaze: aside from damaged planes or pilots with the initiative to do this on their own, the "cherry blossom" (ohka) rocket-propelled plane and the kaiten manned torpedoes were designed explicitly for this purpose, with no additional armaments or autonomous capacity, and once the pilot was seated in the cockpit, it was impossible for him to get out.
    • In the same vein, a group of German fighter pilots in WWII would ram their planes into American and British bombers. Typically the pilot tried to survive the crash, so they'd aim to cause damage like shear off wings or tails. The technique was developed after one pilot accidentally steered his stricken fighter into a bomber and destroyed it.
    • The first documented rammings on the Eastern front occurred on June 22, 1941, less than an hour after the first bombings of Kiev and Minsk. Russian fighters were out of ammo and often on fire.
    • Another desperate example from the Soviet-German front. Some soldiers would tie anti-tank mines to themselves and lie under approaching tank tracks.
  • Late in World War II, American military researchers hatched an ambitious plan to release massive numbers of bats over the industrial cities of Japan.
    • The bats would descend upon countless buildings and roost in hard-to-reach places, and as each bat was to be equipped with a small incendiary device, it was predicted that the result would be widespread, uncontrollable firestorms and a devastating final blow to the Japanese war machine. The program was taken very seriously and preliminary testing showed promising results, but plans to outfit millions of bats with bombs were scrapped when a more definitive solution became available. Yet it worked—for a given value of worked. The bats certainly did what they were expected to (went and roosted someplace), but failed to do what they were supposed to (roost in something with military importance). Bats would either suffocate or freeze to death during any trip to an actual target, and it wasn't exactly an improvement over conventional incendiaries that didn't require the military to breed and care for hundreds of bats.
    • It's a remake of a trick from a 10th century Russian epic: the newly widowednote  princess Olga is persuaded to stop her Roaring Rampage of Revenge and even would consider marrying her husband's murderer if her foes will give her some nominal tribute... say, three pigeons and three sparrows per household? They wonder how forgiving she is... until the next night, when the birds returned to their dry straw nests—with fuses.
    • Those Wacky Nazis had their own, "Goliath", a rolling bomb on treads. It was remote controlled to move through any terrain, then rigged to explode when it reached its target. They also planned, much like the Japanese, to build an intelligent version of their V2 missiles, by using prisoners to guide them instead of soldiers. In other words, the first Cruise Missile system ever. They didn't seem to consider the fact that said prisoners probably wouldn't be too willing to aim these AWAY from the people that imprisoned them...
  • The brander, or fireship.
    • A small sailing vessel laden full of explosives, tar and gunpowder, and manned with a skeleton crew. The idea of a fireship is to sail it next to an enemy flotilla, preferably at night when it cannot be seen until too late, and then jam the rudder once the bearing is set. The crew then sets the ship alight and exits with a dinghy. When used correctly, they were literally devastatingly effective, being able to set several enemy ships into fire at once. The Royal Navy especially became known for its skillful use of fireships. Even when they didn't succeed in setting the enemy on fire, they certainly caused panic and confusion in the enemy ranks, as ships would break off attacks, fall out of formation, and even crash into one another trying to avoid the dreaded blaze.
    • Even as late as WWII Britain used the fireship idea with a modern twist, packing the obsolete destroyer HMS Campbeltown with 4 tons of high explosive and sending it on an operation to take out the only German-held drydock in all of the French coastline capable of servicing the battleship Tirpitz, in Saint-Nazaire. Loaded with commandos and coming in the dead of night, it charged full tilt through coastal gunfire and rammed into the drydock gates so hard it rode up and nearly through them entirely. After a fierce battle with the commandos destroying the machinery to operate the dock gates, and either dying, being captured, or escaping back to England, the Germans began mopping up the damage as best they could the next day after all was said and done. Except for the matter of the bomb onboard the destroyer which they were completely unaware of up until it exploded at about noon, taking out about 360 men and what was left of the drydock, putting it completely out of commission for the rest of the war and even 5 years beyond that.
    • The ancients as far back as the Greeks in 400 BC used fire ships as a tactic against massed fleets of wooden sailing ships. Not a bad choice since the flammables could easily spread from one burning ship to another, or alternately, a large, valuable warship could be destroyed by a dinky little boat full of lit oil.
    • The Chinese added gunpowder to their boats, turning them into true sailing explosives. The most notable instance of such a tactic working was at Red Cliff, where Wu's explosive fire boat attack crippled Cao Cao's massed, chain-linked navy. The sacrifice of one cheap, old ship (and just as often its crew) to destroy one or more functional warships was considered a worthwhile trade.
    • A potentially viable modern strategy is to load a ship with missiles and plow it into a carrier group to overload the defenses of the group. The ship won't survive and it would not be a cheap endeavor but carriers are expensive and valuable.
    • The US military strongly considered doing this with nukes. The first time was during the Crossroads test at Bikini Atoll after the first air-dropped nuke did not do a lot of damage to target ships. A second one was detonated underwater hanging from a repurposed landing craft. Next, when the hydrogen bomb came around, designs were too big to fit on airplanes, so a suicide ship was to be designed if aerial-deployed designs didn't pan out. Many hydrogen bombs were tested on moored barges, mostly for cheapness and safety, but some military engineers figured similar barges could be used to deny large swaths of the sea to an enemy navy. More recently, during The War on Terror, a common fear was that terrorists who got their hands on a nuclear weapon would try to use it like this, loading their bomb onto a freighter and then detonating it in a Western seaport.
  • Some real-life ants and termites actually do this. It's called Autothysis.
  • Becoming increasingly common in 21st century warfare via "kamikaze" drones. Such as the U.S. Switchblade 300 and Russian ZALA KYB drones both fielded in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Bob Omb


Splatoon 2 - Baller

The Baller lets the user roll around inside a large inflatable ball filled with ink. It can then be detonated, spreading the ink over a large area.

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ActionBomb

Media sources: