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Angst Nuke

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"Daddy sent me to school, but things got weird
When the kids made fun of my long red beard
And OOOOOOOOOH! I blew my stack!"
Yosemite Sam, The Looney Tunes Show

A character releases bottled, superhuman rage and literally blows up.

The building they were in, as well as any buildings in a mile's radius, are leveled. Many die. But strangely, the originator of the explosion is usually unharmed.

Very rarely can be a Suicide Attack, if it is done on purpose and kills the user. Might also rarely be Why Am I Ticking?, if the detonation trigger is specifically tied to the character's rage. Compare Burning with Anger, which is seldom destructive past a few charred bits of furniture.

Not to be confused with Emotion Bomb, which induces emotion as an attack. Any character using this probably has Emotional Powers, especially when said power builds up as the emotion does.

See also Rage Breaking Point, a merely metaphorical explosion of rage.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Closer to the end of the Android Saga, Cell was so furious after Gohan made him vomit out Android 18, causing him to revert back to a weaker form, that he inflated himself to a massive size planning to take everyone on the planet with him as he detonated. It took some quick thinking and a Heroic Sacrifice from Goku to stop him. There were still casualties from this, but much less than there could have been.
    • Vegeta does this in the Majin Buu Saga when he self-destructs to (unsuccessfully) kill Majin Buu.
    • Majin Buu even does this. When we first see him, he's an Omnicidal but misguided pink blob, thanks to Babidi's cruel teachings. With luck, he meets Mr. Satan and befriends him, causing him to give up killing and become kind-hearted. He gives a blind child sight for the first time, and even heals and adopts a wounded puppy. So... what went wrong, you ask? One completely ordinary guy with a gun shot his puppy and Mr. Satan, and set Buu off so horrifically, he expelled his own evil and it soon overtook him. Things got so bad everybody died and the world went kaboom. BUT... he got better. Let's just say pissing Buu off means you need a spare set of Dragon Balls and a planet-wide Spirit Bomb on hand to fix the damage he does.
  • Lucille from Samurai Pizza Cats combines this with Macross Missile Massacre whenever she gets upset. Big Cheese also blows up every time he gets really angry.
  • Naruto:
    • The title character himself, due to him being a Jinchūriki and having Kurama inside him. - when he snaps, the explosion of power is only the first of the list of problems...
    • All of the Jinchuriki have this problem; losing control means letting their Tailed Beast out, who sees the people that stuffed it in the Jinchuriki in the first place. It doesn't help that the Tailed Beasts are equal parts Eldritch Abomination and seething hatred for their mistreatment. However, unlike Kurama (at first), they don't normally hate their host.
    • Deidara kills himself by exploding to try to kill Sasuke. It fails because Sasuke summons Manda and hides inside him. Manda does die from the injuries he suffered, but Sasuke survived.
    • The War Arc takes this Up to Eleven when Madara/Tobi sets off six Angst Nukes within a close proximity of each other. The result was 6 jinchuuriki, all in their V2 state.
    • Obito did this when he saw Rin die. The result looked like something out of Berserk.
  • Ryouga learns an ultimate technique powered by his depression in Ranma ½. There are two forms of this. A standard Ki Blast, and the proper 'Angst Nuke'. The reason why Ryouga survives the nuke version is that the level of depression needed, combined with actually performing the technique, leave him emotionally dead for a few seconds, letting the attack pass right through him. Why it still affects inanimate matter is anyone's guess.
  • In Toward the Terra, Carina has a prolonged and destructive psychic freakout when she thinks Tony is dead. Later in the series, Matsuka does the same when he thinks Keith is dead.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka's witch transformation may count. While it doesn't kill anyone, it sends Kyoko and objects around her flying, including Sayaka's own corpse.
  • Heroic Age: Yuti La/Cervius flies into one of these when she believes Karkinos has died. In her rage she creates a black hole the size of an entire solar system, which comes extremely close to killing all remaining Nodos in existence.
  • In Bleach chapter 554, when Bambietta Basterbine discovers she's been talking to herself for the past few pages because her friends ran off somewhere when she wasn't looking, she becomes furious and releases a massive explosion around herself that takes out sizable a chunk of the surrounding area.
  • How Meliodas from The Seven Deadly Sins became the Sin of Wrath. After Meliodas' love interest was killed before his eyes, his demon blood ran out of control and created a gigantic explosion that wiped the kingdom of Danafor off the map alongside with the person responsible.
  • In Episode 17 of the anime adaption of Ace Attorney, Mimi Miney does this after being revealed in court, also as the result of Make Me Wanna Shout.
  • For the world of Promare, this is how the Burnish first awakened their powers, bursting uncontrollably into purple flames in a situation of intense anger. Shown inciting incidents include domestic abuse, major traffic jams, and your average online discussion.
  • Kuromi in Onegai My Melody once had to live with My Melody, whom Kuromi has made her archnemesis because of how much she ruins her life on accident alone. On the second day, she absolutely snaps and craters her own house in a explosion that had Cross-Popping Veins and was bright enough for much of Mariland to see.
  • In Shin Sakura Taisen the Novel: Hizakura no Koro, Édouard Snowflake gets fatally wounded in his battle with the demon onboard the train in Luxembourg. His younger sister Claris's powers build up as despair sets in, until she sorrowfully screams into the sky at which her energy unleashes in the form of libromancy magic, big enough to destroy the tunnel she's in.
  • Crimson Spell: When Vald thinks he's killed Havi, he unleashes a Howl of Sorrow that levels a castle.

    Comic Books 
  • The Star Brand wielder has this as one of their powers.
  • Variation, the Red Hulk's body is always releasing an unnatural amount of heat. His body temperature rises with rage, so much so that he can cook vast stretches of land, but spending too much time in this state will weaken him.
  • In Paperinik New Adventures there's Xadhoom: according to what she says, if she ever lost control of her powers she would GO NOVA, and then she would become a black hole and swallow the entire solar system she's in. Fortunately enough, she approached that level of fury only three times and every time she calmed herself.
  • This is how Magneto first discovered his powers; his first daughter, Anya, was killed in a fire while he was prevented from rescuing her by villagers with a grudge. While the comic that shows it cuts to a black panel, his wife Magda's horrified reaction, and the smoking corpses when we next see him, heavily implies that he electrocuted the entire village, except for her, in one fell swoop.
  • In White Sand, when Praxton has his Dying Moment of Awesome, he literally explodes with power with a roar of rage.

     Fan Works 

  • Hercules: Multiple:
    • Hades incinerates a forest in a flash fire after learning that Hercules is still alive.
    • He also does a more literal form of this after Hercules is an established hero in Thebes as he easily vanquished every monster Hades threw at him, and realizing that his two minions Pain and Panic are wearing Hercules merchandise. To a lesser degree, the flames on Hades' body flare up and turn red and yellow when he's angrier (which, of course, means they are getting colder).
  • In Big Trouble in Little China, Lo Pan's Storm bodyguard Thunder balloons himself in pure rage after his master is killed, then pops himself with his knife explosively to try and take out Jack and Wang in the process.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch senses her twin brother Quicksilver die through telepathy, and a telekinetic blast wave issues from her that handily obliterates all the Ultron mooks swarming her position.
  • In the 2013 adaptation of Carrie, the title character's opening shot in her Roaring Rampage of Revenge is one of these, sending a furious psychic shockwave through the High-School Dance that bowls over everybody and everything inside. It's powerful enough to throw Heather face-first into the door to the gym, leaving a big, blood-stained crack in the window just in time for Sue to show up and witness it.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), after Sonic wins a game of baseball he played with himself and realizes that no one is there to cheer for him, the feelings of loneliness he has been harboring for the past 10 years reached its peak as he runs around the bases so much and so fast that he digs a trench around the diamond. But the real explosion happens when his electric powers start to go crazy as his face slowly morphs from tear-stricken sadness to frustration and then into rage as he jumps up and lets out an anguished scream that unleashes all of the electricity his body generated, which knocks out all the electricity not only in Green Hills, but across the entire Pacific Northwest coast, including a satellite in orbit.

  • Happens several times in Tales of the Branion Realm, particularly to Kassandra in The Painter Knight. She does severe damage to her entire kingdom. Since she's incognito at the time, this poses a problem for her party since it's very obvious where the destruction radiated from.
  • Very common in The Wheel of Time.
    • Every channeler can "overload" which results in a significantly more powerful action then they're normally capable of, but the price is that they either die or their abilities are burned out which can be just as bad.
    • The shining example of this is definitely the death of Lews Therin Telamon, The Dragon. After discovering that he slaughtered everyone he loved in his insanity, he Travels to the middle of nowhere and starts drawing massive amounts of saidin,note  drawing more and more until it killed him and erupted all at once. This eruption is described as a pillar of light from the earth to the sky, so bright that anyone who even glimpsed was permanently blinded. After the light vanished, an enormous erupting volcano spewed forth from the ground where he died. This mountain's name is Dragonmount and it's basically Mount Everest: Volcano Edition. Thus died the Lews Therin, The Dragon, Lord of the Morning, Prince of Dawn, Kinslayer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In a flashback in Altered Carbon episode "Force of Evil", Falconer relates the story of Iphigenia Deme, a freedom fighter on the planet Adoracion, who had herself implanted with explosives triggered by rage. She eventually was captured by CTAC and put into virtual torture. She finally told her interrogators that she would only confess to the bosses in the real world. When she got the top 17 CTAC officers in the room with her, she let her rage at them trying to make her betray her friends overwhelm her, and blew them all to hell.
  • Deliberately induced to an unstable telekinetic girl in the Angel episode "Untouched".
  • This is one of the signs of the Hellmouth regaining power in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It acts as a Literal Genie to the kids in the high school built on top of it, so one of them says they're so stressed they think they might explode, one can imagine what happens shortly after...
  • Ted Sprague in Heroes. Also, Sylar in the future when his son dies.
  • On I Am Not Okay With This, when Sydney gets angry or stressed-out, she has to find a way to calm down or get out of there lest she unleash a telekinetic shockwave powerful enough to knock trees over or explode a man's head. She even tries to become a Stepford Smiler, choosing only to think happy thoughts so that she doesn't hurt anyone. It's also implied that her father had similar powers and that, while serving in the Marines, he lost his cool during a battle and killed both his own squad and the enemy force with one of these, and that this is why he killed himself.
  • Roswell, New Mexico: Max sets off one in the first season that takes out electricity for the city.
  • Dr. Cox in at least one of JD's Imagine Spots in Scrubs. And JD himself in another Imagine Spot.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution bursts of intense negative emotions can cause espers to “overload” (lose control of their powers in a way that’s spectacularly dangerous). Depending on their strongest talent, this will result in heads exploding, a massive fire, or everything around them being torn to shreds.
  • Skarbrand from Warhammer, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 is a creature of pure rage. When released in a mighty roar, this rage can destroy buildings, blood boil and cause the heads of those nearby to explode in bloody fountains of gore.

    Video Games 
  • The backstory of the Bonus Boss in Cave Story is that he caused one of these while being tortured.
  • In Xenogears, Fei lets off one of these in the beginning of the game, under severe stress.
  • In Asura's Wrath, Asura, who already draws power from rage, absolutely loses it and undergoes one of these when the little girl and the village he's been trying to protect are destroyed by Olga. The result is Asura literally Burning with Anger as he massacres an entire space fleet with it.
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (Wii version), Starkiller unleashes an enormous explosion of the Force on the bridge of a cruiser about to hit Kamino's planetary shield generator, essentially blowing up the entire cruiser and shield generator, along with a good portion of the city and cloning facilities. Starkiller soon afterwards travels through the remains of the cruiser to find Vader, fighting off waves of imperial troops while navigating the maze of debris.
  • Giegue in Mother: Cognitive Dissonance unleashes one on himself during his Villainous Breakdown when he learns his Hero Without Niiue is still alive. Giegue completely snaps in anger and fear which caused his Psychic Powers to stretch and rip him apart and merge him with the fabric of Magicant, leading to the birth of Giygas.
  • In Nier, Popola ends up causing a Sphere of Destruction after her sister is killed and she's left a screaming delirious mess. The only reason the heroes end up surviving is because Emil performs a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • A mild example in Portal 2, after GLaDOS is stuffed into a potato battery. Since she's running off a measly 1.6 volts while attached to your Portal Gun, she temporarily shorts out when stressed.
  • The Punisher has a downplayed version of this. Frank has a Rage of Sparta-like mechanic that can be activated to increase his speed, melee attacks and regenerate his health. What makes it an Angst Nuke is that the in-game justification for the mechanic is that Frank is being empowered by the memories of traumatic war incidents and the deaths of his family (evidenced by echo-y cries heard in the background and flashes of comic book panels depicting such while the mode is active), and the fact that if any fragile object is nearby when it's activated, it'll break as a result. One can break glass bottles simply because they were around while Frank entered "PTSD Mode". Keep in mind that Frank is not supposed to have superpowers.
  • NieR: Automata: This comes into play at the first final boss, Eve; who throughout the entire battle is letting these off left right and center as he completely loses it over his brother/clone's death. It could be said that the final stages of this fight takes place *inside* an Angst Nuke.
  • A vulnerability for human brain scans in SOMA, as negative emotions or excessive stress cause those scans to shut down. One example in-game involves Brandon Wan, whom you, Simon Jarret must manually restart if he freaks out when active, and at the end of the game, Catherine Chun shuts down for good when she becomes sufficiently angry at you during an argument. Then again, Carl Semken and Simon himself both can become extremely distressed and continue to function, so it may be a question as to the quality of the hardware the A.I. mind is hooked up to.
  • Fairy Bloom 1: The "怒", which is usually translated as "Anger", meter fills up when the plant takes damage, and the fairy can do a Smart Bomb-type Limit Break, using it all up.

  • Neo Kosmos: Seven has a panic attack and lashes out with their powers when Tye and Z leave range of their ability to sense them, leaving them utterly alone. They appear to shatter their containment unit from the inside out with a huge outburst caused by their anger and fear, and reduce most of their (solid stone) room to rubble with the side effect of blasting it open and allowing them access to the rest of the facility.
  • Elliot's 'Tamashii Gekido' from El Goonish Shive is a small-scale example - a localized, omnidirectional wave of force that can throw an enemy clear across the room, and apparently draws on his suppressed anger and pent-up frustrations. It's somewhat of a 'legacy' example, too, since Dan Shive originally had plans for Elliot having a whole powerset built around drawing on the power of his inner darkness, which he normally suppressed in order to maintain his 'boy-scout' persona - but wound up changing his mind and moving away from it, leaving Elliot to really be just as good-natured as he appears.
  • Ch'vorthq from Schlock Mercenary is, by design, a living bomb - not that he knew about this. He believed he had been genetically engineered to be a diplomat, when actually he was supposed to annihilate the enemy's diplomatic team during negotiations. When he finds out about this, his anger nearly causes him to detonate early, but the Toughs manage to get him stabilized with some Nanomachines, and he becomes their ship cook... until the Broken Wind arc, where an emotional revelation (namely, that the Toughs never liked his cooking but just stayed quiet about it to spare his feelings) causes him to explode with anger... literally. (They manage to save his brain, though, and put him in a new, non-explosive body.)

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • This was the entire shtick of Katie Ka-Boom in Animaniacs: every skit was her suffering a trivial inconvenience, then getting so angry that she turned into a giant rage monster that would literally explode and destroy the area, at which point she calmed down and went about her business, having completely forgotten the problem and oblivious of the destruction she'd just caused.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • During one episde, protagonist and resident Person of Mass Destruction Aang loses his temper from the frustration of being unable to find his animal companion, Appa. The resulting explosion can be seen for miles in every direction and bears a striking resemblance to Nuclear Weapons. Luckily, he was in the middle of a desert on his own at the time so no bystanders were hurt, but Katara could still feel the backlash from miles away. Ironically, Appa himself saw the explosion, but was tied down by a group of merchants and was stuck while he was desperately trying to get to Aang.
    • A smaller example, but whenever Zuko gets frustrated or upset, he accidentally firebends. Most notably during "The Beach", when he snaps and causes their small campfire to explode into a huge column of fire.
  • The Batman Beyond episode "Terry's Friend Dates a Robot" has Cynthia, the robot girlfriend, being programmed to be "100% devoted" to Howard (the friend). Problem is she's so possessive that she'll attempt to murder anyone who gets in her way and when Howard tries to break things off with her, particularly when he says "Let's Just Be Friends", she gets so pissed off that she explodes, causing the entire house to go with her.
  • The plot of one Courage the Cowardly Dog episode involved a hair tonic which caused its users to get angry over minor things, become red with rage, and cause an explosion (which they somehow survive unscathed, but the surroundings don't).
  • In The Fairly OddParents movie "Channel Chasers", when Vicky calls and tells Timmy's parents that he watched TV against their orders (and lied about other bad things she actually did like writing "My parents stink!" and "Dinkleberg rules!" on the walls), the scene then cuts to a Distant Reaction Shot where they explode into a mushroom cloud, whose smoke forms into the shape of their faces and yell "TIMMY!!!".
  • Yosemite Sam on The Looney Tunes Show has an entire musical number about this.
    Now they sent me to school but things got weird
    When the kids made fun of my long red beard
    And OOOOOOOOOH! I blew my stack!
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, in a Bad Future, Hawk Moth manages to find out Chat Noir's identity, Akumatize him, and make him choose between Ladybug and his mother. His inability to decide who to aim his Cataclysm at eventually results in him detonating it everywhere- destroying France and a good chunk of the moon.
  • Played for Laughs in the season 3 premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. When Twilight Sparkle was freaking out over taking a mysterious test being given by her mentor Princess Celestia, Spike tries to calm her down by saying it's just a test. Given this is Twilight Sparkle, he should have known better.
    Twilight Sparkle: Princess Celestia wants to give me some kind of exam, and you're trying to tell me to calm down because it's "just a test"?!
    Spike: (dons a suit of pillows and an army helmet) Uh... yes?
    Applejack: I'd say she's handling things pretty well, considering...
    (Cue Distant Reaction Shot of the tree-house library getting blown into the air and crashing down again)
  • Rated "A" for Awesome: Noam spent one episode wearing a device to remove his negative emotions (The "Blues Smoother"). The others, wanting the old Noam back, desecrate his favorite shirt, making him so angry that the Blues Smoother overloads and explodes (The resulting explosion being seen from space).
  • Benson on Regular Show has this happen in "Think Positive", when he unleashes an episode's worth of pent-up rage at Mordecai and Rigby all at once, resulting in them being bathed in flames as he tells them off.
  • Steven Universe: In the original series' Grand Finale "Change Your Mind", we get a Wham Line courtesy of this trope powerful enough to crack concrete and shake the otherwise unflappable Big Bad.
    White Diamond: What is this? Where is Pink?
    Pink Steven: She's gone.
    White Diamond: What did you say? Answer me!
  • Teen Titans:
    • Red Star. A science experiment by Mad Scientist Dr. Chang to make him the perfect super soldier turned him into a living nuke, who once blew up and devastated a village. He had to keep draining the excess buildup of power as to not overload and do it again (which got so bad it leaked out and took a life of its own). Finally it became too much for him and he had to fly into deep space to wait for a massive explosion to go off from the inside out as to not charbroil the Earth. He appeared to die in that episode, but he later returned minus the Power Incontinence for the Grand Finale battle: the final explosion stabilized his powers and gave him a chance to be normal again.
    • Raven spends much of her time meditating and intentionally being The Stoic in order to prevent this from happening: her powers are influenced by her emotions, so the more stressed out/angry she gets the more devastating they can be. Played for Laughs when Cyborg quit in the first episode, and mentioning his name in a deadpan manner while saying she doesn't care that he's not there causes her hair to swirl and a giant monitor behind her to almost shatter. Decidedly not played for laughs in the episode where the group watches a campy horror movie. She's so unable to cope with the FACT that she's afraid that her powers don't explode, they turn into a massive horde of demonic, red-eyed shadow-creatures that snatch away the team one by one until she comes to grips with it.


Video Example(s):


Ace Attorney

Ini--or rather, Mimi Miney's breakdown.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / AngstNuke

Media sources:

Main / AngstNuke