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Annoying Arrows

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Nimona: Will you chill out? No one ever got killed with one little arrow!
Ballister: Actually, they have. That is kind of the purpose of arrows.

In media, the bow and arrow has nowhere near the killing power it has in Real Life. The densest showers of arrows cannot hope to penetrate even the flimsiest Plot Armor. After all, most dramatic combat plays out hand-to-hand, so arrows are just the preamble to the real fighting.

Dismissing arrow injuries is often used to establish an Implacable Man or someone Made of Iron. A character struck with an arrow need only grab the shaft and yank it out with little more than some momentary discomfort, then go back to doing whatever they were doing. If they're too busy in the middle of a melee, they can just leave them in place and deal with them when things settle down. In extreme cases, a character might become a Human Pincushion before going down.

Note that this trope usually applies only to main characters. The rest of the time, bows are Almost Lethal Weapons, capable of instantly killing mooks with a single shot. Mooks shot by fire arrows might even get set ablaze.

Subtrope of Bows and Errors. Often one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality, especially in video games, since having characters cut down by arrows is far less entertaining than melee combat. For slings being treated as similarly weak, see Suffer the Slings. Guns Are Worthless is this trope applied to bullet-based weaponry. For when arrows are more effective than even modern day weaponry, see The Straight and Arrow Path.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: This is a Zig-Zagging Trope. How much of a danger arrows represent to a character depends on whether they're a human or Apostle, how badass they are, and who's doing the shooting. Because Armor Is Useless in this story for human Mooks and Red Shirts, a volley of arrows from a mass of archers or Guts' repeating crossbow will penetrate their helmets and breastplates, killing them instantly. The Apostle Irvine is probably the deadliest archer in-universe, since he can decapitate multiple human targets with one Multi Shot of his longbow from at least a mile away. For Apostles on the other hand, who are usually enormous monsters and at least far tougher than humans, any amount of arrows from Red Shirt archers is merely The Worf Barrage since such small projectiles cannot hope to reach their internal organs. If it's Guts, on the other hand, he might be able to at least shoot them in the eyes for significant damage. As for how our heroes fare, Guts is usually able to dodge volleys of arrows or use a dead mook as a Bullet Proof Human Shield. In the anime version of the Hundred Man Fight he even deflects some incoming arrows by a mere swish of his cape: "And now, just in case you had any faith left in humanity...know that someone, somewhere, thought that THIS made sense". The Golden Age movies also have some instances of heroes like Casca swatting away arrows with their swords, and in later manga chapters Guts is able to use the incredibly broad flat of his BFS to shield himself. When a main character actually gets hit, the trope will usually apply in a downplayed form. Guts gets hit in the hand during the Hundred Man Fight, and snaps it in two with the same hand in a show of bravado. That said, it prevents him from using it to grip his sword and he has to one-hand it for the rest of the fight. He was also significantly weakened by previous arrow wounds in his fight with the Holy Iron Chain Knights, contributing to his collapse and capture. Casca, who is not as much of a tank as Guts, gets hit with five crossbow bolts when the Hawks get ambushed by the Midland Army, which is treated as very serious since she was wearing no armor and they hit her mainly in the torso. She spends three days and nights in a comatose state near death, but miraculously she survives and makes a full recovery within a year.
  • Uryuu Ishida from Bleach hits both sides of this trope, with his arrows ranging in effect from instant-victory attacks that completely obliterate an enemy's torso to not even piercing the skin, depending on the enemy and how much spirit energy he puts into a given shot. However, unlike normal arrows, Ishida makes his arrows from spirit energy, the same way a Zanpakutou is made. If you have a higher spiritual pressure, his arrows won't be able to pierce you.
  • Case Closed uses this as an important clue for a case. Conan, confused at the apparent time of death, sees a statue of the legendary warrior monk Benkei who was killed by a hail of arrows and died standing up because of the chemicals his body produced from all the activity. Thus, Conan realized that the murderer got the victim worked up with a game of ping-pong so the time of death would appear different than it actually was.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, Chilchuck is not a strong person, nor a fighter of any sort as he'll often remind people. Even when using his bow it does little more than slightly chip some ice, with the implication that its primary use from him has always been to just point out weaknesses he spots.
  • Arrows and pretty much all weapons are useless against the primary characters in Fist of the North Star, because they're all Made of Iron. However, some of them have plotline deaths involving weapons that they're immune to the rest of the time. Fudo is killed by arrows (huge spear-sized ones, granted) and Shu dies to a thrown spear.
  • The Hating Girl is about a girl who has lived since childhood with an arrow through her head. The Japanese title (Subete ni Iya Gaaru, or "The Girl Who Hates Everything") is in fact a pun: the characters used to write "iya"/"hate" can also be read as "archery." (Possibly averted in that it apparently has happening to real people — who survived — but the manga plays it completely straight.) It factors into almost every chapter in some way, and it's caused her a lot of emotional and physical pain, although she eventually begins to see it as a symbol of strength after she and her friend Ryouji become a couple.
  • This happened in one episode of Hetalia: Axis Powers, where chibi!Lithuania took an arrow to the head from chibi!Prussia. And didn't flinch.
  • In Inuyasha the Movie: Swords of an Honorable Ruler, the Inu-no-Taisho gets shot several times by Takemaru's archers, but this does jack squat to his combat efficiency.
  • Played straight to a ridiculous extreme in Kazan when the title character (who has the body of a child) is hit in the back of his torso by a barbed arrow. After some conversation, Kazan takes out a dagger, cuts off the feathers in one swift move, and jumps backwards, landing on the arrow, forcing it forward through his chest where he grabs it and yanks it out.
  • In the manga adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, Sir Raven manages to fight off several knights after taking an arrow to the shoulder, and never shows any pain from the wound when the arrow is removed.
  • Done passingly in My Bride is a Mermaid. After Mawari challenges Nagasumi to some kind of physical card game that calls for fast reflexes, Sun and Saru join in. The show portrays it as extremely brutal, Exaggerating like crazy something that's relatively normal (which is normal for the show), and after it's over, all of the characters are still pretty much fine, except for a very severely beaten-up Saru sitting in the background with an arrow sticking out of his back. Keep in mind, you're not missing something here, this is still a (relatively) normal middle school. Of course, he's completely fine afterward for the rest of the episode.
  • In Naruto it's "Annoying Kunai / Shuriken", as they are rarely useful against anyone except Mooks. It really sucks since this is all what the Improbable Aiming Skills markswoman Tenten can do. Thankfully Akatsuki has a lot of mooks for her to kill. Taken to extremes against Kinkaku when he's in his Six-tailed form, two entire armies of shinobi rain an entire storm of kunai and shuriken at him... and he just blocks with his tail.
  • Princess Mononoke:
    • Ashitaka takes off limbs and heads when he fires his arrows at normal humans, but only as a result of the curse he's under. When the curse isn't active, his arrows bounced harmlessly off samurai armor, including once where he hit someone's head with a glancing blow and they hardly flinch when their helmet deflected it. There was also a notable difference between the stone-headed arrows he brought from his own village and iron-tipped ones he snatched out of the air or liberated from the bad guys.
    • We see Nago receive a face-full of arrows from Iron Town's residents. They do as much damage as a gentle spring breeze, and he just shakes them off as though they were blades of grass. Of course, he's a Physical God and manifestation of the Forest. However, when hit by a single iron bullet from a rifle, it goes all the way through and shatters his bones, inflicting a lethal wound that causes his deathly rage at mankind.
  • Red River (1995): Played straight during the same event, with Yuri's horse Aslan. Aslan gets shot with multiple arrows and two land in its flank. The horse is downed for a while, but then gets up, shuffles Yuri onto its back and begins walking to find help. The arrows are eventually removed by Ramses.
  • In Scrapped Princess, Shannon Casull look-alike Furet has two arrows stuck in him when he fends off several assassins as he tries to escape the city with Pacifica (still as "Pamela"). He kills a few of them before biting the dust in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Strange Dawn: In the first episode Yuko just yanks one right out of her body with no serious medical consequences whatsoever.
  • In Sword of the Stranger, a red clad female is shot with six arrows all at once while rapidly diving, but is so skilled that she does not fall, merely whipping her body into a slide and popping right back up, followed by her smugly chuckling to demonstrate just how battle crazy she is. The action flashes back to her and all six arrows are miraculously out of her body; she then throws a gigantic axe-like weapon on a chain through the air, with great force, despite having been shot in both arms. She dashes around rapidly, evading thrusts, followed by acrobatic leaps, despite having been shot in a leg. She, like most of her red-clad fellows, fights while under the influence of some kind of drug that totally eliminates the sensation of pain, which somehow also cancels out the damage done to their bodies. Anyone else hit with arrows avert this, including one Red Shirt who had his head ripped off by one.
  • Repeatedly justified and defied in Tenjho Tenge:
    • During the school-wide martial arts tournament between clubs to become the new Executive Council the various archery clubs always lose, the best ones being crushed in the final phase once the fighting is moved in a small ring and their opponents can bring their superior close combat skills to bear.
    • Ishiyumi complains of the weakness of the Japanese bow - as most modern-made bows only look like the old warbows but are weaker so that people without a Samurai's extensive training and conditioning could use them. As such he uses a powerful elastic band to fire small heavy darts with enough power and speed to cause massive damage.
  • In Utawarerumono, arrows are not effective against major characters. The archer characters can kill somebody with one hit but only if he has very little plot importance. They don't even try shooting at major villains.
  • The stray arrow in Masahiro Katayama's segment on Winter Days misses several potential targets, including a samurai who had already been pierced by hundreds of other arrows.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin (1993): Robin gets back up and keeps fighting, and then easily roofhops home after being shot full of arrows by the Rising Sun Archer. He notes in his internal monologue that he can only do so because most of the arrows didn't actually make it past the armor in his suit, though one of them did get lodged in his arm.
  • Brought up in Crossed, where one of the titular Technically Living Zombies is able to keep moving and fighting with an arrow in his eyesocket. The main character notes that while such a shot would undoubtedly leave a human incapacitated in agony even if they survived, Crossed don't care about the pain—the only way the shot would have resulted in an instant kill is if it had gone deep into the brain. He notes that this is part of why he prefers guns, as a similarly well-aimed gunshot would have turned the Crossed's head into free-floating chunks.
  • ElfQuest has a couple instances that qualify:
    • One is when Cutter gets skewered by a spear; his friend breaks the barbed end off and pulls the thing out (the battle is such that every fighter is needed, even if wounded). The wounded Cutter fights on for a few minutes before collapsing and then nearly dies despite having a healer around to work on him magically.
    • Much later in the series, Cutter gets hit by an arrow, and, there being no magical healer around at the time, he resorts to medical care by the trolls. The troll breaks off the shaft but can't get a piece of the arrowhead out, and it remains stuck under a rib, a constant annoyance to the elf. Eventually the tribe gets their healer back, and her powers manage to pull the arrowhead out entirely and heal him up good.
  • G.I. Joe: In the first Cobra civil war, hostilities fell apart when Zartan, already established as a ninja, fires an arrow into Serpentor's eyeball from far away. He got better. But they had to reclone him. Largely averted in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel). Almost every arrow that managed to pierce flesh in the series run was lethal, even against ninja masters.
  • Green Arrow:
    • Oliver Queen used to shoot boxing glove arrows because it annoyed the villains far more than all of the other ways he could incapacitate them.
    • Onomatopoeia, a villain, takes several arrows to the body in an attempt to kill one of Green Arrow's sidekicks. After a long (long) stand off, he manages to escape, even though he is a pincushion. Nobody is sure if the guy is superhuman or just well trained.
    • Green Arrow once shot Solomon Grundy with enough arrows to fill a pincushion, but inflicted no substantive damage. Given that Grundy is a) Immune to Bullets and b) already dead, this is entirely justified.
  • Played with in Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood: Huntress shoots a crossbow quarrel in the lung, and Batman snaps the shaft off. Not a straightforward example, however, because the wound is shown as being highly debilitating, and takes Bats out of the fight altogether. Still, you would think Batman would know better.
  • Lanfeust: Averted with humans, arrows and crossbow bolts are quite lethal when used against them. Played straight with trolls; Hébus refers to arrows stuck in his hide as "toothpicks".
  • In the Predator: Dark River series from 1996, Schaefer is shot in the shoulder with an arrow that has been poisoned. He is unable to believe how badly he feels from this, because he claims to have had worse paper cuts.
  • Superman:
    • Justified in Supergirl (2005) #20. Supergirl falls down after getting struck by a magic arrow, but she's up and about right away after it gets -painfully- yanked out thanks to her healing factor.
    • In the first issue of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, Kara is barely slowed down when Krem gets three arrows embedded in her chest.
  • In the first limited Wolverine series, Logan has to hunt down a killer bear maddened by a an illegal poisoned arrow fired by a hunter who then neglected to finish it off, thinking that the poison would do the job on its own. Several people were killed by the wounded bear courtesy of that stupidity.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): In his final form the White Magician doesn't even seem to notice that Artemis has sunk dozens of arrows into him until he yanks one out to shove into her abdomen. At no point does the fact that he's been shot with arrows seem to faze him. On the other hand the two arrows he "returned" to Artemis, and then yanked out, are the final straw that kills her.
  • In Zipi y Zape, the titular twins are attacked with arrows twice in "El tonel del tiempo", during their trips to Ancient Greece and the Middle Ages. These attacks happen when they are already running back to the barrel, and the arrows seem to just disappear when they cross back into the present, which makes them fully healthy again.

    Comic Strips 
  • Hägar the Horrible often comes home from battle with numerous arrows piercing his body like a pincushion. He doesn't seem to mind, or even notice them.

    Fan Works 
  • Subverted in Bringing Out the Blue. The reason Zuko isn't bothered by/doesn't notice the arrow initially is due to nerve damage. Once he knows about the arrow, he knows that he needs immediate medical attention.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening fanfiction Golden Threads Tie Us, Lucina plucks out an arrow which had pierced her own torso during a skirmish.
    Lucina's arm dangled next to her, and, more alarmingly, Falchion lay on the ground. An arrow had pierced her torso, and Severa felt the bottom of her stomach drop out when Lucina grabbed the shaft and pulled it out in one smooth motion with a sickening squelch. Lucina dropped to her knees and Severa could hear her breathing heavily through her nose, and her senses triangulated on Lucina's quick, panicked inhalations.
  • Subverted in Fire Emblem Awakening: Invisible Ties. In chapter 7, Sumia is shot non-fatally with several arrows. When Robin finds her, she outright says they "really, really hurt," and Robin removing them causes her no small amount of pain.
  • Realm of Entwined Science and Sorcery — Academy City: Queen Medb summons a soldier who pumps Mephistopheles full of arrows so the heroes can grab and interrogate him. Once Ibraki rescues him, he easily pulls the arrows out and his Healing Factor fixes the damage.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Phoebus is shot in the back with an arrow. Not only does Esmeralda manage to yank it out underwater, not only does the wound somehow move from approximately his shoulderblade to the front of his shoulder, but after barely any convalescence (less than an hour) he's up and kicking again. Worth noting that it's still a subversion in some senses, as the arrow did still down him, as opposed to him just continuing on.
  • Justified twice over in Brave concerning Mor'du. Not only is it very hard to put a bear that size down with a relatively light bow, but it is heavily implied that the bear has a supernatural degree of resilience.
  • Arrows do not affect the Gashadokuro, the first monster the heroes encounter in Kubo and the Two Strings, in any way whatsoever. Justified, as it is shown to also casually shatter swords that are swung against it.
  • Mulan: Shang takes an arrow to the shoulder that knocks him off his horse, but he promptly yanks it out, gets up, and keeps going. It looks like the arrow just hit the shoulder pad of his armor, but not actually him. Doubles as an aversion of Armor Is Useless.
  • Shrek: The titular ogre is literally inhumanly tough and doesn't realize he has an arrow on his rear until it is pointed out. Fiona has difficulty pulling it out, but only because Shrek won't stand still.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler: The sole survivor of One-Eye's attack has about a dozen arrows on his back, yet manages to survive the ride back, crawl to the throne room of the palace and deliver his message to the king before finally expiring.
  • A comedic example in Yellow Submarine. During Ringo's accidental ejection into the Sea of Monsters, a group of Injuns attack and fire at him with arrows. After being brought back to the submarine (with the help of the cavalry, no less!), Ringo merely plucks the arrows out of his chest.
    John: What was it like out there, Ringo?
    Ringo: (H)Arrowing

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When Rusty "voices" his concerns about Native Americans in Go West (1940), he reveals that he had a massive arrow in his butt.
  • In the Chinese film An Empress And The Warriors, the king is hit by an arrow which goes right through his chest. This is treated as a serious wound, but what actually kills him is being left alone with a treacherous subordinate.
  • Ace Ventura does a variation on this, with two spears he gets embedded in his legs. Instead of sensibly dropping down screaming, he just points at them and screams in bewilderment.
  • In Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Brick takes a crossbow arrow in the back during the Final Battle. He doesn't even seem irritated by it.
  • In the Antonio Banderas action movie Security, a female mook is shot twice with arrows (from a simple sporting bow, fired by an amateur). The first hits her in the shoulder and she pulls it out. The second hits her in the thigh, seeming to hurt a lot more. But she pulls that out too, and fights on unimpeded.
  • In Apocalypto, Jaguar Paw, the main character, gets hit In the Back with an arrow, which goes through him and pokes out of his abdomen. Not only does he keep running, but he barely bleeds even after he yanks it out. He goes on to evade a group of trained warriors, dive off a waterfall, and fall into quicksand, all without treating a wound that went straight through him. Later he's hit in the chest and the arrow apparently gets stopped by his sternum. It doesn't even slow him down.
  • The Archer: Zigzagged. Lauren, Rebecca and Bob are struck by arrows in the film. All show pain and are held up by their injuries. However, despite getting hit in the hand, Bob is not slowed afterward. Lauren still manages to shoot with her wounded hand too (albeit through pain and difficulty). These seem less realistic.
  • Played straight in Army of Darkness where Lord Arthur is seen to have two (particularly large) arrows protruding from his back. Providing some Truth in Television however, he is depicted as wearing full plate armor.
  • Taken to an embarrassing extreme in Around the World in 80 Days (1956), when arrows can be seen bouncing off of Passepartout during the Indian attack on the train.
  • Played with in Avatar. The arrows glance off the canopies of the human gunships during the assault on the World Tree, but that's to be expected when you take on gunships, from the ground, with bows and arrows. Later, fired downward from the back of a diving ikran, they have enough velocity and the right angle to penetrate. They're also shown going right through body armour. And they're coated in a nasty neurotoxin that's probably used hunting the thick-skinned local predators, but superfluous on humans given the size of the arrows and power of Na'vi bows.
  • In Braveheart, Hamish's father takes an arrow to the shoulder, but continues fighting and even manages to lift a portcullis with the arrowhead still inside of him. Later, however, we see what a painful process it is to heal the wound. Guess the old man was just that tough. A later scene averts the trope, when a few volleys of English arrows do manage to inflict casualties on the Scottish. The only reason the English stop shooting is because Longshanks wants to kill off his Irish conscripts.
  • In Hansel and Gretel, a man gets shot in the back by an arrow and falls. The moment the archer looks away, the man scrambles to his feet and runs as if he'd never been hurt.
  • The Qin army's arrows in Hero (2002) are attributed to being the army's strongest attribute and are likened to artillery. The badass kung fu warrior-magicians, however, swat them away like nothing. In the end Nameless allows himself to be killed by the Emperor's arrows, though they have to fire so many at him that it leaves a shadow in the arrows embedded into the wall behind him.
  • In Kingdom of Heaven, the blond German dude gets a crossbow bolt stuck in his throat, and keeps on racking his kills till he finally dies. Liam Neeson's character also claims to have "fought for three days with an arrow through [his] left testicle." He later dies from another arrow wound, specifically one he made worse by accidentally snapping off the shaft.
  • Zigzagged in Ladyhawke. Both Navarre and his horse take shots in armored areas, which are treated as Only a Flesh Wound. (Naturally, Nazarre's own crossbow bolts are lethal.) But when his lover Isabeau is shot while in hawk mode, it very nearly kills the bird, and she screams in agony when a trained healer pulls the arrow from her human body.
  • The Last Duel: Deconstructed during the disastrous campaign in Scotland, where the knight Jean de Carrouges shouts contempt at his own forces routing when fired upon by enemy longbowmen before leading a charge up a hill, arrows bouncing off his plate armor... while the much lighter-armored lesser foot soldiers drop in droves around him.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Arrows rack up a lot of mook kills, but there are examples:
    • Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring manages to continue fighting even while pincushioned by arrows as thick as sausages. However, the scene is presented as his Last Stand; he clearly knows he is dead after the first arrow, and is using Heroic Resolve to take as many orcs down with him as he can. Later, Pippin states, "The mightiest man may be slain by one arrow, and Boromir was pierced by many."
    • The Two Towers: when Legolas attempts to shoot down an orc on a suicidal run to destroy a vital wall in Helm's Deep. The orc takes several arrows but still keeps coming. Supplementary materials do explain that that particular orc was an Uruk-Hai berserker.
  • In the opening chase of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Wez gets his arm impaled by a bolt fired by another member of his gang. He slowly pulls it out while death-glaring at Max, then uses it to replace one of his expended bolts. From Wez's expression the experience is painful, but the only time he screams is before this, over frustration at Max having killed the others and escaped him. Later Wez pins a man to his vehicle with quarrels, and Max has to cut him loose with a handy bolt cutter (he later dies). In every other scene arrows and bolts are at the very least painful and very dangerous, and in most cases simply lethal. Just about every single character that doesn't die in a vehicle crash or explosion meets their end by arrows.
  • In Mandy (2018), two members of the Black Skulls gang got shot with crossbow bolts. The first guy was flipped off the bike he was riding after he was shot, the fall did more damage and he was killed by a car. The second Skull got a bolt right through the neck. The Black Skull simply pulled out the bolt and was amused.
  • Played straight in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, notably where Joan gets hit by an arrow in the leg but doesn't notice it.
  • Played for Laughs (of course) in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sir Lancelot is about to hop across a river, when an arrow comes whizzing through the air, embedding itself in the chest of Concorde, his noble steed.
    Concorde: Message for you, sir!note 
  • In The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, a Rain of Arrows is fired upon the undead army summoned to fight the Big Bad's terracotta army. As one would expect, arrows are less than effective on enemies who can't be killed.
  • In Padmaavat, Ratan Singh isn't seriously injured after Padmavati's arrow hits him.
  • Zigzagged in The Scorpion King. The pull on Mathayus's bow is so strong only he can use it. It's shown several times that his arrows can send people flying. However, one of fellow Akkadians is killed by a mook arrow volley early on. The Big Bad is notorious for being able to block arrows with his sword and is even able to do this to Mathayus's arrow the first time. When Mathayus is hit in the back by a mook, he pulls out the arrow (meaning he has very good reach despite all this muscle mass) and uses it to kill the Big Bad who is unable to block the arrow in time.
  • Zigzagged in The Shadow of Chikara. When they recue Drusilla, Teach gets an arrow through his upper arm that Cutter and Moon have to shove through and snap off in order to remove. Despite Teach occassionaly complaining of discomfort from his injured arm, it does not prevent him him hauling on ropes, climbing down pits,etc. However, this is the only instance of this, and the rest of the time arrows are shown as lethal: major character or not.
  • Played with in Shaun of the Dead, when Shaun takes a dart to the head from an overly enthusiastic Diane (according to Word of God they consulted a doctor on where a dart would have to land to be non-fatal).
  • In 300, this trope is played straight at first when the Spartans scoff at the Persian's threat that their arrows will "blot out the sun," using their shields as cover. Later though, they get killed to a man from the hail of arrows the Persians fire at them.
  • Played straight in the end of Throne of Blood. An arrow through the chest and another through throat do stop Washizu. Eventually. After which he still manages to walk towards his attackers, though he ends up collapsing before reaching them. The Criterion Collection version does have at least one of the essays defending the plausibility of the scene, given his armor and the placement of the fatal arrow.
  • Troy has a few variations.
  • In Two Mules for Sister Sara, Clint is hit by an arrow in the shoulder and knocked from his horse. The wound causes him great pain and the removal is complicated, with Clint removing the fletching and the rear part of the arrow and the titular Sara using the "pushing an arrow through his body" technique, followed by a crude cauterizing.
  • In The Wolverine, Logan is brought down by several arrows near the film's climax. He manages to shrug most of them off until he's hit with poisoned ones which eventually knocks him out.
  • Zack Snyder's Justice League:
    • Darkseid received two arrows in the chest courtesy of the Olympian goddess Artemis during his invasion in ancient times. It merely annoyed him.
    • In modern day, Steppenwolf gets riddled with arrows by the Amazons when he comes to Themiscyra to seek the Mother box that's guarded there. It does very little to stop him, as they're stuck in his bladed armor, which easily snaps them.

  • In the Animorphs book The Forgotten, the Animorphs wind up on the Leeran homeworld. While morphed into hammerhead sharks, they encounter Leeran-Controllers who shoot them with spears. Ax notes that the spears are actually quite thin, and while probably fatal to native life, can't seriously hurt sharks. As Marco puts it "We're from a much tougher neighborhood".
  • Played with in Charles McCarry's The Bride of the Wilderness. A side character is shot, but the arrow gets stuck in his abnormally dense subcutaneous fat and doesn't hit anything vital. And while he's able to keep walking, it's made clear that it's painful.
  • In the Conrad Stargard books by Leo Frankowski, Conrad introduces the concept of plate armor to the Poles. The English longbows still readily put holes in the armor, but the Mongol horsebows largely just stick arrows in the armor's surface. However, Conrad himself does get shot in the face after removing his helmet, resulting in him losing sight in the eye on that side.
  • Discworld: Reg Shoe continues fighting with several arrows sticking out of his chest for a long while before finally collapsing. It's pretty heavily implied he's already a zombie at this point, and it's even phrased that he only fell over because he decided he must be dead from the sheer number of arrows sticking into him.
  • The Divine Comedy: The centaurs in Inferno fire arrows at those damned for violence not to kill them, but only to inflict enough pain to encourage them to stay submerged in boiling blood. Justified, since no weapon could kill an immortal soul, whether damned or blessed.
  • In the Eddie LaCrosse book The Sword-Edged Blonde, the lethality of arrows or lack thereof is discussed a bit. First, Eddie meets "Spike" (real name Allison), who has an arrow permanently stuck in her neck — she has been advised that removing it would probably kill her, so she tries to make the best of it. Later, when Eddie shoots Canino, it appears that Canino might survive, but another character who wants Canino dead pulls the arrow out so that the wound will bleed, making it fatal after all.
  • In The Elenium, crossbows are considered a threat because they can punch through plate armour. No-one ever seems to worry about regular arrows, even though not even all the Church Knights wear full plate, and most soldiers don't appear to have armour at all.
  • In the Farsala Trilogy, Commander Merahb is shot by four arrows, falls down, and attempts to get up again without missing a beat. Then, at least, he's caught in another volley of arrows and killed.
  • In the short story "Gilgamesh in the Outback", Gilgamesh (as well as everyone else who dies) is in Hell. He is hit with an arrow in the arm, and bites the shaft in half and pulls the arrow out. Of course, since he is half-god, this may be justified.
  • This trope appears in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when the giant Grawp is hit by a volley of arrows from a raging herd of Centaurs. He is shown to be in considerable pain when he tried to brush off the embedded arrows and only succeeded in breaking the shafts, unknowingly pushing the heads deeper into his body.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: When Quasimodo is shot in the arm, he just pulls the arrow out, snaps it in half, and keeps going.
  • Discussed in The Hunger Games. A person Katniss shoots with her bow pulls the arrow shaft out of his body, and the book correctly notes that he roughly halved his remaining lifespan by doing this.
  • Both invoked and averted in Book 11 of The Iliad. After Paris has wounded him with an arrow to the foot, Diomedes angrily dismisses the bow as a weapon for "a woman or an idiot boy," claiming the spear is both deadlier and better suited to a warrior. The truth is, however, that the wound puts Diomedes out of action until the end of the fighting in Book 22. Played straighter earlier on where both Diomedes and Menelaus shrug off arrow wounds to continue fighting, though it's worth noting that the archer Teukros has one of the highest kill counts of the Greek warriors with 30.
  • Lili's wrist crossbow in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is little more than a distraction against enemies. Probably justified given that she just pulls it back with two fingers, indicating that it likely has the same draw strength as a slingshot.
  • The protagonist of Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle is struck by an arrow at an archery range during her summer job. Somewhat plausible, in that she's well-padded and it hits her in the rear, these are blunt target arrows (which can still kill you if you get in their way, but you might at least get to the hospital) and while the wound doesn't kill her, the ensuing infection almost does.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Double subverted with Boromir. He manages to keep fighting in spite of being hit with several arrows, but this is not a regular thing, and intended to show just how much of a badass Boromir is. Also, Boromir does eventually succumb to his wounds.
    • In their attack on Isengard, the Ents clearly feel it when an arrow hits them, but they take no serious injury from it. Justified since an ordinary arrow isn't going to penetrate very far or do very much damage when it hits a tree-sized creature with skin as tough as the toughest tree bark.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs: Averted. Three arrows to the head is all Gorbo needs to kill the ogre Golithos.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, this generally happens when shooting arrows at anyone in Shardplate, with the sole exception of the very thin visor. In addition, in Oathbringer, there's a literal annoying arrow when Shallan gets shot in the head with a crossbow bolt. Because she is filled with Stormlight, the wound doesn't actually kill her, but it does render one side of her body numb and she needs help extracting the bolt.
  • Warlock of Gramarye: A discussion in The Warlock in Spite of Himself is about the titular character wearing plate armor. When his manservant says that it will protect him from swords and arrows, the very agile fighter says, "Swords I can block, arrows I can duck, and plate still won't do a bit of good against a crossbow bolt."

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Fire Company 132 (L.A. Firefighters), the firefighters relax, in the bay when a man comes in. He was apparently jogging, judging from his clothes and the sweat on them, when he was hit by an arrow. He was able to walk, under his own power, to the fire station, where the somewhat bewildered firefighters lead him inside the station proper for treatment. It is never bought up again.
  • Despite arrows being Oliver Queen's weapon of choice in Arrow, they typically come in two flavors. They're either instantly lethal or a minor (if painful) annoyance. If its the latter, it will typically incapacitate the person, but they'll be seen moving around later like they were never hurt at all. It's probably shown the most realistically with Laurel, who interestingly was stabbed not shot with an arrow, where its treated as a serious problem that requires being rushed to the hospital, but not immediately fatal. The wound does kill her, but not right away.
  • In the pilot of Atlantis, Jason gets shot in the shoulder with an arrow. He pulls it out and keeps running, and is subsequently able to pull himself up through a window with his arms, before it gets bandaged.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Graduation Day Part 1" Angel gets an arrow through the chest, and Giles is seen cutting off the feathered shaft before Buffy pulls it out of his chest. Painful as it is, Angel isn't bothered at first thanks to his Healing Factor — unfortunately the arrow was poisoned.
    • In "Pangs", Buffy gets an arrow through her arm, and Spike gets turned into an arrow pin-cushion (fortunately none of them hit his heart). Justified for Spike, since he's a vampire and wounds like that are non-fatal as long as they don't hit his heart. In the same episode there is an amusing crossbow error, as Buffy shoots a bolt at the Native American ghost outside the window, who just casually bends aside as the bolt sails veeery slowly out into the night.
    • In "Ted", Giles is shot with a crossbow bolt at point blank range and proceeds to pull it out, stake a vampire with it, and limp to the hospital.
      Giles: No, no, really, I, uh, I don't think it went in too deep. The advantages of layers of tweed. Better than kevlar.
  • Camelot: Zig-Zagging Trope. It's mostly averted, with people on both sides of a battle being killed or seriously injured by them. However, when Kay takes an arrow to the gut, he gets back on his feet and into battle much sooner than what would be realistic (assuming he'd recover at all, which isn't certain).
  • Charmed:
    • In the first series episode "Love Hurts", Leo is shot in the opening scene with an arrow. The trope is averted by the sisters taking the arrow wound itself very seriously and not brushing it off, but played straight in that the sole thing stopping Phoebe and Piper from trying to pull the arrow out the way it went in was Leo telling them not to touch it because it was poisoned. Then subverted again in that Prue's reaction to hearing the news is to telekinetically force the arrow out by pushing it through Leo's body to get it out rather than pushing it out the way it came in. The rest of the episode is more about the impact of the poison than the arrow itself. Justified to an extent in that Leo is the show's equivalent of an angel and therefore the arrow itself wouldn't be able to kill him which is why it was poisoned with special toxin designed to kill his kind.
    • In "The Courtship of Wyatt's Father", Leo and Piper are shot with arrows. While Leo's injuries are taken seriously, Piper pulls her arrows out and treats them as a mind annoyance after it is established that the toxin doesn't affect witches.
  • Done to a degree in Deadliest Warrior. In the test done with bows and arrows, they acknowledge them as dangerous weapons, but in the staged fights between the warriors they don't do much since it would end the fight too quickly. Note that in statistics of kills in the simulated fights the bow also plays a big factor.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • When the Lannisters come after Yoren's group of Night's Watch recruits, a crossbowman shoots him in the chest. All it does is knock him to his knees, and makes him bite out a comment that he hates crossbows because they take too long to reload, followed by cutting down the crossbowman and killing several more guards, before finally getting overwhelmed.
    • In "The Rains of Castamere", Catelyn takes a crossbow bolt in the back of her shoulder, but continues to function until her throat is cut.
    • Subverted in the case of Jon Snow. Ygritte hits him with three arrows, and he rides off in pain, but essentially unharmed. Tormund later states that, given her skill and the close range, she deliberately avoided killing him.
    • Tormund is a walking pincushion by the end of "The Watcher on the Wall" but keeps on fighting.
    • Justified in "Home", when Wun Wun is hit in the back with an arrow. Being a 15 foot tall giant, it seems to piss him off more than anything, and his reaction is to casually pick up the archer and smash him against a wall.
    • Justified with the wights since, unlike zombies, Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain doesn't work.
  • On Heroes, after Kensei is shot, Hiro just yanks the arrows out of his chest. But it's made clear that Kensei would have died if his Healing Factor hadn't chosen that moment to manifest.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Zig-zagged:
    • At one point, Dagger gets hit by a stray arrow from Napps. He pulls it out later, but is in pain from it. Possibly justified by virtue of the fact that he's a magical being capable of shapeshifting.
    • In another episode, a different character was hit with an arrow, lost a great deal of blood from it (off-screen, of course), and needed days of rest and food before he could so much as stand up and walk around.
  • In an episode of Kung Fu (1972), one of Caine's enemies (a rogue Shaolin monk) attempts to assassinate Caine (before a commercial break, of course), by shooting him in the back with an arrow while he is meditating. In a later scene after the commercial break, Caine confronts his assailant, reaches around, pulls the arrow out of his back, and then contemptuously throws it at his enemy's feet.
  • The Last Kingdom: Deeply subverted at the Battle of Tettenhall; the Welsh archers wreak havoc with their longbows on the attacking Danes.
  • In The Legend of William Tell. William uses two different crossbows, but almost never actually kills or even hurts anyone; instead he does things like pin sleeves to walls or trees, or knock weapons out of people's hands. Since he only carries one bow at a time, he only ever gets one shot off before having to wade in hand to hand.
  • Justified in Lexx, as the only character who can do this has also shrugged off point-blank laser blasts, being sawed in two down the middle, and the explosion of the planet he's standing on. Crossbow bolts? He won't even stop walking to pull them out.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: During the battle of Tirharad, the orcs ambush the villagers with a rain of arrows. Many people die and even Bronwyn is fatally injured. That being said, a wound provoked by an arrow can be healed, and once the healing process has been completed, little attention is given to the injury afterwards.
  • My Country: The New Age:
    • Bang-won is shot in the chest twice and survives. In real life one arrow to the chest would probably be fatal, let alone two. Justified because he was shot as part of a staged assassination attempt that he orchestrated, so obviously he was never in any real danger.
    • Seon-ho gets shot in the arm, pulls the arrow out, then fights off a group of soldiers.
  • Novoland: Eagle Flag: Zhang gets shot in the chest, snaps off the arrow's shaft, and continues fighting.
  • The Outpost: Zigzagged. Everyone who's hit by arrows is at least debilitated, if not killed quickly. Even so, Tobin shrugs off being shot four times in a row with only a day's recovery time. Which is even weirder in hindsight, when much later on two arrows to the back are enough to mortally wound him.
  • In Princess Agents, Yan Xun is fired upon by arrows at one part. He looks a bit more than annoyed since they do cause a good amount of bleeding, but there are somewhere between 10 to 20 arrows that hit him. He awakens the next morning with all of them removed.
  • The Punisher (2017): Frank takes an arrow to the shoulder from Gunner, who mistook him for an intruder. It doesn't hinder him much as he and Gunner then fight off a hit squad sent by Rawlins to kill them, though he eventually collapses from the accumulation of wounds he took in the firefight, and once Frank and Micro get back to New York, Micro has to summon Curtis to get the remnants of the arrowhead out of Frank's shoulder. Frank almost dies from an infection from the filthy arrowhead. Nevertheless, after receiving treatment, he's doing pull-ups with ease about a week later.
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: Ning Yi shoots Zhi Wei in the leg with a crossbow bolt. In real life such an injury could be crippling or even fatal, but Zhi Wei recovers and is fine afterwards.
  • Both subverted and played straight in the Robin Hood series, where a character's reaction to being shot by an arrow generally depends on whether or not they're a main character. Mooks who get shot tend to die or at the very least, go down and stay down for the rest of the battle. The heroes however, seem much more resilient. In the fourth episode, Robin takes an arrow to the arm and while he does cry out in pain, he is still able to ride a horse while holding a baby. Marian does have to sew the wound up later though. But the worst case is in the finale of the first series in which Little John is shot in the arm...and barely notices! He then yanks it out with no trouble, still not reacting as if it were anything worse than a slightly irritating splinter. One might be able to argue that his thick, heavy coat may have protected him a little but still...
    • In one episode, Robin goes on a rampage and starts killing the Sheriff's Mooks, whereas previously he refrained from killing (he thinks Marian is dead and goes ballistic). Each arrow is invariably a kill shot to the Mook, even if they're wearing chainmail.
    • Double Subversion in the episode "Lardner's Ring." One of the guards is shot by an arrow and slumps to the ground, but then Guy yells at him to get back on his horse, and the wounded man is seen later having ridden all the way back to Nottingham for reinforcements, still with an arrow in his body.
  • Scarlet Heart: Yin Si gets shot in the chest then has the arrow pulled out of the wound. Realistically that could easily have been fatal, but he isn't seriously injured and recovers quickly.
  • In Spartacus Vengeance: Played with in episode 8, Glaber takes an arrow to the shoulder, and despite wearing armor is knocked off his feet. He isn't seriously hurt though. The Egyptian completely ignores a dozen arrows sticking out of his chest, arms, and legs; but he seems to just be that tough.
  • Ronon does this in his first episode of Stargate Atlantis, minus the cauterizing. On a more realistic note, McKay gets shot in the ass the next season and can't sit down the rest of the episode, and claims sciatica from it a few episodes later. Ronon can be excused, however, by being the Implacable Man. It's hard to say how the writers were treating this, as Ronon shrugs off most injuries and McKay will whine about most injuries.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Qpid", when Q has sent the main characters into a Robin Hood fantasy, Troi practices archery and hits Data square in the chest. Being an android, he calmly removes the arrow and reassures her that her aim is improving.
  • In Vikings Ragnar is shot in the shoulder with an arrow that penetrates all the way through. He snaps the shaft and then pulls the arrow out. he was in the middle of a fight to protect his family and the arrow would have limited his movement. While the wound does nor affect him much during the fight, afterwards the blood loss causes him to lose consciousness and he almost dies before receiving treatment. It takes him a long time to recover from that injury.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess:
    • Lucky for Callisto, she was a god at the time, so she wasn't killed. Xena herself takes an arrow to the abdomen in Episode 2, and both pulls out, and cauterizes the wound herself. It only takes her a few days to recover- which just so happens to be one of the longest recovery times on the show.
    • Gabrielle takes an arrow to the chest in one particularly memorable episode. It takes her a while to recover as well, but this is mostly due to the arrow being tipped with poison.
    • Xena takes almost as many arrows as Callisto did in the featured picture, (pulling only some out), in the finale. Unfortunately for her, she wasn't a god at the time.

  • In the 2010 pachinko PV remake for X Japan's Kurenai, the setting is Ancient Japan, and Yoshiki is playing the role of a Highly-Visible Ninja saving a princess. The trope is averted in one of the Alternate Endings - the arrow hits him in the shoulder, he collapses, and the palace burns down around him and the princess in a Bolivian Army Ending. In another (the "good" ending), it's played straight when he pulls an Arrow Catch, grabs the arrow, and proceeds to save them both.
  • In the official video for Alt-J's Hunger of the Pine, the main character is shown running through a forested area while being pelted with hundreds of arrows. Downplayed in that he does feel pain, and eventually starts bleeding, but it does not stop him from getting up and continuing to run again. Although considering the theme of the song, the arrows are probably meant to be symbolic of the pain of unrequited love.


    Tabletop Games 
  • In early Mechwarrior, the BattleTech RPG, bows do not grant a strength bonus to damage—arrows deal between 2 and 9 damage per arrow. By contrast, a basic pistol can deal up to 15 damage per bullet. The average unarmored player character could theoretically take a dozen arrows and not die (they will still be wounded, of course, just not fatally).
  • Bows are low on the damage-dice totem pole compared with most guns in Deadlands. This can be very irritating for any characters who opt for the Old Ways Oath.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Due to the way Hit Points work, it's possible for a high-level character to be hit and damaged dozens of times by arrows and still be in good shape. This is true for all weapons, however. Ranged weapons are generally balanced with melee weapons in various ways.
    • The arcane spell Protection From Arrows, which either grants total immunity to damage from arrows and other projectile weapons (2nd Edition and earlier) or Damage Reduction (3.0 and later). The third edition version can be bypassed by magical weapons, which will be fairly common after about level 6.
  • The bow is one of the weakest weapons in Feng Shui that you can use Gun Schticks with. They do a bang-up job on Mooks of course, since all you need to do is hit with an Outcome of 5 or more to down them, but you're going to need a lot of arrows to even give your average named character pause, let alone kill him, since the base damage of a bow in this game is only 7, which is equivalent to an average kung fu warrior's punches or kicks. Taking your bow as a Signature Weapon increases its damage to 10, which is equivalent to your average 9mm pistol (see Almost Lethal Weapons).
  • In 7th Sea, the bow is a powerful weapon, dealing about as much damage as a sword. It takes two actions to fire, making it much faster than the devastating - but devastatingly slow - guns.
  • Shadowrun: From 5th edition onward, bows are deadly and have Trick Arrow options, but lack the bang-for-your-buck of even a basic handgun.
  • Played straight in the various Warhammer 40,000 rpgs, bows and crossbows are categorized as 'primitive' weapons and so armour gets x2 protection against it and bows do low damage as a base. Shooting an Imperial Guardsman in a flak jacket is barely going to scratch him let alone going after a Space Marine in terminator armour.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. An arrow is a Damage 3 hit, the same as an average man swinging a mace or sword at you, only much harder to avoid. However, once you start leaving regular human enemies and low-level goblins behind and start fighting orcs and Chaos marauders and the like, your Damage 3 arrows go from quite effective to damn-near useless. You aren't playing your born-to-be-heroes D&D characters here, you're playing ordinary people in a world where the ordinary person is woefully outmatched by most things. In 4th Edition, bows do scale with strength while crossbows and firearms do not, but the strength an average adventurer would need to match the punch of even a basic arquebus is extreme (strength bonus 6 or higher).

    Video Games 
  • Played straight in both Assassin's Creed games where the main characters can take multiple shots from arrows without even losing one square of health. The arrows do however stop you from climbing.
  • Rosa in Assassin's Creed II. During a cutscene she's shot in the leg while climbing a building and promptly falls about a story back to the ground. Not only is she uninjured from the fall, but she's able to limp at sprinting speed and continue fighting with the arrow in her leg, though eventually she gives in to the pain and Ezio has to carry her to safety.
  • Played with in Assassin's Creed III. A close to mid-range arrow is a kill shot, but be too far away and your arrows won't even kill a man. If that happens, it really puts the Annoying in Annoying Arrows: If your shot wasn't noticed, your victim and any friends of his will do a search for, like, fifteen seconds before shrugging and acting as though nothing happened.
  • The trailer for Assassin's Creed: Revelations kicks off with Ezio getting shot in the shoulder with an arrow, calmly snapping off the shaft and leaving the head in, before proceeding to beat the hell out of dozens of Templars with no visible problems, being overwhelmed only after being distracted. Since he wears some pretty heavy duty armour in the later games it's possible that the arrow didn't reach his flesh at all, but instead embedded in the armour.
  • Taken to an absolutely ridiculous extreme in Asura's Wrath, where hundreds of massive SPEARS that are practically a Macross Missile Massacre are still seen as only annoying by the title character himself.
  • Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War plays it both ways. A squad of archers or crossbowmen cuts a swath through armored knights, footsolders and pikemen. Against lightly armored troops, like knives or fencers, you might as well be throwing spitballs.
  • In Brave: The Search for Spirit Dancer, enemies shot with arrows will gleefully continue to run around, even with several sticking out of them.
  • Though this holds true for many roguelikes, the graphical Japanese take on roguelikes (filled with many hilariously wrong tropes especially regarding marriage/breeding), Elona, plays it straight. Equal skill in bows and throwing will still usually result in shuriken and sometimes even special throwing stones doing lots more damage than normal bow+arrow combinations, due to having larger min/max damage (as high as 1d25 for normal shuriken, based on material) and higher dex resulting in landing higher rolls more often. However, the best random artifact bow+arrow combination will still always beat shuriken, simply due to having double the skill/statboost (as you equip bows and arrows separately), as well as other cumulative effects. Still, the game does not strive for total realism like other roguelikes, only halfhearted, and so shuriken remain better overall for dungeon crawling because anything can bleed and shuriken cause 'cut' damage. Yes, even golems and the undead. Shot weapons do minimal damage against them, but the cut damage can be coupled with poison/acid to drain them away. There are also anachronistically guns available, but only the shotguns seem worthwhile.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Naturally, a crossbow bolt to a vampire's stomach does little.
  • Played straight by the unit animations in Civilization 4 even while being averted by the combat mechanics themselves; archery units have fairly impressive stats (at least by ancient and mediaeval standards), but when they're actually shown fighting a melee unit, they do so by first losing a round of more-or-less useless arrows and then resorting to hand-to-hand combat.
  • Played straight in Conan. When the titular barbarian is struck with an arrow, all the player has to do is hit a button to have him yank it out, with no ill effects. Of course, Conan is one of the biggest badasses in literary history.
  • Dark Souls. Compared to melee weapons, the standard bows and crossbows do little damage. Their typical use for the player is to get an enemy's attention and draw them away from a group. However, they do stagger you, which can leave you open for melee enemies to tear you apart. However, around a third of the way in, enemies start to wield the massive Dragonslayer Greatbows, which do damage comparable to heavy melee weapons, and can knock you around even if you block. Also, rather amusingly, arrows remain sticking visibly out of your character model for a little while, which is hilarious when it's a greatarrow the size of a small spear and you look like a pincushion.
  • Towards the end of Dead Space 2, Isaac confronts Tiedemann, resulting in the latter shooting the former with two javelins. How does Isaac respond? By yanking the javelins out - one of which looks like it must have deflated his lungs. He can even heal after the final battle, meaning he literally shrugged it off, via the same first-aid magic that can heal him from within an inch of death after a Necromorph mauls him.
  • Played mostly straight in both Drakengard games. Archers and crossbowmen are easily some of the most annoying enemies out there, but they're unlikely to kill you unless you stand around and let them. However, if you happen to be riding a dragon, a shot or two from an archer will knock you to the ground faster than you can blink.
  • In Dungeons, Minos has several arrows jutting from his back.
  • From the Dungeon Siege series, it is normal for enemies to end up with 6, 8, even 10 arrows visibly pin-cushioning them, and they keep coming.
  • Wooden bolts in Dwarf Fortress are outright useless against metal armor, and even metal bolts can require an absurd number to kill an enemy. You can, however, send an absurd number of crossbow users to counter that; in the link, the giant was facing around a hundred marksdwarves, and didn't last much longer.
  • Dynasty Warriors loves to play with this trope.
    • Due to Gameplay and Story Segregation, characters shot in cutscenes with arrows react fairly realistically, though as in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Xiahou Dun once gets shot in the eye, but was such a badass that he plucks it out with eye attached and eats the eyeball to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies.
    • Archers in low difficulties are little more than an annoyance. Only in higher difficulties do you even have to start worrying about them.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind downplays it. Enemy ranged attackers, be they archers or users of thrown weapons, are typically only dangerous to the player in the early stages of the game as their attacks are particularly likely to "knock down" low Agility starting characters. Once you've gained some levels, it becomes easy to dodge enemy archers due to their Painfully Slow Projectiles and those that do hit you deal Scratch Damage at best since the vast majority of them use weak bows and arrows. Further, there is a chance for the projectiles to show up in the inventory of those hit, implying they are pulled out in Catch and Return fashion.
    • Skyrim: Even high-level archers' arrows are reduced to Annoying if you have the Deflect Arrows perk in the Block skill tree and make use of it. Reduced even further to the point of being simply "Thanks for Free Ammo!" if you have the Slow Time shout, allowing you to simply walk up and grab those pesky arrows out of mid-air, with enough time to equip them and even fire them back!
  • Two characters in Eternal Darkness can find a crossbow, but it has a lengthy reload time, and most monsters except for Trappers are barely affected by the bolts they fire.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: The Marva Forest is protected by the Duba people, most of whom attack on the ground but a few hide up in the trees and shoot arrows down at an angle. Zophy can simply pluck them from the air and throw them back at the archers and Coma can use her devil magics to repel them. Otherwise, they can easily snipe you when you're busy fighting off a dozen dedicated Duba defenders.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, for all that Rosa's bio describes her as one of Baron's most skilled archers, her arrows are fairly weak and frequently miss unless you constantly utilise her "Aim" ability - generally players will prefer to stick to her White Magic.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics arrows deal much less damage than sword strikes. They're mostly used for Status Infliction Attacks.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Without considerable cross-job stat-optimization, Bows and Greatbows have considerably lower Attack than the corresponding melee weapons, Archer's have below average Attack, and Rangers and Hunters have average Attack (though the later has some good abilities for boosting damage). The exception to this is the Sniper, which has the highest Attack of any Viera class and is tied with a couple others for the best attack of any class.
  • Hercules from God of War III doesn't take any damage from The Bow Of Apollo.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic: While ranged troops can inflict some pain, they suffer from limited range (anything beyond halfway across the battlefield takes half damage) and the inability to shoot if enemies are close to them (in which case they have to resort to melee weapons and again deal only half damage, in addition to losing any special effects). Even factions with strong shooters, like Ramparts, are generally deciding their battles with the melee units.
  • Played straight most of the time in the Sega CD/iPhone RPG Vay, but subverted in one particular cutscene where the apparent Big Bad, Emperor Jeal, snipes plucky elf boy Pottle with a bow, killing him with a single shot to the heart..
  • Played half-straight in most The Legend of Zelda games. You often encounter enemy archers and being hit by them is more an annoyance than a real threat. Although your arrows tend to deal as much damage as one of the swords you get in the game, and usually more than the starting sword. It may be less a difference in arrow power and more the fact that once you've picked up a few Heart Containers, you can take more punishment than some bosses can, whereas the average mook has less health than you have even at the beginning of the game.
    • In some Zelda games, arrows that don't kill enemies will stay attached. One might say it fit better in the cartoony The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker than the more realistic Twilight Princess. Still, it's hilarious to see Bokoblins or Lizalfos walking around with arrows in their face and ass.
    • Actually played for laughs in The Wind Waker. There's a friendly fish in each sector of the ocean who has some ferocious body aches that only acupuncture can cure. You have to shoot the fish with your bow as he leaps out of the water, and if you shoot him enough times within the time limit, he'll pay you 200 rupees and tell you how good it feels to have all those arrows sticking out of him.
    • Hyrule Warriors: The only time that the archer infantry will ever pose a serious threat to you is in Adventure Mode battles where every hit is devastating. Outside of that, they fire so infrequently that they are only threatening to sword infantry that are tied up fighting against other sword infantry.
  • Lords of the Realm 2 plays both sides of the fence. Bows are not very effective against armored units and rely on More Dakka. Crossbows have much worse range and rate of fire, but each projectile is a guaranteed kill, making short work of heavily-armored knights and even Made of Iron siege engines. Archer units consist of this when used on stronger defensive units such as pikemen.
  • In Lufia & The Fortress of Doom and Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals:
    • The party's bow-wielders are somehow able to strike multiple enemies in a single attack. Naturally, their arrows do about as much damage as a poke from a knife, though they serve nicely to soften up enemies for the swordsmen to finish them off.
    • Fortress of Doom also includes enemies who bombard the party with multi-target arrow attacks. A group of them is a little more than "annoying".
  • Master of the Monster Lair: When you're introduced to bow type weapons, you're told specifically that they deal extremely low damage but often have good secondary effects. This is accurate.
  • This is a core mechanic for your enemies in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor: Talion is a ranger/lich with supernatural Bullet Time bow powers, so to even the odds his enemies can obtain the power to negate ALL arrow powers. That's right; if an orc warchief/lieutenant levels up and takes the right feats, any and all arrows bounce off their flesh and armor. However, the minions and red barrel tenders might find it not-so-pathetic...
  • In Minecraft arrows zigzag this; in inclusion to having knockback that could send you off a potentially fatal drop, an arrow shot by a skeleton or a pillager at an unarmored player is more dangerous than a zombie or spider, though they quickly become something you can shrug off as your armor tiers get better and better. A fully charged bow shot from another player, however, can be one of the most damaging hits you can take, even without a Power enchantment on the shooter's bownote . The crossbow deals even more damage than an unenchanted bownote  though it lacks any damage-increasing enchantment other than Multishot (Piercing only allows the crossbow to deal damage to more than one target; the damage the mob takes is unchanged). Once the arrows hit, though, they linger on the player model to no adverse effect, and if you have creative mode on, you can make them a Human Pincushion so covered in arrows you can't see their player model past the fletchings.
  • In Ravensword: Shadowlands, especially early into the game, arrows can prove very inefficient in trying to whittle down the enemies' health. On the upside, you never run out of projectiles.
  • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica: The Bowgun is a weapon so weak it might as well be a novelty toothpick crossbow – it often takes ten or more shots to just down a zombie, and half that more to kill it. Its only saving graces are that all the ammo fits inside it at once with no need to reload so it's spammable, and the craftable explosive arrows are much stronger, though the gunpowder used in making them is prohibitively rare.
  • In Rimworld, in general projectiles aren't that powerful so your colonists and enemies can potentially pelt each other with arrows, javelins and bullets for several minutes until combined pain and blood loss puts somebody out of the fight. Although sometimes a vital can be hit and the target will be crippled or killed instantly. Additionally, any bleeding wound carries an infection chance if left untreated or treated improperly, which is far more serious. And once item quality was accounted for, Recurve Bows and Greatbows became quite deadly if made well enough, let alone proper firearms.
  • In the Alpha 17 build of 7 Days to Die, stone arrows are pretty weak if your Archery skill and the bow's quality are low. A plain ol' regular zombie can take up to 6 arrows to the head to go down for good. It's still better than trying to go for melee combat, though.
  • Shadow of the Colossus: Wander has a bow and arrows, but they do no damage whatsoever against the Colossi. Justified in that the Colossi are, well, colossal and partially made out of stone. Wander's bow is still useful for either getting a Colossus's attention or irritating it, however, which can play a major role in exposing their weak spots. Averted for Wander himself, as in the final scene, he gets shot in the leg with a crossbow bolt, and the leg is rendered completely useless.
  • In Suikoden II, Luca Blight is peppered with more arrows than should be necessary to kill a man. And he's still able to fight off your eighteen best party members while being pelted with even more arrows before fighting your main character in a duel. Granted, this is Luca Blight we're talking about.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Snipers have the Huntsman (and its cosmetic alternative, the Fortified Compound) bow as an alternate to the usual Sniper Rifles. Compared to bullets, Huntsman's arrows do pack a lot of punch after a quick charge (enough to kill many classes outright), but a Heavy that is being healed can run around with several arrows sticking out of various body parts without any side effects. Even if an arrow goes through his head. This is an interesting example, though, because while it's played absolutely straight if you don't get a kill, you can put someone down hard and fast with a well-placed, charged arrow. Overlaps with Critical Existence Failure for that reason. There's even an achievement for hitting an enemy with 3 arrows without killing them. The arrows can also be lit by a teammate with an incendiary weapon.
    • Both the Huntsman and the Crusader's Crossbow can play this straight due to their projectile-based attacks. Since they are physical projectiles, they use the much larger projectile hit box. This results in hilarious incidents where you can get killed by a headshot from an arrow that missed your face by half a foot. The annoying part comes in when the opposing sniper realizes that the lower wait time means he can spam more arrows in your general direction, rather than actually trying to aim, which ended up earning the weapon the nicknames "Huntspam" and "Lucksman".
  • The Total War series handily subverts this trope. Your army can easily lose a lot of soldiers from an attack by a group of determined archers. The same also goes for slingers.
    • Units with heavy armor and facing your archers suffer few loses from arrows. Place your archers behind them (where shields are useless) and they become highly effective.
    • Played straight in a subtle manner: soldiers dropped by arrows have a much greater chance of recovering after the battle, especially if they have heavy armor. Troops trampled by horses or felled in close combat with melee weaponry are more likely to not recover.
  • Turok: Evolution: Shoot an enemy in the arm with an arrow, and the arrow will take his arm off. Shoot them in the head, and they'll be decapitated. However, the larger enemies (incidentally, the ones with miniguns and rocket launchers) can take 3 or 4 arrows in the gut and keep fighting.
    • In the most recent Turok, the bow is quite possibly a gamebreaker. Enemies won't react to shots you fire if you're in cover (they'll panic at what the shot does to their buddies though...), and you quite happily puncture through hi-tech body armour resulting in a one-hit kill. The only "penalty" is the need to hold down the fire button for a second or two before letting rip.
    • Turok 2 for the N64 had realistic arrows for use against the monsters. Fill their arms full, sure, but one good arrow through the brain and they fall down dead. And joy, you can pick up the arrows again! Wheee!
      • It also had exploding arrows, which were insanely, less effective than the standard ones. Until they did explode.
  • In Vagrant Story, Sydney is shot through the heart with a crossbow bolt. He pushes it straight through his body and out the other side. Far from being treated as normal, it's proof that Sydney is, as he claims, immortal. Although at the start of the cut scene, they do subvert this trope by having Ashley's crossbolt shot knock Sydney to the ground
  • Played ridiculously straight in Wild Blood, on both fronts. Enemies armed with arrows deals scathing damage to your health, compared to those using swords, axes or hammers. Meanwhile, you obtain a bow from your friend Sir Gawain as early as stage 2, and it turns out those arrows of yours are lousy. The damage inflicted on Giant Mook enemies are barely even visible!
  • In World of Warcraft: Generally if a non PvP Guard NPC or a Warrior/Rogue shoots you, it is no cause for concern, as the damage they do is often forgettable. Projectiles also visibly protrude from character models, so it's not uncommon to see a PC with several projectiles sticking out of him but none the worse for wear.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night. Apparently arrows just aren't cool enough to be an effective weapon for Archer, therefore his normal arrows do damn near nothing. They might work against Caster, acknowledged in story as being the weakest Servant. However, he can use some 'special' arrows to get explody effects.
  • In Long Live the Queen, if Elodie decides to attend Gwenelle's birthday party, her carriage will be attacked on the road by bandits. Failing an Archery and Reflexes check there will get her shot by an arrow in the skirmish. She will then automatically try to remove the arrow incorrectly and die in the process if you didn't sufficiently build up her Battlefield Medicine skill beforehand. Even if you pass that, however, she still has the arrow stuck in her, and will have to pass Composure and Meditation checks to prevent her from panicking and bleeding out.

  • The fae in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, as demonstrated by Queen Nutmeg here. Being impaled by a spear doesn't bother her until she tries to hug Jyrras, who wouldn't get this trope.
  • To a ludicrous extent in Dominic Deegan. In one instance, Dominic himself is hit in the arm with an arrow. The next day he has a dressing on his arm and is leaning on a cane with it. The day after that, there is no sign he was injured. In another, an orc was shot in the back with an arrow, only to come flying in out of nowhere to deliver a Big Damn Heroes moment 3 strips later.
  • In Dungeons & Denizens, Min gets shot in the back by one of the Six. His reaction is, "Ow! Hey!" Again, this is a parody of D&D game mechanics, since the comic centers around monsters maintaining a dungeon for adventurers.
    • Even worse, in one arc a bunch of archers let loose several volleys of arrows with the express intent of "not killing".
  • The Jägers of Girl Genius seem to have no problems with continuing fighting with several arrows sticking out of them. However, Jägers are Super Soldiers and consider a torn-off arm to be bad-but-probably-not-lethal, so thinking they can soak a few arrows isn't too much of a stretch.
  • Goblins plays the trope fully in early strips including the "yank it out" method of dealing with them.
  • Played with to hilarious effect in Looking for Group, in which Richard gets hit by ballista bolts and is stuck to the mast. He is then referred to as a ladder, and offers Cale to "climb me to safety!" Richard is undead, so arrows won't hurt him all that much.
    • Richard seems to be an arrow magnet. In another page, he takes an entire volley of arrows in the back. Cale manages to pull out all but one, which he then uses to shoot Richard up into a guard tower.
  • *thwak* "Ow." Keychain of Creation is based on Exalted, which centers around overpowered Player Characters, so this example is at least justified.
  • minus., strip #23. Those people were shot through the stomach and unharmed. Of course, minus did it.
  • Discussed and subverted in NIMONA: An arrow hits Nimona in the leg, and she doesn't seem to care, as per this trope. However, Ballister chides her for her attitude, and proceeds to treat it as a serious injury. Leads to the page quote. Later on, the trope is played relatively straight after all: Nimona turns out to have the ability to heal very quickly, which allows her to fully recover from the wound within days. She simply forgot to tell Ballister about it...
  • Applies in The Order of the Stick (examples: 152 and 425), but possibly justified, as the comic is based on traditional roleplaying games and all their associated absurdity. The "protection from arrows" spell further trivializes arrows, making them about as dangerous as wads of tissue paper; but even without this enchantment, most characters can take several arrows to the torso and just keep on fighting.
  • Played straight and subverted in Our Little Adventure. Julie's favorite weapon is the bow, and much of the time her arrows don't harm her opponents much, but then she shoots that female imperial soldier...
  • Slightly Damned brutally subverts this with the mysterious Golden Arrows. It's stated pretty much flat-out that if they so much as prick you, you are Deader than Dead. In this case, A Wizard Did It. Take a look at the wound, it's more akin to the arrow exploding once it hit. Getting hit with an arrow is bad enough, losing a large part of your torso immediately afterwards just adds to the fun.
  • Doc from The Whiteboard treats tranquilizer darts much the same way. (Being a large polar bear running on adrenaline helps.) Ditto a chemically enhanced arctic fox. Then, there was some offscreen event involving Roger, grenade launcher, riot armor and arrows
  • In The Handbook of Heroes, Barbarian is introduced in "Barbarian vs. Thief" standing in front of a hail of arrows, unconcerned by them due to her high HP.

    Web Original 
  • Tifa in Dead Fantasy V. Granted, she comes from a world where Guns Are Worthless and she has probably hit level 99, but even so, getting shot by five arrows hurts a lot. Nevertheless, she remained a pincushion for the remainder of the fight. It does seem to actually affect her for a moment, as she slumps against the car she slammed into from the force of getting hit by five arrows and has about a minute long memory sequence. Then she gets up and slams a metal pipe through a man's skull and out the other side. So. Back in full effect again.
    • She's also fortunate(!) enough to have just been badly beaten by an opponent who knocked out all of her Materia, which is sort of like removing the adamantium from Wolverine's bones: a trade-off. She can't blast the archers at range anymore, but her ability to take damage just went through the roof. Given how the fight turned out, the arrows had an impressive (if still unrealistic) effect on it.
  • Destroy the Godmodder: To its logical extreme. The more arrows, the less effective each arrow is (most of the time). Oftentimes, a cloud of arrows isn't even enough to down a single mook.
  • In Farce of the Three Kingdoms, Zhuge Ke goes through most of a chapter with an arrow sticking out of his head. However, he can only do this because he made a deal with one of the death scene judges, and normally arrows are fairly lethal.
  • Just about anyone shot with an arrow in the Survival of the Fittest seasons has done either this or had the arrow merely graze them. Most notably with Jacob Starr, who took not one but two crossbow bolts to the shoulder with little to no ill effect (although the character was absurdly Made of Iron).
  • The Teen Girl Squad in Homestar Runner gets ARROWED!

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • In "Princess Potluck", arrows keep getting fired at Jake. In the end, one manages to hit him in the back. It turns out the red squirrel from "The Duke" is the culprit, having gone completely Ax-Crazy since Jake apparently still isn't printing the squirrel's letters in his advice column. Jake doesn't seem that bothered by the arrow, and is just confused since he still doesn't recognize him.
    • In "Happy Warrior", a fire elemental (and Gunther) shoot arrows at Lumpy Space Princess, but it doesn't seem to do anything but bother her.
  • A flashback in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien depicts a Lucubra riddled with arrows (and a few spears), but still coming.
  • In one episode of Kaeloo, Kaeloo, Pretty and Quack Quack are shot with a bunch of arrows. None of the three takes it as anything more than a minor annoyance.
  • Subverted in Metalocalypse, in the final episode of Season 2; Ofdensen is shot through the chest with a crossbow, and immediately is almost unconscious— and then he lies motionless, apparently dead, while the band stands nearby and does nothing to help (either he's dead, or they're just too stupid to know First Aid— a very real possibility).
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, in the episode "Leap Frogs," Ed and Bev have "lost the spark" in their marriage, and Cupid decides to remedy the situation by shooting Ed with one of his arrows. Ed wakes up and...informs Bev that they've run out of mouthwash. Cupid keeps shooting arrows at Ed all night long, to no avail. Ed heads to work the next day full of love arrows, and Cupid throws his empty quiver at a couple of birds in frustration.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • Jack's dad takes multiple arrows in the shoulders, legs and below the ribs when fighting Aku. This only enrages daddy, though, and you can guess what happens.
    • A army of futuristic vikings attempt to seige a tower protected by three blind archers in Episode VII. Unfortunately, they misunderestimate the archers' phenomenal hearing, combined with the fact the tower is surrounded by snow. The result is that the bezerkers lose a lot of their men and machines, which are riddled with arrows.
  • In an episode of Time Squad Tuddrussel gets shot in the butt multiple times while escaping from a Chinese prison.

    Real Life and Legend 
  • If Animal Planet documentaries are to be believed, a cat survived being shot by an arrow through the head - with no major damage.
  • Oda Nobunaga is believed to have once taken an arrow to the neck without flinching, a reaction that gained him the nickname of 'Demon King'. Of course, the reason this was noteworthy - let alone worth a nickname - was that the Japanese warriors of that age knew exactly how painful, and often lethal, a shot like that was.
  • In 1403, the sixteen-year-old future King Henry V of England fought in the battle of Shrewsbury and got shot in the face with a longbow arrow. He survived thanks to the skill of royal physician John Bradmore, who employed honey as an antiseptic, used a clever instrument to remove the arrowhead without causing more damage, and flushed the wound with alcohol. Henry had permanent scars after the operation, but went on to have a storied military career.
  • In Homer's Iliad, the famed archer Pandaros complains to Aeneas that even though he managed to hit both Menelaos and Diomedes, neither of these heroes seemed to be bothered much by his arrows. However, this was entirely due to divine intervention. And Odysseus apparently never saw a point in taking his bow to the war in the first place.
  • Mongols wore clothing for the sole purpose of removing arrows with minimal damage. It was "raw" silk; at range, at least, most arrows couldn't penetrate this material since the finely-woven silk-strands would wind around the arrowhead, covering the barbs of the arrowhead. This would then allow the warrior to remove the arrow by pulling the silk shirt out, arrowhead and all, and it would keep the arrowhead from doing much damage; barbed arrows do most of their damage when being pulled out, so the "silk-winding" process kept the barbs from doing this. Silk's a strong enough fiber that the strands would simply unravel, rather than be cut by the sharp arrow. "Raw" silk is uncut after being produced by the silkworm, and so the strands remained long enough to remain full-length intact after penetration. They'd still punch holes in the human flesh underneath, but by pulling on the edges of the cloth, the arrow would come out of the wound. But don't just take our word for it.
  • May or may not be apocryphal, but Guan Yu, a general in 2-3rd Century China (who has been deified over the years-just pay attention at your local Chinese restaurant-was once hit by a stray arrow on his arm during a battle, and was about 60 when this happened. Though the surface wound had healed, the bone would still hurt badly, especially during a rainy day. The doctor told him that the arrow tip had poison on it, and the poison had entered the bone. The remedy would be to open the arm and scrape away the poison. Guan Yu promptly stretched out his arm and bid the doctor to get to work. During the surgery, Guan Yu was eating and drinking with his fellow officers whilst the blood flowed from his arm into a basin below. Throughout the process of treatment, Guan Yu drank wine and conversed and laughed as usual, also qualifying him for Four-Star Badass.
  • Japanese samurai would ride into battle wearing a horo — a huge, cape-like silk cloth with their standard on it which would expand as if it were a balloon while riding a horse. The horo would severely lessen the arrows' impact and interrupt their path—when The History Channel show Ancient Discoveries tested it, it reduced the chances of being hit with an arrow by seventy-percent. They would still need medical help if an archer got lucky, but three hits out of ten definitely sounds better than getting peppered by archers.
  • Played relatively straight by Joan of Arc: contemporary accounts describe her being hit variously with a crossbow bolt in the leg, an arrow in the shoulder, and a heavy stone on the head. What is consistent in each of the accounts is that she simply had the wound cleaned, said a quick prayer and was perfectly well within a ridiculously short amount of time. Particularly, during Joan's battle in Orleans, an English arrow deeply pierced her between the neck and shoulder. By the power of faith alone she ignored the pain, pulled the arrow out with her bare hands, made a silent prayer, climbed back on her horse, and continued to lead her army to victory. This might simply be a case of an Unreliable Narrator, but at the time it was seen as evidence that she might really have had divine help.
  • Jan ˇi˛ka of the Hussite wars fame lost an eye in his youth for unknown reasons, most likely a childhood fight. Later he lost the other one to an arrow while besieging the castle of Rabi in 1421. He then proceeded to win every battle he entered — while blind — until dying of plague in 1424.
  • Cassius Scaeva, a Roman centurion, is supposed to have pulled the arrow out mid-battle when it hit him in the eye. In the same fight he was also wounded twice by javelins and by the end had over 100 arrows in his shield.
  • Xiahou Dun, a Chinese general during the Three Kingdoms era is said to have been hit in the eye with an arrow. Legend has it he ripped the arrow and the damaged eye out with it. The legend then says he stared at it, said, "Essence of my father, blood of my mother, I cannot throw this away" and ate it. His master, Cao Cao, promoted him for his trouble.
  • Saitō Musashibō Benkei takes this trope in a slightly different direction - the large sohei was standing guard over a bridge to guard his master Minamoto no Yoshitsune's encircled castle while he committed seppeku, and Benkei is said to have killed over 300 men brave/foolish enough to try to cross the bridge. After all that, the remaining enemies decided it would be far safer to fill him with arrows from afar instead. They do so...but he's still standing exactly where he is. Eventually reasoning something's off with how long he's been just standing there, his enemies carefully get closer to look at Benkei after which he finally falls to ground, having Died Standing Up while riddled in arrows. The arrows weren't exactly just annoying, but the story claims Benkei almost made it look like it.
  • During The Crusades, Turkish and Mameluke archers often saw their arrows appear to have no effect on European knights and men-at-arms. This was because they were unused to fighting men fully clad in mail. Frequently, however, arrows would get stuck in the surcoats worn by European knights over their armor, so it would sometimes look to the Turks as though knights could keep fighting even with several arrows sticking out of them.
  • The repeating crossbow (an Eastern invention that allowed one to simultaneously draw and release a bowstring simply by moving a lever) was limited to firing much smaller bolts than its non-repeating cousins, and a single arrow itself rarely resulted in death. However, these things were used en masse to overwhelm the enemy with a rain of arrows and often were tipped with poison. This is also thoroughly averted with the larger-scale versions used for sieges, which fired larger bolts than the handheld versions.
  • Kamakura Gongorō Kagemasa, a samurai from the Heian period of Japan, took an arrow to the eye while sixteen and finished the battle with the shaft still sticking out. Another soldier tried to remove it rather roughly, by using his foot for leverage on Kagemasa's head, causing Kagemasa to take offense. The man apologized and removed the arrow more delicately. Other versions of the story have Kagemasa removing the arrow right after he is struck, and killing the offending archer by shooting it right back at him!
  • Plate armor grew in popularity at least partly to make this trope a reality. Arrows — and bolts from insufficiently "heavy" crossbows — just aren't powerful enough to punch straight through decent steel plate; they have to find an actual gap in the armor or bounce. (Part of the reason archers remained useful against knights is simply that it's kind of hard to provide comparable full-body protection to the knight's horse.)
  • Cataphracts were almost-entirely armored (horse included) heavy cavalrymen in mail or scale armor that appeared in ancient Europe, China and Africa. Some instances of them were so well-protected that there were historical reports claiming that units of them could emerge from being showered in arrows unharmed. But because nothing's perfect, the armor was highly taxing on the horse and even its wearer due to the minimal ventilation it provided - not to mention highly expensive, which limited the concept to particularly wealthy cultures despite their obvious effectiveness.
  • Proper hard body armor with the trauma plates required to handle rifle rounds can render arrows merely annoying. Unless one hits an area not covered by the trauma plates, in which case an arrow may actually have a better chance of penetrating than a small calibre bullet. This is because kevlar and other high-tensile fibres are specifically designed to absorb and dissipate kinetic energy, but are susceptible to being cut or forced apart by a sharp point.
  • Several storks have flown back from Europe with an arrow through vital-looking parts of their anatomy.
  • Saint Sebastian was sentenced to death by the Roman emperor Diocletian by way of being bound to a stake and shot by arrows. When Saint Irene went to recover his body to give him a proper burial he was found to still be alive. She cut him loose and nursed him back to health. He was made the Patron Saint of Archers.


Video Example(s):


Dracula and Booby-Traps

When Dracula is helping Ericka through a field of booby traps, he gets pierced by multiple spears, arrows, snakes and a big axe, all without missing a beat.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / AnnoyingArrows

Media sources: