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Ash Face

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"Randy, come in here, we look like cartoons!"

"Forgot the sunscreen!"
— Every time a turtle is hit with a fire attack, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

This common visual gag was popularized in The Golden Age of Animation. It begins when an explosion occurs point-blank in someone's face, typically from an Explosive Cigar, ridiculous quantities of TNT/dynamite, or perhaps an amusing gunfire incident since guns often emit directed explosions rather than propelling bullets. Depending on the situation, other sudden sources of heat will also result in ash faces — a cartoon character on the wrong end of a gout of fire, a short circuit or a lightning strike is also liable to end up with a faceful of soot. After the smoke clears, the target is shown with their face covered in black ash and their eyes brightly visible. Usually, the subject will quickly shake off the ash and return to the wacky hijinx. If the explosion is large enough, the target's entire body will be covered instead. Sometimes, they let out a cough and puff out a smoke ring.

Most frequently seen in Zany Cartoons and other visual comedies. This trope has been appearing less frequently in current times, possibly due to concerns about children trying to mimic the act, and to avoid unwanted suggestions of Blackface (Note that some cartoons really did use Blackface as part of the gag). The latter is sometimes sidestepped by having the ash be pale-gray instead of black, which is actually quite commonplace in anime.

Can be justified in works aimed at younger audiences, since in Real Life the effects of a character having something blown up in their face would not be funny at all.

A Sub-Trope of Non-Fatal Explosions, Artistic License – Explosives, and Amusing Injuries. Compare and contrast Powder Gag, when any kind of powder is blown all over the place for comedic effect, not necessarily due to an explosion. See also Sweeping Ashes. Can be the result of attempting Finger Extinguisher. Somewhat related to X-Ray Sparks. Does not have anything to do with making your face have a Bruce Campbell grin, or being a famous Pokémon Trainer, for that matter.


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  • In a Budweiser commercial, a Clydesdale pulling a sleigh stops, the man leaves his woman briefly for something and gives her a candle. It then cuts to the horse's butt as its tail rears back, and then pans to the sky as an explosion is seen overhead. The man then returns asking the wife if he saw the explosion, until seeing her with an ash-covered face.

    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece; Kaido gets charred when Gear 5 Luffy reflects his Blast Breath back in his face during the climax of their battle, complete with comical Losing Horns in the anime as he collapses and Luffy laughs hysterically.
  • Ranma ½:
    • The frequent result of Happosai's fire bombs.
    • In one episode, Ling-Ling and Lung-Lung use their Dance of the Great Fire Dragon technique which leaves Ranma and Akane charred black.
  • Pokémon: The Series loves this one:
    • Ash's recalcitrant and lazy Charizard has done this to him many times, even after Charizard started being obedient. Liza, Charizard's keeper, thinks of it as a "kiss" (don't ask).
      Misty: Now you really look like Ash.
    • On that note, in Charmander's intro episode, "Charmander, the Stray Pokemon", after his ex-trainer left him for dead in a rainstorm (obviously, Ash and co. bailed it out), said ex-trainer wanted to take Charmander back after witnessing a display of power under new management. Charmander proceeded to kill said ex-trainer's ego with fire.
    • In Beauties Battling For Pride and Prestige in the 'Best Wishes' series, Ash's Pignite uses Flamethrower on Ash's Oshawott after Oshawott steals Pignte's food, and Oshawott ends up looking this way.
    • In Pokemon Fashion Flash, Misty has this happen to her twice: Once when she tries to pick up Vulpix and it burns her head, and again when she gets captured by Team Rocket and Vulpix uses firespin to get rid of them but also engulfs Misty in the flames.
    • In Bagged Then Tagged!, this happens to both Dawn and Ash when Team Rocket's decoy robot explodes in their faces.
    • The Team Rocket Trio have gotten this a lot, thanks to their Chew Toy status.
    • This a frequent result of Clemont's oft-exploding inventions, to the misfortune of most of the cast. In A Pokévision of Things to Come!, this is lampshaded when Serena is charred black by Clemont's camera robot exploding, ruining her look for the camera and leading her to change into a new Fennekin-inspired outfit instead.
    • Sun and Moon has this happen in the first episode. Ash steps on a Litten's tail and gets shot in the face with Ember in retaliation. It's even part of the opening, though in that case the Litten just shoots him for startling it.
    • In Sun and Moon, often as a result of Turtonator's Shell Trap being triggered accidentally.
    • Ash, Chloe and Goh get blown up in Blue Pokémaniacs when a shiny voltorb self-destructs in their faces.
  • Happens in Sailor Moon episode Vaulting to Victory when Sailor Mars got her flame sniper attack reflected at her.
    • In Food Fetish, Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury get burnt by a rescue attempt from Sailor Mars, leading Sailor Moon to call her a pyro.
    • In No Thanks, Nurse Venus!, Mina somehow causes a boombox to blow up in her face.
    • Multiple times in It's In The Cards. First, during a chess match, when Sailor Mercury places a piece on a booby-trapped square which explodes in her face. Later, Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus get covered in soot when they crash their cars in an arcade racer and the machines blow up.
  • In the first episode of Shadow Skill, Elle is about to run into a building where a fight is taking place, and one of their fire attacks bursts through the door and incinerates her. Elle is left charred black and mad that her hair was ruined.
  • In episode 13 of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Panty gets struck by lightning after a series of gags.
  • In Little Witch Academia (2017), Akko causes a big ass explosion during her fundamental alchemy exam, destroying a window, a part of the wall around the window, and giving her an unwanted makeover.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, whenever a character comes into contact with fire, electricity, or a similar source, the worst that happens to them is usually that they become visibly singed and have ashes covering their whole body, including their face.
  • Mechamato: In "A Sore Winner", when Mechamato accidentally kicks the "sepakkasa" ball towards Deep and Pian, who are acting as game hosts for the match between Champbot and Mechamato, the ball explodes near them. Deep and Pian are dirtied by ashes on their faces and clothes for the rest of the episode.

    Comic Books 
  • In issue #2 of The Awesome Slapstick, the title hero is shot in the face by The Overkiller. As Slapstick is essentially a living cartoon character, he suffers no ill effect except for a blackened face and an annoyed attitude.
  • In the DuckTales story "The Once and Future Warlock", Doofus gets covered in ash from an explosion.
  • Happens to Lämpel the teacher in Max and Moritz, after Max and Moritz have filled his pipe with gunpowder.
  • Happens to The Smurfs a lot whenever they open one of Jokey's "surprise" presents.
    • Twice in Grouchy's case, notably, he invokes The Scottish Trope on Jokey in the Animated Adaptation episode "The Kaplowey Scroll", and he becomes The Grinch in The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol.
    • In "King Smurf," Jokey giving the title character the Ash Face gets himself thrown into prison.
    • In "The Smurfs and the Magic Flute", originally from the Johan and Peewit series, Peewit gives Johan and the King a cloud of ash in their faces when he tries out the magic flute for the first time (he had just found it in the ashes of the King's unsuccessful attempt to burn it).
  • Once in Gaston Lagaffe, the main character and two unnamed workmen laying a new floor conduct a chemistry experiment that ends up tearing the entire building to shreds in a massive explosion. The last panel shows them lying on nearby rooftops with little more than blackened faces and damaged clothes, congratulating each other on the "greatest chemistry experiment ever."
  • An 2003 issue of an Malaysian monthly comic book magazine franchise Gemeilia (Kokko and May, or 哥妹俩), named "An Adventure In Room", have the main character Kokko ended up received this one. Although, it was All Just a Dream Kokko have.
  • This happens very frequently to Basile in Léonard le Génie, from both explosions and shots from his master's blunderbuss. Usually he is still on fire too.

    Comic Strips 

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Hans the Hedgehog": When Hans marries the second princess, he makes himself human by taking off his hedgehog skin and having it burned in a fire. Though it is the cast-off skin that is consumed by the fire, Hans is now described as lying in bed "coal-black as if he had been burnt." The king sends for his physician who washes him with precious salves and anoints him and Hans becomes all white and handsome.

    Fan Works 
  • After yet another one of Sherman's failed experiments in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, Calvin and Andy get this.
  • In DaydreamDragon371's art story Selfdestruct, the character finds a shiny Graveler and wants to catch it, but it uses self-destruct, leaving her and her Beedrill blackened with ash.
  • In the mini-comic Art explosion, Soriku's friend puts a stick of dynamite in her ear, which proceeds to explode and cover her in soot.
  • In the GuP fic Erika the Radical, Kuromorimine sailor Olga gets one when a Stielhandgranate (with severely reduced non-lethal load, thankfully) thrown by Yukari explodes in her face after catching it, thinking it was a dummy.
  • In "Intergalactic Illness", Lala electrocutes Kappard with her coughing and this happens to him.
  • In a League of Legends comic, Lux is about to fire her Ult to steal Golem, but Leona gets in her way to show her the new shine on her shield. The attack reflects off of her shield and leaves Lux burnt to a crisp.
    • One comic features Ahri getting grabbed by Blitzcrank and fried by the turret.
    • Leona does this to Lux and Sona when they are going to the beach. They thought that it was just a sunny and hot day, but really it was Leona's solar flare.
  • In a comic featuring Paula from Earthbound 1994, she is dressed in her swimsuit ready to go to the beach. When she goes to teleport, she fails and the psychic energy explodes, leaving her charred.
  • Happens to Rikku when she hugs Gotenk's ghost.
  • In an animated artwork from ambersonic96, the character Amber is shown burnt to a crisp from the aftermath of a firework exploding on her.
  • In an artwork by starsnow2577, the character Starsnow is seen completely covered in soot from making a go-kart accidentally explode.
  • Happens to Yume and Hazura when they go to give each other "the ultimate high five" and end up causing a massive explosion, leaving them both charred black and wanting to do it again.
  • In a comic about Dawn from Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, she is shown trying to catch an electrode but it self-destructs before she can, resulting in the charring and shredding of her and her clothes.
    • Misty is left burnt to a crisp when Ash decides he would help her tan by having Charizard flamethrower her.
  • Character Lizzy by LizzyRose1 has this happen to her when she blew herself up with a firecracker.
    • When Lizzy wakes up from a nap saying she could use a jolt of energy, her Pikachu takes it literally and shocks her.
    • Happens to Lizzy when she has her Growlithe practice using flamethrower, but it uses her as a target.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Alternate Universe Fic Tastes Like Heresy, the first time Amber tries to fry food, she starts a grease fire, which she tries to extinguish with water—resulting in a massive fireball that gives her a charred face.
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, the face of Darkseid's minion Desaad gets soot-smudged when a torturing mechanism blows up in his face.
    In blackness was where Pariah would have preferred to spend his time. He had one small satisfaction: that Desaad had tried to torture him with a complicated contraption that was supposed to work on him physically, on his nerve cells, and the thing had blown up in his face. Desaad, with blackened face, had said, "Yes. Well, now we'll have to try again, won't we?")
  • In crossover fanfic To Be a (Miraculous) Master, in Chapter 49, a mischievous wild Rotom possesses Max's phone when Marinette and the others were exploring the Lost Hotel. Marinette attempted to defuse the situation and attempted to grab said possessed phone, only to wind up with frizzed hair and covered in ashes from head to toe when she touched it.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Bakugou throws every explosion he has at Izuku, up to and including stuffing an armful of bombs into Izuku's hood, shoving said hood over Izuku's head, and detonating the bombs all at once. But all it manages to do is briefly stun Izuku and cover his face in soot. Justified by his Kryptonian Nigh-Invulnerability and how his suit is developed from seventh metal fibers and Kryptonian technology.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Lilo & Stitch, this happens to David Kawena after a fire dance gone wrong:
    Nani: David! Did you catch fire AGAIN?!
    David: Nah, just the stage.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989), when Ariel blows a pipe — which she thinks is a musical instrument — covering Grimsby's face with ash.
  • In Chicken Run, Mr. Tweedy is fixing the pie machine with Mrs. Tweedy standing watch. When he thinks he fixed it, he plugs the machine back on, only for it to break down again and erupt a cloud of smoke and ash at Mrs. Tweedy, covering her face with soot.
  • The Rescuers:
    • Madame Medusa gets on the receiving end of this trope when the Deacon Owl places a lit firecracker into her gun, resulting in it blowing up in her face.
    • Orville gets completely covered in soot after going all the way through Medusa's swamp-mobile.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A rare live-action example by a world-famous director occurs in Smiles of a Summer Night by Ingmar Bergman. Two men duel over a woman, but the guy who proposed Russian Roulette just filled the pistol with soot. Happy Ever After ensues.
  • A rare live-action example occurs in Jingle All the Way.
  • Another live-action example occurs in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. After Harry soaks his burning head in a toilet full of paint thinner, the entire first floor of the house blows up, but luckily Harry survives with only a burn on his scalp, a damaged hat and some ash on his face.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Merry and Pippin get the Ash Face treatment after a misfired firework at Bilbo's birthday party.
  • In Harry Potter, Seamus Finnigan seems to be subjected to this an awful lot. It's even lampshaded in the final film.
  • Occurs at the end of Inspector Gadget 2.
  • MouseHunt: Occurs when the mouse tricks the brothers into lighting a match during a gas leak, which propels Ernie out of the chimney like a rocket and blows Lars backwards into a cabinet of dishes and glasses. It's not helped shortly after when Ernie accidentally shoots Caesar's bug bomb and causes another massive explosion.
  • Yet another Disney example occurs in the live-action version of 101 Dalmatians.
  • Professor Fate & Max keep doing this to themselves in The Great Race.
  • In the film version of The Dukes of Hazzard, Bo and Luke accidentally get covered in coal dust and when driving away they get stopped by a gang of African Americans, who see the Confederate flag on their car and are not amused.
  • In the second Problem Child movie, Junior cranks up the propane tanks of his new neighbor's grill. He drops a match inside and reaches a hand inside the grill to get it going. The grill explodes with a fireball that can be seen from blocks across town and launches the guy across the yard and into the pool with one of these on his face. Real life, they'd be picking up pieces of him off the yard!
  • Happens to Rachel in Scary Movie 4 when she gets struck by lightning twice.
  • In The Pink Panther franchise, Clouseau, Dreyfus, Francois, Cato, Balls, and Cunny have all been caught in tremendous explosions with these results.
  • Another live-action example in Topaze, when Prof. Topaze's chemistry experiment blows up on him.
  • In Doughboys Sgt. Brophy gets one when Buster Keaton throws a grenade in his direction.
  • Happens to Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful World.
  • Happens to Those Two Guys in Dan Aykroyd's tank crew in the 1979 Spielberg WW2 comedy 1941 (1979), when the exhaust manifold in Sgt. Tree (Aykroyd)'s M3 Lee tank blows a gasket and sprays soot all over John Candy's character, Pvt. Foley. Pvt. Ogden Jones (portrayed by African-American actor Frank McRae) who was just seconds before covered in flour which made him appear white and elicited a laugh from Pvt. Foley, uses the opportunity to tease and lampoon the now Blackface Pvt. Foley, telling him, "Get to the back of the tank!"
  • In Mary Poppins, most of the characters have sooted faces during the rooftop chimney sweep scene, where they have been popping in and out of chimneys. Michael's face is particularly blackened when he shouts into one chimney. Mary Poppins even deliberately adds some to her face from a compact.
    Bert: It's just good clean soot.
  • In Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, Watson's face is comically blackened while he is listening at the chimney at the Hare and Eagle, and Moriarty lights a fire in the fireplace.
  • Lurkalot and Sir Coward end up like this following Lurkalot's Accidental Discovery of gunpowder in Up the Chastity Belt.
  • A large fireball covers the entire front of Deadpool's costume with ash and soot in his sequel, conveniently acting as a Mythology Gag for the comics' grey X-Force uniforms.
  • In Slaughter High, Stella ends up with a comically blackened face after suffering a High-Voltage Death. She is still dead, however.
  • Night of the Dribbler: Krunch becomes covered in black ash after a bomb disguised as a basketball blows up in his arms.
  • Happens three times in The Outlaws IS Coming!. First when the Stooges pack three times the required amount of flash powder to the pan while taking a photograph of a skunk. Then again to the outlaws when Bat Masterson's shotgun cane blows up in his face and knocks down all the outlaws. And finally when the Stooges again load far too much flash powder into their camera while attempting to photograph the arms deal with the Indians.
  • In Blood Drips Heavily on Newsies Square, after surviving being burnt at the stake plus a nuke Michael's face is completely covered in ash.
  • Volcano has one en masse thanks to volcanic ash raining down, prompting a kid to point out that LA residents, Black or White now all look the same. No really.
  • In You and Your Stupid Mate, Jeffrey and Philip's attempts at employment include a stint at an old folks' home, where they give an old man a kerosene bath to kill his nits. Philip lets him smoke in the bathtub, causing an explosion that covers all three of them in ash.
    Old man: Me cigarette went out!
  • The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob: Victor Pivert (Louis de Funès), while expressing disapproval for an interracial marriage between a white man and a black woman, stands in front of the married couple's car and ends up covered in exhaust after the couple starts the car. It also doubles as a Blackface gag, given that one of the wedding guests confuses him for the bride's father, and as a brief Color Me Black moment for Pivert, a bigot who espouses slightly racist views.
  • Les Visiteurs: When time-displaced medieval men Godefroy (Jean Reno) and Jacquouille (Christian Clavier) lie about the fireplace in Godefroy's room at the château of Montmirail (which conceals a Secret Underground Passage), they pretend they were sweeping the chimney (which is reinforced by the fact that unlocking the secret door caused a massive fall of soot that dirtied the whole room). Jacquouille's descendant Jacquart (also Christian Clavier) doesn't believe it, goes under the chimney and pretends there's nothing... then another mass of soot falls on his face.
  • In Dad's Army (1971), when the barn the Local Defense Volunteers are in is hit by Lance Corporal Jones' anti-bomber rocket, none of the men are hurt, but all of them are covered in ash and soot.
  • Doctor in Trouble: After Dr. Burke is caught in an explosion in an air pipe, he is covered from head to toe in thick black ash.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Home Cooked Meal", Mr. Conklin ends up with Ash Face after he lights a match in a kitchen filled with gas. He also ends up covered in roast turkey.
  • Cinderella Chef: Jia Yao and Yi Yi get covered in ash after Yi Yi accidentally starts a fire.
  • Hallo aus Berlin: In "Essen und Trinken", Rolli looks into a frying pan while melting butter for cooking pancakes, but it explodes and turns his face black.
  • Love and Destiny: Ling Xi's attempts to make medicine leave her covered in ash.
  • My Name Is Earl:
  • On NewsRadio Bill tries to escape down the stairwell when fire breaks out in the building, but the stairwell is full of smoke and he comes back covered in soot. Dave then makes a quip referencing The Jazz Singer ("I think talkies will destroy the movies").
  • When the MythBusters tested the "finger-in-a-barrel" myth, the myth was illustrated by a cartoon showing Savage Squirrel sticking a finger in Hunter Hyneman's barrel. Hunter Hyneman pulls the trigger, and the gun (as per the myth) blows out, giving him this. After the myth is busted, the same scene is shown again, except this time, the gun fires normally, and it's Savage Squirrel who ends up with the Ash Face.
  • In Scrubs, while being berated by Dr. Cox, JD has an Imagine Spot of Cox literally breathing fire at him, giving him one of these.
  • Married... with Children in the episode "The English Show." A result of a Cartoon Bomb.
  • Pixelface: Aethelwynne after he turns on his electric lyre in "Rock Star."
  • In the Procrastinator skit on The Amanda Show, Procrastinator's mother tells her about a package she got from her arch enemy and that it is ticking. After telling her mother she would deal with it "eventually!", the package explodes, covering both of them in ash.
  • In Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide episode "School Clubs", Moze and Suzie try to join various clubs together and always end up turning it into a competition. One such club was the chemistry club where they caused an explosion that left them burnt.
  • Dad's Army: Happens to Mainwaring when he attempts to shut off the power to the lighthouse, but ends up blacking out the entire pier, in "Put That Light Out!"
  • Happens on Good Eats, in an episode where Alton has built his own panko-making note  machine, which malfunctions as he is using it.
  • M*A*S*H: The episode where Hawkeye is suspected of petty thefts has Henry entering the tent and wants to know what's in the stove pipe. "Soot, sir," replies Trapper. When Henry jostles the pipe, he gets a faceful of soot, much to Hawkeye's hilarity.
  • Game Shakers: In the first episode, "Sky Whale", Babe and Kenzie are trying out an invention of a moving dinner plate. It explodes, leaving both girls with a lot of soot all over them, especially their faces.
  • Terry And Julian: There is an inversion of this trope when an oven explodes and Julian appears in the next shot lamenting "what am I to do punters, I've blown up Terry's oven and I'm a complete mess," pointing to a single spot of dirt on his cheekbone. The joke parodied Julian Clary's vanity and unwillingness to dirty himself for the sake of the show.
  • In the Doctor Who story "The Dæmons", this happens to Osgood when the anti-heat-barrier machine explodes.
  • The Games: At the end of "Lateline/Rural", John returns to office just in time to see the end of the country ladies proposal for the opening ceremony. Gina and Bryan use John's presence to excuse themselves. It turns out the final part involves detonating the black ring. In the outer office, Bryan and Gina are startled by an explosion that rattles the windows, and John staggers in, smoking and singed, but very impressed.
  • Henry Danger: The episode "Henry's Frittle Problem" has Henry's dad's face covered in ash when the Frittle Factory explodes.
  • Victorious: The episode "Brain Squeezers" had the gang participate in a Sadistic Game Show, where if contestants get a question wrong, they get physically hurt (i.e. they get something dropped on them, something disgusting gets sprayed on them). By the end of the episode, the entire gang is shown to be badly beat up by the experience, with Cat's face being covered in ash.
  • Twin Peaks' third season is haunted by "The Woodsmen", a group of terrifying humanoid abominations that resemble soot-covered hobos.
    Got a light?
  • Played for Horror in the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale Of The Fire Ghost". The titular ghost, in human form, appears as a charred policeman.


  • Result in this video. Kids, do not try this at home.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • During his first six years in World Wrestling Entertainment, the "Big Red Monster" Kane never appeared in public with any part of his body uncovered; the story was that he'd gotten caught in a fire started in his parents' funeral parlor and had barely survived, and his burns were too horrific for the sight of "normal" humans. In 2003, however, he was finally forced to remove his trademark red-and-black mask - and revealed, instead of grotesquely pitted features, a comically mild-looking Ash Face. (It was made even funnier by the Raw commentators speculating on how ugly and deformed Kane would look.)

    Puppet Shows 

  • The Navy Lark: In the episode "Refitting Ebenezer Pertwee", the funnel of Uncle Ebenezer's tug falls off, leading him to getting a face full of soot and being referred to as "A Tennessee Minstrel". Later in the episode the tug blasts CPO Pertwee in the face, leading to him being referred to as "Sambo".

    Tabletop Games 
  • It's used in the Dungeons & Dragons 3 Player's Handbook. Miallee, though not harmed, is extremely annoyed at having failed the relevant skill check.
    • 3.5 has Lidda upon failing a use magical item check.


    Video Games 
  • It happens to Kaptain K. Rool in the final boss battle of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, when his blunderbuss explodes. Multiple times.
  • Diddy Kong also exhibits this trope in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (albeit briefly) whenever he charges his Peanut Popgun attack for too long.
  • Anyone hit by a fire attack in Darkstalkers games, except for Pyron, who'll just look like he was hit normally. Some of these animations are downright comical.
    • Ported over to Super Gem Fighter, as well. In that game's case, you need to hit your opponent with a bomb, as normal fire attacks (e.g. Ken's Lv.3 Hadouken) will use the "on fire" animation ported from Street Fighter Alpha.
  • A recurring part of Jessica's character arc in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis.
  • In the arcade game Vs. Duck Hunt, it is, in fact, possible to shoot the dog during the bonus round. Doing so will end the round and leave the dog with one leg in a cast and his face coated in gunpowder.
  • The Sims 2 and 3 have this as a side effect of electrocution.
    • In The Sims 2 this happens when fireworks blow up in a sim's face, leaving them covered in soot, wearing nothing but scorched undergarments, and in desperate need of a bath. In Sims 3, this is a potential result of a visit to the catacombs or when a sim is caught in the middle of a detonation. Some random events also cause this. It also happens when a sim is caught in a fire but gets put out before they die. If they catch fire or get electrocuted (again) in this state they die instantly.
  • After every battle in the Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog games, Doctor Eggman has this happen to him when his machinery blows up in his face at the end of a boss battle.
  • Spinmaster have this happening to the titular Spinmasters, Johnny and Tom, in it's Gainax Ending. After defeating Dr. De Playne, Johnny and Tom finally, finally found the ultimate treasure at the end, excitedly opens it... only for the chest to be revealed as an explosive booby trap. In a Non-Fatal Explosions kind of way. Cue a shot of Johnny and Tom covered in soot and the credits roll.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Super Mario RPG, after the battle with the increasingly bigger bombs, a giant one falls... and then this happens.
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has this happen in battle should you mistime the usage of Mario's firebrand attack, thankfully it just means the attack is weaker and there's no self-damage involved
    • In Super Paper Mario, after tricking you into opening an exploding chest, Mimi complains when this trope doesn't happen.
    • In Super Mario World, this happens to Mario when he destroys Castle 5.
    • In Mario Party 4, whenever the loser of a Bowser minigame is decided, they get a roasting from Bowser, which chars their entire body except for their eyes black. The unfortunate victim then turns toward the camera and blinks.
  • Mother: In EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound (1994), colliding with a person or obstacle when attempting to teleport causes the teleport to fail and the psychic energy to blow up in the users' faces, causing the group to be covered in soot from head to toe for a moment, with their normal Black Bead Eyes looking like white dots. Similarly, EarthBound protagonist Ness' stage entry animation in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover of Nintendo franchises Super Smash Bros. involves him successfully teleporting onto the stage, but ending up with his face covered in soot for a moment before shaking it off.
  • Happens to the titular Bug in Arachnia, if he gets burned by a (literal) Fire Ant's fire breath, or if he touches lava.
  • The player can do this over and over to Kanbe Kuroda in Sengoku Basara 3. Just select the Bad Bomb super art and keep pressing the super art button. Watch a big Cartoon Bomb fall on Kanbe's head, laugh at his Double Take upon noticing the bomb, see him get blasted through the air screaming "WHYYYY?" the whole time, then crash in an explosion... only to pull himself out of the crater, blackened from head to toe, and shake it off. Do it again and again.
  • Pitch and Catstrike in the ending of Hyper Princess Pitch, when blasted by an explosive present.
  • In Chrono Trigger, if you play the 80 point minigame in the tent of horrors, a party member is tied up and lowered into a fire. If you fail the minigame, the character will get burnt to a crisp.
  • Rozalin in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories is blown up by a Prinny's bomb, covering her in ash.
  • Ronfar from Lunar: Eternal Blue often suffers this at the fiery breath of Ruby.
  • Happens in Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf to characters blown up, and also when Ralph falls into lava or gets electrocuted. Not surprising for a Looney Tunes game.
  • In QTE sequences in The Wonderful 101 where Wonder Blue is about to be fried by a laser, if the player does not draw a sword in time, then the laser will burn him to a crisp.
  • Happens to the hero in the ancient arcade game Bank Panic if he lets a bomb go off by failing to shoot the fuse in time, complete with Symbol Swearing.
  • Happens in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time when you're hit by a fire attack (which mostly happens when fighting Tokka and Rahzar).
  • In the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, and PC versions of Donald Duck: Goin' Qu@ckers, Magica De Spell ends up covered in ash in the cutscene after her boss fight, right before falling to her doom.
  • Undertale:
    • In Snowdin, Papyrus ends up black and smoky after getting shocked by his own electric maze trap.
    • During the Pacifist route, Undyne ends up with ash all over her face after you turn the stove up too high during her cooking lesson and it explodes.
  • Kirby:
    • In Kirby's Adventure, Kirby will end up with this and comically bulging eyes if he accidentally eats a bomb in the Egg Catcher minigame.
    • In Kirby: Planet Robobot, canceling the Doctor ability's Science Lab attack before Kirby can finish a concoction will cause it to blow up in his face with the same result as in the aforementioned example.
  • In Tekken 5, Heihachi can be customized to have ash face and the tips of his trademark twin-horn hairstyle scorched off, in reference to the attempted assassination via bomb against him in the previous game.
  • In Home Alone (Sega), this happens to Harry and Marv if they get hit by a blowtorch or Kevin's hot coal rifle.
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: Babs' Big Break, when Buster starts up the rocket-powered bicycle that Calamity Coyote built, Calamity gets burned by the bike's tailpipe.
  • In LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, this ends up happening to the Mandarin when the Hulkbuster armour he had hijacked explodes in his face.
  • Neighbours From Hell: In both games, there is a prank that involves Woody switching Rottweiler's tobacco or cigarette with something that explodes in his face when he tries to smoke it, leading to his face getting covered in ash.
  • In the first cutscene of Uncle Albert's Magical Album, a machine explodes while Uncle Albert works on it, leading to him exiting his workshop in panic with soot all over his face.
  • World of Warcraft: In the Blast Furnace encounter in Blackrock Foundry, the engineers will periodically attach bombs to the damage-dealers. Said bombs, when detonated, the players get briefly covered in soot.

  • Bud of Wapsi Square once found herself caught in a massive fiery explosion. She came out looking like this. Note that this is not a case of cartoon physics, but rather an indestructible character.
  • Jin shows up looking like this after Blade Bunny failed to stop one of a set of explosions, leading to increased speculation that he is the immortal child of the sun and moon whom people have been talking about.
  • Natsumi in the 5th comic of Natsumi the Witch is practicing her lightning magic and ends up zapping herself.
    • In the 6th comic, Natsumi accidentally zaps her friend Daichi.
  • In Amber's No-Brainers page 6, Amber receives a letter asking when the last time her house blew up was. Her roommate comes in and tells Amber to cover her ears, and before the confused Amber can finish saying anything, the house blows up, leaving both of them charred.
  • In a page of The Dumb Rock, Gem was about to ask Rock what the robot he built does. The robot then explodes before she finishes her question, and Rock laughs at the now dazed and burned Gem.
  • In the 7th page of the Tira series, the characters are blown up when trying to see what happens when you push both shift keys on a keyboard.
  • In Matchu: Amber gets electrocuted when shaking hands with a robot.
    • An earlier page has Matchu struck by lightning and coming out all charred up.
  • In one comic, Miny discovers a box of grenades that she believed were magical pinecones and goes to show Theo. After explaining how pulling the pin out grants you a wish, the grenades make a massive explosion, leaving Miny and Theo completely charred.
  • A Funny Background Event in El Goonish Shive has an episode of Mythbusters on TV during a conversation between Tedd and his father. Adam's face is clearly charred, and his hair is blown back, strongly suggesting that whatever myth they were testing literally blew up in his face.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: When the quantity of explosives intended to pry an old house's door open ends up destroying the whole building, the person who applied the explosives gets this.
  • When Hoffmann uses his kinetic hammer to take out Pierre van Stron's Powered Armor in Girl Genius he ends up with broken goggles and soot on his face and shirt.
  • Tahraim from Aurora coaches Dainix through releasing his pent-up rage. He does so by screaming and breathing out a huge plume of flame. Tahraim is only singed because as the god of smiths he's pretty much fireproof.
  • Schlock Mercenary: In the 2004-06-07 strip, Tagon asks Kevyn if the fabber is fixed, and Kevyn points him to a recently-fabbed toaster, which Tagon tests out... and promptly gets a piece of burnt toast upside the face, leaving him with ash marks. He is not amused. (Kevyn, for his part, thinks that one of their "weapon" blueprints somehow got mixed into the "small appliances" blueprints.)
  • As Paollo learns in chapter 7 of City of Somnus, this can happen even when the source of fire is your best friend Draconic Humanoid. Who, in fairness, also gets covered in soot.

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner: The Cheat's exploding head.
  • In The Cartoon Man, Roy's face gets covered in ash after Simon blows him up with dynamite.
  • At the end of episode 4 of The New Adventures of Captain S, this happens to Chad and Lunk, after attempting to make an exploding volcano for the Science Fair Project.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Happens to Cody when Robo-Wolf blasts him with his Eye Beams in episode 4.
  • Will It Blend?: For Tom in the closing of the Bic Lighters episode.note 
  • Often happens in AstroLOLogy when a character is caught in an explosion, such as Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio and Cancer in "Joke's on You" when Taurus drops a bottle of cooking oil onto an active grill, or Sagittarius and Virgo at the end of "Saggi's Baking Misadventures" from an exploding mixer.

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Happens repeatedly to Daffy Duck in the classic short "Rabbit Fire" (or "Duck Rabbit Duck").
    • Happens on Duck Dodgers in the episode "The New Cadet."
    • The same gag appears briefly in the opening Show Within a Show of Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
    • Occurs in the shorts "Ballot Box Bunny" and "Rabbit's Kin", with Bugs Bunny and Explosive Cigars.
    • Usual result to the shooter when his prey puts their finger in his gun.
    • While Sylvester isn't without examples, "Rebel Without Claws" is an interesting case. He corners Tweety on a fighter ship, where he gets a few cannon blasts to the face. It isn't until the third explosion that the trope really comes into play. He lampshades the effects of the blast by having a pissy fit right on the deck.
    • Wile E. Coyote, bless his heart. How many shorts don't have him falling prey to this one.
    • In "Porky The Fireman", a businessman jumps into a cloud of smoke and emerges as a blackface caricature of Stepin Fetchit. Most syndicated airings cut the latter half of the scene, along with the following scene of Porky scooping up flames in a bucket and dumping it into a fishbowl, turning the fish to blackface.
    • At the end of the uncut version of "Jeepers Creepers", the ghost gets blackfaced by Porky's car exhaust.
  • Also appears frequently in the older Tom and Jerry shorts, such as "A Mouse in the House" and especially in "Safety Second", which takes place on July 4 and involves a lot of fireworks. In particular, Jerry gets one when he tries to throw away a firecracker that Nibbles lit, only for it to blow up in his face.
  • In the Merrie Melodies short "Bacall to Arms", the wolf steals a cigar, then gets shot by Humphrey Bogart. Bogart then proceeds to smoke the cigar, which explodes, turning him into a Blackface caricature with the voice of Eddie Rochester.
    "My oh my! I can work for Mr. Benny now!"
    • Happens to the slap-happy spider in "Meatless Flyday" when, dressed as a wedding cake groom he turns to kiss the fly (who is dressed as the bride) and he ends up kissing a stick of dynamite.
  • Occurs regularly on Quick Draw McGraw and Ricochet Rabbit due to them being set in the Old West. It even happens when actual bullets are otherwise involved, too.
  • Spoofed on The Simpsons, when it was revealed that Moe was one of the original Little Rascals, whose most famous bit involved looking into a tailpipe and getting a face full of soot. (There were apparently difficulties in getting reasons to look into the tailpipe, but they had good writers like William Faulkner) It was one of these incidents that ended Moe's acting career, when Alfalfa looked into the tailpipe instead, prompting Moe to lose his temper and kill Alfalfa. Murder charges were not laid, as Alfalfa was an orphan owned by the studio.
  • Common on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • Here Comes the Grump often has the eponymous Grump get an Ash Face after being subjected to one of his klutzy dragon's explosive sneezes.
  • Happens often in Animaniacs, especially in Slappy Squirrel cartoons.
    Slappy: You remind me of a very young Betty Boop.
  • Rocko in Rocko's Modern Life becomes a victim of this in "Bye, Bye Birdie" when Filburt's pet bird causes trouble for a fireman.
  • The South Park episode "Summer Sucks" ends with the town covered in ash. Chef arrives from vacation to find everyone in Blackface and orders everyone to get in line for a butt-kicking.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Secret of My Excess": This happens to the pediatrician. That's one of the risks when you give a checkup to a dragon...
    • "The Last Roundup": It happens to Derpy Hooves when she accidentally electrocutes herself (and Rainbow Dash's tail) with a storm cloud.
    • "Molt Down": After Spike blasts the giant Roc Bird with a close-range gout of dragonfire, its face — and as revealed in the following scene, its entire body — except for its yellow eyes becomes covered in ash and visibly charred feathers, trailing lines of smoke as the giant bird flies away.
  • A few times on Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi.
    • In "Metal Mental", an explosion at the end leaves Ami and Yumi blackened.
    • In "Home Insecurity", Ami gets blasted by Yumi's security system and leaves her charred. After Yumi chases her out of her room, she enters back in only to have the security system backfire and blast her as well.
    • In the episode "In the Cards", Ami is zapped by Chad's monster.
    • In "Scowlitis", Yumi is fried by lightning.
  • Happens in the Teen Titans episode "Only Human" when Raven tried to cheer up Cyborg. He declines, and it shows a scene where he shoots her down from a plane with a bunch of cannons, sending her flying down on a parachute charred from head to toe.
  • In the Atomic Betty episode "Atomic Roger", this happens to Betty when Roger's ship takes off right in front of her.
  • Happens occasionally on SpongeBob SquarePants, despite taking place underwater.
    • During the ending of "Dying for Pie", SpongeBob shows Squidward that he never ate the bomb pie, he was saving it in his pocket the whole time. He then trips, dropping the pie and causing an explosion (a live-action one to be specific), and then it cuts to Bikini Bottom in ruins.
      Squidward: Ouch.
    • Exaggerated on "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II" when the Atomic Flounder uses his Breath Weapon on Barnacle Boy, leaving his face charred and shriveled like a burnt-out match.
    • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie gives us a live-action example with David Hasselhoff after being hit by a beam from Neptune's trident.
  • Happens to Sam in Totally Spies! in the episode "Alex Quits" when she runs to go climb an electric fence but trips on some ice, falling into the fence and getting shocked.
    • Has happened to Clover twice; once in an Imagine Spot in the episode "A Thing For Musicians", and again when Alex blows open the door of a plane right next to her in "Shrinking."
    • Sam and Alex get this in "Ski Trip" when Clover gets jealous of Mandy and walks off angry, leaving a trail of flames that flare up and leave the girls charred.
  • In T.U.F.F. Puppy in the episode "Frisky Business", Kitty gets completely charred black by the Chameleon landing and taking off his rocket on top of her.
    • Kitty also gets this in the episode "Doom-mates" when Dudley accuses her of being the Chameleon and blasts her with a gun, and also when she gets blown up repeatedly by Chameleon.
  • Quite common on Kaeloo, as the cast own explosives and weapons.
  • Frequently happens to Darkwing Duck.
    Darkwing: Singed, but triumphant!
  • On The Amazing World of Gumball, this happens to Gumball and Darwin when, against Anais' warning, they attempt to extinguish a burning TV with water, causing it to fry them offscreen.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: Berry in the Big City: Strawberry Shortcake gets ash on her face when she tries to reason with the Cake-inator, telling her that you just need to make treats with love to make them good. It goes horribly wrong when the Cake-inator gets murdered by this attempt as she claims to be unable to understand the Strawberry Shortcake touch, and her body explodes.
    • Lemon's inventions have a tendency to malfunction and explode in her face.
    • In Robot Strawberry, Lemon gets this multiple times when her prototype Cake-inators blow up.
    • Happens to Lemon twice in Ice Cream Trouble when more of her inventions blow up.
    • In All In The Palm, another one of Lemon's inventions explode, covering Orange and Lime in ash.
    • In Strawberry's Bad Day, Strawberry gets burnt when one of her cupcakes explodes in front of her.
    • Another one of Strawberry's cakes blows up in Lemon's face in Strawberry Bake Fail just as she is about to bite into it.
    • In Berry Competitive, Orange Blossom accidentally causes Lemon to drop her invention which explodes, leaving her blackened.
  • Thomas & Friends: At the end of the episode "Whistles and Sneezes", Henry sneezes on three naughty boys for throwing stones at him and his coaches, resulting in them getting ashes all over their faces. As the book version puts it, they were all "as black as soot."
  • DuckTales (1987): In "Don't Give Up the Ship", the series' first episode, this happens to Donald when he looks into a jet engine during his time working for the Navy.
  • Dragamonz: This happens to Boaragon after he gets hit by Fyra's flame breath attack, complete with a little flame atop his head.



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