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Attack the Tail

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Goku: You punched me in the face!
Freeza: You bit my tail!
Goku: You punched me in the face.

Attacking the tail for extra damage. Common in cartoons, especially for cats.

In video games, cutting off a creature's tail, especially a dragon's tail, often rewards you with a bonus weapon or crafting materials. In some cases however, you have to hit a creature's tail in order to damage it.

Compare Groin Attack, Literal Ass-Kicking, Pain to the Ass. See also Amusing Injuries.

Not to be confused with attacking with tails.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Beastars, Legosi closes a sliding door on his tail while excusing himself from Haru's gardening shed after the rabbit tried to seduce him. He was completely shocked by the act, something that was second nature to Haru.
  • In Blue Exorcist, it's stated that the tail and the "heart" are a demon's weak spots.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In Dragon Ball Z, the Saiyans' tails are their weak point. If you hold onto their tails, they are in so much pain it immobilizes them (e.g., Goku, Gohan, and Raditz). Subverted later, when it turns out that Vegeta and Nappa don't have this shortcoming (because of their training). When the Z Fighters made a break for their tails, it ended up backfiring because it didn't immobilize the Saiyans like they expected, leaving them open targets. Played straight later, though, when Yajirobe cuts off Vegeta's tail to return him to human form after he'd transformed into his Great Ape form.
    • Goku managed to overcome this weakness in Dragon Ball, long before Vegeta was introduced. It's odd how Krillin didn't remember this when he faced them, though it's possible it's simply one of the things Akira 'forgot' as he wrote the beginning of DBZ.
    • In a more amusing case, when Gohan was left in the wilderness to fend for himself he was occasionally hunted by a tyrannosaur, which he managed to fend off by removing the end of its tail. After he had taken a few levels in badass, he turned the tables (or the tails) by chasing the poor dinosaur and cutting steaks off its tail for his dinner.
    • Goku does this by biting Frieza's tail during their fight on Namek, and he does the same thing to Beerus's tail in Dragon Ball Super.
    • Also in Dragon Ball Super, the end of Frieza's tail is cut off by a stray attack during the final fight against Jiren.
  • Mazinger Z: In the Mazinger-Z vs Great General of Darkness feature (that served to conclude the first series and introduce the sequel, Great Mazinger), a serpent-like Robeast had one head on each end. The tinier head, located on the tip of the tail, was the REAL head (Mykene Warbeasts were controlled by grafting the head of a Mykene warrior into a Robeast), so when Kouji cut its tail off, the Warbeast lost control and it was destroyed.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: In the Compilation Movie, Adiane is beating up Yoko with her scorpion tail in their Designated Girl Fight, until Yoko uses her hairpins to stab Adiane's tail, pinning it into the floor.
  • Snakeman in Yaiba has a major weakness in his tail: when Yaiba (accidentally) chops it, Snakeman's unable to keep his balance and stand upright and is forced to withdraw. The next time he appears, he has tied a bush branch on the stump, though he feels that "He's not going to look so threatening anymore..."

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 98, Sparky sees Wolffy approaching Tibbie to hurt her and bites the wolf on his tail to divert his attention. Wolffy, unsurprisingly, isn't amused.

    Comic Books 
  • Gaston Lagaffe is once hurt by someone stepping on the tail of a kangaroo costume he is wearing. There is no official explanation, but a character speculates that the seamstress forgot a needle in an unfortunate place when sewing the tail on.
  • In My Little Pony: Legends of Magic, Rockhoof retreats from battling a cherufe. As he runs, the cherufe throws molten lava at his tail which singes it.
  • In Violine, Violine's pet mouse, Klaas, gets his tail cut by the claws of Muller.

    Comic Strips 
  • In an earlier Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin freaks Hobbes out by saying there's a giant caterpillar about to bite him before stomping on his tail. Hobbes is not amused.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In the beginning of Cats Don't Dance, Danny accidentally slams the door against Sawyer's tail.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup discovers that damaging the tail fin of a Night Fury reduces its stability so badly that it's practically unable to fly. This sets up Toothless as the Androcles' Lion for Hiccup to tame and befriend.
  • At the end of The Jungle Book, Mowgli actually defeats Shere Khan by literally burning off his tail using a tree branch that apparently caught fire as a result of it being hit by lightning. Unfortunately, it's revealed in the sequel that this was actually a bad idea, and Mowgli learned it the hard way. Similarly, Kaa is often defeated by having his tail being tied to a tree trunk.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, Tai Lung is tricked into biting his own tail in the final battle, causing the giant anthropomorphic snow leopard voiced by Ian McShane to make a comedic kittenish "mew!" which would be familiar to any cat owner who has trodden on his pet's tail.
  • In The Nutcracker Prince, during the Story Within a Story, the Mouse King's tail gets smashed by a collapsing pillar, which was knocked down by a transformed Hans. This later becomes a Running Gag in the film's actual events, in which his bent tail either gets burnt or crushed again.
  • Joanna, Percival McLeach's pet goanna from The Rescuers Down Under, was actually also tricked into biting her own tail at one point in the film.
  • During the Wizard Duel from The Sword in the Stone, Merlin at one point actually tricks Mad Madam Mim (who is turned into a rattlesnake) into biting her own tail (Merlin, as a mouse, actually attempts to try it himself while Mim is still a tiger).

  • The first time the protagonists of The Belgariad encounter the dragon (there's only one, long story) they scare it away by damaging its tail, which is effective because it's never encountered anything that could injure it before.
  • Whateley Universe: A common tactic against people with tails.
    • Imp's Berserk Button is having her tail pulled, and it's been cut off a few times, which hurts a lot. Likely also related to how it's a spot that also has Fantastic Arousal.
  • Dragons in Wings of Fire have a weak point on their tails, which several characters take advantage of during battles.
  • In Warrior Cats, cats seem to bite each other's tails in battle often. Kits also often practice pouncing on the tail of an unsuspecting older cat.

    Live Action TV 

    Puppet Shows 
  • In one episode of Dinosaurs, Baby notices something small and pink moving nearby, and stabs it with a fork. His moment of triumph is interrupted by the arrival of pain signals from his tail.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Souls
    • This is a way to get cool weapons (normally axes and swords). If you're fighting any giant boss or miniboss with a tail (usually a dragon), you can almost always cut it off and get a special weapon out of it. It also greatly reduces the range of their Tail Slap attack if they have one (which they usually do).
  • The Saurians in Dragon's Dogma have tails that can be cut off.
  • The Serapede in Gears of War is an Elite Mook that is mostly invincible with the exception of its weak point: the tail.
  • Drillium from Grid Warrior could be damaged in the head or the glowing weak spot that is its tail, but its tail is the only part that lacks Damage Reduction armor.
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • One of the penultimate tactics in the Monster Hunter games against any big monster with a tail is to attack the tail enough that it gets cut off/cracked/broken, among other parts of their body. Doing so rewards you with more rare items and creates more openings in the monster's defenses (like their tail attack's range get shorter, or they flinch more when an attack hits their tail stump.)
  • Fortinbras from Onimusha: Warlords is normally invulnerable, forcing you to hack at his serpentine, coiled tail. After a certain amount of damage is dealt, Fortinbras will roar in pain and fall forward, allowing you to attack the boss' weakpoint, the eye on his head.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has the Steel Maggot, a large, mechanical boss that is completely impervious to damage, save for a weak point that pops out of its tail after meeting certain conditions.
  • In Splatoon 2's Salmon Run mode, this is the key to defeating three types of Boss Salmonids that players will encounter:
    • Grillers are heavily armored vehicles that have a single fish tail poking out of their back. If it's shot enough, it'll be stunned and more tails will appear, and once these weak points have sustained enough damage, the machine will be destroyed.
    • Scrappers are light vehicles decked in frontal armor, but are completely exposed from the back. If the shields take enough fire, it will be completely immobilized for several seconds, at which point players can head to the back of the craft and kill its exposed driver.
    • Steel Eels function as long, winding, moving barriers, and can splat a player in just two hits. While almost the entire craft is completely impervious to any damage, the only weak point on the machine is its driver at the very back, and if they are killed, the rest of the contraption will be demolished.
  • Star Fox
    • In Star Fox, the tail was one of two ways to damage Monarch Dodora, the other being its two heads. Just shooting it doesn't do damage, though, you needed to make them retract into its body, then shoot the body.
    • In Star Fox Adventures, the boss Galdon is only vulnerable at his red-glowing tail
    • In Star Fox: Assault, hitting a character's head or tail does additional damage. Especially Fox and Krystal are vulnerable to tail hits.
  • Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel both have Dino Piranha bosses that Mario can defeat only by attacking the bulb at the end of their tail, knocking it up to strike their head.
    • A variation occurs with Peewee Piranha in Super Mario Galaxy 2, where you must hit its butt.
    • Also, Bowser from Super Mario 64, who is actually defeated by being grabbed by the tail and being thrown across the arena.
  • The Crawltipedes in Terraria can only be damaged in the glowing spot in their tail.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Videos 
  • Final Fighter A+ a flash parody of Final Fantasy has a disgruntled teacher create Bahamut out of a xerox machine as the final exam for a group of school students who refused to fail the class. The White Mage's Study Guido (scan) reveals that its Multiple Choose section (its tail) is its weak point. The Fighter, Pensuke, attacks its tail with his pencil (sword) chopping of the tip, only to reveal the weak point has defenses and he looses Grade Percent (HP). It takes 3 more guesses (attacks) at the multiple choice section (tail), dropping his grade (HP) into the negative, before he gets the right answer and Bahamut blows up violently, taking the school with him.

    Western Animation 
  • This frequently happens to Mr. Cat from Kaeloo. In one case, he actually gets a bookshelf dropped on it.
  • Looney Tunes: This happens sometimes to Sylvester.
  • Once played with in a Magilla Gorilla cartoon. Magilla tries this on a bird and the bird thinks it won't work, but Magilla drops an entire bag of salt on the bird.
  • In the third act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Bogus In Wilderland", Brattus rides on a water snake who tries to get him. Before the water snake can get Brattus, Bogus swings in and saves him, which results in the water snake biting his own tail instead.
  • Happens to Felix the Cat in the episode "Balloon Blower Machine"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Lair of Grievous" Nahdar Vebb cuts off Grievous' pet roggwart's tail in order to free his clone commander who is trapped in the claw at the end of it. It is too late however as the commander had already been bashed to death by the beast.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012):
    • In "Showdown", Splinter defeats Xever/Fishface by duping him into chomping on his own tail.
    • In "Tale of Tiger Claw", it is revealed that Tiger Claw had his tail cut off by his sister Alopex who wears it around her waist like a belt.
  • In Tom and Jerry, there's hardly an episode where a tail isn't crushed, burned, severed, or hurt in any other way. Tom is the usual victim.
  • There is the tale of salting a bird's tail so that it doesn't fly away. It has been Played With in many cartoons, such as the first Woody Woodpecker cartoon.

    Real Life 
  • A Prince Rupert's Drop is a drop of glass with a bulbous "head" end and a wispy "tail" end formed by dropping molten glass into cold water. The "head" is incredibly durable, withstanding compressive forces of up to 15000 Newtons. The "tail" on the other hand is easily cut off and will cause the entire drop to disintegrate thanks to a chain reaction of bifurcation events.
  • Cats will often do this when play-fighting, often with one cat flicking its tail around and another swatting at it. Particularly common with kittens. And, much like dogs, they aren't above chasing their own tails.


Video Example(s):


Kung Fu Panda

Po tricks Tai Lung into biting his own tail.

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