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Attacking Through Yourself

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When Seppuku gets weaponized.

"Did Scarlet Witch just John McClane a spell through herself at Banner?"

Whether due to extreme Combat Pragmatism, being a next-level Combat Sadomasochist, or simply the lack of any other viable options, a character attacks their opponent through their own body. So it's a variant of Shoot the Hostage and Deliberate Injury Gambit, except the hostage is the one inflicting the injury on themselves, and/or the deliberate injury is self-inflicted. The hope is that the attack hurts the opponent even more, taking him out of the fight or at least setting him up for follow-up attack (either by the wounded but still functional attacker, or by that character's allies if the character's attack incapacitates himself as well).

Best done with a bladed weapon of some kind, though many other kinds of attacks can be used (and if the character is resistant or immune to his own power, so much the better). If the person doing this is sufficiently skilled, tough, or just plain stubborn, they'll inflict a wound on themselves they can easily recover from, but their opponent won't be so lucky. If they aren't, the result ends up somewhere on the spectrum between Heroic Sacrifice, Heroic Suicide, and Taking You with Me.

Can be a variant of Suicide Attack and/or Death or Glory Attack, and even in mild examples the attack would effectively be Cast from Hit Points. Compare Pull Yourself Down the Spear and Kicking My Own Butt. See Trial by Friendly Fire when you have to shoot through an ally to achieve the same goal.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Saya Otonashi of Blood+ is grabbed by Karl from behind. But Solomon arrives and cuts off Karl's arm which gives Saya the opportunity to finish him by stabbing herself with her sword which skewers Karl. Because her sword is soaked with her blood after she stabbed herself, Karl ends up getting crystallized.
  • Ryo Saeba of City Hunter famously once shot through his own hand in order to catch a bad guy off guard.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, being that they are spirits, it's possible for a stand to attack through their user without harming the user but still harming their targets.
  • Kyrie takes out her sister (who is holding her from behind) by shooting through her own stomach in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection. It's only thanks to her Super Mode that she stays conscious long enough to get what she needed, escape, and get medical attention from Iris.
  • Zombina from Monster Musume is a living dead. While being restrained from behind by an orc she fires her guns through herself to hit the orc.
  • Naruto:
    • During Kiba's fight with Sakon and Ukon, Ukon tries to forcefully take over Kiba's body. Kiba then stabs himself in the gut with a kunai, forcing Ukon out of his body. Kiba is only lucky that reinforcements come to rescue him so his wounds can be treated.
    • Hidan has a technique (implied to not be ninjutsu) where, after he licks some of his enemy's blood, he sets a ritual circle on the ground and his skin turns black with white lines. In that state, he becomes a living voodoo doll for said enemy, and by stabbing himself he can cause great pain and internal wounds on the enemy. It helps that he's both an immortal and a Combat Sadomasochist.
  • In the manga Samurai Legend, Yagyu Jubei attempts to develop techniques that would allow him to defeat even the most skilled of opponents, like the Master Swordsman ninja who was responsible for Jubei losing an eye in an earlier duel. Jubei succeeds... right up until the ninja refuses to give up despite being outclassed and stabs through his own midsection to get to Jubei behind him, mortally wounding both men.

    Comic Books 
  • In Dark Nights: Metal, Damian Wayne is confronted with his evil counterpart from Earth -22, who tries to get Damian to join Barbatos' forces. After Green Arrow attempts to kill the Dark Robin with a Nth Metal arrow, Damian gets used as a Human Shield and is shot through the chest. As the Dark Robin taunts Damian over it, the latter responds by shoving the arrow through his chest to impale and kill the Dark Multiverse monstrosity.
  • Marvel Universe villain Nitro is a mutant with the power to blow himself up, turning into a gaseous state until he chooses to reform physically, where he can do it again (thus, his entire point is this trope exaggerated). He's a sadistic Mad Bomber who fights heroes and causes casualties and property damage with this ability, most notably causing the deaths of over 600 people in Stamford, Connecticut.
  • When Frank's getting his ass kicked by Elektra in Jason Aaron's run of The Punisher MAX, he finally manages to nail her when she jumps onto his back... by shooting her in the chest through his own shoulder. True to form, this effectively ends their fight and sets her up for a bullet to the head; Frank, on the other hands, walks it off.
  • In Ronin (1983), a young, nameless samurai confronts the demon Agat. The samurai has a sword which is fueled by the blood of an innocent. The samurai waits for Agat to approach him from behind, then stabs the sword through his own body into the demon.
  • Used in a Star Wars Legends story pitting Darth Vader against a resurrected Darth Maul; Vader stabs himself through the chest to kill Maul.
    Maul: What could you hate enough to destroy me?
    Vader: Myself.
  • A slight variant in The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers: in a story related by Ironfist, Impactor nonlethally fires a few shots through Springer's midsection at the latter's behest — who fortunately has circuit dampeners to deal with the pain—to get the jump on the infamous Squadron X, saving their lives and winning the battle. The story is later revealed to be false. In reality, it was Impactor's idea to shoot through a completely unwilling Springer—who has no circuit dampeners. The situation is later reversed in The Transformers Requiem Ofthe Wreckers with both parties willing.
  • Shatterstar of X-Force has done this on several occasions. While he heals somewhat faster than humans and has is organs arranged differently (allowing him to put a sword through his torso without hitting anything vital), the main reason he does this is that he was raised as a gladiator and indoctrinated that (1) he should do absolutely anything to win and (2) his own life is completely expendable.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, during the tense fight between the Avengers before the birth of Vision, Bruce grabs Wanda from behind, putting her in a chokehold. Wanda fires a hex bolt through her own body to knock Bruce away from her.
  • In The Legend of Hercules, this is how Iphicles is killed when he holds Hebe hostage. She stabs herself through the chest, barely missing her heart to to hit his through her back, and amazingly survives.
  • At the climax of Live Free or Die Hard, Gabriel holds John McClane at gunpoint, only for him to maneuver in such a way that the gun fires through McClane's existing shoulder wound into Gabriel's chest. (hence the page quote)
  • An interesting variation in X-Men, when Magneto has bound the X-Men with metal plates from inside the Statue of Liberty's head. To neutralize Wolverine's claws, he points them inward at Wolverine's chest before clamping metal over them. Wolverine escapes by popping his claws through his own chest and shoulders to cut the metal behind him, freeing himself. Because he's Wolverine, the wounds don't affect him in the final fight with Sabretooth, but when he gives his powers to Rogue to heal her from the life-draining effects of Magneto's machine, the wounds reopen and he almost bleeds out.

  • American Gods: When Mr. World comes up behind Laura, trying to talk her out of throwing his stick/spear down the hill, Laura stabs the stick through herself and into him. Although she dies, her magical coin turns her back into a zombie.
    The boundary between sensation and pain had diffused since she had died. She felt the spearhead penetrate her chest, felt it push out through her back. A moment's resistance - she pushed harder - and the spear pushed into Mr. World.
  • Deathstalker: The Masked Gladiator aka Finlay Campbell is fighting a winged genetically-engineered creature in the Arena, which grabs him from behind and carries him into the air, intending to impale him on one of the Arena's flagpoles. The Masked Gladiator can't attack the creature behind him effectively, so stabs through his own gut to hit the creature solidly enough to make it and he fall to the ground, where the Gladiator beheads it. The Gladiator makes a show of the wound not slowing him down. . . until he gets back to his private quarters, where he needs to quickly hop into a regeneration machine before he passes out.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the first season finale of Arrow, Oliver stabs himself through the chest with an arrow in order to attack the Dark Archer.
  • In the season 2 ending of Rizzoli & Isles, protagonist Jane Rizzoli is taken hostage at gunpoint. With the other cops unable to act, she instead wrestles the gun, turns it into her stomach, and fires. The bullet goes through her into the bad guy, disabling both of them.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham City: After jumping out of Hugo Strange's building with Ra's al Ghul in custody, Ra's attempts to strike Batman with a sword. However, Batman notices this and lets go before Ra's can get him. Ra's will need to make a trip to the Lazarus pit indeed.
  • In Detroit: Become Human, during one possible fight, Connor shoots through himself to hit Captain Alan, who is grabbing him from behind. It works because as an android Connor is hardier than a human and immune to pain, and he deliberately aims somewhere nonlethal on himself.
  • In Hollow Knight's final boss fight, the Hollow Knight begins to stab himself multiple times in an attempt to a) buy time for the Knight to heal or damage him some more, and b) legitimately attempt to damage the infection inside of him (though it does nothing). Because the Hollow Knight isn't the final boss; he's a vessel for the source of the infection, the Radiance, and he's trying to free himself and help the Knight to destroy her.
  • Injustice 2: In a prefight cutscene, Deadshot stabs a combat knife through his own shoulder to wound The Flash, who his holding him from behind. Neither wound affects them in the ensuing fight.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: during his fight with Vamp, Raiden is trapped in a choke-hold from behind. This prompts Raiden to use his own katana to stab himself (and therefore Vamp) through the abdomen. Unfortunately Vamp is a vampire, and he responds by pulling the blade in deeper and twisting it so Raiden is further injured by the move.
  • In the "Hope" cinematic for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Jace Malcolm (a completely normal Republic Trooper) charges at Darth Malgus (one of the top contenders for Big Bad in the whole game) after the latter has fought Satele Shan (the game's Big Good) to a standstill. Malgus catches both of Malcolm's arms, only for Malcolm to reveal a primed grenade which explodes, blasting the two of them apart, wounding both, and setting up Malgus for a decisive defeat by Satele (Jace is seen alive, though a bit scarred and singed, at the end of the cinematic). Whether Jace intended Heroic Sacrifice (killing himself to injure Malgus enough to be defeated) or Taking You with Me (killing both of them in the explosion) is debatable, but the end result is this trope.
  • In both the Tekken and Soul Series, Yoshimitsu is able to stab his sword through himself to damage his enemy. The attack does serious damage to himself, but even more to his enemy if it successfully connects. The damage it deals to his opponent actually takes effect prior to the damage it deals to him, so doing it successfully at low health will cause a victory rather than a draw.
  • In Tenchu, while not its primary purpose, using the feign death technique as Rikimaru in Wrath of Heaven will also damage anyone standing immediately behind you.

  • With a side of Exploited Immunity in this strip from Goblins. Big Ears is being grappled by Saral Caine and stabs through himself into Saral's chest, but his weapon, the Axe of Prissan, carries an enchantment that makes it incapable of harming a paladin, so it passes harmlessly through his body as though it were intangible.
  • Homestuck: In Act 6 Act 6 Act 2, Aranea attempts this when Jane has her in headlock, levitating a sword to stab them both in the stomach. Since Aranea's ring made her immortal, this would have worked, but Aranea is interrupted and it doesn't happen.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Zombina the Zombie

Zombina isn't really bothered by bullet wounds.

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