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Burning with Anger

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A common way of showing extreme anger for a character is to have them burst (whole or in part) into flames. This can either be a visual metaphor for anger, or played literally if they possess fire-manipulating abilities. Depending on the level of anger as well as the tone of the setting, it can range from merely steam coming out of their ears to a full blown volcanic eruption, and everything in between.

If the character has Pyrokinesis, Power Incontinence, and is Hot-Blooded, anything that causes anger is likely to manifest this way. If said character is evil, he/she will always be like this when angry. If the flames don't cause property damage they're probably a Faux Flame. It can also overlap with Fireball Eyeballs, Flaming Hair, and Wreathed in Flames — people who already have such features may have them flare up into larger, hotter flames.


Compare Battle Aura, Demon Head, High-Pressure Emotion, Nightmare Face, Personality Powers, Turns Red (a mostly Video Game equivalent dealing with heightened difficulty that sometimes involves this). Might sometimes be combined with a Looming Silhouette of Rage.

Not to be confused with Angst Nuke, which is not just a visual metaphor, but actually dangerous.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Super Saiyan transformation in Dragon Ball Z starts out as equal parts this trope and Superpowered Evil Side, but later on the warriors discover a way to trigger it at will.
  • Sanji in One Piece, occasionally. He burned up so much in Thriller Bark over the thought of an "invisible man" (Absalom) peeping on Nami that he sent out shockwaves. At one point Chopper said, "Awesome! He exploded!" He even weaponized it in the Fishman island arc where he used it as an finishing attack after thinking about the last two years he spent on Kamabakka Island, naming the technique "Hell Memories".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Joey Wheeler does this when he gets really riled up. A good way to make this happen is to pretend to be his Only Mostly Dead Love Interest just to screw with him. Or call him names. Or just be Kaiba.
  • Rin from Blue Exorcist goes into a Technicolored volcanic version of this whenever he gets really pissed off, scared, or draws his katana.
  • Happens to Tatsuki in Wreathed in Flames form, in an early episode of Bleach. And this is AFTER rampaging through the classroom trying to murder Ichigo. His transgression? Kissing her on the cheek.
  • Pokémon
    • After Misty called her old, Jessie got so angry she started breathing fire!
      Meowth: Jessie just evolved into a Flareon!
    • When Team Rocket stole food from a restaurant she wanted to eat at, May was so pissed that not only was she Wreathed in Flames twice, but her eyes were glowing red.
      Dawn: What happened to our princess...?!
    • An earlier episode that took places in a haunted house had Jessie get so mad, her hair catches fire. She runs around screaming from the fire until she puts it out, leaving her bald.
  • In the "Sweet & Sour Puss" episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Dedede explodes into a volcanic rage wreathing himself with a firey glow both around his eyes and his body after Togeira stores enough anger within itself to unleash a mega-attack on his own castle. He even screams "Now it's payback time!" as he does so.
  • Fairy Tail
    • When Natsu gets pissed he gets covered in flames and gets even stronger. Give that he's the Fire Dragon Slayer, it's rather appropriate. It becomes even more darkly appropriate with The Reveal that he is (or at least was) also an Etherious, a demon of Zeref whose power and brand of magic is fueled by feelings of anger and hatred. Specifically, E.N.D., the mightiest of all of Zeref's demons and the one made to kill him.
    • Juvia does a unique variation: When sufficiently pissed off, her Water Body turns up to boiling temperatures, allowing her to scald her foes with her attacks and even melt any attempt to freeze her over.
  • In one of the Ranma ½ Anime (but not manga) episodes (Genma Takes A Walk) Genma makes a declaration that is so Hot-Blooded that it causes his head to catch fire. Literally.
  • Naruto's 4-tailed transformation is this trope, literally. Bloodshot eyes, peeling skin, boiling blood, all while Naruto sports a face of pure, unadulterated rage. Cue Angst Nuke.
  • K: Literally happens with Mikoto Suoh in episode 6 when he remembers what Tatara's murderer said in the video clip after shooting Tatara.
  • Chapter 2 of the Touhou Project manga, Forbidden Scrollery had Reimu dong this after Marisa explained that the reason she splashed her with water despite the lack of any fires in sight was because, well... she wanted to, just in case.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 6 episode 46, Big M. becomes frustrated at Suspicious S. missing the answer to the question of who saved him (Big M. had saved him earlier, which Suspicious S. hasn't yet realized) and has a flame on his head, representing his anger, that Little M. fans.
  • Motu Patlu: In "Motu Ka Birthday", there are two instances where Motu burns up in anger when his friends seemingly forget his birthday, once when he talks to Inspector Chingum and Chaiwala and once when he talks to John the Don and his minions.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men: After becoming Phoenix, Jean Grey is prone to form a firebird-shaped flaming aura when she gets pissed.
  • Incredible Hulk: If Red Hulk gets mad, he starts emitting heat.
  • Supergirl:
  • Walter ("Wallop") of ClanDestine has the power to transform into a Hulk-like blue monster- either voluntarily, or involuntarily when enraged. In the latter case, his hair bursts into flame (and he gets a whole lot bigger and more monstrous in appearance). If he transformed on purpose while relatively calm, his hair just changes color rather than burning.
  • Blaze in Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) has some serious pyrokinesis, especially when in her Super Mode, Burning Blaze. In that form, she is right up to the very top levels of this trope.
  • Gaston Lagaffe: One strip has Lagaffe play a prank on Meddlesome Patrolman Longtarin that ends with Longtarin drenched. Lagaffe says he'll get Longtarin a towel to dry himself off, Longtarin assures him this won't be necessary, and the water is indeed evaporating from the sheer heat of his anger.
  • Red Lanterns: The Red Lanterns gain their power from rage, and that power has an Incendiary Exponent to it; even their Badass Creed connects their hatred with burning their enemies. Oddly enough, Rankorr looks like this trope, but is one of the few with any level of anger management.

    Fan Works 
  • Examples from The Calvinverse:
  • Child of the Storm has Harry develop a talent for Playing with Fire. After this, when he gets really, really angry the air around him tends to get extremely hot and dry and starting wavering. This is generally a sign that you should start running.
    • In book 2, Ghosts of the Past, it's also wise to start running, preferably to another galaxy, if you can smell wood smoke around him. It leads to a much more literal version of this trope: the Dark Phoenix.
  • Magnetism combines this with a slasher smile when Twilight sees Rainbow Dash throwing her bracelet to the ground, shattering it. Rainbow and Fluttershy respond to this by running like hell while exchanging friendly banter with each other.
  • A Game Comes to Equestria:
  • Earth and Sky makes a Running Gag of Princess Celestia's reactions to the antics of the Flim-Flam Brothers (AKA Professor Destiny and Doctor Insanity) during the Grand Pegathalon, which involve increasing levels of this trope as their attempts to sabotage the other racers get increasingly dangerous.
  • The Oversaturated World gives this to Chrysalis. She ended up burning off all her clothes the first time it happened before figuring out how to control it.
  • Can a Boo Be Friends with a Human?: Mario of all people, with flames forming in his hands at times of such anger as a result of his Big Brother Instinct on more than one occasion. For example: when the Toad paparazzi want pictures of Luigi while he's lying badly injured in a hospital bed, upon hearing of Luigi's treatment from the Toad citizens and the fact he was dragged through a murder trial. He eventually completely loses it, not helped by his habit of suppressing his emotions so as to not worry others.
  • Of Sheep and Battle Chicken's Sara Ying Shepard's biotics are fairly normal, with a slight tendency to flare a bit more under normal circumstances. However, an excellent metric for how pissed Shepard is, or if she's crossed into the Butcher state, is just how melted by warpfire her armour is afterwards.
  • Children of an Elder God: Asuka is a very hot-blooded, very powerful pyrokinetic redhead. When she gets angry, she goes up in flames. Literally. For example, when she demanded that Gendo told her how her parents died, flames formed in her hands.
  • Escape From the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, in chapter 15, Twilight shows that she's learned out to trigger her flaming form (originally seen in the episode Feeling Pinkie Keen) at will through her memories of things that make her angry, though she's looking for a better, more stable and positive emotion to do so, since negative emotions burden the spirit.
  • Happens to Mars in a later chapter of The Return after a power up, and almost sets an entire room alight.
  • Past Sins: offers an in-universe explanation behind the phenomenon from Feeling Pinkie Keen in Chapter 4 note 
    While reports of such things are rare, some books have records of exceptionally magically inclined unicorns performing something called a “rage-shift”. The book had said that the shift occurs when a unicorn’s anger feeds into their magic to cause a physical change to the unicorn’s body.
    • Near the end of the story, Twilight Sparkle Rage-Shifted again this time to fight against Princess Celestia; thinking that Nyx was being sent to the Moon for 1000 years.
  • RealityCheck's Nyxverse: Continues the Rage-Shift trend from Past Sins In Chapter 7 of Alicornundrum, in the chapter, Twilight Sparkle approached Lord Blueblood after finding out that he had tricked her father into signing a Marriage Contract between Twilight and his son Prince Blueblood, note 
    • In the same chapter when Princess Celestia herself Rage-Shifted: who lit up like the sun itself after Lord Blueblood pushes her Berserk Button once too often insisting on Twilight Sparkle following through with the marriage contractnote  Bonus points for her also using the Royal Canterlot Voice at the same time to deliver a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Lord Blueblood for even attempting to do this.
  • Half Past Adventure: As the fire elemental, Flame King Phoebe is prone to this, although she seems to be able to calm herself down before she can do any real damage.
  • Families: When Garble severely injures Spike and threatens his life one too many times, Twilight bursts into flames, sets a nearby tree on fire, telekinetically grabs one of the burning branches, and stabs out his eye with it. For good measure, she warns him that if he ever lays a claw on Spike again, she'll take more than an eye next time before leaving.
  • In The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan, Twilight explains that her ability to burst into flames is because she is a Fire Elemental spellcaster, and since her magic is tied to her passion, particularly strong emotions like anger can cause her mane to start smoking, or to burst into flames entirely. In The Archmage's Last Bow, she becomes so furious with Celestia and Luna over their withholding of the knowledge that Nova Shine is dying that her fires change to hotter colors like blue, purple, and black.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hercules: Hades always has a blue flame of hair on his head; when he gets mad, it flares up, goes red and/or his whole body erupts in flame depending on the level of anger.
  • In Inside Out, Anger's head catches fire when he gets especially riled up. This actually becomes weaponized near the end of the film when Disgust insults Anger so she can use his head as a welding torch, cutting a hole in the windows in Headquarters to let Joy and Sadness back inside.
  • Unikitty from The LEGO Movie is a Stepford Smiler with anger issues. When her anger is finally unleashed, she turns red with flame motif on her fur, dubbed "Angry Kitty".
  • In the first Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf movie, when Mr. Slowy gets angry at Wolnie for pestering him over Wolffy, he is surrounded by a flame.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Charlie in Firestarter has Pyrokinesis and Power Incontinence, but when she's angry at somebody else, she doesn't burst into flame — they do. And ditto the Roaring Rampage of Revenge at the end of the film.
  • Played for Laughs in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, where the now dating Liz and Hellboy have romantic spats that involve her involuntarily melting/burning parts of the base... and purposely launching vault doors at Hellboy. Luckily, being half-demon means he can literally take the heat.
  • Anyone treated with Extremis in Iron Man 3.
  • Mrs. White mentions feeling this way in Clue:
    "I hated her, so much... Flames, flames, on the side of my face..."

  • Averted in Circle of Magic - despite being an elemental mage with heat and fire as part of her magic, Tris tends to cause lightning, hail, small earthquakes and violent wind when she's angry.
  • In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, fire witches' hair bursts into flame whenever they become ticked off.
  • The Faerie Queene: The wrathful Pyrrochles is described as wielding a flaming sword, wearing armor so bright that it looks like he's Wreathed in Flames, and giving off smoke with every step he takes. When Pyrrochles' furious blows tire him out, Guyon is described as having his courage "kindled", allowing him to overpower his fiery foe.
    "'I burne, I burne, I burne,' then loud he cryde, / 'O how I burne with implacable fire, / Yet nought can quench mine inly flaming syde, / Nor sea of licour cold, nor lake of mire, / Nothing but death can doe me to respire.'"
  • Averted in Pyramids, where Dios is very angry about an escaped prisoner. Due to his having a permanent Death Glare, people are actually taken by surprise that he doesn't leave a line of molten rock on the walls as he looks for the prisoner.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, this is the first part of Ninjaman's reaction to being called a "novice". Flames spread across his visor. The other part is growing large if he isn't already and powering up into Samuraiman. Ninjor, his Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers counterpart, wasn't always angry when he transformed, but when he was...
    Ninjor: Evil makes me so angry! Bad just burns me up!
  • In Engine Sentai Go-onger, Kegalesia goes to Mild Bell Pepper level hilariously. Usually, one of her co-villains turns the valve on the side of her head to release steam.

  • One interpretation of "You're On Fire" by They Might Be Giants is that the subject of the song is hot-tempered, and their head is only on fire in the metaphorical sense or in the sense of this trope.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Celtic Mythology: Hero Cu Chulainn was known for his very literally hot temper. He was once dunked into three barrels of icy water to cool him down after a berserker rage — the first barrel heated up so quickly that it exploded, while the second quickly boiled away.
  • The Bible: Hosea 7:6-7, speaking about the people of Israel:
    For they are kindled like an oven.
    Their heart burns within them;
    their anger smolders all night;
    in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
    They are all hot as an oven,
    and they devour their judges.
    All their kings have fallen,
    and none of them calls to Me.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer the Chaos Dwarfs have Great Taurus as mounts for their lords. They are red bull creatures with bat like wings, and are wreathed in flames that's hot enough to melt armor, and breath fire.

    Video Games 
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Etna and Flonne get flaming eyes when Laharl points out they're too flat-chested to trigger his phobia of sexy women.
    Etna & Flonne: Well, excuse us for being flat!
  • Used as a gameplay element in Super Princess Peach; whenever Peach uses her Anger Vibe she erupts in flames and can burn anything she touches.
  • Axel from Kingdom Hearts sometimes. Makes sense since he is a pyro.
  • Asura from Asura's Wrath eventually gets so angry his anger eventually literally scorches his body. This is rectified later when Yasha implants the Mantra reactor of the Karma fortress into Asura to handle the energy better.
  • In World of Warcraft, Warriors can use a Glyph of Burning Anger to invoke the Wreathed in Flames version of this trope any time they become Enraged.
  • Mega Man X8: Once you hurt a boss enough, he goes into an "angry" mode where he uses stronger attacks. This is signified by having a temporary shield of flames appearing around him.
  • Sith Warriors in Star Wars: The Old Republic can Channel Hatred when not in combat, wreathing their upper bodies in flame as they focus on their Unstoppable Rage, healing any damage they have suffered. The Marauder's fury-based abilities have a similar visual style, with flames appearing around their eyes or hands when activated.
  • Hothead from Speed Runners is always like this.
  • The Pyro from Team Fortress 2 doesn't like being told that fire is nobody's friend.
  • After Belladonna tampers with the Firestone in Trials of Mana, Salamando joins up with the player party because she breached his guard on her watch. This trope is illustrated in the Super Famicom version by him casting his own spells on himself.
  • Moshi Monsters: Diavlos are a type of Moshi Monster with pits of fire and lava in their heads. They automatically erupt like volcanoes when angry, but can also do this willingly.
  • In No Straight Roads, during the Final Battle, Tatiana eventually becomes so pissed off with Bunk Bed Junction that she literally erupts into flames which, combined with the arena they're fighting in turning into a Goolings concert, gives away her identity of Kul Fyra, the former lead guitarist of the aformentioned band. Mayday however doesn't quite put two and two together until Zuke tells her well after the battle.

    Web Animation 

  • Bob and George: Bob has fire producing/manipulating abilities so he tends to go through all the phases depending on just how mad he gets. Applies, of course, to Very Alternate Bob as well. Ironically he's only ever seen angry enough to burst into flames once in the entire series, and hilariously, it's rainbow-colored.
  • Cucumber Quest: Peridot is so frustrated over her slip-up here, she appears to be breathing fire.
  • Kevin near the end of the first Kevin And Chad comic.

    Web Original 
  • The Rage Face for "apoplectic fit" has the character spewing lava or blood from their mouth and/or eyes, and standing in front of either a volcanic eruption or a mushroom cloud.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs
  • The villain named Father from Codename: Kids Next Door can coat himself with and manipulate fire, but he flares up accordingly as he gets angrier.
  • The Fairly OddParents
    • Wanda has gotten angry enough that the flames show up in her eyes, and her hair lights on fire.
    • Vicky has also gotten angry enough that the flames show up in her eyes.
    • In "Pipe Down!", after Timmy wishes away sound, Timmy's Dad tries inaudibly yelling at him which includes steam shooting out of his ears, his hair catching on fire and exploding until nothing is left but his clothes (which becomes a running gag).
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) when Skeletor got mad his otherwise empty eye sockets would form glowing red lights in them. The madder he was the bigger and brighter they got. (may not be actual fire so much as magical energy but same principle)
  • In the Looney Tunes short "My Favorite Duck", Porky Pig gets so angry he bursts into flames, is reduced to ashes, then reforms out of a column of smoke.
  • Raven from Teen Titans gets blue flames shooting from her head when angry at her annoying teammates.
    • In one episode, Robin goes up in flames after seeing that Starfire has been betrothed to a Blob Monster.
    • In another Starfire in turn is fuming so hard at Robin being on a forced date with Kitten that she burns up completely, becoming like a spent matchstick with angry green eyes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • In the episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen", Twilight Sparkle has struggled the entire episode to figure out Pinkie Pie's "Pinkie Sense," and keeps coming up short. She finally hits her Rage-Breaking Point and bursts into flames.
      • Seems like she picked it up from Celestia—the Princess likewise burst into flame when confronting her alternative universe self in one of the comics.
    • Spike also gets in on the act in "Owl's Well That Ends Well". A feather he went through a lot of trouble to obtain for Twilight spontaneously combusts after he finds out Owlowiscious had already given her one of his feathers.
    • Pinkie Pie becomes steaming mad when Applejack tries to weasel out of a Pinkie Promise in "The Last Roundup".
      "Nopony breaks a Pinkie Promise!"
    • The Kirin gets an honorable mention in this case. When they are angry enough, they will unleash Niriks, spirits that are on fire and causing destruction to the point they eventually caused their entire forest home to be burnt to the ground and resulting in many of the Kirin entering the Stream of Silence in the process.
  • When villains throughout Winx Club do something that pushes Bloom too far, she becomes so angry that her whole body literally becomes enveloped within a mass of flames, letting them know that they're completely and totally screwed because she's about to unleash the full force of the Dragon Flame power on them.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender a firebender without sufficient control can do this when angry. This can be shown by anything from smoking hands to screaming fire blasts. For obvious reasons, it's something of a safety hazard.
    • In The Legend of Korra, airbending mentor Tenzin's head will redden heavily when sufficiently angered, usually prompted by something his rebellious student Korra has said.
  • Lucius Heinous VII on Jimmy Two-Shoes, being a Captain Ersatz of Satan with a Hair-Trigger Temper, does this pretty frequently. It has been parodied a few times, such as when he then freaked out about his head being on fire, or when Jimmy then began roasting sausages over him. Heloise does this on a handful of occasions as well.
  • Flame Princess on Adventure Time does this frequently. As you'd expect.
  • Trina Riffin on Grojband does this when she writes her diary in "Anger Mode", which happens a lot.
    • Laney Penn's head litteraly catches fire when she's angered.
  • Donald Duck in the Mickey Mouse (2013) short "Tapped Out" when Pete ruins his nachos.
    • In the Donald Duck cartoon, "The Autograph Hound", Donald gets an egg smashed on his head by Mickey Rooney. Donald ends up getting so angry, his head fries the egg.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil has Tom, who often gets angry, and as a demon, will often set on fire during those times as well. There's also Hekapoo, whose association with fire isn't quite as big, but still sets on fire when she gets really angry.
  • Ruby from Steven Universe can cause her body to heat up whenever she's angry, it's hot enough to leave scorched marks on the ground and can evaporate an entire pool.
  • Patchy the Pirate gets mad when he sees the fake "Lost Episode" of SpongeBob SquarePants so his face turns red and steam comes from his ears.
    • In the episode "The Battle of Bikini Bottom" SpongeBob is finally pushed over the edge by Patrick's shenanigans and turns red like a rising thermometer right before he attacks Patrick.
    • In "Squidville", Squidward is so enraged by SpongeBob and Patrick ruining his house with their reef blowers that steam is coming out of his head.
    SpongeBob: Squidward, you're steaming. You're like a steamed vegetable only smarter.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Think Positive", when Benson hits his Rage-Breaking Point, he explodes in flames, setting Rigby and Mordecai on fire, while screaming at them in pure rage. It bears mentioning that beforehand, Benson's repressed anger generated a flaming corona and a gravity well around himself, essentially making him a miniature star.
  • Symphony in Slang has this as one of its many, many visual puns.
  • Played for Drama in The Owl House episode "Understanding Willow". The Inner Willow, already full of repressed anger over Amity breaking off their friendship and the years of bullying that followed, is engulfed in flame by Amity's fire spell on the memory prints. She continues (re)burning any memory with Amity in it, attempting to literally burn Amity out of Willow's memories (no matter the damage to Willow's psyche) because of all Willow's repressed anger towards Amity boiling over.
  • Centaurworld: In the episode Bunch O' Scrunch, Horse is so fed up with being frozen in ice for no reason for the third time that she turns red, breathes hot steam through her straw and breaks out of the ice block trapping her.


Video Example(s):


Porky's rage

Porky Pig gets so angry he bursts into flames, is reduced to ashes, then reforms out of a column of smoke.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / BurningWithAnger

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