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Close-Call Haircut

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Well, at least she didn't break a nail…
"My hair! He shot my hair! Son of a bitch!"
Princess Vespa, Spaceballs


In either a gunfight or a sword battle, sometimes the bullet or blade gets just a bit too close for comfort, and you often see a Close-Call Haircut with a few cut strands of hair blowing around to indicate just how close the character came to getting hit. The character may even quickly run a hand through their hair and watch loose strands float away in the wind as confirmation. May also mark the point in the battle when the gloves come off, especially if one or both of the fighters are female and it suddenly becomes personal as soon as the female character's beauty is involved.

A common variation involves a bullet passing through a female character's hair, creating a gaping hole that's sometimes magically repaired by the next scene (see Hair Reboot).

May overlap with Important Haircut or Traumatic Haircut in some cases. See also Slipknot Ponytail and Hat Damage. Compare Losing a Shoe in the Struggle (the same effect is achieved with a minor article of clothing instead) or Paper Cutting (flesh rather than hair).


The trope was popularized during the Renaissance, when sword-wielding folk moved away from large and cumbersome cutting tools to lighter weapons that allowed additional finesse. Trimming an opponent's mustache or removing buttons in a declared order was a way to demonstrate one's superior fighting skills whilst simultaneously humiliating your opponent, culminating in the famous 'slice your initial in your opponent's clothes without actually breaking his skin' maneuver made famous by Alex Thoth's Zorro.


Example subpages


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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 2 episode 21, Careless S. tests out his new weapon by shooting a missile at a tree. Big M., who is hiding behind a bush right in front of the tree, is nearly hit by the missile, but it just barely misses him and cuts off the top of his hair in the process.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Mighty Little Defenders episode 42, Weslie faces off against Rolly and Raoul while they're under the effects of a wolf herb. One of those two very nearly hits Weslie with a sword, cutting off a small part of the curl of wool on his forehead.

    Fan Works 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Happens to Peter Petrelli in Heroes, during his first encounter with Sylar.
  • The MythBusters have had a few cases that definitely prove their point about not attempting anything they do at home.
    • Adam once got a bit too close to an exploding ball of fire. "Am I missing an eyebrow?"
    • Not to mention an incident that begins with Grant adjusting a spring-loaded guillotine and ends with said guillotine zooming past him close enough to tear his shirt.
  • Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead gets one when he is grazed by a sniper shot in the second season

    Video Games 
  • In Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+, there is a scene in which Xaldin hurls a lance at Axel's head; there is a visible puff of red hairs that fly off when the spear hits about three inches to the left of Axel's face.
  • In Sakura Wars (2019), Lancelot and Sakura Amamiya engage in a sword duel when they meet each other for the first time in chapter 3. When Lancelot tries to ram her sword into Sakura, the latter dodges it and a few of her hair strands are cut off.
  • The introductory cutscene to The Witcher has Geralt doing this to a Striga.

    Web Animation 
  • In the pilot of Knights of All Realms, Patchface the Pirate swings for Sir Loin's neck, but only manages to graze his skin and take a bit of his beard off. Unfortunately, that's enough for Sir Loin to be poisoned by the Sick Sabre.
  • In RWBY, Yang Xiao Long evades the wide swings of an Ursa's claws, but later realises that the beast managed to cut off a single strand of hair. Her temper snaps, and the Ursa is pummelled into oblivion. No-one is allowed to touch her hair, never mind damage it.

    Web Original 
  • Kakyoin and Polnareff are on the receiving end from Death 13's scythe a few times during the Death 13 arc in Vaguely Recalling JoJo.

    Web Video 
  • The short video To The Death involves a student from a sword fighting school that uses Laser Swords fighting a series of duels against his teacher, as he cannot properly graduate from the school until he manages to defeat the teacher. In the last of these duels the student finally wins by dodging a slash at the last instant, with the blade coming close enough to singe off some of his long hair, and then landing a winning counterattack. YouTube link

    Real Life 
  • At the battle of Fredericksburg during The American Civil War, Confederate cavalry general J.E.B Stuart had a lock of hair cut off by a bullet, and three more bullets passed through his clothes, while he left the battlefield unharmed.


Video Example(s):


Are You Sure This Is Safe?

Blu narrowly escapes getting cut by a buzzsaw, which shears off a couple of feathers off the back of his head when the attempt to remove the chain holding Blu and Jewel together goes wrong.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CloseCallHaircut

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