Follow TV Tropes


Cranial Eruption

Go To
In addition to the pain, these things can get pretty irritating.

"You never realized before, but your skull makes a funny "bonk" sound whenever you're inflicted with serious head trauma."

In a classic cartoon, any non-fatal (which is to say, just about every) head injury immediately results in a huge swelling the size of an orange or larger, usually pushing its pink, fleshy way through the victim's hair. Sometimes they come pre-bandaged. May also erupt in the exact shape of the object that caused them. Attempts to shove the lumps back into one's head will usually be answered with a lump of equal-size appearing on the other side of the head... or sometimes somewhere else entirely.

Occasionally further damage will make the lump grow into an obelisk shaped little mountain, or cause the lump to sprout another smaller lump. These can happen multiple times in a row, causing either a very tall bump, or a little cactus-like appearance.

The spherical one is more popular in Anime, and is sometimes used in conjunction with Instant Bandages to denote an enemy's weak spot, whereas the mound shaped one is more popular in Western Animation, although both have appeared in either medium.

While exaggerated, this trope is very much Truth in Television; even a minor bump to the head will usually result in swelling that takes a while to go away, or remains permanent.

Sister-trope to Cartoon Throbbing. Not to be confused with Your Head A-Splode. Also, no relation to My Brain Is Big.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the first Astro Boy anime, this happens to a telephone.
  • In FLCL, a Cranial Eruption, rather than producing a concussion, produces a Humongous Mecha, and rather phallic ones at that.
  • In the first episode of the resurrected Negima!, a mishap leaves Negi with a Cranial Eruption, among other marks.
  • In one episode of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Bo-Bobo hits Don Patch on the head multiple times to make him get not only a lump on his head, but multiple lumps on top of that lump. Then Bo-Bobo tries to use it as a sword of some sort. When that doesn't work, he uses a bat to whack the lumps off of Don Patch's head like a bunch of baseballs. And, like everything else in that show, this carries the disclaimer .
  • This is common in Case Closed, used whenever Conan gets whacked on the head for interrupting investigations.
  • When Kenshin receives a slap in Rurouni Kenshin, he usually gets one of such lumps.
  • In Caravan Kidd, Wataru gets a HUGE lump on his head after Action Girl Mian Toris had made a rather surprising landing on him...
  • In Doctor Slump, on one page, bad-boy Taro gets caught wearing shades and smoking a cigarette by the teacher...and he himself sports a big lump on his head on the next page!
  • It happened a couple times in Dragon Ball Z. One example is when Goku hit Gregory the grasshopper over the head with a mallet which he was assigned to do by King Kai. In another example, Krillin is testing Goku to see if he could deflect a rock thrown at him while in Super Sayian form; it ends up hitting him on the head and a large bump appears where it hit.
    • Also notable in an early episode when Goku gets hit in the head by an axe which shattered afterwards.
  • Occasionally happens to the title character of Naruto, especially when hit by Sakura.
    • One moment has Naruto get one from a log, which also gets a bump.
  • Happens to Kafuka Fuura in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei in the few occasions she gets hit in the head.
  • These happen occasionally in Galaxy Fraulein Yuna's more lighthearted episodes. One particularly amusing case in the first OAV episode had the bump "healed" by Yuri Cube snagging it off Yuna's forehead with her chopsticks — and immediately eating it, saying it looked tasty.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: Iggy gets a brief bump after Boingo kicked a box over and it landed on his head.
    • JoJolion: Joshu lays his head on a table nursing a Cranial Eruption that occurred after Daiya used California King Bed to erase his memory.
  • With the abundance of Megaton Punches, slaps and characters otherwise being reduced to A Twinkle in the Sky, it should be no surprise that this gets more than the occasional glance in Ranma ½.
    • An amusing instance in the manga, when Happōsai's Cranial Eruption is hit by a little splash of water from the Spring of Drowned Twins. Instead of duplicating him, it duplicates his lump.
  • One Piece:
    • Everytime Nami gets furious, expect these to pop up on whoever annoyed her. A particularly notable example was in the aftermath of the Enies Lobby arc, when Luffy flippantly admits to spending all their savings on an extravagant party. Luffy gains one larger than his head, with some other bumps coating his face. She has also given several to Brook despite him not having any flesh or blood to swell up.
    • And one cannot forget Luffy versus the Sphinx. When Luffy was done with it he was literally standing on the poor thing's head, atop a mountain of these.
    • In the Drum Island arc, after a worried Vivi slaps the crap out of Usopp to break him out of his Near-Death Experience, Usopp's face swells up to three times its original size from having so many bumps.
  • in Niea_7, Niea gets knocked over the head by Mayuko quite a bit, leading to this. Of course, Niea deserves it every single time.
  • Hidamari Sketch: Yoshinoya-sensei, after saying or doing something rather un-teacher-like, is usually seen in the background of the next cut, doing the Seiza Squirm with a (often multilayered) cranial eruption while the Principal lectures her.
    • Miyako also receives them fairly frequently from Sae.
    • Yuno also gets one, though it's because she bumped her head on the moving truck.
  • The titular character in Crayon Shin-chan gets hit in the head a lot by his mother which always shows an off-screen cutaway sound effect. They are also often depicted as multiple bumps stacked on top of each other.
  • These happen from time to time in My-Otome, such as in one piece of official art in which Haruka, sparring with Shizuru during her time as a Coral, fails to block Shizuru's staff and gets hit in the head (resulting in the staff bending on impact). In My-Otome 0~S.ifr~, Lena gives one to Elliot while repelling her advances.
  • This happens sometimes in Kirby: Right Back at Ya! when Dedede hits Escargoon with his hammer.
    • One episode involves Kirby taking care of an egg. When a rainstorm happens, Kirby tries to get the egg up the tree, but the egg rolls off and Kirby runs after it. The location the egg ends up in happens to be where Rick is holding a leaf umbrella to protect himself from the rain. The egg hits Rick's head and knocks Rick out, which causes Rick to get one of these. It disappears when the scene switches and Rick comes to.
    Rick: It's rainin' cats and dogs, but I never thought an egg can drop on me head.
  • K-On!'s Ritsu is usually the one to receive them from Mio, sometimes stacked. In the anime, the stacked version (one hit for making noise while studying is being attempted, and one for poking the sole of Yui's tingling foot) is seen shrinking back on its own.
    • Yui has been on the receiving end of it once on New Year's Day at a temple... because she was praying for the exact things that the the band unanimously agreed that it won't pray for.
    • When Ritsu and Tsumugi hung out together for the first time without any of the others, Tsumugi asked Ritsu to hit her, taking it as a form of physical intimacy that Ritsu and Mio practice. Ritsu initially can't bring herself to do it, but Tsumugi later gets her wish after telling Ritsu that she was "a really good date", and that if she were a boy, the girls would be crawling all over her. At the end, there's a picture of her with it, captioned "Me and My Lump".
  • Pokémon: The Series: In the first episode of the series, Ash throws a rock at a Spearow, mistaking it for a Pidgey. The initial Spearow gains a lump on its head...followed by giving Ash a terrifying Death Glare, and then starts attacking Ash in a rage of fury.
  • Strawberry Marshmallow: For a girl who does things that provoke people to knock her face down on the floor, Miu gets them surprisingly rarely. The first time in the manga was the result of Ana whacking her with a recorder for revealing her surname. (The analogous scene in the anime didn't have one.)
  • It happens to Tulip the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk (1974) when Jack smashes a wedding decoration over his head.
  • Happens sometimes in Haruhichan. Despite Nagato and Achakura giving this to each other, there are some episodes to which Achakura also gets this, such as hitting her head on the ceiling.
  • In one episode of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Stocking walks off screen with a large metal pipe in her hand in order to confront Garterbelt about what is taking him so long to make dinner. The screen shakes and you hear a few blows being exchanged between them. Stocking walks back on screen with a knot that is equally the size of her own head.
  • NEEDLESS does this a lot, most of the time the characters have bumps on top of bumps on top of bumps on top of bumps!
  • Doraemon: In "Action Quiz", both times Big G hits Noby, the latter gets a noticeable bump on his head.
  • In the first episode of Laid-Back Camp, Sakura strikes Nadeshiko for having left her cell phone behind and getting lost gets three from her sister, resulting in three kumps stacked on top of each other.
  • Dr. STONE: When Chrome compares Kohaku to a gorilla, she promptly gives him one of these.
  • In the seventeenth chapter of Asteroid in Love, the Earth Science Club attempted to brainstorm some story ideas for the Newspaper Club, and some of Mira's suggestions are plainly unflattering references to Mikage. We see Mikage standing at Mira and Sayuri's backs rather pissed off, and in the next panel, Mira gets these.

    Asian Animation 
  • Characters in Happy Heroes will occasionally develop a bump on the head if they are hit there.
  • In the Lamput episode "Flicker", Fat Doc hits Slim Doc on the head with the gun containing the color-changing serum when the latter accidentally squirts the former's eyes with it. The resulting bump on Slim Doc's head constantly changes color due to being hit with the serum.
  • Motu Patlu: In "John Banega Don", Patlu throws the bag of 10 crore over a wall. Inspector Chingam is on the other side of the wall and is hit by the bag, giving him a bump on his head.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Wolffy sometimes develops a bump on his head when he gets hit there.
  • In the first episode of Yamucha's-Kung Fu Academy, the tiger develops a bump on his head after colliding with Nao and hitting a tree.

    Comic Books 
  • The Adventures of Peter Wheat: In Issue #5, when escaping from their prison, The Grand Wizard and Dragonel knock out a bug so they can steal his boat. When Peter Wheat is seen inspecting him later, there's a lump on his head.
  • In Léonard le Génie, Basile suffers these very often, sometimes in multiple layers. In one instance, a (self-inflicted) strike with an anvil resulted in a lump larger than his head!
  • Also very, very common in Mortadelo y Filemón. From blows to the head, falling from great heights, you name it. The lumps sometimes come in layers of two or three.
    • In one instance, we see a bunch of prehistoric men fighting to death with clubs. In present time, when their remains are discovered, there are cranial eruptions in their bare skulls.
  • In the Nintendo Power comic Super Mario Adventures, one episode has Mario tied up and injured, with a single, a double, and a triple Cranial Eruption growing through his hat.
  • Appears frequently in Italian Disney Comics (known as "bernoccolo"). Carl Barks's story "The Mad Chemist" has Donald Duck hit upon a one-in-a-million chance of one turning him into a genius. Too bad they fade away in time.

    Fan Works 
  • The Dresden Fillies: In Chapter 18 of False Masks, after Dresden hits a pegasus on the head:
    The pegasus had a goose egg big enough to bump him up a hat size
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: In "Equipment Test", as a goblin got beaten up so he head these:
    Her fingers glowed greenish as she cautiously put the device on the goblin's head, making sure to heal his bumps before she exerted any pressure.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles Mini-sodes:
    • A snake gets one after touching Sakura's butt and getting punched by her when she thought it was Naruto touching her with his penis.
    • While sitting next to the still unconscious Jiraiya, Tsunade decides to essentially relieve the old days by grabbing his hand and making him touch her breast before calling him a pervert and punching his forehead, resulting in a lump on his head.
  • True Potential: Kanji gets one after he manages to get Tenten angry in the omake from Chapter 62. This is after he asked why the word 'kunoichi' is a thing. Tenten did a passionate speech about it, only for Kanji to ask why not using the word she-nobi instead. She wasn't too pleased that he asked that question just to make that pun, giving the impression that he thought everything she said was a joke.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Fix-It Felix receives one on his forehead, as one of the many facial injuries he receives from Calhoun hitting him (it's the sixth or seventh time he gets hit).
  • In Hercules, the River Guardian holding Meg when Herc first meets her gets a lump big enough for a horseshoe to hang from it.
    • Also, after a bumpy ride on Pegasus, Philoctetes gets one after waking up.
    Phil: Hey, I got another horn here.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Battle of the Century: Laurel and Hardy films were often cartoony. In this one a cop raps Stan on the head with his baton. Stan takes off his bowler hat to reveal a prominent lump on the back of his head.
  • In one scene in Drunken Master the hero fights a master whose style imitates a bull — he hits and blocks with his head, which seems impervious to any damage. Then the hero starts hitting him with a stonemason's hammer — that doesn't kill the "bull", but creates four anime-ish round bumps too painful to touch.
  • Referenced in Mallrats, where Jay and Silent Bob are planning to destroy a stage, but have to contend with LaFours, the mall security guard. Their first plan, "Operation Drive-By", is depicted with Wile E. Coyote-style blueprints; it's shown that Silent Bob's plan to deal with LaFours is hitting him over the head with a sock full of quarters, and the blueprints point to a "huge fucking lump" on LaFours' head.

  • In one of the comics included in a LEGO Studios set (Werewolf Ambush), the werewolf gets a lump after getting flung off of a car.

    Video Games 
  • In Angry Birds, the standard pig gets one after getting hit by a block twice (once is enough in the Chrome version). The mustached pig also grows one after getting slammed, and, in the classic version, the swelling gets taller when he is hit a second time.
  • In Super Mario World, one of the world victory gags has Mario blow up the castle, only to have it launch directly into a bump-shaped hill, which then rises a little bit and sports a bandage for the rest of the game, looking like a humungous Cranial Eruption.
  • In the Paper Mario series, you can find a rare creature called a Whacka. Hitting it on the head causes it to produce (and drop) one of these. It's actually one of the best and most profitable-to-sell items in the game. Downside is, you can only get so many of these from a single wacka before it disappears forever, and there's only one in each game...
  • The "Crash of the Titan" achievement in most versions of Plants vs. Zombies shows a Gargantuar with a huge bump on its head.
  • In Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Dragoddon gets a giant one after the tower falls on him.
  • In Rayman: Raving Rabbids, the entire object of one of the minigames is to give a Rabbid the biggest lump possible. After a set time of whacking him with a hammer, the lump just grows taller and taller, measuring out how many times you hit him. This is probably the most extreme example of this trope, with the lump easily growing many many times his height.
  • Fourth boss in Super Meat Boy gets blocky ones.
  • Puyo Puyo:
  • In the Stage 4 cutscene in Um Jammer Lammy, Captain Fussenpepper gets one every time he gets hit on the head with the loose circuit board. They do not appear when he gets hit during the song though.

    Web Animation 
  • Etra chan saw it!: Hiiragi gets smacked in the head for several times by his father Tokusa for stealing his sisters' belongings for his girlfriend, resulting in three bumps stacked on top of each other on his head.

  • In Welcome to the Convenience Store this is the most common injury with layers and layers of them on top of each other. First example is on the first page.
  • Both Lauroe and Shibisu from Tower of God suffer from these. They are inflicted by Serena and Quant respectively.
  • In Boyfriend of the Dead, after N does something particularly cringe-worthy or childish in front of Alex it will typically cut to him sporting one or two of these. It's a good thing that as a zombie he can't feel pain (except to his pride, of course).

    Western Animation 
  • This becomes a plot point in The Angry Beavers. Daggett gives himself one of these while attempting to show workers at a construction site how real construction is done. The recurring scientist characters end up mistaking Daggett for an endangered species, the "Great Horned Beaver".
  • In Angry Birds Toons, Matilda gets a large bump after the gnome lands on her head in "Oh Gnome".
    • The main plot for "Love is in the Air" begins after King Pig is hit by a cabbage, which he mistakes for a female pig as a result of the impact. Near the end of the episode, he gets another lump after getting shot by a bottle cork.
    • This is parodied in "Short and Special", where the main pig tries to exploit one in order to get on a roller coaster that he is too short for. The lump grows after the pig is hit on the head a second time, allowing him to get on.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Carl gets a somewhat more realistic, yet still hilarious case of this after one of Frylock's inventions flies out of the house and bounces off the back of his head at top speed at the beginning of the episode. When he returns near the end, Carl now has a heavily swollen, purple/blue/green lump on the back of his head that he claims "needs to be drained 3 times a day, so his brain can think good."
  • An amusing Cranial Eruption happens in the Donald Duck short Fall Out, Fall In. As Private Duck builds his tent, he's shot like an arrow headfirst into a tree. The resultant bump makes a dent in his helmet. (See image above.)
  • The Flintstones: Fred gets one for storing his bowling ball at the top of the closet.
  • In Goofy Gymnastics, Goofy gets one of these on the noggin after a set of chin-ups, when it's revealed that the horizontal bar was loose, and it promptly falls on his head. He even pushes the lump down and flexes his bicep, which makes it pop up there.
  • Happens frequently in Il était une fois... l'homme, most notably in the Cro-Magnon episode, where Maestro, Pierre, and Jumbo each get a bump on the head while hunting bison, and where Le Teigneux and Le Nabot get hit on the head with pottery twice!
  • These are a mainstay of Looney Tunes shorts.
    • Especially Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner... or at least, to Coyote.
    • Big House Bunny: After Bugs Bunny's impersonation of the prison's Warden, Sam Schultz (Yosemite Sam) comes back in the Warden's office, thinks it's still Bugs in disguise and clubs his own boss on the head. A swelling about as tall as Sam himself erupts on the Warden's head, who then emerges with a Death Glare, and Sam sheepishly taps it back into the Warden's head with his club. Cue another round of yelling and job loss threat on Sam from the pissed off Warden.
    • The Running Gag in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Rabbit's Kin is to offer tea and ask Pete Puma how many lumps he wants with it. Instead of dropping lumps of sugar into his drink, Bugs clobbers him over the head until that many lumps appear, using a much smaller mallet to flatten an extra lump when Pete ended up with one lump too many. Averted slightly when Pete disguises himself as the young bunny's mother. Pete is asked for how many lumps he'd like in his coffee, but Pete was armed with an ACME Stove Lid on his head. Three guesses who had an ACME Stove Lid Lifter on himself. By the end of the cartoon, Pete is already aware of what'll happen when Bugs (disguised as another puma) asks how many lumps of coal he wants in the stove, Pete decides that he'll help himself and clobbers his own head instead.
    • Subverted and played straight in The Wise Quacking Duck: Offering sugar for coffee, Daffy asks Mr. Meek how many lumps his wife usually gives him. Mr. Meek takes off his hat and reveals a lump on his head. Then Daffy gives him another.
    • In Sahara Hare, Riff-Raff Sam hits his camel over the head, and as the lump grows, its hump shrinks.
    • Don't Give Up the Sheep saw The Wolf, as Mobile Shrubbery, get two such hits by The Sheepdog (as a white tree).
    • Claws for Alarm: One of the outcomes of the blow Porky Pig received when Sylvester clobbered him with a shotgun butt. The other two outcomes being star-shaped pupils in his eyes and being stuck on "and the deer and the antelope pl-pl-..." while singing "Home on the Range" just before he could get in the shower.
      Porky: Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope p-p-p-pl- [BONK!] [semi-comatose] And the deer and the antelope p-p-p-pl- And the deer and the antelope p-p-p-pl- And the deer and the antelope p-p-p-pl-...
    • The Wearing of the Grin: Porky gets a few lumps on his head courtesy of a Leprechaun's shillelagh.
  • Mickey Mouse gets one in The Grocery Boy after an iron falls on his head. It shrinks down when Minnie kisses it.
  • In the Mickey Mouse (2013) short "Flipperboobootosis", Goofy attempts to massage away the titular sore on Donald's foot. The sore migrates to Goofy's head; then Mickey tries to do the same, only for the sore to migrate to his head. He subsequently pushes it back to Donald's foot.
  • When Popeye hits a two-headed ogre in Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor, the ogre gets a lump in his other head.
  • Frequently happens in The Ren & Stimpy Show almost every time someone receives a blow to the head. One example in an Adult Party Cartoon episode, Ren hits a duck over the head with a club, causing a very tall bump to form on his head, and they climb it to enter the house they are going to rob.
    • The comic book played with this in the special "Masters of Time and Space" issue. Ren gets hit on the head twice, causing him to have two Cranial Eruptions. When another Ren, having just dropped in from a time warp, laughs at him, the first Ren bops his head, causing a bump to sprout from that Ren's head. This, in turn, creates a third bump on the first Ren's head.
  • This has happened to Homer in The Simpsons on a few occasions when he gets hurt, most notably when he fell off Springfield gorge the first time he completes the fall the skateboard he was riding on hits his head producing one of these, a deleted scene reveals the second time it happens the stretcher hits his head producing a second bump.
  • Sometimes used in SpongeBob SquarePants, such as in one episode, where a dozen or so objects on a shelf land on Mr. Krabs' head, and then a tall lump grows from his head, located right between his eyes.
  • In quite a few episodes of Tom and Jerry. Spike the Bulldog is probably the most common victim of this, usually while caught in the crossfire between Tom and Jerry's antics, leading into the gag where Tom sheepishly tries to push the bump down only for it to grow back. But it becomes much more frequent in the Chuck Jones era.
  • Total Drama: Faking a claustrophobia-fueled panic attack in "The Chefshank Redemption", Gwen grabs the Screaming Gaffers' one shovel and breaks it over Harold's head. In the follow-up confessional, Harold sports a bandaged bump about a third of the height of his head.

    Real Life 
  • Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts can and have resulted in some pretty unbelievable injuries. Ralph White and (WARNING: Kinda horrific) Jerome Le Banner are two of the most notable examples, as detailed by Seanbaby in this Cracked article. If it's any consolation, Le Banner actually won that fight very handily.
  • Another such incident is the aftermath of a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Hasim Rahman, in which Holyfield's headbutts caused a swelling hematoma on Rahman's forehead.
  • This chap at a Slipknot tribute band show ultimately suffers a pretty big one after having a shot at hitting Clown's keg ultimately results in more than the keg sustaining a hit.


Video Example(s):


Les Minikeums

When Normy's robotic postman throws a box away, it ends up landing on Keva's head, who winds up with yet another bump on his head.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CranialEruption

Media sources: