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Destructive Saviour
aka: Destructive Savior

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Torches and bombs and pottery, oh my!
"The Magdalan Order is supposed to prevent the destruction caused by demons and the supernatural... not cause that destruction ourselves!"
Sister Kate, Chrono Crusade

Say a hideous monster is terrorizing the town. All seems lost until the heroes arrive. They beat down the monster and a significant chunk of the town in the process. No one was killed, but these people are barely better for the town than the monster. Some saviors.

Yes, some heroes have bad luck enough to cause significant destruction, often more than the villains. It could be a Sociopathic Hero who doesn't care, Power Incontinence, bad luck, Person of Mass Destruction, or a combination of the four. Either way, you're better off moving away. Don't expect any Hero Insurance to cover this. Insurance companies blacklist this kind of hero.

If the situation was already disastrous beforehand and he can't possibly make things that worse than they already are, then he's justified through the Godzilla Threshold.

Sometimes this is the result of Summon Bigger Fish. A Willfully Weak character may become one and often after a "No More Holding Back" Speech.

This trope usually exists on the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism as way to deconstruct Hero Tropes. In a setting where their Collateral Damage is not just seen as a Foregone Conclusion, they risk being feared by society for the danger they pose. Especially if the setting has a Super Registration Act, this individual will risk becoming an enemy of the Super Team or Cape Busters that enforce the law in society. If things get real bad, they could become a Sociopathic Hero. Or worse, the character may well pull a Face–Heel Turn and become a villain.

That said, this trope is just as often the target of reconstruction too. Sometimes this is simply the result of a hero not understanding their powers or not realizing how powerful they are. If they're new to being a hero, they'll swiftly learn With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility and try to get a better handle on their powers. And in settings where the Super Registration Act is handled more ideally, the destructive hero will initially be arrested but then get the chance to redeem themselves by learning to use their powers to help society safely. If they're a Kid Hero in particular, they'll probably get sent to a Superhero School. Indeed, many heroes in fiction start off as a Destructive Savior so that their unintentional destruction can fuel Character Development and ultimately lead to them becoming even more effective heroes.

Since their unintentional destruction is often the fuel of their conflict with others as well as motivation to improve themselves, the No-Harm Requirement often serves as a Drama-Preserving Handicap for them . Whether it's a Hidden Purpose Test, a desire to no longer endanger the innocent, a realization that their abilities are too dangerous for the situation and they need to hold back, etc. a Destructive Savior will often be faced with a task that requires them to save day with more reserved and/or nonviolent means. Successfully completing such a task is often a Secret Test of Character and shows their potential to subvert this trope after all.

At a simpler level, a character that realizes their destructive potential and wants to prevent this scenario may simply start resorting to Taking the Fight Outside. Can't stop the threat without destroying what you're trying to save? Then just avert that dilemma altogether by taking the fight to a place where nothing important is at risk. That way you can stop threat in question while going all out.

A Sister Trope to Walking Disaster Area.

Compare What the Hell, Hero? (when the heroes get called out for ruining the town), Pyrrhic Victory, Chemical Messiah, and Byronic Hero.

See also Terrifying Rescuer, Disaster Dominoes, Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds, and Bad Powers, Good People.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Love Pheromone of Akahori Gedou Hour Lovege, a Lovely Angels duo that tend to destroy whatever place employs them in the pursuit of justice. In fact, there is so much property damage by these two that they’re considered supervillains by the rest of the country. In the last episode they accidentally created a The End of the World as We Know It scenario when activating the self-destruct button that destroys the entire invasion force of the alien ant empire. Where did they all crash? In all of the major cities of the world and cementing the infamous reputation of Love Pheromone.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Eren whenever he uses his Titan form in a city. While preventing titan invasions saves more lives in the long run, he tends to cause massive collateral damage other in the short term. Fortunately, the first two times he did that, the city was already evacuated.
    • Toward the end of the Female Titan Arc, Erwin Smith and the Survey Corps corner the suspected female titan shifter, Annie Leonhardt, to the Stohess district of Wall Sina. After their first attempts to capture her fail Eren assumes his titan form, and throws her into a church, in the middle of services. After both titan-shifters wreck many more buildings and crush several more people they finally manage to capture Annie, but she encases herself in crystal preventing the Survey Corps from interrogating her. When the governor confronted Erwin about the collateral damage done and the civilians who were killed and asked if the operation was really worth it to help save humanity, Erwin responded with, "I think it's a step forward."
  • Roger Smith in The Big O. His primary weapon is a Humongous Mecha, and the setting is a city. Said giant robot also travels via underground rail system and causes massive damage to roads and buildings just by appearing. Every episode inevitably features an enemy which only The Big O can defeat. The Military Police Major Dastun understandably isn't particularly happy whenever the Big shows up, though he realizes that it's also the only thing that can save the day.
  • Bleach:
    • Generally averted. The Gotei 13 use barriers (in one case, replacing an entire town with a replica of it specifically for fighting in) and their ability to stand on air in order to have their battles high enough that nothing will get too damaged in the fight. Played so straight with Komamura whose fight with Poww results in as much damage to the real town they're protecting as the fake one they're fighting in that even his allies comment on how much that'll cost Squad 7 after the fight is over.
    • Hitsugaya reveals that Komamura personally pays for any collateral damage he or his subordinates cause An after chapter omake drawing in the volume the fight was published in reveals that apparently it costs him enough that he'll only be able to feed his pet dog, Goro, okara (soy pulp) for the month.
    • Played for laughs in the preview for episode 340. Iba grows concerned about Komamura's use of Bankai, as it could end up exhausting 7th Division's repair budget. Made worse by the fact that since Komamura's bankai draws the most attention, the other Divisions will blame 7th division for ALL of the damage caused by the battles with the reigai, causing Komamura to grow concerned as well.
  • Heavily deconstructed in Bokurano, where the heroes' Humongous Mecha, along with their opponents, are so powerful that their battles can cause thousands of civilian casualties if they don't take extreme caution. The pilots soon learn to fight in evacuated or unpopulated areas to limit the damage, but even then they're similar when fighting in other worlds; then again, the damage they wreak then will pale compared to what'll happen to the place once they win — the entire reality disappears!. The populace initially has no way of telling that the heroes are even fighting for the Earth, and commonly refer to the mecha as Kaiju. Some foreign governments are so afraid that they send assassins against the pilots.
  • Kuroneko from Brynhildr in the Darkness has "magical" powers to fight against opponents. Since their forces are constantly causing explosions, each of their fights causes great damage to their property. And not just in the fighting. She also lets something explode around her when she sees a girl getting too close to the boy she loves.
  • Kazuki's efforts to get to the roof of his school to stop Victor's resurrection at the end of the LXE arc of Buso Renkin cause more property damage than the LXE did in the entire story arc. And to top it off Kazuki's transformation into Victor III makes him inadvertently do as much harm to his classmates as Victor did once he woke up. At least he was able to prevent any actual (civilian) deaths...
  • In Campione!, whenever there's a historical monument present in the area, you can be sure that Godou will use The Boar to destroy the landmark even if he really doesn't want it happening. His first battle in the original novel ended with him destroying the Colosseum, and it was just a sparring match.
    • Justified in that he needs to target something weighing several tons to invoke the Boar and his enemies are usually too small for that, so he chooses nearby landmarks instead. He'd stop the Boar if he could, but it just ignores him.
    • Even without invoking the Boar, Godou is a hazard. The Tokyo Tower was destroyed by a lightning fight he had with another Campione and Godou personally tore pillars off the façade of a landmark to use as oversized mallets against a god.
    • John Pluto Smith fights to protect the people of Los Angeles but requires "sacrifices" to activate some of her Authorities. Relevant to this trope is that she requires the destruction of a large man-made structure to activate her Archmage Authority.
  • The titular Humongous Mecha of Cannon God Exaxxion is so huge it causes massive property damage every time it takes a step. And let's not even get into the shockwave created by the damn thing's BFG. In fact, one of the major themes of the series is the stunning amount of collateral damage caused by the hero (despite his attempts to avoid or reduce it), the enemy trying to take him and his mecha down, and their reprisals against anyone they think might be supporting him. Just knowing him, or being in the same part of the city when there's a battle, is dangerous.
  • Cells at Work!: Medications are depicted this way to represent harmful side effects. For example, the Steroid that shows up to stop the allergic reaction is a Killer Robot that attacks cells indiscriminately and causes a lot of property damage.
  • Misaka Mikoto from A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun often fights this way. Her special ability is attacks with electricity, and if she gets into fierce fighting, can result in quite serious damage. Her most famous attack is using electricity to launch an arcade coin at supersonic speeds, with usually explosive results. Mikoto herself is aware of this, and some parts of the series show she is massively holding back most of the time... the true limits of her powers would be lethal to anything in the general area.
  • Chainsaw Man: Denji, in keeping with his impulsive and reckless personality doesn't take great pains to limit collateral damage when fighting devils - he's not averse to saving bystanders (especially pretty girls) but he's happy to toss around cars complete with drivers, and leave a man to die so he can save a cat.
  • Chrono Crusade:
    • Rosette Christopher almost always creates a ton of property damage for every mission she is involved in. Her superiors have said: "We can make a BOOK from your destruction reports".
    • In the manga, Chrono tops Rosette when he goes into an Unstoppable Rage — and ends up destroying a few streets in the downtown area of a city.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Spike Spiegel's penchant for causing massive destruction when chasing a bounty head is one of the reasons why he and the other crew of the Bebop live in Perpetual Poverty:
    Spike: What happened to the million-woolong reward we got for that last guy?
    Jet: The repair bill for that cruiser you wrecked, and the one for that shop you trashed, and the medical bill for the cop you injured... KILLED THE DOUGH!
  • Dai-Guard plays this humorously. The heroes have to file the paperwork for all the lawsuits they incur.
  • Averted in Desert Punk. In an early episode, Desert Punk and Rain Spider prepare to duel in the center of town for the right to a woman... as payment for her father's debt. The town elder tries to warn them off, saying their duel will be so epic and destructive that it will destroy the town. Turns out he didn't need to worry, as the duel turns out to be so non-epic and drawn out that most of the townspeople wander off in boredom after a few hours.
  • In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, Dante manages to stop a number of demons…unfortunately, the money for doing so is rarely enough to compensate for the way the damage bills add to his debts.
  • The Dirty Pair could give Samus Aran a run for her money, 'cuz they've destroyed just as many planets as she has, in the line of duty. Which is how they got their name. And no, they do NOT take kindly to being referred to as such, to their faces!
  • Dominion Tank Police. The title says it all. In addition, in an early episode, Buaku and the Puma Twins sneak into a secured vault full of art treasures to steal something, and the place's security (not the aforementioned police; just a group of armed mercs with zero finesse and discretion) try to stop them by opening fire with automatic weapons... inside the vault. Among all the artwork.
  • The protagonists in the Dragon Ball franchise often try to avoid this by fighting in uninhabited areas, but it doesn't always work. One notable example in the original manga was when Majin Buu deflected a ki blast fired by Goku, which then hit the Earth and wiped out 10% of its surface. Babidi even called him on this, pointing out that he had just killed a huge amount of people he was supposedly trying to save.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, Goku's fight with Beerus caused planets all over the universe to be destroyed as a side effect. The fates of any living creatures on these planets were never mentioned, although later in the series, the Kaioshin did say that the universe only had 28 inhabited planets left, so yeah.
  • Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima eventually develops into this (as opposed to a Person of Mass Destruction resigned to his status as a monster) after a run-in with Saika makes him realize that, while he might never get complete control over his anger and power, he can at least make some proactive use for it. Cue such feats such as kicking around cars, thugs, and ex-Mafiya to save a kidnapped child or making use of highway posts to punish scumbag gang leaders like Horada.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Gets repeatedly Played for Laughs throughout the series, as the heroes (especially Natsu), end up destroying a chunk of the town they were trying to save.
    • Summed up very nicely by Lucy after one job:
    • It even gets used for good in the Tower of Heaven arc, where the Arc Villain needs the titular tower intact for his plan to work. Too bad for him, he got the most destructive member of the most destructive guild on the job. Natsu even uses it as a Badass Boast:
      Natsu: Mages of Fairy Tail specialize in property damage!
    • Natsu's first fight involves him wrecking a harbor. In the next chapter, you find out he also destroyed seven private homes, a clock tower, and a church. "Their Magic Spells Destruction" is even the tagline Funimation uses when they release the show on DVD and Blu-Ray!
    • And then there's Gildarts. His Crash magic destroys things he touches, and he's really absent-minded. It's not a good combination. The city the Fairy Tail guild is based in has to be moved out of the way whenever he shows up, so he doesn't leave a trail of destruction when he forgets that walls exist. In chapter 299, Gildarts saves a village from a monster only to accidentally destroy it whilst celebrating Cana's victory. All it took was for him to trip over.
    • Late in the Grand Magic Games, Master Makarov gripes (yet again) that he's probably going to have to start writing lots of letters of apology. Then First Master Mavis recounts that she had to make her share of letters...recounting piles of letters stacked floor to ceiling, along with invoices for damages, bills for reimbursement, and estimates for repairs. It's a rare moment of bonding between the two masters that at least each knows how much this particular aspect of the job of Guild Master really sucks.
  • Agni, the protagonist of Fire Punch is this by default, due to being a basically immortal being that's been set on fire with special flames that don't go out until the victim dies. As he can't die, he's constantly on fire. However, that property still applies to anyone and anything he touches, so he tends to cause a lot of collateral damage. He even accidentally burns down one of the last major cities in the world due to being punched so hard that he flew through multiple massive apartments, setting each one on fire as he passed. By the end of the battle, the entire city has been burned to ashes with very few survivors.
  • Quite common in Fullmetal Alchemist — though, for alchemists, the repair is just as easy as the destruction. Part of the problem is that alchemy can't create something from nothing; Equivalent Exchange is a major element of the setting. As a result, when alchemists fight, they need to use the things in the area as their tools; things like remaking the floor into weapons, creating defensive walls from convenient rock surfaces, and so on.
  • In GaoGaiGar, this trope bothers Koutarou Taiga so much he has the Dividing Driver built by episode 4. It creates a safe battlefield in any area by shifting the rest of the matter out of the way temporarily.
  • When things are starting to get rough in Ghost in the Shell, the members of Section 9 generally try to avoid hurting innocent bystanders. Everything else usually gets completely trashed within minutes by heavy machine gun fire, rockets, tanks, and the occasional mecha.
  • Onizuka of Great Teacher Onizuka and its predecessor GTO: The Early Years generally goes with "punch the hell out of it" as his solution to most problems, though by the time of GTO he's smart enough to know when to hold back and use his words. He still leaves a trail of destruction a mile wide, especially when it comes to the vice principal's Cresta. His friend Saejima is just as destructive in the Spin-Off Ino-Head Gargoyle.
  • Hakaima Sadamitsu:
  • Seiya from The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious. His insistence on killing his opponent, vaporizing their remains, and then vaporizing the crater that used to be their remains a few more times just to be safe has resulted in him burning the entire First Town to the ground with the collateral damage.
  • Inuyasha: In the final battle, Naraku banks on his enemies being so concerned about collateral damage that they won't attack him just in case Kaede's village is destroyed as a result. This is part of a plan to buy him the time he needs to reach the Bone-Eater's Well. Unfortunately, for him, he didn't take into account Sesshoumaru. As Inuyasha's group does indeed hesitate as he hoped, Sesshoumaru responds with "So what?" and attacks, which encourages Inuyasha's group to join in. Despite the damage the village suffers, they're happy for Inuyasha's group to live permanently with them after the grand finale and even tolerate frequent visits from Sesshoumaru.
  • Madoka from Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne tries not to be one, but she's still in a Humongous Mecha fighting other Humongous Mecha, so it doesn't always work.
  • Koichi Hayase in the early parts of Linebarrels of Iron caused quite a lot of property damage with his humongous mecha, it later comes back to bite him in one of the most cruel ways imaginable, and THEN he gets called out on it.
  • Subverted in Lyrical Nanoha. Nanoha's fighting style involves lots of Wave Motion Guns, so there tends to be a lot of property damage, but civilians are rarely at risk since battles either take place inside of barriers that remove all muggles from the area or occur away from populated areas (plus magic can be made entirely non-lethal at will). However, it's played completely straight during Nanoha's first battle (which is what caused her to realize that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility).
  • The titular character of Maris the Chojo is a space cop whose Power Limiter can't actually cope with her sheer level of Super-Strength, resulting in her constantly breaking equipment and civilian property. This results in her wages being docked to cover the debts she racks up from this, leaving her struggling tlo make ends meet.
  • Mazinger Z:
    • This trope is played tragically. As early as the very first episode we can see how destructive Mazinger-Z can be (in the original manga, Kouji destroyed half a city as he was trying to figure out how to handle the damned machine. In the anime series, he activated Mazinger in an unpopulated area; still, he destroyed his grandfather's lab, went on a rampage through the landscape, and nearly got his little brother killed). When Kouji and Sayaka battle a Mechanical Beast, usually there is not much left of the battlefield in the wake of the fight. And when it is a city, buildings collapse and people die. By episode 7, it was shown people did NOT appreciate this and as far as they were concerned, Mazinger-Z was just as bad as Dr. Hell's Mechanical Beasts.
  • In My Hero Academia, Giant Woman superhero Mt. Lady is mentioned to be constantly in debt due to causing property damage whenever she uses her quirk to become a giantess. Hero Insurance covers some of this, but not all of it. Once, she had to use a flatbed truck as a makeshift shoe to destroy part of a building; she ended up with the bill to fix both of them.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion mentioned this a lot pretty early on, with NERV officials getting bills and complaints about all the damage caused by the frequent battles in and around Tokyo-3. Shinji is quickly singled out as the pilot of Unit 01 as he's the only new kid to show up right when everyone's moving out because they don't much like the idea of 'living in a warzone.'
    • In the same vein, the repair bill of a single Eva - usually 01 - was supposedly large enough to bankrupt a small country, and Seele criticizes Nerv for needing them to bail them out after they go over budget.
    • Something of a plot point in the first few episodes that becomes a Chekhov's Gun towards the end. During his first time in an Eva to save the city, he accidentally destroys a number of buildings including one where Toji's sister is, putting her in hospital. This eventually leads to Toji agreeing to become an Eva pilot in order to get his sister better healthcare, which in turn results in the Bardiel episode, where everything in the show starts going wrong.
  • One Piece:
    • There is a reason they make Luffy fight on the outer deck in the Baratie arc. It of course gets smashed up, not in the least because Luffy declares he's going to fix everything by just sinking the goddamn ship and letting it be done with. He doesn't really.
    • When Noah, a gigantic ark ship of great significance to the fishmen and merfolk, threatens to crash on Fishman Island, Luffy decides the best course of action is to pummel the damn thing into splinters with a ceaseless barrage of powerful punches. King Neptune sees this as an acceptable sacrifice in exchange for saving his people and their home, even if it means they will no longer be able to fulfill a certain promise made by his ancestors some 800 years ago. Luckily for everyone, Shirahoshi is able to summon the Sea Kings to stop Noah from falling. By the time they show up, however, Luffy had already destroyed half of the ship, and probably would've destroyed the other half in time even if the Sea Kings hadn't shown up. They then tow what's left of Noah to the sea forest, where they intend to have the ship repaired.
    • Luffy's climactic fight with Donquixote Doflamingo in the Dressrosa Arc culminates with Luffy punching Doflamingo so hard he splits the city in half, causing both halves to tilt. In his defense, Doflamingo's Birdcage had already reduced most of the city to rubble anyway.
  • One-Punch Man:
    • Saitama has been shown to be able to control the strength of his attacks (he is so strong that can defeat powerful monsters and villains with a single normal punch), but only up to a certain point, as he still tends to go overboard, occasionally causing mass destruction in the aftermath.
    • Tatsumaki, formally known as the Tornado of Terror, uses her vast psychic powers to attack monsters, by attacking them directly, or by throwing objects at them. Like cities. She doesn't care much for collateral damage however, often leaving a trail of destruction in her wake.
  • Panty and Stocking live and breathe this trope. Luckily the citizens of Daten City all appear to be Made of Iron.
  • Division 2 of Patlabor is notorious for the amount of collateral damage they leave in their wake, with destroyed buildings and vehicles tending to run up huge bills. Partly this is due to their best Patlabor officer being an Otaku Surrogate who really doesn't want to damage the Labors she is fighting, even if this results in the city being torn apart whilst she struggles to subdue it "peacefully". Mostly it's because their other Patlabor officer is a Gun Nut who tends to start firing at will at the first opportunity, blowing huge holes in the surrounding because he's too excited to aim properly. This is the big reason why Division 2 is mocked and scorned by the inhabitants of Tokyo.
  • Phantom Quest Corp. Ayaka's pretty handy with her Red Dragon Star Sword and she's a pro at demon slaying. Minus the fact that she ends up trashing public property and national landmarks, during most of her battles (like what she did to the observation room of Tokyo Tower).
  • The titular Children from Psychic Squad at first have a tendency to apply some amount of overkill during their missions. They get better though under the guidance of Minamoto.
  • The Red Ranger Becomes an Adventurer in Another World: Tougo's powers make him a One-Man Army on the battlefield, but his tendency to make stuff explode ruins all the drop items from the monsters he defeats. Because of this, he's never able to fulfill any quests to make money and no one wants to party with him out of fear for their paychecks. He also nearly kills Idola while trying to protect her as she's nearly caught in the explosion of his Transformation Sequence.
  • Slayers: Lina Inverse has a nasty habit of casting the Dragon Slave in populated areas, especially when the series takes a turn for the funny. The most famous incident is the first episode of the anime, in which a village is being attacked by a dragon Lina accidentally set loose by slaughtering/robbing the gang of bandits that it belonged to. Lina first makes the village elder promise to pay her before lifting a finger to help, then destroys the whole village along with the dragon because the dragon insults her by not stepping on her. (She still expects to be paid.)
  • Rubber Ball in Super Crooks (2021), a Rubber Man Glory Hound who levels half a city block chasing the Villain Protagonist Johnny Bolt and his crew, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property damage over $32,000 in jewelry. One of Johnny's friends even calls him out on this, which goes ignored.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 6 has an alternate Gurren-dan defeating their Beastmen oppressors in an incredibly badass way, but at the very end of the short, the ersatz Simon (who is an older, ordinary bloke in this version) is distraught to find that they have completely decimated his hometown in the process.
  • Tiger & Bunny's Kotetsu Kaburagi/Wild Tiger cares deeply about saving people — and not a lick about property damage. Thank God there's literal Hero Insurance in his city, though it still gets him chewed out regularly by his corporate sponsors. It's also earned him the nickname "Crusher for Justice."
  • Vash the Stampede of Trigun, who is known as the "Humanoid Typhoon" due to being one of these. He eventually gets declared to be "the first human Act of God" because wherever he goes, things get wrecked.
    • In the manga, he eventually gets dubbed "God's armed arm" in the aftermath of a particularly spectacular catastrophe. That's right, it's so bad he's considered the instrument of divine retribution (Though, in all honesty, it was because of his brother Knives.) The best part, and a good bit of the comedy early on in the series, revolves around the fact that Vash is a Technical Pacifist, and things are wrecked by people gunning for him. His introduction into the series involves him sitting down to a bar and a hail of bullets completely and utterly destroying the entire building, save the stool he happened to be sitting on. Everyone tries to kill him because of the huge bounty on his head, and there's a huge bounty on his head because destruction follows him everywhere. He put a hole in THE MOON while trying to stop Knives (Which also happened to be Knives' fault).
    • This gets tragically deconstructed in the anime rendition, where it's shown that while Vash somehow managed to avoid killing anyone when he blew up a town, everyone in the town then died of thirst and starvation afterwards. Which brings up the Fridge Horror of just how often similar scenes have played out in the past...
  • Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend: Ancient legends tell of the Chojin, who will unite the worlds of demons, humans, and beast men, and bring about a new world of peace and harmony. It turns out that he will do this by destroying everything and starting again from a clean slate.
  • Zambot 3: Yoshiyuki Tomino went to extreme lengths to show why it is not a good idea to get two Humongous Mecha fighting in a populated area. Although the children piloting Zambot tries to stop the Mecha Burst, they make just so much damage (which does nothing to convince the Earth folk who hate them that they are ON their side).

    Comic Books 
  • In the Marvel Universe this happens with such frequency there's the Fantastical Social Services agency known as Damage Control whose sole focus is cleaning up after superheroes. On one occasion Deadpool states that he's created so much business for them people can use his name as a promo code discount, adding that saving money is the one thing he doesn't joke about.
    • The Incredible Hulk is essentially a Destroyer Deity that causes massive collateral damage everywhere he goes, even more so considering that in the Planet Hulk storyline he literally played the dualistic roles of Savior and Destroyer.
      • His sons are also this. In fact, they may well be more dangerous than their father, because while the Hulk typically tries not to kill other people, his sons have no such compunction.
      • The Avengers as a whole are almost incapable of going more than half-a-dozen issues without having to promise some irate civilian that Tony Stark will compensate them for losses incurred due to the Avengers smashing a hole in an intersection/using a street full of cars as crude ballistics/blowing up a subway tunnel/demolishing a building or three/etc, etc.
      • Hulk and crew were even worse in the Ultimate Marvel Alternate Continuity, as the former went from being a Non-Malicious Monster to a Psychopathic Manchild and had a death toll comparable to 9/11 during his first rampage with the team causing even more destruction stopping him. During the Chitauri invasion, both he and Thor end up performing friendly fire in the chaos.
    • Fantastic Four (2022) opens with the revelation that Reed Richards has ruined the team's reputation because in order to stop an incursion of Negative Zone beasts, Reed teleported the Baxter Building and the surrounding city block a year into the future, leaving a smoldering crater in its place. This leaves children orphaned, business without workers, and parents without their children until they catch up with the Baxter Building in a year. The only saving grace is by the perspective of those teleported, nothing will have happened at all, but obviously for those left behind they're particularly put out at this turn of events.
    • Frequently lampshaded in X-Men- after any particularly vicious, property-wrecking fight, one of them will look around and make the standing joke of "... well, you can always tell where we've been." Peter Wisdom noted that "You can always tell where the X-Men have been because it's always on fire."
    • Kid Kaiju from Monsters Unleashed can summon giant monsters that can each level cities, resulting in a lot of collateral damage. By the sequel series, the government has acknowledged this, having Damage Control keep tabs on Kei to prevent him from intervening in anything less catastrophic than a nuclear meltdown or a swarm of giant bees in order to stop Kei from accidentally wrecking the cities he's trying to rescue.
  • Adventure Time: Candy Capers: Susan Strong and Ice King accidentally trash the village they were meant to be protecting.
  • Astro City: Played for drama in "Old Times" when Supersonic is called out of retirement to stop a rampaging robot. He's unable to think of a clever scheme to stop it due to his age; instead, he settles for simply pounding it into submission, and the ensuing brawl takes out a dozen residential blocks.
  • The Authority acknowledges the incredible level of destruction they cause, and stay to help clean up their mess if they've got the time.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: There's a comic created for and published exclusively in the Omnibus which has Wedge Antilles beating some bad guy or other by shooting proton torpedoes at a tall monument, making it fall in exactly the right way. The locals are furious at him for destroying their monument, and then another X-Wing pilot lands and, exasperated, lists off all of Wedge's achievements until the locals agree that yeah, they can just build another monument. Wedge's fanboy happens to be Luke Skywalker.
  • Groo the Wanderer: The main character has flattened multiple cities he was trying to save (accidentally, of course), ruined the lives of everyone involved in his periodic attempts to help them, shattered empires, and is widely considered to be worse than plague, famine, drought, war, pestilence, flooding, and bandits put together… often because he'll cause any or all of them to happen, sometimes simultaneously. People who know of him learn never to ask for his help, but he will still offer, which is more terrifying than him offering to kill them. Heart of gold, brain of stone. Ships, in particular, have been known to sink simply because Groo was in the vicinity of them, suggesting either that it's a literal curse, or that ships in the Groo-verse are sentient and are committing suicide rather than wait for Groo to do what Groo does best.
  • Supergirl is a hero fully committed to saving lives. Unfortunately she's also powerful enough to level whole cities, so when she fights an enemy who can force her to fight seriously, they often wreck the battlefield.
    • In her Post-Crisis book, Catherine Grant uses her destructive battles as an excuse to wage a smear campaign against her.
    • In Post-Flashpoint story arc Last Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl and four enemies turn Manhattan into a war zone.
    • In the Red Daughter of Krypton storyline, she and several Red Lanterns tried to save planet Primeen's capital city. Unfortunately they almost burned it down when they fought Atrocitus, and Kara used her heat vision to stop a blood storm. Supergirl felt horribly guilty, and Blezz muttered she thought that they were supposed to be the good Red Lanterns.
    • Escape from the Phantom Zone: As soon as he sees Supergirl arriving at a clean energy exposition, Ben Rubel's immediate assumption is that something is going to blow up. Supergirl is humorously ticked off by his words, but Ben is proved right when a super-villain attacks the ceremony, and their battle causes an engine to overload and explode.
      Benjamin Rubel: Supergirl! You're here, too?! Wait, is something going to blow up?
      Supergirl: I do not only show up for explosions.
  • Played for drama in the Astro City story "Old Times", when Flying Brick Supersonic is called out of retirement to stop a rampaging giant robot. Unable to think of a clever scheme to stop it, he settles for simply pounding it instead, and the ensuing brawl takes out a dozen residential blocks.
  • One Sergio Aragonés gag in MAD plays this for laughs with a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. It ends with Jack running from an angry mob since when he cut down the beanstalk, it and the giant landed on their village.
  • Superlópez: Superlópez himself, sometimes bordering on Walking Disaster Area.
  • Most of the "heroes" in The Boys are this, to the point that they have specific legal services for discouraging people to press charges.
  • Action Man: In contrast to his predecessor, the Ian Noble version of Action Man causes a little bit more collateral damage... for example, his way of stopping two trains from crashing and setting off a dirty bomb was to derail one of them into a wildlife park.
  • Empowered has a minor character by the name of Syndablokk, whose main power is to control stone building materials (concrete, pavement, masonry, etc). By his own account, he doesn't use this power much in combat, because people don't like it when you defeat the villain by smashing a highway and hitting him with it.
  • In the comic book tie-in to Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, the Autobot Blazemaster revels in this. While working with the human soldiers of NEST, he opts to engage a Decepticon within a city. When scolded by the NEST commander, he complains that he's a soldier doing a job, and collateral damage is an expected outcome in battle. The commander retorts that by being reckless and not even bothering to try to minimise said collateral damage, he's made their jobs harder because people will be far less likely to report things or offer assistance in the future. Blazemaster blows off the criticism, but is horrified when a Decepticon approaches him and tries to recruit him, pointing out that fulfilling a mission while not caring at all about anyone or anything who gets in the way is a very Decepticon attitude.
  • Alt★Hero: Ryu No Seishin, with Fairytail's help, rescues Hammer and Rebel by using her fire power to put Nought and Sparassi to flight. Unfortunately this takes place at a motel, and the resulting blaze claims six innocent lives. Ryu does not take it well.

    Comic Strips 
  • Played for Laughs in the British superhero spoof Bananaman. Per a hero with "the muscles of twenty men and the brains of twenty mussels," he'll often save the day but comically destroy anything he gets near in the process. The police have a guy whose whole job is patching the holes in the wall Bananaman makes whenever he shows up to help them.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): True to Godzilla franchise form, Godzilla and Mothra end up being this when they utilize their symbiosis — they defeat a terrible threat to the world, but they end up glassing a (fortunately uninhabited) city in the process and rendering the area too heavily irradiated for human re-habitation even with the Titans' terraforming effects. This trope is notably averted by Monster X, which goes more out of its way than other Titans do to try keeping Titan battles from spilling into human-populated areas.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, the Bakugou of Earth-2018.688 does a good job of taking down Carnage's followers one-by-one as Venom. He doesn't do a good job of keeping the surrounding buildings intact, between his explosions and the collateral of having two symbiote wearers clash.
  • In Child of the Storm, it becomes a Running Gag that while he tries to avoid collateral damage, when Harry saves the day, he almost inevitably leaves a trail of destruction visible from space. In the sequel, Carol notes that he can be subtle, up until he either gets discovered or loses his temper, "at which point everything explodes." Lo and behold, in the next arc this is exactly what happens.
    • Likewise, Fury rules out giving Harry Dresden the Green Lantern Ring for this reason - wherever he goes, something ends up on fire.
  • Dimensional Links: Every time the 18 Links fight a group of villains, the inevitable result is that part of Hyrule will be levelled. The Zelda from the Spirit Tracks world gives them one hell of an earful over this due to the logistics involved, but admits that property damage is better than being erased from existence.
  • Fairly English Story: There's a lot of collateral damage in the Full Moon Shadows.
  • In Freedom's Limits, the Fellowship of the Ring and their allies are inadvertently (and perhaps even unavoidably) this for the slaves of Barad-dûr. When the tower is brought down with the destruction of the One Ring, the falling rubble and collapsing ground ends up killing or injuring many slaves, forcing them to flee in terror before they're crushed or trapped.
  • Pokémon Master: Places tend to end up burning, crumbling down, or exploding in the wake of Ash and his friends. One character lampshades this in episode 10:
    Lily: You know, places that go to hell seem to be quite common when you're around.
    Ash: Tell me about it.
  • In Children of an Elder God, the main characters pilot giant robots and wield eldritch powers. They cause so much property damage when they fight that most cities become a bunch of ruins in their passing.
  • Shinji and Warhammer40k: But at least he's keeping construction workers in business! Shinji's tendencies for this are so strong that people realize Shinji is back from his travels simply because of how much destruction the surprise reinforcements cause.
    Just having him around increased the flammability of -concrete-.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Although the main characters saved humanity every time they fought, their Evas also caused much destruction. The Japanese Minister of Interior resents NERV and the Evangelions because of it.
    If we had not needed them we would have never approved of such monstrosities. They may have protected us, but how much death and destruction have they caused? Ikari has been absolutely reckless in their implementation.
  • In Once More With Feeling (Crazy-88), after Shinji (deliberately) destroys half of the city in his first simulated exercise, Misato nicknames him "Godzilla".
  • The aversion of this trope becomes a plot point in Doing It Right This Time, as a couple of significant Stations of the Canon not happening and the Pilots not making as many rookie mistakes (what with not being rookies) creates a budget surplus that enables Unit-04 to be brought online much sooner.
  • The four get something of a reputation for this in The Keys Stand Alone.
    • Example #1: To create a diversion, John backs up all the toilets in the Border Crossroads Inn. While he's careful to prevent them from overflowing, the stench lingers. Also, the disgusted, escaping guests cause a lot of damage by puking and so forth.
    • Example #2: A completely pacific inversion. Rather than killing a village full of Tayhil, George tricks them into going far away and never harming humans again. Trouble is, everyone else kills Tayhil. The nearby villagers are so pissed at this kindly treatment of their hated enemy that they become an angry mob and throw them out, requiring the Guardians (under whose aegis they were operating) to do diplomatic damage control.
      • #2 is so problematic that it causes the Circle—who know the four will approach them after they run away from the Guardians—to put together an elaborate scheme to neutralize the four so they won't cause problems hereafter.
  • Hop to It has Rabbit, who in the first chapter discovers she's somehow picked up her partner's superpower Dogstruction, which basically causes destruction around her when she runs and jumps. Note though most of the times she's saved people directly she did it without casting Dogstruction, and the only time she manages to cast it and save someone afterward, she gets called out for her recklessness and told that she had other options (namely, waiting for Ladybug to use Lucky Charm). It's stated that Perro Negro had a lot more control over the ability, and in later chapters, he's trying to train Rabbit in it.
  • In The Sage's Disciple, Team Caster is this. In their wake, they have left at least two burning buildings, one dead body, three concussions, 18 dead Assassins, and significant psychological stress. This is not even taking into account the ripples that have occurred as a result.
  • Lagann of How To Drill Your Way Through Your Problems has a nasty habit of causing huge amounts of property damage whenever he fights. Sometimes it's unavoidable, like when he summoned Twinboekun to fight Uber and Leet's Titans, or when he fought Lung. Others, such as the time he decided to blow up ABB warehouses with drills to show the cops where they were... not as much.
  • In Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness, which takes place following the Megas XLR episode "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Coop", the Lunarians were thankful that Megas and its crew drove off the Glorft that were based on the moon. However, they were not happy with the fact that the base's destruction severely damaged the moon; the first chance they got after repairs were completed, they sent out one of their own mechs to either destroy Megas or otherwise force it to leave.
  • In the final third of Tony's Girl, the remaining members of Team Captain America (Steve, Scott, Sam, and Bucky) stop a shipment of black market firearms by the Yakuza but in doing so sink the ship in the Panama Canal, forcing the most important maritime route in the world to operate at half capacity until the wreckage is cleared.
  • In The Moon's Flash Princess, Sailor Uranus and Neptune tend to cause a lot of collateral damage by the very nature of her powers, pushing Venus to keep them out of most battles unless the target is one of Jadeite's warehouses.
  • Supergirl (2015) fanfic my youth is yours: A Running Gag is Lena and her board complaining about the damage Superman and Supergirl do to their properties. L-Corp can cover the damages easily, but it's still annoying. It seems like the problem is that L-Corp just owns so much property that it's inevitable the fights will crash into something.
  • The Triptych Continuum iteration of Flash Sentry has this as his talent. More specifically, his talent is to "defuse" disasters, causing them to happen in such a way that nobody truly gets hurt (i.e. throwing a pebble such that it hits a pressure point and causes the entire Guard barracks to collapse... during the middle of the day, rather than at night while it was full as would have happened without his intervention).
  • Taylor/Vulcan is viewed as one in the Worm/Star Trek crossover Vulcan’s Forge after she killed The Simurgh at Canberra. This is because two-thirds of the city was destroyed and over 30,000 people died in the process.
    Lisa: Some people were afraid she wouldn't show up to the next Endbringer battle; others were terrified that she would.
  • My Hero Academia: Unchained Predator: At the end of the Steel Sabers arc, the Slayer has reduced half of I-Island to a burning wreck, while the other half is a blood-soaked wasteland combined with the destructive fight between the Slayer and All Might. Despite leading a successful one-man operation that led to zero civilian and hero deaths, the heroes still view him as a dangerous threat that must be stopped.

    Films — Animated 
  • This trope, or rather the lawsuits that resulted from this trope, is the reason for the "forced superhero retirement" at the beginning of The Incredibles. In the sequel, an initiative designed to bring back supers and sees Mr. Incredible passed over for Elastigirl to make a good first impression. When he questions why they're choosing his wife instead of him, it's explained without preamble that they really don't want to test the "insurance will pay for everything" part of the equation on the first day. Frozone and Elastigirl barely withhold their laughter.
  • Played for drama in NIMONA (2023). As Nimona in kaiju form rampages through the city, the knights’ panicked attempts to stop her cause much more destruction than she does, between the friendly fire, explosives, and crashes. Having to evacuate civilians from the devastation caused by his own cohort causes Ambrosius to question if they’re really the good guys here, especially when his commanding officer prepares to fire a cannon that would take out half the city just to kill Nimona too.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: As well-meaning as his intentions may be, Ralph is just programmed to wreck things. The ending of the movie actually sees him accept and lean into this, destroying the volcano in order to create an eruption that would double as a beacon of light to kill all the invading bug enemies and the Big Bad.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Man of Steel graphically shows what happens when super-powered entities fight in the middle of populated areas. A study cited in Cracked's 6 Horrible Aftermaths Implied by Movies With Happy Endings estimates the damage to Metropolis as that of a 20 kiloton nuke. This is bigger than the "Little Boy" dropped on Hiroshima.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice takes it further by showing the fight between Zod and Superman from the perspective of Bruce Wayne, who desperately tries to save his employees and other innocent bystanders when the fight utterly demolishes a Wayne building. The entire scene is charged with horror and helplessness, and understandably results in Batman's enmity toward Superman.
    • Wonder Woman (2017) is a much downplayed example compared to Man of Steel when liberating a Belgian village from the Germans. The worst Diana does is destroy a church tower to take out a sniper, but the rest of the church is fine. Of course, as the village is within spitting distance of the World War I front, it wasn't in fantastic shape to begin with. Also if she hadn't destroyed the church tower, the Allied forces would've resorted to an artillery strike, which would've caused even more collateral damage.
    • Played for laughs in Justice League and Zack Snyder's Justice League. The League's first confrontation with Steppenwolf causes a few million dollars' worth of property damage. Commissioner Gordon is on hand to quip that Batman hasn't lost his touch.
  • In Demolition Man, Spartan is nicknamed that because of this trope. A reporter asks Spartan why he felt it necessary to destroy a multi-million dollar mall to rescue a child whose ransom was a mere fraction of that cost; hearing it, the girl answers, "Fuck you, lady!" which Spartan deems a good answer.
  • Ghostbusters (1984):
    • The team's very first attempt at catching Slimer destroyed an entire banquet hall and did severe damage to the walls of the floor Slimer was originally hanging around on.
      Ray: I think we'd better split up.
      Egon: Good idea.
      Peter: Yeah, we can do more damage that way.
    • Their defeat of Gozer destroyed the top couple floors of Dana's apartment complex, the street below, a nearby church, and covered what had to be a city block in marshmallow. In the second film, it's revealed they got sued by several government agencies and were placed under a restraining order to prevent them from continuing their business, which in short means they were denied compensation and punished for a job they were hired for by the city.
    • In Ghostbusters II, there's no mention of the Ghostbusters being held responsible for any damages, even though they turned the Statue of Liberty into a Rent-a-Zilla by filling it with slime. Surprisingly, they did very little damage to the museum they had hijacked the statue to breach.
    • By the time of the 2009 game, the city has decided to just roll with it, and has a standing insurance policy to cover the damage they do. People still aren't too happy, though.note 
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has the Joes not only wreck Paris trying (and sort of failing—they stop it, but not until it's already done a lot of damage) to stop Cobra, they get banned from the country.
  • Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Megalon. "Thanks for leveling our country!"
    • Even though he's mankind's only hope against the Mutos in Godzilla (2014), Godzilla leaves a substantial amount of destruction in his wake. He doesn't intentionally destroy stuff, though — it's mostly just a case of him just passing through, as he's just that big. At the end of the film, he is hailed (accurately) as the saviour of the human race, making him a literal example. Oddly enough, he didn't seem to want to destroy the Golden Gate bridge when he arrived there, instead looking around as if to find a way around. The cruise missile that hit him shortly after made him stumble and grasp for balance — oops. Come the direct sequel, the amount of destruction Burning Godzilla causes to Boston (which was fortunately already evacuated) in order to stop King Ghidorah makes the previous movie's destruction look minuscule by comparison, although it's fair to say that this is by far preferable to what would happen if King Ghidorah wins.
    • Also Gamera. Friend to All Children... enemy to major cities. Look at this
  • Hancock:
    • One of Hancock's first scenes is him rescuing a car from getting run over by a train... by derailing the train and causing millions in damage. While all the bystanders are yelling at him for the completely unnecessary damage, Ray is the one to point out that even though there was an easier way, he still saved his life.
      Ray: So thank you, Hancock. Thank you for saving me.
    • In the process of stopping three gunmen running from the police, he does far more damage than they ever could, including smashing through a highway sign, the wreckage of which causes several police cars to crash, leaving a massive gouge in the highway, nearly crashing into a passenger plane and a news helicopter, taking a chunk out of the side of a skyscraper, and running into a few birds. Then when he does stop them, he does so by taking their car and impaling it on the spire of a skyscraper, which will cost a considerable sum to hire men and cranes to get down safely.
    • While his damage is usually tolerable, it's rarely (if ever) necessary. Even taking off and landing tends to cause small amounts of damage. He eventually learns to control himself, and then he has a fight that almost destroys downtown.
  • In Independence Day, President Whitmore is persuaded by his advisers to use nuclear weapons after their previous attacks proved futile, and he refuses at first because of the worry that it would just make things worse. He then is convinced to do so after a telepathic attack by one of the aliens shows him just how dangerous they are. They do make sure that the test city (in this case, Houston) was mostly evacuated, but the blast still doesn't penetrate the alien shields. They do find a way to take down the giant ships later, which are still hovering over major cities so the crashing ships are bound to do more damage.
  • Loaded Weapon 1 hangs an enormous lampshade on this in the opening scene. Emilio Estevez's cop-on-the-edge breaks up a convenience store robbery, destroying the store in the process. While misunderstanding the proprietor's yells of dismay as thanks, he takes the time to let them know the microwave he was using to heat his snack is broken.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • In The Avengers (2012), Cap tries to avert this, telling his team-mates that part of their job is containment — keeping the invading Chitauri from spreading out all over the city — and getting civilians out of the line of fire. Of course, there's only so much you can do when they have Leviathans and you have a Hulk. Who you specifically told to Smash.
      • Iron Man gets in on the same idea in Avengers: Age of Ultron, trying to keep a rampaging Hulk bottled up as much as possible and even trying to buy up the building he's about to drop on his friend. Again, with the Hulk on the loose there's only so much he can do.
    • The events of Captain America: Civil War happen after the Avengers have caused too much destruction in their heroic actions (chief among them the destruction of the capital of Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron), forcing governments around the world to set up the Sokovia Accords.
    • In the beginning of Thor: Love and Thunder, Thor repels an invasion at the cost of a whole temple complex made of delicate glass. The leader of the people he helped does not take this lightly, proceeding to call him "God of Destruction", and as a backhanded "reward" for his clumsy "heroics", "gifts" him with two annoying goats.
  • Being a love letter to kaiju films, Pacific Rim has pretty much any encounter that happens in a city end with millions of dollars in damage; there's a reason the line in the sand is drawn ten miles out to sea whenever possible. We don't get to see too much of it, but Gipsy Danger and Otachi do something of a number on Hong Kong, complete with devastated buildings and the use of civilian property such as shipping containers and actual ships as improvised weapons.
    • Uprising takes it up a notch, with the main tactic used in the final battle being "throwing buildings at the monster isn't working... what if we try throwing even MORE buildings at it!"
  • In RoboCop (1987) the title character stops a convenience store robbery ... but damages most of the store in the process. The owners don't look too happy.
  • Team America: World Police parodies this to the nth degree, as the eponymous team tend to cause far more damage than the terrorists they're trying to stop. During the movie's opening scene they manage to reduce Paris to a burning wasteland in the process of stopping 4 terrorists, including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre (the latter of which was the terrorist's attempted target). They do, however, get called out on it by the Film Actors Guild, who don't approve very much of the team's destructive tendencies when dealing with terrorists. There's also a protest staged outside the team's headquarters in Mount Rushmore after terrorists destroy the Panama Canal in retaliation for Team America stopping another attack in Egypt.note 
  • Van Helsing: In his very first scene, Van Helsing accidentally smashes Notre Dame's Rose Window to pieces while fighting Mr. Hyde. His superiors later remark that though his results are good, his methods attract too much attention, resulting in Van Helsing being a Hero with Bad Publicity.
    Van Helsing: With all due respect, it was Mr. Hyde that did the shattering.
  • In The World's End the protagonists (specifically their leader, Gary King) end the alien Network's dominion over humanity - and by doing so turn the entire world into an apocalyptic quasi-wasteland.
  • The World Is Not Enough: Lampshaded in this exchange:
    Sir Robert King: Be careful, M, I might try to steal him from you.
    James Bond: Construction isn't exactly my specialty.
    M: Quite the opposite, in fact.

  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, elves, humans, and other good people in the beautiful continent of Beleriand face the evil Morgoth who relentlessly kills them and destroys their kingdoms one by one. The desperate remnant calls upon the Valar - extremely powerful gods or angels. The Valar come in force, launch the "War of Wrath" and utterly defeat Morgoth - but in the process, nearly all of Beleriand is flooded and sinks under the sea, only a few mountain tops surviving as small islands.
  • Dying alien warrior Prince Elfangor, one of the technologically-advanced Andalites, reveals a covert invasion of Earth by another alien species, the Yeerks, to five human teenagers. He gives the teenagers access to morphing technology in hopes that they can launch a guerrilla war against the invaders, promising that Andalite reinforcements are on their way, and they wouldn't need to stall for time more than a year. The teenagers, becoming the Animorphs, end up fighting for three years, because the Andalite military that the Animorphs were so desperately waiting for deemed Earth a low priority, and assumed the kids were lying to try to become a high priority in the very few times the two groups were able to make contact. When the Andalites realized that they've made a mistake and the Yeerk invasion on Earth has turned into a full-blown war, they decide to forfeit Earth and let the Yeerks concentrate all their manpower on Earth...before they blast the entire planet from orbit, killing everyone there, Yeerk...or human. This really is something of an indicator of Andalite arrogance, who believe humans to be second-rate species.
    • The Animorphs themselves engage in more than one instance of the trope, especially towards the end, but their biggest application is in support of the Andalite defense of the planet Leera. They end up being the lynchpin in a plan to take out all the Yeerks landing on the planet's only continent by... blowing it up. The Leerans, being amphibious and having built all their infrastructure underwater, are willing to make the sacrifice, but that's a pretty big bang.
    • When the Yeerks invade the Hork-Bajir planet, the Andalites send only minimal reinforcements (again, they didn't believe the warning that they got, this time due to age and gender discrimination). When it's becoming clear that the Yeerks are winning and reinforcements can't arrive in time, Alloran creates a quantum virus that will kill every Hork-Bajir on the planet, in order to make sure that a minimum number of Hork-Bajir can be used as hosts. He does become a pariah and loathes himself, but that doesn't help the Hork-Bajir who afterwards number in the tens of thousands.
    • Eventually averted in the last book. Prior to the last book, Ax notes that the prolonged war against the Yeerks has given the Andalite military command more power than they rightly should have, and they no longer properly represent the will of the people as they're supposed to. This comes to be proven true in the last book when Ax invokes his legal right to challenge the decision of Andalite Captain-Prince Asculan regarding Jake's promise to Yeerk prisoners on Earth, by which Ax's challenge would be tried before a civil court as opposed to a military one. It is heavily implied that the civil government and the people are surprisingly supportive of the human victory; Prince Asculan is forced to consult with his political advisors, and, realizing that he doesn't stand much of a chance in a civil trial, Asculan begrudgingly bows to Jake's wishes.
  • Sir Apropos of Nothing isn't really like this in the first book, but in the second book, when he isn't Brainwashed and Crazy, he does things of his own choice, and in the third book, he's even more like this.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Lews Therin Telamon and the male Aes Sedai (read: wizards) successfully locked the Dark One back in his prison, but the Dark One countered by poisoning the Background Magic Field, causing all male channelers to go irrevocably insane and start World Sundering en masse. Even in the story's modern-day, 3,000 years later, there are debates on whether men hiding in Anti-Magic Fields made the Breaking Of The World worse (by spreading out the damage) or better (by preventing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom).
    • Oh, and Lews Therin's reincarnation, the actual main character of the series, is The Chosen One and is known to be a Destructive Saviour, since male channelers are still going crazy. He will either prevent the release of the Dark One, leading to the unmaking of all reality, or succeed at defeating the Dark One, but at the cost of horrendous war—not to mention going insane enough to get back into the World Sundering habit. In amusing bits of Insane Troll Logic, some people thus try to kill him in the hopes of "saving" the world.
  • Referenced in the Zilpha Keatley Snyder youth novel, Song of the Gargoyle. One of the many songs court jester Komus taught his son Tymmon is "The Knight of the Honorable Name," a ballad about a lordly knight who wanders around fighting monsters and bandits, but often leaves his beneficiaries worse off than they'd started. One specific example is given of a town that is being menaced by a dragon. The titular Knight and his retinue slay the dragon, but only after they've lived in the town for so long, taking the townspeople's goods and food, that they've laid waste to the town themselves. The Knight and his followers then ride off, proud of their success and oblivious to the destruction.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden. Fights monsters, saves the city, and racks up a ton of property damage in doing so. Since he favors fire magic, he tends to burn down or severely damage at least one building per book. To quote the Dresden Files RPG, which uses Harry as an example of how to create a character: "Jim wants to make a wizard who specializes in throwing around fire and is extra hard on locations due to property damage. These ideas make him think of Dresden in World War II, when it got bombed to hell and gone." Some examples:
    • The foreword for one short story in the Side Jobs compilation notes that a part of the planning process was finding a nice mall in the Chicago area for Dresden to destroy. Needless to say, the place is on fire by the end of the piece.
    • A non-exhaustive list of the destruction Harry has inflicted includes: wrecking an elevator (giant scorpion golem), burning down a townhouse (evil sorcerer drug ring), blowing a hole through three buildings (giant loup-garou), burning down a warehouse (vampire kidnappers), setting most of a mansion on fire (more vampires), rampant destruction in a Walmart (faerie assassins), setting fire to most of a floor on a high-rise (fallen angel terrorists), burning down a school (it wasn't his fault, it was those demon baboons with flaming poo), burning down a homeless shelter (more vampires!), massive damage to downtown Chicago (zombie tyrannosaur and necromancers), destroying an entire cavern complex (giant clusterfuck involving vampires, ghouls, evil sorcerers, and C4-packing mercenaries and gangsters), the walls of a business tower, the front end of a townhouse, most of a subway station, and the Shedd Aquariam's Oceanarium exhibit (faerie hitmen and more fallen angels). Changes takes this even further, with an entire building being blown up (they said they were cleaning out asbestos....) and the finale involving leveling most of a pyramid.
    • The very first time Harry ever fought anything with magic (He Who Walks Behind) he ended up blowing up a gas station.
    • Check out the quotes page for some choice comments on the subject. Currently, about one-fifth of them refer to him. It's very likely, in fact, that Harry was deliberately created with this trope in mind and named for it.
    • In Peace Talks, due to an Enemy Mine situation, Ferrovax also becomes a destructive savior; he agrees to help the Accords members fight off the new threat, but he has to check most of his power at the door, lest he destroy the entirety of Chicago just by showing up.
  • One of the fables of the Indian Panchatantra talks about a pair of cranes (or alternatively herons) whose hatchlings are constantly being preyed upon by a vicious black snake that lives in a small cave. Upon the advice of a crab, one of the cranes decides to bait a mongoose against the snake. He gathers pieces of fish and lays them in a trail leading from the mongoose’s cave to the black snake’s cave. Unfortunately, the plan worked a little too well. The mongoose followed the trail of fish guts to the snake and killed it. But it then followed the crane hatchlings’ entrails dragged to the cave by the snake, all the way to the crane’s nest - whereupon the mongoose feasted on the remaining hatchlings that had survived the snake’s attack.
  • K.H. Metzger's Skye Sparkler, a superpowered twelve-year-old, has a tendency to do this if she isn't extremely careful.
  • In The Book of the New Sun, Earth's Sun is dying and natural resources are exhausted. The man known as The Conciliator is granted the power to bring a New Sun and raise new continents rich with resources, but the upheaval will also sink continents and kill billions. Or perhaps The Conciliator only thinks he's doing it himself.
  • In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Earth is visited by a member of an alien civilization who elect lizards to rule them, and sends his robots to seek them out for communication. On locating a pet store with lizards in residence, they defend the area so vigorously that nothing was likely to survive.
  • Sadie Kane from The Kane Chronicles destroys the environment with her magic during her battles. She even admits openly that she finds it tempting to blow things up.
  • In the Ravenor trilogy, the titular Inquisitor’s efforts to stop his adversaries often cause tremendous (if unintentional) collateral damage. In Ravenor Returned, thwarting Molotch’s attempt to reconstruct Enuncia triggers an explosion which levels most of Petropolis, kills tens of thousands, and plunges the entire subsector into twenty years’ worth of anarchy and civil unrest. In Ravenor Rogue, the ritual he performs to banish the daemon Slyte obliterates an entire mountain range in a populous province of Gudrun. His superiors in the Inquisition do not approve, and the trilogy ends with Ravenor awaiting trial for the destruction he caused.
  • X-Wing Series: Wedge's various squadrons try not to inflict unnecessary collateral damage, but they're not always successful, to the point where Wraith Squadron's unofficial motto is "Pretty. What do we blow up first?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Batman (1966), particularly in later episodes, the "bat-fights" often demolish the surroundings.
  • The Boys (2019):
    • A-Train accidentally runs through and liquifies Hughie's girlfriend at Super-Speed while on a mission, leaving him holding her detached arms. Subverted when we find out that A-Train wasn't even saving anybody, he was just high out of his mind on Compound V. Later Butcher tells Hughie that hundreds of people are killed by accident every year by superheroes, but most of it is hushed up through corporate and political pressure, plus generous compensation linked to non-disclosure agreements.
    • Homelander uses his Eye Beams to kill a hijacker on a plane, unfortunately he ends up destroying the plane's control panel, thus causing the plane to crash anyway. Worse, Homelander could have carried some of them to safety but preferred to Leave No Witnesses to his mistake.
    • Stormfront is even worse than all the others in the Destructive department. She intentionally causes loads of collateral damage when chasing down Kimiko and Kenji, causing havoc in a predominantly-black apartment building and killing residents purely out of racism.
    • Soldier Boy was just as bad as Stormfront, although unintentionally. His response to seeing a bunch of youths attempting to steal a car was to throw it at them, destroying M.M.'s family home in the process. When M.M. confronts him about this in the present day and tells him he killed his family, his only response is "Which one?"
    • In the season 3 finale, Wonder Woman Wannabe Queen Maeve betrays the Boys (save Butcher) for her Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Homelander, and throws a can of nerve agent into the streets of New York. We don't see if anything came of it, but being a Garth Ennis universe, it's plenty likely some poor bastard was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • The title character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has her moments. After all, she got expelled from her last school for burning down a gym (which was filled with "vamp—asbestos"). The end of season three? She blows up her new school. Series finale? The whole town is destroyed.
  • In Chuck, Casey ends up ruining Ellie's wedding when he and his special ops team drop in saving Chuck, Sarah, and Bryce, his response being, "You rang." Of course, this being Chuck, Jeffster then ruined it as well covering up the spy-related stuff.
  • In the Batman Cold Open of Cowboy Bebop (2021), Spike and Jet interrupt a casino robbery in progress, but one of the robbers is carrying a BFG that blows a hole in the wall, whereupon we get a Reveal Shot that they're on a Space Station. Continuous Decompression ensues until the waitress is able to throw the shielding switch. The charge for damages not only wipes out any profit from the bounty, but Jet and Spike managed to kill all the other members of the gang and they were not wanted dead or alive.
  • Zig-zagged a lot with Doctor Who quite a bit, particularly in the revival series. Sometimes, the Doctor comes into a situation, and while a bit of kerfuffle occurs with the local area, it's hardly damaging enough to be more than a problem for the Doctor to fix, with any lives lost and property damage really just being the fault of the villains. But other times, the Doctor enters a situation, and it's the simple fact that they're there at all that things ended up with innocent people dying and light to heavy collateral damage that will affect lives at the time and lives to come. This is never lost on the Doctor, thankfully, even if they don't stay around long enough to see the results of their presence (though chances are they end up finding out about it, if not visiting it at some future point to see how things are going).
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga arguably deconstructs this; every monster Kuuga defeats explodes, and as both his and the Grongi's power increases, so do the sizes of the explosions. He actively has to plan around the explosion he ends up inevitably causes; leading some foes to the beach so he can make them explode in the water, or telling the police to evacuate an entire city block before one fight, which was a good call. It's also said that his Ultimate form could destroy the planet with a single Finishing Move.
  • On Lexx, Stanley tends to carelessly blow up the planets he just visited. Some blame can be placed on Lexx himself, as the ship does not have a very good grasp on ethics or even basic slang, not to mention that it likes to blow up planets. At one point a planet was destroyed simply because Lexx didn't understand the meaning of "belay that order" and didn't bother to ask.
  • The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers destroyed a lot of buildings when they fought in their Zords. Later Power Rangers series began to use clear areas for the Zord battles. Mind you, it's usually not their fault - the Zords get knocked into buildings by the Monster of the Week. However, when the Rangers are in town, you can expect a good deal of town to get demolished. It seemed to steadily increase until 9/11 happened, at which point building destruction became vanishingly rare and is only recently beginning to creep back in. Naturally, most of them are Conveniently Empty Buildings (though pre-9/11, they didn't feel the need to tell us that.)
    • Honest Trailers for Power Rangers (2017) had a lot of fun with the fact that Angel Grove got pretty much demolished by the Zord battle. "Why are you cheering?! Your town is in ruins!"
    • However, while it usually isn't the Rangers' fault, it sometimes totally is. Just to name a few:
      • In an early Time Force episode, a monster throws about half a building at the Megazord. Instead of catching it and gently putting it down, the Megazord uses its shield to smash it to pebbles.
      • In Jungle Fury, the last round with Grizzaka involves the Megazord putting him through a whole line of buildings.
      • Once in Operation Overdrive, the Megazord finisher plows straight at a monster... who dodges. Directly in the blast's path is a building behind where the monster had been standing. The camera cuts away just before we'd have seen our heroes atomize it, but it's not like anything could have stopped the blast in the inches it had to go. Nope, that building's toast.
      • In the first Megazord battles in Samurai, it's a sword slash the monster dodges. We do get to see the Rangers accidentally slice the building behind it in half this time. Mike (Green) quips that he hopes it was insured. (Not long before that, the Rangers in the Megazord also ducked a slice from the monster that went on to destroy a building instead of blocking it.) However, they can be forgiven because it was their first Megazord fight.
  • Powerless (2017): It's casually mentioned that the leading cause of death in a corporate environment is Superman crashing through a building during a big fight.
  • Dean, Sam, and Cas of Supernatural do mean well and want to save lives, but it's hard not to notice that most of the world-ending crises they are dealing with - literally, several different armageddons over the course of the series - they did actually cause themselves. It's hard to blame them too much since the series is set in a Crapsack World with no good choices.
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: Ning Yi saves Zhi Wei from being forced to marry Jin Si Yu... and in the process destroys most of Puyuan when he destroys a dam and floods the entire city.
  • In Stargate SG-1, the Tok'ra considered the Tau'ri to be this since they lose a lot more people after the Tau'ri start knocking off System Lords left and right. If it weren't for the fact that they are incapable of reproduction, one might almost take it as just being mad that the Tau'ri are so damn effective for "newbies" while their Holding Out for a Hero method hadn't borne any fruit until recently (and then the Tau'ri forced them to shelve it for being too brutal).
  • The main team in Stargate Atlantis is put on trial by a coalition of planets in the Pegasus galaxy for their multiple What the Hell, Hero? moments. Their various successes usually come at the cost of the people they're trying to defend, who have been kept in the Middle Ages by the Wraith.

    Myths & Religion 
  • An interesting variation by the Christian savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus had said that he had "come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword." This is often interpreted to mean that those who accept Jesus will bring conflict and division to his surroundings. However, it's implied that those who refuse to accept converted family members into the fold are primarily responsible for the suffering that happens when divisions pop up. Also, it's families, societies, and relationships that suffer when he divides them, not city infrastructures directly.
  • From Roman Mythology, Averruncus, the god of disaster aversion. He would attempt to avert disasters, as his title specifies. However, he'd often end up causing just as much disaster in the process.

  • Godzilla (Stern): While Godzilla's the protagonist of the game and works to repel the Xilien invasion, he also wreaks havoc across various cities as he does so.
    "One can only imagine the destruction Godzilla could unleash in another city."

  • The titular team from Sequinox cause a lot of collateral damage during their fights, which really gets on Charles' nerves since he's part of the mayor's office.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Atomic Robo: The Fate adaptation has collateral consequences, which allow players to bleed off damage by throwing the surrounding area into chaos (the example given in the book involves failing to stop a rampaging Futuresaurus); the lower ones go away if you take steps to get it back under control, while the high-intensity ones are there until the end of the story arc. Another Fate adaptation, this time of the old True20 Mecha vs Kaiju setting, has a different spin on this: the collateral consequences are under the control of the monsters, not the players, meaning that attempting to stop the giant monsters is almost guaranteed to cause thematically appropriate mayhem — it is, after all, tradition for the giant monster fights to flatten cities.
  • BattleTech is pretty explicit about this being the case if the choice is made to fight in a city. Just walking down the streets in your Battlemech is enough to inflict substantial damage, and Conveniently Empty Building is not in effect most of the time. In general, when a defending force chooses to fight in a city, it means they're either desperate or don't care about civilians. Or both.
  • Double Or Nothing explicitly includes a mechanic for how much collateral damage the PCs inflict.
  • Dungeons & Dragons tends to have characters that do this quite often. In one example, a high-level cleric summons two elder earth elementals to fight off the bandits attacking them in the night. On the second floor of an inn. Then blamed the collapse of the building on the bandits when the town guard showed up.
    • A number of spells usable by player characters can lead to this trope. A few examples include: Meteor Storm, Tsunami, Earthquake, Wish, Alter Reality, the Mordenkainen spells, Colossus, any of the higher level Monster Summoning spells, Crushing Fist of Spite, a well-placed Fireball, Creeping Doom, Summon Weather, Gate, etc. Honestly, there are too many to name. The more powerful a magic-using PC gets, the more the potential for this trope increases. Keep in mind this applies to Psionicists and reckless artifact/relic users, also.
    • This is set up in the adventure module Apocalypse Stone. The player characters are unknowingly being tested by a divine agent, and their current test is one of generosity. They are given the possibility to donate magic items to renew enchantments that protect a village from a minor Sealed Evil in a Can. To make sure they can't just get away with waiting for it to be released and killing it, it's written so that the battle will automatically destroy the village even if they win.
  • Monsterpocalypse: The faction called G.U.A.R.D. are UN troops who ride around in Humongous Mecha to defend the world's cities from devastation by giant monsters. Needless to say, given how the game works, they knock down just as many buildings as the freaks.
  • Exalted:
    • The Dragon-Blooded have anima banners that flare up with representations of their elemental aspects as they use their Essence. Combat in Exalted tends to burn a lot of Essence. One of the Dragon-Blood aspects is Fire. Suffice to say there's a reason that Dragon-Blood construction favours stone instead of wood.
    • Renegade Abyssals' efforts to protect locations have to include leaving really quickly to avoid wiping out the town in a colossal Resonance eruption.
    • In the First Age, if there were problems in the Underworld, a team of Solars would arrive and solve the problem and get back before dinner... unless the residents of the Underworld were unlucky, in which case the Solars would blast the problem to smithereens and go home in time for lunch.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Imperium has been known to "save" cities from zombies or demons or aliens by knocking half of it down with artillery and setting the other half on fire.
    • it's almost deemed standard operating procedure for an Imperial Crusade Force to launch an Exterminatus, a protocol in which ships destroy a planet (or at the very least, just the entire population) with nightmarish weapons of mass destruction, on planets deemed lost to Aliens/Heretics/Something far more worse. The purpose of this single most destructive act is to hope that such destruction of a lost planet will keep a sector of Imperial Space safer.
    • In the words of a man who was unfortunate enough to be on a planet that needed Space Marine assistance, "We used to pray to the Emperor to send his Angels to deliver us. Now we pray He never does so again."
  • The World of Darkness: Several games not that this is something that should be taken into consideration when combat breaks out. If the PCs try to take out the local vampire nest with Molotov cocktails and miss, odds are good they're going to set something on fire. "I was trying to kill a vampire" is not considered a valid defense against arson charges.
  • World Tree (RPG): Flokin, the God of Fire, is charged with protecting the universe against extradimensional invaders — when alien gods or demons or Eldritch Abominations creep into the world, he's the one who chases them out before they have the chance to do too much damage. However, Flokin also has a very poor grasp of restraint, proportion or collateral damage — his typical approach to finding out that a city has been infiltrated by some horror from beyond the world, for instance, is usually to burn the city and most of its surrounding countryside to cinders. While he's a very efficient protector on a global scale, this is cold comfort at best for the people who happen to be in the ground zero of an incursion.

    Video Games 
  • The Promethean Division from Age of Wonders: Planetfall. The Prometheans were used by the Star Union as a weapon of last resort against Xenoplague infection, which they accomplished in exactly the manner you'd expect from a name like 'Promethean'. Their Doomsday Weapon, PyrX, is a gas used to set the entire inner atmosphere of planets aflame to ensure the Xenoplague was well and truly gone from a planet and unable to spread further. In-game, Promethean factions have Hard-Coded Hostility against any Xenoplague factions (even those of the same race) and will usually declare war on sight.
  • The trope could well be renamed Angry Birds, as the object isn't just to kill the pigs, but points are awarded based on how much is destroyed.
  • Chapter 5 of Arknights ends with Ch'en facing off against Reunion on the roof of the L.G.D. Headquarters. Just as it looks like she's about to be overwhelmed, reinforcements from Rhodes Island appear to back her up, including Blaze, who makes quick work of Mephisto's zombie army... along with the roof, and a significant chunk of the building. This isn't out of the ordinary for her either, as her Archive Files mention she's infamous for causing collateral damage, and according to a conversation in Chapter 6, she managed to destroy a whole town, a reservoir, and a mine over the course of her last mission.
  • While most Assassins in the Assassin's Creed universe are precise and direct in their actions, there are some exceptions.
    • Ezio Auditore in Assassin's Creed: Revelations once cast an incendiary bomb against a set of gunpowder barrels in a cave city in an attack on the enemy's organization. It was successful... aside from the potentially hundreds of civilians who died through the smoke inhalation.
      • To say nothing of Ezio destroying the Great Chain and setting most of the Ottoman Navy on fire, just so his ship could leave unobstructed...
    • Jacob Frye in Assassin's Creed Syndicate is very single-minded in his pursuit of the templars, and as such, causes a LOT of damage in going after their ranking members. His list of destructive deeds includes derailing a train, burning down a medical facility, causing the collapse of medical regulations, throwing transportation in London into chaos and under the thumb of gangs, crashing a carriage, and most famously, nearly collapsing the British economy just by killing the bank president and causing it to close temporarily.
  • Reemus of The Ballads of Reemus: When the Bed Bites would never stay employed if he weren't the only exterminator in the kingdom because he is so infamous for causing property damage while on the job that he considers catching a giant horsefly at the cost of only one bed rope a major achievement. As luck would have it, that bed rope ended up costing him a lot more in the long run. This never comes up in The Several Journeys of Reemus, so it seems he's gotten better at it.
  • Riki in Bangai-O, who has no problem wrecking anything in his path with the eponymous Humongous Mecha. His more docile sister Mami isn't any better, given that she's his co-pilot. However, the cities are part of the various stations owned by the Cosmo Gang and contribute to scoring points and fruit, so it's all good.
  • BomberMan. Makes sense, considering his primary weapon.
  • Doom (2016) has the Doom Slayer smashing anything and everything between him and his goal of "Render the entire population of Hell extinct", no matter how much Samuel Haydn tries to convince him not to. Doom Eternal puts a different spin on this, however: Argent Energy, which the equipment the Slayer trashes is designed to harvest, is made from the agonies of the damned, and the Slayer knows this. He has every reason to make damn sure it's impossible for humanity to make use of it.
  • A somewhat hilarious version in Driver: San Francisco: Tanner (the protagonist) has the ability to "Shift" into people's bodies, possessing them. While you can't hit anyone on the road, and no one can die from collisions, it's still extremely jarring to have the game explain that possessing people and having them drive into head-on collisions is not only effective for stopping criminals but fun.
  • The Earth Defense Force series tasks you with repelling alien invasions, often with very destructive weapons. There is no penalty for collateral damage, so you have carte blanche to be as destructive as you wish to be while saving Earth from aliens.
  • The Dragonborn from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, who can save a town from a Dragon attack, but potentially leave half the population dead from the crossfire.
  • Epic Mickey: the main quest is to track down the evil Shadowbolt, but as "thinner" is a game mechanic, Mickey can intentionally destroy structures and leave without repairing them with "paint". Deconstructed in that if you keep doing this, NPC characters will start chewing out on you and the ending may reflect the results of your disastrous actions.
  • This is played for laughs in Eric the Unready — the hapless protagonist, the knight Eric, seemingly manages to finish each section of his quest by wrecking everything (purely by accident, no less.)
  • Fate/Samurai Remnant: Saber causes a lot of property damage whenever they fight, especially since they use Sword Beam attacks and water manipulation. Saber's Master Miyamoto Iori tries to convince them to tone it down, but since Saber grew up in a time of war, they don't understand the problem with endangering civilians.
  • Quite common in the Final Fantasy series, but reaches its apex with Zidane in Final Fantasy IX. Pretty much every city and location Zidane visits gets spectacularly trashed at some point, earning him the title of the The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés law, "Zidane's Curse." Justified, with some irony, in that he's actually designed to be a harbinger of destruction.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening had Chrom's father waging a war against the Religion of Evil Grimleal in Plegia to stop their actions. However, loss of soldiers in the war led to recruiting of peasants, leading to no one farming his lands, leading to widespread starvation in addition to not destroying the Grimleal, and likely damaging Plegia as a whole. Later in the game, a conqueror from another continent, Walhart also tries to exterminate the Grimleal, but makes enemies with the entire continent, and also fails. Walhart's supports reveal he was manipulated by hidden Grimleal in his army.
  • Freedom Force, though it's only towards the end of the sequel that confrontations start knocking down city blocks by accident.
  • A possible solution to the infamous Giant Alien Spiders event in FTL: Faster Than Light is to launch a boarding drone through the hull of the station being menaced by said creatures. This takes care of the spider problem but angers the station's crew due to the damage caused, causing you to receive a meager reward. One alternative is to avert the trope by sending another type of drone in through the airlock instead.
  • GhostControl Inc.: Ghosts and ghost controllers can wreck stuff when on the job. However, for every damaged object, money will be deducted from your pay. Damage too much stuff, and you fail the job.
  • Kratos from God of War III can be interpreted as a much darker version of Christ; a man of divine origin born of a mortal mother who tore down the established order of tyranny and then gave hope to the world.
  • Ajna in Indivisible really wants to help people. The problem is, her definition of "helping" is taking her axe to whatever seems to be hurting people at the time, without asking questions or considering the consequences. Her main point of Character Development is getting out of this.
  • The main goal of the Just Cause series: you destabilise the governments of various rogue nations by blowing the crap out of their property. Most of this property is also being used by civilians (such as water towers and power generators) and you never get called out on it.
    • Later games examine and downplay this. Just Cause 3 establishes the major facilities you destroy aren't benefiting civilians at all (the example given is a power station is keeping military bases going while villages have blackouts). Civil infrastructure are no longer targets, your goal in cities is to destroy propaganda and the like. At worst, you're gutting police HQs that were just outposts for Di Ravello's Militia anyway. Also, as Mario points out in one of the early cutscenes, where the rebels are at the moment, a few blown-up water towers are far less important that showing the people of Medici that it is possible to strike at Di Ravello in meaningful ways and survive. In Just Cause 4 almost everything bigger than a hovel is stated to be owned by Oscar Espinosa, the Black Hand, or a front for one of the two.
  • Vi, a champion, police enforcer, and reformed criminal from League of Legends is one. To quote her: "Here I come to save the day...or wreck it". The reformed part is mostly because she thought it was a good opportunity for smashing some faces and not being chased because of it.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In the original The Legend of Zelda there's a lot of secret rooms hidden behind walls and bushes which requires Link to do a lot of demolition and burning. Unlike later games, these destructible points are not visually hinted at in any way, making for a major case of Guide Dang It!.
    • In an Abridged Series of Ocarina of Time, Link is like this.
    • In the real games, he's limited to pottery and rocks.
    • In Twilight Princess, you have to hunt these bugs that contain a light spirit's power. How do you get into the buildings where they hide? You smash your way in through windows and roofs, and at one point, you must even start a fire that results in a small building being kablooified into nothingness. It's a wonder there's any of Kakariko Village left by the time you're done 'saving' it.
  • LEGO Adaptation Game: the requirement to be a True Jedi/Adventurer/Hero/Whatever is to destroy every possible scenery prop to get enough Lego studs. Then there's the fact that destroying at least some of the area is required for progressing through levels and beating bosses in general.
  • In The Lord of the Rings parody adventure game Kingdom 'O Magic, this is what happens at the end of the "Magnificient 7-11 Quest"; after bravely defending Flake Town from the invasion, the whole town gets wrecked anyway in the ensuing celebration.
  • Mercenaries is built on this. Though how much of a "savior" you are depends.....
  • President Michael Wilson from Metal Wolf Chaos is on a mission to Save America from a coup d'état led by his treacherous vice president Richard Hawke. He does this by getting into a giant robot and blowing up anything containing enemy soldiers, including a chunk of San Francisco, Miami Beach, and downtown Chicago.
  • Samus Aran from Metroid. Nary a game has passed where she hasn't escaped from an exploding pirate base, space-station, alternate dimension, or planet. Special mention goes to Super Metroid and Zero Mission where she blows up not one but TWO of the above in the same game. This finally comes to a head in Fusion, where she not only destroys a government-owned space station but an entire planet at the same time; her closing monologue has her muse that she's probably now wanted for treason, as the government is unlikely to forgive this one (especially since she just destroyed their secret Metroid-breeding program in the process).
  • The title character of Nier is like this, heedless of the destruction he causes trying to save Yonah. This ultimately results in the death of mankind.
  • At one point in Octopath Traveler II, Ochette and Juvah are trying the defend their island after it gets attacked by a swarm of shadow-monsters. Ochette gets the idea to summon her friend Tera, a giant lava-monster, who in turn opens a giant fissure in the earth beneath the swarm. Many of the shadow-monsters fall into the fissure, but as the dust settles, Juvah complains that Tera's fury just did more environmental damge to the island than the monsters were doing.
  • [PROTOTYPE]: Alex Mercer saves Manhattan from a nuke and fights the infected. He also has a civilian kill count well into the thousands, often in a single mission and unintentionally. The whole "savior" thing starts off unintentional as well. By the time you've finished the game, the player's probably unintentionally slaughtered the population of NYC at least 3 times over in civilians, not counting intentional killing of civilians, killing soldiers or killing The Infected.
  • The entire premise of the Red Faction series revolves around saving people from oppression by BLOWING SHIT UP!, particularly Guerrilla. (It helps show off the Geo-Mod system.)
  • In RefleX, not the main character, but his ship, which houses the AI named ZODIAC Ophiuchus. After the death of the pilot, Ophiuchus begins piloting the ship itself and proceeds with its mission: hunting down and killing the other ZODIAC machines which are laying waste to Earth. By the time it's done, most of Earth is in ruins from the collateral damage and human civilization is on the brink of collapse, and Ophiuchus is considered as big a threat as the things it's trying to destroy.
  • Robot Alchemic Drive tasks you with using remote-controlled Humongous Mecha to ward off an invasion of equally humongous alien robots. The city you fight in will usually have fewer intact city blocks by the time the battle is finished as your robot and the alien punch each other into buildings and use all manner of powerful ordinance against one another. The game, however, encourages you to minimize damage as much as possible by rewarding you bonus money for leaving specific buildings intact, as well as an additional reward if the city is left relatively unscathed.
  • The 9th Mobile Unit, known as The Scramble Vice are deployed to combat against criminals that operate Exoskeletons (read:a giant mech) by employing their very own. They have a reputation for causing lots of property damage for the sake of restoring order.
  • In some games, Sonic the Hedgehog is this, mostly depending on how the player plays. In Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic can send cars flying when he runs into them, some of which are actually moving, and Sonic Unleashed has him regularly smash through picnic tables and windows in his runs through the levels.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line this trope is subverted twice. First, though the player doesn't realize it until the end, through John Konrad, the supposed antagonist of the game and second through the player himself. Throughout the game, the player is shown the aftermath of Konrad's failed evacuation of a partially-buried Dubai; thousands of dead bodies litter each level, many of which hang from freeway signs and light posts if not set up against a wall and executed. The surviving soldiers are at war with the CIA and both sides use murder and torture to further their ends. In response to this, Captain Martin Walker (protagonist) hardens his resolve to fix the situation, only worsening it with every bullet fired, explosion caused, and war crime he commits until by the end, he's damned the city to death by dehydration.
  • Played for drama in Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The titular hero is inexperienced, eager to prove himself, reckless, and occasionally irrational. This leads to him several times causing needless escalation that results in major property damage and civilians being endangered. He also accidentally destroys important evidence of Simon Krieger's crimes that Phin Mason was going to use to get his villainous plot shut down, which contributes to Phin's decision to destroy Roxxon Plaza, which in turn results in her own death. The only reason Krieger gets any comeuppance is because Miles' uncle Aaron Davis agrees to testify against him.
  • StarCraft: The Protoss allowed the Zerg infestations to get bad enough that a global torching was the only solution. Seems they weren't overly fond of the humans who also lived on those planets and were looking for a reason to toast them, too.
  • The Star Trek Judgment Rites episode "Museum Piece" is practically made of this trope. In an attempt to save the Smithsonian Annex from terrorists who've come to steal a single exhibit, Kirk's team cannibalizes several other exhibits and outright destroys a few.
  • Tomb Raider: Lara Croft has never been particularly kind to the surrounding infrastructure, but the rebooted series takes it up a notch. Be it natural formations that took aeons to form, Japanese WWII bunkers, Soviet installations, or ancient ruins that have weathered the passage of countless centuries, almost all of them will inevitably crumble into smoldering piles of rubble within minutes of her arrival on site. The amounts of infrastructure and irrecoverable historical legacy Lara routinely destroys on her adventures are staggering. Granted, much of it is caused by her enemies in their attempts to kill her, but another large chunk is definitely her own fault.
  • Nathan Drake of the Uncharted series is much akin to Ms. Croft, except some of the areas are mostly decrepit by their standards; and so are naturally decaying. Then again, he did manage to destroy a lost, legendary city with just three bullets.
  • Every single time Wario saves some area/world in the Wario Land series, it's pretty much this. At best the areas he visits end up completely cleaned out of money and with lots of scenery broken, at worst the entire level gets mostly smashed to pieces (see many stages in Wario Land II and Wario Land 3) or the entire level/area gets literally blown to kingdom come (like the Golden Pyramid and a few of its levels in the fourth game). Still, he is an Anti-Hero, and his games range from Black-and-Gray Morality to Evil Versus Evil, so it probably shouldn't be much of a surprise that he doesn't care how many pieces a level ends up in afterwards.
  • Mr Toad accuses Bigby of being this in The Wolf Among Us; he's not entirely wrong.
    Mr Toad: [after Bigby has just accidentally destroyed his car] I called you, and you came to help. I can't be mad. But even when you help, things end up more fucked than when they started!
  • World in Conflict actually has you avoid that situation to a degree. In several cases, you have to deal with enemies under a time limit before command is forced to take drastic measures. Played straight with Cascade Falls getting nuked to stop the Russians.
    • That being said, there aren't many cities that survive being saved by American forces. Even Seattle, at the end of the game, will likely require billions upon billions of dollars to bring back to any semblance of normalcy.
  • Terror missions in X-COM. You are to save cities (and, in TFTD, ships) from alien attack, but while the game punishes you for allowing (not to mention causing) civilian deaths, there is no penalty for destruction of property, so the cities you "save" from the alien menace are generally in ruins by the time your troops depart.
    • In the modern adaptation Xenonauts, you actually are penalized if too much civilian property is destroyed.
    • In Apocalypse, X-Com is more tolerated, rather than embraced, and the city of Mega Primus is humanity's last bastion against a mostly ruined world. As per usual for X-Com, you can absolutely destroy the areas you deploy to, especially since a lot of structures are supported by lower levels which are easier to destroy and let gravity do the rest. However, causing insane amounts of damage will sour relations with the organization that owns the facility, and if you piss them off enough, X-Com won't just be fighting the aliens.
    • The reboot continues this trope: your soldiers' default equipment includes a grenade, and heavies carry a rocket launcher that can be upgraded to a plasma homing missile. You can blow up entire buildings in your pursuit of alien activity, cars are casually used as IEDs and you can opt to murder civilians to prevent Chryssalids from turning them into zombies. All the UFOs that you shoot down have a significant chance to crash into urban areas and you see entire city blocks demolished by small craft. You can only imagine how their battleships would look in the same situation. The end mission disables the alien mothership's safety protocols, turning his power core into a miniature black hole. Being too close to Earth, the only thing that prevented planetary destruction was the Volunteer sacrificing his/her life to deal with this mess.
    • XCOM 2 continues the destructive traditions of its predecessor, only now you can blow up floors of buildings to drop enemies to their doom, and one class, the Grenadier, is dedicated to property and cover destruction. The Powered Armor you can unlock gives you the ability to fire rockets, and the SPARK robot allies you can build in the Shen's Last Gift expansion can as well. On top of that, unlike in previous games, civilian casualties in cities have no impact on your standing (you're a guerilla movement being smeared by propaganda anyway) so you're perfectly fine with accidentally getting a civilian or twenty caught in the crossfire. It's even encouraged in some cases because a civilian might actually be a Faceless in disguise!
  • The protagonist of Xenogears certainly qualifies as this to the extreme. The current incarnation, Fei, has been born and reborn several times throughout history. His original incarnation is not shown as being responsible for anything destructive, but his reincarnations? Hoo boy.
    • His first incarnation, Kim, is a researcher engaged in developing nanotechnology with the best of intentions in mind. Kim's technology is rediscovered 6,000 years later and is instrumental in the development of nanotechnology which is utilized to revive Deus (and, consequently, wipe out most of the planet's population).
    • His second incarnation, Lacan, is a mild-mannered painter who becomes a hero in the struggle against Solaris for the freedom of surface-dwellers. This lasts only until the love of his life dies in a heroic sacrifice. This results in a particularly unfortunate series of events resulting in Lacan becoming Grahf, who immediately summons ancient murder weapons known as Diabolos which end up killing off most of the planet's population. And that's just for starters.
    • Finally, there is Fei, a guy who generally augments his angst with a solid heroic archetype. But, if you stress him out too much, he transforms into Id, a completely amoral monster and Superpowered Evil Side who wipes out entire civilizations just because.
  • Zone 66: Intentionally invoked in the opening text, which states that your protagonist retired after he shot down his 5th terrorist fighter, only for it to crash in a populated area and kill many civilians. As such, he swore never to fly a fighter again and settled down with his beloved...up until they get killed in a nuclear attack along with the rest of the city, that is.

    Visual Novels 
  • The dragonslayer in Dra+Koi wrecks the forces of what should be his allies in passing and tends to cause large amounts of collateral damage while fighting the dragon.
  • Demonbane:
    • Entire city blocks tend to get crushed whenever Demonbane fights. It's amazing there's any city left by the later chapters. This is acknowledged in-story with many ordinary people wondering if Demonbane isn't just as destructive as the forces its fighting against, and very few people endorse Demonbane as a heroic figure. After Cthulhu's partial awakening in the skies over Arkham City, the entire metropolis is wiped off the face of the Earth, though much of the citizenry survives due to having evacuated into underground shelters. Several endings show that the Hadou Group is trying to rebuild the city afterward.
    • One rather humorous and extreme example is the fact that, in the final battle, a time-hopping Liber Legis and Demonbane crash onto prehistoric Earth... in the Yucatan Peninsula. Yep, a couple of warring machine gods are responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.
  • A Hero and a Garden: Cyrus destroys the witch's town after trying to rescue the princess from the tower. The witch then forbids him from leaving the town until he helps rebuild everything he destroyed.

  • 8-Bit Theater minus the Savior bit - they're the bad guys of the story. The actual Light Warriors are not, but who cares about them? The only actual figure with a chance of stopping Black Mage and co. is the omnipotent jackass wizard Sarda, who causes even more destruction than they do.
  • There's a reason that Celesto Morgan of Dominic Deegan is referred to as "Collateral Damage Man." He's only recently become anything close to a "savior" in his attempts to stop "The Beast," and tends to prefer the fighting style of "throw Chaos at it until it explodes." Admittedly, strictly speaking, he wasn't trying to save Lynn's Brook in particular, but the world as a whole, and considers the loss of Lynn's Brook acceptable.
  • Kamina of DOUBLE K proudly boasts during his introduction that he's the only cop on the force to cause more collateral damage than the entire budget could cover.
  • Axe Cop has worked with Electric Man, who had the habit of running too fast when trying to catch bad guys, slipping and falling on his face, shooting out electricity and causing earthquakes, and leveling the whole city. They got him a metal space suit so that from then on he just slipped and fell.
  • In Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth, Flintlocke and his party successfully save Stormwind by bombing it with the Ultimate Goblin-Engineered Weapon.
  • Deconstructed in Furry Fight Chronicles when Muko loses to Kalita, but her determination impresses Kalita enough to not steal from Cafe Carrots. That being said, the fight destroyed the store, so Cookie has to pay for the damages Muko made, putting her in bigger debt. Muko also has to go to the hospital too.
  • Grrl Power:
    • Grrl Power has Maxima explaining to Syndey that comic books don't really seem to take into account what happens whenever a hero misses a villain in cautioning Sydney against this trope, since This Is Reality. To avoid it she says to slam enemies into the ground, not through buildings, and to always assume the attack you're aiming at an enemy will hit whatever is right behind them.
    • Played straight when around thirty "supers" attack the Arc-SWAT heroes while they're trying to have a nice dinner out. The restaurant, parking lot, and a nearby bridge under construction catch severe damage. Several members of Arc-SWAT spend the next day helping fix the bridge, while Archon lawyer Arianna offers to help the restaurant personnel sue the attackers for lost wages.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, when When Bob, Jean, and Voluptua are kidnapped by an alien spaceship, Galatea activates the Nemesites' sentient weapon of last resort, the Butterfly of Iron to rescue them. He does sort of help rescuing them (eventually), but only after causing a lot of pointless damage and then capping it off by almost detonating the sun. Galatea gets in trouble for it, after.
  • The Order of the Stick: The titular Order has a bad tendency towards collateral damage. In the first dungeon, Elan activated the self-destruct rune for no reason beyond it making a better ending to the story arc. While fighting off some assassins at an end, Belkar accidentally set off one of the assassin's explosives, destroying the entire structure. And when they run out of time to erect a proper defense of Girard's Gate, Roy elects to destroy it than let it fall into Xykon's hands.
    Vaarsuvius: It is troubling that we can now recognize our failures by immediate auditory familiarity.
  • Ray Fox has little control over his pyrokinesis, leading to a long string of burned-down buildings while fighting crime. Most of the town knows him as a crazy arsonist.
  • Even when the mercenaries in Schlock Mercenary are being good(ish) guys, or at least are being paid by people who are, they still cause a staggering amount of collateral damage when the plan inevitably goes south and Charlie begins dancing the foxtrot. Usually, the culprit is Schlock; those that aren't are usually the worst, because Schlock isn't authorised to have nuclear-scale weapons and thus is mostly limited to destroying things within his plasgun's effective range.
  • Sleepless Domain: Team Alchemical attempt to defy this during their fight with a monster in the first chapter. Undine leads the fight into a nearby construction zone to finish the monster off, pointing out that there will be plenty of dirt available for Gwen to manipulate, and that this should lessen the risk of property damage. She does mention that this should minimize the property damage "for once", however, implying that their battles are usually more destructive.
  • Strong Female Protagonist: Alison's fight with Cleaver leaves a great deal of collateral damage. In the aftermath when she tries to find Professor Cohen and continue their interrupted conversation, she discovers that he's so hostile to her because Cohen's husband got killed during one of her earlier battles. Her rant to Cleaver when she visits him in prison implies that this was a recurring issue during her days as a superhero.
    Alison: And then there's these people with their fucking sneers going (makes sarcastic finger-quote gestures) "You're a monster! You're a thug! You kill people!" No fucking shit I kill people!! I put holes in mountains! I break shit constantly without even trying! I saved the world on no less than seven fucking occasions, and guess what, super-accuracy is not one of my anomalies!
  • Unsounded: While the Deadly Nevergreen was badly damaged prior to Sette's rescue of the survivors of Cutter's attack her rescue—overloading the locks controlling the underground river system used for smuggling beneath the building—had the whole building collapse.

    Web Original 
    • Taken to extremes between Goku and Superman with their fight causing massive damage that results in the destruction of the entire planet.
    • Natsu vs Ace: True to form, Natsu's fight with Ace causes so much destruction and wrecks the town that he gets thrown out of there after winning.
  • In the Whateley Universe, there was Battery, who fought his nemesis to the death and destroyed one of the New York City bridges in the process; and the Flying Bulldozer, who wasn't smart enough to avoid major damage when he pursued felons. Now there's Tennyo, who has done things like: destroy an entire building and most of a street fighting the Arch-Fiend; and completely destroy the underground NORAD C base while rescuing her parents.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged's take on Episode of Bardock, the Primitive Saiyans refer to Bardock as their "violent savior".
    • Which given he was planning to eat there entire species if he didn't fill up on bread first is actually quite generous a title.
    • And in the main canon, Vegeta fits this trope, especially when pursuing Android 18 and not caring about collateral damage.
      Vegeta: I will kill as many people as I have to as long as you are one of them!
  • Mr. Welch seems to be the incarnation of this trope:
    17. Collateral Damage Man is not an appropriate name for a super hero.
    694. Search the old castle means enter it, not level it with artillery and dig through the rubble.
    901. In the middle of the Black Ops a diversion is not blowing off the top twenty floors of the building.
    1216. I can’t have a gun that treats buildings as light cover.
    1439. If the top floor is too well defended, can't just blow off the next to top floor.
  • In X-Ray & Vav, our titular duo wants to be heroes. They have the gear, the names, the looks... just that they don't know to use the gear, X-Ray takes Hot-Blooded to a whole new destructive level and Vav is just as bad. This leads to Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Memetic Mutation measures the firing rates of American weapons in freedoms per minute, while bombers drop tons of pure democracy on the countries they're liberating.
  • In the music video "Firebird", the Firebird destroys all the alien invaders attacking the hero's village... by using a huge, sun-powered blast that burns down what's left of the village as well. The hero who summoned its help is predictably not happy with this.
  • In the Whateley Universe, people (usually teenagers) who get powers and decide to go out and play hero usually wind up becoming instances of this trope- because they have little knowledge of how their powers work, almost no experience with actually using them, and for the most part have never been in a fight before, they wind up doing a hell of a lot of damage- and most of the damage is both accidental and entirely unnecessary.
    • It's not just the new would-be heroes- one often-cited example in-universe is a hero called the Flying Bulldozer, who once had a confrontation with his nemesis where said nemesis had stolen a large amount of cash without harming anyone or doing any damage, and was attempting to make a getaway by flying off. The Flying Bulldozer decided the best way to stop his nemesis would be to throw cars at him. The resulting damage (and injuries to innocent bystanders) was enormous, totalling millions in damages and over a dozen innocents in hospital.

    Western Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Series: In his debut episode ("Getting the Bugs Out"), Mechanicles attempts to destroy a village. The heroes' attempts to stop him end up forcing him to unleash his Humongous Mecha beetle to attack the village. As a result of the following battle, the village is demolished.
    Jasmine: We did it! We saved the village!
    Village elder: [surveying the pile of rubble that used to be his village] …And what village would that be?
  • Animaniacs parodies Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and its unintentional usage of this trope in the skit "Super Strong Warner Siblings". Near the end of the skit, the parody version of Rita sends down a giant bug monster to the Warner Brothers studio. The Warner Siblings then summon their Humongous Mecha and defeat the giant bug monster after a highly destructive battle, flattening many buildings in the process. After the battle, the Warner Siblings step out of their mecha and are approached by a very angry Warner Brothers CEO, followed by this exchange:
    Yakko: Good job, Super Siblings! We've saved the lot from harm!
    CEO: Look what you have done to my lot! Do you have any idea how much it's gonna cost to rebuild it?
    [Camera pans to the rubble that was once the studio]''
  • Ben 10 regularly causes significant amounts of damage in fights due to A) being a kid, B) the Omnitrix not coming with an instruction manual, and C) many of his alien forms having powers that are difficult to control.
  • In the third official episode of Celebrity Deathmatch, the Loch Ness Monster goes on a rampage in the arena after swiftly dispatching Bigfoot. During the rampage, it kills Don King, to the joy of Mike Tyson and the crowd. The joy dissipates when it kidnaps Fran Drescher.
    Mike Tyson: I'm fwee! I'm fwee! The King is dead! Long live the monster!
  • Duck Dodgers destroys Planet X in an argument with Marvin the Martian in the original Looney Tunes short. Seeing as it was a Cold War satire, this was quite intentional.
  • A Family Guy episode has Peter and his friends (in a The A-Team parody) tried to save a girl's cat. They fired at the tree until it fell down- onto her family's house.
  • A Running Gag in Fillmore! is the frequency with which the titular character inadvertently causes havoc or breaks things while chasing a suspect.
  • When Fry, Leela and Bender become superheroes in one episode of Futurama, they adopt alter egos specifically so that none of the damage they cause while fighting crime can be traced back to them. Lampshaded by the thank you they receive from the mayor when they foil a museum heist:
    "Thank you, mysterious heroes. The value of the Gemerald you saved is slightly greater than the cost of the damage you caused to this museum. A net gain for our great city!"
  • Godzilla in Godzilla: The Series. He IS as big as a building and can tunnel underground, so it's unavoidable. Forms the basis of the plot of an early episode, in which the military is trying to stop Godzilla under the belief that he's just indiscriminately attacking New York considering all the damage he's doing, when in reality, Godzilla is trying to hunt down an infestation of giant mutated rats, which conveniently vanish once the military actually arrives.
  • Happy Tree Friends: Splendid frequently causes a tonne of damage along with the frequent fatalities he inflicts during his "heroism".
  • Justice League: Superman's "No More Holding Back" Speech in "Destroyer" is followed up by him punching Darkseid through at least six skyscrapers (none come down, but at least a couple appear to take sufficient enough damage to be condemned) and then pounding him into a city-block-wide crater.
  • The Legend of Korra: Avatar Korra is such a Destructive Saviour that Republic City's police chief is desperate for her to leave the city for good. In the series finale, Korra and her friends destroy pretty much the entire city fighting Kuvira's Giant Mecha. One assumes they're doing it so Asami can collect on the lucrative infrastructure contracts that are sure to follow.
  • Mega Man X in his one-episode appearance in Mega Man (Ruby-Spears).
  • Megas XLR had fun with this in two directions. On the one hand, the series was the trope namer for Conveniently Empty Building. On the other hand, there was an entire episode devoted to the consequences of this, in which a group of other heroes proclaimed Coop the greatest villain on Earth and tried to bring him to justice.
    "Nobody wrecks MY city! Uh… except me."
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Ladybug and Cat Noir are a somewhat downplayed example, the former's Miraculous Ladybug can set things right after they defeat each akumatized villain, but they tend to cause massive amounts of property damage (including trashing the Eiffel Tower multiple times) to defeat the villain. Not helping matters is that Cat's Cataclysm is only really useful for destroying things.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: XJ-9 tends to destroy a lot of Tremorton's property when trying to defend it, so much that in the episode "Labor Day", she and her mother almost lost their house to pay for her damages.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Daring Done?", Daring Do is this to the villagers of Somnambula when she destroys the statue of their town's namesake legend while fighting Ahuizotl. When Daring Do finds out about the damage she causes during her adventures, she goes into a 10-Minute Retirement for the episode, while Dr. Caballeron takes advantage of her status as a Hero with Bad Publicity to frame her for also stealing Somnambula's glowpaz gems.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) has this happen on a regular basis when fighting monsters in Townsville:
    • Most notable one being when the girls fight in Humongous Mecha. Others are not that destructive.
    • This is actually deconstructed in one episode where they move to a city on the more cynical end of the scale. The mayor calls them out on destroying an important suspension bridge in order to stop some bank robbers who stole only a few hundred dollars.
    • Mojo Jojo also pulls a gambit to make the girls super huge so that they wreck Townsville as they search for him. He's more anxious than usual about being caught, but the growth does get half the job done.
    • Also shows up in The Movie.
    • While trying to help the Powerpuff Girls out of gratitude for saving his life, Big Billy ends up wrecking things way worse than the girls usually do, with Blossom even noting that he did less damage as a villain than when trying to be a hero.
  • The Quack Pack episode "Gator Aid" turned out this way and lampshaded it. After successfully foiling a villain who was trying to raid a Fort Knox-alike (through a scheme she accidentally gave him in the first place while masquerading as his assistant), Daisy declared "We did it! We saved the depository!" Pull back to show the crumbling remains of said depository, and Daisy adding "…Well… some of it." She did save the far-more-valuable gold it contained, though.
  • Rick and Morty It's often used for comedic reasons. Rick has destroyed the earth once to help his grandson roofie his crush and couldn't have cared less. He doesn't even fix his destruction he just leaves that universe and goes to a new one where a version of him did fix it. Takes down the galactic government by changing the value of their currency. This leads chaos to ensue after the president of earth for the galactic federation commits suicide when Rick makes their currency worthless. In the same episode, he teleports the Citadel of Ricks into the Galactic Federation prison causing many Mortys and Ricks to be killed in the process. Morty destroys an entire police force to save a gas-based alien and then ends up killing it at the end of the episode when it says it will come back with more of its kind to destroy all carbon-based life. This means all that destruction was also meaningless. Rick also destroys an entire miniverse within a miniverse just so his car can stay powered. The entire series epitomizes this trope. The devil even says Rick is worse than him when it comes to destroying things.
  • The Simpsons: In "Marge Vs. The Monorail" Homer finds himself the conductor of a runaway monorail, and has to resort to making an improvised anchor by ripping off the "M" in the monorail's logo, tying it to a rope, and throwing it onto the streets. The monorail does eventually stop, but only after further wrecking the town's already poor-condition roads, cuts down the town's oldest tree (which falls onto the birthplace of the town's founder, Jebediah Springfield) and seperates a set of Conjoined Twins (albeit cleanly).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "Wormy", SpongeBob and Patrick sound the alarm about a monster (actually a butterfly) and send the entire city in a panic that causes far more destruction than the "monster" would have ever caused.
    • In the episode "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", SpongeBob and Sandy managed to drive a giant off a cliff to get rid of it. However, at the same time, the citizens of Bikini Bottom were pushing the city somewhere else in an attempt to get away from the worm. The city ended up at the bottom of the cliff that the worm fell off and so the giant worm landed on top of Bikini Bottom, destroying it.
  • The Crystal Gems in Steven Universe are interested in protecting the Earth. Individual buildings on it, not so much. On one occasion they shut off Beach City's power for more than a day while preparing for a battle, and don't particularly care. Steven, being The Heart, does try and limit collateral damage where possible and tries to apologize and make up when it happens at least.
    Amethyst: Steven! You saved most of Beach City!
  • In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Identity Crisis", Bizarro becomes this since he believes he's the real Superman and attempts to prove it by performing acts of heroism. However, since he's a little… confused due to Clone Degeneration, his "heroic" acts involve attempting to save a building being lawfully demolished by simply grabbing the crane and throwing it across the city (where it almost literally crashes a wedding before being caught by the real Superman) and fixing a movable bridge by welding it shut with his heat vision… just as a ship is about to come through (again, the real Superman saves the ship).
  • SWAT Kats:
    • Commander Feral often accuses the SWAT Kats of being this. And they do have a tendency to cause as much damage as the villains and monsters they go up against. In "Destructive Nature", Viper's turned the largest skyscraper in Megacat City into a giant greenhouse; turning the air conditioner to "freezing" gets rid of the jungle, but the resultant mess breaks most of the windows, warps many inner walls, and means the building has to be closed for repairs.
    • Conversely, the damage to the Enforcer HQ that set Jake and Chance on the path to becoming the Swat Kats was not their fault. Jake and Chance were part of the Enforcers at the time and had the notorious Dark Cat literally in their sights. Farrell muscled them out of the way to try and take the collar. Since they were in high-speed planes loaded with fairly destructive weaponry, this resulted in Jake's missile going awry and hitting the HQ. Farrell blamed them for it and assigned them jobs in the junkyard until the damage was paid off.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • Cyborg picked up a building to hit Plasmus. Raven likewise tends to telekinetically throw anything and everything not nailed down at her enemies, which has included buildings.
    • In Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, Raven laments the fact that nobody in Japan drives SUVs… Never mind that all the people are probably lamenting the fact that their expensive cars are being used for Five Rounds Rapid.
  • An episode of Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race set in Australia involves all the teams going to a farm to catch rabbits. The invasive species are pests to the farmers. Right from the get-go, all the teams race to catch 10 rabbits and end up destroying many of the crops in the process without even thinking about it.
  • One of the most-remembered episodes among fans of the original The Transformers series involved peacenick Autobot Beachcomber stumbling across a strategic resource in an unspoiled meadow. Naturally, both sides end up completely laying waste to said meadow fighting over it. The final line of the episode is Beachcomber surveying the scene of devastation and declaring, heartbroken, "We won."
  • Bulkhead of Transformers: Animated has this problem. Quite often, actually, as he Does Not Know His Own Strength.
    Sari: I'm sure it wasn't that bad. You saved the city, right?
    Bumblebee: After destroying half of it.
    Sari: Not helping.
    • Of course, as the perspective Autobot team in Animated started as a repair crew, and the city of Detroit isn't exactly happy about the collateral damage, on more than one occasion they have forced the Autobots to clean up after themselves. Which is good, because even the live-action PG-13 movies don't feature as much destruction as Animated.
    • Split down the middle with Omega Supreme. He views himself as a destructive menace, little better than the Decepticons he fought against. The Autobots see him as a mighty hero who secured their victory during the Great War.
  • This actually serves as the basis of the first two seasons of Ultimate Spider-Man (2012). The first episode has Nick Fury tell Spider-Man that he causes too much collateral damage when fighting supervillains after a fight with Trapster ruins a city street, with Spidey subsequently getting put under SHIELD training alongside other teenaged superheroes to, among other thing, teach them to commit less property damage in their fights. This is called back to in the final episode, where he quickly and easily dispatches Trapster in seconds before the villain can even fire a shot.
  • Underdog was once asked about the damages caused while he was taking out a bad guy. His response:
    Underdog: I am a hero who never fails. I cannot be bothered with such details.
  • Wakfu: The Brotherhood of the Tofu. It seems that every time our Five-Man Band tries to save a village from invaders, they level at least half of it in the fight anyway.
  • Yam Roll: Yam Roll, whenever there's a big monster involved.

    Real Life 
  • World War I saw widespread application, most famously on the Western front which cut a miles-wide swathe mostly in the territory of the defending French for 4 years. Before/After photos of Passchendaele illustrate it fairly well. Many towns were literally wiped off the face of the Earth. A number of these "Lost towns" are listed on memorials to the war dead.
  • World War II saw numerous examples, such as both Leningrad and Stalingrad, which were virtually levelled in their ultimately successful defenses.
    • Many of the great capitals of Europe, like Paris and Rome, escaped this sort of destructive fighting only because the German commanders quit them rather than engage in destructive fighting there. London, not so much. Douglas MacArthur, upon fulfilling his pledge to return to the Philippines, expected the Japanese to do the same in Manilla, but instead they dug in and mounted a defensive resistance that was so difficult to break, MacArthur was forced to lift his ban on heavy artillery and air support. This decision allowed the US Army to eventually defeat the stubborn defenders while reducing American casualties, but at the cost of flattening most of Manila and its historical landmarks with tons of bombs and shells.

      The reasons for this type of defense are many, but the primary reason to obliterate a city while defending it is not so much to deny the enemy the resources, but rather to slow the enemy down. Stalingrad, for example, held up the Germans for months as they tried to get enough forces through the ruined city. This is less common in modern warfare with precision weapons but still occurs. Fallujah during the Iraq War, for example.

      The battle of Stalingrad stands out because the German army was forced to ignore the strategy that had been winning the war before then, which saw tough pockets of defense surrounded and picked off at a leisurely pace to conserve men and munitions.
    • The liberation of France involved blowing a lot of it up. Some residents of coastal towns bear a lot of resentment towards the D-Day invaders (in part due to the rapes and such that accompanied the liberation). Succinctly described by the anonymous member of Patton's Third Army who remarked of the smoking ruins of the French Village he occupied, "We sure liberated the hell out of this place."
  • The Battle of Mosul took 9 months to conclude in part to avoid wholesale application of the trope, but large sections were still leveled; among other things, pancaking one building even with modern bombs does nothing to help the buildings next to it.
  • Referenced by image macros that use some variation of the phrase "we're gonna free the shit out of you," usually in reference to the US and over images of bombers or bombs.
  • Similarly, a Memetic Mutation has the destructive potential of American weapons measured in terms of freedom and democracy. As in, "300 freedoms per minute", "50 kilo-democracy bombs", etc.
  • Termite Exterminators. They'll have to batter down huge wooden portions of an infested house and in extreme cases put the entire structure under a fumigation tent for days.
  • In urban firefighting, tearing down buildings is an essential practice in the effort to prevent the spread of a fire through a city, which doesn't exactly enthuse the people whose buildings are chosen for demolition. Wildfire fighters take it to the next level with controlled burns, either to intentionally burn the fuel in an area to prevent buildup from fueling a devastating blaze or when actively fighting a fire, to starve the main fire by burning fuel before it reaches an area.
  • Police departments often limit the circumstances under which they will engage in vehicle chases to avoid dangerous driving and high-speed crashes with bystanders. There's little point in running down someone for a warrant or fleeing if they hit a pedestrian in the process.
  • In this video, a Russian soldier retrieves a cat up a tree by cutting down the tree, crashing it into power lines. The cat and onlookers were fine.
  • "Animal Liberation Front" and the "Earth Liberation Front" are groups fighting for ostensibly good causes, however their actions often cause property damage negligently or intentionally.
  • Chemotherapy is basically a last-ditch attempt to rid a patient of cancer by poisoning the body in hope of killing off the cancer cells.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Destructive Savior, Destructive Hero


Team America

Team America stops terrorists in Paris and Cairo ... and destroys every monument in sight.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (26 votes)

Example of:

Main / DestructiveSaviour

Media sources: