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Getting Eaten Is Harmless

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In real life, stomachs are designed solely to break down food; they are hot, churning sacks full of acids and digestive enzymes. Most creatures unfortunate enough to be Eaten Alive only survive inside it for a few minutes at best. Not to mention that most predators tend to chew on, rip apart or grind up their prey into digestible chunks of meat before it even gets that far. However in fiction stomachs are often just fleshy bags of holding or prisons for those who wind up inside them. So being Eaten Alive is not nearly as perilous as one might assume. Once what or whoever ate a character spits them out or gets destroyed said character will be able to go about their life as if nothing happened.

Sometimes this is justified by the person only being inside their predator's stomach for a brief period before being released, actually having the requisite level of Super Toughness and/or Healing Factor to avoid harm (at least for far longer than your average non-superpowered human would), or whatever ate them having a slow metabolism, but often times most of these Hand Waves aren't even mentioned.

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This trope is the reason why Eat Me works as a combat tactic, since the person will live long enough to kill it from the inside. If the thing that ate the character is a monster or creature and we get an internal shot, it is often a Ribcage Stomach.

A subtrope of Swallowed Whole. In a lot of ways, especially if it's played for Drama, it can be a form of Disney Death.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Averted in Attack on Titan. A Titan's stomach is just an inert pouch half-filled with liquid that doesn't seem to be corrosive, but that does not make them harmless. For one, an unfortunate victim that arrives in there alive is often not whole, as Titans tend to bite their prey at least once before swallowing. Secondly, the inside of a Titan's body is so hot, it's presumably enough to if not outright boil the victim alive, at least cause heatstroke, and drowning from passing out in the fluids. And finally, Titans never stop eating if they can help it, so being hit by falling corpses is not implausible.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, Falin gets eaten by the Red Dragon at the start of the series. The rest of her party figure out that this particular type of dragon digests food very slowly and so, if they're quick, they may be able to rescue her before she's digested. Unfortunately Reality Ensues and they arrive too late, finding Falin already just a skeleton in the dragon's gizzard. They still manage to resurrect her.

    Fan Works 
  • In Stars Above, Kagami is swallowed whole by the Third Demon Ciacco, a giant, emaciated dog, but the only real danger involved inside is his Spawnnote , a horde of maggots that eat everything he eats, depriving him of actual nourishment.
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    Films — Animation 
  • Finding Nemo: Marlin and Dory are ingested by a blue whale, and spend a while swimming and breathing in its mouth, though it turns out the whale had no intention of actually eating them; it was taking them to Sydney.
  • Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie: Jonah spends several days inside a whale, living atop a swallowed shipwreck floating in its stomach juices. Jonah emerges fine, aside from being bleached and smelling terrible. Some dialogue between Jonah and Khaleel the caterpillar implies the duo would not have survived the digestive process had they lingered much longer.
  • This happens in Pinocchio when Pinocchio and Jimminy Cricket (following Geppetto) are swallowed by Monstro the whale but are all perfectly fine and later manage to escape. Any discussion or depiction of digestion is nowhere to be found, likely because of the subject's stronger cultural taboo in the 1940s.
  • In Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Manny and Diego are ingested by a carnivorous plant, whose "stomach" (formed from its folded leaves) becomes filled with digestive fluids. While Buck the weasel hints that the plant is capable of rapid digestion, he saves them by diving headfirst into the digestive juices to break the plants hold, even keeping his eyes open inside. All three escape unharmed, while still drenched in digestive juice.
  • In Ice Age: Continental Drift Sid and his grandmother are voluntarily swallowed by Granny's "pet" whale Precious. Entering the whale's stomach, they land in a pool of partially digested fruit and gastric juices, but are not harmed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Men in Black, Kay purposely lets himself be ingested by the Edgar Bug in order to get his gun back. Once he blasts the bug in two from the inside he's no worse for wear, save for the truly massive mess he made.
  • In Men In Black 2, Serleena accidentally flies her ship into the giant worm Jeff's mouth. She not only gets swallowed, but is chewed up by a whole gullet's worth of teeth, yet she survives and manages to infect Jeff and kill him from the inside. Granted she's a plant alien who previously regenerated from a single bud.
  • Sharknado: Nova gets swallowed by a shark. Fin dives down that shark's throat chainsaw-first. Not only does Nova not get digested, but the chainsaw misses her. (Oh, and Fin isn't digested or bitten either.)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: When fighting an enormous tentacled creature with nigh-impervious skin, Drax leaps down its throat to try to cut it open from the inside. This fails completely because its skin is just as thick from the inside, but after it's killed, Drax emerges from it unharmed. Justifiable because Drax is that badass.
  • In Dude, Where's My Car?, Tommy is swallowed by the Super Hot Giant Alien. When she is blown up by the Continuum Transfunctioner, Tommy is left behind, covered in slime but otherwise fine.

    Literature 
  • In the short story "Safe At Any Speed", the protagonist gets swallowed by a giant pterodactyl and comes out perfectly unhurt. This is justified in-universe by the character being from a race who have evolved to be extraordinarily lucky.
  • In Micro by Michael Crichton one of the characters, Karen, is eaten alive by a bird but manages (just barely) to not be killed. Unlike most examples of this trope, it's justified by the fact that she was stuck in the bird's crop rather than its stomach; there was just enough air to sustain her for a couple of minutes and the crop doesn't digest food. Considering she'd been eaten by an insect eater, however? Their stomachs are designed to grind apart chitin armor. If she'd been passed to the gizzard she pretty much would have been killed almost instantly.
  • In some versions of Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf is killed and the grandmother, sometimes Red as well, emerges from its stomach, fine.
  • In the Brothers Grimm story The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids, six of the kids are eaten by The Big Bad Wolf, but when the seventh kid and their mother cuts the wolf's belly open, the kids emerge unharmed.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism with the Book of Jonah in The Bible. With God's intervention, Jonah lives for three days and three nights inside a "great fish".
    • Subverted in, off all places, a Chick Tract. Jonah is covered in acid burns when he gets out.
  • In Classical Mythology five of the original Olympians, Hestia Demeter Hera, Hades and Poseidon, were eaten by their father, the Titan Kronos, as soon as they were born. Years later, the sixth and youngest Olympian, Zeus, who had been raised in secret and so avoided sharing their fate, slipped Kronos an ipecac that resulted in the latter vomiting up Zeus' older siblings, who were of course no worse for wear. Justified since they were gods, so the stomach was essentially a prison.

    Video Game 
  • In Super Mario RPG, Belome will occasionally eat Mallow whole during your first fight with him. However, this only deprives him of a few turns until he eventually pops out unharmed. It's implied it would eventually be fatal though, since if Mario is K.O.ed while Mallow is in Belome's stomach it results in a Game Over.
  • Lego Jurassic World has several characters getting eaten only to be vomited back up or shown inside the stomach, alive and well.
  • The Legend of Zelda has the various species of Like Likes, blobby tube-like creatures that inhale Link, do God only knows what to him while he's in there, and spit him out missing a shield, tunic, or some money. Usually it's harmless though in some games Link takes a bit of damage in the process.
  • Justified in Mega Man X with Gulpfers, large robotic fish that attempt to swallow X whole. Being machines they literally are just mechanical inert sacks that attempt to trap X, and he can easily blast his way out from within.
  • In Miitopia, most of the Mii Trap and Burger enemies are able to swallow a party member for a few turns. Although the trapped Mii can say lines such as "I'm melting!" this does not actually do anything other than preventing the Mii from acting until the enemy is either defeated or some turns pass.
  • Koop's father in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door apparently managed to survive ten years in Hooktail's stomach by using his shell to resist the stomach acids.
  • Mischief Makers: Migen Jr. eats Prof. Theo, complete with chewing, just before the boss fight. Theo pops out just fine afterward.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Trollhunters: Jim, Toby, Blink and Arrrgh get into the innards of a giant troll. Even after introducing an extra spicy burrito to his belly only makes for a wild ride. But they emerge unscathed. More than once.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: In the Jaws Whole Plot Reference episode Captain Betty, the Quint analog, is eaten by the giant turtle part way through the episode. However after Carl manages to shrink it down we see Captain Betty treading water, alive and well. He explains that the turtle spat him out at the last second as it was shrinking. This served not only to make the end happier, but kept Carl from possibly looking like he committed manslaughter by shrinking the turtle with the Captain still inside it.
  • Justified in The Tick with the Indigestible Man, who is sent to enter inside Dinosaur Neil and stop him from transforming back to normal.
  • Samurai Jack: in the final season, episode "XCV", Jack and the last remaining daughter of Aku are eaten by a giant beast. Its insides are a whole ecosystem, and Jack has to try multiple ways to reach the blowhole to escape...with his would-be assassin fighting him the whole way and cursing his name with every breath. Jack mentions multiple previous times he's been eaten alive only to leave unharmed when the daughter expresses doubt of their survival. The beast itself has an odd anatomy, for though they're swallowed it's a long walk to an acid lake one would surmise is the stomach, which is also under some sort of blowhole.
  • Eddie Bull from Crashbox routinely gets eaten alive by animals of all sizes but never ends up harmed.
  • Dinotrux: Garby has eaten several reptools and all have been processed through him extremely frazzled, but alive.

    Real Life 
  • Two species of the Rheobatrachus genus of frogs hadnote  the unique trait of incubating larval offspring within the mother's stomach (as in, the mother actually swallows the eggs or newly hatched larva), which is made possible by the eggs being coated in a special substance that induces the stomach to turn off the production of hydrochloric acid, and the larva themselves producing the same substance after hatching from said eggs.
  • A number of fish species engage in mouth-brooding behavior, in which the male, female, or occasionally both parents will incubate eggs inside the mouth. Most species expel the young after hatching, but a few (cichlids, arowana) allow their young to retreat to the safety of a parent's mouth when danger approaches.
  • Some plant species actually benefit from this trope, as having their fruits' fleshy outer tissue digested by an animal is the only way for their seeds to germinate from said animal's feces.
  • Similarly, many parasitic organisms need to be eaten alive in their larval or egg forms, in order to invade a host's body.

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