Follow TV Tropes


Half the Man He Used to Be
aka: Half The Woman She Used To Be

Go To
"It's me, dear friends — alive and kicking!
Well, alive, anyway."

"I've lost my better half!"
Samurai: Hunt for the Sword (outtake)

A character gets cut (or, less often, blown or ripped) in half, usually during combat but occasionally in an accident, building collapse or some other scenario.

In real life, this would be incredibly bloody. In fiction, this can be done any number of ways, with any level of blood, from family-friendly versions like the battle droids in the Star Wars movies, to Nightmare Fuel-oriented ones that spare no detail. The cutting in half itself can be done either horizontally (at the waist, usually) or vertically (from scalp to groin, or vice versa), with the latter often occurring via Clean Cut. Expect it to be Bloody Hilarious if it occurs in a comedic setting.

Naturally, this happens a lot in anime or video games that feature Humongous Mecha, and many series in general which use Mecha-Mooks, due to the fact that you can slice up mecha all you like without spraying blood everywhere (at least, not human blood).

Expect a character who survives this to become a Memetic Badass; see Who Needs Their Whole Body?.

A frequent result of a Single-Stroke Battle or a Diagonal Cut. See also Saw a Woman in Half, the trick performed by a Stage Magician. Not to be confused with the less literal meaning. Compare Impaled with Extreme Prejudice and Off with His Head!. For examples where the dismemberment happens after the character is dead see Dismembering the Body.

Has absolutely nothing to do with The Beatles song "Yesterday", even though the name of the trope is taken from the lyrics, and should not be confused with I Can't Feel My Legs!, which is about losing function, not the actual parts of the body. Same holds true for the Stone Temple Pilots song "Creep", which has the same line in its chorus. Also has no relation to Was Once a Man. A character who can split in half whenever they wish is using Detachment Combat.

This is usually a Death Trope, as you might think, so beware of unmarked spoilers!

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • During the Pop-Tarts "Hide and Seek" campaign, Chocolate-Vanilla Splitz was cut in half by a door.

    Comic Books 
  • All New Atom: After a time-travel accident, Teddy Hyatt's right side is still alive and functional in the present while his left side is in the future, making him a walking, talking anatomical cross-section.
  • Blackest Night: Nekron tries to do this to Sinestro. Sinestro uses the power of the white light to heal himself and resume his attacks.
  • Bone: Grandma Rose's sister Briar is cut in half, then the Lord of the Locust has his insects inhabit her body to resurrect her, but when they leave the halves of her body fall back apart. However, the Lord decides he still needs her, and puts her back together, for her to later do this herself to Tarsil.
  • Catwoman: When in Rome: Cheetah threatens to "slit Catwoman open from bottom to top," but is unable to carry out her threat.
  • Infinite Crisis: Superboy-Prime uses his heat vision to cut the superhero Bushido in half.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992): The Pendant of Courage gives Link the jolt he needs to cut a soldier in half. This sends the other mooks wailing out of the temple in terror.
  • Negation: After Gammid kills Javi, one of Javi's Ligis-bearer teammates, a teleporter, uses one of her portals to cut Gammid in half. He dies.
  • Scott Pilgrim:
    • Roxy Richter suffers this fate after a Single-Stroke Battle with Scott.
    • Scott himself ends up on the receiving end in Volume 6 whilst battling Gideon in Ramona's mind.
  • The Sentry:
    • The Void, possessing the Sentry, pulls this on Ares. Vertically. With his hands.
    • Much earlier on, in New Avengers #3, a non-possessed Sentry does this to Carnage.
  • Simon Dark: Simon tears Gus' first successful revived human in half, when the deformed man proves to be a remorseless furious murderer who nearly kills Tom and does kill Gus. It works out as a bit of karma since tearing his victims in half was the murderer's favorite way to kill his own victims.
  • Star Wars Legends:
  • Post-Crisis: Black Adam tears Terra-Man in half at the pelvis.
  • Sullivan's Sluggers: A couple of examples happen. When the townsfolk transform, one guy sitting in the bleachers is bitten in half. Later, in the farmhouse's Creepy Basement, among all the corpses of victims past, is the upper half of a cheerleader.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: In issue 19, Mad Doctor Pharma challenges Ratchet to a surgical contest, where Pharma will cut a patient (Ambulon) in half and Ratchet will have to repair him. Ratchet reassures Ambulon that bisection at the waist is easy to fix, but Pharma clarifies that he meant lengthways.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate's Wolverine went up against his universe's Hulk. And gets pulled in half. He then proceeds to crawl up a mountain to find his legs.
    • The Ultimates: Captain America cut Herr Kleiser in half with his shield. It's only a temporary thing thanks to his great healing speed, but still...
  • Usagi Yojimbo In Space Usagi, the titular character does this to his lord's murderer with help from a modified katana.
  • X-Men: In the arc Age of Apocalypse, Magneto finishes Apocalypse off by ripping his cyborg body in half vertically.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Belvedere strip Belvedere and his owner are both in karate gis, with Belvedere in an attack pose and his owner neatly cut in two at the waist.
    Guy in background: How was that for a karate chop?

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): After her rebirth transformed alongside San into Monster X, Vivienne Graham at one point rips one of Alan Jonah's men in half at the waist — and she does it by accident!
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series: Shadow slashes Jack right in half.
  • In Despair Island, a dark reimagining of Total Drama, contestants who have been voted off are killed in front of their team-mates. In the case of best friends Katie and Sadie, this involves them being sawn in half. (This is not a double elimination. Sadie is the first of the two girls to die, leaving Katie grief-stricken. When it's her turn for the chop, Katie tries to attack Chris (the host) but is quickly overpowered. Chris then orders that she be subjected to the same fate as Sadie.)
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover, Samantha Shepard's lower half is turned into paste by an angry Brick. Only some fancy time-stopping technology saves her from certain (second) death.
  • In the Animorphs fanfic Ghost in the Shell, Margaret in snow leopard morph bites Tom in cobra morph in half. Fortunately, he doesn't die instantly.
  • Near the end of the original Yognapped, this happens to Skylord Lysander.
  • In the Star Wars fic "Hold on Girl'', Mara Jade Skywalker not only force-chokes her captor but literally rips him in half with the force.
  • In the Young Justice (2010) fic, With This Ring, Teth Adom's people are attacked with technology from Apokolips, which Queen Bee had dealings with, so he was already pissed at her. When she tried using her powers against him, he literally tore her in half.
  • In The Stronger Evil, this is how Daolon Wong's Cruel and Unusual Death comes to an end — after Shendu has been pounding him into the pavement for a few minutes, he takes the bloody mess that's left and rips it in half.
  • This happens unsurprisingly often in the All Guardsmen Party:
    • Nubby loses both legs to a swipe from a forcesword and has them replaced with augmetics.
    • Sergeant Gravis gets bisected through the lungs by a Hive Tyrant's bonesword. He survives, though the party accidentally misplaces the crate holding his lower half.
    • A few enemies get this treatment including a Khonate mutant that gets bisected by Cutter as well as the Heretek that takes down Cutter when the latter beats him in melee.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts fangame, Gaston suffers this fate in addition to Disney Villain Death in a manner very similar to that of Darth Maul.
  • In Maiden's Illusionary Funeral, Yukari gets vertically bisected by Youki. It barely slows her down.
  • Tales of the Otherverse: In the "A World Without Heroes" story arc, Rogue rips into half a thug whose goons have just murdered a child in cold blood.
    Rogue shook herself out of shock as anger and rage poured in. She stepped forward, wanting to reach Kara's side, to help her tear these… animals apart. The leader had turned to run and she caught him by the upper arms. He was no longer human. He was an obstacle. Without a second thought, she flung her arms wide, opening her hands to let the two pieces of the leader fly in opposite directions.
  • Queen of Shadows: Near the end of the Battle of Tobe, Kamisori stabs Rokutaro In the Back with his claws and pulls him apart horizontally.
  • Mortal Kombat Khronicles: This is how Scorpion finishes off Quan Chi at The Battle of Armageddon by spearing him the chest with his flaming chain-spear, then wrapping the flaming chain around his body and pulling it, burning him in half.
  • Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse: One of the things that Nabiki Tendo does after first eating the Vampire Mythic Zoan Devil Fruit is attack a humanoid tick, skewer it on her hands, and then split it in half vertically, in a move the author has admitted was inspired by one of Shao Khan's Fatalities.

    Films — Animation 
  • Blackburn, the Psycho Knife Nut assassin in Boogie, does this a lot. His intro is a Death Montage where he slaughters several members of a mafia gang, at least two of which get separated from the waist with plenty of animated blood.
  • Apparently in the backstory for a background character in Corpse Bride — when Victor first encounters him, he splits in half vertically to get around the young man.
  • In DC Showcase – Batman: Death in the Family, one of the possible deaths Black Mask can suffer involves Jason (as Red Hood) firing a projectile at his glass, which then breaks it with a sonic device and causing a large shard to slice him in half vertically.
  • Aquaman, Starfire, and Black Manta suffer this fate in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, Aquaman by Darkseid's omega beams and both Starfire and Black Manta by Paradooms.
  • This is a plot point in Onward, where Ian's attempt to bring his father Back from the Dead for a day only brings back his legs, giving him and Barley the rest of the day to restore his top half.
  • At the beginning of The Return of Hanuman, Rahu and Ketu were cut in half. Their bodies were reattached, only that their lower halves were switched.
  • In Steven Universe: The Movie, Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl are all poofed by Spinel when she simultaneously bisects them at the waist with her Gem rejuvenator (ungorily, as their bodies are made of Hard Light) right at the end of her Villain Song. Steven, in turn, uses her weapon against her, bisecting her head and chest vertically.
  • Toy Story:
    • Overlaps with Smoldering Shoes in the Fake-Out Opening of Toy Story 2: when Buzz leaps over Zurg, the latter hits him with a single blast from his ion blaster upon him landing, destroying his upper body and leaving only his legs behind.
    • This happens to a stuffed blue zebra in Toy Story 4, being ripped in half by a cat. He's a stuffed toy, though, so he's quite alright.
  • In Yellow Submarine, Paul invokes the line in a less morbid instance. Going backwards in the Sea of Time, the Beatles and Old Fred regress in age. Also a nod to Paul's song "Yesterday".

  • One of the bad endings of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, Crypt of the Sorcerer, can have this happening to you when you're infiltrating the lair of the kaiju-like giant monster, the Gargantis. You can choose to have yourself lowered into its lair from a pit — at which point the Gargantis will suddenly grab you from below and chomp you into half from the waist. Bon appetit...
  • Lone Wolf:
    • This is the fate of a Vordak in Book 5, Shadow on the Sand, if you have the Sommerswerd.
      You strike again, curving the golden blade in a great arc. It bites into the Vordak's neck, tearing through its unnatural body, and severing it diagonally from collarbone to hip.
    • In The Skull of Agarash, Lone Wolf kills a ravenous Anapheg by bisecting it vertically, from groin to skull, with one upward slash of the Sommerswerd, leaving two near-perfect symmetrical halves.

  • Used in an 1814 German poem by Ludwig Uhland:
    Zur Rechten sieht man, wie zur Linken, Einen halben Türken heruntersinken.
    To the right one sees, as to the left, half a turc sink down.
  • In the first part of Aztec one of the masons in the limestone pit gets this when a large cube of limestone falls on him. His lower half is resting a little ways away, and his upper half is sealed flat by the rock. He lives long enough to make his deathbed concession, then when they try to carry him out of the quarry, everything falls out.
  • A rare semi-physical example in the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon book Lady Slings the Booze: Arethusa might have started off as just Twin Telepathy, but grew into a case of Single-Minded Twins — one mind, two bodies — during her upbringing in a very strange cult. Because of this, her bodies are more 'right hand' and 'left hand', and when one dies at the climax, she feels literally cut in half, even losing her ability to play the piano. She does, though, recover as best she can by the end, and shows up elsewhere in the series after the closure of Lady Sally's Place.
  • Happens to Kid Sampson in Catch-22 when McWatt's practical joke of buzzing the beach goes horribly wrong.
  • Interesting variation in The Cloven Viscount by Italo Calvino: the title character is a nobleman who got cut in two (vertically) during a fight against Turkish forces. But, amazingly, both halves survive, one evil and the other good.
  • The Dark Tower
    • This happens to one of the mobsters in the second book when he is accidentally strafed with machine-gun fire.
    • Before that, Odetta loses her legs thanks to Jack Mort pushing her in front of a train. Later, Roland possesses Jack's body and makes him do it to himself-except aims the impact point just a bit higher.
  • Daughter of the Sun: Orsina, when attacked by a priestess of Iius, slices her in half defending herself.
  • This is taken to a strange extreme in Deathstalker: The character 'Half A Man', a former investigator, is sliced in half vertically, the missing half of his body replaced by a sinister energy being. Eventually, that side devours him, and he's well aware that it's happening for quite some time.
  • Deeplight: An unnamed Leaguer at Wildman's Hammer is sliced in half during Jelt's rampage.
  • Everworld has a darkly humorous version where the group encounters a bunch of satyrs. Alcohol-Induced Idiocy ensues, and one of the satyrs finds himself split in half... and the only thing that disturbs him is that he can't hold his wine anymore (he doesn't have organs or blood either, just sort of sketches). The bottom half-a-satyr just keeps trundling alongside them, occasionally falling over, and is eventually exchanged by Christopher for entry into the fairy city.
  • This is the fate of Navarog in Fablehaven. In dragon form, he's a huge, almost-untouchable monstrosity... but in human form, well, Raxtus got hungry.
  • In Gardens of the Moon, book one of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, the wizard Hairlock gets cut in half in the middle of a battle, and keeps himself alive briefly with magic. It turns out this has been planned for and he is waiting to complete a spell to transfer his soul into a little marionette.
  • Genome begins with the protagonist leaving a hospital where he recovered after being bisected. His legs had to be regrown for several months since the ship where the accident happened had only one spare medical chamber and thus only one half could be saved; otherwise, legs could just have been reattached.
  • A petite enemy soldier in A Harvest of War gets this, courtesy of the protagonist and her BFS.
  • Two examples in Heart of Steel:
    • Alistair Mechanus is this when the story starts, having rebuilt himself as a cyborg after trauma in his backstory.
    • Julia's soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend Jim gets torn in half at the beginning of the novel and is rebuilt as a (rather clunkier) cyborg.
  • In the second Mistborn book, resident Action Girl Vin slices a villain in half with a koloss sword longer then she is tall. As well as his horse.
  • In The Nekropolis Archives novel Dark War, Tavi gets bitten in half by a rampaging dinosaur. However, due to being a lycanthrope with a powerful healing factor, he is able to survive.
  • In the Nemesis Series, Red Steel managed to lose his lower body at one point in the past. He spent a couple years regrowing it, but he did manage to get back out there.
  • The Saga of the Jomsvikings: In the battle of Hjorunga Bay, the warrior Thorkel Midlong splits Bui's chin with a sword-blow, but Bui returns the blow while Thorkel slips on the wet planks and topples against the gunwale, and "the blow struck him in the middle, and he was cut in two against the gunwale."
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Daylen notes how messy fighting with Imperious can be, as it's more than capable of cleaving through multiple limbs and bodies in one swing. Lyrah, due to her specialized Super-Strength, can achieve the same effect with a steel warsword.
  • L. Frank Baum's Sky Island has the Blue government practice of slicing two persons in half and recombining them with each other. They attempt it with Cap'n Bill and (a donkey?) Fortunately, Cap'n Bill escapes.
  • In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, Guitar Bain's father was killed when his body was sawn vertically on an industrial saw, and thus was lain in the tomb with both halves facing each other.
  • In the Star Wars books:
    • Darth Vader executes someone in Splinter of the Mind's Eye by using his lightsaber to bisect him from the crown of his head right down.
    • A disguised Corran Horn uses the same technique on a 3PO unit belonging to the Blackstar Pirates in I, Jedi as part of a dramatic display meant to frighten them.
    • Lightsaber combat refers to this technique as sai tok. It's Sithly in nature (even when it's necessary to kill, a Jedi shouldn't feel a desire to mutilate his enemy's body), hence Jedi almost never use it on sentients. Jedi Master Cin Drallig, however, expresses the opinion that when fighting a Sith Lord, no technique should be considered off limits to stop the threat they represent.
    • Mara Jade does this to some wolvkils in the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Survivor's Quest.
  • Richard inflicts this fate on some of his enemies in The Sword of Truth. It helps that his sword can magically cut through anything.
  • The Teacher From The Black Lagoon, a rather peculiar picture book, sums it up in four sentences:
    "This is a boy." She takes a big bite. "This is half a boy. Now you've learned fractions."
  • When Sigurd, the hero of Völsunga saga, is stabbed in his sleep by Gutthorm, he throws his sword after Gutthorm, slicing him in half.
  • Worm:
    • Taylor has most of her body below the waist incinerated by Scion, and only survives thanks to an Emergency Transformation.
    • Bonesaw at one point is cut in half. She's more annoyed at how long it's going to take to find a new set of legs that match her than about the damage; she'd reinforced her body and set up enough redundancies that she was still mobile and using her spine as a third limb.
  • A comedic yet gruesome example happened in volume 7 light novel of Eiyuu Kyoshitsu where Earnest and Lunaria fused into a single girl for the very first time but despised each other so badly that they end up pushing their fused forms apart vertically via brute force. The audience around them watched in horror throughout the process, with sounds of tearing flesh, bones and ligaments. When they did successfully split vertically into half, their shared halves collapsed onto the floor, disfigured and twitching, with a spinal cord seen in the middle between their split halves. Thankfully, they both have the powers of demons to regenerate their bodies instantly. This scene was entirely omitted and changed in the manga version. Despite their differences, they acknowledge the power boast that their fusion forms could perform in battle and utilise it again in the later part of the story against tough opponents.


  • Happens to the Kagamine twins in the Vocaloid song "Wide Knowledge of the Late, Madness." They later get stitched back together and become Conjoined Twins in "Dark Woods Circus."
  • The final sixth of "Falling Down" by Cunninlynguists makes grim humor from this during a machine gun rampage. "Walk in the Dollar Store and just let off / Now even the manager's body is 50% off!"
  • In one of John Lennon's posthumous anthologies, there is a recording that parodies the trope-naming The Beatles song, "Yesterday", and goes like this: "I'm not half the man I used to be / 'Cuz now I'm an amputee"
  • In Twenty One Pilots music video for their song "House of Gold", both band members are performing while cut in half.
  • Iron Maiden's mascot, Eddie, on the cover of Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.
  • In the Vocaloid song "50/50", Hatsune Miku is upset that her friend Mari-chan is spending time with a new boyfriend instead of her. She cuts him in half so they can share.
    "Mari-chan and I go halfsies on everything."

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Native American legends tell of Odzihozo, a giant who was so impatient during his creation that even when he was not yet fully made, he set out on a quest to change the world. However, he had only half a body with no legs at that time, and as he dragged his body around, he created valleys, lakes, and rivers in his wake. Eventually, after hauling and heaving himself across the continents for centuries, he was so exhausted that he crawled up a hill and stayed there forever, and seeing what he had done, he turned himself into a mountain so that to this day he admires his creation. Or that of his behind, actually. That makes him more of "Half the Man He Was Supposed to Be".
  • One Eskimo tale tells of a beautiful bride desired by two brothers. Unable to decide who should have her, they each grabbed her from an end and pulled, resulting in one having the upper torso and other the hips and below. Being clever artificers, they quickly carved out a wooden replacement for the missing half, thereby explaining why the women of one tribe were so clever with beadwork (having been descended from the woman with the living upper torso) while the other tribe excelled at dancing (having been descended from the woman with flesh legs).
  • Another story implies this. Two women came to King Solomon, each claiming that they were the mother of a particular baby. The king thought about it for a while, and then came to the decision that the baby should be cut in half. Naturally, the woman who protested was the real mother, and while the other woman didn't think half a child was fine, she simply said basically that if she couldn't have the child, at least the other woman wouldn't either.
  • Jewish tradition upholds that the prophet Isaiah met his end by being sawn in two, as one of the deaths of the heroes of faith in the Book of Hebrews.

  • In the Cool Kids Table game Creepy Town, Ethan gets cut in half with a chainsaw.

  • Dino Attack RPG: Poor Randal. Before he died, his lower half was disintegrated by Paulie Gonepus's Maelaser.
  • Happened to Rodolphus Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback on Honorable Hogwarts. They really don't like Canon characters there.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dorn Graybrook in the Forgotten Realms. A red dragon damaged boy's left side including biting off an arm and leg, after eating or incinerating most of the people Dorn knew including his parents. Then wizard made him new appendages and used half-golem as a gladiator until he grew up. Then Dorn got rid of the wizard and became a mercenary, seeking missions that involve dragon-slaying.
  • Long before "half-golem" became a standard template in 3E, the Ravenloft setting was home to Desmond LaRouche, an NPC from Nova Vaasa who'd lost one side of his body in a laboratory explosion, and had it replaced with a golem half.
  • Happens to too many people to list in Legend of the Five Rings. The CCG set "A Perfect Cut" refers to a specific Single-Stroke Battle that ended this way.
  • Occasionally depicted in Magic: The Gathering card art. Slice in Twain, Vengeance, and Burn the Impure are some examples.
    • As well, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, the guildmaster of the Azorius Senate on Ravnica (as of the original Ravnica set) is legless (and blind), floats around in his magically hovering throne, empowered to legislate utterly by the guildpact.
  • A lot of the Warhammer 40,000 backstory has this, usually about Space Marines. Particularly about World Eaters. And ESPECIALLY about Kharn the Betrayer, whose axe, Gorechild is stated as capable of splitting an armoured space marine from crown to crotch, or something along those lines. Also, the damage rules from 40k roleplay games mention that characters can lose legs from enemy attacks.
    Black Crusade rules: Losing both legs renders the character half the person he was, but the good news is he also becomes half the target.

  • Johnny Eck, a sideshow performer born without a pelvis, was billed as "Half-Boy" because his truncated body resembled this trope's outcome. At one point, he and his normal-looking twin brother worked with a magician to subvert the usual Saw a Woman in Half routine: his brother would "volunteer" to be bisected on stage, the magician would covertly switch the twins while pretending something had Gone Horribly Wrong with the trick, after which Johnny would run around the stage on his palms, shouting that he wanted his legs back.
  • Done in Macbeth where the titular character is reported to have sliced Macdonwald "from the nave to the chaps" right before the play begins. This is done to establish right away how bloodthirsty MacBeth is.
  • In Starship, Commander Up reveals that this had been done to him during the Robot Wars; however, he had been bisected "vertically! hot-dog style, not hamburger style" and the missing half replaced by robot parts.
  • Magic Goes Wrong: The benefactor of the show ends up being sawn in half for real after the Great Sophisticato and the Mind Mangler botch their "saw a woman in half" trick. She later turns up perfectly fine at the very end.


    Urban Legends 
  • Scotland's Meggernie Castle is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a woman, supposedly the wife of the castle's previous lord, who was bisected from the waist in an attempt to get rid of her corpse and now roams the castle in two halves. Her upper body usually loiters in the bedroom where she meets her end, while her lower body roams the courtyard, trying to locate her upper half to no avail.
  • The Teketeke is a Japanese ghost which used to be a schoolgirl who died after falling on a set of railroad tracks and subsequently having the lower half of her body crushed. She now roams the earth by crawling on her hands, carrying her upper body around. There is a film based on this very legend.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Yousei, Dr. Johansen's body is found cut in half by the bell that crushed him. This becomes even more horrific when Kangai's kansei reveals that Johansen was still alive when Naoki and Aaron found him and that, given the time frame for the murder, he had to have been alive for at least several minutes after getting crushed before he finally succumbed to blood loss.
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, this fate befalls your companion Ban if the Killer Peach is destroyed and seeks vengeance against Akira's friends — when Akira finds them a few days later, they've been split cleanly in half from skull to pelvis, each half of their body splayed out on the elevator floor.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: This is how Rosa kills Sakutaro. In the manga, it's portrayed as Off with His Head! instead.

    Web Animation 
  • This happens a lot in DEATH BATTLE!, often being the killing blow or a precursor to it:
    • The first time this happens is in "Zits vs. Leonardo", with Leonardo slicing Zits in two for the kill.
    • "Felicia vs. Taokaka" is similar: Felicia gets sliced in two by Taokaka.
    • Then there's "Thor vs. Raiden", where Raiden gets his lower half obliterated by Mjolnir. Thor then finishes him by hurling him into the sun.
    • "Shao Kahn vs. M. Bison" has Kahn literally ripping Bison in two.
    • "Terminator vs Robocop" has this happen. Specifically, Terminator gets his lower half blasted off. This doesn't end the fight right away, though Terminator does end up losing anyway.
    • "Tigerzord vs Gundam Epyon" ends this way — at least before the disembodied top half of the Mega Tigerzord explodes.
    • In "Kirby vs. Majin Buu", Kirby slices Buu in half with the Ultra Sword, but due to Buu's incredible regenerative abilities, this accomplishes nothing and he puts himself together right away.
      Majin Buu: Waaa! You hurt Buu! (reforms himself) Almost.
      Kirby: (facepalms)
    • In Beast vs. Goliath, the fight ends with Goliath tearing Beast in half.
    • In Cammy White vs. Sonya Blade, this is the ultimate fate of Cammy.
    • The vertical variety happens at the end of "Zoro vs. Erza" after a Single-Stroke Battle, with Erza on the receiving end.
    • The vertical variety also happens in Metal Sonic vs. Zero, with Zero bisecting Metal Overlord vertically.
    • In the ending of Sephiroth vs. Vergil, this is the ultimate fate of Vergil, who is sliced in two after Sephiroth's Super Nova overtaxes his healing factor.
    • In "Jiraiya vs. Master Roshi", this trope is combined with Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress. The result? Jiraiya getting punched in half by an unconscious Master Roshi.
    • "Ganondorf vs. Dracula" is another example. This time, after the Triforce of Power is overwhelmed, Dracula proceeds to quite literally tear a now-defenceless Ganondorf apart.
    • "Leonardo vs. Red Ranger Jason" ends this way, with a dash of Defeat Equals Explosion, from the latter's series. Specifically, after breaking the Odachi, Jason bisects Leo, who then explodes.
    • Then there's "Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Kakashi", which, similarly to "Zoro vs. Erza", ends with a Single-Stroke Battle. Kakashi's upper body then falls, courtesy of a clean cut from the Jedi's lightsaber.
    • Yet again for the "Excalibur v. Raiden"). After several minutes of trading off hits, it finally ends with Excalibur's supercharged Slash Dash cutting Raiden in half, after which he explodes.
  • Dreamscape: Happens twice in Episode 7. First is when Melinda turns into Ghost Melinda and slashes Keedran's serpentine body into pieces with her Sinister Scythe. This also doubles as Tongue Trauma, since she slices CHEN's tongue into pieces too. The second time is when she horizontally bisects Betty, but since she has a cybernetic lower-half, she feels no pain.
  • DSBT InsaniT: A Brainwashed and Crazy Amber horizontally bisects Killer with a gamma ray burst. He puts himself back together by Tele Fraging his two halves together!
    Killer: Hmm, honestly I wasn't sure that was going to work.
  • Happens a lot in Happy Tree Friends, most notably to The Mole in the "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" music video.
  • Homestar Runner: The Strong Bad Email "shapeshifter" has Strong Bad end up as Half the Man He Was Trying to Become — he tried to imagine himself with the power to "turn into almost anyone in the world" and that's exactly what happens: His attempt to become the King of Town makes him into almost the King of Town, namely the right half of him. Amusingly, the Cheat doesn't even notice until Strong Bad turns to the camera, revealing his missing left half. Then when Strong Bad tries to game this by turning into Bubs-from-the-waist-up (since he's always behind the counter of his concession stand), he, of course, turns into Bubs-from-the-waist-down instead.
  • I'm Anton!: Mitchell got split in half by a pole while leaning out the window in a moving train trying to get a selfie. However the Moroboshi hospital was able to reattach her two halves, making her whole again.
  • Happens often to unfortunate Mooks in Madness Combat, where any of our named heroes can effortlesly bisect a foe in a single swing of a sword. Though our heroes are not necessarily immune: Hank did once run afoul of a MAG Agent in the non-canonical Incident: 010A, who bisects him by the simple expedient of picking him up and pulling him in half at the waist, and more canonically died in Apotheosis by expedient of a bomb vest which he detonated when Jebus was about to execute him, blowing off Jebus' forehead and upper body, and leaving behind only the front half of Hank's body. Both Hank and Jesus got better.
  • RWBY:
    • This is the sad fate of Penny Polendina, who is split in half Frieza-style when Pyrrha Nikos uses her Semblance of magnetism to push back a perceived wave of hundreds of wired-controlled swords, leading to the (real) wires wrapping around Penny and ripping her in half.
    • Obviously happened to General Ironwood at some point since one side of his body is cybernetic. That he survived that long enough to become a cyborg says a lot.
  • In Shrapnel, Reznya tears a Ugandan Knuckles in two from head to toe, after he insults and spits on her after she helped to free him and the others.
  • In Empire of Socks, Gaeous gets cut in half vertically by Ceriazibus' long sharp tongue as he's about to attack Sock.

  • In the Final Battle of Earthsong, the fairy warrior Tengu is nearly bisected when she's hit by a single arrow due to her size. She requests that Nanashi allow her to die since she's awaiting execution back home and prefers to go out as a hero.
  • Girl Genius: The Lord High Conservator cuts one of the Smoke Knights that have infiltrated his ship in half.
  • Homestuck:
    • Feferi's dreamself got cut in half by Jack Noir shortly before the destruction of her session's Derse. Tavros' dreamself (on that session's Prospit, which fares no better) is soon afterward revealed to have been slaughtered in the same way.
    • When Kanaya returns as a rainbow drinker, she chainsaws Eridan, who originally killed her, in half.
    • Even before the death of his dreamself, Kanaya did Tavros the favor of chainsawing off his legs so that they could be replaced with robot prosthetics.
    • And as of Act 6 Intermission 3 this is the ultimate fate of Gamzee courtesy of an enraged Kanaya. In fact, this appears to be the only way to kill Gamzee, as during his appearance in Caliborn's Masterpiece, he ends up bisected again with no apparent explanation.
  • Jack: Happens in "One Way to Win" when half of Taylor's body is gruesomely forced out of the car by his kidnapped victim crashing into a tree.
  • Looking for Group:
    • Krunch does this to the dwarf that killed his father by grabbing each arm and pulling. There were Ludicrous Gibs, of course.
    • His brother, Ray'd, later took Richard up on an offer to use a dwarf as a substitute for a wishing bone. After the deed, Richard admitted that he wished for the opportunity to pull a dwarf in half.
  • Nebula: What happened to Ceres thanks to Sun swiping his hand clean through their torso.
  • Has happened to Nodwick many times, including once when Piffany goofed while duct-taping him back together and accidentally attached his legs backward.
  • In 1/0, Zadok suffered this twice, on both the top and bottom halves. Being a straw golem, however, he was able to be repaired each time.
  • Miko Miyazaki in The Order of the Stick somewhat ironically, as she kills a previous villain this way in one of her first appearances.
  • In Ow, my sanity, the Shoggoth cuts Nancy in half. She is annoyed.
  • Penny Arcade:
  • In Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi, this is how Monkey kills Battus.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Cindy is rendered "topless" in a most unpleasant way when one of the demon kittens slashes through her Made of Plasticine waist. This is actually one of the less gruesome deaths during the "KITTEN" Story Arc.
    • There was also a non-lethal version of this trope involving (who else?) Riff building a portal generator and multiple people getting stuck in them up to their waists.
  • Trevor (2020): This is Colin’s fate once Trevor gets ahold of him.
  • Unsounded:
    • One of Duane's assassins gets cut in half when he tries to chase Duane through a wall and Duane reinstates its solidity.
    • Jon gets killed when an errant spell on the battlefield cuts him in half at the waist.
    • Prakhuta used his newfound pymary to cut Delicieu in half. Vertically.
    • A wright tries to cast in a khert fire and gets torn in half in a ragged diagonal line starting with his hand splitting, and then following his arm through his body.
  • Vampire Cheerleaders: This is how Suki dies, during the "Adventures in Space... and Time?!" arc in vol.4, when she gets blown in half by a railgun. Though it's subverted, shortly after their next time jump when Suki recovers by feeding on Lorna Thurston.
  • In White Dark Life, the Head Maid was bisected in an unfortunate event where she escaped from the city and went back again.
  • Zomgan: In episode one, Mirae On slashes a Zomgan's body vertically in half with a large bone.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role:
    • From campaign 1: Grog's killing blow on Kevdak consists of him dropping down from the sky, bringing his axe down on Kevdak's neck, and bisecting him from neck to navel.
    • From campaign 2: When Jester gets the final blow on Lucien, Cognouza Incarnate, it's not enough to outright kill him, but it is enough to give Molly control over their shared body for a split second. Molly makes use of that time by literally tearing himself/Lucien in half with their bare hands, splitting them from the top of their head to midway down their torso. Surprisingly, this does not prevent the Nein from reviving him after.
  • Nightmare Time: Boy Jerry is killed via an axe swing that splits him in half, head to toe.
  • SuperMarioLogan: This is how Ken "dies" after falling from a high place in "BroKen!". Cue the "In Half!" Running Gag for the rest of the episode, and even after that.

    Real Life 
  • The medical procedure for amputating people at the waist is called Hemicorporectomy — literally, the removal of half of the body. Usually done for terminal cases of pelvic cancer. It's as unpleasant as it sounds; it involves the removal of the legs, the genitalia (internal and external), most of the urinary system, the large and small intestines, pelvic bones, anus, and rectum.
  • The medical term for this type of injury is "transection," and the standard example is a man who fell asleep on the railroad tracks. While survival is occasionally possible, most hospital ERs have standing "do not resuscitate" orders for patients who have been bisected in accidents.
  • One of the nastier methods of execution used in ancient China was the waist chop. When the Yongzhen Emperor heard of one victim of this method who lived long enough to write the character cǎn (慘, meaning "awful/cruel/horrible") seven times in his own blood, he had this method abolished immediately.
  • Described in horrific detail as happening to at least one Marine on Iwo Jima in the book of Flags of Our Fathers.
  • Formula One driver François Cévert, while attempting to qualify for the United States Grand Prix in 1973. He presumably overcompensated going through the track's famous Esses complex, losing control and crashing hard into the barrier at nearly 90 degrees, actually uprooting the barrier. Cevert's body was cut in half from his neck to just above his hip.
  • Elizabeth "Black Dahlia" Short suffered this at the hands of her demented, unknown Serial Killer.
  • The soldier in this anti-World War I cartoon.
  • A rare, but survivable birth defect in which a person is born without legs or pelvis can resemble this trope.
    • Johnny Eck (he appeared in the movie Freaks) was such a case — he also was in a circus routine where he was part of a gag "sawing a person in half" trick, which genuinely freaked out many viewers.
  • Ancient Japan allegedly had warriors (and weapons) who trained to do this in a single sword stroke, the diagonal variation that is.
    • According to Deadliest Warrior, a more or less common way to both test recently forged katana and quickly execute already condemned criminals was to have a samurai bisect the prisoner with a single diagonal cut.
  • A few shark attack victims were bitten in half.
  • Most microbes reproduce by fission (literally splitting in two once they get big enough)
  • During BattleBots' 2018 competition, the Icewave vs. Vanquish battle ended with Vanquish literally ripped in two after a particularly strong attack from Icewave: Its wedge, top, left two wheels, and the parts connected to them were separated from the rest of the robot. Jack Tweedy, captain of Vanquish's team, said that this was due to some weak welding he discovered later.
  • During a performance at the Takarazuka Revue Grand Theater in 1954, actress Hiromi Kazuki's costume was caught in the mechanics of the lift following the end of a scene and an upcoming quick change for the next scene. She was wearing an underskirt with a metal band about the waist, and when her costume became stuck she was unable to free herself. Her feet were dragged into the moving mechanism and the metal band cut into her torso, killing her.
  • Meet Kenny Easterday, a man who was amputated at the waist from 6 months of age due to a disability called sacral agenesis. Despite all odds, he lived to age 42 before passing away in 2016.
  • Another highly inspirational, heartwarming example with the story of Qian the Basketball Girl, a Chinese girl who lost the lower half of her body due to an accident at age 4, where her legs are replaced by a basketball. Against all odds, she continued living and grew up to become a champion swimmer.
  • Prince Igor I of Kiev was allegedly lynched note  by being tied to two trees bent to the ground, then ripped in half vertically.
  • Olympic skier Gernot Reinstadler was killed when one of his skis got caught in a safety net, pulling him in half note 

Alternative Title(s): Half The Woman She Used To Be


Ultra Slash

Ultraman's second most used move, and a pretty effective means of bisecting kaiju at that

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / RingsOfDeath

Media sources: