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Kung-Fu Sonic Boom

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Let's say we have two opponents facing off. Not just ordinary humans, but Differently Powered Individuals with freakish strength capable of cracking open the freaking Moon like an egg. They take off to the air and engage in a deadly demonstration of Air Jousting, bouncing off each other and occasionally engaging in Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs, and every impact seems to shatter the very air around them. Suddenly, one fighter manages to catch the other off guard and land one good punch on the other, causing a shockwave that shatters all the surrounding glass and blows away everything and everyone unfortunate enough to be within its radius, even parting the clouds above them.

Thanks to the advent of CGI, fight scenes like this one can now be 20% More Awesome, and even blast off into the Awesomesphere and beyond!

The Kung Fu Sonic Boom is a visual effect that serves to further emphasize just how strong a character is, accompanying especially powerful kinetic impacts like punches and kicks. Unlike its colorful, brighter, flashier cousin you'd see in more cartoonish works, it also serves to portray super-powered fights such as the above example more realistically, sometimes being potentially capable of inflicting collateral damage to surroundings. Anime in particular has its own distinct brand of Kung-Fu Sonic Booms; instead of the usual radial variant, it can also appear as a shockwave shooting out from behind a character like a shotgun blast, usually when said character happens to be the recipient of a super-powered punch, as if 70% percent of the punch's raw kinetic force just travelled through them and turned their bones and insides into smooth puree.

Often combined with Adrenaline Time by alternating between the shockwave rapidly expanding and brief pauses, creating an effect as if there were actually multiple shockwaves from the same blow with each one being bigger than the one before.

The Shockwave Clap is a weaponized version of this trope. Has nothing to do with Guile's signature move from Street Fighter, or Sonic Boom set in ancient China.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Big O does this all the time. Often the robots will send off a shockwave by merely moving their limbs. The Big O mecha itself weaponizes this trope, instead of leaving it as mere spectacle (or collateral). Those giant pistons in its elbows crash down when it punches something, forcing air through the holes in its cuffs and into the innards of the hapless recipient. Stuff Blows Up in short order. There was at least one occasion where it missed its target and ended up blasting a near-perfect hole through several skyscrapers.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the original Dragon Ball, Goku defeats Chi-Chi simply by punching the air in front of her, creating an air pressure strong enough to knock her out of the ring.
    • Dragon Ball Z does this a lot. From the Freeza saga onward, major fights would often include stretches of huge midair shockwaves with no other sign of the characters. Near the end of Goku's fight with Cell, the punches that missed were still shattering boulders feet away from them.
    • Exaggerated in Dragon Ball Super in the fight between Beerus and Goku, where their clashes produce shockwaves extending across interstellar distances.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Takako's Cursed Technique, Thin-Ice Breaker, has her "shatter" the air like a fragile layer of glass by striking it millimeters from her opponent with a two-hand thrust, creating a sonic boom that throws the target backwards hard enough to shatter buidings and concrete roads.
  • Naruto:
    • Rock Lee and Gai can do this when they open their chakra gates. Best shown in the Chunin Exams where Lee turns Gaara into his punching bag.
    • The Sixth Gate onwards weaponizes this, with a rapid punch attack that burns the air with friction and sends flames out in a spread, then with a tiger-shaped punch shockwave that rivals the Rasen-shuriken in destructive power, and then a series of 5 column-shaped shockwaves resembling an elephant's foot, powerful enough to dig a mile-deep tunnel in the earth, and then finally a dragon-shaped sonic boom kick infused with chakra and blood that travels so fast that it bends space.
    • Also when Sasuke and Naruto collide with their Chidori and Rasengan. The initial arm clash between the god-powered Naruto and Sasuke creates a disk shockwave that tears into the earth.
  • Luffy vs. Rob Lucci in One Piece, when both initiate a Punch Parry. The resulting shockwave is so powerful, it knocks both of them back to both sides of the room.
  • In Claymore, the repeated Kung-Fu Sonic Booms from two characters using Spam Attacks causes a nearby building to crumble.
  • Happens in Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu during the Daiya vs. Nouza fight. Given that they're both Humongous Mecha, there's a lot of landscape damage.
  • Many of the fights in Fairy Tail, especially between two Dragon Slayers, go this way quickly. Also appears in one of the openings - Natsu and Jellal fly at each other, impact, and the resulting explosion destroys the Etherion.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie2nd As uses this to show off the power of the new Catridge System, with the shock wave from the clash between Fate's Bardiche Assault and Signum's Laevatein shattering all the windows of the buildings around them.
  • Bleach:
    • An interesting version of this occurs during the final fight between Ichigo and Aizen. A parried sword strike from the latter levels a nearby mountain, which Aizen comments on, assuming his new One-Winged Angel form is just that strong. Turns out it was Ichigo's power that destroyed the mountain, not his.
    • In the anime, during the fight between Ichigo and Grimmjow, a part of the battle is shown from the perspective of Orihime and Nel. The two combatants are moving at such speeds that they appear almost invisible, with the only evidence of their clashes being shockwaves occurring all over the place in the air.
  • In Kill la Kill, several characters are strong enough to do this. The shock waves generated by Ryuko and Satsuki's sword clashes were strong enough to force all of the air out of the arena, causing a reverse Kung Fu Sonic Boom as it implosively rushed back; virtually destroying the arena in the process.
  • Every single fight, without exception, from the Sengoku Basara anime. It's that kind of series.
  • Saitama from One-Punch Man does this all the time, usually as less lethal method of taking out his enemies (although he was still capable of blowing a huge hole through a massive cliff merely with the shockwave of a pulled punch).
  • The first time we see All Might, the world's strongest hero from My Hero Academia fight an equally strong villain, this is the result. All Might tells his students to stand back, and their protests are quickly made irrelevant; the clash between the two opponents was so explosive that nobody could get close to them whether they wanted to or not.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, this is what makes the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu's ultimate technique, Amakakeru Ryū no Hirameki, such a dangerous technique. The blow is so swift that should the opponent be skilled enough to block, their blade clashing with the user's will blow all of the air around them away...which causes it to come rushing back in to fill the void, trapping the opponent for a follow-up strike.

    Comic Books 
  • Various bricks in Marvel and DC do this, especially against each other, often the shockwaves are powerful enough to destroy large portions of the surrounding area.
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • The Hulk has been known to do this deliberately to stun or deafen weak or evasive enemies, by slapping his own hands together.
    • More than once, the Hulk has collided with an enemy possessing a comparable level of strength with enough force to wreck surrounding buildings. Notable instances include him clashing with Iron Man (wearing a Hulkbuster suit) in mid-air, blowing out the windows in every building for blocks in the World War Hulk storyline and a fight against Red She-Hulk that was causing tremors for miles around.
    • Also from World War Hulk, Green Scar vs the Sentry. The impacts destroyed most of the surrounding buildings. And indeed, about half of Manhattan.
    • Perhaps the most glorious post-WWH example is in Immortal Hulk where the eponymous rage monster produces a Shockwave Clap so powerful it blows away his Archnemesis Dad and The One Below All.
  • Considerably less frequent than the Hulk, but the Thing has been known to use shockwave claps as well. Given their long-standing rivalry, he probably wouldn't admit to having copied that move from the Hulk. Ben even once took out Magneto with a Shockwave Clap.
  • The Sentry does this twice when fighting She-Ultron
  • A literally "kung fu" example; an issue of Iron Fist has the title character and his arch-nemesis, both supremely skilled martial artists, strike each other with chi enhanced flying kicks. The resulting shockwave demolishes the office building they're inside.
  • The climax of The Death of Superman arc is one of the most iconic uses of this trope: the Big Blue Boy Scout realizes he's literally on his last gasp and is praying that Doomsday is as well. Superman comes in a flying double axe handle, hitting Doomsday with an uppercut that could launch a space shuttle. The actual impact is a 2-page spread of a single panel, with numerous narration boxes talking about how some people remembered the sheer force of the impact creating a huge crater in the street, others how it shattered all the windows for blocks, or overturned cars and trucks. All of this was drawn in the most detail yet seen in a comic book. Truly a Dying Moment of Awesome, so much so that it was used in (obviously) Superman: Doomsday, as well as referenced in the Justice League cartoon.

    Fan Works 
  • Fates Collide: When Bazett Fraga McRemitz catches Yang Xiao Long's punch, the shockwave cracks the wall.
  • Lost to Dust:
    • Achilles' chariot crashing against Caenis' shield blows some of the buildings away.
    • Penny's fists crashing against Oryou's fists and Bradamante's shield makes explosions.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, it happens every time two Flying Bricks like Supergirl and Satan Girl battle.
    Grimly, Kara hurled herself forward. Her enemy was already within plain sight. <TearyoureyesoutandEATTHEM,> sent Satan Girl, not even conscious of her speech. <RipyouapartandseveryourINTESTINES.>
    <Shut up shut up SHUT UP,> snarled Kara, and smashed into her. It was like the collision of two starships, at the very least.
  • In Risk It All, Soul-Crushing Strike is always accompanied by a loud bang, regardless of whether or not Ren actually punched something. This emphasizes the bone-breaking force that accompanies it.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act II: To throw off her Superpower Meltdown, Kokoa attacks Tsukune's ghoul form with a Megaton Kick, the force of which blows apart the entire side of the house next to the group, turns the snow around them to steam, sends rocks and rubble flying, and knocks everybody flying.
  • Fate/Harem Antics: Saber and Berserker's swords clashing creates a shockwave that nearly knocks Shirou off his feet.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, when Mei headbutts Ming there is a visible white shockwave ring.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
    • Exaggerated near the end of the fight between Goku and Superman, as their final attack, a collision between Goku's Dragon Fist and Superman's Infinite Mass Punch causes a double-shockwave, destroying the planet in the process.
    • The first time the Incredible Hulk and Doomsday clash fists, it makes a shockwave that blows people off their feet. When they clash fists again after Hulk has upgraded to Worldbreaker Hulk, it makes an explosion visible from space.
    • When Balrog and TJ Combo clash fists, it cracks the boxing ring.
    • Sauron's and the Lich King's weapons clashing create minor shockwaves.note 

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: During the climactic battle of "All In", Anne and King Andrias collide their attacks with each other, letting loose a blast that disperses around the city.
  • Steven Universe: In "Steven the Sword-Fighter", the first time Pearl and Holo-Pearl clash blades, it cause a blast of wind that knocks Steven off his seat and messes up Garnet's hair.
  • Superman is known to let loose with one of these when he isn't holding back. Enhanced by computer effects in the Superman: Doomsday animated movie.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • Supergirl tries this against Amazo when the android is returning to Earth, creating a shock wave that is most likely visible for a hundred miles. It doesn't work. Then again, neither does anything else.
    • In the first of Doomsday's two appearances, he fights Justice Lord Superman and the two of them recreate the "punching each other out" scene from the comics. The shockwave breaks the windows of every building around them and almost knocks a helicopter out of the air.
    • Superman and Captain Marvel square off in an empty city. Their first punch shatters most of the town. Naturally, Lex Luthor videotapes all of it.
    • Taken a step further by Flash. Think punches look awesome at Mach 1? Wait 'til you see them at light speed.
    • Wade Eiling, having transformed into the show's "Shaggy Man" equivalent, does this while fighting S.T.R.I.P.E. Green Arrow has to duck under an awning to avoid all the broken glass.
    • The Grand Finale shows that this is the perfect way to cap off a "No More Holding Back" Speech when Superman punches Darkseid.
  • Bulkhead and Breakdown also achieve a shockwave when their melee weapons collide in Transformers: Prime. Later on, Hardshell achieves this just by hitting Wheeljack hard enough.
  • In Castlevania, Dracula sends his son Alucard flying with a shockwave strike that makes a dust cloud, then both Dracula and Alucard have a mid-air fight with plenty of shockwaves that are strong enough to break the castle around them.
  • Young Justice:
    • Wonder Girl does this in her first appearance. She punches Lobo in the gut hard enough to break every window of the room they're in. Lobo is... amused.
    • In "Humanity", when Red Volcano catches Superboy's punch, the impact creates a small shockwave.
  • Hilariously used in The Simpsons, where Bart lines up a whole bunch of megaphones and turns them on. As soon as he speaks into one, it creates an expanding shockwave of doom.

    Real Life 
  • Several species of mantis and pistol shrimp can actually throw a punch so fast that it breaks the sound barrier, creating a shockwave that stuns their prey before they eat it.
  • Bullwhips are another example; the famous crack is actually a miniature sonic boom caused by the tip reaching supersonic speed. As one might expect, the impact hurts. Scale this up and you get the tails of certain particularly huge sauropods, which are theorized to have been able to break the sound barrier. The resulting boom, as demonstrated with a robotic replica of the tail, would've been as loud as a naval gun—and the physical impact of that thing could presumably tear you in half.


Video Example(s):


Nartuo Kung-Fu Sonic Boom

Naruto and Toneri fighting in 'The Last: Naruto the Movie'<br>

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Example of:

Main / KungFuSonicBoom

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