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Mutual Kill

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Superman and his opponent both meet their Doomsday...For a while, anyway.

"Now, I don't know who is more metal. The guy who stabbed a man in the face with a three-foot-long sword. Or the guy who was stabbed in the face kept walking forward, and still managed to stab the other guy in the chest with three feet of steel jutting out his skull."
The Dark Id's Let's Play of Resident Evil

Two characters commit fatal damage against each other in the same confrontation.

Particularly heart-tugging when it appears the hero has won, it's over... and then they slowly drop to their knees, blood trickling from the side of their mouth. Expect a Big "NO!" from the Neutral Female and plenty of protests that "he'll be fine, we can get him to a doctor."

Can happen as a result of the Single-Stroke Battle, where both swordsmen inflict a mortal blow on each other, but, usually, one dies instantly, while the other has a moment to philosophically reflect on their demise. It also happens with some Western showdowns, where two gunslingers fatally shoot each other at the same time.

This is sometimes Truth in Television, with "ai uchi" (mutual killing – hence the trope name) being a common outcome of samurai duels. Potentially any duel where weapon inertia or lag can compensate for attack lag can have "mutual killing" as a normal outcome. It's not unusual either for one party to lethally wound another, only for them to return the favor very quickly before they die (or for both parties to pretty much strike or shoot each other at basically the same time). Quite a few shoot outs and sword duels ended up as blood baths this way. If you're so "lucky" as to be the better combatant, in this case, it may only mean your lethal wound is slighter and you die a slower and more prolonged death. In stories, this is sometimes used for the "winning" character to talk to loved ones or to have a touching character defining moment.


Compare Double Knockout, where both combatants inflict critical but non-lethal damage on each other. Similar to, though not quite the same as, Taking You with Me, where one combatant orchestrates both of the killing blows. This is a common, albeit far from guaranteed, result of Deliberate Injury Gambit. When it happens during a Mexican Standoff, it's a Blast Out. If damage is fatal but does not prevent immediate retaliation, result may be the same (this includes Time-Delayed Death and Incendiary Exponent). Could also be from a Self-Destructive Charge or Poisoned Weapons. May involve a Last Breath Bullet from one of the combatants.


As a Death Trope, several if not all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Basilisk:
    • The anime opens with Kouga Danjo and Ogen of the Iga, the grandparents of the Star-Crossed Lovers Kouga Gennosuke and Iga-no-Oboro, performing one. Danjo, suspecting that she's not playing fair in the contest between Igas and Kougas, stabs her with a needle in the back of her throat; however, she pulls the needle out and stabs him fatally, avenging herself. Then she sadly recalls their shared Dark and Troubled Past note  and sheds tears as she dies next to him.
    • At the end, Gennosuke and Oboro are pit against each other by Lady Ofuku and Hattori Hanzo the Fourth, as a final resolution of the Kouga-Iga conflict. Gennosuke wants to do this but Oboro doesn't want to play by anyone's rules any longer, so she commits seppuku by stabbing herself. Gennosuke also stabs himself to death, however, so the resolution really isn't that far off from an example.
  • Code Geass:
  • Cowboy Bebop:
  • Digimon Adventure: MetalEtemon directs a lethal energy blast at Mimi, but SaberLeomon takes the hit and is mortally wounded. However, he survives long enough to impale MetalEtemon with his claw (as a result of Zudomon denting him with his hammer in between the two events), finishing him off for good.
  • Played straight and averted in Dragon Ball, with Mutaito sealing away King Piccolo at the cost of his life. Muten Roshi tried the same thing years later, but couldn't pull it off and died for nothing. King Piccolo and Goku's second fight would have ended this way, but Yajirobe was there to save Goku at the last second. Ditto for Goku's third fight with Piccolo/first fight with Piccolo Jr. Both would have died if not for the side characters standing on the sidelines with senzus.
  • How Yuki and Mononobe die at the end of the final Eden of the East movie. Protip: if you're going to be running gun-toting maniacs over with your car, you might want to invest in a bulletproof windshield.
  • Inuyasha starts out with Inuyasha fatally wounding his girlfriend Kikyou, and her sealing him by shooting and pinning him to a tree with her sacred arrows. It's later revealed that the one who truly injured Kikyou was her Stalker with a Crush Naraku, who intended for her to fully pull the trope on Inuyasha so he would have the Shikon Jewel and tear them apart.
  • In Naruto
    • When discussing whether or not to attack Naruto while he is under Jiraya's protection, Itachi discusses this trope with Kisame. According to Itachi, a mutual kill is the best the two of them could hope for if they were to challenge Jiraya. When they come into confrontation with him anyway, they decide to flee rather than attempt to defeat him.
    • The second Mizukage and Muu, the second Tsuchikage, had a long-standing grudge which led to them killing each other in a final battle. After Kabuto resurrects both of them with the impure world resurrection, Mu reminds the Mizukage of this fact, much to the latter's displeasure.
  • In the fourth arc of Umineko: When They Cry, Battler proposes a version of this to explain Kumasawa's, Genji's, and Nanjo's first arc murders. Lambda refutes this during her tea party with Bern.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyouko sacrifices herself to Mercy Kill Sayaka after the later falls to The Corruption. This also apparently happens to Madoka in the previous timelines, when she's the only magical girl left to fight Walpurgisnacht. Only the aftermath of the battle is ever shown, with her either dead or becoming a witch, and the super-witch seemingly destroyed.
  • The backstory of Record of Lodoss War involves this: both broadly with the Gods of light and darkness and specifically with the last two standing: Marfa and Kardis. The effects of their final clash (which neither survived) cracked the continent of Alecrast and gave birth to the island of Lodoss.
  • In the third season of the first anime of Sailor Moon, the Sailor Guardians trick Cyprine and Ptilol of the Witches 5 into doing this to each other via Sailor Mercury filling the air with fog, which she can see through with her digital visor, and then getting the twins into the perfect positions to blast each other while she evades them.
    • In the first season's Grand Finale, this takes place thrice. Jupiter unleashes all her lightning energy to kill two of the Doom and Gloom Girls, Venus applies her Crescent Beam directly to the forehead of one of them before succumbing to the injuries the other inflicted on her, and Mars uses her last Fire Soul to kill the last D&G girl standing before she can kill Moon. (And the Senshi ultimately are revived thanks to Usagi's last wish on the Silver Crystal.)
  • Subverted in the final battle of Samurai Champloo. Jin's sword teacher Mariya Enshirou once taught him that there's only one way that he could defeat a far superior swordsman, if it were absolutely necessary and he was willing to die: deliberately let the opponent thrust him through the body, thus trapping their blade, and strike the opponent down with his last breath. Remarkably, Jin uses this to defeat Kariya Kagetoki in the final showdown and survives afterwards. Even more amusingly, the only thing he does after the recovery is leaving the group on friendly terms. Originally, Jin was supposed to die. Then Shinichiro Watanabe chickened out.
  • Semelparous: Invoked by the mures in chapter 14 against Youko: they create a human-type kaiju out of her own Doppelgänger, meaning that as long as at least one of them is in the Void Between the Worlds, if one dies, the other dies too. They end up running each other through... which sends Youko's girlfriend Yorino on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Overlaps with My Name Is Inigo Montoya in the case with Kamina of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Thymilph deals him mortal wounds, but he decides not to die for long enough to obliterate an army (inventing a new Finishing Move on the spot), spitting out Arc Words like they were tobacco all the while. Then he basically tells his friends, "I have to go now," and finally goes out with a smile.
  • Wolfwood and his former mentor in the Trigun anime. The good guy survives long enough to get to a church and decide to NOT light up one last cigarette (honoring a request made earlier by an unrealized love-interest that he stop smoking), instead tearfully telling God that he doesn't want to die, and then dies on his knees.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, whenever two monsters with the same attack points battle, they destroy each other. The effects can be really spectacular if, say, both monsters are Egyptian God Cards.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Hiei deliberately invokes this during his fight with Shigure. Feeling that there's nothing left for him to do, he does a complicated maneuver that, for some reason, requires him to cut off his arm, and he gets a deep slash across the gut and cuts off the top half of Shigure's head. As he collapses, he notes that simultaneous death is the highest honor one warrior can give another. Subverted as, thanks to their demon physiology and medical technology, both survive.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Lord Parsifal and Baron Greldinard of Moork both deliver each other a killing blow during a major battle between the Empire of Lynn and the Black Moon. However, both are later revived by the forces of light and darkness, respectively.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) issue 19 has Kwinn and Dr. Venom kill each other. Kwinn comes to Dr. Venom for revenge while threatening to shove a grenade down his throat. After an exchange of words, Kwinn changes his mind and turns his back on Dr. Venom. His former target then takes the opportunity to shoot him in the back. After Kwinn dies, he drops the grenade which blows Dr. Venom up.
  • In Grendel, Argent and Christine Spar. Argent nearly had this with Hunter Rose, earlier, but survived with a broken back.
  • Identity Crisis: It happens with the third Robin's father Jack Drake and Captain Boomerang. Boomerang would return. (No pun intended)
  • In Judgment Day (Marvel Comics), the mutant Exodus (fighting alongside the X-Men) and the Eternal Syne both die in the huge explosion that ends their duel. Each has their own form of Resurrective Immortality, so they swiftly come back - Syne remembers the battle, whereas Exodus relies on an older backup of his mind and has no memory of Syne or how he died.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Roam strikes down Agahnim in his returned appearance in the Dark World, but at the cost of his own life. This also causes Ganon to manifest before Link and Zelda.
  • The Northlanders story "The Viking Art of Single Combat" is a tale where two feuding clans, fresh from one committing yet an other atrocity against the other in an endless Cycle of Revenge, have decided to hold a Combat by Champion because both sides have lost too many men fighting against each other to be able to field more than a ragged raiding band or two. Neither side expects the fight to settle anything, but both hope that it'll at least satisfy honor for awhile and let them both recoup and lick their metaphorical wounds a bit. As dictated by grim irony, it ends in a mutual kill when when Egil manages to mortally wound his opponent Snorri, but then arrogantly drops his guard, which allows Snorri to kill him before dying immediately afterwards.
  • In the Old Man Logan series, Logan decapitates the Maestro (a future corrupt Bruce Banner/Hulk) however Logan's compromised healing factor gives out and he dies from the injuries he suffers a few seconds later. Ultimately subverted as the X-Men are able to find Logan and give him sufficient medical treatment that he recovers this time, but it's made clear that his injuries have become so serious that he will die for good within a year.
  • In the penultimate issue of The Punisher MAX (2012) #22, both Frank Castle and Wilson Fisk mortally wound each other, though both keep going for a horrifyingly long timenote .
  • Superman:
    • The Death of Superman: Superman and Doomsday punch each other to death. They both got better.
    • Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?:
      • During Lois Lane's exposition opening about what things were like during Superman's final days, she mentions that the Parasite and Terra-Man killed each other in a massive fallout.
      • Later, Krypto attacks Kryptonite Man, who screams that Krypto will die if he continues to attack him. Krypto doesn't care, however, and rips out Kryptonite Man's throat before finally keeling over from fatal Kryptonite poisoning.
    • The Death of Lightning Lad: At the same time that Lightning Lad's bolts destroy Zaryan and his flagship, the Legionnaire is hit by a freezing ray shot by the alien conqueror's wrecked ship.
  • Ultimatum: Wolverine probably knew Magneto wouldn't let him live after impaling him with his claws. Even after Erik blasts off most of his flesh, Logan still has it in him to thrust his other arm into his chest. Had The Ultimates not shown up when they did and finished the job themselves (and with no Xavier around to try and save him again), Magneto would have likely bled out before he could reach safety.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): When Circe brainwashes Superman into attacking New York Wonder Woman, Barbara Gordon and Wonder Girl all realize Diana and Clark will kill each other in the ensuing fight if they don't find a way to snap Clark out of it. Luckily Diana is able to recover her lasso and snag him in it undoing the brainwashing before they do too much damage to each other.
    • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Diana tells Jason of a legend in which a woman and a man fought each other and were evenly matched so even as they grew to respect one another their fight ended in both of their deaths, after which the Olympians placed them in the sky as stars.

    Fan Works 
  • In A New World, this is the result of the fight between Sakuya and Youmu.
  • Cheating Death: Those That Lived:
    • Logger's erstwhile allies and last two opponents, the female Career tributes from Districts 1 and 2, stab each other through the heart as they fight while Logger lies wounded nearby.
    • During the 75th Hunger Games, Skinner Alceto and the mutt known as "The Beast" kill each other.
  • The Equestrian Wind Mage: During the Battle of the Crystal Empire in Season 3, Onox fatally burns Shining Armor, who manages to stab Onox through the heart before succumbing.
  • In An Empire of Ice and Fire, Randyll Tarly goes out during the Battle of Highgarden by charging a giant, who doesn't see him coming until it's too late. Thus, Randyll actually manage to stab the giant through the heart seconds before he smacks Randyll hard enough to rupture all his organs, fatally wounding him.
  • The Seven Misfortunes of Lady Fortune has Alain Dupree mortally wounding Liu Jin, and getting a Last Breath Bullet in return.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: The climax of the Twenty Gyarados Bill Gaiden sidestory ends with a Hyper Beam collission between the titular villain's Mega Gyarados and the Mega Ampharos belonging to Elite Four member Denki Tekina. The resulting explosion sends them both flying, killing Denki and Ampharos and leaving Bill and his Gyarados fatally wounded, surviving just long enough to give a Dying Smirk.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! fic "YU-GI-OH! 8th millennium item", Tea's duel against the Red Eyes Queen- a duellist whose deck focuses on the Red-Eyes Black Dragon card- as part of the Duelist Kingdom ends when Tea and Red Eyes Queen use a card combo in their duel that ends with their respective monsters destroying each other at the same time, depleting their remaining life points.
  • Earth's Alien History: In the Bad Future that Katie comes from, Vin fatally electrocutes Darth Vader, only for him to use the last of his strength to Neck Snap her.
  • In The Mad Scrapper, Diesel 10’s sister Daniella loses her mind and massacres several other engines, including Sidney, Paxton, Percy, and Diesel. Diesel 10 confronts his now murderous sister on the Sodor Suspension Bridge, and they both use their claws against each other. The fight ends with Daniella being knocked off the bridge to her death by her brother, but by then, she had already fatally damaged him.
  • Chasing Dragons: Arthur Dayne and Ned Stark do this during the Second Battle of Ghoyan Drohe. Ned forces Arthur into a river during their duel and then forces him under the water to drown him, but as he's doing this, Arthur reaches up to fatally stab him with his last breath.

    Films — Animation 
  • Technically happened in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children: when Cloud defeats Sephiroth, and Kadaj and Cloud make amends before he magically dissipates into thin air, Loz and Yazoo reappear to deliver a mortal gunshot to Cloud. The three explode in a cloud of Mako energy.
  • The Flight of Dragons has Sir Orrin Neville-Smythe being bombarded with fire by Bryagh, with zero protection save for his full plate armor. Throwing his sword, he manages to penetrate Bryagh's bellyscales, forcing him to keel over from the sudden explosion of fire within him, and Sir Orrin himself succumbs immediately afterward.
  • Averted in My Little Pony: The Movie. The Storm King throws an obsidian orb at the Mane 6 in an attempt to turn them to stone, but his former servant, Tempest, takes the hit for them, in close enough proximity to the Storm King that he is petrified along with her. While the Storm King falls and shatters, the Mane 6 save Tempest from the same fate and restore her.
  • The Disney Villain Death in The Secret of NIMH.
  • Optimus Prime and Megatron in Transformers: The Movie. Prime died of his wounds, and Megatron was chucked out the airlock in a shockingly Genre Blind move by Starscream before he could die of his, which results in Unicron rebuilding him into Galvatron and allowing him to come back to settle the score.
  • Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans: Nari, once freed of the Mind Control the rest of the Arcane Order were using for force her to participate in their plan, drives the Earth Titan she's commanding up against Skrael's Ice Titan, eventually managing to consume him and his titan in plant matter even as her titan and herself are frozen and shattered by his ice.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The 6th Day, Adam Gibson tricks one of Drucker's mooks into shooting Drucker. A couple of minutes later, Drucker shoots the mook and instructs his remaining mooks not to clone him because he was an idiot.
  • At the end of 300 the Spartan captain gets speared by a Persian footman and a pair of Immortals. He cuts down the Immortals, then grabs the spear's shaft, pulls it further in order to draw the spearman closer and plunges his sword into the poor schmuck.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Clark and Doomsday kill each other, just like in the comics, although it's more of a deliberate Heroic Sacrifice on Clark's part here, charging Doomsday with a Kryptonite spear, impaling the monster with it even as Doomsday impales him through the chest with one of its Spikes of Villainy.
  • Dead Man: Nobody and Cole Wilson.
  • The wuxia Death Valley has both a subversion and a straight example.
    • When the hero, Yu-Long, and his supposed rival, Jin-Fu, are engaged in a Duel to the Death, they suddenly realized several enemy mooks surrounding them, ready to finish off the survivor, under the villainess Chien-Ying's instructions. So they instead pretend to thrush their swords into each other's guts and keel over, Playing Possum... and as soon as the mooks come over to investigate, Yu-Long and Jin-Fu quickly leap to their feet and starts taking names.
    • A straighter example in the climax: Jin-Fu, confronting Chien-Ying, gets stabbed by her poisonous dagger. He managed to fling a poisoned disc into her arm as she leaves... when Yu-Long arrives, he finds Jin-Fu dead, and quickly heads out to hunt down Chien-Ying... only to find her rotting corpse in a valley.
  • A man fighting alongside Jackie in Drunken Master II manages to dispatch many mooks with an axe in his back.
  • The end of kung fu film Duel to the Death, which centers around a sword fighting contest between the best swordsmen of China and Japan, strongly implies that both men will die of their wounds and nothing good came of them fighting. Japanese fighter Hashimoto has composed himself to essentially Face Death with Dignity and without showing weakness to his enemy, and Ching Wan has suffered a number of very serious and horrific wounds, (deep stab in the chest, most of his fingers on one hand cut off from attempting a desperate Barehanded Blade Block, other arm cut off entirely) so, even though he ends the movie trying to walk away from the scene of their last confrontation, it's almost certainly so he can go and die in peace away from the site of their conflict.
  • Dune (1984): The outcome of Gurney and Paul's duel, had they been fighting for real:
    Gurney: Good... the slow blade penetrates the shield... but look down.
  • During the climax of Exorcist: The Beginning Merrin's native guide manages to shoot an angry tribesman at exactly the same time the tribesman throws his spear.
  • The Fastest Gun Alive: Subverted. The townspeople tell the sheriff's posse that George and Harold killed each other, showing graves that they dug for both men, but it's quickly revealed that George survived the fight and the deception is meant to keep more reputation-hunting gunmen from looking for the man who killed Vinnie Harold.
  • Downplayed at the end of Fearless (2006), where Jet Li's character could have created a near simultaneous death of he and his opponent by delivering a fatal blow, but instead only made the motions without delivering lethal force behind the strike.
  • While not a kill, given who the characters are, the spirit of the trope is invoked in Freddy vs. Jason. After Jason runs Freddy through with his own severed arm, Freddy sneers and sinks Jason's machete into his body.
  • Towards the end of the shootout that forms the climax of Gangster Squad, Kennard takes a fatal gunshot from Karl Lockwood. With Navidad's help, he manages to line up a shot on Karl and take him out before succumbing to his wounds.
  • Commodus and Maximus in Gladiator. Commodus stabbed Maximus in the back before their fight to weaken him so he can kill him in the arena... but it didn't weaken Maximus enough, as Maximus kills him before keeling over himself.
  • Godzilla (2014): After the film's climactic battle, wherein Godzilla has killed the two MUTOs, he collapses as well, seemingly from both his own wounds and exhaustion. Then it turns out he's Not Quite Dead.
  • At the end of The Grey, Liam Neeson's character is the last one left after the wolves and the Alaskan environment kill off all the other plane crash survivors one-by-one. He finds himself in the middle of the wolves' den (which he thought he was walking away from all this time). In a Bolivian Army Ending, he grabs a knife, tapes broken bottle shards to his fist, and rushes the alpha wolf, who rushes him. The Stinger reveals that they killed each other.
  • The bar scene from Inglourious Basterds, which is this and a Dying Moment of Awesome for practically everyone in the room. And of course the mutual kill between Fredrick and Shosanna in the final part of the film. Doubles as a Tear Jerker, as it's deliberately shot as such and underlined by tear-jerking music.
  • Robin Williams and Al Pacino's characters at the end of Insomnia.
  • This is the Evil Plan behind The Internecine Project (1974), where the villain arranges to have four associates who know too much about him kill each other off (though not at the same time). everyone dies by the end because one of the victims was suspicious and arranges for the villain to be sent a poisoned message in the event of his death.
  • Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and its sequels play with this trope like it's their favorite toy:
    • The first one plays this the straightest and most subdued, Mega Shark and the Giant Octopus battle each other until eventually they just stop moving and sink to the bottom of the sea.
    • Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus zigzags this as their deaths aren't presented as them succumbing to wounds they've inflicted on each other, but rather the two monsters being so caught up in their fight that they don't notice the undersea volcano erupting beneath them.
    • Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark plays with it in that it's closer to Taking You with Me and in that the Mecha Shark isn't technically alive, but rather a manned submarine in the shape of a shark with an AI copilot; after The Mega Shark sinks the Mecha Shark, the surviving crew set the Mecha Shark to self destruct, with the explosion going off right as the Mega Shark comes in for the kill.
    • Mega Shark vs. Kolossus plays this similarly to vs. Mecha Shark, with the primary differences being that instead of a self destruct system the Kolossos' power core is overloading and the Kolossus has its own volition; at the climax the Kolossus pulls the Mega Shark beneath the waves and clamps his arms and legs around it until he explodes.
  • The Northman ends with Amleth finally managing to kill Fjölnr by decapitation, but not before he stabs Amleth in the chest, also killing him, though more slowly.
  • Hanzo and one of the Predators in Predators. It's pretty awesome. Also Nikolai, though in this case it was more Taking You with Me.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Seso can throw any blade with surgical precision. He faces off against a Hashanshin firing bolts out of a wrist-mounted automatic crossbow. Seso has one blade left, so he jumps out of the column, runs, aims and throws it, while the Hashanshin is firing bolts at him. The blade flies true and kills the bad guy. Then Seso looks down and sees bolts embedded in his chest. He manages to throw the Dagger of Time off the tower before dying. Luckily, the Reset Button is pushed.
  • Boyd and Ives fight to the mutual death in the climax of Ravenous (1999).
  • Reservoir Dogs has a four-man mutual kill at its climax (or three, as one didn't shoot and was already dying).
  • Near the end of Resident Evil: Retribution Barry, after Jill threatens to kill a prisoner, walks out from cover and is shot by One. His revolver flies into the air and he falls down, seeming dead. A second later, he raises himself up, grabs his revolver before it hits the ground, and kills One. He's smiling as he is shot (again) and (really) killed.
  • In Smokin' Aces, FBI Agent Carruthers and hitman Pascale Acosta shoot each other to death in an elevator when the agent realizes the hitman's identity. It's hinted at the end that the hitman survived, though.
  • In The Spy Who Loved Me, James Bond stops Stromberg's stolen nuclear submarines from starting WWIII by programming them to fire their missiles at each other.
  • In Star Trek: Generations, the battle between the Enterprise and a Klingon bird-of-prey results in the destruction of both ships, although the crew of the Enterprise survives.
  • Star Wars:
  • Sweetwater: Josiah and Jackson manage to shoot each other dead simultaneously near the end of the film.
  • Soul of the Sword, a martial arts movie, ends with the hero - having earned the long-coveted title, "The King of Swords" at the cost of sacrificing everything dear to him facing his last challenger. They ultimately kills each other in the ensuing duel.
  • Universal Soldier (1992): The beginning of the film sees two American soldiers in Vietnam killing each other over the war crimes of one of them before they're both frozen and later revived as brainwashed supersoldiers.
  • V for Vendetta: V manages to kill Creedy before succumbing to bullet wounds. It was Creedy's mooks who shot him, but it's this trope in spirit.
    V: The only thing you and I have in common is that we are both about to die.
  • Warcraft (2016): Draka and the orc trying to kill her son end up killing each other at almost the same second — Draka dies by a sword to the stomach and the orc by having his throat torn out.

  • In the backstory of the Lone Wolf series, this was the issue of the confrontation between King Ulnar I, armed with the Sommerswerd, and Darklord Vashna: neither survived the fight.

  • Babylon 5: In The Passing of the Techno-Mages, Galen's parents kill each other. Prior to that, his mother gave a ring to his father as a gift, which was a trap that electrocuted the guy. While he was convulsing, though, he managed to hurl several fireballs at her.
  • Behind the Sandrat Hoax: Two FDA agents sent to enforce the ban on selling Sandrats shoot each other dead, apparently due to a debate about the morality of what they're doing.
  • Beowulf: Beowulf and the dragon perish in the act of defeating each other, although Beowulf had Wiglaf's assistance.
  • The Builders has Brontë and Cinnabar, who shoot each other to death, Elf and the Quaker, who fall to their death, and Bonsoir and Puss, who are blown up offscreen with a stick of dynamite.
  • The Canterbury Tales: In "The Pardoner's Tale", two guys kill one, then drink the drink he'd poisoned before being killed.
  • Stephen King has used this more than once:
    • Carrie: Margaret stabs Carrie and Carrie strikes back, telekinetically giving her mother cardiac arrest. Carrie survives after this exchange long enough to cause Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan to have a fatal car crash before the combination of shock, blood loss from the knife wound, and overstraining her body finishes her. The movie version has Carrie telekinetically crucifying Margaret in a doorway with assorted kitchen implements after Margaret stabs her. Carrie is then finished off by the burning, collapsing house.
    • Several instances in Needful Things, such as Nettie and Wilma's streetcorner knife fight.
  • The Edge Chronicles: At the end of Vox, a Shrike and a Goblin kill each other at the same time. A particularly minor example, but an example nonetheless.
  • Gor: Mentioned in a Backstory anecdote from Priest-Kings of Gor. Two men from different cities went on The Quest and were to each other as brothers. After the quest was over they returned to their cities; the cities later went to war with each other and the two men killed each other on the field of battle.
  • Gotrek & Felix: In Daemonslayer, while exploring Karag Dum, Gotrek and Felix come across the skeletons of two Chaos warriors impaled on each other's blades, having died to simultaneous strikes during battle.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: During the climax, Harry shoves the Sword of Gryffindor into the Basilisk's mouth as the basilisk sinks one of its venomous fangs into Harry's shoulder. Thankfully subverted for Harry, though, as Fawkes the Phoenix uses healing tears to save Harry.
  • Honor Harrington: In War of Honor, a Manticoran cruiser and an Andermani cruiser end up opening fire on each other during a period of particularly high tension between the two nations. Later investigation shows that the Manticoran warship actually had the Andermani ship handily outmatched, but suffered a lucky hit that left her crippled. Both ships ended up destroying each other with their missile salvos.
  • Horatio Hornblower:
    • Two minor characters died this way during a sea battle, one impaling the other on a sword and getting decapitated in turn. It was referred to as a "two widows' blow".
    • Horatio destroys or cripples three French ships at the cost of the Sutherland at the end of Ship of the Line.
  • I Am Mordred: Mordred and Arthur go out this way.
  • Iron Druid Chronicles: Thor manages to smash Leif's head in with his hammer but not before Leif cut him with a magical sword that kills anyone it wounds.
  • Jaws: In a Shout-Out to Moby Dick, Quint stabs the shark with a harpoon but gets tangled in rope and yanked overboard, drowning before the shark bleeds out trying to kill Brody.
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: The "pulling yourself up the sword that's impaling you to kill its wielder" version is pulled off by the Norns defending Naglimund.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: In the conclusion, Vin realizes that the power of Preservation, which she now wields, is perfectly balanced by the power of Ruin. Since humans were created with both Ruin and Preservation, Vin is able to destroy something to protect other things, and she fully melds the power of Preservation with that of Ruin, killing both of them.
  • Moby-Dick: In the climax, Ahab spears Moby-Dick, fulfilling his quest of vengeance once and for all, but in its death throes it drags him into the sea, and it rams the Pequod, sinking it.
  • Old Mortality: After being shot Burley drags the soldier who shot him into the river and they both drown.
  • Redwall: The series has quite a few examples of this, both hero-vs-villain and villain-vs-villain:
    • Urthstripe the Strong and Ferahgo the Assassin both die when Urthstripe leaps from the top of Salamandastron mountain, clutching Ferahgo in a death grip.
    • Luke the Warrior crashes Vilu Daskar's pirate ship into a massive rock outcrop, slaying them both.
    • The mad hare Cuthbert Blanedale Frunk perishes in battle against the monstrous Slothunog, but not before killing the beast as well.
    • The mutinous fox Rasconza and the trident-rat captain Sagitar mortally wounded each other in the space of seconds.
    • King Sarengo slays the adder Berussca while dying from the latter's venom yet still using his teeth and claws until the bitter end]].
  • Renegades: At the end of the first book, Ingrid and Nova intend to fake this in order to throw the Renegades off the trail. It works... for one of them, at least, as Ingrid tried to actually kill Nova and Nova had to put her down.
  • The Saga of the Faroe Islanders:
    • In the ambush laid by Hafgrim for Brestir and Beinir, Hafgrim runs Brestir through with a spear but is himself killed by a sword-blow of the dying Brestir.
    • When Thrand and his party attack Sigmund's farm on Skufoy, Eldjarn Cresthood is the first to reach the top of the cliffs and engage Sigmund's watchman. In fighting, they topple over the cliffside and both fall to their death.
  • The Saga of the People of Vatnsdal: Svart has gained the trust of Gudbrand, but is only waiting for an opportunity to kill him. When Gudbrand's horse gets stuck in a swamp, Svart suddenly pierces him with a spear. Gudbrand manages to draw his sword and hit Svart in the midriff. Both die from their wounds.
  • The Saga of the Noble Dead: The elves Sgaile and Hkuan'duv kill each other in a fight at the end of Child of a Dead God.
  • The Second Jungle Book: In "The King's Ankus", several people kill each other to possess the jewelled relic of the title, finishing with a group of men who kill the previous owner, not realizing that he's already poisoned their food.
  • Seekers of the Sky: In Cold Shores, the Church of the Sister sends a paladin and several monks to escort Ilmar to Urbis (this world's Vatican). They are intercepted by a party of monks of the Church of the Redeemer, also headed by a paladin. The two parties kill each other, while Ilmar slips away. One paladin manages to crack the other's skull, while the other one was swinging his nunchucks; then the nunchucks connected and mortally wounded the first paladin.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock and Moriarty, via waterfall. At least, that was Conan Doyle's idea at first, before it was revealed that Reports of Holmes' Death Were Greatly Exaggerated.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The duel between Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane in A Storm of Swords. Oberyn manages to stab Gregor several times with his poisoned spear, bringing him to the ground, but gets too close, allowing The Mountain that Rides to pound him to death with his fist. The poison causes a long, agonising death for Clegane over the next few days although it is not yet clear how truly dead he is.
    • In the TV series, Clegane instead crushes Oberyn's skull with his bare hands, while indulging Oberyn and confessing his crimes (the only reason Oberyn even got close enough to be tripped is to hear Clegane confess to raping and murdering his sister). However, in the season finale, we see Oberyn's poison seems to be having the same effect as in the books.
    • King Robert Baratheon and the boar; he killed it with his spear, but it still managed to gore him (always a risk; see boar hunting in the Real Life section below), and he eventually succumbed to his wounds. Though true credit for the kill might belong to Cersei and Lancel; she had him spike Robert's wine to slow his reflexes, him being too badass even in his drunken and overweight state to normally lose to a pig.
    • In the backstory, most dragon-on-dragon combat during the Dance of the Dragons ended with both dragons dead or mortally injured. The Battle Above the God's Eye, where both dragons and dragonriders involved killed each other in an airborne duel, is particularly notable.
    • Per Fire & Blood, the Kingsguard twins Ser Arryk and Ser Erryk Cargyll slew each other. The reports differ on the details—either it was a duel lasting more than an hour, where the bystanders didn't intervene because they couldn't tell which twin was which; or after a single stroke by both sides.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In Ahsoka, it's Invoked by Ahsoka and Rex when Faking the Dead. They create a fake grave for Rex with a headstone claiming that he died killing her.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Lord of the Rings:
      • Gandalf perishes from his wounds shortly after slaying the Balrog, though Gandalf comes right Back from the Dead.
      • Elendil and Gil-galad fought Sauron after he personally joined the battle at the conclusion of the Siege of Barad-dûr and managed to kill his physical body (allowing Isildur to cut the One Ring from his finger afterwards, massively weakening his disembodied spirit and preventing him from being a real threat for the next millennium), but both were killed in the attempt, in Gil-galad's case by the heat of Sauron's hand.
    • The Silmarillion:
      • Gothmog gives Ecthelion several wounds, but Ecthelion charges at Gothmog, impaling him with the spike on his helmet and knocking them both into a fountain where they both drown.
      • Glorfindel perishes while slaying another unnamed Balrog.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • In A Dangerous Path, Bluestar hurls herself at a dog to knock it over the edge of the gorge, where it'll drown. She lands safely on the edge, but the dog grabs her leg and pulls her in afterward, where she drowns as well.
    • An odd example occurs in the climax of The Darkest Hour. Firestar, the protagonist, is killed by the villainous Scourge. However, Firestar literally has nine lives (one of the perks of being a Clan Leader), and he gets back up to continue fighting. With the warriors of StarClan (cat heaven) at his side, Firestar realizes that Scourge does not believe in StarClan, and only has to die once. Thus Firestar is able to defeat and kill Scourge. So both combatants die, but one is okay.
    • In one of the stories told in Code of the Clans, ShadowClan's leader dies before she can name her successor. To solve this problem, two cats called Jumpfoot and Moosfire fought over the Leader position. Unfortunately, they both died of the wounds they received while fighting each other, and the medicine cat had to take action to chose ShadowClan's next leader.
    • At the end of The Last Hope, series protagonist Firestar confronts the vengeful spirit of his archnemesis Tigerstar. Firestar manages to destroy Tigerstar's spirit, ridding the Clans of him once and for all. However, Firestar dies from the wounds Tigerstar inflicted on him during the battle.
    • In The First Battle, brother and sister, Jackdaw's Cry and Falling Feather, end up fighting and killing each other.
    • At the end of Shattered Sky, Onestar and his son Darktail fight each other further and further out into the lake until eventually both of them go under and neither one surfaces.
  • War of the Worlds has the battle between HMS Thunder Child and three tripods. After destroying one by ramming and damaging the other two with its guns, it is destroyed by a heat ray, but that causes its boilers to explode, which destroys the second tripod, and possibly the third.note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400: In "The Great Leap Forward", Isabelle uses her telekinesis to kill Rebecca Parrish, the Director of National Intelligence and one of the Marked. As she dies, Parrish uses the kill switch installed in Isabelle's system to eliminate her. However, Isabelle survives long enough to free Tom and Jordan Collier. She then dies in their arms.
  • Babylon 5:
    • There is a battle between a Centauri and a Narn warship, resulting in one ship being blown up and the other one receiving critical damage and exploding a few seconds later.
    • In their final confrontation, Londo and G'Kar strangle one another to death.
  • Almost happened in BattleBots with Son of Whyachi vs. Biohazard: Son of Whyachi's second hit with its spinning hammers against Biohazard rendered it unable to move, but the hammers' recoil immobilized Son of Whyachi too. Both robots were able to get moving again before the referees counted them out, however.
  • Ben and Justin end up doing this to each other at the end of the last season of Carnivàle, however, both survive due to avataric healing powers.
  • This trope is a favorite of CSI where a dead guy will lead to another character who was wounded in the altercation and is similarly dying (or else becoming severely harmed/handicapped).
  • Doctor Who: "The Doctor Falls" has an interesting example with two different versions of the same characterMissy stabs the Harold Saxon version of the Master, so that he'll regenerate into her. He's so angered by her doing this because she's siding with the Doctor that he shoots her when she turns around.
    The Master: You see, Missy, this is where we've always been going. This is our perfect ending. We shoot ourselves in the back.
  • This appears to happen in the Season 1 finale of Earth: Final Conflict with Boone and Ha'Gel, who both fire energy blasts at each other. Ha'Gel is disintegrated, and Boone is heavily wounded. Subverted in that he would have survived if Zo'or had not disintegrated him while in the healing tank. Also, Ha'Gel is an Energy Being and later comes back to talk to his son Liam Kincaid, and Boone turns out to be Not Quite Dead and is brought back in the final season only to be Killed Offscreen.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • During the Battle of Winterfell, Lyanna Mormont is being crushed to death by a giant wight, but with the last of her strength manages to stab it in the eye with dragonglass, killing it.
    • In the penultimate episode, Sandor fights his brother Gregor to the death inside the Red Keep, but isn't really getting anywhere until he charges him and causes them both to plunge to their deaths.
  • Hanna: Marissa and Gordon Evans, her father, end up killing each other in the finale.
  • In Heroes Reborn (2015), the original Avengador is ambushed by several assailants and takes them all out before being shot by a woman, whom he dispatches moments later with a cool knife throw.
  • On Justified Raylan almost convinced two criminals to drop their guns and surrender to him when they realize that only one of them will be able to make a deal for immunity and the other will go to prison for a long time. They turn on each other and before Raylan can stop them, they shoot each other. One dies instantly and the other sustains a fatal wound.
    • Towards the end of the series Catherine unloads a revolver into Mikey, but he's still able to crush his assailant's windpipe before succumbing to his injuries.
    • Subverted in the final gunfight of the show. Raylan gets into a quickdraw duel with Boone. At first it seems like both men manage to get a hit in before dropping. While Raylan got Boone through the chest, Boone's attempt at a headshot resulted in the bullet only grazing Raylan's head. It did destroy his signature hat, though.
  • An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had an investigation into the murder of a man who was revealed to be HIV-positive. The killer turns out to be a woman he infected who's now dying from AIDS.
  • Happens twice in Legend of the Seeker. In Richard's nightmarish vision of a Bad Future, Cara does a Face–Heel Turn, forcing Kahlan to kill her. Before dying, though, she touches her Agiel to Kahlan's chest, killing her as well. In the Season 2 finale, Kahlan herself is confessed by Nicci and flies into a "blood rage" when Nicci is wounded. She remotely confesses four Mord-Sith and orders them to kill each other. They do so by touching each other's hearts with the Agiel simultaneously.
  • Merlin:
    • Isolde and Helios.
    • As per the legends, Arthur and Mordred in the finale.
  • The Murders: In "The Long Black Veil", Mike and the suspect end up fatally shooting each other.
  • My Country: The New Age: Tae-ryeong stabs Seon-ho. As Seon-ho's dying he picks up his sword and stabs Tae-ryeong.
  • In Orphan Black, Siobhan and Ferdinand towards the end of the show. They agree to disarm after some Gunpoint Banter, but Ferdinand has a second gun hidden and shoots Siobhan. Siobhan manages to get to an armchair with their own second gun hidden in it and shoots Ferdinand before dying.
  • The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Phobos Rising" involves two Martian bases belonging to the opposite sides of a Space Cold War. When Earth appears to be destroyed, both sides assume the other one is responsible. The communication blackout resulting from the planetary explosion prevents a normal conversation and the bases launch missiles at one another. The two commanders finally manage to establish contact, but one is killed before being able to self-destruct the missiles. Both bases end up being destroyed (having no anti-missile defenses) with only two survivors (one from each side). The survivors learn that Earth is fine. It was the Moon that was accidentally destroyed, and the debris blocked the view of Earth. A later episode set in the same Story Arc has both sides finally come to nuclear blows on Earth, ending all life on the planet.
  • In the first half of the Power Rangers in Space finale "Countdown to Destruction", Darkonda makes his final bid to grab power by blasting Dark Specter with a planet-destroying missile. Unfortunately, Dark Specter then uses the last of his strength to devour Darkonda's ship just before he exploded, taking Darkonda with him.
  • Psych episode "Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion" features the death of the founder of a modelling agency. Shawn's first suspect is the victim's wife...until she dies during her husband's funeral. Then, during the climax, Shawn realized that they had killed each other: the husband had slowly been poisoning his wife (due to her being a bulimic) and ended up killing her postmortem, and as Shawn figured, the wife had been behind the accident that had killed her husband at the beginning of the episode. Unfortunately, Lassiter is not amused that Shawn called him when there was no one alive to arrest.
  • In the Revolution episode "The Stand", Danny shoots down a helicopter with a rocket launcher. A second helicopter crashes as a result but peppers him with machine gun fire on the way down.
  • An episode of Seven Days starts with a new US Navy destroyer patrolling international waters in Asia, when they encounter a Chinese sub. We're not shown what happens from the location, but see the diagram on a screen of both vessels launching torpedoes at each other (destroyer first) and blowing up. It's initially assumed that the culprit is the female captain of the destroyer (the first in the US Navy, who also happens to be the Voyager's Chief Engineer), who cracks under pressure. However, when Parker goes back in time to save the ship, it turns out that the visiting admiral is an anti-Commie nut who wants to start a war with China in order to crush them before they're a full-fledged superpower. He's only stopped when the President himself calls him up with a What the Hell, Hero? attitude and the sailors refuse to follow the admiral's orders.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "By Inferno's Light", a Jem'Hadar guard and a Breen prisoner vapourise each other simultaneously.
  • In the Grand Finale of The Strain, Mr. Quinlan manages to tear out the throat of The Master in Palmer's body prompting a No Holds Barred Beat Down from him. However, this doesn't kill The Master as he just transfers his consciousness to Ephraim Goodweather afterward.
  • Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: In the Bad Future episode, "The Toddessy", this happens with Rebel!Jenny and Evil!Hannah. Hannah fires a laser at Jenny, who deflects it back at Hannah with Sand Dragon, mortally wounding her. However, before she collapses, Hannah manages to shoot the laser again, this time actually hitting Jenny and killing her as well.
  • Subverted in the teaser sequence of The X-Files episode "Ice". Two men in an Alaskan scientific outpost — who we later find out were infected with a parasite that caused them uncontrollable fits of rage — are pointing guns at each other. It seems headed for this trope until they wordlessly confer with each other, and then moments later it becomes a mutual suicide instead.

  • Percy French's Abdul Abulbul Amir ends with both Abdul and his opponent Ivan Skavinsky Skavar fatally wounding each other.
  • At the end of the epic video for The Decemberists' "O Valencia!", when Colin Meloy's character and the Big Bad are talking in the cafe, Meloy reveals that he has poisoned his nemesis's coffee. The man crushes Meloy's windpipe with a karate chop and they die simultaneously.
  • Rubén Blades' song Pedro Navajanote  is about the titular Pedro, a very feared criminal, stabbing and killing a Street Walker. The woman, however, has the last laugh: before perishing, she pulls out her gun and shoots him dead.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Arthurian Legend: King Arthur and Mordred. Specifically, Arthur, after their lengthy battle, rams his lance through Mordred's body. Mordred, running on willpower and hatred alone, manages to drag himself down the shaft, bring his sword down on Arthur and deliver his own fatal blow before expiring.
  • In Norse Mythology, most of the Norse gods bow out this way at Ragnarok: Loki and Heimdall, Jormungand and Thor, and Garm and Tyr. (Odin fails to kill Fenris, but is avenged by his son Vidarr).
  • In Greek Mythology, Oedipus's sons, Polyneices and Eteocles, killed each other. King Creon's prohibition of the former's burial due to him turning his back on the kingdom would set up the plot of Antigone.
  • The Bible: In 2nd Samuel 2:12-16, David's army (under Joab's command) and Ishbosheth's army (under Abner's command) meet at the pool of Gibeon and have a contest of twelve soldiers each from both armies. As verse 16 states, "Each one grabbed his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath Hazzurim, which is at Gibeon."

  • Happens occasionally in Survival of the Fittest, one particularly notable example being the fight between Cassandra Roivas and Kiyoko Asakawa.
    • Also related are Gail Smith vs. Sera Wingfield and Will Sigurbjornsson vs. Stephanie Evans.
    • And now we can add Holly Chapman and Johnny Marsh of the spinoff Evolution. Before this, this was how Cristo Ruiz and Otis Adelaide died.
    • Alex White and Jimmy Brennan also die this way in v4, after a rather brutal confrontation.
  • Played for laughs here. "Did you hit brain?" "A little."

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Possible, as damage is dealt simultaneously, so a mech or tank that's been killed still has the chance to fire back and get a possible kill in return. Especially likely if both units are heavily damaged.
  • Exalted: Combat actions are determined by ticks. if two characters are due to act in the same tick both their actions happen simultaneously and damage and effect caused by the other character take effect only after that characters turn. that way both characters can kill each other at the same time.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Mutual Destruction destroys a creature, but requires you to sacrifice another creature.
    • Given that most creatures with the Deathtouch keyword will have low power and toughness values, this could very easily happen.
  • In Nomine: In 1008 AD, the Archangel Raphael and the mad Prince Legion died killing each other.
  • Stratego: This is the official rules' result of attacking an enemy piece that turns out to be the same rank as yours. Many players instead go with a house rule of "attacker wins".
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • This can happen if two units with the same Initiative score go toe-to-toe. One battle report ended with an Inquisitor Lord and a 13th Company Rune Priest simultaneously smashing each other flat, for example.
    • During the 8th Edition event "Psychic Awakening", Ragnar Blackmane of the Space Wolves attacked Ghazkghul Thraka's orks in an effort to kill the Warboss once and for all. Ghazgkhul smashed Ragnar to a pulp, but Ragnar succeeded in cutting off Ghazkghul's head. Thanks to massive ammounts of surgery, both of them got better and Took a Level in Badass (Ragnar was rebuilt as a Primaris Marine, while Ghazkghul had his head stapled on to a bigger and stronger body).

  • Hamlet and Laertes. Hamlet survives just long enough to take final vengeance upon Claudius before dying from being poisoned by Laertes' sword.
  • No Place to Be Somebody: At the climax, Maffucci shoots Sweets, but not quite soon enough to stop Sweets from stepping forward and sticking a knife in Maffucci's heart.

    Video Games 
  • Outside of stories, any competitive multiplayer game that has projectiles that move over time or some kind of damage over time effect can lead to this.
  • Pretty common in multiplayer FPSs (Wolf Team especially). If there are any slower-than-instantaneous weapons in the game, mutual kills are bound to happen.
    • In Splatoon, even the basic assault-rifle-equivalent weapons have projectiles just slow enough for this to happen with considerable frequency thanks to the series' Rocket-Tag Gameplay, with players calling this "trading". You're probably going to trade with another player at least once a match in lower ranks and Turf War, and absolutely will trade multiple times in higher ranked matches. The most amusing occurrence of this tends to be when two Roller users collide head-on.
  • Exploited in A Hat in Time. Defeated enemies drop Health Pons that heal Hat Kid, the main character. In the final boss fight, all former enemies hit and kill one another as a Heroic Sacrifice, which leaves Hat Kid with infinite Health Pons.
  • In Cernd's epilogue for Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, it turns out this is how he dies. The killed killer is his son, who went on an anti-druid rampage due to his disgust at being neglected in favor of Cernd's druidic calling his entire life.
  • Several games in the Call of Duty series have some variation on "Martyrdom" perk, where you will drop a live grenade at your feet upon death, potentially killing whoever killed you.
  • In the lore of the Diablo franchise, history began with a fight between the two creator gods, Anu and Tathamet, which ended with each killing the other. Anu's corpse went on to form Heaven, and Tathamet's, Hell.
  • This happens in Digital Devil Saga 2. When Gale stops Angel at the airport, it ends with the two of them impaling each other.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, a mission in the Mages Guild questline tasks you with retrieving an excavation report from a Dwemer ruin. The native guide to the expedition, Anes Vendu, has the report but disappeared into the lower part of the ruin. You find his body next to disabled two Dwemer centurions, meaning he managed to take two of them down before his death.
  • Familia: The Conjurer mortally injures Marlene with a Fireball spell, so she uses the last of her strength to kill him with her pugilism and ice magic.
  • In the Fate/hollow ataraxia game, pairing Fragarach (retaliates by altering time to kill the attacker's Noble Phantasm and cancel the attack) with Gae Bolg (reverse cause-and-effect).
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, it is possible for the player to kill the Final Boss while being destroyed at the same time, or even slightly after the player ship is destroyed. It still counts as a victory, since you crippled the Rebels' command and secured a victory for the Federation.
  • GoldenEye has a one-hit kill multiplayer mode, which can often lead to receiving awards called "Double Kill", "Triple Kill", and the extremely rare "Quad Kill (D'oh!)".
  • Goose Goose Duck: If the Sheriff kills another Goose instead of a Duck or another role, he'll die along with their victim.
  • In the multiplayer of Grand Theft Auto V, Players will often find themselves at the mercy of each other's murder, whether it be a mutual stabbing, shooting, or bombing; and sometimes more creative. Mutual kills occur more than often when two players spawn beside one another, face-to-face, and usually end up killing each other simultaneously. An example: Player A drives towards Player B in a truck. Player B opens fire, killing Player A, but not before the truck flattens Player B.
  • There are all sorts of ways to do this in Halo:
    • Halo 3 has a multiplayer medal for anyone who does this, usually by tossing a grenade right before death.
    • Also common is where two players run at each other guns blazing, depleting their each others' shields, but running out of ammo, then both do a melee attack, causing both to be sent flying back, dead.
    • The Needler is also good at causing these because of the delay between impact and damage.
    • It is also possible for two players to hit each other with a plasma grenade, causing them to blow themselves up.
    • In an in-story example, Emile in Halo: Reach stabs a Zealot in the neck with his big knife after being impaled on the Zealot's sword.
  • In Hollow Knight if you follow Cloth's quest line to the end before confronting the Traitor Lord, she joins in the battle on your side. Eventually the boss catches her in one of her leaping smash attacks by spearing her through the chest with his claw- only for Cloth to, with her dying breath, use the opportunity of being held up within arm's reach of him to fatally crush his skull with her club.
  • In King of Dragon Pass, the clan reluctantly sends off hero Kallyr to fight Warlan Darkbreath. They can't predict what will happen, because Kallyr is clearly marked by destiny...but so is Warlan. Turns out, they kill each other simultaneously.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny, the Dark Pieces of Rynith and Precia kill each other in the final stage of their Chapter, regardless of who you choose for their duel.
  • In Master of Orion, when a ship is destroyed, its warp drive has a high probability of exploding violently, damaging any ship in the vicinity. It is thus possible to destroy an enemy ship and then have your own ship be destroyed by the warp wave. A technology can be obtained a number of ways (but not through research) allowing a ship's drive to be specially rigged to blow up even more spectacularly, dealing triple damage. The same can happen when a ship is ordered to self-destruct.
  • Mega Man Zero 2: Kuwagust Anchus and Herculius Anchus attempt a pincer attack on Zero during their rematch at Yggdrasil in a Last Ditch Move to destroy the crimson reploid. Zero dodges their attack and the following collision destroy them both.
  • In Mega Man Zero 4, Zero personally kills Dr. Weil by detonating Ragnarok's core, only to be caught up in the resulting explosion, resulting in his own demise.
  • Odin Sphere: Happens a lot in the Book of Armageddon, depending on who you send to fight whom. Canonically, only Mercedes suffers this fate as she and Onyx destroy each other during their battle. However, in the incorrect pairings, this is a more frequent occurrence, particularly in battles against Darkova or The Cauldron.
  • Onmyōji: Yorimitsu and his anthropomorphic sword Onigiri after the latter discovered that he isn't an anthropomorphic sword and that his master had been lying to him about his identity the whole time in order to use him to commit genocide against his own kind.
  • Frequent in PlanetSide 2 due to all weapons having travel time. The Recursion stat tracker will exclaim 'Mutually assured death!' when this occurs.
  • Rocket launchers are especially guilty of this in Quake III: Arena, OpenArena and practically any game which has them, as well as mines and grenades in Battlefield 1942.
  • In Real-Time Strategy games, it is always possible to call in massive ordnance danger close, when expecting that your units won't survive the current engagement. In World in Conflict, for example, online players often decide to not withdraw the ground units before overwhelming enemy forces, summon an airstrike (which takes some time to arrive), and let the enemy pummel them to death — only to get hit by the bombs the moment they finish off the last defender. Sometimes, players call in the airstrike too early, killing their remaining units themselves and making it a Taking You with Me instead.
    • One campaign mission in World in Conflict specifically requires the player do this to their force's tank company. Waiting too long and allowing the Soviets to wipe out the Americans before calling in the nuke actually fails the mission, though.
    • The nature of tactical aids in the game makes this tactic borderline essential since it's hard to hit moving opponents and they might even suspect one to be incoming if the enemy gives up too soon.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In the Gamecube remake of Resident Evil, a rather odd puzzle involves a painting, which portrays two knights performing this trope. One knight has been stabbed in the face with a long sword, but still managed to walk up to his opponent and stab him in the chest with his knife.
    • Resident Evil 2 features an accidental example. In the B Game, Leon or Claire can reach the helipad on the roof and see a cop trying to signal a helicopter. While waiting for a rope ladder, the cop is attacked by zombies. He's wrestled to the ground while firing his submachine gun and shoots the helicopter pilot. The helicopter goes into a tailspin and crashes into the cop.
  • In Shogun: Total War, attempting to kill a geisha with another geisha results in a cutscene that shows them having a tea ceremony before one hits her with a hair stick while the other retaliates with a kodachi. A moment later, both are lying in pools of blood. The strikes themselves are not shown, as the camera is zoomed in to the tea set before pulling back to reveal the bodies.
  • In Six Ages, when Alkothi demon-men attack your clan, one particularly nasty combat mini-event has one of them cutting out one of your nobles' hearts in the battle. Said noble has a choice of what to try to do in their last moment, and one option is to kill their killer.
  • Gamma's story in Sonic Adventure involves him performing a Heel–Face Turn and deciding that he has to "save" the rest of the E-100 Series (that is to say, destroy them, saving the little animals inside). When he defeats the last one, his brother Beta, Beta manages to get off one last shot that ultimately destroys Gamma as well.
  • In the 4X game Starbase Orion for IPhone (a clone of Master of Orion), it is possible for two ships to kill each other if they're close in strength, especially with long-range weapons which take time to travel. This is because weapons always hit in this game (unless intercepted by point-defense systems).
  • Team Fortress 2 has several possibilities:
    • The Pyro can set enemies on fire, which deals an additional six damage per second for ten seconds. This means that it's possible for someone to die from the burning even after they killed the Pyro. The Pyro update includes two achievements for killing enemies this way.
    • It's also possible to do the same with Bleeding, which a few melee weapons can induce.
    • The WAR update also gave the Soldier an achievement for killing a Sniper with a rocket after he kills you, aptly named Mutually Assured Destruction.
    • In turn, the Sniper can kill an enemy with the Huntsman after he's already dead. This also rewards the Dead Reckoning achievement.
    • Can happen to classes with splash damage weapons. If you're playing as Soldier, are badly wounded and fire on your attacker point blank, you can expect a shower of both your chunks. Can also happen with Demomen, and Engineers too if they're foolish enough to stand between an enemy and their own turret. This ends up with many people simply charging head-first into soldiers when they feel they have no hope of surviving.
    • Soldiers and Demomen both use high-damage projectiles. It's quite possible for one to kill another, then die right afterward to his last rocket/grenade.
  • In Tomb Raider: Anniversary, during the fight with Kold and Kid, Kold stabs Kid with a knife so he can kill Lara himself. When Kold has Lara at his mercy, Kid shoots him in the back, killing him, before dying himself of the stab wound.
  • In Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Nathan Drake finds, along with Henry Avery's treasure, the skeletons of Avery himself and Thomas Tew, who fought over said treasure and ended up skewering each other simultaneouly. They were the last two Libertalia founders to fall—doomed, along with the whole colony, by the pirates' own Greed.
  • In Wandersong, the Moon and the Sun Overseers both collide and destroy each other. Noteably, they are the only two overseers not to be slain by Audrey Redheart.
  • An infantry battle described in the manual of the third Wing Commander game over a totally worthless planet ended with the last surviving Confederation platoon overrunning the last Kilrathi position, with the survivors lasting just long enough to report their victory before dying themselves.
  • Can happen rather often in World of Tanks due to the fact that A) all shells are projectiles B) tank destroyers often can do almost as much damage as they have hit points, and C) long-range Sniper Duels between two tank destroyers are not exactly uncommon, most people just laugh when it happens.
    • Also happens in World of Warships, even more than WoT due to damage over time elements being more prevalent. It's not uncommon for a ship to take out an enemy, only to go down a short time later due to fire/flood damage, or the volley of torpedoes launched a few seconds earlier. The medal "It's only a flesh wound" is awarded for posthumous kills. And of course, Ramming is always an option: both ships involved in a ram deal damage to each other equal to their own max health. This is actually a valid late-game tactic if there are only a few ships left on each side, and your team is ahead on points, but the score is still relatively close and the clock is running low. Dying in a ramming attack will award the enemy team points for your ship, but it will also award your team points for destroying the enemy ship. If they're the only ship left on the enemy team, or if you're confident that your teammates can finish off whoever remains, it prevents them from staging any last-second comebacks.
  • Can occur in World of Warcraft regarding Warlocks. Warlocks are able to cast many spells which cause damage over time and remain after the caster's death. A common complaint against warlocks regarding PVP was that, in a duel to the death between you and a Warlock, you'd always die even if the warlock dies first (the fact that he might be able to resurrect himself afterward didn't help).
    • While Warlocks are the most prominent class when it comes to damage over time, pretty much any class (and many mobs) can use damage over time effects and potentially get the same outcome. Shadow Priests, Death Knights, and Balance Druids immediately come to mind.
    • Can also occur in traditional fashion, often due to lag. Also, some boss encounters have special conditions that the group needs to look out for that can last longer than the actual fight. It's not uncommon for people to forget about it while rushing to the boss to check what he drops, and depending on what the respective effect is, they can accidentally blow up half the raid by doing so.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Believed to have happened in the ancient battle between the Bionis and Mechonis, with Shulk even referring to their world being on the "Bionis' corpse". Over the course of the game, though, it becomes increasingly clear that neither of the two titans is truly dead, and they've merely been in a deep slumber.
  • Near the end of Yakuza 4, Katsuragi shoots Yasuko in the back, resulting in a fatal wound. However, before her death, she manages to retaliate by popping a headshot right back at Katsuragi.

    Web Animation 
    • "Mike Haggar vs. Zangief" and the "Ninja Turtles Battle Royale", but subverted when Zangief stands up and raises his arms in triumph and Leonardo, Raphael's sai having missed his vital organs, realizes he's killed his brothers.
    • "Goomba vs. Koopa" and "Justin Bieber vs. Rebecca Black" are more straight examples: The Goomba tries to knock the Koopa into lava, but the pit is too small and the Koopa rebounds off a wall, killing the Goomba and his friends. But the Koopa is unable to stop itself before landing in an even bigger pool of lava, incinerating it and forcing a draw. Rebecca Black attempts to do Bieber by jump on top of a car and having the driver run him over. However, the driver crashes killing them both, along with the driver himself, the Jonas Brothers, and Miley Cyrus.
    • Also happens in "All Might vs. Might Guy". Might Guy kills All Might with the Night Guy, but dies almost immediately afterwards, succumbing to the cost of the Eighth Gate. Unlike the other straight examples, this one is not counted as a draw — As Guy scored the killing blow before the Eighth Gate killed him, it counts as his win.

  • Girl Genius: The Lord High Conservator kills all three of the Smoke Knights who ambush him on the bridge of his ship, but succumbs to the injuries from their poisoned weapons seconds later.
  • K'seliss in Goblins, having lost both of his arms to an Eldritch Abomination that spreads a flesh-rotting curse through touch, kills the abomination with a bite that tears through its neck. This results in the curse spreading to the rest of his body and dissolving him.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, in "That Which Redeems", Torg runs through the demon Bubbamonicus with his magic sword at the same time as the demon hits down at his head with an enormous club. Defied: Lady Gwynn of the Book uses her magic to stop the club at the last moment and only the demon dies.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: The Rannite gorgons Celena and Meegs come face to face when tussling in a cave and petrify each other; centuries later their intertwined bodies are seen on display in a museum.

    Web Original 
  • Occurs three times in Mindcrack Ultra Hardcore: once in Season 6, when Pause and Nebris manage to stab each other at the exact same moment when both were already near death, then again in Season 7, when BDoubleO kills Pause but gets burnt by Pause's Fire Aspect sword, and finally, once in Season 11, when Nebris gets killed by Pyro, but Nebris' wolf kills Pyro afterward.

    Web Videos 
  • In the set of S.T.A.R. Labs, Tom Cavanagh did a video in which he (disguised as Harry Wells) and Grant Gustin shoot each other with imaginary blowpipes and "kill" each other. It was an alleged promo for Tom & Grant.
  • Played for laughs in PB & Jeff's video playthrough of Cuphead, in which Jeff (as Mugman) delivers a knockout to Sally Stageplay... at the moment that she KO'd him a split-second later. After a few seconds, when the Results screen comes up, both players cheer in a sweet taste of victory.
  • Skallagrim: In "The myth of the easy one-hit kill in sword fighting", Skall explains exactly how and why this could happen in sword-fighting (also briefly mentioning the "stopping power" of guns for the same reason). According to him, most sparring matches between novices (assuming they avoid simple Flynning) would have ended this way had they been real.

    Western Animation 
  • Depth Charge and Rampage in Beast Wars. Depth Charge got the last laugh... he was resurrected in the Universe comics.
    • Although it was less that they wounded each other than that Rampage exploded when he got stabbed. Depth Charge, however, almost certainly knew this was coming since he was forcing a wedge of crystallized Energon straight into Rampage's exposed Spark.
    • Likewise, Optimus Primal spends most of the last episode of Beast Machines getting owned by Megatron, but manages to turn the tables by plunging Megs into the "organic core" of Cybertron while he's holding Optimus, killing both of them. Realizing they both had to go was Optimus' final revelation, as they essentially represented the two conflicting sides of Cybertron. By going into the core together, Cybertron reformatted into a balanced synthesis of organic and technological.
  • Gargoyles:
    • Unusual twist: due to magic, former allies Demona and Macbeth are both immortal until one kills the other, but when that happens, both will die. Demona usually avoids him in order to avoid this fate, while Macbeth, by the time we meet him, is a Death Seeker hunting her down.
    • Played straight with the Captain and Hakon, who pushed each other off a cliff.
  • In the 1939 MGM animated short Peace on Earth, this is how the last two human beings on Earth kill each other, leaving the Earth to be populated by sentient Ridiculously Cute Critters.
  • Star Wars: Rebels:
    • During the sparring session at the beginning of "The Mystery of Chopper Base", Kanan and Ezra wind up doing this (non-lethally, obviously).
    • Ahsoka and Vader's duel was originally supposed to end like this, with the two making lethal slashes at each other. Obviously, Vader would've recovered, whereas it would've implied Ahsoka wouldn't make it. The final version almost had this happen, with Ahsoka destroying the ground beneath him so that he falls while Vader makes one last slash at her before falling. Ahsoka disappears into the Force and lives another day before he can hit her.
  • The two boombox transformers Blaster and Soundwave engage in a duel in the first episode of Transformers: ★Headmasters, resulting in Soundwave exploding and Blaster dying from fatal wounds. Both are later rebuilt as Twincast and Soundblast, respectively, with different color schemes.

    Real Life 
  • A traditional risk of boar-hunting and the reason boar spears are designed with a cross-piece. If not stopped, the boar may run itself up the spear and gore you before it dies.
  • Firearm users refer to a weapon's stopping power, or ability to put a hostile down. It is very easy for a projectile to cause a lethal wound but still allow an individual to act for at least a few seconds, letting them shoot or charge and stab the user. Stopping power is the ability to put a target down, whether or not the wound is lethal.
    • Infamously in a 1986 shootout in Miami, Florida a bank robber with a bullet an inch from his heart and his right lung collapsed from it nevertheless fought on for four minutes, killing two FBI agents — including the one who'd shot him — before he and his partnernote  were finally brought down.
  • This is the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction. Second strike capacity is defensive in nature; it ensures that any kill will be a mutual kill and (hopefully) scares the enemy into not attacking. As such, a missile shield of some sort would, in the perverse logic of nuclear arms, actually allow an attack by preventing the kill from being mutual.
  • This can easily happen using most hand weapons. Most weapons, when wielded, inherently create an opening when used to attack. For example, someone using a rapier in a lunge is vulnerable to a counter-attack. The lunging swordsman would defend against this by either by having an off-hand parrying implement or assuming their opponent wants to live and will defend rather than simply counter-attack into the lunge. Japanese swordsmanship is perhaps the only style to make a virtue of cutting your enemy down as he does you. Since sword-fighting occurred before modern medicine, there were all kinds of lethal but not-instantly-incapacitating wounds, like punctured lungs or bowels. Then there's head trauma, which can cause sudden death hours after "recovery".
    • In fencing and HEMA, there are usually rules to deal with these situations.
      • Saber and foil, for example, give the person who started the aggressive action priority; if two fencers hit each other, the one who started the action scores. Basically, it's assumed that you want to "live," and so in a real duel, you would prioritize your safety and parry before trying to hit your opponent in return. In epee, which is supposed to be a duel to first blood, simultaneous hits are awarded a point each.
      • HEMA rules are still evolving, but as a rule, it's meant to emulate a fight that you want to survive. A double hit awards generally awards no points, and in some scoring systems, too many bad-faith double hits result in both fighters scoring a loss in a tournament.
  • It took a while for the second half to come about but before the British battlecruiser HMS Invincible got fireballed at Jutland, she was on a roll, doing most of the damage that caused SMS Lützow to not make it home.
    • Likewise, light cruiser HMAS Sydney and German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran, which sank each other 19 November 1941.
    • The Liberty ship SS Stephen Hopkins and the German commerce raider Stier also sank each other.
    • And logically it's also possible for two aircraft carriers to sink each other, like when aircraft from IJN Hiryu fatally strucknote  USS Yorktown followed by aircraft from the Yorktown fatally damaging Hiryu.
  • Similarly, it isn't unheard of for two opposing aircraft to shoot each other down, particularly if the fight happens far from home for both pilots. Ditto for an aircraft attacking a defending ground target, such as an Anti-Air position. The aircraft could lay in a strike on the target, but take severe enough damage not to make it home. It's especially likely with modern aircraft, which would be firing missiles at each other from over the horizon.
    • WWI Ace Pilot duo Albert Ball (UK) and Lothar von Richthofen (Germany), who shot each other down on 7 May 1917. However, while Richthofen was able to land his damaged plane without injury to himself, Ball crashed to his death.
    • In modern air combat, this is what is theorized will happen if a fight between opposing fighters gets into visual range. With the development of "high off-boresight" missiles, a fighter pilot can just look to the side and fire a missile at an enemy, rather than just at a target directly ahead of him. Two opposing planes armed with these missiles will likely fire them at each other, resulting in a mutual kill.
  • During The American Civil War, the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley attacked and sank the USS Housatonic with a spar torpedo. Shortly after, the Hunley herself sank before making it back to Charleston, with the most popular theories for her sinking being an unsecured hatch (the Hunley rode very low in the water even while surfaced), damage from the Housatonic's crew firing on the Hunley during her attack, or possibly damage caused by her own torpedo. Finding a definite answer is difficult, as Hunley took her entire crew with her. The Hunley was raised in 2012 and found to be largely intact; the current theory is that the shockwave from the exploding torpedo (only twenty feet away from the hull) killed the crew and/or forced her into the soft seabed where the mud kept her stuck; even if any of the crew had still been alive, they would have been in no state to escape or free the stricken sub from the seabed.
  • According to available evidence, People's Temple members Sharon Amos and Liane Harris (mother and daughter), by mutual consent, on the day of the People's Temple mass murder/suicide. Amos and Harris evidently assisted each other in cutting their throats.
  • Protoceratops vs Velociraptor shows the trope is Older Than Dirt.
  • King Cobra vs Reticulated Python. The cobra manages to bite the python, but the latter manages to choke the former to death before succumbing to the poison.
  • This trope is actually much Older Than Dirt: the annihilation of matter and antimatter, where the only winners are the gamma-ray photons produced in the event, may be its first use in the history of the Universe.
  • A well-known photograph taken in 2005 shows a snake that burst with an alligator coming out. The exact circumstances are unknown, but the snake may have burst trying to eat the alligator, killing them both.
  • The late comedian Norm Macdonald joked about how anyone who died of cancer (which would include himself) actually achieved this. After all, if the person dies, the cancer dies too. No one actually loses the battle with cancer, at worst it ends up being a draw.
  • One June 4th, 1983, law enforcement searched a house in Smithville, Arkansas, looking for Gordon Kahl, a tax evader who had killed two US Marshals in a shootout that February. During the search, Kahl fired off a shot, mortally wounding Lawrence County Sheriff Harold Gene Matthews in the chest, who fired off a shot that struck Kahl in the head, killing him instantly. Matthews was able to stagger out of the house and say "I got him" before succumbing to his wounds.
  • Venomous snakes which have been decapitated (for example, in the preparation of said snakes for cooking) continue to maintain their bite reflexes for up to one hour afterwards. More than one careless chef has been envenomated and killed attempting to dispose of the head after cooking and being bitten by the dead snake.


Video Example(s):


Tirpitz mutual kill

Yuro scores a double mutual kill in his Tirpitz (World Of Warships).

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Main / MutualKill

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