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"They're going to bury what's left of ya in a soup can!"
The Demoman, Team Fortress 2
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This is not quite Never Found the Body — it's found, all right. More specifically, bits and pieces are found. Usually refers to a very violent death, as either only a few measly fragments of a body are found, or it's been so destroyed you need a mop to clean it up and a bucket (not a body bag) to carry it in.

The inevitable result of Turbine Blender, frequent result of Ludicrous Gibs, and often a consequence of the Chunky Salsa Rule. Note that this doesn't preclude what's left of the person being buried, although sometimes alternate arrangements may be made.

This is sometimes used to trick the audience or characters into believing that someone is dead who is still alive, as they never found the rest of the body. The character may later show up with a prosthesis in the place of the missing body part, or a new outfit or weapon, if all that was found was their mangled accessories.

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This is often used for those who die in explosions or burning buildings. Albeit it is typically used implausibly since, with the exception of nuclear explosions, neither usually possesses the power to completely atomize a human body.

As this is a Death Trope, beware of unmarked spoilers!


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: In the first chapter, a woman runs up to the returning Redshirt Army and begs them to tell her where her son is. The commanding officer gives her a small bundle which turns out to contain a severed hand — that's all that was left of him after the Titans got him. Apparently this is very, very common for the Survey Corps (if they can even find body parts).
  • Dragon Ball:
  • Fist of the North Star: A declaration that Kenshiro often makes to evildoers is that not so much as a hair of them will remain in the world. Due to the way the series' titular Hokuto Shinken works, it's not an idle threat either; sometimes people don't merely explode so much as disintegrate when he hits them, such as the Colonel of Godland.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure:
  • In Episode 12 of the 2003 anime adaptation of Kino's Journey, Kino travels to a county that achieved peace with its neighbor by competing to slaughter the indigenous tribes in the reason. The curator of the museum, who came up with the plan, reveals her Freudian Excuse to Kino- her husband and children's death- and that this trope applied to her h usband.
    "One year, they brought my husband's legs home to me... because they couldn't the find the rest of him."
  • In My Hero Academia, Endeavor claims that his eldest son Toya burned to death in 2000 degree Celsius flames, and the only part of him left after the fire was a piece of his lower jawbone. In reality, Toya survived with horrific burn scars and became the villain Dabi, who sought vengeance against Endeavor.
  • In the Naruto anime at least one of Orochimaru's test subjects dissolved into nothing. Based on his expression at the time, Orochimaru had seen it enough for it to be a common occurrence.
  • Dominators in Psycho-Pass, when in Eliminator (lethal) mode, thoroughly destroys whatever they hit. A person hit in the body by one will pretty much be reduced to a puddle of blood with maybe one limb left intact. Decomposer mode, which is designed for use against machines, won't even leave blood.
  • Lupin III: Part II: Invoked by Zenigata in episode 75 when he laments the (seeming) demise of Lupin in a fiery explosion. He puts up a brief fight with a dog over a scrap of bone, before concluding that it doesn't belong to his late Friendly Enemy.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Hiei's Dragon of the Darkness Flame technique disintegrates Zeru. All that's left of him is a shadow on the wall.

    Comic Books 
  • Commando: Partway through the story "Sky Tiger", the main character is given command of a fighter squadron. His predecessor died when his fighter dived into the ground from fifteen thousand feet. In the words of the squadron's adjutant, there wasn't enough left to fill a jam jar.
  • A plot point in Kevin Smith's Green Arrow run. The "Quiver" story arc revealed that after being killed back in the 90s, Oliver had secretly been resurrected by a guilt-ridden Hal Jordan. However, because Ollie died in an explosion that had reduced his body to mere atoms, Parallax was forced to use lingering particles that had landed on Superman's costume to reconstitute his old friend's physical form.
    Hal Jordan: Be thankful it wasn't Batman you exploded all over. Try combing that overly meticulous guy's costume for any human detritus.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) issue #169, Tommy Turtle, who was possessed by the last remaining nanites of the A.D.A.M. AI, resisted control just long enough to get himself vaporized by Dr. Eggman's latest weapon. His ashes were scattered by the wind before Sonic could get to him.
  • Superman:
    • The Girl with the X-Ray Mind, Supergirl's villain Lesla-Lar gets vaporized when she gets shot with a disintegrator raygun.
    • In The Immortal Superman, an energy beast's body disintegrates when it is exposed to harmful energies.
    • In Reign of Doomsday, Doomslayer rips apart Eradicator, whose energy body is dissolved into nothingness.
    • Subverted in Who is Superwoman?. When her Magitek super-suit gets shredded, the ensuing explosion utterly obliterates Lucy Lane's body. All that is left of Superwoman is tiny scraps of flesh and hair scattered over the ground. However, her cells had been altered with DNA alien and imbued with magic when she was turned into Superwoman, which lets her unconsciously regenerate her entire body from those little flesh bits.
      Codename: Assassin: We've gone over the area six times, sir. We've found tiny bits of flesh and hair that match her DNA, but... Nothing substantial.
      General Lane: Of course not. If Supergirl disrupted the field, the suit would've overcompensated. It would've practically vaporized her.
    • The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor: When Supergirl punches Mind-Bomber's head, he loses control of his powers and is caught in his own explosion's blast. Supergirl X-Rays the place and reckons he has been disintegrated.
      Supergirl: His telekinetic "blast" went out of control when I struck him...and he was caught in his own explosion! It looks like he's been...disintegrated!
    • Subverted in The Supergirl from Krypton (2004). Kara throws herself between Darkseid's blast and Superman, and is apparently reduced to smoking ashes. Though, it turns out that Kara was teleported away and swapped with a pile of ashes to trick Darkseid into believing she had been killed.
    • In The Phantom Zone, General Zod and his criminal gang toss an unconscious Supergirl into the Fortress of Solitude's Disintegration Pit, expecting her to be burned to ashes by radioactive blazes.
      General Zod: "We shall deposit her in the Disintegration Pit! Its radioactive Kryptonian fuel will complete the work begun by us! Supergirl shall be nothing more than a memory...and a handful of atomic ash."
    • The Plague of the Antibiotic Man: Subverted. Superman throws a volcano at Nam-Ek, expecting to weaken him. Though, Nam-Ek disappears without a trace. Superman analyzes the lava, finds traces of Kryptonite, and feeling horrified, he believes Nam-Ek lost his powers and was burned to ashes by a tide of molten rock. Later, though, he discovers that Nam-Ek was merely teleported away.
      Superman: "Kryptonite is deadly to all Kryptonians! So— while the lead in the magma kept the K from affecting me...the concentration of it...in the lava...was enough to destroy Nam-Ek...disintegrating him utterly!"
    • Let My People Grow: Invoked when Brainiac declares there will be literally nothing left of Superman when he is done with him.
      Brainiac: "I have no idea what you hoped to accomplish with that ridiculous maneuver, Superman— and, regrettably, you're not going to be here long enough for me to find out! That first shot shrunk you to the size of a mosquito— But the blast you're about to receive will reduce you to absolute nothingness!"
    • The Leper From Krypton: Invoked. Superman is dying from an incurable, virulent disease and has only a few hours left. Since he does not want to risk spreading the disease, he builds a rocket and sets course for the hottest star in the universe, where he expects to be turned into a pile of ashes.
      Superman: (thinking) Flambron, mightiest solar furnace in the universe, whose incandescent, neutronic flames match the searing heat of a thousand normal suns! In another second, I'll be a pinch of cosmic dust!
  • Watchmen: Jon Osterman gets vaporised in an "intrinsic field"note . He later reassembles himself on an atomic level and becomes Dr. Manhattan.
    Dr. Manhattan: "A token funeral service is being held. There's nothing to bury."
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    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Monster X inflicts this level of death on more than one of Alan Jonah's goons.
  • In My Little Pony vs..., this is what happens to Pikachu after Rainbow Dash is through with it, though this certainly wasn't her intention.
  • In the Girls und Panzer fanfic In Strange Waters, Lucius, part of the Canadian school Vimy Ridge's tankery team, recounts an incident in which an artillery shell struck a Hummel's ammunition compartment, leading to the deaths of everyone inside and a ban on open-topped vehicles in sensha-do, among other things.
    Lucius: We were told that... a piece of charred remain of someone's skin about 1.5cm across was the biggest human remain they found.
  • Slipping Between Worlds: This is a common fate for those caught by car bombs in Stroke Country. In general, the family are sent a tightly sealed coffin with whatever bits could be located, sand to make up the missing weight, and a gently worded message to a family member (usually one with military or law enforcement background) to discourage people from trying to sneak a peek, since there is nothing in the coffin that's identifiable as the remains of a loved one anyway. Denise Holtack bursts into hysterical laughter when she realizes that the family getting together to mourn around a coffin full of Stroke Country concrete rubble that may or may not contain a few atoms of carbonized blood is exactly the kind of sick joke her deceased brother would find hilarious.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Tends to be seen a lot in war movies. In scenes showing the aftermath of some type of heavy bombardment, at least one casualty is likely to be found like this — the trope will frequently be invoked word-for-word by the person who found him. May serve as a means of avoiding a teen-unfriendly rating while still conveying War Is Hell. Sadly Truth in Television.
  • In Batman: The Movie, the film based on the Batman series starring Adam West, several goons are dehydrated into dust, to later be rehydrated by the Penguin inside the Batcave. They attack the Dynamic Duo, but the Penguin handled the procedure incorrectly, making them very unstable. When hit, they instantly vanish into antimatter.
    Robin: You mean... they won't be coming back!?
  • In Cabin Fever, Marcy is annihilated by a rabid dog, to the point where the only remains found later are bloodstains and a foot.
  • Played for laughs in Casino Royale (1967) - Sir James Bond survives a mortar bombardment of his home but M doesn't. He visits M's widow carrying a small box containing all that's left of him.
    Sir James: ...Should it be given a Christian burial? Just how personal is a toupee?
    Lady Fiona: It can only be regarded as an heirloom.
  • This is the Running Gag when it comes to Steve Buscemi roles in The Coen Brothers movies. He has died in nearly every movie he has been in (Barton Fink, Fargo, and The Big Lebowski) with fewer and fewer pieces of himself remaining each time.
  • In The Crimson Rivers, this is said of the young victim of a traffic accident. All that was left to identify her by was her index finger. Subverted in that the finger actually came from another girl. She did get a grave, though.
  • The Fifth Element: All that was left of the Supreme Being after her starship crashed was her right hand. That was enough to re-assemble her.
  • In My Country: One farmer testifies about how his three year-old-son was blown up by a landmine set by black guerrillas, and all that the family could bury was a small piece of his skull.
  • Jurassic Park:
    • In Jurassic Park, Ellie and Muldoon arrive at the scene of a T. rex attack:
      Muldoon: I think this was Gennaro.
      Ellie: [about fifteen feet away] I think this was too.
      • All Sattler finds of Mr. Arnold after his disappearance is his arm.
    • Happens to Dieter Stark in The Lost World: Jurassic Park — after he's attacked by compies, Roland's team finds "only the parts they didn't like."
  • Played for very dark laughs in Lake Placid, when Hector and Sheriff Hank find the remains of one of the crocodile's victims:
    Hector: [holding up a decayed toe] Is this the man that was killed?
    Hank: He seemed... taller.
  • In Licence to Kill, Hawkins describes the aftermath of the first part of Bond's Roaring Rampage of Revenge, which ended with Bond knocking Dirty Cop Ed Killifer into a Shark Pool:
    Hawkins: Local cops got a tip about a warehouse last night. Turned up 500 keys of Colombian pure, couple of stiffs, and a little bitty piece of what used to be Killifer.
  • MonsterVerse: Naturally, this happens a lot with gigantic monsters. But special attention goes to Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), who goes out of his way to blast humans to unrecognizable ashes with his heads' Gravity Beams instead of causing accidental collateral. Godzilla ultimately does this to Ghidorah as a requirement due to the latter's Healing Factor, vaporizing his entire body piece by piece, although The Stinger reveals there's still a (seemingly-)dead leftover head that was decapitated earlier in the film.
  • Happens at least once in Predator:
    Dutch: Did you find Hawkins?
    Poncho: I... can't tell.
  • Goodspeed lies about this in The Rock to help Mason get his freedom, claiming he was "disintegrated" in an explosion.
  • This was used in Starfighter, about a widow who was suing a government contractor after her husband, an Air Force test pilot, was killed flying a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. A lawyer tries to accuse her husband of taking drugs. She says there was no trace of drugs in his system. He points out that it was impossible to determine given the 'limited material' available for testing. She demands to know what he means, and is later shown saying in fury to a friend, "I buried his hands!"
  • The Terminator: Corporal Ferro is blown to bits by the HK Tank's plasma cannon fire.

    Literature 
  • Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle: While in the Heterodyne family crypt, Carson comments that all the Heterodynes are there, although in some cases they're a few bits of ash or scraps of armor.
  • In Discworld:
    • It is said that if someone is affected by the blowfish poison, you don't need to hold a funeral — just repaint the walls.
    • Also from Discworld, some of the learning opportunities in the Unseen University have led to unfortunates being returned to the grieving parents as gloop in a bucket, with a note saying "we did warn him".
    • In Thud!, troll mob boss Crysophrase assures Vimes that some trolls who were foolish enough to threaten his family against his orders were "dealt with", and asks if they've ever thought of adding a rockery to Ramkin Manor, while gesturing to a box the narration describes as "not big enough to contain an entire troll".
    • A few characters in Raising Steam underestimate the power of experimental steam engines and end up as super-heated red mist, sometimes pattering down over a large new clearing in the forest.
  • In The Grimnoir Chronicles, the Gravity Master protagonist is seen altering gravity in order to smash people a few times, and it's implied many more times.
    "The learned gentlemen from the university have asked me if I relied on Einstein's General Theory of Relativity or if I used the simpler rules of Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation on the evening in question when I accidentally took Sheriff Johnson's life. Shit. I don't know. I just got angry and squished the fucker. But I've gotten better at running things and I promise not to do it no more."
    Jake Sullivan, Parole Hearing, Rockville State Penitentiary 1928
  • In Hammer's Slammers given how the titular PMCs pilot Hover Tanks with Plasma Cannons and often fight in wars where nukes aren't off the table, it's once mentioned that many relatives of dead Slammers get a sealed casket full of 70 kilos of sand.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it's said that the largest piece of Peter Pettigrew that was ever found after he was killed by Sirius Black was his finger. He was actually a traitor and cut off the finger to simultaneously fake his death and frame Black for his crimes.
    • Invoked in the second book as well, where Snape comments that whoever faces Neville Longbottom in a practice duel will likely be sent to the infirmary in a matchbox. (In the movie, it's Ron's malfunctioning wand that earns the quip.)
    • Played with in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Barty Crouch Jr. murders Barty Crouch Sr. and transfigures his corpse into a small bone...before burying the bone in the Forbidden Forest.
    • In the seventh book, "Mad-Eye" Moody's body was never recovered. It wasn't until Harry recovered his eponymous magical eye that he got any sort of burial at all.
  • Pulser darts, from the Honor Harrington novels, don't so much tear through their victims as they do shred them. And then there's kinetic weapons, which vaporize anything in range into very small pieces. 'Small' as in 'subatomic'. Graphically illustrated after the fall of the Masadan theocracy; domestic violence rates skyrocketed, as abused wives frequently murdered their husbands. Some of them got... creative.
    They never did find all of Elder Simonds.
  • From The Hunger Games, Primrose Everdeen.
    • Also happened with Katniss' father.
    • And an unnamed female tribute who dropped her district token, a wooden ball, at the beginning of her Games, triggering the landmines which surround the Cornucopia and are primed to go off if a tribute moves from their plate before the countdown finishes. According to Katniss, "they literally had to scrape bits of her off the ground."
  • Stephen King's story "The Mangler" features a scene where one of the workers gets caught in the folder apparatus of the haunted laundry machine. The result is not described in the narration, but in the words of a traumatized witness, "they took her away in a basket".
  • In the Nursery Crime novel The Fourth Bear, the body of Henrietta "Goldilocks" Hatchett is found in grisly smithereens in an area of the World War One simulation theme park SommeWorld that very realistically simulates an artillery barrage.
  • In Derek Robinson's black comedies of the Royal Air Force, after really bad crashes or flamers, it was often the case that bodies were not available for burial. A particularly egregious example happens in A Piece Of Cake where a grieving relative, innocent of the nature of his nephew's death (he burnt to death in a flamer from a mile up) wants to open the coffin to see poor Maurice's face one last time.... as only deep-fried fragments of the body were retrieved, the rest of the coffin was ballasted by sandbags, to approximate the weight of a full corpse. This is Truth in Television. Similar expedients were used for tank troopers killed in brew-ups or men killed in catastrophic explosions. This has been long-standing practice for a long time and may still happen today, although military authorities are naturally reticent.
  • All that's left of Bluddbeak from the Redwall novel Triss after taking on a trio of adders is scattered feathers.
  • Referenced in Heinlein's To Sail Beyond the Sunset: Maureen says of her own apparent death that when a person her size is hit by a semi-truck, "they pick up the remains with blotting paper."
  • Happens to Jesmin Ackbar in Wraith Squadron when her X-Wing is disabled and crash-lands at full speed (it doesn't explode, it shreds instantly on impact from kinetic shock). A torpedo is therefore substituted for her corpse during her burial in space.
  • In the Russian The Silmarillion parody, The Zwirmarillion, this is what happened to Finrod. They buried "several of the largest pieces of him they could find".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Implied in ''Casualty after the death of Paramedic Jeff Collier in a car explosion. His wife, ranting at colleagues who are celebrating Jeff's life instead of mourning his death, mentions that he was blown to pieces and there was nothing to celebrate. Pan round to Jamie Collier standing behind her, asking if it's true.
  • On NCIS three American soldiers in Afghanistan were blown up by a bomb and only pieces of their bodies were recovered. And if that wasn't enough, as they were being shipped back to the States to be officially identified, the plane that was carrying them crashed, damaging the remains to the point where most ways of identifying them would be useless. The remains turn out to be those of only two of the soldiers since the third was instead captured by terrorists and held captive.
  • NYPD Blue: the Medavoy subplot of one episode involved a Hasidic Jewish girl who had been killed and butchered and partially eaten by animals, leaving not much body left. At the end of the episode after they caught the guy that did it, Medavoy gave the girl's father some crime scene dirt which had some of her blood in it; in the Hassidem(sp) circle you have to bury the whole body, and Medavoy wanted to give the father as much of the remains as there were available.
  • In Smallville, "Gone", Lex tells Clark that there is nothing left of Chloe after the huge explosion in Covenant. Of course, he is lying.
  • Supernatural: The research scientist in "Tall Tales" after the alligator was done with him. Only two very mutilated limbs were under the blanket in the morgue.
  • In the first episode of Torchwood: Children of Earth, the villains blow up Jack with a bomb inside his stomach. In the next episode, they only find small pieces of his body remaining, from which he still manages to regenerate. Unfortunately, he wakes up loooooong before he's done healing. He screams. A lot. Shudder.

    Music 
  • The Cat Came Back states that "20 pieces of the man was all they ever found."note 
  • 'Ten Finger Johnny' has the eponymous character blowing himself to successively smaller and smaller bits.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Bible, Jezebel's body is devoured by a pack of feral dogs after she is defenestrated, leaving only her head and her two hands (as predicted by Elijah.)
  • At least seven widely scattered places in Britain are claimed as the final resting place of King Arthur. In France and Denmark, similar myths exist concerning fabulous legendary heroes Roland and Holger Dansk.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Discussed several times in the various BattleTech source books and quite a few BattleTech Expanded Universe stories, and with good reason. A lot of people die in ways that preclude having something to bury, most often involving cockpit hits or reactor/ammo explosions, or sometimes 'Mech-scale weapons being used on people. One particular instance in "Double Blind" has a mercenary unit trying to bury one of their fallen, only to examine the 'Mech and find little more than intermingled bits of charred bone and metal fragments in the ruined cockpit, intermixed and vaporized by a PPC shot to the 'Mech's head. They treat these remains as their comrade's ashes and spread them from the air.
  • In Call of Cthulhu the companions of a dhole's victims can find enough to bury with a successful Luck roll. In the Shadows of Yog Sothoth adventure supplement, during the climax, the Keeper (referee) is advised not to let a certain symbol protect the characters, except possibly by allowing a piece of a body the size of the symbol to survive destruction.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the disintegrate spell does this. One of the reasons why this spell is used is because the game's most common resurrection spells require a more-or-less intact corpse, and disintegrate leaves nothing but dust. Of course, higher-level resurrection spells can still work on the dust (or even without the dust).

    Theatre 
  • The Awful Truth of what happened to Michael Trojan in Bandstand, who was killed by a grenade dropped in a trench by his best friend.
    Donny: There were no hands, Julia! No face, no hair to comb. It's not like the movies.

    Video Games 
  • In Brothers in Arms, this is the fate of Doyle, after encountering a German armored unit. Just as he and Hartsock's squad are about to continue moving through the city of St. Sauveur, a Panzer IV blasts him and he virtually disintegrates, leaving nothing but his weapon and uniform patch.
  • Happens to the unlucky FBI agent who gets thrown in a ore-grinder in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.
  • Something between this and Never Found the Body happens in Chrono Trigger. After the rest of the party has been wiped out, Crono tries to confront Lavos on his own but is completely obliterated by Lavos's attack, with his body visibly disintegrating in the energy blast. However, this is a Time Travel story, and using the titular Chrono Trigger, a life-sized doll of Crono, and a bit of time travel, the party manages to go back in time, freeze time, and swap out Crono for the doll, allowing him to survive. Interestingly, this is the first time in the entire plot that the party actually manages to meaningfully change history - but it won't be the last.
  • In Diablo III, the Wizard's Disintegrate skill allows him/her to fire a beam of magical energy that can completely vaporize enemies it hits.
  • Several deaths in the Danganronpa series end in this.
    • The culprit of case 2 in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Peko Pekoyama, is reduced to this after being stabbed repeatedly by samurai robots, leaving nothing but blood splatter behind.
    • The victim of Case 5 in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, Kokichi Oma, is found in this kind of state due to having been crushed by a hydraulic press - all our heroes find is a huge blood splatter coming out of the press. The press was also broken by the culprit, so the other remaining parts of the body go mercifully unseen.
  • In the second installment of the Fear Effect series, one of Hana's brutal deaths results in this. She's in an elevator shaft, and after a look of stunned fear and a cutoff shriek, her body gets obliterated by the elevator, leaving a bloody smear on the wall. Any remaining bits of her would have likely fit into a small baggy.
  • This is the unfortunate fate of Molly Schultz in Grand Theft Auto V after she runs in front of a jet turbine and gets reduced to nothing more than a hand and a chunky red mess.
  • When a player is killed in Mutant League Football, the killer gets to make a snappy remark to the camera. Relevant to this trope:
    They won't carry that guy off in a stretcher, they'll carry him off in a sponge.
  • In Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time, this is the fate of a zombie that gets blown up by a Potato Mine or Primal Potato Mine. Their body instantly vanishes and all that's left is their head dropping to the ground. In the original game, Potato Mines completely disintegrated the body, head and all.
  • In Tony Hawk's Underground, your player character is planning a stunt that will put you on the map: a McTwist over a helicopter hovering between two high-rises. Eric, concerned, remarks that if you miss your Ollie they'll have to send you home in a coffee can.
  • Both enemy aliens and your own soldiers in Xenonauts can be "overkilled" if enough damage is done by the killing shot, totally destroying the body and any equipment it might have been carrying. Obviously, this is most noticeable when using explosives.

    Webcomics 
  • Code Name: Hunter has an investigator look over a cursed set of drums. The next morning, all that's left is a pile of ash.
  • Subverted in It's Walky! After a hard landing in a danger zone, the SEMME team can only find Allen's ear. However, he turns up in a later arc, unharmed, with no explanation. It's eventually revealed he's a Mobile-Suit Human.
  • Discussed in-universe in this Wondermark strip.

    Web Original 
  • Happy Tree Friends: Since it's a gorn show, this happens very often. All played for dark laughs, of course.
  • In RWBY, Pyrrha falls victim to this after she gets a burning arrow fired between her boobs and embedded deep in her cleavage. After a few agonizing seconds where a hole gets burned in said boobs/cleavage, she dies and Cinder superheats her corpse. The superheating is so bad that the only remnant of Pyrrha's body is a bunch of ash flying away in the breeze.

    Western Animation 
  • In Beast Wars, when Dinobot makes his stand against the Predacons and calls for Maximal backup, Rattrap half-jokes: "Dinobot versus six Preds ... there won't be enough of him left to make a toaster!" They do actually find Dinobot in one piece, though the damage he took is still fatal.
  • Futurama:
    • In the pilot, Professor Farnsworth hires the protagonists as his new delivery crew and gives them their career chips, which he pours from an envelope labeled "Contents of Space Wasp Stomach".
    • A background joke continues this theme with one half of a phone conversation:
      Farnsworth: Oh, how awful. Did he at least die painlessly? [beat] To shreds, you say? Tsk tsk tsk. Well, how's his wife holding up? [beat] To shreds, you say...
  • This was sometimes what happened to Manfredi and Johnson, Those Two Guys often mentioned on The Penguins of Madagascar (although they never die the same way twice). On one occasion they were eaten by flying piranha and what was left was buried with a teaspoon. In another, their remains fit in a manila envelope.
  • A humorous G-rated variant occurred in Rugrats after Suzie becomes a doctor for toys.
    Suzie: Which toy is the brokenest?
    Phil: Jelly Bear.
    Suzie: Where is he?
    Lil: [pointing in various directions] Over there and over there and over there.

     Real Life  
  • One way of disposing of a body is reducing it to this. Cremation is a widespread and (generally) more formal and respectful way of doing so.
  • When someone is attacked by a predator, very often, there's not a lot left. Many predators will even eat bones for the calcium, with larger scavengers coming by afterwards to diligently pick up and eat whatever’s left.
  • Nominally the Verdun campaign of February-December 1916 took place over an area 10km deep and 30km wide, within which more than 400,000 men were wounded and 250,000 died (high-intensity combat even by WWI standards). Actually, the bulk of the fighting took place over an area just 5km deep and 10km wide - where Fort Douamont offered the artillery-spotters a commanding view of the battlefield. More than 12 million artillery shells landed within that area. The remains of 130,000 men were too fragmentary to be distinguished by side, and so were interred together at the Franco-German Douamont Ossuary. Although they are distinguished by (likely) bone type for the most part, there are also chambers for the indeterminable.
  • On the morning of September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners departing from the East Coast of the United States and crashed them into multiple targets, most famously Towers 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center, NYC; the third plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the fourth was crashed in a field near Shanksville, PA. The towers caught fire and collapsed soon after. Of the 2,977 victims (excluding the 19 terorists), many could not be identified because of how their bodies had been burned, crushed, or torn to pieces. On May 10, 2014, the still-unidentified remains of 1,115 victims were transferred from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City to a new facility inside the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, where OCME staff are still attempting to identify more remains using state-of-the-art techniques.
    • A few weeks after 9/11, the City of New York issued an edict that allowed family members of people missing since 9/11 and believed to have died at the World Trade Center to get death certificates without the usual proof of death requirements. This was because it became very clear early on in the cleanup efforts that even small bits of remains that could be DNA tested would probably not be found for most of the victims, much less actual bodies.
    • In general, plane crashes where the plane hits terrain or water at a high rate of speed will result in the plane's occupants being reduced to pulp.
    • Also happens in the case of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The shuttle blew up over Texas and various body parts were found scattered on the ground there.
  • In 2016, a college graduate intending to take a dip in one of the "hot springs" at Yellowstone park slipped into what turned out to be a highly acidic, boiling geyser.note  By the time recovery workers were able to reach him the next day, there was literally nothing left that could be identified as human.
  • When Charles Stephens went over Niagara Falls in a barrel, he strapped himself into the barrel, and strapped an anvil to his feet to stabilize himself. When the barrel finally floated to shore, the only sign anyone had been in it was a right arm. That's what went into his grave, as the rest of Mr. Stephens was never found.
  • Horrifically defied in the case of the Soyuz 1 incident, which caused the death of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. Even though little more than a hunk of burnt flesh was left of his body, as most of it had literally melted away on impact, he was given the open casket funeral he'd demanded because he knew he would die, and had insisted on such a funeral so the higher-ups in the Soviet space program would be forced to look at what they'd done.
  • Happened to murdered Welsh schoolgirl April Jones. Despite an extensive search, all that has been found of her to date is a few fragments of bone found at the home of Mark Bridger, the man later jailed for her murder.
  • Common for burning tanks, especially when a tank explodes. Sometimes happily subverted, when a crew member managed to escape shortly before the explosion, ended up as an unrecognised wounded patient in a hospital, and was mistakenly reported dead. There was a Soviet WW2 tank commander who had as many as five empty graves and was still alive by the mid-1990s.
  • While artillery strikes in general are notorious for having this sort of effect on people, battleship shore bombardments really took it Up to Eleven. One documented incident involved the USS New Jersey firing on an infantry position during the Vietnam War. After the war, the Vietnamese said they could not find any trace of the soldier's equipment or bodies.
  • Helle Crafts was murdered by her husband Richard in 1986 and had her body fed through a wood chipper into a river, and all that was recovered was around 3 ounces of remains (mostly hair, bone fragments, and a fragment of her jaw with an intact tooth that allowed her to be identified). Richard became the first person charged in Connecticut for murder without a full body being present.
  • The Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet was a German interceptor plane used in World War II, whose rocket motor utilized two highly dangerous chemicals called C-Stoff and T-Stoff that would combust upon contact with each other. Two instances of this trope are mentioned in the memoirs of one of the test pilots. In the first, the fuel tank ruptured into the cabin and a pilot was literally melted. In the second, one of the technicians accidentally mixed the C-Stoff and T-Stoff together, causing an explosion; half of a jawbone was the biggest piece they could find.
  • John George Haigh, the Acid Bath Murderer, dissolved his victims in sulphuric acid. All that was found of his last victim was "28 pounds of human body fat, part of a human foot, human gallstones, and part of a denture." That was enough to identify her and convict him.
  • One of the more memorable photos that surfaced in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017 was one hastily taken by a firefighter of his helmet, with his name and the ID code for the unit he was assigned to hastily written on it with a marker pen so they could be identified if he didn't get out alive. In the event, the Fire Brigade suffered no fatalities that day but it took weeks to get an accurate final death toll for the 72 residents who didn't make it out, some of whom could only be identified with DNA extracted from bone fragments recovered in a fingertip search.
  • One of the victims of the Byford Dolphin diving bell accident was subjected to Explosive Decompression wherein they were sucked out into the ocean through a hole only 60 centimeters in diameter, ripping him in half and expelling nearly all of his internal organs into the sea.
  • Larissa Schuster murdered her estranged husband Tim by knocking him out with a stun gun and shoving him into a barrel filled with hydrochloric acid. When police found the barrel, the only recognizable body parts left were the legs.

 
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The Snap

With a snap of his Infinity Stone-powered fingers, Thanos accomplishes what he set out to do and erases half the life in the universe.

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