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Reduced to Dust

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“For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Dust is a collection of particles shed from just about everything and distributed through everyday movement. That is, it's effectively a waste product of excess and so not easily formed from whole objects or people. Beyond incineration to turn something into ash, the only real way to make whole things into dust is some form of disintegration. This isn't all that common in real life.

However, in media it's quite a fun way of destroying something utterly. Early low-budget special effects techniques were able to create this sort of image, and it has been a popular visual since. When you're shooting a beam at a large block, you would expect it to turn to rubble or some lava-esque state (or just get a hole); it will instead collapse into a pile of dust. Such conversions often will happen to parts of the object which are far away from the beam at the same instant as the spot the beam is actually hitting. It's also one way to present what seems like a very final death or even a kid-friendly, body-less death, or may be what is due to alien biology. If you enjoy Gallows Humor, someone nearby might call out "don't sneeze".

For living creatures, this may occur as a result of a Disintegrator Ray, or as a result of No Immortal Inertia and Rapid Aging. Another possible cause is "dehydration" (see Instant People: Just Add Water!). If done to human beings, can result in Empty Piles of Clothing. Compare Fading Away, where the disappeared character or thing fades away completely. Will often result in Sweeping Ashes.


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  • Almost every Will It Blend? video involves grinding something to dust, and the host telling the audience not to breathe it in.
  • Happens to an unfortunate woman in a 2007 Yahoo! Answers commercial when her husband's dodgy new laser level ends up being an actual laser beam. She survives in the scenario where he buys a proper laser level recommended by Yahoo! Answers instead. An alternate cut simply has her Blown Across the Room instead.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bleach, this is the ultimate fate of Mask De Masculine after his defeat at the hands of Renji.
  • Death Note: Shinigami who die by saving the life of a human will crumble to dust. This happens to Gelus, who saved Misa Amane from a crazed fan, and Rem, who also saves Misa when her life is threatened by L, thanks to Light's machinations. Notably, their Death Notes will remain intact despite them being gone; Gelus' Death Note was given to Misa, while Rem's Death Note is taken over by Light.
  • Any time a Digimon is destroyed, it usually either spontaneously bursts or slowly disintegrates into computer data, which is usually given the visible effect of dust particles.
  • In the Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics version of Beauty and the Beast, Maria gets so sad while staying with the Beast that her emotions turn things such as dinner and flowers, into dust.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Battle Tendency: As established in Phantom Blood, vampires are immediately reduced to ashes after being destroyed by sunlight. One of the Piller Men, Wamuu, is reduced to a head and slowly crumbling away, Joseph decides to use his own blood to ease Wamuu's pain. Wamuu is outraged, thinking that Joseph is taking pity on him, though Joseph reassures him that it's not out of pity but out of respect for a Worthy Opponent.
    • Stardust Crusaders: Vanilla Ice dies when he's disintegrated by a beam of sunlight that Polnareff knocks him into; causing him to immediately disintegrate into dust and leaving only his clothes behind.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: Anyone that's blown up by Yoshikage Kira's Killer Queen gets turned into pieces that fade away after an explosive blast.
    • Golden Wind: Polpo's Black Sabbath is a Living Shadow that dissipates upon receiving a full-blast of sunlight.
    • Stone Ocean: After Sports Maxx turns himself into a invisible zombie, he's pummeled into dust by Ermes, causing the rest of the surrounding zombies to fade away after he's destroyed.
    • JoJolion: Toru, the Big Bad, is forced an Equivalent Exchange between him and Tsurugi, passing the curse into his body, causing him to crumble to dust.
  • My Hero Academia: Tomura Shigaraki holds the Quirk "Decay", which allows him to slowly disintegrate into dust anything he's touching with all five of his fingers. After the Meta Liberation Army arc, his powers are so great that not only the decay can spread from target to target, but can also affect whole buildings and city blocks.
  • Naruto:
  • People who die in Psyren to Nemesis Q's powers (either because they're killed in Psyren or because they don't keep their mouth shut) istantly turns to ashes. The same happens to Taboo once they die, and actually plays a role in the very beginning, where Ageha (who managed to slay a monstrous centipede-based Taboo who had just killed a person) tries to warn the other survivors and show them the corpses... but since there are only ashes, they do not believe him.
  • This happens to any Youma hit by Moon Tiara Action in Sailor Moon. The old DiC dub made the claim that it was moon dust, which fit with the general concept of the show. It didn't happen to some Youma, however- one was shattered to pieces after being hit instead. Later, in Sailor Moon R, Moon Princess Halation would do this to Droids, freezing them into blue statues which then dissolved into sand.
  • Justified in Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs. Monsters and any other remnants of the Precursors known as New Mankind's Organic Technology all do this, and said magical particles get recycled to produce new monsters. Notably, the World Tree of Alzer absorbs these particles much like normal trees do carbon dioxide, and uses them for sustenance and Super-Empowering the nobles of Alzer with their various Power Tattoo.

    Comic Books 
  • Watchmen: As the heroes approach Ozymandias' hideout, Dr. Manhattan is caught in a trap: an intrinsic field remover that reduces him to atoms. This doesn't stop him in the least, as he explains after reforming himself a few seconds later, since experimenting with his intrinsic field was the first thing he did after the accident that gave him his powers.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: An early Donald Duck story by Carl Barks, entitled In Ancient Persian saw Donald and his nephews discovering a lost Persia city whose nobility had used a special radium compound to turn themselves into fine dust — on purpose, as the dust could be regenerated back into a living body at any time in the future. The story's main antagonist, an Omnicidal Maniac Mad Scientist is trying to seize control of the dehydrating formula to spread it throughout the planet and destroy the reviving formulas, thus becoming the last man on Earth. (Eventually, he suffers a Karmic Death of being dried-up himself, with his dust quickly getting mingled with the sand.)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy:
    • A fear of Major Victory's is that if his containment suit was ever breached, he would age to death, and the remains crumble to dust.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel Presents): Happens to Stakar and Aleta's children, thanks to Rapid Aging going haywire. They go from children to adults to elderly to dead, and the remains disintegrate in their grandfather's hands. (Roger Stern had a back-door clause in mind that could've undone this if someone wished. Five decades later, no-one has.)
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2008): A flashback of Starhawk's has this randomly happening to Martinex in the middle of a fight, courtesy of time itself falling apart at the seams.
  • This happens to Black Adam in both his first appearance and his first New 52 appearance - the Shazam! family trick him into saying the magic word, and since Teth-Adam is thousands of years old, he crumbles to dust. He gets better.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW), this is the eventual fate of the Metal Virus' victims until its effects were reversed, resulting in yet another Bad Future that Silver has to avert.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): When Diana removes Artemis' sword from her the reanimated skeleton of the Amazon who once held the title Wonder Woman turns to dust and is blown away by the wind.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): After using magic to twist himself into a musclebound demonic thing in order to defeat and kill Artemis the White Magician ends up burnt out and killed by his own dark magic and is reduced to a pile of ashes.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin is playing with Dad's binoculars when he drops them and breaks them. When Hobbes asks how bad the damage was, Calvin reveals a box of dust.
    Calvin: Don't sneeze.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Vampires turn to ashes when they truly die, or at least, when killed with lightning.
  • SAPR: Ozpin and Amber are both disintegrated in the finale to Part 1.
  • Cap-Force: The fate of most life throughout the multiverse through unknown reasons. This includes some of the cast and their families. Those left behind are trying to find a way to reverse it.
  • In crossover The Vampire of Steel, every vampire gets turned to dust when staked, whether it's by the heroes or their own leader.
    And something bit her on the hand. Despite herself, she cried out in pain.
    A female vampire was biting her on the hand.
    In an instant, Buffy Summers was on the back of the vamp, yanking her head back with one hand and staking her with the other. The vampire collapsed into dust.
  • Not the intended use (Zantetsuken Reverse): From Chapter 15: "Vampire":
    Soma stopped time and killed her with the Valmanway, and then was extremely relieved that vampires became ashes when they died. Having the cops get on him would be trouble.

    Films — Animation 
  • The villain from Disney's Tangled is Really 700 Years Old, and seems about to suffer a Disney Villain Death. However, bereft of her source of vitality, she undergoes No Immortal Inertia to the point that impact with the ground results in a billowy dust cloud and Empty Piles of Clothing.
  • When Princess Anastasia crushes the Artifact of Doom beneath her heel, the villain Rasputin falls to the pavement and begins aging rapidly, until his skin, flesh, and clothes melt and dissolve. This leaves only his jittering skeleton, which disintegrates into dust that disappears completely in the wind. "Dasvidaniya," indeed.
  • Coco: Victims of the Final Death disintegrate into dust, which then drifts off into the wind.
  • The Minions decide to throw a birthday party for their Bad Boss, Count Dracula, and end up killing him in the process. They open his casket and awaken him. Groggily, Dracula sits upright. Then the goofballs cheer in unison, and throw open the sash to highlight their 357th birthday cake. Poor Drac screams and flails as direct sunlight shines upon his vampire self. In seconds, he's solidified into an ashen statue. Goes From Bad to Worse as one minion tries blowing on him, completing the disintegration.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Sanderson Witches in Hocus Pocus die this way when the power of the Black Flame Candle runs out.
  • Batman: The Movie: Commodore Schmidlapp's "instant whiskeymaker" can be used to remove all of the water from living creatures, reducing them to dust.
  • Night of the Comet: When the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, all of the living creatures fully exposed to the comet chemicals are reduced to a red dust.
  • Lifeforce (1985): If a zombie can't quickly drain more Life Energy after waking up, it explodes into dust.
  • Constantine (2005): After Constantine blasts Balthazar with Dragonsbreath and reduced him to pieces, the Big Bad reduces him to dust and blows him away, resulting in an empty pile of clothing.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Professor Quinirus Quirrell dies this way in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. After revealing he's carrying Voldemort and trying to kill Harry, the latter notices his touch burns Quirrell's skin, so Harry grabs the Professor's face with his hands and he starts to burn at the point of being turned into ashes. This was due to the protective charm Harry's mother left in him when she died for him.
    • As the final battle of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows draws to its end, a defeated Voldemort gradually dissolves into ashes that rise skyward along with his final scream.
  • In both movie versions of The Time Machine, books are so ancient by 802701 AD that they easily collapse into dust.
  • A common form of death is seen in the Indiana Jones movies, in which the villains (Nazi leaders) finally take the treasures they're looking for and end up dead, usually being converted into dust.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: When Ego's core is destroyed, his human form crumbles to dust.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Though in the original comic book they simply disappeared, the popular movie adaptation has half the population of the universe disappear by fading into dust, including about half of the heroes, with some taken to memetic levels.
    • Ant-Man and the Wasp can be considered a relatively light-hearted Breather Episode following the events of Infinity War, but The Stinger at the end reveals it takes place during the same time. Janet Van Dyne, Hope Van Dyne, and Hank Pym are all turned to dust due to Thanos's Badass Fingersnap, leaving Ant-Man himself stranded inside the Quantum Realm with nobody to help him get out.
    • Avengers: Endgame sees Clint Barton's family suffer this fate before his eyes concurrently with the end of Infinity War. Later, the 2014 versions of Thanos and his army are defeated in this manner by Tony Stark.
    • Played for Laughs in Spider-Man: Far From Home, where it's revealed that the dusting occurred during a band performance at a Midtown High basketball game - and then the dusted band members were restored in the same spot in the middle of another basketball game, causing much slapstick and consternation.
  • According to Star Trek: Nemesis, exposure to thalaron radiation somehow converts liquid water in a living body to a solid. Double Agent Romulan Senator Tal-aura leaves a thalaron generator behind in the Senate chamber, where it looses its thalaron particles. Praetor Hiren is seen solidifying where he stands, his face crumbling to dust in patches. A similar fate may be construed for his fellow Senators during this coup d'état.
  • Done in the film version of I Am Number Four with all alien people and creatures, presumably to not leave lots of dead bodies lying everywhere, especially with an expanded audience including younger people.
  • Once Upon a Warrior: The main villainess, Sorceress Irendri, after being defeated while in the form of a snake-human hybrid, briefly turns back into human before disintegrating into dust.
  • Done constantly and violently in TRON: Legacy whenever a program is killed, resulting in "de-rezzing". However, instead of dust, dead programs disintegrate into bits of code.
  • Ultraman: The Next: The final battle between Ultraman Noa and the final monster, Beast the One, culminates in The Beast disintegrating into dust particles after getting hit by Ultraman Noa's Finishing Move, averting the typical Defeat Equals Explosion used in 99% of battles in the franchise.
  • In War of the Worlds (2005), the alien rays blast people into clouds of dust with their clothes torn off.

  • Isaac Asimov's "The Tercentenary Incident": During the Tercentennial celebration, the President is apparently assassinated with an unknown weapon that takes the local heat and leaves a cloud of dust instead of a corpse. The President then reappears, claiming that what had just been destroyed was a robot duplicate and they're fine. However, Edwards suspects that the President was killed in such an ostentatious manner because if a corpse was left behind, then people might realize that it hadn't been the robot.
  • Daggers of Darkness: Victims cursed by the titular dagger will eventually dissolve into dust, with an unfortunate curse-bearer turning into black soot on the first page (complete with illustration). The hero is cursed by one such dagger by his enemy, the Evil Chancellor Chinghiz, and must find a way to reverse it. The last chapter sees Chinghiz confronting the hero only to be stabbed In the Back by his equally-traitorous daughter, Meghana-Durr; the hero then managed to make his curse bounce to Meghana instead turning her into dust.
  • Discworld: In keeping with the ease in which movie Draculas keep returning, being reduced to dust is a common fate for Discworld vampires, but not necessarily a fatal one. Although if you get their remains mixed up with other dust before dropping some blood on them, Hilarity Ensues. In The Truth, Otto Chriek's suit becomes the same pattern as the carpet his remains were found on.
  • In John French's Thousand Sons novel Ahriman: Exile, Villain Protagonist Ahriman kills his enemy Amon by casting the Rubric on him, turning him to dust within his armour.
  • Inheritance Cycle: In the final book, Inheritance, an enemy magician fights Carn. Both kill each other via magic at the same time, Carn's corpse left blackened and withered. Carn, however, kills the enemy magician with an especially grim spell that drains all of the water from his body, leaving nothing but a fine grey dust which settles over the water.
  • In Labyrinths of Echo, this is Shurf Lonli-Lokli's specialty. He owns an artifact that instantly dustifies anything it touches (except specifically designed Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment) and can also shoot disintegration beams up to a certain range.
  • Monsters in Percy Jackson and the Olympians turn to sand when they die, although they'll eventually reform.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Antagonist, Dracula, is stabbed in the heart and has his throat slit at the same time. To show that he's dead, the body crumbles to dust almost immediately. Many of the subsequent adaptations and their sequels show him and other vampires dying in various other ways, still causing him to decay into dust.
  • Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time: A bubble of evil turns an entire city block to dust.
  • The Scholomance: In one fight, the protagonist El hits a giant monster with a disintegration spell so efficiently that her friends miss it and even the monster doesn't immediately notice its own collapse. Only later does one of El's friends clue in on what that means about her destructive potential.
  • The Elminster Series At the end of Elminster Must Die, a depowered Elminster is reduced to a pile of ash by his Arch-Enemy Manshoon. He got better in the next book by keeping his soul in the pile of ash that used to be his body.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: Some of the shadow-infected people have been kept alive through being possessed for far longer than normal, and thus when the possession gets broken they age very rapidly into a dust pile.
  • Third Time Lucky and Other Stories of the Most Powerful Wizard in the World:
    • Demons crumble into ashes when they die.
    • Adar gets burned to ashes when his spell backfires and kills him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Buffyverse, vampires explode to dust when they get staked. Makes a certain amount of sense for old vamps like the Master; but even fresh vampires, like those who just came out of the ground after being turned, turn to dust upon slayage. In Real Life it was designed that way so they wouldn't have to deal with dead bodies lying all over the place.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019): People caught in the antimatter wave undergo this, along with their entire universe.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Daleks' Master Plan": In the final episode of this twelve-part story, Sara Kingdom is exposed to the Daleks' Time Destructor, which ages her to death and then turns her into a pile of dust.
    • "Nightmare of Eden": The monsters disintegrate into piles of dust when they're killed. This turns out to be an important plot point.
    • "Bad Wolf": Humans are forced to compete in killer reality and game shows in which the losers get this treatment via Disintegrator Ray. The good news is it isn't really disintegrated but teleported and alive, the bad news... is they're teleported into a Dalek ship to be processed.
    • "Journey's End": The effects of the Reality Bomb causes people to crumble to dust. And then the dust crumbles into atoms, and the atoms themselves are disintegrated. And the plan is to have the Reality Bomb do this to everything and everywhere.
    Davros: People, planets and stars will become dust. And the dust will become atoms, and the atoms will become... nothing. And the wavelength will continue, breaking through the rift at the heart of the Medusa Cascade into every dimension, every parallel! Every corner of creation! THIS IS MY ULTIMATE VICTORY, DOCTOR! THE DESTRUCTION! OF REALITY! ITSELF!
  • Heroes: When Adam Monroe (who has Immortality as his special ability) gets his ability stolen by Arthur Petrelli he turns to dust, then crumbles.
  • Kamen Rider 555 has Orphenochs turn to dust when killed just after the usual explosion. More sympathetic ones get a blue flame effect as they give a Final Speech and then turn to dust. Just dust with no flame/explosion effect, on the other hand, is the fate of anyone who is killed by one. We also see people who partially turn to dust but are still quite dead. (If you're not a compatible user of the Kaixa armor and try to use it anyway, expect this to happen to you after your first and only battle, primarily.)
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: While most antagonists are subject to Defeat Equals Explosion, Basco ta Jolokia stands out as a rare exception, as he turns to red dust upon being defeated by Captain Marvelous.
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode "Bad Medicine". The diablero/diableros (the spirit of an evil Native American sorcerer) can only be defeated by tricking it into looking at its own reflection. When it does so, it is reduced to skeletal form, then turns to dust.
  • The Outpost: This happens to Yavalla and Gwynn/Rosmund in the Season 3 finale, when the mixing of their kinj powers kills them both. In Season 4, it turns out that this is what the black kinj normally does when at full power as when it's returned to its original host, Tera, he uses it to kill Two, Falista, and Tobin by doing this to them.
  • The Power Rangers in Space finale "Countdown to Destruction" has Zordon's energy wave reduce all the villains in the franchise up to that pointnote  into piles of sand.
  • In Ragnarok (2020), when a being of Norse mythology dies, their body and clothes crumble into dust, leaving nothing behind.
  • The Sandman (2022): Morpheus' powers are connected to his bag of sand, with one of the ways this shows up being that whenever he dismisses or unmakes a dream or nightmare they disintegrate into sand.
  • SeaQuest DSV: The episode "By Any Other Name" has the crew arrive at an underwater research station where the crew has seemingly vanished, but they find strange piles of dust all over the place. Throughout, people keep disappearing, leaving more piles of dust. The culprit is eventually found to be some genetically engineered plant that suck the water out of people, leaving just dried piles of dust. It's about as silly as it sounds.
  • This Seinfeld quote:
    Men hang on to underwear until each individual underwear molecule is so strained it can barely retain the properties of a solid. It actually becomes underwear vapor. We don't even throw it out. We just open a window and it goes out like dandelion spores.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, changelings melt into a puddle of goo (their default state) that instantly dries into dust when they die (unless they are killed with a beam weapon, in which case they simply explode).
  • Supernatural:
    • In earlier seasons, the molecular combustion ability turns its targets into Ludicrous Gibs. In later seasons, it disintegrates them to dust instead.
    • When Death is killed in the Season 10 finale, he crumbles to dust.
  • Aging to dust happens at least twice in The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "Long Live Walter Jameson", a charismatic and deeply knowledgeable history professor proposes to marry one of his students, but her father (a colleague on the faculty) objects to the match. It turns out that the professor lectures from experience, as he's been alive for centuries. One of his past wives shoots him fatally, and he ages rapidly as he dies, leaving his clothing full of dust.
    • A columnist loses his youth, then his life to an ageless beauty queen with a magical scarab beetle in "Queen of the Nile".
  • Van Helsing (2016): This is the final fate of Elder Sam; after he's sacrificed to serve as a portal for the Dark One to escape her imprisonment, he burns up, leaving nothing but ash and a skull fragment behind.
  • In The Watch (2021), Carcer Dun turns to dust when the Observers erase him from reality.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): Once he's dead, Ishamael's body crumbles away.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Book of Genesis:
    • Just as God created Adam out of dust in Genesis 2, He foretells in Genesis 3 that Adam will be returned to dust due to his eating of the apple. The disintegration imagery here is a foretelling of humanity's newfound mortality that will result in decomposition.
    • An old and odd variation in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where Lot's wife is reduced to salt particles after seeing the divine destruction of the cities.

  • In Sequinox, Sargas crumbles into rock dust when defeated.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Arkham Horror: The Ancient One Quachil Uttaus has a "Dust Deck" that players must draw from under certain circumstances. If they draw the wrong card, Quachil Uttaus reaches out and touches them, and they are immediately aged until all that's left is a pile of dust.
  • The Magic: The Gathering card "All Is Dust."
  • Warhammer 40,000: The backstory behind the Thousand Sons chapter is that the sorcerer Ahriman cast a spell that would protect the Chapter from mutation, which worked perfectly (from a certain point of view, as incinerated piles of dust are no longer susceptible to mutation). The vast majority of the Thousand Sons chapter now consists of Rubric Marines, who are suits of Animated Power Armor with the powdered remain of the former Marine inside and his soul bound to the armor.
  • Dishonored Roleplaying Game: Anyone killed by a character with the Shadow Kill enhancement dissolves into ash and vanishes into the Void.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Disintegrate spell leaves only "a trace of fine dust" of a creature that fails its save against it (3.0 or older editions) or is killed by the damage dealt (3.5 and later editions). Some or all of its clothing and equipment is left behind, depending on the edition, and bringing it Back from the Dead requires much more powerful magic than would be needed for an intact corpse.
    • 1st Edition ''Dungeon Master's Guide". The section covering the creation of magical potions mentions that when spectres and vampires are destroyed, they are reduced to dust.
    • Undead that fail their saving throw after being struck with a magic weapon with the Disruption property or killed by the Sunbeam or Sunray spells are reduced to dust.
    • Any creature that succumbs to mummy rot turns to dust.
    • Judges Guild supplement Glory Hole Dwarven Mine. A gnome called Kish has been kept alive for 1,000 years by the magical artifact the Crystal of Power. If the Crystal is taken away from him, Kish will suffer 1,000 years worth of Rapid Aging and be reduced to dust and bones.
    • White Dwarf magazine
      • Issue #24 adventure "The Lair of Maldred the Mighty". A metal trunk has Mort (a Glyph of Warding that causes destruction) laid on it. Anyone who touches the trunk without saying the glyph's name will set it off. Anyone affected by the glyph is turned to dust.
      • Issue #26 article "Treasure Chest". The Dagger of the Dunedain kills any undead it hits and turns it into dust.
      • Issue #72 adventure "The Necklace of Brisingamen". One of the mummies the Player Characters encounter is Arun-al-Cosack. He has placed his heart in a Glassteeled container to protect it. If the Player Characters can break through the protection, the heart will explode and Arun-al-Cosack will wither and turn to dust.
  • Paranoia:
    • A Running Gag is for dead Troubleshooters to be depicted as reduced to a pair of smoking boots, sometimes with a small pile of ash in addition to the smoke.
    • XP supplement Stuff. The Chronogun has a setting that causes the target creature to suffer Rapid Aging and crumble to dust.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: When a vampire that is older than a human lifespan dies, they instantly disintegrate unless they were exceptionally tough. Younger vampires also turn to dust if they were killed by exposure to sunlight or fire.

    Video Games 
  • Blazblue Cross Tag Battle: Blake's Astral Heat ends with the opponent turning to dust that flies away upon the final hit.
  • Crash Bandicoot: flame obstacles and attacks will burn Crash and turn him into a pile of ash.
  • Cute Bite: How the Old Master vampire dies:
    The master's coffin has been knocked onto its side, dislodging the lid. There is nothing inside but dust.
  • When various Die Ewigkeit users die in Dies Irae their bodies crumble to ash in short order. In the anime adaptation, meanwhile, they are Dragged Off to Hell instead.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, most of the demon mooks (particularly the Seven Hells) dissolve into sand upon defeat. Justified, as the lore states that they're indeed using sand as a conduit to manifest in the human world.
    • In Devil May Cry 5, V slowly crumbles and flakes away as the game goes on, a visible indicator that his physical body is failing and he's running out of time before the inevitable. This ends up being the reason he merges with Urizen to become Vergil once again, as V is essentially the personification of Vergil's humanity that was split from him after he used the Yamato on himself, with Urizen being his demonic side that remained afterward.
  • In Henry Stickmin: Completing The Mission, at the end of the fight with Mr. Macbeth, only a pile of ash is left of him after Henry reflects his laser back at him.
  • In an obvious Shout-Out to Avengers: Infinity War, the Talisman ending of Kindergarten 2 has half the game's characters get turned to dust after Nugget snaps his fingers using the power of the 50 Monstermon cards the player collected.
  • Twisted Wonderland: Leona Kingscholar's unique magic "King's Roar" dissolves any object into sand.
  • In Undertale, monsters don't leave corpses when they die. Instead their body disintegrates into dust.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: After being hit with a Silver Arrow, Ganon explodes into a pile of ashes, leaving behind the Triforce of Power for Link to take.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Molgera turns into pure sand before exploding.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: After defeating Beast Ganon, Midna teleports Link and Zelda away before transforming into some kind of demonic glowing octopus-thing again. We then cut to Link and Zelda in the field, watching explosions rocking the castle. Then Ganondorf shows up on horseback, holding the Fused Shadow that Midna had been using as a hat the whole game and disintegrates it. Cue the second phase of the boss battle.
  • When a character defeats Jinpachi Mishima in Tekken 5, he dissolves to dust, due to the fact that the evil spirit that possessed him engulfed him in flames.
  • In Earthworm Jim games, when you lose a life, the Powered Armor implodes and usually Jim is turned to dust.
  • Monster Hunter (PC) have fast-moving vampire mooks, who crumbles into ashes and dissolves upon being staked. Same goes for the Vampire's Lord and final boss, The Count (though his body explodes a dozen times before he gets dusted).
  • The Fallout series:
    • In the second game, killing an enemy with a Pulse Pistol or Pulse Rifle if you had the Bloody Mess trait would cause them to disintegrate into a pile of ash. This was actually fairly annoying as it meant that they did not have a corpse to interact with in order to loot and would instead drop their inventory onto the ground, requiring extra effort to loot it and also enabling enemies (or followers) to potentially loot items and use them against you.
    • From Fallout 3 and onwards, a critical hit with a laser or alien weapon will reduce an enemy to a pile of dust, and a critical hit with plasma reduces it to a similar pile of goo. These are lootable exactly like corpses, and none of the target's equipment is lost or damaged.
  • Leisure Suit Larry 2: Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places): If Larry doesn't have the Bladder Buster when Larry ends up in a life-boat, by day 6 he'll shrivel up and literally turn to dust from thirst.
  • This is the fate of almost anyone who gets glomped by a Metroid and sucked dry; they are reduced to powdery statues that crumble into fine dust at the slightest provocation. In Super Metroid, at Tourian, Samus comes across rooms filled with desiccated husks that were creatures fed upon by the metroid hatchling. Upon touching one of these husks, they disintegrate, turning to dust.
  • Project: Horned Owl: Blair, the Final Boss and main villain, will disintegrate into dust after his final defeat, taunting the player all the way even as he slowly dissolves to powder.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, the Ryno unleashes a wave light that turns all enemies into dust.
  • In Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter, the Slots-O-Death machine at the Rocket Bar is armed with a Disintegrator Ray that dustifies whoever hits the triple skull & crossbones jackpot. A cleaning robot sweeps up the ashes afterwards.
  • The Dishonored series has walls of lights, arc pylons and arc mines, which can turn people and animals into ash. The Shadow Kill enhancement also has this effect.
  • In the SNES port of Mortal Kombat (1992), Raiden's Finishing Move reduces the opponent to a pile of ashes and a skull.
  • Unbound Saga is set inside a comic book, where your defeated enemies all fades away into what appears to be eraser dust.

    Web Animation 
  • In Cyanide and Happiness short "Grandpa's Story", this is the fate of Grandpa's storybook when he blows dust off of it, followed by Grandpa himself.
    • In Thanos vs Darkseid, this happens to Darkseid, or rather, his avatars when Thanos gets tired of him and snaps him out of existence with the Infinity Gauntlet. Unfortunately for the Mad Titan, Darkseid's actual form who resides in another universe can simply respawn said avatars.
    • The end of Gogeta vs. Vegito has this happening to Gogeta. Between the damage he took and the sheer power he exerted, his body ends up petrified a la Vegeta's Final Explosion against Majin Buu, and crumbles away to dust after a heavily wounded but victorious Vegito gives it a fist bump.
  • RWBY:
    • The Creature of Grimm dissintegrate into smoke-like substance that quickly evaporates when they're killed. They also appear to be completely hollow inside beyond a red glow.
    • Cinder's Semblance allows her to convert particles (such as sand or dust) to glass. With the Maiden powers, she has the ability to do the opposite. When she chooses, she can touch something and incinerate it to dust as she demonstrates during the Volume 3 finale. During the Battle of Beacon in the Volume 3 climax, Pyrrha attempts to protect Beacon Tower by fighting Cinder, even though she knows Cinder has obtained the Fall Maiden's full power. Cinder kills her by firing a burning arrow into Pyrrha's chest. The arrow dissipates into tiny glowing embers. As Pyrrha takes her last breath, Cinder gently touches her head and Pyrrha's body dissolves into ash embers that billow gently away on the breeze. The only thing left behind is Pyrrha's circlet.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: When Doc and Mayor Goodrich go in hiding after being believed dead, the new mayor of Cumberland begins enacting laws stifling King Radical's plans. Radical hires Mitzi to assassinate Mayor Archibald, but his deputy mayor, a genuine Egyptian mummy, curses her, slowly turning her into dust. Slow enough that she's only lost most of her limbs by the time Doc can get to her and cure her.
  • The Whiteboard went through a story arc where a marker went through a rock tumbler and was reduced to dust. Yes, the customer wants it fixed.
  • The Order of the Stick: Being a Dungeons & Dragons-verse, Disintegrate gets a decent amount of use. Vaarsuvius makes liberal use of it (as does Redcloak, but he tends to go after people with more HP and higher saving throws).
    • V turns a young Black Dragon into dust, and implicitly threatens the rest of the Order over their lack of haste in getting V back to elven form.
    • V also does this to Kubota as a means of quickly dispatching intruding distractions to their world-saving efforts.
    • After Tarquin kills Nale, Laurin Shattersmith disintegrates his corpse and scatters the ashes to the wind so nobody can revive him. (Despite being based on Dungeons & Dragons, true resurrection is never going to be used in the comic due to how much of a Story-Breaker Power it is.)
  • In Sidekick Girl, a villain has been stealing the powers of various heroes, including accelerated healing. Turns out he can't heal from being torn apart at the molecular level.
  • In El Goonish Shive, since Aberrations undergo Spontaneous Human Combustion upon death, this quickly results.
  • Marionetta: After a troupe member resigns and experiences their final death, all that's left of their body is dust.

    Web Original 
  • In Lioden's "Rise of the Serpent" event, the Chthonic Snakes that the player encounters while exploring crumple to dust if the player binds their essence to the Ankh. Interestingly, they do not turn to dust if the player fights and defeats them in battle.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: League of Legends: Sky rushes to help Viktor when she sees that his attempt to enhance himself with more of the Hexcore is seemingly harming him, but her attempt to pull him to safety gets her turned to dust instead.
  • Duck Dodgers in the 24˝th Century:
    • Marvin the Martian fires his A-1 Disintegrating Pistol at Duck Dodgers, reducing him to dust. Luckily Dodgers' assistant has an Acme Integrating Pistol and returns him to normal.
    • Duck Dodgers fires his disintegrator pistol at Marvin.
    Duck Dodgers: And brother, when it disintegrates, it disintegrates! [fires pistol — pistol disintegrates to dust] Well, what do you know... it disintegrated.
  • Mickey Mouse in the 1995 short cartoon Runaway Brain finds himself in a Shackle Seat Trap while Mad Scientist Doctor Frankenollie throws the Big Electric Switch. This results in the mind of Mickey being transferred to the body of a hulking, brutish monster, and vice versa. The monster-minded Mickey bursts his bonds and goes running around loose. The Mickey-minded monster seizes the Mad Scientist by his lapels and demands that he reverse the process. At this point, the fiend's body falls to ashes out of his lab coat, thoroughly fried by his No OSHA Compliance device.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode, "Take This Ed and Shove It", while attempting to extract three jawbreakers from Nazz's desk drawer when Nazz attempts to become a dentist under the Eds' advice, Eddy gets knocked out and has a dream where he and all the other Cul-de-sac Kids have aged by 90 years. When Eddy finally gets his hands on the desk drawer and the jawbreakers inside, it disintegrates into a pile of dust, which Edd points out has happened because it aged for 90 years.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina: Keyleth's sunbeam spell chars Sylas Briarwood body to a partially skeletal husk which quickly turns to dust in Grog's arms.
  • Bunnicula is reduced to a pile of ashes after being exposed to direct sunlight. Fortunately, since Bunnicula's eyeballs remain intact, he's still alive, just inert. Exposure to moonlight restores him to normal.
  • Seen a lot in Looney Tunes classic shorts in which the character has Ash Face and the objects around are reduced to dust if an explosion occurs close to the character. Mostly seen in Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner series, in which Wile E. happened this because of some of the ACME Products he used to catch Road Runner.
  • For extension, also happens with his student Calamity Coyote in Tiny Toon Adventures as well other characters who're exposed to explosions, having Ash Face and the objects are reduced to dust.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "Action Packed", after Timmy wishes the world were like an action movie, Jorgen, playing the villain, drains Cosmo and Wanda's magic to fuel his own, causing them to grow older and turn to dust.
    Cosmo: Man, I was almost allergic to myself.
  • In the Johnny Bravo episode "Bootman", when Johnny gets superpowers from wearing the boots of a superhero that got crushed by a meteorite, he shows off his Super-Strength to some women by grabbing their jewelry and crushing it to dust.
  • In The Transformers episode "Cosmic Rust", the Autobots look up footage from the planet Antilla to learn more about the titular disease they have recently contracted, seeing Cybertronians literally crumble to dust from the infection.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Island Adventure", after Peter mentions that Thanos has acquired the Mind Stone, Cleveland and Joe end up being victims of Thanos' Badass Fingersnap.
    Cleveland: I knew it was going to be us!
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Starcrushed", Lekmet repeatedly uses his life force to revive the rest of the Magic High Commission, which ends up reducing him to dust.
  • The end of Book 3 of Infinity Train shows what happens to someone subject to a Ghom's Vampiric Draining unabated: Simon rapidly withers before collapsing into dust. For good measure, the Ghom itself also explodes.
  • In the MAD sketch "DolPhineas and Ferb Tale", Candace says to Phineas that she's telling their mom. After that, Candace gets blasted by Cyborg, which turns her into dust, with her eyeballs intact.
    Candace: Phineas, I'm telling Mom!
    (Candace gets blasted into dust)
    Cyborg: Man, I hate tattletales.
  • In the American Dad! episode "The Scarlett Getter", after Francine blasts her with a shotgun, Scarlett rolls into a nearby fireplace and immediately turns to ashes. Stan comments that she was really dry.
  • The Pink Panther: "Little Beaux Pink" sees the antagonist wheel a wagon filled with hay to the edge of the hilltop overlooking the pasture, take a lighter to it, and... FOOM!!! When the smoke clears, the wagon isn't the only thing to become dust.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, things hit by Cat Noir's Cataclysm power rapidly corrode and often crumble to dust.
    • In "Style Queen", the titular villain turns people into statues made from golden glitter, including Adrien, whom she then has slowly crumble into dust in order to get his father to show himself. When she appears again in "Optigami", instead of turning people into statues, she just turns them into piles of glitter.



A young Black Bolt accidentally kills his parents.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

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Main / AccidentalMurder

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