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Shatterpoint Tap

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This is where a character can destroy solid objects by detecting or otherwise targeting their "weak point" or "breaking point" or "flaw point" and striking the object with a comparatively light blow.

Not to be confused with Pressure Point, which is essentially this for human bodies, or with The Last Straw, which is the proverbial straw-and-the-camel's-back rendered literal. Compare with Glass-Shattering Sound, Attack Its Weak Point, Ominous Crack.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In One Piece, Sabo is well-trained in such a technique: His way of dealing with his competitors in the Corrida Colosseum is to wander around the battling ring tapping his foot against the floor, finding its weak point, then giving it a good whack to make the ring crumble, forcing a Ring Out to everybody. He avoids ringing himself out by grabbing the tournament's prize as it falls along with everything and everyone else.
  • Ryōga Hibiki of Ranma ½ can shatter rock with one finger-thrust using his Bakusai Tenketsu technique. While going through the training for the technique both he and Ranma thought that it worked on everything, including human flesh, but it turns out to only work on rocks and similarly rigid material (it was originally developed by quarry workers in order to speed up mining). However, surviving the Training from Hell required to learn the technique (involving large boulders swinging your way. If you fail to find the point, it hits you. If you succeed, you get a boulder exploding in your face) does have the benefit of giving Ryōga Super-Toughness. Late in the manga, he demonstrates the ability to use it on wood as well as stone.
    • Cologne, who mentored Ryōga in the technique, naturally knows it herself. In the anime, she also demonstrates the ability to use it on steel and wood, at one point reducing a block of wood as big as herself into a toothpick with a Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs version of finger taps.

    Comic Books 
  • Castle Waiting has Tolly, a Hammerling "doorman", which means that he has the ability to sense the stresses and flaws in solid stone and make holes through walls with barely a tap - the resulting doors even have decorative flourishes.
  • Dove from Hawk and Dove #15 (1990). When the heroes find themselves stranded in Druspa Tau, a place of magic different from their superheroic world, Dove gets this as an upgrade to her Order-based powers.
  • Karnak of Marvel's The Inhumans developed this as a Charles Atlas Superpower.
  • Iron Man: Temugin, son of supervillain The Mandarin, has this as part of a larger suite of martial arts-derived superpowers.
  • Karate Kid of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes learned how to do this as part of his martial arts training. He's so skilled at it that he's been able to shatter objects even guys like Superboy and Mon-el couldn't dent, and has found weak points in everything from superstrong metals to godlike cosmic beings.
  • Orc Stain: One-Eye has the ability to see the weak point in any object and break it open with a tap of his hammer, even if it is alive.
  • Star Wars: Legacy: While staying with the Sith on Coruscant, Cade Skywalker develops the ability to perceive "shatterpoints" through the Force—microscopic weaknesses that can be exploited to destroy objects or even people.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Hercules, Phil has a statue of Achilles which he uses to demonstrate the hero's infamous weakness; he flicks the statue on the heel, and it instantly crumbles into rubble. This joke is further referenced in Kingdom Hearts III, where a similar-looking statue found in the Olympus Colosseum world has a targetable weakpoint in an identical location that Sora can whack a few times with his Keyblade, causing it to fall over and break a wall, revealing a hidden chest.
  • A Running Gag on the Ice Age films. Scrat's attempts to bury his acorn make cracks that spread through the ground, causing glaciers, mountains, even the Earth's crust to split apart.
  • In the Pixar Short La Luna, a large star falls on the moon while a boy, his father and his grandfather are cleaning it. While the father and grandfather fail to remove the star, the boy climbs up to the highest point and gives it a tap with his hammer, causing it to shatter into dozens of smaller stars.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Detective Dee from the eponymous wuxia movie Detective Dee could do this with his very sword-like Dragon Taming Mace.

  • In The Garden of Sinners, which served as a prototype of sorts for Tsukihime below (in the Visual Novel section), Ryougi Shiki has a version of the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception that includes the Required Secondary Powers that prevents her from suffering from side effects as severe as Tohno Shiki's when she uses them to destroy conceptual objects. It gets to the point where she can cut through the supernatural powers of some of her opponents.
  • There is a Star Wars Legends novel about this concept, titled Shatterpoint and starring Mace Windu, who is a master of this technique. Other Jedi show up with this power from time to time; for instance, in the Legacy of the Force series, Jaina learns the physical form to face off against her brother, who has fallen to the Dark Side (she needs it to break his otherwise lightsaber-proof Mandalorian Iron armor). In The Hand of Thrawn, Mara Jade demonstrates a variant that works on walls or structures and can cause them to collapse after a precise interval using multiple short separated cuts. Other characters, Luke Skywalker for example, master the mental form, which treats situations or conflicts this way, seeking out the vital points where those conflicts can be changed by the proverbial Right Man in the Wrong Place. What makes Mace special is he instinctively knows both, and explicitly thinks of situations in terms of crystalline constructs that can be manipulated or broken.
  • In the Sword of Truth book "Faith of the Fallen", Richard carves a statue from a block of marble that has a flaw in it, taking care in his design to minimise the flaw. When the local ruler tries to destroy it, all his thugs can do is ineffectually hammer at it and leave a minor dent in the marble. He then orders Richard to destroy the statue; he hits it once in the weak spot with a sledgehammer and the statue crumbles at once.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Drake & Josh, after hearing his father's advice on how to open a pickle jar, Josh taps a jar of pickles and the whole jar breaks.
  • An accidental version occurs on Life. The opening of the season 2 episode "The Business of Miracles." Dan Auerbach was killed because someone swapped his oxygen tank with pure liquid nitrogen... he was frozen solid. While Crews and Reese are looking at the scene and conversing with the guy who owns the lab. Crews leans forward and gently pokes the corpse with a pen... and the corpse shatters into a thousand tiny frozen pieces! Which Reese follows by asking, "Do you have to touch everything?"
    • "Forensics had to bag each piece individually. You might want to send them a bottle of something."
  • The MythBusters examined breaking safety glass by poking it. It didn't work.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Champions this took the form of the skill/talent/power Find Weakness. It halved the protection an object (or person) had, making it easier to damage them. Eventually removed in the course of an edition change for being a potential Game-Breaker, although that was more a problem with the concrete implementation (costing too few points for what it did for superheroic campaigns in particular and requiring its own special defense power to stop). The trope itself can still be implemented in the Hero System, it's just that this specific broken mechanic is gone.
  • In GURPS this is the Martial Arts skill Breaking Blow. Like the above, it could be a Game-Breaker, but it can also be adjusted to simulate realistic "board breaking" feats.
  • In Mage: The Ascension, this is the first power of entropy (magic dedicated to fate and decay of things). A wizard can use it to see weak spots in everything, from people and objects (which allows him to hit them for massive damage) to finding an entry to a guarded building by spotting the flaw in security procedures.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • One Daemon Engine in the Chaos Space Marines Codex is described as "tapping along fortress walls, listening intently", and when it finds what it's looking for, it hits the wall once, causing it to collapse.
    • The Imperial Guard tank commander Pask has a natural talent for spotting enemy weak spots, which translates to his re-rolling missed shots. His first victory was taking out an ork Deffrolla with a single shot, after which he became a renowned Titan-killer (although he was offered command of the stupidly-huge Imperial tanks, he preferred to stick with a Leman Russ).

    Video Games 
  • Mousehunt: The Master of the Cheese Claw's picture has her do this to a wooden pillar.
  • There are literal living walls blocking your paths in Ōkami that can only be destroyed with the celestial brush. When you approach them, you get a brief hint of where the weak points are in the enemy, then you have to use the brush to tap each of the weak points in the order that they appear to destroy it. If you miss even one, you have to start over. Quickly becomes That One Sidequest when you encounter one with eight such points.
  • In Touhou Project, Flandre Scarlet has a power which functions in this way, which she describes as the ability to destroy anything. Rather than striking the "eye" of an object directly, however, she teleports it into her hand and then crushes it.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Original 
  • Worm:
    • Faultline has a variation of this power that lets her make her own shatterpoints.
    • The Number Man, a thinker with the power to see the numerical measurements and values of... well, everything, threatens to do this to a superstrong parahuman's skull. With a pen.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in an episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, where Gadget is seen tapping lightly on a pane of glass, claiming that she's trying to find its "harmonic weakness." Once she apparently finds it, she smashes the glass with a hammer.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • "Cry Ed" ends with Eddy dressed in armor made out of an old-fashioned iron stove, which conveniently keeps him from being beaten up by Kevin and Rolf. Rolf lays his tongue across the armor, and then hits it in a certain spot, which causes the armor to split apart.
      Rolf: Rolf can see shoddy spot-welding from a distance of twenty goats!
    • Rolf has also been shown to make stone statues in this way: He takes a large slab of stone, carefully aims his chisel, and hits it with the hammer such that the stone cracks and crumbles away into the shape he desires.
  • Like his comic book counterpart, the Karate Kid of JLA Adventures: Trapped In Time has this ability. His misuse of it accidentally starts the plot of the film going, and later he uses this skill to punch a glacier out of existence.
  • Looney Tunes: "Wet Hare" starring Bugs Bunny and featuring Blacque Jacque Shellac:
    Bugs: Yeah, but what if one of those little rocks at the bottom came loose? That could be di-sas-ter-ous!
    BJS: You mean, like thees one?
    Bugs: That's the one!
    BJS: Thees is seely! What could happen by taking one leetle...
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, geology specialist Maud Pie examines a large boulder for a few seconds then grabs a chalk and marks a spot for Applejack to kick, bringing it down in one hit.
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • In "Tea at the Treedome", Sandy shows off her karate skills by karate chopping a rock. After a few seconds, it explodes into pieces.
    • In "Artist Unknown", Squidward tries to show Spongebob how to sculpt a figure out of stone. The moment he chisels a spot, the stone block disintegrates into dust. When Spongebob tries, it leaves the statue of David.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars features two instances: Mace Windu shatters open a window to rescue the unconscious driver of a wrecked Republic walker, which is a Continuity Nod/Call-Back to Shatterpoint as listed above; Anakin quickly slices a thick glass window with his lightsaber before blowing it out with the Force.
  • In the Star Wars Rebels Season 1 finale, "Fire Across the Galaxy", at the end of a duel, Kanan sees the Grand Inquisitor rotating his lightsaber in Bullet Time, then promptly destroying the ring of his opponent's lightsaber and thus his entire lightsaber, ending the duel in Kanan's favor. It is implied that it was a shatterpoint, as Kanan is the Padawan of Depa Billaba (who is the Padawan of Mace Windu), and the events that unfolded after this duel would ultimately lead to the Galactic Civil WarContext
  • In Super Secret Secret Squirrel, one-time villain Quark is a subatomic particle who can dismantle any object by finding the correct atom and removing it, causing the object to crumble into powder.

    Real Life 
  • Rupert's drops are specially prepared glass teardrops: The bulbous end can take a blow from a hammer without incident, but if you so much as scratch the thin end, the entire thing explodes.

Alternative Title(s): Tapping The Shatterpoint