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Smoke Out
aka: Smoke Bomb

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"Ninjutsu employs explosive powders — as weapons or distractions. Theatricality and deception are powerful agents. You must become more than just a man in the mind of your opponent."
Henri Ducard, Batman Begins


A fairly standard disappearing trick, favored by ninja, stage magicians, and Batman. Drop a clever little smoke bomb that puffs up and dissipates quickly, slip away during the distraction. A smoke cover apparently qualifies as being "offscreen" enough for Offscreen Teleportation, allowing a user to escape even if he or she was standing in a clear area where his/her exit would be seen at least by the viewer if not an opponent.

Still played straight in most cases, though there are a few stock variations and subversions:

  1. The smoke user forgets to escape, and is still standing there laughing maniacally when the smoke clears, or else is too busy coughing from inhaling said smoke. He sheepishly calms down and surrenders, or mundanely runs away without looking flashy. A variation on this is when they do try to escape, but don't manage to get away before the smoke clears.
  2. The escapee just hides in the room, in a very obvious place, like behind a ficus plant or a narrow lamp. Especially funny if he's in a ninja outfit.
  3. The smoke bomb is a dud and releases little to no smoke, leaving the escapee to just stand there, or the smoke user belatedly realizes he doesn't have any more smoke bombs.
  4. Alternatively, the excess gunpowder in the smoke bomb leaves the user extra toasty.
  5. The Smoke In, where a cloud of smoke is used to give a flashy, dramatic entrance instead of a stealthy escape.
  6. The user simply shouts out "Smoke Bomb!" without actually using one, and tries one of the above techniques.

Compare Stealth Hi/Bye, Disappearing Box. Contrast with Super Smoke. See also Trick Bomb (of which this is a Sub-Trope), Ninja Log and Escape Battle Technique. A Handful for an Eye may serve the same purpose.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A parody of the Smoke In can be found in Dragon Half, when Rosario first appears to the King in a mysterious cloud of mist. The angle changes and the audience can see that behind him is a bucket labeled "dry ice".
  • Pokémon's Team Rocket frequently escapes by having their Pokemon fill the room with a truly massive amount of smoke that, realistically, would indeed allow most anyone to escape. Koffing/Weezing was the first pick, and later, when Weezing was released, Jessie's Seviper took over this role with its Haze attack. While not actual smoke, James's Cacnea can fullfill the same purpose with Sandstorm, if Seviper isn't available. They're not restricted to Pokemon either, as James performs the trick with an actual smoke bomb in the second "Best Wishes!" episode.
  • Viral uses the Smoke Shield of a Macross Missile Massacre as his Smoke Out in the third episode of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. He later does this again, with an actual smoke bomb, to escape with Adiane.
  • Tsubaki, a pretty young woman from Soul Eater, can turn into a smoke bomb... but it's a cute smoke bomb. It has little eyes and a pony-tail.
  • A Smoke Out is used at least once by every character of Ranma ½ with a slightly shady or ninja-esque martial art, including Ranma, Mousse, Kodachi, Genma, Happōsai, and Konatsu. Ukyō Kuonji uses a flour bomb to create the smoke, as part of her Okonomiyaki Martial Art. Note that they all make a similar gesture doing so; apparently, Smoke Out are quite standardized.
  • Used by the side characters in the Magic World arc of Mahou Sensei Negima! in a Big Damn Heroes moment to save Negi's butt from the newly introduced villain. They used a very well-made type of smoke that even blocks magical senses, letting everyone perform a clean escape.
  • Darker Than Black: While Hei doesn't normally need any help disappearing, November 11 once froze his feet in place. He got away when Huang tossed a bomb that melted the ice and gave him a couple of seconds to vanish.
  • Detective Conan: In Kaitou Kid's first appearance, Kid uses a flash bomb to escape undetected from a wide-open roof while surrounded by a crowd of policemen and several helicopters. Justified in that he actually disguised himself as a policeman rather than fleeing.
  • Parodied with Rainspider on Desert Punk. He's fond of exiting by laughing maniacally and throwing down a smoke bomb. But when the smoke clears, you actually see him running away, laughing all the while.
  • Several Zoids make use of this. Command Wolf types, König Wolf types, Guysack, Shadow Fox, and Saberlion. In the video games it's usually possible to equip anything with smoke dischargers.
  • Used at the very beginning of One Piece by Higuma the Bear.
  • It pops out from time to time in Yaiba, used by Musashi while training him using Ninjutsu. Kotaro Fuuma also used it at least once while fighting Yaiba, and the same goes for Goemon.
  • Naruto. Practically every character in the show is capable of this, and most of them have used it onscreen... often disappearing from plain sight in open areas with just a little puff of smoke around their bodies. Kakashi even pulled this stunt while Naruto, a trained Ninja, stood directly behind him with a knife to his throat in the second "Shippuden" episode.
  • Bleach: Subversion of the first variety. When Ganju is forced to fight Yumichika, he knows he's not Yumichika's equal so decides to use every dirty trick in the book in an attempt to distract Yumichika into losing. At one point, he uses a spell that creates a red cloud of smoke that's designed to make the victim's eyes stream and throat clog. It's not until he starts choking in mid-gloat that Ganju realises he caught himself in the smoke as well as Yumichika. Instead of allowing him time to put distance between himself and Yumichika, the pair stagger out of the smoke together. In the long run, this turns out to be a happy accident for Ganju whose only chance for surviving was for Yumichika to be so convinced Ganju was incompetent that he'd lower his guard enough for one of Ganju's tricks to actually work. This mistake certainly helped on that front!
  • Rinne: The Dirty Coward Demon Masato does this to escape a beating from Rinne.
  • This turns out to be a common tactic used by Titan Shifters in Attack on Titan. The most extreme example in the series, of course, goes to the 60m tall Colossal Titan. Though it's pretty much a Kaiju, its steam clouds somehow allow it to practice the fine art of the Stealth Hi/Bye to the shock and horror of humanity. Science Hero Hange accurately theorizes that it's actually the human "pilot" using the steam to abandon his Titan form and slip away in the chaos. The Female Titan uses the same tactic later on, but in a much more dramatic fashion: calling Titans to eat her Titan form, generating enough steam to allow her to simply join the gathered crowd of soldiers unnoticed.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, Salome uses a smoke bomb to cover an escape in episode 6.
  • Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks: In his final battle with the Androids, Gohan briefly loses them by blasting the ground and making smoke.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Frost uses a ki variation of the attack to escape from Android #18 after he managed to knock out Krillin from the arena and later uses it to escape from Vegeta after the latter broke free from the Evil Containment Wave seal. Kahseral also deploys a similar tactic when he realize that he stood no chance against Android #17.
  • Batman Ninja. Having time-travelled to feudal Japan, Batman throws down a smoke bomb to hide himself from advancing samurai, draws his grappling gun...and realises it won't work as there aren't any tall buildings in the village, so he has to run away on foot.
  • Ninja Shinobu-san no Junjou: When Shinobu-san does not feel like confronting Hitoyoshi at all, she pulls out a smoke bomb, immediately disappearing afterwards.

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Mid-Nite from the Justice Society of America favors the Smoke In, which is especially useful given his ability to see in total darkness.
  • In Astro City, the Confessor is fond of this, or so it seems; he's actually a vampire and isn't just smoking out, but dissolving into mist.
  • Toyota the mercenary ninja from Y: The Last Man drops a couple of tiny pellets from the hilt of her sword which explode into a massive smoke bomb.
  • In the Disney Comics, Magica Despell likes to do this with her trademark "foof-bombs".
  • Stephanie Brown pulls off an awesome one after beating up the Scarecrow in Batgirl #3.
  • In Empowered, used by Ninjette in book 2... to avoid embarrassment before ThugBoy, and then fleeing through a window. (Note that, since she leaves the tattered remains of Emp's suit behind, she's quite logically buck naked afterward.)
  • Nightcrawler leaves a cloud of purple smoke along with his signature "BAMF" whenever he teleports.
  • The dark wizard Necross the Mad does a combination of Smoke In and choking on his own smoke in Cerebus the Aardvark.
    Necross: I've simply got to switch to mirrors! Those smokey entrances are murder on the bronchial passages...
  • Batman: Year One has a particularly notable Smoke In, leading to this moment:
  • Red Robin: At one point when Tim is ambushed by a trio from the League of Assassins in Paris he is annoyed to realize they're about to use a smoke screen to escape from him and he can't stop them. They proceed to do just that.
  • Robin Series: When spotted after sneaking into the GCPD's evidence room to take a look at the evidence being used to frame him for murder Tim uses a smoke bomb and steals a GCPD uniform to casually walk out during the ensuing chaos.
  • Spider-Man's foe Mysterio is fond of this, as per his illusionist/performer persona.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Used by Jafar in Disney's Aladdin, wherein the villain's smoke bomb enables him to escape from two guards who had hold of his arms and were in the process of dragging him away. When the smoke clears, the guards are holding onto each other instead. Of course, he is a sorcerer.
  • Morgana in the The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea takes this to a ridiculous extreme. She pulls an "Ink Out" in the middle of open ocean, while surrounded by merpeople on all sides. Of course, she too is a sorceress.
  • In The Movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the Smoke In and Smoke Out are major parts of the Phantasm's repertoire. Despite having no more superpower than Batman himself, the Phantasm on several occasions makes a Smoke Out departure while standing in the middle of a clear area; this is never remarked on, let alone explained. It should be noted that Phantasm was even able to use this to escape from Batman himself, who would have instantly spotted any normal escape routes due to experience. The smoke also, at different times, clings to a man's face to blind him and lifts a stone angel from the ground that would have been too heavy for a normal human. As well, Phantasm is able to continue producing the smog even after revealing herself to be Andrea Beaumont and discarding any article of clothing that could hide the technology to produce the smoke. There is a supernatural quality to the Phantasm, though the origin of this power is unknown.
  • Esmeralda does this to get out of a tight spot in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In this movie there doesn't seem to be real magic, so it would have to be a trick.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, the human version of Trixie likes to make showy departures this way. Like her pony counterpart, she flubs it both times, being spotted by Pinkie Pie as she tries to sneak away.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship, the human Trixie is able to drop a smoke bomb and then swap places with Sunset Shimmer, even when they are on opposite sides of a locked door. Even Trixie doesn't know how she does it.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie: Batman uses them a lot, often proceeded by him actually declaring "smoke bomb".
  • Justice League: War: Batman tries one against Superman, but Superman uses his X-Ray Vision to locate him easily.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist subverts this with a side-effect nobody else has noticed. A ninja throws a smoke bomb in an open field, but the smoke quickly blows away. It then subverts this again by turning out to have an effect: the smoke bomb revives some Mooks for The Chosen One to beat up again.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Done straight in the latest movie, but also subverted when Raphael does a standard ninja Smoke Out, but instead of mysteriously vanishing he's seen running away. Also Lampshaded in the film when Karai and a henchman disappear.
    • There is also a scene where Raphael smokes out... only to leave Casey Jones coughing and waving smoke away... then Raphael leans out from behind a nearby structure and chastizes Casey for just standing there like an idiot.
      Casey: What is it with ninjas and smoke bombs?
  • Batman movies.
    • The Michael Keaton Batman (1989) does it after Jack/Joker falls into the vat. He combines it with the batline to make it look like he's flying away.
    • Even though it wasn't even played straight in Batman Begins, Ducard explains that the use of smoke bombs and similar gags are only theatrics to confuse an enemy.
    • In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman throws smoke bombs at Bane's face, but since Bane received much of the same training Bruce did, he doesn't flinch.
    • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman uses one during his fight with Superman. He doesn't go far, but it allows him to get the drop on the Man of Steel and shoot him with a Kryptonite gas grenade. In the Art Of The Film book, it's revealed the smoke is mixed with lead particles, so not even Superman's X-Ray Vision can see through it.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A Smoke In version occurs when Tim the Enchanter teleports from a distant mountaintop to a location right in front of King Arthur and his knights.
  • The Phantom (1943): One of the ways the Phantom maintains the natives' belief that he is an immortal supernatural being is by using a smoke in and a smoke out whenever he summons them for an audience. An accomplice is shown handling the creation of the smoke.
  • The boys' grandfather in 3 Ninjas escapes this way while training them and reappears on top of a tree.
  • James Bond's Cool Car often features a smoke screen among other gadgets. When his car is destroyed in For Your Eyes Only, Bond creates the same effect by driving through a construction site, kicking up a cloud of smoke from a pile of concrete.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009). Sherlock Holmes escapes a room by closing the chimney flue while the villain has his back to him, loading a pistol to kill Holmes. When he turns to shoot, the room is full of smoke. So he opens the window so the smoke can disperse, giving Holmes an escape route.
  • Runaway. When police raid a hotel room where the villain is selling his Killer Robot design to The Mafia, a floater robot drops from the ceiling to spray smoke everywhere so he can make a getaway.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz uses this to enter and exit the scene, complete with actual fiery explosions. As a grim side note, in one take of the scene in Munchkinland, the flames started too soon before a concealed elevator in the floor could lower the actress Margaret Hamilton to safety. Hamilton ended up with third-degree burns on her hands and face and spent three months recuperating before she could shoot any more scenes.

  • Skeeve, of the Myth Adventures series by Robert Asprin, tries to do a Smoke In to intimidate an army by turning invisible, walking up to the spot, setting off some smoke powder, and turning visible once more. Right after turning visible, he finds out that standing in the middle of a cloud of smoke does little for your ability to breathe, and he does his best to be intimidating while in mid-sneeze. It's not even really real invisibility. It's just a portable curtain that happens to hide whatever is immediately behind it.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins plans to leave his eleventy-first birthday party by slipping on his ring of invisibility at the climax of his speech — which Gandalf quick-thinkingly turns into a Smoke Out by throwing one of his pyrotechnics on the stage. Bilbo is annoyed, but Gandalf explains that he doesn't want rumors going out about vanishing hobbits. Doesn't happen in the film version, though.
  • In Loyal Enemies, Weredragon Gloom can breathe a dark, thick, fog-like substance aptly called "the Darkness". The heroes use it once to escape a pack of werewolf-ghoul hybrids that's pursuing them.
  • Used a few times in Harry Potter:
    • Peruvian instant darkness powder is used by Draco and company so they can get into Hogwarts.
    • Harry uses a decoy detonator in book 7.
    • The Peruvian darkness powder is used in The Film of the Book so Harry can overhear Draco's plans of becoming a Death Eater.
  • Used in Samhain Island when Skyler is captured by the St. Charles's, he drops an object in front of Zac which he thought was a smoke bomb disguised as a snow globe. Turns out it was just a regular snow globe.
  • In Renegades, the Oscar, nicknamed Smokescreen, can summon and control clouds of smoke. The applications for this range from creating a cover for himself and his teammates to subduing villains by making them inhale it. It's implied to be carbon monoxide, as his powers awakened when he was dying in a house fire.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Subverted in "Gone" — the Trio attempt to escape by this method, but when the smoke clears, they are pressed up against a locked door frantically trying to get out. Jonathan, a member of the Trio, does this more successfully in "Life Serial", when making himself appear to vanish in a puff of smoke.
    • An accidental version in "The Initiative", when a projectile hits a fire extinguisher wielded by Spike as an Improvised Weapon, filling the corridor with CO2 gas and enabling him to escape.
    • Tara does this with magic against a demon in "Superstar". She'd taken over the Damsel in Distress role, so was more interested in escaping demons than fighting them.
  • Subverted in Teen Angel, where the title character creates smoke but is left standing in the room. Then, in front of the person he wants to escape from, walks into a closet.
  • Power Rangers characters, good and evil, frequently exit by blasting the ground in front of them to create a dust cloud. It's usually plausible that they could have escaped (we usually see things from the point of view of the one they're escaping from; the person(s) using this trick are gone by the time their opponent can run through the dust cloud, look where they were, and then look around) but the Overdrive season features two ninja characters for whom smoke clouds are essentially just another brand of teleportation.
  • Lee Van Cleef's character, an American Ninja, used to do this all the time in the short-lived TV series The Master.
  • The Spike TV show Deadliest Warrior gives a highly possible real-world origin for the Smoke Out in the form of "black eggs", literal whole eggshells painted black and filled with either sand, pepper (either ground or as a mace-like extract oil), and/or glass that is thrown into the enemy's face; the theory was, the egg would shatter upon impact (or, if the contents were dry ingredients, crushed pre-throw) and splash all over the enemy's eyes, blinding them for several seconds and giving the illusion that the escaping ninja vanished in a puff of smoke.
  • Subverted in Castle; investigating the death of a magician, Beckett and Castle approach a street magician with a motive. The street magician, obviously not keen to answer questions, does the standard Smoke Out disappearance — and Beckett (who, as it turns out, knows a little something about magic) merely rolls her eyes, opens up the box he's standing on (and which he slipped into after dropping the smoke bomb) and yanks him out.
    Beckett: Alakazam, jackass.
  • On The Cape, Max and anyone else trained by him can do this at a level verging on supernatural. Subverted in Episode 3 when Vince fights Gregor and gets grabbed by the cape in the middle of his smoke-out. For reference, Gregor is his Evil Counterpart, the former student of Max's who wore the unique cape but ended up abusing its power. He would know all of Max's (and Vince's) tricks.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Vegas in Space". Before being sent on a mission, Buck is given devices which cause a complete blackout in the immediate area. While on the mission, he uses one to escape from enemies.
  • Near the end of the Cory in the House episode "I Ain't Got Rhythm", when the gang finds that Stickler has been sabotaging Cory's rhythm to take his place in the band, he attempts to activate a smoke ball to escape, but the ball only emits a small puff.
    Stickler: Just pretend there's a lot of smoke.
  • Luke does this on Modern Family, at the end of an argument with his parents about how much he dislikes doing magic and wants to quit (leaving Phil confused).
  • Arrow: Malcolm Merlyn does this in "The Magician"; escaping from Nyssa and Oliver by dropping a smoke bomb and vanishing under the cover of the smoke.
  • Fallen Angels. In the episode "Tomorrow I Die" (based on a story by Mickey Spillane), a gang of robbers take several hostages, load them into two cars and make a Run for the Border, intending to execute them once they're in Mexico. The protagonist is driving one of the cars, so to gain time he drives near the curb of a dirt road, kicking up dust into the vehicle behind, which eventually goes off the road and crashes.
  • The Flash (2014) episode "Killer Frost" has a variation, as Killer Frost creates thick mist with her breath and escapes from the cops under the cover of it.
  • Wonder Woman: Count Cagliostro (a descendant of the Count Cagliostro) in "Diana's Disappearing Act," one of the few bad guys to just flat-out escape Wonder Woman.
  • A Year at the Top has a supernatural example, where Hanover vanishes a woman who made a deal with him by surrounding himself and her with smoke.

    Tabletop Games 
  • R. Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk supplement Solo of Fortune II. An ad for Midnight Arms includes the Ninja Smoke Pellet. Throwing it to the ground causes a flash and a cloud of smoke that allow you to confuse and escape your enemies.
  • Dragon Warriors. When broken, a Vial of Smoke creates a 5 meter radius cloud of white fog that completely blocks vision, allowing the user to escape undetected. Assassins can create a device called the Smoke Jar that works the same way.
  • Encounter Critical supplement Asteroid 1618. The ancient vampire Kahglarth can be encountered inside the Vanishing Pyramid. If opposed by an obviously superior foe he will vanish in a puff of smoke and attempt vengeance on the foes later.

  • Security in the site-specific play Tales Told by Idiots attempts to flee at the end of the show this way. Nothing happens when he throws the smoke bomb, leading the other characters (and the audience) to stare at him for a few seconds, until he says, "If you'll excuse me, I have to go return some smoke bombs," and sheepishly walks away.

    Video Games 
  • Sheik escapes this way from Link several times in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In Super Smash Bros. Melee this was actually turned into her recovery move. Impa, the Princess's badass nanny, also shows the ability to do this once. Keep in mind though that, in OoT, there is no actual smoke, only a moment of blinding light. It helps that Sheik is magic, though. To be specific, the sheikahs use Deku Nuts, which blind you and daze you. Link and the player see it as them instantly disappearing, but what actually happens is Link loses his awareness giving ample time for them to get away. You can do this yourself with the in game enemies, as the Deku Nut is a useable item.
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji has many characters using this trope, since it is a ninja game.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Rogues have this as an ability, called "Vanish", which at one point required a reagent called "Flash Powder" to work. And even now that the flash powder is no longer required, the animation still shows the classic smoke bomb going off at the character's feet. The actual effect is to put you straight into stealth mode even from combat.
    • Due to issues involving aggro of pets and NPC enemies, the effect of the dud smoke grenade is often replicated when the enemy just keeps attacking you when they shouldn't be. Supposedly fixed in a very recent patch, though it remains to be seen.
    • Another (newer) ability is actually called Smoke Bomb, but it's mostly unusable for escaping, rather creating an area that can't be targeted into from the outside by enemies. It's practically an inversion as it forces you to stand still if you want to be covered by it and could be used to get into combat by getting a ranged enemy to close in.
    • In the Shado-pan dailies against the mantid, the players can get a Wu Kao Smoke Bomb. Using it puts them into stealth for a short period of time, and for a few seconds, enables actions without breaking stealth. It can be a useful way of escaping from encounters.
  • Assassin's Creed has Smoke Bombs as recurring tools. Taken together with a location that has multiple curtains to duck behind or haystacks to leap into, and you can vanish, shank, come back out, and vanish until you run out of enemies or exhaust your supply of smoke bombs.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • One of the Ninja abilities in Final Fantasy V allows for instant escape from anything that can be fled from. It's essentially the same as the Thief's !Flee, just more dramatic.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, a Smoke Bomb allows you to instantly escape from any battle that you can normally run away from. It's also used in a cutscene to escape from a burning house, even though that's not how they work and there's no explanation given for how a cloud of smoke allows one to escape from a house that's on fire.
    • Edge from Final Fantasy IV has this as one of his Ninjutsu abilities, which allows the party to run immediately from any non-boss battle.
    • In Final Fantasy XI, Yagudo ninja Gessho pulls a Smoke In in a cutscene.
  • In City of Villains, Ninjutsu Stalkers' Smoke Flash power enables them to them to shed aggro from nearby enemies to escape or set up for an Assassin Strike, and Ninja Masterminds' Smoke Bomb enables a henchman of their choice to do the same.
  • Tenchu:
    • Subverted in Tenchu 2. Genbu tried this method twice but failed.
    • Played straight in Tenchu: Shadow Assassins, though. Rikimaru and Ayame have an innate Smoke Out ability for when they're spotted, but can use actual smoke bombs as a substitute for it... which is nonetheless their least effective use, versus creating temporary cover or distracting opponents for a hissatsu.
  • Used by Galford and Hanzo from Samurai Shodown.
  • In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, some of the Mook ninjas do this, although they usually use it to reappear back to their original spawning location on the screen. Those same ones also tend to carry regular bombs. Can be done by yourself to escape battles you don't feel like fighting.
  • In Ninja Gaiden, the Xbox series, enemy ninjas will smoke out if Ryu runs out of their encounter boundaries. He can also use smoke bombs to distract the enemy for a while. Karma Runners have made their usage an art in the quest for ever-higher score.
  • In Billy Vs SNAKEMAN, players can do this to run away from a mission (auto-failing and forfeiting the consolation experience in exchange for a refund of the stamina cost.)
  • In Splinter Cell: Conviction, the enemy Splinter Cells will often throw smoke grenades just before they make their entrance.
  • In Destroy All Humans! 2 the Black Ninjas do this all the time, as does Shama Llama.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in The Sims 3: World Adventures. Escape Dust does more than allow you to Smoke Out — it flat-out teleports you back to a safe place (i.e. either your base camp or home). It starts to slide into Mundane Utility territory, because if you get a large amount of them, you can start using them to cut down on your travel time.
  • Shinobi from Red Alert 3 can use a smoke bomb to throw off enemy targeting.
  • In the main Pokémon game series, Smoke Ball is a held item that allows you to escape any fight with wild Pokémon.
  • In Pokémon GO, a Wild Pokémon will suddenly burst into smoke and flee an encounter if you fail to catch it. It's accompanied by a Game Over sentence which reads:
    Oh no! The wild [insert Pokémon name here] fled.
  • Inverted in Mortal Kombat 9, Smoke can throw a cloud of smoke at his opponent's feet that forcibly teleports them to a more vulnerable position. Smoke also plays the trope more straight with his Smoke / Phase towards / away attacks which converts his body to a thick cloud of smoke and reposition himself while evading projectiles.
  • If Shadow Man is beaten in a mini-boss fight in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, he uses a smoke bomb to cover up his escape.
  • In the DS game LEGO Battles, a group of ninjas uses variation 1 from the trope description. After the smoke clears, one of the ninjas is still standing in place, looking sheepish. Then he sidles quickly away.
  • In the Batman: Arkham Series, Batman can use this to get away from gun-toting mooks should he be spotted. For even more fun, toss a pellet into an unaware group and watch them freak out and fire at each other.
  • In The Art of Theft, Trilby escapes via smoke bomb if he fails or quits a level.
  • In Annet Futatabi, Annet uses a smoke bomb to escape in a cutscene.
  • BioShock:
    • Nitro Splicers use smoke grenades to confuse the player.
    • Houdini Splicers dephase into a cloud of smoke as they teleport.
  • Combat Arms has smoke grenades among other Trick Bombs what's interesting is that instead, they're generally used to cover a Close Quarters oriented player and make sniping him far more difficult while he gets into the building the snipers are in. If he succeeds expect a Mass "Oh, Crap!" from the said snipers.
  • A Rogue ability in Dragon Age II. The Duelist Prestige Class has the "Vendetta" talent, which lets you teleport across the battlefield like this.
  • Captain Qwark tries to do this in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, but thinks the smoke bomb causes the disappearance. As such, he's still there when the smoke clears.
    Qwark: Hang on, cadets! [POOF] ...Well, that was five bolts wasted.
  • A few items in Kingdom of Loathing let you escape from a fight in a smoke cloud, with varying effectiveness. One is sometimes a dud and doesn't do anything, another produces "cheap" smoke and uses up a turn.
  • Risk of Rain's Bandit can use this for the intended purpose (escaping from a tight spot), though it works rather by making you invisible and untargetable. It also makes your next attack a Dynamic Entry for extra damage and a stun.
  • Esmeralda does this with pink smoke to escape from Frollo in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. She manages to escape thanks to Riku lying to Phoebus that he did not see her.
  • The Ninja Spy class in Dungeons & Dragons Online has the Flash Bang. Rather than smoke, the non-damaging ability briefly dazes and blinds a group, allowing time to regroup or escape.
  • It's not easy, but a well-placed use of Electric Smoke and the dash ability allows one to do this in Titanfall. In a three-story-tall mech.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • The game has several items that fit this trope: The Smoke Bomb, which releases a burst of white smoke and makes it harder for monsters to see you, the Farcaster, which releases a burst of green smoke and teleports you back to the base camp, and Deodorant, which releases a burst of sky blue smoke that clears away the Soiled status effect.
    • The Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate incarnation of Chameleos uses not only poisonous gas emissions as before, but also releases its own fog that interferes with players' sight and hearing.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown:
  • XCOM 2: The Smoke Grenade is an equippable item rather than a class ability, so any class can make use of it (Grenadiers with Heavy Ordnance get two uses if it's put in their dedicated grenade slot). It can be thrown as far as the edge of the soldier's view, lasts for 3 turns, and as turns go on the smoke starts visibly dissipating. It can be upgraded to a Smoke Bomb for added effect radius.
  • The Carrier Beagle in Super Robot Wars BX has a special smokescreen MAP weapon that reduces Accuracy and Evasion of enemies hit by it.
  • Neverwinter: gives this skill to the Trickster Rogues in the form of the aptly named Smoke Bomb power, filling a small area with smoke that renders foes incapable of action outside of movement, making it perfect for getaways or wreaking havoc while enemies are rendered helpless.
  • In Styx: Master of Shadows, Styx can turn his clones into living smoke bombs, bursting into a large puff of obscuring smoke for Styx to infiltrate unhindered or assassinate a particularly hard to reach target. It is not very practical for making escapes though, as Styx cannot do it without a ready clone.
  • In Warframe, Ash's 'Smoke Screen' ability throws down a smoke bomb that momentarily stuns enemies and renders him temporarily invisible provided he does not shoot an non-silent weapon.
  • You can do this in The Last of Us in both the campaign and multiplayer. In multiplayer, it allows you to shank people from the front while they're stunned and also makes it impossible for your opponent to see you or mark you as long you're behind the cloud. You have to be careful though, since without the proper perks, you can easily stun yourself with it by accident.
  • The smokebomb is the only "engineering" device that non-Engineers can learn to create in Project Zomboid. Made from newspaper, rags, and a therapeutic coldpack, a smokebomb can obscure your withdrawal from a zombie horde of a decent size. Combined with electrical skill and spare parts, it can have an adjustable timer, a proximity trigger, or a remote detonator.
  • A naval variation in World of Warships: this is a common tactic for destroyers, who usually drop a smokescreen behind them and sail away in a hurry when they encounter any sort of enemy resistance. Sneakier or more aggressive destroyers will actually hang out in the smokescreen to launch waves of torpedoes at anyone foolish enough to come close to the smoke to investigate. However, experienced players tend to be wise to this tactic and often retaliate by firing into the smoke at sea level (elite players are often quite good at judging from the muzzle flashes where to shoot a ship inside its own smoke screen) or blanketing the smoked-out area with torpedoes of their own. Thus the saying that "smokescreens are torpedo magnets."
  • Pendles from Battleborn uses smoke bombs to attack enemies and instantly cloak himself. Said smoke bombs also happen to deliver poison damage.
  • One of R2-D2's abilities in Star Wars Battlefront (2015) allows him to cover himself in smoke that allows him to evade incoming Stormtroopers.
  • The Stage 5 boss in Einhänder does this if you take too long to fight him.
  • Atlas Reactor: Kaigin has smoke bombs, which block enemy line-of-sight and turns him invisible until the next round. Celeste has smoke grenades, which produce less smoke but deal damage when they hit.
  • In the Sly Cooper games, the Smoke Bomb is a very handy means of escape as it will instantly cause guards to not see you during a conflict or chase, and you can deploy one even whilst running. And if they do spot you running away, the extra distance will greatly help in making an escape to safety.
  • A strange variation happens in Unturned. The smoke grenade attracts hostile creatures (zombies, wolves and bears) into the dense colored cloud it forms, allowing the player to sneak by them safely. Of course, against human foes, the smoke bomb works as expected.
  • Jak X: Combat Racing features them as possible Red Eco pick-up. Like Oil Slick it doesn't do any damage in its base version, but upgrades to smoke screen charged with electricity that can be lethal if released in narrow pathway.
  • Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden: Smoke bombs break line of sight and put out fires.
  • Riki from Dota 2 has a variation, it doesn't cause him to vanish but it does silence enemy heros and is often used to complement his stealth attacks.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Reflections on the River, this is one of Zheng's favourite moves. Zheng presents it as magic, but it's actually chemistry.
  • In Ikemen Sengoku, this is one of Sasuke's main tactics, which makes sense considering that he basically took on the fictional(?) ninja Sasuke Sarutobi's role. Most routes have at least one scene of him using a smoke bomb to help his allies escape or giving the main character one of his smoke bombs that she uses later on to help save her love interest.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Phase of the Whateley Universe has his own Utility Belt even though he's just a high school frosh. He's done the Smoke Out, the Smoke In (using it as a costume change too), and even a smoke attack against Kismet.
    • This is also one of The Imp's signature moves; this is helped by the fact that one of her powers is a sort of optical camouflage, which makes her nearly invisible so long as she stands still. She makes this work by convincing her opponents that she is using Teleportation instead; because she resembles the classic image of a demon (and the associations with the fictional-in-universe comic book character Nightcrawler, who looks much the same way and whose teleportation is accomplanied by a puff of smoke), most seem to fall for it.
  • Queen Jocasta and King Laius in Oedipus in my Inventory both use cartoony clouds of smoke to leave the scene. In the latter case it might also count as a Big Ball of Violence.
  • RWBY Chibi has Blake doing this thrice while yelling "Ninja vanish!" A fourth attempt doesn't go well because she ran out of smoke bombs, so she just calls a "Ninja taxi".
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Summertime Shorts: In "Good Vibes", the human Trixie uses a smoke in to appear in front of Fluttershy. Unlike her previous attempts at using smoke, it works perfectly.

    Western Animation 
  • Darkwing Duck:
    • DD favors the Smoke In, as his main weapon is a gun that fires various gas pellets. It accompanies his Catchphrase, "I am the terror that flaps in the night..." Like many elements of his character (including his costume), this dramatic introduction is taken from The DCU's Crimson Avenger.
    • This regular schtick backfires on Darkwing at least once when he faces some FOWL goons; he creates some smoke and enters it for his entrance in front of them, but the guards, familiar with this move, simply punch into the cloud and connect, since they know Darkwing would be in there.
    • However, in another episode, Darkwing creates a cloud of smoke and begins his Catchphrase. The goons shoot the cloud of smoke, oblivious to the fact that Darkwing is, in fact, behind them...
    • And fails one time when he tells the the villain, "I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am...obviously all out of my trademark blue smoke."
  • Batman: The Animated Series. Although in many cases, Bats is such a sneaky badass that he can quietly slip away or appear without the smoke.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • In "Shriek", Batman tries a smoke bomb against Shriek, but Shriek blows the smoke away with a sonic blast just as Batman barely gets behind a counter.
    • In "Eyewitness", the new Batman uses the standard schtick to get away from the police when he is framed for murder. However, the Police Commissioner is Barbara Gordon, formerly known as Batgirl. As such, she knows that stunt by heart and thwarts it easily using a police cruiser equipped with an industrial sized fan, which gives Batman a real challenge to get away.
  • Spoofed in an episode of Dave the Barbarian, where the Stump Sprite appears in a Smoke In and nearly chokes to death on his own smoke.
  • The Robot Devil pulls this move in the concert hall finale of Futurama, declaring "It's back to hell for me!" and vanishing in a puff of smoke. The camera then cuts to the stunned audience's reaction, and we see him quickly running up the aisle and out of the theater.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In an episode, a fortune teller consulted by Lisa appears to attempt a Smoke Out, but when the smoke clears, she's still at her table, quietly waiting for Lisa to leave.
    • In another episode, Mr. Burns attempts to use this trick to escape a tableful of stockholders — however, being ludicrously old and not very fast-moving, he's still fumbling with the door-handle when the smoke clears...
    • Bart pulls it once when Skinner discovers him running a card shark operation at the school fair. "Goodbye gentlemen."
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    • The 2000s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon has the Shredder's Elite Guard use this as a cover for Offscreen Teleportation, able to appear behind an opponent they've just vanished from in front of, all without being seen or heard by characters or viewers or having had time to go around and get into position. It's likely a legitimate super-power, what with the glowing red eyes.
    • Played hilariously straight in the Nickeleon show when Donatello creates smoke bombs for the first time. Michelangelo starts abusing them despite Don warning him they're hard to make, and the trope is so exagerated that it seems to give Michelangelo onscreen teleportation. At one point, he says he'll bring Splinter, throws a smokebomb... and when the smoke dissipates, not only has he disappeared, but Splinter is now standing in his place, asking calmy why they asked for him. Of course, at the end of the episode, when they actually need the smokebombs to escape Shredder, it turns out Michelangelo wasted all of them. Donatello made more in the following episodes through.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Ninja technophile (literally) Otaku Senzuri does this all the time, but hasn't gotten hang of the hiding part. This leads to a lot of "Where did he go?" "Oh, he's right there." situations for him.
    • The Monarch tries an elaborate smoke-out after "trashing" the Venture compound. He shoots a sizeable puff of smoke with his wrist launcher, grabs Dr. Girlfriend, and they are whisked away on a grappling hook... where they hang for several hours, until everyone else leaves.
    • The Monarch tries this again in the season four finale when he "crashes" the Venture Brothers' Prom. He gives some speech and smokes out both him and Dr. Mrs.The Monarch and the two are seen still standing on the stage when the smoke clears at which point they just walk away.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Plankton tries this in an early episode. The smoke bomb explodes in his face, leaving him charred. "Well, this stinks..."
    • Squidward performed a variation in "Mutiny on the Krusty" which left a splash of ink when he zooms offscreen.
  • Subverted in Stroker and Hoop, where David Copperfield tries this and Stroker just shoots into the smoke and kills him (though he turned out to have just been Faking the Dead).
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Eddy attempts a Smoke Out with a homemade smokescreen to escape from the kids at a party he and the Eds crashed. But once he releases it it ends up flooding the house in a white powder and burying the Eds.
  • Used in Teen Titans when Robin used it to get his team away from Now-Evil Terra. Beast Boy lingers for a bit before he runs off into the smoke.
  • Later parodied in Sequel Series Teen Titans Go!, where Robin attempts to outwit Terra by using a smoke bomb, but it only lasts for a half-second and Robin remains in the same position.
  • Parodied in American Dad!. Roger did this twice but he kept falling over unconscious. Klaus tried this in "The One That Got Away", and he ended up in another dimension for 60 years (a few seconds in his world's time).
    Klaus: Wherever it was, I am now their king.
  • In Wakfu episode 8, a ninja-baker uses a cloud of flour to disappear.
  • In Perfect Hair Forever episode 2, Uncle Grandfather attempts one. He's still there once the cloud dissipates, though.
  • In the Filmation Superboy episode "A Devil of a Time", Superboy does both Smoke Outs and Smoke Ins (with magnesium pellets) while masquerading as the Devil.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Shendu and Daloan Wong would often use their magic to do this when they were about to be caught by Jackie and company or the authorities. The authorities would be shocked when the smoke cleared and they were suddenly holding empty air instead of the bad guys.
    • In "Into the Mouth of Evil", Jackie and Jade managed to escape the bad guys when Jackie made a cloud with a bag of curry powder.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Parodied at the end of the episode "Boast Busters". Trixie uses a smoke bomb after being one-upped by Twilight Sparkle, but once the smoke clears we see her running off over the horizon.
    • Even got a Call-Back in "Magic Duel", when Trixie still fails at them, at one point even tripping and falling during the running-away part.
    • In "Luna Eclipsed", Zecora performs a Smoke In to make a dramatic entrance, as part of the special effects she uses to tell the spooky story of Nightmare Moon.
    • In "To Where and Back Again – Part 1", Trixie uses a smoke bomb to help her and Starlight Glimmer escape from Starlight's old village. This time, it works, as the smoke lingers longer and makes the ponies cough and clutch their eyes, so the two are far away by the time they recover.
    • In the next episode, "To Where and Back Again – Part 2", Trixie, with Thorax's help, uses her trademark exit trick to distract a changeling patrol. By taking Trixie's form, and with his knowledge of the hive's passages, Thorax and the magician can make it seem Trixie is doing quick, short-ranged teleportations.
    • In "Grannies Gone Wild", the magician Jack Pot (implied by Jim Miller to be Trixie's father) uses a smoke bomb after his Drowning Pit trick goes awry. Notably, he runs to the other side of the stage after setting off his smoke bomb.
  • Parodied twice in Phineas and Ferb.
    • In "Isabella and the Temple of Sap", a guru the Fireside Girls meet gives them advice then disappears in a puff of smoke. Gretchen points out that he just moved a little ways away.
    • In "Does This Duckbill Make Me Look Fat?", Dr. Doofenshmirtz is outclassed by Perry in Candace's body bids hir farewell and appears to speed off screen in a Doofenshmirtz-shaped cloud of smoke. When the smoke clears, he's standing there, looking surprised, and asks "What just happened?"
  • In Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja the eponymous Ninja uses smoke bombs for every entrance and exit of a battle.
  • Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner: Played with in "Fast and Furry-ous." The Coyote gets Acme Fleet-Foot Jet-Propelled Tennis Shoes, and test-runs them before the Road Runner arrives. First, the Road Runner makes his "BEEP BEEP" and starts his run with a dust cloud, the coyote in fast pursuit, only for the Road Runner to hold position. When the Coyote realizes the mistake and returnes, the Road Runner does the same trick again, and the coyote waits for the dust cloud to clear, only for the runner to escape. Cue the pursuit.
  • In the T.U.F.F. Puppy segment "Super Duper Crime Busters", Kitty overdoes this, smoking in and out of places with the words "Nowhere and Everywhere!" Dudley even tells her they can see her as she tends to go a few feet away to get something.
  • Archer: When Krieger gets caught breaking into a restricted area, he escapes by yelling the words "Smoke Bomb" and running away.
  • Smokescreen of The Transformers creates clouds of smoke that he uses to disorient opponents or help himself and his fellow Autobots escape pursuers.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: Khyber's pet has one of his predator forms, Buglizard, who possess the ability to produce smokes in order to confuse its enemies and escape or attack, much the same way than Squids and Octopuses would. It's played more or less realistically, in that the smoke usually cover enough area so Buglizard's disappearance would be credible, and he is actually shown escaping to the viewer in some scene. Also subverted in a flashback, where Khyber, when confronted to the actual Buglizard he got the sample from, merely used a gaz mask with infavision to counter the smoke.
  • Total Drama:
    • In one episode or Total Drama Island, Izzy uses this technique to vanish.
    • Inverted a couple of episodes later, when Chris uses the same technique to make an entrance.
    • In the All Stars episode "Suckers Punched" Jose uses the same technique to appear.
  • Young Justice:
    • This is a favourite trick of Chesire; dropping a smoke bomb and not being there when the smoke clears.
    • Batgirl does it to escape from Lobo in "Happy New Year".
  • Grojband has one episode where Mina used this technique to vanish along with Trina.
  • Spoofed in Johnny Bravo when a criminal is cornered by the police. He throws down a smoke bomb and laughs, but then the smoke clears and he's still standing there. He mutters that he forgot about running away.
  • Used in Avengers, Assemble! by Slinger (an Alternate Timeline version of Spider-Man) to escape Doctor Doom's Mecha-Mooks along with his "Defenders" friends. The grenades are clearly special, as the smoke they produce also hinders the robots' sensors.
  • Robotomy "Trials Of Robocles": Chief Suckerpunch smokes out after he explains Jockstrap Island but keeps coming back to respond to comments then smoke out again until he only creates a small puff.
    Suckerpunch: Just great, I ran out of magic smoke!
  • Gravity Falls has Grunkle Stan who uses this to get out of trouble at times. Unfortunately, he slips up in "The Stanchurian Candidate" by using an expired bomb that fizzles out.
  • Dinotrux has the Big Bad D-Structs who occasionally makes his escape by slamming his tail into the ground and disappearing in the dust kicked up. He doesn't do it often, but it never fails to impress the heroes whenever he does.
  • DuckTales (2017): In the season one finale "Day of the Ducks", a depowered Magica DeSpell has to resort to a smoke bomb in order to escape from Scrooge and his family. It doesn't work out so well, and she's seen stumbling away as the smoke clears.

    Real Life 
  • Squids and octopuses do an Ink Out when they feel threatened.
  • Smoke grenades typically aren't used right at the user's feet but can have the same effect. In fact it is most effective to throw the smoke grenade at the enemy so that he can't see anything. The closer the smoke grenade is to you, the easier it is to know where you are or if you leave that source of cover. However, if an enemy sniper has just shot your commander, you might not be able to immediately divine his location. In such cases, the best policy (after taking cover, of course) is to toss a smoke grenade near your own feet — even if the sniper knows you're somewhere in the cloud, he can't get a clear shot.
  • Smoke screens can be used to provide cover for a retreat (the enemy knows something's going on, but can't see exactly what).
  • Laying smoke is an extremely common tactic used in naval warfare. Particularly since it's incredibly easy for a ship to create a smokescreen, just by injecting fuel oil directly into the smokestacks, or on ships with steam engines by simply restricting air supply to the boilers. Not so much in modern times, as radar does limit its effectiveness, but used correctly can trick an enemy battle line into firing where you don't actually have ships.
  • Has been used in armored warfare since World War II; tanks fitted with smoke grenade launchers can create a smoke screen that allows them to withdraw from the enemy or provide cover for other units. In modern tank combat, smoke screens are often used to foil enemy targeting systems using smoke that's designed to block thermal imaging.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Smoke In, Smoke Bomb, Smoke Bombs, Smoke Screen


Aladdin (1992)

Jafar escapes his arrest.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / SmokeOut

Media sources:

Main / SmokeOut