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Step into the Blinding Fight

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Trapped in a pitch-black basement plus being stalked by a Serial Killer equals Nightmare Fuel

The Hero cannot see due to the villain's use of magic or technology to shut off, put out, or destroy light sources, thus pitching an area in darkness. Sometimes a character literally summons darkness or a mist or fog with magic or superpowers in order to invoke this. For the most disturbing applications, the hero's eyes are damaged, or worst yet: removed. In any case, this trope is when one character cannot view another character as they fight. From one direction a punch flies and hits their left cheek. From another direction a kick slams into their right knee. Uppercut to the chin; knee to the gut; roundhouse kick to the back. The hero gets his ass kicked.

If the method of blinding an enemy is to throw sand, a chemical, or some other foreign substance into their eye, then that's A Handful for an Eye, a subtrope of this one. If brightness is used to defeat a character, they've been Blinded by the Light.

Often invoked by the blind master to teach his pupil to not rely so much on his visual senses. A frequent occurrence in the Stealth-Based Game genre, as well as many video games with a stealth mechanic and a specialty of the Ninja.

Eye Scream Warning: Potential for Squick and Nightmare Fuel abounds.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece: Absalom uses this against Sanji while the latter tries to protect an unconscious Nami.
  • In Naruto, one forbidden ninjutsu that the Second Hokage uses on the Third causes darkness that blinds the target.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist there's a fight scene in the dark that renders some of the heroes unable to fight very well. Gluttony solves the problem by using his sense of smell; Ling and Lan Fan use the ability to sense homunculi that alkahestry provides.
  • Captain Tousen in Bleach uses this. His bankai creates a huge sphere of darkness (in which his blindness doesn't give him a disadvantage). Unfortunately for him, he was fighting Kenpachi, who just lets himself get stabbed to immobilize Tousen's sword and beat the crap out of him.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Babidi teleports everybody to the Planet of Darkness. Being a native of this planet, Yakkon can see in the dark. To Babidi and Yakkon's surprise, Goku still easily beats him up, as trained warriors can sense their opponents, and Goku can smell Yakkon as well.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Genkai holds a Tournament Arc to weed out the multitude of people who want to be her disciple. At one stage, the contestants have to fight each other in a pitch black room.
  • In a rare non-combat and heroic use of the trope, Takumi of Initial D will sometimes turn off his headlights in the middle of a race (which are always held at night) when overtaking his opponents. This serves to both prevent his opponents from blocking his approach and to freak them the hell out.
  • In Reborn to Master the Blade, the protagonist Inglis quickly realizes that a rich merchant's son, Rahl, is using a magical curse that slows down the reaction speed of anyone looking directly at him, rendering them easy prey in a "fair" duel. Inglis advises her cousin, Rafael, to beat Rahl without looking directly at him, and it works... until Rafeal runs into a wall from not looking at Rahl's position and is defeated. With her Chosen One power from the Goddess and her mastery over Aether, Inglis realizes that she could just nullify Rahl's power and render it harmless... but, instead chooses to literally fight him with her eyes closed as that would be more entertaining and Inglis lives for challenging fights. She wins, fending off Rahl until he trips, is struck, and forfeits in shame and exhaustion.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Often invoked by the titular hero with his use of shadows and smoke pellets to scare criminals. It disorients his enemies and make them easier to pick off one by one. In The Dark Knight Rises Bane was a member of the League Of Shadows and knows of their tricks of using darkness to distract enemies in battle, so when Batman tries to use these same tactics on Bane, he mocks him for it and goes into a Badass Boast about how he is made of Shadows.
  • Dr. Mid-Nite of the Justice Society of America and Dr. Midnight of Infinity, Inc. were both blind heroes who used blackout bombs to get a drop on their foes.
  • Daredevil:
    • He invokes this trope despite being blind himself. His superb hearing and "radar" senses allows him to "see" in the dark much to the disadvantage of the criminals who can actually see. While they're paranoid and distracted he's calm and controlled and kicks their asses.
    • Turned on its head though any time his superior senses are overloaded, such as when in the movie Bullseye causes a raucous of noise and disorients Daredevil thus making him "blind" to any attack Bullseye can impose on him.
  • The Ghost Rider villain Blackout suppresses all light sources in his presence.
  • Superman:
    • The Death of Luthor: Subverted. Luthor hurls a "grenade darkness", which blankets several city blocks with darkness, to loot a bank and get scot-free, but Supergirl -whose X-Ray Vision lets her see through the dark- steps between his gang and the getaway car.
    • Shadow Lass from the Legion of Super-Heroes can manipulate darkness and see in the dark, and so often blinds enemies with darkness. Night Girl can also see in the dark, and carries smoke bombs and devices that can shut off lights both to blind enemies and allow her to use her Super-Strength that only works in the dark.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge: Irys summons a cloud of shadow to let her temporarily gain an edge over Ghidorah, using her echolocation and comparatively smaller size to dart around him while he cannot see her.
  • Vow of Nudity: When Haara proves more dangerous than she expected, Umbra casts darkness to blind her, relying on her own True Sight and whip's range to attack with impunity.

    Films — Animation 
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Two examples, both in the first film:
    • When the Hideous Zippleback is released into the dragon-training arena, it's accompanied by white mist/smoke, which obscures the trainee Vikings' vision. This allows it to trick and defeat Astrid, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, Snoutlout, and Fishlegs, before the smoke clears and it's repelled by Hiccup.
    • Later in the film, Hiccup and Toothless use this trick against the Red Death, luring her into the clouds and then flying circles around her, striking when her back is turned and then retreating. This backfires when eventually the Red Death anticipates their movements and sets Toothless's prosthetic tail afire.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Invisible Maniac has both combatants in a fight doing this, due to Invisibility rather than loss of eyesight: both manage to shoot themselves up with an invisibility serum, and then they each go swinging wildly at an opponent they can't see, making the well-lit apartment room where they hold their final battle seem to be somehow trashing itself.
  • In the climax of Wait Until Dark a blind woman battles against a killer in her apartment; she destroys all the lamps so he is disoriented but she can react just fine. Too bad she missed one bulb.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: Jamie Gumb turns off the lights and stalks Agent Starling while wearing night-vision goggles.
  • There's a scene in The Chronicles of Riddick where Riddick is accosted by two soldiers, and responds by extinguishing the two candles in the room, plunging it into darkness. Riddick has the ability to see in the dark thanks to his "eye-shine". The soldiers don't, and get completely owned in the fight that follows.
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad: At the end Sinbad must fight Koura while Koura is invisible after being granted a "shield of darkness".
  • Millionaires' Express have a rather hilarious example when two martial artists (played by Jimmy Wang Yu and Shih Kien) who antagonizes each other, while on a train, tries to avoid a fight in the presence of their young sons. When the train passes a tunnel, one of them gets a black eye. When it passes a second tunnel, the other gets a bruised cheek. A third tunnel later, Jimmy Wang Yu is holding Shih Kien's foot, while their boys look at them in confusion.
  • Star Wars:
    • In The Phantom Menace, Jedi train The Younglings to fight blind/using only the Force by using the special darkness helmets.
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi has Luke do the same by having him wear a helmet with the blast shield down in A New Hope.
  • In Looker, the serial killer uses the L.O.O.K.E.R. gun's invisibility effect on people to knock Dr. Roberts around the Digital Matrix laboratory until he gets a special pair of glasses to shield himself from the effect. Dr. Roberts ends up using the L.O.O.K.E.R. gun on the serial killer to give him a Groin Attack before his escape with Cindy.
  • In Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Blackout causes his targets to perceive themselves as being in total darkness, while in reality the lights are on. When he uses his ability on Ghost Rider, the Rider's flames go out, though he manages to reignite them.
  • In Ultraviolet (2006), the final villain plunges the room into total darkness, explaining that he can see in the dark. Violet counters by lighting her sword on fire.
  • The final warrior in Game of Death is defeated this way. Bruce Lee's character is outmatched until he breaks all the windows — his opponent is sensitive to light.
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico: Agent Sands ends up getting his eyes gouged out by the local drug cartel and set loose to wander the city blindly. With a local boy helping him by playing spotter, he manages to shoot and kill a cartel thug who had been following him (after entirely failing to hit the guy at all on the first try due to a miscommunication with the boy). Later on, without the boy's help, he takes down two cartel thugs during the film's climactic shoot out, by listening for the sounds of them laughing at him.
  • Zatoichi has this as one of its signature tropes, since it stars Blind Weaponmaster Trope Codifier Ichi. While he's more than capable of fighting in the light, Ichi prefers to cut out any light sources, leaving his attackers stumbling around while he has a lifetime's experience fighting blind. He even has a Catchphrase: "Darkness is my advantage".

  • Pendragon: The Blind Master Training occurs in a book of the series. Bobby is blindfolded and asked to feel his trainers' presences.
  • In the David Morrell thriller The Fraternity Of The Stone, the assassin is shown in a flashback being trained via a dark room exercise — the lesson is to not blunder around looking for the enemy but remain perfectly still and wait for him to make a noise. Unfortunately later in the novel he's lured into a dark room by someone who had the exact same training that he did. So who moves first?
  • The Fionavar Tapestry: The Dragon Galadan kills the lights when he ambushes Paul and Jennifer, taking advantage of his Innate Night Vision. They immediately escape via Dimensional Travel rather than even try to engage him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted in an episode of Angel where a blind assassin can sense motion including heartbeats and breath-falls. Angel, as a vampire lacks both a pulse and the necessity to inhale or exhale, so when he stands completely still, the assassin is incapable of seeing him.
  • An episode of Grimm had a fly Wesen capable of spewing a certain parasite into his victims' eyes which blinded them (and after a while the parasites would completely eat out their eyes). After he blinds Nick, the Wesen later tries to use this to his advantage in an attack, but Nick's developed enhanced hearing and ends up winning.
  • Justified by the weeping angels in Doctor Who; they become "quantum-locked" and completely incapable of moving when being observed by other living things, so they've developed abilities that let them drain power from light sources when in statue-form, making it easier to approach their prey.
  • The Highlander episode "The Darkness" involves a Hunter who would lure Immortals to a room in his house with no light. He wears night-vision goggles, so he can see but the Immortal can't. When he tries this on Duncan, Duncan manages to light a match, blinding the man and allowing Duncan to see and kill him.
  • An episode of Batman (1966) involves an alchemist named Dr. Cassandra, who has invented invisibility pills. She gets all the major villains from the show together, then gives each of them a pill. This leads to a hilarious fight scene with Batman, Robin and Batgirl getting beat up by invisible foes. They manage to regroup and turn the fight around after Batman shoots out the lights with his Bat-laser.
  • The titular detective in an episode of Monk fights a killer who strikes during power outages with a pair of night-vision goggles. When the police come in and turn on the lights, he demands they turn the lights back out because he is winning.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Lower Decks", Worf offers Ensign Sito the opportunity to advance to a higher level in his martial arts class by completing a blindfolded combat challenge. Worf proceeds to knock her on her butt in a series of unbroken victories. She calls him out on the unfairness of the challenge, and is commended for passing it.
    Worf: But perhaps next time you are judged unfairly, it will not take so many bruises for you to protest.
  • Game of Thrones: In "No One", Arya Stark defeats the Waif by luring her into a dark room and putting out the candle. Arya had spent part of the season blind, giving her experience navigating in the dark.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons naturally has both invisibility and darkness spells and creatures that can create either effect as a natural ability; dark elf warriors in particular are somewhat infamous for just dropping darkness on both themselves and their enemies in battle, knowing they have trained for that situation and their foes (especially surface dwellers) probably have not. And even if their opponent was trained to fight while blind, it was still often a useful tactic for the dark elves due to their sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Possible to invoke using the Obtenebration Discipline of Clan Lasombra in Vampire: The Masquerade, as the second power "Shroud of Night", allows the Vampire to create a pitch black darkness that blinds everyone within it but themselves.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Echo has a variant; instead of fighting, the player must flee from enemies that they can't otherwise see.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons:
      • Agunima is fought in a pitch-black room, where he's invulnerable. To beat him, Link must light the room's torches to restore light to it and remove Agunima's invulnerability.
      • In the final fight against the Poe Sisters, they cause their room to gradually darken unless Link lights the torches scattered around it. If the room ever plunges into full darkness, Link is sent back to the dungeon entrance and must return to and begin the battle anew.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: After its weak spot is hit several times, the Gemesaur King roars and snuffs out every torch in the room, plunging the arena into darkness. Link must then relight the torches while dodging the beast's attacks, temporarily stunning it before it snuffs out the light again.
  • League of Legends: Nocturne's ultimate "Paranoia" turns the whole map dark blocking the enemy team's sight of their enemies and each other for 4 seconds. During this time Nocturne can choose one of the enemies and launch himself at him/her, attacking from the darkness.
  • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories: The ultimate skill of the Succubus class is called "Nightmare", and it involves surrounding the enemy with darkness and launch an unseen beatdown. Can be seen here.
  • Touhou:
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, the Illuminator Heartless assists Captain Barbossa by shrouding the area in darkness. This not only conceals them, but makes Barbossa invincible because he can only be harmed in the moonlight. The Illuminator has to be killed first to lift the darkness and make Barbossa vulnerable.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Big Smoke switches out the lights and puts on night vision goggles when up against CJ.
  • In God of War (PS4), Magni and Modi have a tactic called The Snowblind. Magni will slam his greatsword over Modi's shield, which would create a momentary storm that hides them from their opponents. During this time, both brothers would attack their enemies while they were separated and disorientated. Kratos works around this by having him and Atreus stay in one place, forcing Magni and Modi to come to him.
  • In Star Wars Battlefront II (2017), Lando has a smoke grenade that blinds everyone in his vicinity, but the player can see enemies by turning on Lando's thermal goggles, which spotlight enemy heat signatures in the smoke.

  • In Goblins, Thaco attempts to exploit the fact that he can see in the dark by luring Dellyn into a sewer before fighting him, and blocking off all the manholes so the sewer is pitch black. Dellyn, however, subverts this by casting a spell that provides him with a light source, rendering Thaco's advantage moot.

    Western Animation 
  • For Robin in an episode of Teen Titans (2003) he went on a quest and one of the trials was to fight a blind snake in his own element, a dark cave with zero light. He eventually has to learn to try to stop seeing his enemy and start hearing and feeling where the master is.
  • Cleverly used in the Samurai Jack episode "Samurai Vs Ninja": Jack matches an assassin's mastery of the dark by using identical tactics, only wearing stark white and hidden in the glare of sunlight. Since they're fighting immediately before sunset, the fight quickly becomes a race up the tower they're using as a battleground so Jack can keep up with the shrinking areas of sunlight.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man (2012), Spider-Man and White Tiger turned off the lights and used night-vision to get an advantage over Taskmaster. Taskmaster boasted that he could easily navigate the room with his Photographic Memory, only to find that the two heroes moved everything in the room after turning off the lights.
  • In her debut episode, Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender fought against seven powerful Earthbenders all on her own. She took out several of them by conjuring up a huge cloud of dirt. Because of her Disability Superpower that allows her to see by sensing vibrations in the ground, she could "see" them, but they couldn't see her.


Video Example(s):


God of War - Magni & Modi

During the fight between Kratos and Thor's 2 sons (Magni & Modi), they have a combination attack that blinds you while they circle you and try to attack.

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Example of:

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