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Suicide Attack

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"I will die for our cause!" Wait a minute, what cause?
"Suicide fucking bombing, there's a bright idea! Every time there's a bang, the world's a wanker short...I want to see the instructor: 'Right lads, I'm only going to show you this once!' Fucking pricks."

A cousin to Taking You with Me and a technique used by the Cornered Rattlesnake, a Suicide Attack is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: an attack where the attacker has every intention of sacrificing himself to destroy his target. Suicide attacks are mostly associated with explosives nowadays, either strapped to the body or packed in a vehicle. However, this trope is actually Older Than Steam, with the first recorded example occurring in 162 BC. Truth in Television, needless to say (terrorists do this all the freakin' time).

Some involuntary instances are cases of Why Am I Ticking?.

Action Bomb is when this is treated as a Heroic Sacrifice rather than a case of We Have Reserves. Unlike Why Am I Ticking? (where the person rigged with explosives has been so rigged against his or her will, and is perhaps unaware of it until the kaboom) it's voluntary either way. When the trope is considered to be Suicide Attack, though, the bomber has usually been indoctrinated to believe it to be noble and just. Needless to say, this means that the Suicide Attacker is more often than not a terrorist suicide bomber, or a mook for an Evil Empire that has reserves, and either way they're a Card-Carrying Villain. (The Redshirt Army sometimes uses Suicide Attacks too, though if the good guys are resorting to this, the work is probably using Grey-and-Gray Morality at best.)

An Action Bomb is the straight-up heroic version, who blows himself up to make absolutely certain that his explosive is killing the Big Bad or one of his most dangerous subordinates, or outright destroying the Big Bad's lair/superweapon/plans/army/evil stuff. Furthermore, the Action Bomb resorts to this after considering all other options and deciding that they just won't do enough damage to the enemy in a timely enough fashion, or more commonly, when circumstances such as being under attack or captured by the bad guys prevent the formulation or execution of a less risky plan. Finally, the Action Bomb sometimes survives his attack, while the Suicide Attack is in virtually all cases Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

In realistic settings the Suicide Attack is almost always an explosion but in fantastic settings it can take many other forms. Compare Cast from Hit Points in which life must be sacrificed and perhaps irreparably damaged, but not necessarily ended.

This is closely related to Murder-Suicide and Taking You with Me. Can be combined with External Combustion if the attacker drives a vehicle filled with explosives to their target. Contrast with Suicide Mission, where survival is unlikely but self-sacrifice is not mandatory.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Played With in Assassination Classroom with three students making Nagisa Shiota try to kill Koro-sensei with a neckless grenade. However this method would only kill Koro-sensei due to the grenades explosion propelling bullets that only deal damage to Koro-Sensei at him. The thing is that Koro-sensei sees this as a reckless suicidal attack and scolds the students for engaging in such a incompetent attempt to take a life.
  • Armitage III: The villain D'anclaude has a habit of turning second-generation robots into walking bombs.
  • Played for Laughs in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts. Class F, the worst class, is at war with Class B. They seem to be having some trouble, until the Class F leader gives Akihisa a secret weapon. He tells his classmates that the Class B rep is dating the Class C rep, which enrages them and causes them to blow their characters up in the summoner war in order to take out the much stronger Class B students. It largely works, although the Class B rep has a trick of his own...
  • Choujin Sensen: Baron swallows a live grenade and forcibly grabs onto Tomobiki in an attempt to take out his target.
  • The second episode of The Cockpit is about a kamikaze squadron.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The Mafuba (Evil Containment Wave) from the original series, which Master Mutaito used to imprison Piccolo. Roshi attempts to reseal him with it, but fails and dies in vain. However, a sufficiently powerful and young user can survive the technique: Tenshinhan did when he tried it against Piccolo (though he was severely weakened and, had Goku not pulled a Big Damn Heroes, he would've been defenseless against any upcoming attacks), and Kami was able to use it against Piccolo Jr (though had it reversed on him and was himself briefly sealed). And then Future Trunks did it in Dragon Ball Super. And later in Super, Roshi has become sufficiently stronger that he's able to use it three times without dying. Though the third attempt almost killed him.
    • Dragon Ball Z:
      • The Saibaman's self-destruct attack is the only instance in the entire series that kills its target as intended, and now Yamcha forever bears the shame of having been killed by cannon fodder.
      • Chiaotzu tried this on Nappa. He died, Nappa didn't.
      • Later, Tien tried to avenge him with the Kikoho (Tri-Beam), an attack so deadly that it eats up the life of its user, with the objective of both killing Nappa and killing himself, so he would see Chiaotzu again. It didn't work either, presumably because he was already badly injured before attempting it.
      • Android #16 tries to destroy Cell by grappling him and activating the self-destruct system Dr. Gero built into all his Androids...and unfortunately, that's when he learns that Bulma removed the bomb when they were rebuilding him; Cell doesn't waste any time in destroying him. More's the shame, Cell's reaction suggests that it might have actually worked.
      • There's one example of a self-destruct successfully killing a target, but falling short of the intended effect. When Cell's fight with Gohan wasn't going as planned, in desperation he opted to take everybody with him via a self-destruct so powerful it would destroy the entire planet. What Cell failed to account for was that Goku could grab Cell and teleport him off the planet before the explosion.
      • In the Buu Saga, Vegeta figures out since Majin Buu can regenerate From a Single Cell, the only way to kill him for good is to destroy him all at once, and performs a Sphere of Destruction attack that expends his life energy (somehow causing his body to turn to stone in the process). Unfortunately, he failed to get all of Buu with the attack.
      • In Super, Vegeta pulls the same move on Toppo during the Tournament of Power. Not only does he succeed in eliminating his opponent, his increased strength in the intervening years allows him to survive with only his armor ruined!
    • In Dragon Ball GT, Goku attempted a suicide attack on Omega Shenron which appeared to be a mixed of Chiaotzu and Vegeta's suicide attacks, he grabbed Omega and was going to release all the energy in his body at once. He was stopped by Vegeta who reminded him of his own lack of success with that technique.
  • Digimon
    • In Digimon Adventure, Angemon's first appearance has him put all of his power, along with much of the other Digimon's power, into one attack to destroy Devimon. It works… and Angemon is immediately reincarnated as a Digi-Egg, though Patamon doesn't reach that stage again for almost thirty episodes.
    • In Digimon Adventure 02 Magnamon calls this attack...Extreme Jihad.
  • Played straight twice, in rapid succession, at the climax of F-Zero: GP Legend. As the Dark Reactor is Going Critical, Captain Falcon rams his machine into Black Shadow's, preventing the latter from driving away but ensuring that both machines get caught in the ensuing explosion. Black Shadow then ejects from his machine, attempting to jump away from the explosion while ranting about how he won't allow his dream to end; Captain Falcon's response is to eject from his machine and deliver a Shut Up, Hannibal! Megaton Punch, causing the both of them to fall into and be engulfed by the explosion.
  • Towards the end of Fullmetal Alchemist, Fu tries to pull this on Wrath by leaping at him with a belt full of lit dynamite. Wrath cuts the fuses off the dynamite and disembowels him with one stroke.
    • Fortunately, Buccaneer exploits the distraction to pull off his own example of this trope.
      Buccaneer: We'll take him to hell together.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig episode "Ambivalence". Section 9 has to deal with a series of suicide bombings carried out by Asian refugees in Japan in retaliation to the terrorist strikes against the refugees by the Individual Eleven. One of the bombers is a young girl with the detonator in her mouth. Fortunately Bateau isn't fooled by the fact that she's got her hands up.
  • In "Fearless", an enemy of Golgo 13 tries to kill him by kidnapping and brainwashing people who have survived a Near-Death Experience and therefore no longer have a fear of death. Thus Golgo 13 finds himself being attacked by apparently ordinary citizens who are carrying suicide bombs. Golgo of course survives these attacks, pointing out that it's the fear of death that keeps him from dying.
  • In The Hating Girl the Mad Bomber who's been attacking schools attempts to blow himself up and take the female lead with him as a final stab at the "normal" people he hates.
  • The events of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade are set in motion when the protagonist hesitates to shoot a young girl armed with a suicide bomb.
  • Highway To Hell from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a Stand that inflicts damage taken by the user onto a target, apparently requiring the user to try and kill themself in order to use it to kill anyone else. This becomes a pretty dangerous ability in the hands of its Death Seeker user Thunder McQueen.
  • In the final battle of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, practically all of Ribbons' forces are clones piloting MS designed only to use Trans Am and crash into the enemies.
  • In One Piece, during the events of the Whole Cake Island arc, Pedro does this in an attempt to kill Charlotte Perospeoro and allow the Straw Hats to escape. He succeeds in the latter, but fails in the former as Perospero is seen immeadiately afterwards still alive, although he does end up losing his entire right arm.
  • In Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! several Neo Team Galactic members plant a bomb in the middle of Stadium when a Pokemon championship is going on. Alas they seemingly forgot they were in the middle of a Pokemon championship, and the trainers find the bomb and surround it with Light Screen.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Kyouko does this against Oktavia by ''destroying her own Soul Gem. Given that Oktavia is Sayaka's witch form, the undertones here are... odd.
  • At the end of Samurai Champloo, main character Jin, facing a superior swordsman he can't beat, uses a technique that opens his guard completely to get in a counter-attack, leading to both men stabbing each other fatally. Jin actually survives by a freak chance, but states that he wasn't expecting to.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: Done by Mister Drama when he discovered he would die of cancer in a few weeks. Wishing to go out in a blaze of glory, he pretends to be The Underlord to lure the original Jack-in-the-Box to an underground lair, then blows it up to kill them both.
  • Firestorm (DC Comics): In her first public appearance, Plastique attempted a suicide bombing against the New York Herald-Express with a set of bombs attached to her costume, only to have the original Firestorm disarm her by vaporizing her clothes, leaving her naked and humiliated. Later, via genetic modification commissioned by her organization, Plastique gained the power to project explosive force from her body.
  • In Holy Terror, the terrorists attack with suicide bombers before sending in jets and stinger missiles.
  • Hunter's Hellcats: In Our Fighting Forces #117, the Nazis recruit a band of Middle Eastern fanatics who stage suicide bomb attacks on French trains. The Nazis then claims these explosions were the result of Allied bombing raids as part of a False Flag Operation.
  • This is the mode of operation for Darkseid's Suicide Jockeys as introduced in the pages of Orion.
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye introduced K-Class Decepticons, Decepticons who have their alternate mode replaced with that of a bomb. These individuals are either fanatically devoted to the cause or criminals sentenced to this as a pragmatic form of execution.
  • The Ultimates: Captain America manages to jump to the rocket and, with some explosives, destroy the internal guidance system, so that it goes off-course. He saves the United States, at the cost of his life (or so it seemed for everybody, including him).
  • In V for Vendetta, V uses this as a threat against the receptionist at the BTN building.
  • Worst X Man Ever is about a boy who discovers his mutant power of being able to explode and promptly die, thus meaning that he faces the fear and prejudice that mutants face without any of the potential benefits. His powers eventually drew the attention of Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, who want to use him to assassinate Xavier. In the end, he uses his ability to kill off his former classmate, who killed Xavier and took over the world.

    Fan Works 
  • This is the final action the hero does in I Did Not Want To Die.
  • Ash's Zorua in Legendarily Popular can use the "Beat Up" move to draw on all of Ash's pokémon, including 29 dragons and a bunch of Legendary Pokémon. It inflicts tremendous damage, but the strain of using it causes Zorua to immediately faint.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, a four-year-old Izuku remembers All Might's battle with Lord Death Man, a supervillain whose regenerative Quirk would allow him to survive the explosion of a powerful bomb that he strapped to his chest. All Might circumvents this by using his Oklahoma Smash to fling Lord Death Man far away just as the bomb is about to go off. Izuku tries to replicate this when Bakugou is busy clinging to him and firing off explosion after explosion, only to gape in horror when Bakugou goes flying through a brick wall.
  • Pretty much ordered by Jakobs military command in Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover—pitting a pair of destroyers against a huge, advanced super-dreadnaught isn't considered a sound tactic. Those under Jakobs' command know this is what will happen, but go with it because My Company, Right or Wrong.
  • We Ditched the Graveyard Early: Harry watches Pensieve memories of Dumbledore fighting Voldemort, and notices Dumbledore intentionally leaving openings in his defences, but of a kind that Voldemort would have to overextend himself to take.
    Dumbledore was willing to die so long as he took Voldemort down with him.
    Voldemort was not, and so he ran.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • 30 Days of Night: Beau sets off several sticks of dynamite while the vampires rush him, but survives. Marlow kills him.
  • Captive State: Mulligan launches one on the aliens in Chicago at the end, destroying their colony and setting off revolts around the globe.
  • Contact: Joseph, a Christian fundamentalist, blows up the machine with a suicide vest believing that it's somehow against God.
  • Executive Decision. A sweat-covered man in an overcoat walks into a London restaurant and gives everyone an Oh, Crap! moment before blowing them to bits. Turns out the plane hijacking which is the main plot is also this — supposedly a hostage exchange, the plane is carrying nerve gas in its cargo and it's made clear the Big Bad never actually intended to properly land.
  • From Paris with Love has a band of terrorists who are planning such an attack. The main character's girlfriend turns out to have been convinced into being the main delivery method. It fails, of course, though the climax is somewhat unsatisfactory as the only real explanation for their suicidal efforts is along the lines of "because reasons".
  • In The Godfather Part II, while Michael Corleone is visiting Cuba during the Cuban Revolution, he witnesses a communist guerrilla blowing up both himself and a few government soldiers with a hand grenade. He later kills Hyman Roth by sending a man willing to get gunned down by his FBI escort so long as Roth dies first to do the job.
  • The Grey Zone: Many of the Sonderkommando blow themselves up detonating the explosive to destroy the crematorium, and they are fine with that. Most wanted to die as a result of being broken by their work.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Ronan orders his Necrocraft pilots to dive-bomb the city as a distraction for the Nova Corps.
  • Independence Day:
    • The good guys have an epiphany over the alien ship's weak point, but nobody has any missiles left - save for one, which malfunctions. With no other choice to stop the all-destroying enemy attack, the pilot of the malfunctioning jet pilots it straight in said weak point. Boom go the missile, the jet, the pilot and the gigantic alien ship.
    • It's made far more explicit in the rejected original ending, which had the pilot not participate in the battle in a jet, but instead turn up with a huge bomb tied to his crop-duster biplane. In other words, Fridge Logic suggests that he went with the plan from the outset knowing he was going to blow himself up. The filmmakers recognised how Narmy this idea was and changed it to the famously poignant Heroic Sacrifice we know today.
  • In the Fade: In the finale, Katja kills herself and the murderers of her family using a homemade bomb.
  • Jojo Rabbit: Fraulein Rahm sends Hitler Youth boys out with grenades for the battle, telling them to "hug" American soldiers.
  • Logan: Caliban goes out by detonating some grenades against his captors and kills himself in the process.
  • The War Boys in Mad Max: Fury Road, who are dying of radiation poisoning anyway and have a religious belief that their leader Immortan Joe will resurrect them in Valhalla. The attacks include leaping on their enemies with explosive-head spears, or flooding their vehicle with their own fuel to make it into a car bomb.
  • The Magnificent Seven (2016): Farrady does this: using a stick of dynamite to blow himself up, but destroying the enemy Gatling gun in the process.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian
    • The "Judean People's Front's Crack Suicide Squad" committed mass suicide by killing themselves with swords. Famous last line: "That will show em!"
    • No Roman soldier may have died, but they did all run away in terror!
  • This scene from the Korean film My Way. The Japanese soldiers don't have anti-tank weapons when taking on Soviet tanks in Manchuria, so they... improvise. It fails, though, because they only managed to take out the first wave of tanks, and the Soviets have a lot more in reserve.
  • Overlord (2018): The Americans use a captured German to launch an unwilling one on his own side.
  • The Promise (2016): Garin uses dynamite to blow up a Turk who killed another prisoner, killing himself in doing so.
  • Rakka. A woman attempts to use a suicide bomb against an alien patrol. The aliens recognise that she's carrying explosives and shoot her before she can get close enough, but she does succeed in preventing them from noticing the other bomb set up by Nosh, which he detonates, successfully destroying the patrol. Possibly this was the plan all along, given that we see Nosh negotiating with the Rebel Leader to provide him with expendable people (those who are too sick to fight) who can be used as The Bait.
  • In the 1996 film adaptation of The Secret Agent, Robin Williams plays a nihilistic mad bomber who goes around with dynamite strapped to his body at all times. He blows himself up at the end in a crowded street, seemingly for no other reason except annoyance at the people around him.
  • The Siege: The terrorists launch several, such as blowing up a bus with the people who they took hostage inside, or more fantastically driving into the FBI office and destroying the whole building with a truck bomb. At the end, Samir plans to bomb a protest march against internment of Arab-Americans, justifying this by saying it makes an optimal target and they'll be martyrs as well.
  • In Speed, Howard Payne threatens this in the beginning while holding Harry hostage. Unfortunately for him, Jack's earlier Shoot the Hostage discussion with Harry comes into play, depriving Payne of his hostage. The bomb was fake, anyway, just to make the LAPD think he was dead long enough for Plan B.
  • Star Wars:
    • In Return of the Jedi, the A-Wing of Rebel pilot Arvel Crynyd is critically damaged during the battle over Endor and he happens to be close to the Executor's command bridge, so what does he do? Crashes his ship into said command bridge, causing the gigantic Star Dreadnought to crash on the new Death Star, which turns the tide of the battle as a result.
    • The Last Jedi:
      • The Resistance bombers sacrifice themselves to destroy the First Order Dreadnought that was about to obliterate the Resistance's command ship.
      • Vice-Admiral Amilyn Holdo buys time to the Resistance remnants in spectacular fashion by turning her command ship's hyperdrive on... right in the face of the Supremacy, Supreme Leader Snoke's monstrous flagship, and ramming it at lightspeed. The resulting blast cuts said ship in half and destroys about half the surrounding First Order fleet.
  • Implied in the Tom Cruise version of The War of the Worlds where it's mentioned that the Japanese were able to destroy one of the giant alien tripods. Presumably because, you know, the Japanese have a tradition for that sort of thing (kamikaze attacks I mean, not giant mecha). Presumably they let one of themselves be 'eaten' with grenades attached. Tom Cruise does this but is fortunately pulled free from the alien orifice by his fellow captors, leaving the grenades behind.
  • Spoofed in the comedy Water (1985). Michael Caine and the Cascaran Liberation Front seize the Spenco well and threaten to blow it up using dynamite strapped to a CLF member's body. First Caine can't get his lighter to work, then the CLF guy promptly faints when he does.
  • Wrong is Right: The Eye of Gaza terrorists have plastic explosives surgically implanted beneath their skin so they can smuggle bombs onto airplanes. They start blowing themselves up in front of news cameras as a political protest, and their leader announces that a demonstration will take place in Washington D.C. The city is locked down, only for a stolen police helicopter to turn up and three women to parachute out and blow themselves up in mid-air, one of them a female American terrorist the Intrepid Reporter interviewed earlier in the movie.

  • What does the suicide bomber instructor say to his class? "Pay attention, I'm only going to do this once." Er, by the way, truth is stranger than fiction.
  • A man was working in the Middle East, but being away from home was depressing him greatly. He called the local suicide hotline and the counselors got all excited, asking "Can you drive a truck?"

  • Aftermath: Life Debt: Some of the Imperial TIE fighters start making suicide runs against New Republic ground forces when it's clear that the Empire is losing during a battle.
  • Black Fleet Crisis:
    • Some of the Yevethan starfighters launch themselves against New Republic ships in suicide runs at the Battle of N'Zoth.
    • Plat Maller does this as well, ramming a Yevethan ship with his fighter that was intending to do the same against the cruiser he'd launched from.
  • A wizard's death curse in The Dresden Files involves the wizard using up their entire available store of energy, including the part that keeps their body running, to cast a single spell. Due to the sheer power behind them, a death curse is an order of magnitude greater than regular spells.
  • The backstory to "Frictional Losses" by John W. Campbell mentioned the Japanese super-charging airplane engines, packing the planes full of explosives, and crashing them into enemy ships. The enemy in Campbell's story were extraterrestrials, and once the Japanese gave us the idea, the rest of Earth's nations started using kamikazes against the aliens, too, which is why they didn't wipe out humanity entirely (they did nuke Japan off the face of the Earth). He wrote this story in 1936.
  • In the Gaunt's Ghosts story Necropolis, a group of stranded workers of the war-torn Vervunhive banded together to fight off the invaders of their home, with military forces happening to meet and aid them. Their enemies have tanks; the workers' leader explained they've adapted wraps of mining charges that they have run up and attached to said tanks. This being the Imperium, the workers have used the method diligently. The military officer's initial surprise at hearing about such dangerous tactics being constantly employed quickly turns to awe at the workers' courage and determination.
    "How many tanks have you taken out with that method?"
    "Twenty-four, I think."
    "How many men has it cost you?"
    "Twenty-four, of course."
  • It Can't Happen Here: Mary Jessup Greenhill plans to assassinate Judge Effingham Swan to avenge her dead husband by chasing him down midair and throwing a grenade into his plane. She misses, so instead deliberately collides with him.
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul: Isabel is killed by one of the kids Candace's ex was training to be a suicide bomber.
  • The Locked Tomb: Gideon the Ninth: One Necromancer deliberately invokes a Super-Power Meltdown on himself, turning his Mana reserves into a tremendous explosion in an attempt to kill the nigh-invulnerable Humanoid Abomination Cytherea. It only weakens her.
  • The Green Storm in the Mortal Engines series uses this in the form of Tumblers, bombs that are designed to be dropped from airships, piloted to a specific location by their operatives, and detonated. Notably, the Storm has access to Stalker technology and could conceivably program A.I.s to pilot the bombs, but why bother when they have so many young men and women willing to die for their cause?
  • Redwall: While faced with some overwhelming odds, both Luke the Warrior and the badger lord of Salamandastron Stonepaw pull one of these on their enemies, doubling as Taking You with Me.
  • In the Safehold series, Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn creates "Project Rakurai", which is designed around the use of such bombers carrying wagons loaded with gunpowder as the bombs.
  • The Big Bad of Scorpius, an Arms Dealer who specializes in trading with terrorists, established a cult to produce suicide bombers for profit.
  • In Shards of Honor, the Barrayarans cover their retreat from Escobar by having a ship self-destruct in the middle of a wormhole, making the wormhole unusable for weeks afterward.
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch novels, the Romulans send ships to make suicide runs on planets at warp speed. One such world is Coridan; the attack causes an antimatter explosion that kills a billion people and leaves the world aflame. Two hundred years later, even though the population has recovered, dilithium fires still burn on Coridan; indeed, the Burning Sea is a tourist attraction. The Romulans went on to do the same thing to the planet Draylax.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Shardbearers are One Man Armies with Soul Cutting Blades and Magitek Powered Armor. If you don't have Shards of your own, any attack against them is a suicide attack, a desperate move to do enough damage to the armor that eventually someone will be able to kill the Shardbearer within. The person who actually strikes the killing blow wins the Shards for himself.
  • Wizards can do this in the Sword of Truth books with Wizard's Life Fire, a spell that uses their life force to consume their surroundings.
  • In the Alternate History series, Timeline-191, suicide bombers are called "People Bombs". The tactic was invented by the Mormons during the Second Great War and later adopted by Black Marxists, Armenians, and other resistance groups.
  • Tree of Aeons: After defeating several demon king cycles, the current generation of summoned heroes are weary of the constant struggle, and know that they can't last forever — so they rig up powerful kamikaze attacks, pouring their souls into attacks that destroy the next demon king but kill them in the process. (Since their deaths mean reincarnating back on Earth, on some level they welcome the exchange.)
  • In Unwind, clappers are terrorists who are injected with an explosive substance — so when they start clapping, you know you're in trouble. At one point, Connor and Risa spontaneously start applauding to create panic and escape. Lev, Vincent, and Mai become clappers themselves after certain disillusioning events for each, though Lev realizes he can't go through with it at the last moment.

    Live-Action TV 
  • During 24 Day 8, Marcos (a half-Kamistani) does this mostly to avenge his father. He did surrender and asked for his vest to come off, but it exploded anyway due to failsafe.
  • Babylon 5: The Season 3 finale sees Sheridan invited to the Shadow homeworld. Knowing it's a trap to either kill or brainwash him, he programs his ship's computer to deliver a nuclear strike to the Shadow's capitol while he's inside.
  • Battlestar Galactica had this tactic used by both the Cylons and the Colonials in differing circumstances.
  • Breaking Bad: Hector allows Walter to wire a bomb to the underside of his wheelchair in a Batman Gambit to kill their mutual enemy, Gus Fring. Right before Gus is about to kill Hector with a lethal injection, Hector rings the bell he uses to communicate to trigger the bomb, killing himself, Gus, and Gus's enforcer Tyrus (who had the misfortune to be in the room). Gus lives just a few seconds longer than the others, surviving just long enough to walk out of the room and readjust his tie before succumbing to his injures.
  • The plot of Caprica is initiated by a suicide bombing. On board a mag-lev train, Ben reveals a suicide-bomber jacket, which he detonates in the name of the one true god, killing himself, Zoe, and many other passengers.
  • Colony: Red Hand uses this against government targets, recruiting men who have nothing to lose (the one we see is already dying) using sex with a female operative as a tool. He attempts to flee when he's gotten discovered, and the bomb gets detonated remotely instead. Mia volunteers to blow the alien ship up later this way too.
  • In the Community episode "Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne", Pierce rides a nuke straight into the giant golem body of his father, killing himself in the explosion but also weakening Cornelius to the point where Gilbert was able to make a final hit and claim his inheritance.
    Pierce: Look at me now, dad!
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Day of the Daleks". Two suicide bombings in that one, both against Daleks.
    • The Daleks themselves do this in "Destiny of the Daleks", despite having said earlier that suicide for a cause isn't logical.
    • In "School Reunion", a Krillitane doused with their own oil will explode. K9 utilises this to blow up all of them, himself, and a good chunk of the school. Needless to say, the kids go wild.
  • The Expanse: A Belter who's been pushed one time too many flies his ship straight into the Martians who messed him over.
    A man's got to stand up!
  • In Farscape, this tactic is employed by the Hynerians, of all people (though as a last resort against a superior enemy). After the Charrids invaded their space (devouring more than a million Hynerian children in the process), Dominar Rygel IX ordered endless waves of suicide attacks against the much more capable Charrid forces. As the grievous war took its toll on the Dominar, he eventually decided to lead one such wave. This strategy eventually proved successful in driving the invaders out of Hynerian territory.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: The new Ofglen commits a suicide bombing against the gathered Commanders at the opening of the Red Center, while giving her fellow Handmaids for them to get away. However, more of them were in fact actually killed than Commanders nonetheless. This shows why bombings are generally a bad idea, even when the intended targets (like here) are what most would view as legitimate.
  • Humans: Mia triggers a device to destroy Hester which also affects her. She's revived afterward though.
  • L.A.'s Finest: Nancy is traumatized by having survived a suicide bombing while in Iraq.
  • In Lie to Me, two young men blow themselves up in what seem to be suicide terrorist attacks. It turns out they are innocent and unaware, having been given remote-controlled bombs disguised as innocuous items.
  • In the beginning of the season 3 finale (and almost series finale) of The Mentalist, the cold opening has a suspicious guy arriving to a convenience store, only to end up blowing himself up. It turns out he was actually an innocent victim: He was forced to carry an explosive device on him in order to deliver transaction records to the guy responsible, the clerk of the convenience store, and he unfortunately caught the attention of some police who happened to be nearby, forcing the clerk to blow him up.
  • Lost Girl: In "Blood Lines" Aoife kills and injures many of the fae elders through having a thrall commit a suicide bombing while they're meeting.
  • The Mandalorian: IG-11 self-destructs, taking out the nearby Stormtroopers to help Mando and The Child escape by doing so.
  • The Man in the High Castle: Frank and Sara attempt to bomb the Kenpeitai headquarters, but are caught, so they detonate the explosive with them still inside. It turns out that Frank survives however.
  • Messiah: Samir is tasked to commit one by Islamic extremists so Jibril's message will be stopped. He backs out at the last second, though unfortunately the bomb is detonated by his handler remotely.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus. What makes the Queen's McKamikaze Highlanders so keen to kill themselves? ("The money's good..." "And the water skiing!") Sapper McDonald (the only member of the unit to survive training, and that only because he was forcibly restrained) is recruited to infiltrate Russia and retrieve secret documents.
  • Next (2020): Next manipulates a far-right militant into a suicide bombing against the FBI office where the agents after it work, helping him to get inside.
  • Oz. IRA terrorist Connelly constructs a homemade bomb to blow up Em City in revenge for the US Government extraditing him back to Britain. Fortunately it turns out to be a dud.
  • During the Grand Finale of Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Big Bad Trakeena has her entire army of Stingwingers equiped with bombs and sends them on a massive suicide attack against Terra Venture and the Rangers. They take down two megazords and a great number of buildings this way, as well as wearing out the Rangers, who spend a lot of time directing them away from innocent civilians. It's one of the things that makes this season Darker and Edgier than an average PR season, and the fact Trakeena kills off her own army this way is one of the reasons her Dragon Villamax questions her actions.
  • Romper Stomper: In the finale, Magoo, who's dying of cancer, blows himself up to kill a federal MP. Numerous people nearby in the vicinity are killed or wounded as well.
  • An episode of SEAL Team included a suicide bomber taking out Bravo Team's acting team leader. "S-vests" are also talked about a lot.
  • Sense8: In the series finale Jonas launches one against BPO, blowing up the building with him inside.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In the episode "Reunion" one of Klingons loyal to Duras detonates a bomb implanted in his arm in an attempt to kill Gowron. As Riker would later note, the Klingons considered this man's death as honorable as the man committed suicide in a way designed to take an enemy with him.
      • Even though Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise take the concerns of Sevora and her brother Rabal about warp drive seriously, Sevora commits what amounts to a suicide attack by detonating the warp core of her own ship to cause the rift she had been warning others about to form. This endangers a ship trapped within the rift she formed as well as her own home planet. Her actions also caused the rift to form well before anyone is ready to deal with it.
    • Deep Space Nine: When the Federation first encounter the Jem'Hadar, one of their fighters does a suicide run into the engineering hull of the Galaxy-class starship Odyssey, destroying both vessels. There's no military necessity for this; it's done purely to demonstrate to the Federation that the Jem'Hadar are not to be taken lightly.note 
  • Vagrant Queen: Nim tries to do this against the Republic soldiers, setting the grenade off that he's carrying. However, he survives it to be captured.
  • Watchmen (2019):
    • In the third episode, a Kavalryman takes Senator Keene hostage by threatening to blow himself up with a bomb rigged to his heartbeat, so it will explode if they shoot him. Laurie shoots him anyway, believing he was bluffing. However, it turns out he wasn't, and Angela has to quickly toss his body into the open grave so the blast is contained as people run for safety.
    • In the seventh episode, a flashback shows that Angela's parents were both killed by a Vietnamese suicide bomber, along with a number of soldiers (they were the target).
  • The X-Files.
    • In "Monday" Scully and Mulder keep getting killed because they don't know the bank robber is wired with explosives, which he detonates when the situation appears hopeless. Even when Mulder does become aware of this he can't stop events until the robber accidentally shoots his girlfriend, and is too emotionally stunned to even commit suicide.
    • "Babylon" starts as Islamic terrorists commit a suicide bombing against an art gallery displaying cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed. One of them survives, with Mulder and Scully seeking to communicate with him so they can find his cell, who are planning further bombings.

  • The music video for the Disturbed version of Land of Confusion (made by Spawn artist Todd McFarlane) features a young girl with a bomb strapped to her body and a detonator in her hand, preparing to press the button as a gnarled cleric spouts off rhetoric.
  • In the video clip of Rammstein's "Ich Will", the band commits a terrorist heist on a bank. Five members get out, one stays behind with a bomb strapped to his chest which he eventually detonates.
  • The uncensored cover art of Holy War, the third album by Thy Art Is Murder, shows a hooded child suicide bomber, which fits in with the anti-religious lyrics of most of its songs.

  • In The Bible Samson pulls down the temple he's chained to on top of his Philistine captors' heads.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chess: Frequently a key tactic. Pieces can be used in sequences of moves which will culminate in their capture in order to improve positioning on the board or create a weakness in the opponent's defenses.
  • The Illuminati collectable card game includes a "Suicide Squad" card which can launch this sort of attack on enemy assets.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • A lot of goblin cards destroy themselves in the act of damage the enemy. Most are flavored as the result of goblins being rather stupid and prone to killing themselves by accident, but others, such as such as Goblin Grenade and Mogg Fanatic, are presented as deliberate suicide attacks.
    • Anything with Deathtouch will often have low power and toughness values, but they're perfectly capable of doing enough damage to take any creature they damage in battle with themnote .
  • In Rocket Age the 31st Seal (either a Martian resistance group or terrorist organisation, depending on who you ask) frequently orchestrates suicide attacks, typically in the form of gigantic warriors with axes, although they occasionally deploy bombers too.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • A small minority of Tau commander battlesuits are equipped with bombs. The Tau themselves consider this "the greatest expression of the Greater Good one can make". This isn't used en masse because battlesuits -- and good commanders -- take a long time to produce. The Tau otherwise do not have suicide attacks in their army, and view suicidal last stands as foolish; they prefer to feign retreat, or really retreat, then come back when the situation is more favorable. In 4th Edition, this is portrayed not as a suicide attack but as a Heroic Sacrifice; the model with the bomb, when it would be dead anyway due to wounds or a sweeping advance, triggers a bomb that damages the attackers. In the older edition, it allowed the bomber's comrades to pull away from close combat and have a chance for survival. In the newer edition, battlesuits generally will save against the bomb, and the explosion may tip combat in their favor, allowing the Tau line to hold. In either case, the model with the bomb only sets it off when the model would already be dead and when its unit is almost certain to be overrun and slain.
    • Orks have been known to use Gretchin as missile guidance systems — as in, the gretchin sits on the missile and makes sure it goes where it's meant to — when not using them as duck boards, squig bait, bullet shields or footballs. Generally the Gretchin only realises this is what's going on when it's too late to back out.
    • Ork Tankbustas who like melee have a tankhammer, which is a hammer with an artillery shell strapped to the top. If the attack is successful, the explosion invariably kills the Urk as well.
    • This happens often among the Tyranids, who will happily hurl themselves in unending waves of chittering bodies at enemy lines. Being but extensions of a vast Hive Mind and thus (with extremely few exceptions) having no sense of self, they don't hesitate to eat up enemy ammunition with their own bodies or throw themselves into the air vents, exhaust pipes or exposed gears and wiring of enemy vehicles and structures. Some breeds aren't even born with digestive tracts, because it's a certainty that they won't survive long enough to process anything and the Hive Mind doesn't bother wasting the organs.
    • Sisters Repentia are nuns wearing a few rags and a few pieces of holy text who are armed with two-handed chainsaw swords, led by a black-clad Mistress who has a high tech whip in each hand, and who charge into battle in a fervor trying to redeem themselves in death or slaughter. Never let it be said Warhammer 40,000 knows what restraint means.
    • It has been mentioned in the fluff that some Imperial Guard forces employ human bombs.
    • This actually a valid tactic on the tabletop if your tank is about to die. Park it next to an enemy unit and either force them to eat mortal wounds when it explodes or let it keep firing for one more turn as they try to pull the units in the blast zone off.
    • Warhammer Fantasy and it's sequel Warhammer: Age of Sigmar have flagellants, who are doing essentially the same thing as the Sisters Repentia, but with proper Dung Ages clothing, medieval weapons, no fanservice, and no BDSM undertones.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Mecha Phantom Beast Concoruda's capable of converting the decoys into energy to perform a suicide attack that breaks the sound barrier. However, the risks to Concoruda are immense, as the burden on the aircraft is immense, enough that it causes it to self destruction.

    Video Games 
  • In The Adventures of Lomax, the barrel enemies from the first world stop dead and explode after a brief moment when you get close. Approaching them and then running away is a viable method of defeating them, but since they're actually your mind-controlled comrades, it's better to liberate them if you can.
  • Age of Empires II:
    • The Demolition Ships and Demolition Raft (added in the expansions) are ships loaded with explosives that collide and explode on ships, dealing damage to a group of them.
    • Added in the Conqueror expansion, the Petard unit (the real life basis of which is the Trope Namer for Hoist by His Own Petard) is a medieval suicide bomber.
    • In the Definitive Edition, the Flaming Camels are camels with burning hays wrapped on top of them that explode on enemy troops, which deals bonus damage against cavalry and elephants. Their appearance in the Tamerlane's campaign is based on how Tamerlane deals with the war elephants. It was originally a scenario-only unit but was added in March 2020 patch for the Tatars civilization once they researched the Timurid Siegecraft unique technique.
  • Pirate fire ships in Age of Empires III which are essentially ships with parts on fire and the decks filled with black gunpowder that collides to enemy ships and blow them up.
  • Binky Show: Garden gnomes will run at you and explode on contact.
  • Psychos reduced to low health in Borderlands may pull out a grenade and charge nearby players. The grenades don't disarm when the Psycho is killed and are more than powerful enough to take you from full shields and health to fighting for your life, if they can close the distance before the grenade goes off. Hey, they are crazy.
    • The sequel has Suicide Psychos, who has this as their primary attack as well as the EXP Loader, robots who run up to the player and self-destruct.
    • ...and with the Psycho DLC pack, you can even play as a Suicide Psycho: One of Krieg's skills replaces Fight For Your Life mode with a phase called Light The Fuse in which you throw dynamite left and right and finally blow yourself up, instantly coming back to life if you manage to kill something in the process.
    • Wilhem's "Termination Protocols" skill in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is similar to Light the Fuse: Wilhelm no longer goes into normal Fight for your Life; instead, he can fire normally, generates a constant electrical field, and explodes when Termination Protocols ends, gaining Second Wind if he gets a kill.
  • Brigador: The Corvids utilize many suicide bombers. They usually use bikes or cars to charge into you, but some of them even disguise themselves as civilians.
  • Call of Duty: World at War: In the Pacific War campaign with:
    • Banzai Charges.
    • In Black Cats level, several Japanese planes attack as kamikazes.
  • City of Heroes gives you one of these as a bonus power if you bought the Cyborg super booster. Use it and it counts down from 10, then detonates in the single most damaging attack in the game. The downside? Not only do you die instantly but it prevents you from being targeted by any of the various resurrection powers in the game, forcing you to go back to the hospital.
    • Masterminds with Traps as their secondary powerset can also get the Detonator power, which allows them to do this to their henchmen, though henchmen that aren't zombies or robots will try to set the bomb down and get away before it blows.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series:
      • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Expansion Pack The Aftermath provided the two first suicide units in the game: The Nuclear Demolition Truck and MAD Tank. The MAD Tank is a special case, in that the pilot actually gets out before it explodes, and the MAD tank only harms vehicles, not infantry. Both are Awesome, but Impractical however, as the Demo Truck had a tendency to explode at the slightest provocation (i.e: infantry gunfire) and mass producing them sometimes caused your base to be crowded with mini-nukes that'll go off in a chain reaction of anything bad happend (like an airstrike). MAD Tanks on the other hand had to deploy for several seconds, more than enough time for any enemy units nearby to simply flee the vicinity, not to mention it cost quite a lot to deploy in the first place.
      • The (Cuban) Terrorist unit in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is the infantry variant, while the Libyan nuclear demolition truck is the vehicular variant.
      • Crazy Ivans in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 can attach time-bomb to virtually every unit, including friendly or mind-controlled, thus making any unit ingame potential Suicide Bomber.
      • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: One of the special abilities of the Empire is "Final Squadron X'', a squadron of suicide aircraft (although they are only drones). The Yari Minisubs are manned though, and while not a pure suicide unit, it can be used as such with devastating effects. The Empire also has the Honorable Discharge upgrade, which makes all of their units explode and damage other nearby units when they're killed.
    • In Command & Conquer: Generals:
      • In the original game, the Global Liberation Army has the Terrorist and Bomb Truck units. The latter can upgrade with even more explosives and/or poison warheads. They also have the aptly-named Demo Traps, which are cheaply constructed roadside bombs.
      • General Juhziz in the Expansion Pack Zero Hour has an upgrade that will turn everything (bar main structures) into suicide attackers, and his Advanced Demo Traps are both cheaper and stronger. Meanwhile, Master Poisoner Dr. Thrax has Toxin Terrorists, i.e. Terrorists that explode and leave behind poison clouds and Toxin Demo Traps, which do the same. Their Bomb Trucks are also locked into high-explosive and anthrax warheads, respectively.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series:
      • Command & Conquer: Renegade had no innately self-destructive enemies in the single player mode, but more than a couple of deranged folks in multiplayer would stack bricks of C4 onto a cheap, fast vehicle and charge headlong into the fray. As only repair guns could disarm C4 and the healing beams didn't discriminate against friend or foe, this meant that most attempts ended only with the willful detonation of the C4 blocks (or waiting until the 30 second fuse burned down). In most servers, allies were Friendly Fire Proof, so it was theoretically possible that allies could stick each other with C4 before joining a pitched fight, especially since even the cheapest, Mookiest infantryman spawned with a timed C4 block.
      • As well as the Nod Fanatics from Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars.
  • Crying Suns:
    • If a Juggernaut Frigate reaches the opponent’s battleship, it will bore into the hull with its prow-mounted drill before exploding in a spectacular fashion for massive damage.
    • Several NPCs will tell you that this is how the original Ellys Idaho (whom your character is a clone of) defeated the Survivalists: he loaded a battleship with nukes and piloted it into the crust of Ganyma, killing everyone on the planet at the cost of his own life. This is a lie. Idaho was ordered to nuke Ganyma but refused to do so on moral grounds, so Emperor Oberon killed him and had Okonkwo nuke the planet instead.
  • The Kamikaze Darkling from The Darkness video game is a little maniac in a top hat and tails (and an inexplicable Russian accent) strapped with dynamite. His attack is to run up to the enemy, pull out a detonator box and push the plunger. He's also good at blowing out walls and doors.
    • Your sidekick Darkling in the sequel performs a LOT of actions that keep constantly killing him, but since he respawns each time, he bears with it. Until the ending, when he dies for real by burning from Hell-stored sunlight.
  • Deep Rock Galactic: Glyphid Exploders are alien spiders covered in chemically-overreactive pustules. Rather than bite or claw at you, their brains have been hardwired to mix the chemicals together when they get close to you. Their fiercest tactic is when they charge in swarms - even if you can sharpshoot them in time, the chain reaction might cause the entire battlefield to light up. Killing them with a headshot will stop the explosion.
  • The Techies in Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars used to have a skill that blows themselves up for massive damage, and it was the only skill they had that didn't lay down a trap. While dying is a pretty bad thing in DotA, it denies enemies from getting a kill bounty from you, and it also halves their respawn time and gives them the kill experience reward if their attack kills. In Dota 2, the reworked version of the ability instead takes a fixed percentage of the Techies' HP and has a long cast time, making it harder but still possible for them to kill themselves using it if their health is low enough until this was eventually patched out, making them instead survive on 1 HP (although as compensation, it allows themselves to launch themselves at enemies from a distance instead of blowing themselves up on the spot).
  • Destiny: Several of the enemy factions have a suicide enemy type, which will approach the player before detonating.
    • The Fallen begin deploying Exploder Shanks with the House of Wolves expansion.
    • The Hive like to send out Cursed Thralls along with a Zerg Rush of regular Thralls.
    • The Vex have the Fanatics, which are headless, shambling zombie-like units. Destroying them leaves a pool of electrified radiolaria on the ground, which can damage the player.
    • In Destiny 2: Forsaken, the Scorn have the Screeb, which function a lot like the Cursed Thralls.
  • In the Dragon Quest series, the move Kamikazee, most often used by Rockbombs and related monsters is this- it has a high chance to instantly KO all opposing targets at the cost of the user's own life. It also has a healing version in Kerplunk, which sacrifices the user to fully heal and revive all allies. Kamikazee also reprises this role in Hero's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where it KOs Hero himself to inflict massive damage on all nearby enemies. Just don't use it on your last stock.
  • Dune:
    • In Dune II Ordos Saboteur units had bombs strapped to themselves, and had a suicide attack.
    • In Emperor: Battle for Dune Besides the original Saboteur units, a new aerial unit called the Eye In The Sky also had an attack where it self-destructed with a Saboteur ejecting out of it.
  • Super Mutants in Fallout 4 have a "Suicider" type. When they detect an enemy, they arm their mini nukes and charge, hoping to tank gunfire until they can blow up. If you kill one before it blows up, you can loot the mini nuke; if not, you loot nuclear material. If it kills you, you get an achievement the first time it happens.
    • Or, if your character is a really good shot, you can shoot the nuke and blow it up while the Mutant is still mingling with his fellows. Preferably before any of them notice you. Fun!
  • In Fate/Grand Order, Arash's Noble Phantasm "Stella: The Lone Meteor" is an AoE nuke that does immense damage but also immediately kills him. As a low-rarity Servant, this makes him useful as a cheap way to clear through trash mobs.
  • A "bomb" type monster in Final Fantasy series sometimes grow larger when it's attacked or when it targets a party member before it explodes. The damage dealt is usually lethal, like the Mom Bomb in Final Fantasy IV and some other bombs in Final Fantasy XIII, in which an explosion can kill your entire party in a second if the attack is not guarded. In Final Fantasy XIV, Blue Mages can learn the Bomb's "Self-Destruct" spell, which deals high damage to surrounding enemies while also killing the user on the spot.
  • Subverted with Hubriks, the weakest enemy units in Future Tactics: The Uprising. They have dynamite strapped to them and attack by blowing themselves up within range of your own units. A major plot point half-way through is the discovery that said enemy creatures revive thanks to a device that brings back their dead.
  • Halo:
    • From Halo 3 onward, Grunts will sometimes light up two plasma grenades in their hands and charge at you. Suicide Grunts are even a specific unit in Halo Wars and Halo Wars 2. It's become such an iconic part of their behavior that in Halo 5: Guardians, even Grunts piloting Beam Goblins will at low health occasionally overcharge their energy cannons to wildly unstable levels in order to turn themselves into mecha-shaped bombs.
    • Additionally, Flood Carrier Forms have no means of attack other than walking up to someone and exploding; the Infection Forms they carry are a half-example, as they only explode when attacking shielded foes.
  • In inFAMOUS, the Reapers and Dust Men street gangs both include some suicide bombers wrapped up in explosives, who will try to run towards Cole and blow themselves up.
  • In Killing Floor stacking proximity bombs on your head and rushing the Patriarch used to be a quite effective way of taking him out. The bombs have since been nerfed to prevent this.
  • The Logomancer: Unchained Ids have a Self-Destruct attack that kills them and harms one party member.
  • Luxaren Allure has Heal Potion Blobs, whose Signature Move, Healsplosion, has them sacrifice themselves to heal everyone on the field. Enemies and allies alike.
  • Bungie's Marathon games feature Assimilated BoBs, who look like civilians but run up to the player and explode.
  • The Mark have you fighting terrorists, including some suicide bombers who leaps at you with a vest filled with C4. You can dodge their attacks and let them blow up themselves though.
  • In Mass Effect 2, this trope is basically one of the themes, as the entire game revolves around Commander Shepard recruiting new team members to help fight against the Collectors in a direct assault on their base (which is pretty much a Death Trap).
    • One of Zaeed Massani's retirement plan ideas (since the other ones are unlikely retirement opportunities) involves taking a ship filled with explosives and ramming it in to the Omega station.
  • In MechWarrior 4, the High Explosive Pack was a two-slot missile weapon with precisely one shot, no additional ammo, and an ominous skull and crossbones for its weapons icon. The premise behind this weapon was that, in multiplayer, a 'Mech on its last legs or with all other weapons lost could charge at the enemy and trigger the bombs it'd strapped to itself. As there was no visual indicator of what 'Mechs had these suicide kits installed, any charging opponent in a 'Mech design with missile slots could mean bad news. This weapon was eventually removed from later expansions.
  • A technique in Mechwarrior Online popularized by Youtubers takes the concept of "boating" to the extreme by outfitting an assault 'Mech with as many high-damage energy weapons as its chassis will allow, stripping off the 'Mech's armor and downgrading to a small engine to make a few more weapons fit under the weight limit. The result is an extremely slow Glass Cannon that has to shut down to cool after every trigger pull, and can only fire two or three times at most before it self-destructs from overheat. You're not likely to survive a match with this build, let alone win. But that's not the point. The point is to fire all of those weapons at once and one-shot enemy 'Mechs, and then laugh as they rage over comms as you die afterward. The most infamous example is the Direstar, a Direwolf boating a dozen or so PPCs.
  • At one point in Act 1 of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (specifically, Urban Ruins), a Middle Eastern insurgent sneaks behind a PMC soldier and blows himself up, also taking the PMC soldier with him.
  • In Minecraft, the Creepers are a race of hostile green creatures whose only battle tactic is to walk up to your face and blow themselves up. Or to creep up behind you, silently, and blow themselves up. This led Yahtzee to label them "kamikaze shrubs" and "suicide hedges."
  • Right before the main story of Mortal Kombat: Deception, Raiden, Shang Tsung, and Quan Chi (the latter two which have since turned on each other after their previous "victory") have united and combined their powers to try to slay the recently-returned Dragon King, Onaga. None of it worked, however. A desperate Raiden decided to release all of his godly power and essence in a last ditch effort to destroy the Dragon King. Again, it was totally ineffective, but this did 86 the Soulnado as well as the Dragon King's mummified army as well as Quan Chi and Shang Tsung. Raiden reforms, however—but something has changed about him.
  • Bungie's Myth games have Wights, zombies that explode when attacked or when they get close to enemies, and spray a paralyzing toxin over nearby units. The Left 4 Dead games feature similar enemies called Boomers.
  • In Papers, Please, terrorists will occasionally try to enter Arstotzka with bombs strapped to their backs. If they succeed, your work day will be cut short, along with your pay. Once you get the scanner, you can use it to thwart these attacks at your booth.
  • Saori's "Ultimate Gambit" skill in Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners deals reasonable damage, but also reduces all of her own HP to zero. Makes sense, considering that Saori is suicidal and, if she gets the opportunity to do so, will take her own life.
  • In Persona 5, Masayoshi Shido tries to kill himself using Temporary-Death Serum to kill the protagonists who are inside his consciousness.
  • From the Pokémon series, there are two attacks that let you do this: Self Destruct and Explosion. Not a pure example as the Pokemon who learn these moves can learn other moves as well, and because they faint rather than die. There is, however, a minefield in a Team Rocket base in Gold/Silver that spawns enemies with Self Destruct in their move lists (though in an odd example, due to levels changing, in the remakes, one of these is unable to use their suicide attack.)
    • Second Generation introduces Perish Song, which makes both the user and the target faint in three turns.
    • Fourth Generation has the friendly version Healing Wish, which heals the user's team instead of causing damage, and Memento and Grudge, which severely cripple the opponent in exchange for the user's life.
    • Fifth Generation gives us Final Gambit, which has the user sacrifice all of its remaining HP to cause the same amount of damage to the enemy. Because of its nature, it is best used by Pokémon with high HP.
  • Power Bomberman: Metalooi's main ability – besides being able to sustain two hits as opposed to one – is to self-destruct by turning into a rocket in order to cause a massive explosion. If it already sustained a hit, activating its ability will instead have him explode on the spot with minimal firepower.
  • The vehicular version is featured in Project Reality, though there is talk of adding the infantry version.
  • In The Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, Joe Musashi can use an attack called Mijin, which destroys all enemies on screen at the cost of his own life. If the player has at least one life remaining after using Mijin, Musashi's body parts will reform, allowing him to continue on the spot at full health. If not, his body simply explodes, and the game is over.
  • Scathe has the bouncing, fleshy, spiked Invisiballs (and their evolution, Pinballs), whose sole attack is to bounce around until it touches you and explode.
  • Beheaded bombers from the Serious Sam series.
  • The Shofixti Scout's Glory Device in Star Control is just a big bomb that Shofixti ships carry. Once set off, it automatically kills the Shofixti ship, but, if close enough to the enemy ship, it can also damage or destroy that ship as well. Interestingly, if a Shofixti ship kills the last Hierarchy ship in a scenario with its Glory Device, the Alliance wins, even if the Alliance has no ships left either.
  • In StarCraft, the Infested Terrans, which are essentially the science-fiction version of the aforementioned Toxin Terrorists.
    • The scourge are the flying version of this for the Zerg.
    • In addition, the end of StarCraft has Tassadar carrying out a Suicide Attack on the Overmind.
    • In the sequel, Zerglings can morph into Banelings, which are a purely biologic version of this.
  • In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, Mysterion's Limit Break is to take out a bomb and blow himself up, dealing damage to all enemies adjacent to him. This isn't as bad as it sounds, since Mysterion has a passive ability that turns him into a ghost whenever he dies, which has its own moveset and Limit Break which restores him to life. He is Kenny, after all.
  • Several enemies in Superhero League of Hoboken have attacks that can hit everyone in the party (for example, "Lawyer SUES!"), but knocks them out in the process.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Who could forget the Bob-Ombs and other explosive enemies? Paper Mario has shown us that not all of them die from their self-destructions, however.
  • In Super Robot Wars, some pilots like Boss and Heero Yuy have a "Detonate" command, which is basically a self-destruct ability. It works against any surrounding unit and the damage is based on how much the unit's damaged. In Boss Borot's case, its repair cost is very low that it's safe to use this skill in an emergency. And, yeah, the pilots never die from doing this.
    • Of course they would survive. Boss Borot would routinely fall apart during combat because it was made out of junk. In Heero's case, he actually did make his Gundam self-detonate while standing just outside the cockpit and survived (though he hadn't intended to).
  • The Soldier's aptly-named Kamikaze taunt in Team Fortress 2 has the soldier pull the pin on a hand grenade but not throw it, the explosion killing the Soldier and any enemy within a six foot radius of him.
    • The Ullapool Caber is this for any Demoman who has taken moderate damage and doesn't have a shield.
  • Hom in the Tobal series can push a button on his back to switch himself off; seeing as this costs him the round with no effect on the opponent, this is purely a gag maneuver.
  • Alice Margatroid of Touhou Project seems to have this as a recurring theme in her attacks: "Suicide Squad," "Suicide Pact," "Straw Doll Kamikaze," "Artful Sacrifice," etc. Note that it's not Alice sacrificing herself, but rather sending legions of her dolls to blow up on the enemy.
  • The Garrys Mod game mode 'Trouble in Terrorist Town'' has a Traitor weapon called the Jihad bomb, which is basically a C4 that blows up in your hands with a 5 second warning to everyone around you before you explode, taking you and everyone in a large radius. The weapon isn't on all servers due to how overpowered it is by using it on a crowd of players or in a small room. While you die with it, you can usually take nearly 5 lives with you, which is difficult to do over one round.
  • VGA Planets: The Klingon Expy has ships equipped with Glory Devices, which can be detonated to damage enemy forces, both in space and down on the surface of planets.
  • In the Warcraft franchise:
    • The Goblin Sappers seen in Warcraft II (as well as their counterpart the dwarven demolition squad), Warcraft III and World of Warcraft are trained only to blow themselves up and damage enemy buildings. World Of Warcraft also has an engineering gadget called "Goblin Sapper Charge", which allows the player to do this as well.
    • The Warcraft III expansion pack The Frozen Throne features troll batriders who can set themselves to explode on enemy flying units.
  • There's a weapon in Worms called the Kamikaze that causes the worm to fly in a straight line and explode when it reaches a certain point. There's also the Suicide Bomb, that, depending on the game, either makes the worm explode like a Holy Hand Grenade or detonate in a small blast that leaves a cloud of poison.
  • Attempted in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 by Lanz and Sena, in the fight against Moebius N. It had earlier been established that remaining in Interlink form for too long triggers an Annihilation Event (an explosion in which everything caught within is utterly destroyed), and they sought to trap N in one of these to take him down with them. The pair had previously discussed their insecurities with one another, and had, at the time, come to the mutual conclusion that this would be the best way they could contribute to the cause of Ouroboros. This was ultimately shut down by Moebius X, however, who used her ability to forcibly cancel their Interlink before the Annihilation Event could occur.

    Web Animation 
  • ModnarYug's "Sylveon use mist-explosion" animation has a Sylveon do a move of this type against a Gardevoir, which is to repeatedly inhale air and inflate to the point of popping and releasing a cloud of mist. Both Pokémon faint, but Sylveon wins the battle.

    Web Original 
  • The first episode of Ambition features a Western suicide bomber with elements of Papa Wolf.
  • According to Dream's explanation video of the Minecraft Manhunt grand finale, Sapnap was trying to use the bed to explode Dream before he could kill the dragon, but instead, he exploded himself and Dream got the achievement.
  • The drones in Frozen Flame by Mahu use this tactic. Controlled from afar, they mindlessly charge into the enemy force, exploding violently once they are destroyed. After the last drone explodes, the real army follows the attack, taking care of whatever enemy is still alive.

  • Baskets of Guts: Myconid terrorists explode themselves in highly populated areas not to kill as much people as they can, but to infect them with their spores.
  • Volaster from Heartcore and his Blast Bomb spell. This is pretty much an ability with the same power as a nuke, meant to take down entire cities with him.
  • This is the only method the kids can come up with to blow up the Green Sun in Homestuck.
  • This Subnormality strip gives a Take That! towards them with a unique approach to the old 72 virgin joke.

    Western Animation 
  • The Mask features this. "Cookie Baboom" decides to launch a suicide attack after her boyfriend, who happens to be the mayor, breaks up with her. How? By wearing nothing but a crude and skimpy bikini made entirely of dynamite.

    Real Life 
  • One reason why suicide bomb attacks these days are so fearsome is because they can come without warning and you can't really know who orchestrated the attack as the only evidence is already dead. Also the collateral damage caused by a detonation, whether the attack was successful or not, always has a negative psychological impact with physical damage tending to be a second priority.
  • The War on Terror, the Arab–Israeli Conflict and the Sri Lankan Civil War, sadly, have produced countless examples.
  • In the final months of World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy developed - with the tacit approval of the rubber-stamp civilian government - separate programs for 'Tokubetsu Kogeki'/'Special Attack' units. Today these units and their function are better known by the informal term "kamikaze" - after the 'Divine Wind' (a great typhoon) that sank one-and-a-half of the two invasion fleets Kublai Khan forced the Mongol-controlled Yuan Empire of China to send against Shogunate Japan in the 13th century. Given the US Navy had countless numbers of anti-aircraft guns and the US Army had nearly fifty years of experience dealing with suicide attacks from infantry, they failed.
    • The experience above was caused by dealing with the Islamic Filipino Juramentados, who would tie ropes around their bodies, sneak upon enemy soldiers, officers and policemen and then charge with a sword. The Spaniards, who had experienced this before the Americans, were terrified, as their handguns weren't powerful enough to drop them at once and the ropes would slow the bleeding out. The Americans adopted more powerful guns (including the Colt Single Action Army in .45 Colt as a stopgap, revolvers in the .38 Special round developed just for them, and, ultimately, the Colt M1911), allowing their men to drop the attackers.
    • However, some military findings suggest that even conventional attacks by Japanese air fleet would be considered suicidal. On average, a conventional air attack yielding 5 hits on a US Navy ship would cost the Japanese 88 losses for conventional attack yet a Kamikaze attack would deal the same damage at the cost of 56 losses. Furthermore, Japan's neglect of rescue forces means that any surviving pilots who were shot down would be more or less dead anyways. Regardless of the tactic, every attack on the US Navy would be a death sentence and that the Kamikaze attacks are an improvement with fewer losses to the Japanese.
  • The Japanese Red Army, a Marxist terrorist group operating in Lebanon in the 70s, allegedly developed this as one of the attackers in the Lod Airport Massacre reportedly killed himself with a grenade launcher. They are thought to have introduced suicide bombing to the Middle East by training and inspiring their allies the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who in turn trained and inspired others until it reaches Hamas and Al-Qaeda.
    • According to The Other Wiki, Hezbollah introduced suicide bombing to the Middle East in 1983 with the attack on the US Marines. Suicide attacks were introduced in 162 BCE by Eleazar ben Mattathias, younger brother of Yehuda the Hammer, who hit upon the technique of killing a war elephant by running under it and stabbing up from underneath
    • However, the obvious reality is that suicide bombing is inferior to regular bombing as an attrition strategy, if you can pull off the regular kind. Indeed, for a while, suicide bombing was on the decline the Middle East; it was brought back by Palestinian terror groups, who had low survival rates of their terror attacks in Israel. Although the situations aren't really comparable, in the nature of attacks and the Israeli access to weapons, this is frequently held up in American politics as one of the concrete examples of a "Good Guy With a Gun" working.
    • It has been alleged that Fatah provides large financial incentives for Palestinians to kill Israelis, which they will pay to the attacker's family even if the attacker dies.note  However, they also provide incentives to survive, get caught, and be put in an Israeli jail for a very long time, zig-zagging the trope.
  • An Older Than Print variant was a striking tactic of the original Assassins/Hashishim. They'd walk up to an emir and stab him in broad daylight, fully expecting the guards to kill them. The purpose of this was twofold: it's easier to assassinate someone if you don't care about living yourself, and it scares the hell out of your enemies, who realize people are willing to die to kill them.
    • They did usually have an escape plan ready - sometimes every single bodyguard was in on the plot, for example. They only used this tactic when they wanted to make a really strong impression or were desperate. Good assassins take a long time to train.
  • The brander, or fire ship. It is basically a sailing ship filled with gunpowder and explosive liquids, and it is steered by a skeleton crew at an enemy flotilla with the intention to ram one or more vessels, and set on fire just before the actual contact. The usual result is a conspicuous explosion, sinking not only the brander herself, but also the vessels around her. The crew members are intended to leave the brander just before the contact, but more often than not the skeleton crew will actually become one - literally. A brander attack at night against an anchored enemy can be devastating, as the Spanish Armada got to realize.
    • Somewhat subverted in that the crew of a fire ship would tie all the important lines tightly, so the ship would continue on its way for a while, then escape in a smaller boat or, if desperate, by swimming (presuming they knew how. Most sailors didn't, back then.). Actually dying with a fire ship was not usually on the cards.
  • These tactics are not limited to humans; certain species of ants have the ability to explode when the colony is under attack. Similarly, for some species of bees, a sting is a suicide attack when used on mammals: their stingers have barbs that get trapped in mammal skin and flesh. If the bee tries to pull out its stinger, it just rips off its body, fatally wounding it. However, unlike humans, worker and soldier ants and bees are not reproducing parts of the colony; it's more analogous to your immune system cells sacrificing themselves to stop bacteria.
  • While terrorist bombings in Northern Ireland could be devastating, suicide bombing was never a tactic used by the IRA or INLA, probably at least in part because of being at least nominally Catholic, and apparently the Vatican is a bit more specific than various sects of Islam about the definition of suicide versus martyrdom. Every so often, however, due to ill-trained operators or unreliable bomb components, a terrorist would be killed alongside the device he was planting. British security forces dryly referred to such incidents as "own goals". It is also suspected that if the IRA command suspected a member of being unreliable or having been "turned" by British Intelligence, he would be cold-bloodedly sent out with a device timed to explode long before he planted it, so as to resolve the unreliability issue. It is also suspected that British Intelligence, hearing about this, deliberately planted suspicion that known IRA terrorists were acting as double agents, so as to provoke the IRA to kill its own members just to be on the safe side.
  • The Reichenberg, formal designation the Fieseler Fi 103. Take one V1 flying bomb, and add one cockpit with basic controls. Technically not a suicide weapon, at least post-World War II the claim was that the pilot was supposed to bail out once the Reichenberg was lined up on its target. Never mind that the canopy would catch on the pulsejet intake when the silly thing was parked on the ground, so the odds of getting it jettisoned at 500 MPH aren't exactly good (and there wasn't room in the cockpit for both a pilot and a parachute anyway.)
    • On the same basic lines, the Japanese fielded the Yokosuka MXY7 "Ohka". They were more honest about the pilot's chances and bolted the canopy in place once the pilot climbed inside. US sailors had their own name for the weapon: "Baka Bomb".
  • Azel von dem Bussche was a German officer who was traumatized after witnessing the mass executions in Dobno (Ukraine), so he joined the Resistance group led by Claus von Stauffenberg. Then, he unsuccessfully tried to pull this trope on Adolf Hitler in November 1943 during some briefings in Rastenburg. However, he was wounded in battle prior to this, losing one of his legs, which both prevented this attempt and kept him out of Stauffenberg and co.'s own plot on Hitler's life. Therefore he survived undetected when they were rounded up and shot. After the war he studied law and later became a diplomat, living until 1993.
  • During World War II, German and Italian pilots would sometimes launch their aircraft in such attacks. Differently from their Japanese counterparts, these attacks were spur-of-the-moment actions from pilots of already crippled aircraft or that otherwise felt that ramming their plane on an enemy one was worth its loss and their lives, and they would sometime try and bail out (unless already mortally wounded). It wasn't unknown for Soviet pilots, out of ammo or flying crippled planes, to launch last-ditch ramming attacks on Axis aircraft so as to take one of the enemy with them. It helped that Soviet aircraft were built to be robust and take punishment: at least one Soviet pilot survived more than one ramming attack and was able to bail out afterwards. This practice was so common it had a name: taran. Soviet Air Forces statistics list 636 known taran attacks: 233 of those pilots survived, a 33% survival rate.
  • The Viet Minh initially did not have anti-tank weapons, so their only anti-tank defense was to have suicide troops (quyết tử quân, literally "to-the-death unit") charge headfirst with lunge mines into French tanks. The mines were either confiscated from the Japanese (who had developed them), or reverse-engineered. It was considered an absolute last resort because the rest of the army was poorly armed with ancient weapons, compared to their armed-to-the-teeth opponents. The 1946 Battle of Hanoi saw the creation of 10 such units, comprising of 100 soldiers, who were eulogized before the battle. Only 47 mines were used in that battle and 35 soldiers died during it. It must be said that using the mines in and of itself wasn't a death sentence. Trần Thành managed to operate two mines, and only died because the second one was a dud, so he got shot by the French escorting the tank with automatic guns. The linked picture became famous along with the slogan "We die so our country may live," emblematic of the Battle of Hanoi and of La Résistance. In 1947, they successfully created a bazooka based on the World War II American design, and the lunge mines were phased out the next year.
  • Reaction to Japan sending a military contribution to the coalition forces in Iraq at a time (2004 - 06) when human suicide attacks were happening was predictably along the lines of "Well, this is going to get interesting." In the event, Japan's contribution was strictly non-combatant: engineer forces were tasked with building a railway line and repairing rail bridges. As they required escorts and guards while doing this, and those guards were provided by British and Australian units, much snark was had.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers makes it a point to honor private Rodger Young, who fought in the Pacific Theater in WWII. His unit was pinned down by a Japanese bunker after a failed attempt to advance and assault it, so Young disobeyed orders and stormed the bunker himself, managing to get close enough to throw a grenade into it, but taking multiple fatal wounds in the process (Young's final act of heroism was also immortalized in a song).


Video Example(s):


Blue Shell!!!

In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it seems like Mario and his friends are about to get away from Bowser's army on Rainbow Road, but the Koopa General, having lost his mind, goes inside his spiny blue shell and zooms over to slam down on Mario and Donkey Kong's kart, creating an explosion that causes a gap in the rainbow that sends the duo falling to the ocean below. The general is never seen again in the movie following this.

How well does it match the trope?

4.92 (26 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuicideAttack

Media sources: