Feed It with Fire

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Grease fire + water = BIG problem.


The Monster of the Week is apparently Immune to Bullets, but not only that, it's getting stronger too! Maybe you shot it with an Energy Weapon, maybe you intervened in a situation and caused a worse problem to appear or maybe you just hit its Berserk Button, but it didn't die, and now it's stronger than ever. Feed It with Fire is the process by which attempting to kill or destroy something ends up making it grow, become more powerful, or otherwise help it out.

Feed It with Fire occurs most often as a form of Energy Absorption, although Energy Absorption is one specific type of Feed It with Fire. If punching a man makes him get stronger, or attempting to stamp out a religion gives it martyrs and helps it spread, that's a case of Feed It with Fire. If shooting a laser at the enemy makes it grow stronger, then it's both. If you're using lightning to animate a dead body, that's just Energy Absorption.

See Also:

Compare Heal It with Fire, Infernal Retaliation. Contrast Kill It with Fire, Feed It a Bomb, Revive Kills Zombie.

A form of Attack Backfire.

Examples of Feed It with Fire include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In Dragonball Z
    • Android 19 absorbs Ki blasts to increase its power through its hands. Vegita killed it by popping its arms off.
    • Cooler, from one Non-Serial Movie, tried to kill Goku and Vegita by absorbing their ki, but they destroyed him instead by overloading his circuits.
    • In the series proper, Goku also kills a minor minion in the Buu saga this way.
    • Also, each time a part-Saiyan heals from a near-mortal wound, they come back significantly stronger. Vegeta dangerously, deliberately uses this to his advantage, in addition to the incidental uses by most of the other part- or full-Saiyans. Turns out that teaming up a guy who gets dramatically stronger after recovering from injury with a guy whose power is to heal other people's injuries works pretty well.
  • In Fairy Tail, all of the Dragon Slayers can eat their element to heal themselves and boost their attacking power-resulting in a literal example of this trope's name,as the main male lead eats fire.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! had a Monster of the Week called Flame Feeder. As Dedede said when Kirby tried to torch it, "Ha ha! Flame Feeder feeds on fire!"
  • Subverted in Yu Yu Hakusho, where the demon Byako gets stronger by absorbing the energy from Kuwabara's aura sword, until he takes in too much, causing him to get indigestion.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Von Stroheim, nazi cyborg and also one of the good guys (I shit you not), attacked a very weakened Kars with his ultraviolet rays, to finish him off. But Kars had sneakily managed to wear a certain mask and a certain stone, so basically the rays that should have killed him, turned him into a god instead. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero...

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club in X-Men has powers that work like this. He absorbs the energy from attacks, so punching him makes him stronger.

Film[edit | hide]

  • In the film Evolution, the trope title plays out literally when fire induces rapid growth in the alien invaders.
  • The Ultimate Evil from The Fifth Element is basically the ultimate example of this trope. Any hostile action at all directed at it will cause it to grow stronger, as it feeds off of negative feeling.
  • Literally true with Gamera. In one movie, he is healed by crashing into an oil refinery and absorbing the resulting explosion.

Folklore and Mythology[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Played straight many times in Stargate SG-1.
    • An alien time-capsule like thing absorbs staff blasts to help it grow
    • An Ori shield generator type thing absorbs the orbital fire directed towards it and uses it to expand.
    • Intervening in the internal politics of the Goa'uld System Lords has frequently backfired, causing a consolidation of power where before there were fragments and internal fighting.
    • Inverted in the Stargate SG-1 season 10 finale, when the heroes absorb enemy fire to power a time machine. (In case it's not clear, the inversion is that the main characters use this, instead of having it happen to the Monster of the Week.)
  • Adam from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was able to absorb energy from the electricity guns that the Initiative used. It only really came up once though, presumably to prove that Guns Are Useless.
  • Another inversion where it applies to the main character is Kamen Rider Fourze, where its Fire States powers up from being exposed to one of the Monster of the Week's flames.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Feng Shui has this as a Creature Power called "Conditional Escalation," which temporarily gains you a point in one of your stats each time a particular condition is meant (getting hit with a gun, a fu power, a successful spell, taking a certain amount of damage, causing a certain amount of damage, etc.)
  • Some Magic: The Gathering cards get more powerful in this manner, such as the old Fungusaur, which got permanently slightly bigger every time it sustained damage.
  • 'Warhammer Fantasy
    • The dragon ogres gain much of their power (and immortality) from lightning. Casting lightning bolt on them is a bad idea.
    • One dragon ogre character has the special rule "Lightning Rod". Any lightning-based attack used within a certain radius will automatically redirect to him, and it grants him power just the same as his weaker relatives.
  • Very common in games of The Awful Green Things From Outer Space until the crew work out what weapons will kill the things and which will make them grow larger.
  • Dungeons & Dragons. Some monsters benefit from certain attack modes.
    • Electricity and lightning cause Shambling Mounds to increase in size and Hit Points.
    • Hitting an iron golem with magical fire restores lost Hit Points.
    • Cutting off one of a Lernean hydra's heads causes two to grow in its place, increasing its Hit Points and number of attacks.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Pokémon
    • The move "Bide" increases its attack power with every point of damage taken during the time your Pokémon "bides its time," and "Rage" starts out as a weak move, but each hit your Pokémon takes pumps its Attack stat as long as it keeps using the move.
    • There are also some Pokémon abilities[1] that heal a Pokemon's health or raise a stat when the Pokémon is hit by a certain type of attack, instead of damaging them.
  • In Crysis, the alien ice field absorbs a nuclear weapon's blast to grow.
  • The adult Sheegoths in Metroid Prime, they absorb most energy weapons into their ice-like carapace.
    • As do Elite Pirates.
  • In the Shin Megami Tensei games (and many other rpgs, even Pokemon has the Absorb <element> traits), some monsters Absorb certain elements, healing them instead of dealing damage. This means an enemy with fire absorb will literally feed on fire.
    • In Devil Survivor a monster called Kudlak will arise stronger everytime it's killed, unless done so in a special way. It tries to goad the party into killing it.
  • In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, Dragons, Aqua Demons, and Mystic Beasts are innately immune to fire, ice, and wind respectively, but if they're donning equipment with a Lover on it, they absorb a percentage of the damage they would've taken as HP instead.
    • There's also the Holy Dragon, who can absorb non-elemental special attacks, which is much more useful (Or annoying) then the abilities possessed by the previously mentioned monsters, due to how prevalent such attacks are.
    • Considering how ridiculously over the top some of the stronger attacks are, it can be quite comical to see these monsters get healed by things like disintegration, world ending explosions, or being sliced in half.
  • In The Story Of Thor for SegaMegaDrive, there's an enemy that takes the form of a string of flames moving around the area. Predictably, attacking it with fire-based attacks restores its health.
  • In Final Fantasy IX the villain Kuja has just figured out that he can use the game's Limit Break system in order to make himself nigh-unstoppable, after absorbing a whole bunch of souls. All he needs is a lot of aggressive energy to trigger the transformation. So naturally he walks right up to the heroes and starts a boss fight.
  • Mega Man 2:
    • Using Bubble Lead on Bubble Man will fully heal him.
    • Using Crash Bombs on Heat Man will fully heal him
    • Using any weapon other than Bubble Lead on the final boss will fully heal it.
  • ROM Hack Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity has Dust Man. When he is Sucking-In Lines, anything fired at him except Toad Spell heals him instead.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the replicator pods on Ghost Planet are found to grow when hit with Space Ghost's destructo ray. This being Space Ghost, it takes him awhile to stop shooting his ray even after he realizes that it's making it grow. Eventually, he uses this to make the one next to Zorak gigantic.
  • In the Kaiju parody episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Mandark's MASER Tank only makes the monster grow larger and more powerful.
  • Godzilla: The Series had a Monster of the Week aptly named the Fire Monster in the aptly titled "Ring of Fire" episode that got stronger whenever Godzilla used his atomic breath on it. H.E.A.T. had to resort to using nitroglycerin to knock it out since it doesn't create flames when detonated.
  • Futurama, when the plan to overload the energy being Melllvar's electro-quantum structure (described as being "like putting too much air in a balloon") doesn't work:

Leela: It's not working! He's gaining strength from our weapons!
Fry: Like a balloon, and... something bad happens!

  • One of the villains of Captain Planet was once tricked into using a lightning attack on Captain Planet himself... Apparently striking someone, created by the spirit of the earth who is more or less a force of nature himself, with lightning will empower him.
  • In the Earthworm Jim cartoon episode "Hyper Psy Crow" the titular supervillain, powered by coffee, is theorised to be destroyable by "overloading him with coffee until he explodes in a fantastic explosion of nervous energy!". Instead, he becomes even more powerful as Hyper Hyper Psy Crow.

Jim: You idiot! You fight fire with WATER!

  • Gigabyte and the Web Virus from ReBoot. Viruses with the ability are referred to by Bob as "Class-5".

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Attempting to persecute Religions often makes Self Fulfilling Prophecies come true, and gives the religion Martyrs, helping them to grow in number and influence.
  • In biology, this trope occurs when an infection is partly eradicated by an antibiotic, but not completely, giving the thing time to adapt and thus making it immune to this antibiotic in the future, and thus creating even worse strains.
  • Don't spray that water-based Fire Extinguisher on an electrical fire!
    • Or a grease fire!
    • Or worse, a potassium fire or any other combustible metals.
  1. Water Absorb, Volt Absorb, Flash Fire, Motor Drive, Lightningrod, Storm Drain, Justified, Sap Sipper, and Dry Skin