Feel No Pain
Audrey: So you can't feel anything?Nathan: No.
Nathan: That's right.
Audrey: What about cold? Can you feel cold?
Nathan: Oddly enough, yes, I can feel cold.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin. In normal living things, pain functions as a warning system for the body that tells it to try and get away from whatever is causing the sensation. However, sometimes someone can't feel pain for whatever reason, usually due to nerve damage or other factors. Fiction likes to explore this idea and will often explore the consequences in a very philosophical way.
For humor purposes, a man may sometimes gain a temporary version when Distracted by the Sexy.
As in Real Life, a person like this is very likely to accidentally injure themselves and not realize it for some time. In fiction these people also tend to develop a skewed perception of reality, and may take to killing people for fun. Other times they're simply shown as tragic individuals who are literally out of touch with the rest of us. This is also a common feature for Super Soldiers, especially disposable ones. In such cases, the massive crippling drawbacks of not feeling pain tend to be downplayed.
Contrast Frozen Face, also stemming from nerve damage.
- In Karas, the hero, born to a rather messed up mafia family and more apparently his brother is his father, and for half the series, he's in a coma, acting through a projection into an animated suit of transforming samurai armor, and after dying, he's reborn through the will of the City, says he feels no pain, allowing him to be the enforcer to said mafia family, taking 9mm shots and still remaining at full functionality. He also comforts a girl attempting to treat his wound he got from a demon during the local Apocalypse by saying he feels no pain so he's all right. Apparently, no sensation of pain means the wound is ... just not there. There is a justification to this, but it's not pretty: Through the production of incest, it gave him a condition to which if he were to even lose his arm, he would not feel it.
- As shown in the above picture, Yuki Nagato from Suzumiya Haruhi shows no sign of pain even through being impaled by several swords through presumably vital areas. She also catches laser beams potent enough to sear through part of her hands without flinching. Whether this is truly because she does not feel pain, or if it's because she's that stoic, is unknown.
- The Zero series of Artificial Humans in Loveless were designed without pain receptors, and their creator thought this would make them unstoppable. However, in the story, Soubi ends up exploiting this when fighting the male Zero pair by lowering the temperature around them to dangerous levels; as a result of having no warning system, both Zeroes' bodies begin to shut down, and they can't defend themselves. Later a female pair of Zeroes are brought in, and it's eventually revealed that one of them is apparently losing her powers and is starting to feel pain, which she hides from the other girl.
- In Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru, the underground fighting ring champion Kevin Norton occasionally uses PCP before entering the ring, rendering him insensitive to pain. In the end, the drugs themselves take a harder toll on his body than the blows he ignored in combat.
- Asagami Fujino in the third Kara no Kyoukai chapter/movie is insensitive to pain both physically and emotionally, though she keeps this a secret from everyone else so they don't think she's abnormal. She has even been repeatedly raped by a gang because of her passivity and this unwillingness to tell anyone about her 'pain'. She starts getting her sensation back in fits after one of the gang hits her with a baseball bat. The pain makes her feel more alive... and murderous. They die messily. It turns out that the lack of pain is the result of her father medicating her as a child to seal her psychic powers before they got out of hand, which has now backfired.
- In Princess Tutu, Mytho is unable to feel pain because he lost his heart and thus, his ability to feel emotions. Since his only personality trait left is to rush to the aid of anything that's helpless and in danger, he constantly places his own life in danger, and is completely unaware why everyone seems so freaked out by it when he does so.
- In Cynthia the Mission, the Ripper of 2010, aka Yumiko, has this problem. Unfortunately, when she saw a show that talked about how normal humans have natural limits thanks to pain, she realizes she can do whatever she wants and normal humans can't stop her. She's proven wrong the second time she attempts to escape the insane asylum she's in, and the big sister of the girl whose eye she stabbed out kills her with a neck-shattering kick.
- Deconstructed in One Piece. While fighting a giant zombie, Chopper, the team's doctor, tells it that the fact that it can't feel pain is its greatest weakness. They beat it by shattering its spine, leaving the thing laying on the ground wondering why it can't move.
- A similar battle occurs against a puppeteer enemy in Rurouni Kenshin, in which Kenshin blocks a pivotal joint with a rock; he points out to his opponent that a person feeling pain would have noticed the obstruction right away.
- And in Yu Yu Hakusho, where Hiei and Kurama were battling a giant construct designed not to feel pain. They're quick to demonstrate why not realizing how much damage your body is taking really isn't as good an idea as it seems.
- Checkmate from Ultimate Muscle went through intensive training as a child to not feel pain. As with most of these cases, he loses because he can't tell what his body's limit is. This is all completely forgotten about once he turns good.
- Al from Fullmetal Alchemist by virtue of being Animated Armor. Sadly he can't (physically) feel anything else, either.
- This is what allows Ax Crazy Knife Nut Farfarello from Weiss Kreuz to go out kicking ass with near-total impunity. It's also indirectly implied to be why he's missing an eye and covered in a lot of nasty-looking scars.
- Astro Boy, being a robot is supposed to be immune to pain & fear, though this was sometimes portrayed inconsistently over the manga's long run, possibly justified by his AI developing to be more humanlike.
- Indeed, for example, in Volume 7 When Hamegg has Astro in the circus, he beats him with an electrical whip. It very clearly hurts Astro, as he cries out in pain and begs him to stop before collapsing.
- Cyborg characters in the Ghost in the Shell universe have the option of voluntarily shutting off their body's pain receptors. This is used on multiple occasions, such as Hideo Kuze's attempted assassination of Prime Minister Kayabuki in Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG.
- Several of the 'Invisible Nines' in Pumpkin Scissors 'benefit' from this. The 901st Anti-Tank Troopers are mostly insensitive to pain at all times, and go completely numb when activating their 'Blue Lanterns' -- this allows them to march through a shower of tank-shells and machinegun fire, not stopping until their bodies have been literally torn apart. Meanwhile, the flamethrower-wielding 908th 'Heat Troopers' wear suits filled with anesthetic fluid, which prevents them from noticing that the constant, oppressive heat given off by their weapon is literally melting off their skin. At the end of the war, most of them took off their suits to celebrate, only to literally fall apart as a result...
- Kahlua in Rosario + Vampire, thanks to a "charm". While this made her nearly unstoppable in battle, as she was nearly impossible to knock out, her superior was Genre Savvy enough to realize that this prevents her from knowing when her body is too damaged to go on.
- Faust from Shaman King constantly keeps himself doped up on morphine, which allows him to perform surgery on himself during or after a battle. Well, that and the fact that he's not quite right in the head.
- Shira from Blade of the Immortal lost his sense of pain due to brain damage suffered when Magatsu sent him falling off of a cliff. Luckily, the ridged sword that Manji owned tore Shira up so badly that the psycho's limited regeneration was slowed down by the damage he sustained over the course of their final fight. It still took a Big Damn Heroes moment from Magatsu to take him down, though.
- One of Ray's friends in Ray can't feel pain. There's a flashback to when she broke a finger and just kept smiling. Ray assumes she's dealing with a fraud when the girl cries about how much something hurts, but the friend explains that she's gotten very good at pretending to feel pain, because she remembers how creeped out people got at her nonreactions to injury.
- Madoka Magica: By weakening the link to their body a Magical Girl can lower the amount of pain they feel, at the cost of slowing their reactions. And they always feel less pain than a regular human.
- Gunslinger Girl. The cyborg girls of the Agency feel pain, but it's programmed to go away quickly if they're injured, enabling them to keep fighting despite injuries such as punctured eyes or being shot by anti-material rifles.
- Zero from Yami no Aegis, due to being shot in the head
- Miroku in Inuyasha drinks a poison that will make him insensitive to pain every time he sucks miasma into his Wind Tunnel so that he's able to protect the ones he loves and keep fighting, even though it'll only kill him faster.
- Sango had this temporarily done to her very early on, when she was being Naraku's Unwitting Pawn- the idea was that she'd fight the main character to the death if she couldn't tell when she was hurt.
- Ravages of Time: This is Liaoyuan Huo's disability, but of course because he's the main character this turns him into an Implacable Man and not a limbless mess.
- Katou from Holyland due to being drugged up.
- Durarara!! Shizuo didn't realize he'd been shot until he slipped in his own blood. Pens and knives are even less effective.
- In episode 2 of The Heroic Legend of Arislan, Dariun is forced to fight a duel with a giant who supposedly couldn't feel pain on behalf of one of the prince's allies. In the end, it was shown to be partly true: the giant certainly didn't react to a massive diagonal slash down his chest, but Dariun's thrown sword plus a timely lightning bolt causes him to scream in pain and give up the fight.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- In the Next Men comic, Bethany is Nigh Invulnerable but the side-effect of this is that she can't feel any physical sensation, including pain.
- Traditionally, zombies and many other undead don't feel pain—their nervous systems aren't running. Alternatively, they feel, but not pain. This is used in Marvel Zombies for the creepifying factor—a bone tears its way out of Bruce Banner's stomach, and he reports in horror that it doesn't hurt... but he can still feel it.
- One issue of Global Frequency has a special operative of the titular organization called in to deal with an assassin who stole his techniques of shutting off biofeedback. What ensues is a brutal, bloody brawl that fails to incapacitate either combatant until the operative rips off the assassin's arm and shoves it down his throat.
- Played realistically in an issue of X-Men. Xavier feels no pain in his lower legs because he's paraplegic. He was crawling through a tunnel and caught a snag; when he ripped himself free, he didn't realize until later that he had ripped the skin on his leg and was worried that he'd bleed to death before reaching the X-Men.
- As a result of nerve damage sustained during his first failed attempt at being a superhero, this could be considered the closest thing Kick-Ass's has to a superpower. Even then he can feel some pain (in The Movie he specifically states that even with all the nerve damage, having mafia goon torture him still really hurt).
- In the Dreamwave Transformers/GIJoe crossover set in World War II, Snake-Eyes tells himself pain "is just your nerrves screaming at you." He goes on to say he won't let himself die just because his nerves are screaming at him.
- In Cruelty, one character is punched in the face and bloodied. He is kneed in the groin. He feels none of it, and proceeds to hand out an ass-kicking. He is drugged to the gills.
- Roger in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?? "No pain! *dish to own head* No pain! *another one* No pain! *yep*". He probably could (and would) have continued on indefinitely if Valiant hadn't stopped him.
- Interestingly, this only works if Roger's prepared to take the hit—he can still be incapacitated through pain if he's not ready for it. (Chalk it up either to his being a toon, or to his stuntman training.)
- Renard from The World Is Not Enough cannot feel pain due to a bullet in his brain that is slowly working its way through.
- And this somehow turned into 'immune to third-degree burns'. Because he couldn't feel the hot rock he was holding, it apparently didn't damage his hand at all.
- The cursed pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean "feel nothing", allowing them to not even flinch when stabbed full in the guts or be more worried about losing their head when it's cut off than distracted by the pain.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data is incapable of pain -- until he gets living skin grafted on in Star Trek: First Contact, allowing him the experience for the first time. He doesn't much care for it.
- Saruman's Uruk-hai in The Lord of the Rings are said to not know pain. How much of that is true is debatable, but their chieftain who duelled with Aragorn was not reacting to penetrating stab wounds and limb loss, except for the reduced mobility.
- An uruk berzerker howls in pain when he gets Gimli's axe in the groin.
- Darkman has this as one of his three powers. After gaining third degree burns over most of his body, experimental surgery is performed to ease his pain. Afterwards, he can feel nothing all over his body. Starved for sensory input, his brain makes his adrenal gland go wild, giving him unusual strength. His final power is scientific, as he can create synthetic skin to appear as anyone he likes by grafting on a new face. Why Darkman doesn't get horrible infections and die from his constant injuries is anyone's guess
- In Kingdom of Heaven, the King of Jerusalem has leprosy and feels no pain. This fact is later used to reveal that his nephew has it too.
- Adam Sandler's character in Mr. Deeds has a blackened foot from a past frostbite which he is unable to feel anything including pain.
- Played for laughs in You Don't Mess With the Zohan, where Zohan and the Phantom try to outdo each other while saying "No, no, no. I feel no pain!" The Phantom sticks a piranha on his cheek while laughing. Zohan grabs the piranha and sticks it down his shorts while looking bored.
- As the series progressed, Jason Voorhees seemed to gradually lose the ability to feel pain, with only extremely severe attacks (like the ones inflicted on him during the fight in Freddy vs. Jason; see him stumble in one scene) fazing him.
- The little boy in Bereavement has CIPA. The villain believes, at various times, that this means he has no conscience, has a completely clear conscience, or has no soul.
- Three Finger, One Eye and Saw Tooth, the main hillbillies in the Wrong Turn series, are stated to have a severe case of congenital analgesia (meaning they feel little or no pain) in Wrong Turn 4 Bloody Beginnings. This led to a period of presumably exploratory Self-Harm in their youths; Three Finger bit off and ate his missing two digits, One Eye gouged out and ate one of his eyes with a fork, and Saw Tooth began grinding his teeth against walls.
- Several different characters in Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy displays this power. Ferro Malljin feels little to no pain due to being part-demon. Logan Ninefingers can't feel pain when he's overtaken by The Bloody-Nines, but DAMN can he ever feel it afterwards... Also, all of The Eaters loose the ability to feel pain—or anything else, for that matter. Which, along with their Healing Factor, makes them really hard to torture.
- The Zombie Survival Guide makes it very clear that the only way to stop a zombie with guns is by shooting their legs and knees, or destroying the brain, or causing some other injury which makes them physically incapable of advancing.
- "Brisingr", the third book in the Inheritance Cycle, had soldiers who could feel no pain due to magic. For some reason this makes them practically invincible, and people are advised to destroy the brain or sever the head as though they were zombies.
- Citizens of The Culture are wired so that while their other senses are normal (and in the case of sexual arousal, heightened), they don't feel pain to a great extent. Thus, in several novels, there are scenes where protagonists suffer really horrible injuries but describe them in a fairly detached way.
- A variation occurs in the Halo novel Ghosts Of Onyx: The Spartan III soldiers have been given a cocktail of chemicals that prevents their body from going into shock when gravely injured to give them an extra edge in combat, so at one point when a soldier is hit it doesn't register and he only collapses once he loses enough blood for his heart to stop working, since he lost most of his chest.
- By the third book of the Parrish Plessis trilogy, the protagonist's Corruption has advanced to the point where she's able to ignore even serious wounds.
- One of the many afflictions of Mario Incandenza in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest is a relative insensitivity to pain—at one point, he burns himself on a stove, and it's the ETA cook, with whom he is talking, who notices.
- One of the later Callahans Crosstime Saloon books includes a character of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with familial dysautonomia (AKA Riley-Day syndrome), which leaves him unable to feel pain and impaired at feeling temperature, with vertigo and other problems as a "bonus".
- An aspect of metalcrafting in the Codex Alera. This usually presents itself in increased endurance and pain tolerance. But the first book mentions a courier who had enough metalcrafting to ignore pain from an infection in his foot but lacked the sense not to and ended up losing the foot.
- Miles Hundredlives in The Alloy of Law. In his case, it's because of how insanely effective his Healing Factor is- he's been injured so many times, and his injuries always heal nearly instantly, to the point that he barely remembers what pain feels like.
- One of the characters in The Millennium Trilogy has a congenital inability to feel pain, and is also beastly strong, which makes him a really tough opponent to take down in a fight.
- Played for Laughs on A.N.T. Farm when Olive states she is so scared to sleep away from home that she was awake and coherent during surgery on her appendix. While they don't make mention to her pain tolerance, intense pain is the main reason for being put to sleep prior to surgery. So one can only imagine how painful that had to be.
- One of House's patients had CIPA -- congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis. In a scene which is as interesting as it is freakin' hilarious, she and House (who is in constant chronic pain in his right leg) get into a whine-off over which of them has the worse deal. And in the process, she's very clear about the downsides of her condition—she has to wake up every morning and check manually to see if she scratched her corneas while sleeping, she doesn't even know it when she has a fever...
- House won that contest with "I got shot". But by the end of the episode, the patient can top even that: House slices open her stomach to remove a 25-foot tapeworm from her large intestine. Without anesthesia (although the lack of anesthesia doesn't matter in the slightest with her).
- A child had this on Greys Anatomy. She thought it was a superpower and allowed herself to get beaten up to prove it.
- Used in an episode of The Middleman: The villain is the only man who can lie when faced with Pain's River, because the zombifying pike that injected venom directly into his spine left him impervious to pain.
- Subverted in Heroes: given Claire's penchant for mangling her body for the flimsiest reasons (*cough* garbage disposal *cough*), you'd think she doesn't feel pain. However, in her own words, she feels pain: she's just learned to endure it get over it quickly. This is also believed to be a trait of Wolverine.
- Played straight in the 3rd season, where Claire seems to lose the ability to feel pain after Sylar pokes around in her brain. She's quite upset by this, as she felt that the ability to feel pain made her human.
- Subverted in a Scrubs episode, Elliot has broken up with Sean and, upon meeting up with him a couple weeks later, asks him how he's doing: "Well, I've been crying a lot, then I was numb for a while... and this morning I stuck a fork a half-inch into my thigh to see if I could still feel the pain." "And?" "Oh, yeah, I could."
- Not exactly no pain, but Star Trek's Vulcans can suppress pain with mental discipline much the same way they suppress emotion.
- Nathan Wournos in Haven. He calls it idiopathic neuropathy, but it's seeming more like some sort of Troubles-related affliction with the IN label slapped on for convenience (idiopathic meaning no known cause).
- It's not discussed, but his seems to be coupled with a sort of minor healing factor. Even after getting his hands severely burned by a red-hot gun, he requires little more than a bandage and it heals with no scars. This is likely why he suffers from few of the side afflictions you would expect from someone with no pain.
- He can still feel Audrey, which he once uses to find a shapeshifting impostor. Also, one episode involves him temporarily regaining the ability to feel.
- In the episode dealing with a Groundhog Day Loop, Nathan is hit by a car. He gets up a second later, claiming he's fine. Audrey points at his midsection, where he is horribly injured, and he falls over dead.
- In The Cape the Lich boasts that he can't feel pain. As one might realistically expect, this doesn't help all that much, and he gets knocked unconscious.
- The present day killer in the Criminal Minds episode "Painless" lost the ability to register pain due to being at ground zero of a bomb blast, not helping his already unstable mental state.
- In one The Twilight Zone episode, a young woman realizes that she is just another robot that her "parents" built. She has a Freak-Out and starts slamming her hand against a wall, screaming about how she can't feel any pain.
- At the start of the fifth season of Gossip Girl Chuck Bass is unable to feel anything at all, be it physical or emotional. He doesn't fully realize this until he crashes with his motorcycle and feels nothing only to later find half his abdomen is bruised. He goes as far as paying people to beat him up in the hopes that he'll feel something but nothing works. The reason why he can't feel any pain is said to be a form of PTSD after going through way too much crap in season four, culminating in letting the love of his life go so she can marry a prince and have her fairytale fantasy come true. This all lasts until the third episode where Blair tells him that she's pregnant and he's not the father. He ends the episode crying on his bed, comforted by his dog, feeling both the emotional pain of losing Blair and the physical pain of all the injuries he's sustained over the past three episodes.
- The Undertaker originally embodied this trope in the WWF. No matter what was thrown at him, he would just keep coming. These days, it varies.
- Kane also had this as part of his power set when he first introduced. the novel Journey into Darkness, an attempt to put all of the bizarre crap they've thrown into his backstory tried to set up the reason behind this as being because he has a condition called HSAN, which stands for Hereditory Sensory and Autonomous Neuropathy. Essentially, he was supposed to be completely incapable of feeling pain. Even the book mentions however that while his case is severe it does seem to have some limits. Like everything else with Kane, this has been either forgotten or outright ignored as the years have gone by.
- An actual word-for-word universal special rule in the Warhammer 40,000 core rulebook. Examples include Plague Marines, devotees of the god of decay whose bodies are so corrupted and putrefied that they barely notice any weapons not strong enough to kill them outright, and the Death Company of the Blood Angels, whose warriors are insane with bloodlust and constantly hallucinating the death of their Primarch. It's worth pointing out that both examples were Space Marines to begin with, making them superhumanly tough by superhuman standards.
- However, this rule is also used for infantry squads with what essentially amounts to a medic in it—those cases don't really go under this trope.
- In the fluff, Orks are like this, and often can survive things like decapitation and clinical death for sometime before going down.
- On the tabletop this may or may not be represented, depending on the perspective of the player. Orks are tougher than any normal human can ever be, but in 40K humans are pretty weedy anyway. But to many weapons eg: battle cannons, plasma guns the difference is negligible anyway.
- Played with in consideration of the followers of Slaanesh, who are "gifted" to feel roughly any stimuli as pleasurable. Their minds can react to pain in a positive manner, even though they are feeling that pain, so they will feel rapturous when being nearly burned to death or hacked to pieces. This would make interrogations difficult, to be sure.
- It might depend on the source - some describe it as their senses being heightened by Slaanesh, causing them to overload on pleasures, but eventually deaden their senses by overuse to the point they feel that anything particularly extreme is pleasurable (even pain) because they can feel little else. Yes, just like drugs only more severe, though they almost certainly use those along the way.
- While this seems to be played off as horrific, there's definite potential to make this rather amusing.
- The Juicer and Crazy character classes in Rifts both feature this trait—the former due to being in a constant state of computer-controlled drug dosage, the latter due to Nanomachines in their brain editing pain signals out.
- The Pain Editor in Shadowrun is bioware (artificial organ implant) which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- In GURPS this requires both the disadvantage of "Numb" and the advantage of "High Pain Threshold". Cruelly, "Numb" makes it so you can only feel pain.
- Several types of entities in Deadlands Feel No Pain, including some Player Characters that are Blessed with Suck. Like the Bruce Banner example in the Comic Books section above, these beings can usually still feel when something's wrong, but the sensation isn't described as unduly distracting. Excessive injury can still cause penalties to dice rolls, though, because it's hard to walk without your favorite patella, and it's hard to maintain balance without your spinal column.
- Prometheans have this as one of their special tricks—whereas other supernaturals (and mortals) start taking wound penalties at a certain level, and have to roll to resist passing/bleeding out when their health meter fills with bashing/lethal damage, Prometheans will continue onward even if they're losing limbs, not falling down until they're dead. And even that doesn't stop them.
- Trolls in the Mystara setting Feel No Pain in addition to traditional D&D-trollish Healing Factor. The combination has led them to develop a fondness for games in which participants toss their own or others' severed arms, legs and heads around.
- Some Malfeas Charms in Exalted make it so that while you do feel pain, it doesn't actually affect you. At Essence 5+, with By Agony Empowered active, you can have multiple open aggravated wounds, and yet you keep fighting at full capacity until your Incapacitated health level gets marked off with aggravated damage. With the right Overdrive charms and Driven Beyond Death, you can arrange to then stand up again, go One-Winged Angel, and wreak havoc, still without being debilitated by your wounds.
- Zombies in All Flesh Must Be Eaten who have the Senses trait "Like The Dead" don't feel pain. "Like The Living" or better gives them that quality back - even though they don't suffer real damage from heavy blows, it feels like it, and thus they lose their next action if they take significant injury from a single attack. The sourcebook Atlas of the Living Dead adds the Feel No Pain quality, which removes that drawback from the higher Senses traits, allowing for zombies with incredible perception and a complete lack of concern about injury.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Hayden, the protagonist of Dark Sector, has congenital insensitivity to pain. This is the reason he can use the superpowers given to him by the mutagen he has been infected with during the story, as it is revealed later than normal humans go insane from the constant pain it gives them.
- As above, the Halo series, the Spartan IIIs have had their nervous systems modified to block most pain from injury and prevent the body from going into shock. At one point a Spartan is still on his feet after having his insides ripped to shreds, and though he does die seconds later he only stays up as long as he does because he couldn't feel it, and a normal person would have gone into shock instantly.
- The infamous Coffee Mindfuck in Tales of Symphonia involves Lloyd tricking Collette into thinking that the hot coffee he'd handed her was ice-cold in order to make her admit that she'd lost her sense of touch, and by extension, her sense of pain as she's transformed into an angel. She gets better, though.
- One of the 48 body parts you get from killing one of the Majins in the videogame of Osamu Tezuka's Dororo (released in English as "Blood Will Tell") is Hyakkimaru's pain receptor nervous sytem. In practice this just makes the controller vibrate.
- In BioShock (series) 2, one of the audio diaries indicates that the researchers at Rapture gave the Little Sisters medication to eliminate their pain response, in order to get around the issue that they rapidly healed yet still felt the pain of their injuries. Unfortunately, this resulted in the Little Sisters chewing off their own tongues in ignorance of what they were doing.
- Clones in Dystopia have all of their nerves rerouted through a device called a Combat Control Unit which filters out about 90 to 95 percent of pain signals. They don't feel pain so much as they do the sensation of getting shot or cut.
- In League of Legends the mage Swaim first came to attention of the Noxian government when he limped into a medical ward with his leg broken and the bone visibly protruding. The doctor who treated him noted that he showed no distress, and had no reaction to the bone being snapped back into place. The champion Sion also has an ability called Feel No Pain, which has a chance to reduce the damage taken from attacks.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic VI (Well, technically, Might And Magic Heroes VI, for unexplained reasons), the 'Cyclops' (which is the Champion-level creature of the Barbarian faction) has the special ability 'Insensitive To Pain', apparently due to being heavily warped by demonic energy. In gameplay-terms, it means that whatever damage is inflicted on a Cyclops, won't affect it until its next turn - a potent ability, since it enables the Cyclops to always counterattack with his full strength, even if the attack should've killed him. And better yet, it can trick people into wasting more attacks on a unit that is technically already dead - he just hasn't realized it yet. Oh, and if you're clever, there's a number of spells you can use to take further advantage of it in various insidious ways... so in that universe, at least, being unable to feel pain is a definite advantage.
- Kohaku from Tsukihime is a purely psychological (though apparently no less effective) version of this trope. One scene has her cutting her finger, then claiming that if she just tells herself she's just a doll, she won't feel the pain. She really does believe she's just a doll, who has to act human to fit in. And the "doll" thing was a defense mechanism created to deal with much worse things than mere cuts.
Web Comics[edit | hide]
- Vlad from El Goonish Shive has a variant of this based on relative pain due to an incident when he tried to transform and it nearly killed him. He could still feel pain, but nothing else compares to the feeling of his own body trying to rip itself apart. Once he is transformed into a human woman, he gains it back.
Vlad: Since that day... all other pain... is numb.
- The "tainted" Drow in Drowtales merge with a demon and have a reduced sense of pain as a result, and in cases of extreme tainting it makes the Drow more or less unstoppable, which proved to be a huge problem with a group of tainted Drow decided to attack the main city. Naal, a girl who is so badly tainted that she shouldn't even be alive, comments that "I broke one of my fingers this morning, and I didn't feel anything."
- In SSDD, the "Gigglers" are created without the ability to feel pain, since they're disposable clone soldiers. One of the major characters is a "turned" clone who gained the ability to feel pain through nanomachine implants, though he seems to enjoy it a bit too much
- Richard the Omnicidal Maniac warlock from Looking for Group. Examples include Annoying Arrows, annoying swords...annoying dragons....giants....
- Justified. He is undead, after all.
- Grey from Inhuman cannot feel pain, which might be why he's covered in scars.
- Technically, Maytage of Flipside does feel pain, but she's trained herself to "accept" it, rather than the natural gut instinct to "deny" the pain being inflicted. To wit, she can endure slicing off her own left pinky (nearly one of her breasts) and having a mutated cannibal girl eat the rest of her left arm past the elbow with little to no flinching.
- The golem girls from Wapsi Square don't seem to be able to feel pain. For example, a welder to the finger elicits the response "That tickles." However, they are also pretty much indestructible, so there really isn't much of a reason for them to need to feel pain.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- In The Mask, villain Pretorius considered this part of the key to The Mask's powers and tried to reproduce it in himself.
- Terry once fought a man whose psychic power was to shut off his own pain receptors in Batman Beyond. Somehow, this made him super-strong and allowed him to fall thirty stories or so, leave a crater, and walk away without injury.
- Rusty from Big Guy and Rusty The Boy Robot was built without pain receptors, allowing him to take truly ludicrous amounts of punishment with a smile. One episode involves him getting turned into a cyborg & developing a sense of pain, drastically reducing his effectiveness as a superhero.
- For an entire episode of the short-lived series O'Grady, nobody feels pain for a while on account of the ever-present "Weirdness" that plagues the town. Everybody enjoys the opportunity to do some "Groundhog Day" type stunts they normally would never have gotten away with, until, of course, The Weirdness wears off and their physical senses fully return. Ouch.
- In one episode of Moral Orel, sexually frustrated Bloberta Puppington starts using power tools as sex toys. Rather than addressing the actual problem, Dr. Potterswheel prescribes painkillers. After he increases the dosage a few times, she's seen humming to herself as her hand catches fire in the course of cooking without utensils.
- Mort of The Penguins of Madagascar is proven in the episode "Sting Operation" to be "protected by a halo of ignorance"; he literally doesn't have enough brainpower to register pain.
- Elmyra of Tiny Toon Adventures was often shown shrugging off her pets' attempts at self-defense through this trope. One episode established (for that episode, at least) that she could actually feel pain, it just had to be insanely severe to penetrate her general obliviousness. And even then, it could take a while.
- Soundwave of Transformers Prime seems to be this way if his fight with Wheeljack is any indication. Part of this might be the fact that he has no face or voice to show his reaction to being hit.
- There are two levels to pain immunity. One level is simply not feeling pain (possibly in addition to simply not feeling anything). Another level is to actually feel the sensation of pain, but utterly lack the knowledge and instinct that pain is anything but a different kind of feeling. In the latter case, the aversion or unpleasantness associated with pain just isn't there.
- In Real Life, Police have trouble with PCP users because of PCP's pain-blocking capacity. Due to this, normal attacks don't cause the shock response that can put a suspect out of a fight. Instead, they have to cause the suspect's body to fail mechanically (such as breaking kneecaps to make the suspect unable to walk). It's less that you don't feel it and more like it seems like it's happening to someone else. This might be okay by itself but PCP also causes hallucinations, delusions, seizures, violent and/or suicidal behavior and muscle spasms so severe they can break your bones or tear your muscles, but you won't notice because sometimes those anti-drug commercials aren't kidding. The only treatment for high doses of PCP is to restrain the person in question so they don't accidentally kill themselves or someone else, and medication to stop the seizures until the patient returns to normal.
- Leprosy is such a crippling disease because it destroys the nerve receptors, causing its victims to neglect injuries; in time, the wounds become infected to the point of needing amputation.
- Diabetics can develop numbness in their extremities. They can step on something sharp and not know it until they look at their feet.
- Certain drugs, including PCP (see above), ephinephrine, and others are often used by militia and insurgents (e.g. insurgents in Mogadishu and Fallujah) to give them increased staying power in combat; though they can still bleed out, the painkillers will dull any pain and keep their hearts pumping even after they should be clinically dead.
- There are rare genetic conditions that keep some people from feeling pain for their whole life. As a result, they tend not to live long, since they never learn to avoid injury, and can't determine its seriousness even when they've noticed that everything's not right with their body.
- One such condition is CIPA, Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis. Besides not feeling pain, they can't feel temperature and don't sweat. Overheating is a constant problem and leading cause of death in babies. People with this condition must constantly check for injuries, monitor their body temperature, check orifices for cuts or bleeding, etc. There are only about 20-30 people in the world with this condition at any one time, and it obviously shows up much, much more frequently in fiction.
- Insensitivity to pain is sometimes a trait of people with autism, who may either not process pain very efficiently, or not know how to communicate it. Oddly enough, other autistics have the opposite problem—hypersensitivity to pain—and at least a few individuals have both problems simultaneously, depending on which kind of pain it is.
- Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in medical history, could not feel pain in his feet, so he didn't know a leg brace caused a blister, which got infected, which killed him at only 22 years old.