Finger-Poke of Doom

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Never ask Superman to flick your nose.

Vesper Lynd: If the only thing left of you was your smile and your little finger, you'd still be more of a man than anyone I've ever known.
James Bond: That's because you know what I can do with my little finger.

The best way to show the amazing power of a character? Simple, have them do something incredible without any effort at all. Give them the power to move mountains, even planets, and thus have them show this power by doing what the heroes (and the audience) would find amazing without even lifting a finger. Or better yet, just a finger.

The trope is named by Professional Wrestling fans after an event from a Wham! Episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

This tends to accompany the practical demonstration of The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort. The first or second cousin of The Worf Effect. For a move that is genuinely weak but is still effective, see Cherry Tapping. If you poked the poodle with doom, you have probably kicked the dog. See also Touch of Death and Finger Gun.

Use of this trope is generally considered bad writing in professional wrestling(see WCW below).

Not to be confused with Giving Someone the Pointer Finger.

Examples of Finger-Poke of Doom include:

Anime and Manga

  • Fist of the North Star
    • Kenshiro, the big-eyebrowed hero, is in the habit of making bad guys' heads explode by poking them with his finger. He often heightens the dramatic effect by ceremonially cracking his knuckles first. In this case it's all a matter of where you poke them.
    • Let's not forget Shin and his favorite execution method: effortlessly pushing a single finger directly through a man's chest. This is how Kenshiro got his scars.
    • Rei doesn't poke people to death, but he does nearly the same thing by slashing men in half with his fingertips. He is (somehow) able to create a cutting force at his finger's edges. His style happens to be related to Shin's, which is why they both have bare hands able to cut stuff they normally wouldn't.
    • Yuda, whose style is related Rei's and Shin's, actually topped them: he usually does the slashing people in half with his fingertips thing, but he once slashed in perfectly simmetrical halves an henchman who had completed his job by poking the air in front of said henchman. The cut started from the back.
    • And finally, Raoh dooms Rei to a slow death by striking a point on his chest with a single finger (And help from his cape as well)
  • Very many examples in Dragonball Z. There's Mercenary Tao killing the one-time Dragon of the Red Ribbon Army with only his tongue (don't ask), Freeza blowing up a henchman and a very wide area by only blinking, Vegeta demonstrating his newfound power killing his once rival Kiwi by essentially pointing at him... the list goes on...
    • The very first Finger-Poke of Doom in the entire series belongs to Goku: when competing with Oolong (who was turned into a mecha) over breaking a stack of bricks, Goku breaks the stack... with his index finger. At age twelve.
    • The best example being where Nappa and Vegeta land on Earth, and, to cement their status as powerful enemies, Nappa blows up an entire city, by only lifting two fingers, and somewhat casually at that (an attack later monikered Giant Storm).
    • There's also the Punching Machine in the Majin Buu Saga, where the heroes show world-record-breaking strength, by casually jabbing the punch machine. Vegeta, who does not bother with this the first time around, shows why they had to do that. (Hint: You're trying not to break the machine.)
    • Used to demonstrate the results of Son Goku's Training from Hell all the way back in Dragon Ball. In the "Strongest Under the Heavens" Tournament, his first opponent is a massive wrestler. He nips between his legs and playfully taps him on the leg with a finger... which knocks him out of the ring.
    • Also used when Future Trunks first shows up, and challenges Goku to see how strong he is. As Trunks is swinging away with his sword, Goku effortlessly parries each strike with his index finger.
    • Also, Future Trunks killing Frieza with his sword in about ten seconds, doing what Goku had spent about fifty episodes trying to do, with zero effort.
    • And then there's Frieza forming and unleashing an all-encompassing supernova that destroys Goku's father, Planet Vegeta, all Saiyans minus four (eight, if the Dragon Ball movies and specials are counted), and a good horde of his own soldiers... all the while sitting and laughing in his hover-chair, using only his index finger.
    • In fact, Frieza, specially in his comparatively overwhelmingly strong first and final forms, does most of his business this way. The most striking one is when he points at Gohan, Vegeta kicks Gohan out of where he was standing, and next thing seen, is that the mountain that stood a long way behind Gohan had been replaced with a mushroom cloud. Then there's his signature Death Beam, a thin, needle-sharp laser fired from his index finger that can cut a nice neat hole straight through people, specifically Vegeta and Piccolo.
  • Seras from Hellsing politely demonstrated the fact that she was a vampire to Pip Bernadette by poking and flicking him during their first meeting. Being a vampire in the Hellsing universe means you have Super Strength, and being poked by a vampire as a mere human is quite damaging.
  • Bleach
    • Aizen blocks an attack by bankai-state Ichigo with a single finger. It's part of the reason fans refer to him as Captain Superman.
    • To a lesser extent, Ulqiuorra seems bored in almost all of his fights and even puts less effort in all his fights than the stronger Espada. It's explained later, as he's meant to be a kind of avatar of nihilism. In his fight with Ichigo, he blocks Ichigo's Getsuga with just one hand. Hilarity Ensues (sort of) when Ichigo goes into Resureccion Mode and blocks Ulquiorra's strongest attack with one hand.
    • Isshin flicks Aizen through several buildings by basically giving him the finger in chapter 398.
    • Anime-only villain Jin Kariya is capable of completely immobilizing enemies simply by pressing his finger on their foreheads.
    • Yammy attacks Orihime in chapter 192 with this trope.
    • Soifon's Shikai, albeit she has what is basically a poisonous dagger at the end of said finger.
  • Naruto
    • Tsunade beats Naruto twice using just a flick of her fingers.
      • It may have been a filler, but scary all the same: There's two massive escaped prisoners who can practically shrug off being held by both a bulked-up guy, physical shadows, and even mind control by using just sheer muscle. Tsunade shows up, and these two cower; she then does the same finger-flick to launch them a fair distance and they scamper back to prison. Cue a priceless amazed expression from Ino-Shika-Chou...
    • Kakashi has a literal Finger Poke of Doom with his taijutsu technique, One Thousand Years of Death/Pain.
    • The Hyuga clan's Jyuuken (Gentle Fist) Style consists solely of this, being based on seemingly weak attacks that do no external damage and instead target the internal organs directly, such as when Hiashi killed a Kumo-nin kidnapper with a simple jab at the heart.
    • The Third Raikage: Hell Stab: Four-Finger Crossbeam Hand!
  • Quite a few alchemists from Fullmetal Alchemist fit this one.
    • Like Roy Mustang, who can create huge fireballs just by snapping his fingers. His gloves are made of a material that, when rubbed together, acts like a match on abrasive, thus requiring the motion to get a spark he can manipulate.
    • Father taking away the ability of people to perform alchemy simply by stamping his foot. Not to mention firing gigantic energy blasts by tapping his finger once he obtains God.
  • Rurouni Kenshin
    • At the very end of the series, we know that Yahiko has become a certified Badass since he's become capable of blocking a blade with two fingers. Note that this overlaps somewhat with Barehanded Blade Block, but is much more badass, and is likely to generate an Oh Crap response from the one about to get their ass handed to them.
    • And let's not forget Sano's original entrance in the manga. He enters a bar brawl with someone twice his size, and knocks him flying several feet by flicking him in the forehead.
    • There's also the fingerpoke version of the Futae no Kawami, which can shatter rocks (and everything else).
  • Yu Yu Hakusho
    • When Sensui's "true" personality, Shinobu, arrives, the first thing he does is shake Yusuke's hand... which snaps his arm in two.
    • Yusuke gets one himself later, when two fighters charge at him and he blocks their flurry of attacks using one finger each.
    • Also, Younger Toguro gets a lot of these, showing that he had strength beyond any of the characters thus far. The best example was when he took off the whole top half of a corrupt businessman's head by flicking him.
  • Slayers
    • Xellos from Slayers Next destroys a small army of dragons by sticking out his finger and sweeping it in a sort of lazy arc, with his eyes closed.
    • Hellmaster Phibrizzo kills Gaav, who Lina couldn't stop even with the Ragna Blade, by snapping his fingers.
    • In the original novels, he vaporizes Gaav with just a smile.
  • One Piece
    • The Cipher Pol 9 agents literally have a Finger Poke of Doom in their Shigan technique, in which what looks like a harmless poke actually carries the strength of a gunshot.
    • More recently and in the same vein, Emporio Ivankov has shown off his "Death Wink!" What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome??
  • Project A-ko's A-Ko often does this by accident.
  • Satan from Shina Dark does this to the first Hero group that shows up. He stops the mages by feeding them in mid battle and proceeds to flick the swordsman in the middle of the forehead. Which of course sends said swordsman spiraling through the air.
  • The White Devil training incident in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. It starts with Nanoha catching Subaru's Power Fist and Teana's Laser Blade using one bare hand each. It ends with Nanoha using a single finger to cast one of Teana's spells to knock her out with without the help of Raising Heart.
  • Asura introduces himself this way in Soul Eater, in the absolute creepiest way imaginable.
  • Ranma ½
    • The "Bakusai Tenketsu" (or Breaking Point) technique. Ryôga learns this technique which lets him poke his finger into an object - even solid rock - and make it explode into thousands of little shards. Until he discovered that it only worked on rocks Ranma was afraid that he'd be shattered by Ryôga.
    • Cologne can also use this move. In fact, in the anime at least, she's also shown to be able to use it on steel (she catches a falling I-beam on the tip of her staff after landing in a construction sight, causing it to disintegrate) and wood. In a lesser version of this trope, she's also implied to have a number of Pressure Point techniques with nasty effects; she's shown to have a move that renders the victim so sensitive to heat that tepid water feels boiling hot, and where might Shampoo have learned the Xi Fa Xiang Gao technique from?
      • Speaking of Shampoo, she also knows a lesser version of the Bakusai Tenketsu... which explodes the content of take-out boxes by jabbing a fingertip at the box.
    • Ryôga destroys wood too in the manga arc where he and Ranma become babies.
  • The eponymous Ran of Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran delivers the dreaded finger flick to a mook whom's she's dragging around by his head, after effortlessly dispatching about half a dozen of his buddies with her bare hands and without even looking at them -- all the while casually talking to her sidekick.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima
    • In the first anime adaptation of Maho Sensei Negima, Negima!, Action Girl Ku Fei demonstrates her bookcase-destroying forehead flick, or "dekopin", in the Library Island mini-arc, much to the horror of the other girls. Ninja classmate Kaede can do it too.
    • In the manga, Jack Rakan accidentally blows up a mountain. After that, Negi is understandably freaked out by the prospect of having to fight him. And rightly so. During the fight, Jack actually uses the mountain-destroying attack on Negi. Ouch.
    • At the end of the Kyoto Arc, Evangeline shows up to save the heroes from a giant demon by blasting it with a superpowerful spell... which she activates by snapping her fingers.
    • Also when Chachamaru repeatedly flicks Negi to interfere with his spellcasting. Or pulls his face into funny faces or pokes him or... well anyway, she doesn't like outright violence much. Also, the point was to keep Negi from casting, as each attack breaks his concentration. This illustrates just how weak a spellcaster is without a partner.
    • Negi himself did this to Sextum, destroying her barrier... and her clothes.
  • In Darker than Black, Wei activates his Bloody Murder powers by snapping his fingers.
  • In Great Teacher Onizuka, the manga, Onizuka flicks a massive guy across the room. Then he proceeds to Arm-wrestle a hundred people in a row...
  • In Tekken Chinmi, there's a very weird symbiosis with Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Ryukai's Spirit Attack allows him to control a person's body from a distance, just by pointing at them. Another example closer to this trope is when one of Chinmi's mentors teaches him how to focus his qi into his fingertips.
  • Pokémon
    • Mewtwo. At the beginning of Pokémon the First Movie, he opens his eyes, shattering the containment unit he was in, after listening to the scientists. He becomes enraged as he is just an experiment, so he clenches his fists and thus destroys the entire laboratory he and the scientists are in. He then finishes the job by turning his head three times. Other examples: Nonchalantly waving his hand to create a deadly storm, blasting a Gyarados and its Trainer to the opposite wall by raising his arm, and releasing Nurse Joy by snapping his fingers.
    • There's also the anime episode "A Marathon Rivalry", where Team Rocket is able to take down Ash's Staraptor by using mechanical hands hidden in the balloon's basket to poke it repeatedly and forcefully until Staraptor fainted.
    • As early as the third episode, after Team Rocket defeats two of his Pokémon, Ash tries to attack the pair himself. After holding him At Arm's Length, James beats him with a flick of his finger.
  • Digimon Adventure: Myotismon doesn't even need to poke. He can, among other things, block a head-on charge from a Digimon the same level as him and about five times his size by pointing at him. Similarly, there is an instance where he repels multiple projectile-based attacks (which were launched from several Digimon simultaneously) just by blowing at them.
  • Once he gets a bit of a rein on his anger, Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima starts responding to mildly annoying people by merely flicking them in the forehead (as opposed to his previous method of sending them flying over a city block). Of course, with Shizuo being Shizuo, this still feels to the victims like someone smacked them in the face with a baseball bat.
  • Fate/Zero's Iskander casually flicks Waver on the forehead whenever he wishes to dismiss him, knocking him back several feet.
  • Gauron of Full Metal Panic! pulls this off in one of his most infamous scenes, telekinetically ripping apart a Humongous Mecha by 'firing' a Finger Gun at it.
  • Eyeshield 21 has Gaou, who raises a bruise on the opposing team's quarterback by managing to reach him with his little finger. The bruise is about two inches in diameter.

Comic Books

  • This is Miles Morales', the second Spider-Man's, specialty. He has a time-delayed stunning power that works by touch, which he usually uses by poking his enemy with his index and middle finger. It tends to be pretty humorous because Miles will switch from trading blows with a super-powered villain to suddenly and delicately touching him with two fingers and watching him have a seizure.
  • Subverted nastily in Rising Stars when a bunch of the Specials are being apprehended by the ATF. One of specials points his finger meaning to do absolutely nothing, except say "You can't do this!". Unfortunately, the ATF guys have been working themselves into a lather of panic on the way to the Specials' hideaway, so with a terrified scream of "He's POINTING! HE'S GONNA DO SOMETHING!", they open fire and slaughter a bunch of the Specials. The deaths of so many Specials powers up the rest of them higher than they had been before and a massacre commences. Afterwords, the ATF tells news reporters that the flashes of gunfire are really sunspots.
  • Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan. At one point teleports an entire mob of people with barely any effort at all. Even more impressive is that he teleported each of them to their homes. At the same time.
  • In one Marvel Universe fight between Thor and Iron Man, it took five pages and about 20 seconds of in-universe time for the fight to be over. However, the Spit You to Death, similar to this trope, came when Iron Man flew straight at him with great speed, and Thor simply stuck out his hammer, not even flinching as Tony was deflected into some power lines.
  • During the Mr. Fixit storyline, the Grey Hulk (almost as strong as green, as smart as Banner, and totally amoral) gave a human opponent "da Finger". A finger thump to the forhead knocking him out.
  • In Fire Breather, Duncan gets revenge on a bully by breaking his nose by flicking a ball away with his finger during phys ed.
  • Also in the Marvel Universe, Black Bolt is Blessed with Suck in that his whispers can level mountains.
  • Spider-Man once defeated dimwitted villain The Walrus with a flick of his fingers. To be fair, Spidey was showing off in front of TV cameras because the Walrus had humiliated him earlier, sucker-punching him while he was helpless because of laughter, after hearing that:

The Walrus: Yeah, well -- Don't underestimate ME, pal! For your information, I've got the proportionate speed, strength and agility of a WALRUS!

  • Used in the Uncle Scrooge comic "Cash Flow" after the Beagle Boys have been zapped by an anti-friction ray and an anti-inertia ray—one flick from his fingers sends them sliding all the way back to the prison.
  • When Thanos was in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, he was able to erase half the sentient life in the universe by snapping his fingers.
  • The Savage Dragon. The hero kills a bad guy by biting off his finger and spitting it through the evil man's brain.
  • DC Comics vampires can somehow burst a man's jugular by a snap of the fingers.
  • It can be real doom if Superman isn't careful. During a fight with the Weaponsmaster he becomes ill. He warns his opponent that due to being rattled from illness a casual blow could shatter a villain's skull.
  • Dungeon: The Early Years: Herbert de Vaucanson learn to do it through training. In his case, fingerpoking with one of his feathers (Herbert is a duck) flay the target's skin.
  • Quoth Bamse to two gorillas he just had made fly across a jungle clearing: "I just poked you with a finger. Now please calm down, or I'll have to poke you with two fingers."

Films -- Animation

"You know what the hardest part is? The hardest part is cleaning up afterwards."

    • There's also the "Nerve Strike" which can cause paralysis or even death.
  • Parodied in Ratatouille, where the chef Horst reportedly killed someone with his thumb.
  • In Hulk Vs, Loki unleashes the Hulk from Bruce Banner by lightly "bitch slapping" Banner, which is powerful enough to throw Banner across the room. Justified since Loki's a god and Banner's a physical weakling.

Films -- Live-Action

  • In Kill Bill, we have the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, which the Bride uses to finish off Bill in Vol. 2's climax.
  • Star Wars
    • Darth Vader strangling people with only a tightening of his hand.
    • And when Vader chokes Admiral Ozzel to death across a television screen, and a presumably long distance (they were on the same ship, but said ship is ten miles long).
    • And, the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where he blocks Han's blaster shots with only his hand.
    • As he enters Jabba's palace, Luke waves his hand backwards and chokes two Gamorrean guards in Return of the Jedi.
    • Yoda gets one too: In Revenge of the Sith, he enters Palpatine's throne room, and the two Imperial Guards move to stop him. Yoda casually waves his hand backwards and they are thrown against the wall hard enough to instantly knock them out.
  • X-Men movies
    • At the beginning of X2, Pyro winks in order to turn a zippo flame into something that can engulf a man's arm.
    • Magneto often does that kind of things during the course of the three movies. Most notably when at one point he send police cars flying around by essentialy raising his hand.
    • Sebastian Shaw in First Class has this as a secondary ability - he absorbs energy from any attacks, then releases it into anyone he likes with a slight touch. Usually with a kablooey.
  • Neo as The One from The Matrix series can stop a hail of bullets simply by raising his hand.
  • By the end of the film Kung Fu Hustle, the hero is capable of displaying examples of this trope.
  • Mac has a Love Touch that works at close contact or from a distance in Earth Girls Are Easy. It is potent enough to pull up latent gay tendencies, and to make a man fall in love with a cat he loathed.
  • In Hancock, the title character manages to destroy a locomotive and derail a freight train merely by leaning into it slightly.
  • In The Presidio, Sean Connery is such a Badass that he subdues a large biker dude with just his left thumb. The right one would have been just too much. He actually uses both thumbs, and his foot. He was still fighting a guy twice his size while in a uniform not designed for ease of movement.
  • Parodied multiple times in Kung Pow Enter The Fist. At one point, The Chosen One throws a punch that stops just short of the boards held out for him—which he then blows away by extending his index finger. In the same sequence he performs pushups progressively with one hand, one finger, and breathing. As the narrator remarks, "Give me some of what he's smoking!"


  • In one of the Heralds of Valdemar books, this is played with when a very powerful mage knows he could quiet a raging storm from the comfort of his chair with a few little hand motions, but opts to go the dramatic route, complete with flinging open the shutters and waving grandiosely, because he knows that the lesser mage watching him will be more impressed.
  • The Discworld's Death usually gets the effect he wants with a snap of his skeletal fingers. Occasionally he gestures or waves a hand, but he's no show-off. Except when the narrative requires it for a CMOA.
  • Miles Vorkosigan demonstrates the power of a single finger to Super Soldier Taura, by having her use just one finger to turn up the temperature settings on Baron Ryoval's freezers, from deep freeze, to the "sterilize for cleaning" setting.

Miles: And the lesson is, it's not how much force you use. It's where you apply it.

Live-Action TV

  • In Kamen Rider 555, villain Kitazaki is not only a badass fighter, but also has the ability to turn everything and everyone he touches into ash.
  • Sylar from Heroes is fond of this. At one point he stands right in the path of an armored truck, and flicks his fingers. It flips spectacularly end over end. Not to mention his preferred method of stealing powers: pointing his finger to slice their skull open with telekinesis.
  • Elliott from Scrubs once sent J.D. across the room just by poking him, demonstrating that she has the finger strength of a rock-climbing jazz pianist.
  • Q from Star Trek usually preface their godlike powers with something innocuous like a snap of the fingers or a random shaking of a hand.
    • The Vulcan nerve pinch. To be fair, it looks easy when Spock does it, but Vulcans are ~3x as strong as humans.
  • Happy Days: What couldn't Fonzie do with a snap of his fingers?
  • In the Doctor Who serial Survival, Sergeant Patterson is constantly banging on about his self-defence classes, and at one point calls after the Doctor: "One finger can be a deadly weapon!" Later on, the Doctor subdues him by tapping his forehead with, yes, one finger.
  • Deliberately invoked by Michael Weston for the cover identity "Louis" in Burn Notice. Sure, it takes advance planning and careful timing, but when he blows stuff up with a finger snap, he goes from kook in a fancy suit to terrifying quasi-supernatural figure.
  • In The Avengers episode "The Positive Negative Man", just a touch from the villain's finger can literally knock a person through a wall. Of course, he's electrically charged.
  • Played with in an episode of The Monkees when Peter seemingly knocks out the bad guys by "shooting" at them with his finger. They really just happened to pass out at the exact moment Peter did that (from a drugged drink), but because it's The Monkees, it could have made perfect (non)sense even without the drink.

Pro Wrestling

  • The Trope Namer comes from one of the first WCW Nitro episodes of 1999, Kevin Nash—former Hulk Hogan lackey, leader of the nWo Wolfpac, and current WCW Champion—calls out the (allegedly) retired Hogan after Goldberg (Nash's scheduled challenger for the WCW Championship) is arrested earlier in the evening, and offers to put his belt on the line. Hogan (still ostensibly the leader of the nWo "Black and White" group) answers the challenge and comes down to the ring, the two have a tense staredown... and Hogan pokes Nash in the chest with his finger. Nash goes down like he'd been hit by a shotgun blast, and Hogan covers him for three. Hogan's the WCW Champion again, the nWo is whole once more, and the last six months of storylines are completely reversed—which drove the many of the fans nuts. Fingerpokes of Doom have since had strong negative connotations in Professional Wrestling.
    • According to some, (and by "some" I mean Dave Meltzer), the whole thing was part of a backstage "work" between Hogan and Nash where Nash would bury Hogan to the other wrestlers (who, like the viewerbase, were seeing Hogan as a Creator's Pet) to get him credibility backstage for taking over as booker, and in return Nash would lay down for Hogan.
    • At the time, WWF RAW was taped. Tony Schiavone – on orders from Eric Bischoff – exposed that Mick Foley was going to win the WWF Championship that night, on the assumption that knowing the results ahead of time would keep fans from tuning over to WWF. Instead, the fans flocked over to WWF RAW because they wanted see the popular Foley win the title. WCW's ratings never recovered. Following the Fingerpoke of Doom match, color commentators Bobby "the Brain" Heenan and Larry Zybysko – both of them heel-leaning announcers – seemed legitimately confused as to what they thought was supposed to have happened, all while Schiavone (the face of the group) never missed a beat in describing the chaos in the ring.
    • Also Mick won the title at the end of RAW, roughly at 11 PM. The FPOD happened immediately after this, since Nitro ran for five minutes longer. So it ended up being that the fans saw their crowd favorite, Mick win the title in one promotion, then immediately switched over to watch one of the craziest things to ever happen in a wrestling ring. It was largely considered an Epic Fail of planning that convinced many that WCW was already dying, if not dead.

Tabletop Games

  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, there was actually a special Discipline for high-level Potence users called Flick, where with a casual touch—a flick, a nudge, a gentle push—you could send someone flying. It was noted to be useful in Elysiums where the rules against Discipline use were a bit lax, as it would be quite humiliating for the target.
  • In Vampire: The Requiem, the Spina bloodline has access to Courtoise, a power that, at high levels, allows them to inflict damage just by insulting the target.
  • While spontaneous magic in Mage: The Awakening requires nothing but willpower, rote spells have special hand symbols called mudras that are required when cast. A casual tap on the nose might be the mudra for setting you on fire.
  • In Rifts cyborgs can have a small laser installed int their pinky that does 1 point of Mega damage. This is enough to kill anyone who isn't wearing armor, though admittedly, so is a stiff breeze in that game.
  • In "Heroes and Monsters of the Milennium", a Mega Crossover conversion set for the Angel RPG, the strongest listed attack, inflicting 3E12 damage (That's scientific notation there), is a finger-poke from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has the Finger of Death spell, where you point at someone and they die.
  • In Scion, this effect is created by the Epic Strength knack "Making It Look Easy."

Video Games

  • God Hand employs this trope with the Poke of God, although you'll need to whittle an enemy's health to near nothing for it to work. Still, it can even make demons explode. Specifically, this move can ONLY be peformed on demons, WHEN they have only a sliver of life left, AND they are in dizzy status. So, technically, yes, any other move would kill them at this point too. On the other hand, the Poke of God is a guaranteed instant death attack and gives invulnerability frames like any other reaction command, so it's actually probably the best move to use IF you have somehow fulfilled the criteria for using it. The criteria for using it make the move generally Awesome but Impractical, though.
  • Subverted occasionally in Worms: the "Prod" attack is reserved for the most humiliating defeats of all. (It deals no damage, and is reserved for pushing enemies off the edge of a cliff - something that most other weapons can do anyway.) But can also be modified in the weapons editor to force enemies through the sky with 100% damage in some games (Armageddon for example).
  • Super Smash Bros. has a few instances of this. Jigglypuff possesses an attack called "Rest", which at first appears to be Exactly What It Says on the Tin, sending Jigglypuff to sleep and rendering it inert for several seconds. However, if initiated with the center of Jigglypuff's body is touching another character, it is an extremely potent attack.
    • Peach can pull up turnips to throw around at things. Most of these are about effective a weapon as one would expect turnips to be. Occasionally, however, she will pull up an extremely potent turnip, or yet more rarely, a Bob-omb or a Beam Sword.
    • Luigi's taunt, one of the few damaging ones in the game, does exactly 1% damage, with him doing a slow, bashful kick to the ground that knocks someone a fixed distance into the air, regardless of damage. If using it on someone holding onto a ledge, however, it becomes a potent (if impractical) Meteor Move. If otherwise combined with his Final Smash, not only is the target helpless to react, but it will knock out just about anyone at very low percentages of damage.
  • Each class in Team Fortress 2 has several seemingly harmless taunt moves, at least one of which causes instant death if it's aimed perfectly. The Pyro, for example, can do a mini-Kamehame Hadoken, producing a tiny fireball, which incinerates you if you're right in front of him (but otherwise does nothing). The Heavy has a literal Finger-Poke of Doom: by miming a Quick Draw shot with his fingers, he can make an enemy drop dead from a good distance away.
    • Another example in Team Fortress 2 could be the Spy's butterfly knife, which is the weakest melee weapon, unless you are attacking from behind, in which case it gives an instant kill.
  • In the final battle of Persona 3 the main character, after being blasted repeatedly with the very essence of Death, heals himself with The Power of Friendship and raises his index finger to seal away the physical incarnation of the end of the world.
    • Let's not forget Persona 4. The main character defeats Izanami-no-Okami by summoning Izanagi-no-Okami -- her HUSBAND! How does he do this? After crushing his tarot card, he raises a single finger. When Izanagi-no-Okami appears, he simply points at Izanami-no-Okami. Everything dies.
  • Street Fighter
    • Normally, Sakura has the Cherry Tapping version this as her taunt: depending on the game, it may or may not be able to defeat her opponent, but it's able to damage them regardless. It's best used during Custom Combos, where it can actually hit the enemy multiple times. However, EX 3 extends this move into an actual Finger Poke of Doom, costing 3 super levels and causing her to leisurely skip towards the opponent and point and laugh at them... causing them to be blasted across the screen and lose most of their health if it connects, in addition to it being unblockable.
    • Chun-Li's taunt, her bowing and extending her hand, if performed in X-Men vs Street Fighter and if her hand touches her opponent, sends them flying across the screen. Very little damage is done, less than with a jab, but it's still over the top.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Galactus' method of forcing you to switch characters (the Snap Back move) is flicking your current fighter away with one of his fingers, when he's not zapping Power Cosmic at you with a fierce point.

Phoenix: Contradiction! That's illegal! See you in court!

  • Final Fantasy X
    • At some point in the game, you will encounter a little creature known as a Tonberry. It will start off the battle walking toward you. You have five turns before it can get close enough to attack you. You have time to cast defenses, heal your party, and prepare. At the end of the five turns, it will come up, and it will poke you, and you will die. Then you will take this little guy very seriously.
    • Even worse, the Tonberry's souped-up cousins. The Don Tonberry in particular.
    • Tonberry shows up—and acts in this fashion—in every Final Fantasy since at least 5. In 7, the sound effect for the poke is "DOINK".
      • Errr, yeah, it pokes you - with a KNIFE.
  • In Sonic Battle, there are certain combo programs, one for each character, that are essentially One Hit KOs. While it usually looks like Cherry Tapping taken Up to Eleven, Cream's actually looks like a literal (repeated) Finger-Poke of Doom.
  • K' and Kula from The King of Fighters series have an attack where they stick out one finger and then clench a fist, the good ol' Bruce Lee One Inch. If it connects, it can throw the opponent so hard they bounce off the far edge of the screen (depending on what the opponent was doing when they got hit).
  • In Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, Inspectah Deck makes his opponent's head asplode by touching it as a Fatality.
  • Nemesis's Tentacle Poke of Doom in Resident Evil 3.
  • Pyramid Head in Silent Hill 2 has a One-Hit Kill Headbutt of Doom and Knife Poke of Doom, and he can kill you with a Touch of Death if you're low on health.
  • Kitana and Tanya's Kiss of Death fatalitys in the Mortal Kombat series.
  • In Valkyrie Profile, mages in the party can only perform actions once every few turns until their CT/Mana/etc return. You can eventually allocate skill points to a technique called "wait reaction" which allows them a weak attack until they recharge. The attack is from a puny bird (or mini-dragon for the wizards). No enemy can withstand the attack of this bird. It doesn't do much damage, but it is unblockable, causes the enemy to flinch, and leaves them wide open for every warrior in the group to unleash a world of pain. Even the bipedal zombie dragon warrior who can block almost all physical attacks unless you actively attempt to break it will not block it.
  • Happens in Asura's Wrath, with the final phase of the first boss trying to do this to Asura. Said boss is bigger than planet Earth, and his finger is the size of Tennessee. It fails.
    • Happens again in a flashback where Asura has sent one of the elephant Gohma flying towards Augus: he just smirks and flicks it away with his finger with his arms crossed, reducing it to A Twinkle in the Sky.
  • In the Doom games, lower enemies can sometimes be gibbed with melee attacks, even without the Berserk item.
  • In the first Halo, simply being tapped by a vehicle at any speed caused instant death.

Web Comics

Calamitus: Well, that's the good thing about magic. [...] It's handy.

Western Animation

  • Numerous Western Animation/Avatar: The Last Airbender examples. Physical actions are required for bending to work, but it appears that the stronger you are, the less movement it takes.
    • Toph usually does something like this by stamping her foot.
    • Bumi can also do some decent bending with only his chin.
    • Ozai can generate lightning pretty much instantaneously, whereas other firebenders are shown to spend several seconds charging it up first.
    • In a non-bending example, though it wasn't exactly a formidable opponent, Aang was once in a fight where he soundly thrashed his attacker with a polite expression on his face, and the only physical contact was with his butt.
  • In one episode of Darkwing Duck, an alien villain is an expert at "Galvarin galactic digit fighting", which is thumb-wrestling raised to the level of a martial art.
  • In the animated adaption of Dilbert, Dilbert attended a security guard training class, and was about to learn how to harm someone with only a thumb. He find this hard to believe, but then his teacher convinces that it is possible, when he accidently hurt himself with his thumb.
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold
    • The transformed totem characters fling each other across the horizon with casual pokes. Hell, Batman (Man-Bat?) disintegrates a huge mystic boat with a lazy tap.
    • In the "The Power of Shazam!", this happens twice. After stealing Captain Marvel's power, a villain shows off by knocking Batman to the ground with a flick of his fingers. When the villain loses his power soon after, Captain Marvel does the same trick.
  • Superman loves this: he occasionally knocks people out with only a flick of his finger. In Justice League he did it to Grodd at the end of "Secret Society". He did the same thing to Ten in "Wild Cards".
  • Invader Zim, quite literally...

"And now we return to our movie, Poke of Doom!"
"Can't you see this woman has severe pokey trauma?!"

  • The DCAU was fairly fond of this trope:
    • The example above had Superman flick Gorrilla Grodds nose and send halfway across a football field.

Real Life

  • It's possible for something like this to happen in real life if you get hit in the right spot at the right angle with even a little bit of force. Doing so will compress the medula oblongata and result in a knock out.
  • An expert martial artist can break bricks bare-handed. Then can also make strong men cry by poking them.
  • Carotid massage is a simple procedure where an individual massage over the carotid sinus in the neck, causing a drop in blood pressure as the arteries relax. This is done very gently for five seconds. The physiology is a bit beyond All The Tropes. Urban legend says doing this bilaterally can cause almost anyone to die from cardiac problems, but most people will have no adverse effects. A few individuals may faint or collapse if this is done to them. And a tiny fraction of the population can suffer asystole, or "flatline." Do not experiment on this one.
  • Antimatter: A few grams of antimater would release an amount of energy comparable to nuclear bombs when coming into contact with normal matter. Which is the reason why there has never been any observation of more than a few particles for fractions of a second.