Half the Man He Used To Be

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"It's me, dear friends - alive and kicking! Well, alive, anyway."

"I've lost my better half!"

Samurai: Hunt For The Sword (outtake)

A character gets cut (or, less often, blown or ripped apart) in half, usually during combat but occasionally in an accident, building collapse or some other scenario. Different from Saw a Woman In Half because the victims here are usually male, there are no stage magicians involved and the bodies are very rarely put back together.

This can be done any number of ways, from bloodless family-friendly versions like the battle droids in the Star Wars movies to still blood-free, but more Nightmare Fuel-oriented versions to outright Gorn that spares no detail. The cutting in half itself can also be done either horizontally (at the waist, usually) or vertically (from scalp to groin, or vice versa). Expect it to be Bloody Hilarious if it occurs in a comedic setting.

Naturally, this happens a lot in anime or video games that feature Humongous Mecha, and many series in general which use Mecha-Mooks, due to the fact that you can slice up mechanics all you like without spraying blood everywhere (or to get away with it, if you prefer).

Expect a character who survives this to become a Memetic Badass, or at the very least an Ensemble Darkhorse.

A frequent result of a Single-Stroke Battle or a Diagonal Cut. See also: Saw a Woman In Half and Who Needs Their Whole Body?. Not to be confused with the less literal meaning.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Half the Man He Used To Be include:

Anime and Manga

  • Various people that the Diclonius kill, mainly executed by Lucy and Mariko, are killed this way in Elfen Lied.
    • In the Manga, Bandou suffers this fate at the hands of Lucy, but he manages to survive and replace his missing half with prosthetics.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, this happens to Gluttony at least twice.
  • Nena Trinity of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 died after being ripped in half by Louise Halevy, using the claws of her mobile suit. The novelizations add more gruesome detail to this, stating that the only thing holding her torso together was a few strands of muscle, right before her mobile suit was blown up.
  • In Inuyasha, Jaken gets cut in half, but is brought back to life by Sesshomaru with the Tenseiga shortly thereafter.
  • Guts hands these out to Mooks on occasion with the Dragon Slayer in Berserk, and killed Colette this way after she was killed and taken over by the evil spirits after Guts in the second story from the manga.
    • Zodd ends the fight with Wyald by ripping him in half.
      • More like breaking him in half.
  • Frieza from Dragonball Z gets sliced in half twice during the series proper. The first was near the end of the Namek saga when he was sliced in half with his own energy disc. He survived this (as well as the explosion of Namek) and came back as a cyborg, only to be finally finished off by Future Trunks when he came to Earth to seek revenge. And how does Trunks finish him off? He uses his sword to split Frieza in half lengthwise before proceeding to slice him up into itty bitty pieces and then blow him away with a powerful Ki blast.
  • This is the fate of Rurouni Kenshin villain Uonuma Usui, torn in half at the waist by the force of Saito Hajime's point-blank Gatotsu in the manga.
    • He was merely impaled in the anime, which is a huge step down from the manga scene, which is pretty much outright gorn. You can see Usui's intestines hanging down and everything. The Toonami version edited the scene further so that he wasn't even impaled, just sliced bloodlessly.
  • This happens to Isaku in Blade of the Immortal. Believe it or not he gets better.
  • This is the standard demon slaying procedure in Claymore.
    • As well as being Dietrich's MO for dealing with Awakened Beings, it's how Flora dies. Clare also suffers this before being absorbed into the Destroyer. Deneve gets cut not quite in half.
  • Ichigo's über-Hollow does this to Ulquiorra in Bleach. Rather confusing, since he did it with a cero aimed at Ulquiorra's head. Ulquiorra gets better just in time to return Ichigo back to normal, but it doesn't last very long. Ulquiorra, that is.
    • Grimmjow incinerates Luppi's entire body from the waist up. He also does the same to Menoly earlier on, though she gets better.
    • Aizen attempts this on Ichigo, wanting to split him in half without obliterating his body, and held back a little too much, leaving half of his hip still attached.
    • In the manga, Hiyori gets cut in half by Gin so fast that she doesn't notice until her legs go flying past her. In the anime, this is changed to her being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
    • Yamamoto does this vertically to Allon, although not even this completely deters him.
    • Orihime's first (and so far, only) successful use of Tsubaki cuts Numb Chandelier in half vertically.
  • In the first arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Zeppeli is bisected at the waist by a chain.
    • Also happens to Diego Brando after being run over by a train in a recent chapter of Steel Ball Run.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Kuwabara tries a vertical cut on Elder Toguro at the start of his fight with him, only to find that he cut a fake body, and that Toguro had used his flexibility powers to burrow into the ground.
  • Orochimaru of Naruto once got ripped in half by Naruto's 4-tailed form, but he has the halves of his body rejoin before they even touch the ground.
    • In chapter 585 Kabuto bisects Itachi.
  • Used by Maka and Soul several times in Soul Eater. Stein does it Medusa, who is able to survive by possessing a snake.
  • Happens to Buggy the Clown a lot in One Piece, as well as most Logia users at some point, often repeatedly as these characters have no problem putting themselves together again.
    • Trafalgar Law can do it non-lethally to other people as well, as he did to Tashigi in Chapter 661.
  • Appropriately enough, this is how Baron Ashura (as Hell King Gordon) is finished off in Mazinkaiser
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Placido gets blown in half upon his defeat at Yusei's hands.
  • The end of the Buddha arc in Gantz sees Kishimoto split in two horizontally by an alien's acid.
    • Nurarihyon was sliced to half by Oka in the Osaka mission, though only the upper half of the body.
  • The character Yukimura from Samurai Deeper Kyo loves to do this to his enemies.
  • In Heat Guy J, Boma takes a katana and slices through a man and his gun in one clean cut.
  • Happens in Gun X Sword to The Claw.
  • This is the final fate of Aki Honda in Narutaru, to the point of Fan Disservice. Her death was so utterly violent, (I mean, before being cut, she gets raped with a dragon claw), that it was cut out in the international versions of the manga.
  • Occurs in MPD Psycho when a character named Kido goes up against a subway train. The results are, needless to say, quite gruesome.
  • Dynamis of Mahou Sensei Negima recently became a victim of this trope during his fight with Negi's Super-Powered Evil Side. As of the most recent chapter , 307, he's still alive, possibly due to his Large Ham tendancies.
    • As of 313, one of the many Fates have restored him.
    • More recently, Poor Chachamaru... Being a Ridiculously Human Robot, she could still be all right.
    • Even more recently, Quartum gets chopped in half by Negi after he sees that Quartum did this to Chachamaru.
  • The demon panther in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie First that served as the second Monster of the Week found itself bisected horizontally after Nanoha lanced her way through its body. It wasn't enough to kill it though, and its upper half quickly escaped into the sky... until Fate chased it down and applied the vertical version of this trope, destroying its body.
  • In the horror manga Region, when Kanon's ankle is grabbed by a man who is pleading for help, she is horrified that everything below the man's waist is covered with rats, happily gorging themselves on what little remains of his flesh.
  • In the Lupin III movie "Dead or Alive" General Headhunter's lead henchman Crisis is cut in half by the island's defense mechanisms.
  • Also occurs to Meier Link towards the end of the movie Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. He manages to pull himself back together and get better though.
  • This is Fakir's fated death in Princess Tutu, witnessed repeatedly in visions—the Raven will slash his torso in half vertically as he tries to protect Mytho. It appears to happen at the end of the first season, but it turns out he was tougher than that.
  • In Franken Fran, this happens to the assassin Agito in Ch 18(he got better thanks to his Healing Factor), and Fran herself gets cut in half bilaterally by accident in Ch 60. She also gets better...eventually, after turning both halves into complete but half-brained persons.
  • In End of Evangelion, during Asuka's frantic battle against the Mass Production EVA Series, she severs the fifth one she attacks at the waist, sending the top half flying. All nine recover from their injuries and counterattack, but how this particular EVA managed to piece itself together after being so torn asunder is handwaved.
  • In Basilisk, Yakushiji Tenzen cuts Jimushi Juubei vertically in half with a single strike of his katana, even splitting Juubei's extended tongue!
  • In episodes 5 and 6 of Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, when Kagato destroys Ayeka's ship Ryu-Oh, Tenchi is grievously wounded, with only part of his torso, one arm and his head intact. (The Juraian goddess Tsunami quickly heals him, restoring his entire body and possibly giving him a power-up.) The degree to which he is injured is actually shown on-screen once in each episode, but done so obscurely that it's not immediately obvious that Tenchi has been so badly hurt.
  • This happened to Buggy during the Impel Down Arc of One Piece, split down the middle by a demonic prison guard with an axe. Played mostly for laughs, seeing as Buggy can survive being bisected, decapitated, or dismembered due to his Devil Fruit power - in fact, that's what helped him survive Impel Down as long as he did.

Comic Books

  • In Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together, Roxy Richter suffers this fate after a Single-Stroke Battle with Scott.
    • Scott himself ends up on the receiving end in Volume 6 whilst battling Gideon in Ramona's mind.
  • In Bone, Grandma Rose's sister Briar was cut in half, then the Lord of the Locust had his insects inhabit her body to resurrect her, but when they leave the halves of her body fall back apart. However, he decides he still needs her and puts her back together, for her to later do this herself to Tarsil.
  • Magneto's Crowning Moment of Awesome in the famous "Age of Apocalypse" X-Men arc. He finishes Apocalypse off by ripping his cyborg body in half vertically.
  • After Gammid kills Javi in Negation, one of Javi's Ligis-bearer teammates, a teleporter, uses one of her portals to cut Gammid in half. He dies.
  • Black Adam tears Terraman in half at the pelvis.
  • Nekros tries to do this to Sinestro in Blackest Night. Sinestro uses the power of the white light to heal himself and resume his attacks.
  • Ultimate Wolverine went up against his universe's Hulk. And gets pulled in half. He then proceeds to crawl up a mountain to find his legs.
  • Superboy Prime uses his heat vision to cut the superhero Bushido in half in Infinite Crisis.
  • Space Usagi does this to his lord's murderer with help from a modified katana.
  • The Void (possessing the Sentry), pulls this on Ares.


  • Pictured atop this place, Dr. Loveless from Wild Wild West. This happens before the movie itself takes place. Punned repeatedly by Jim West (and himself, as the quote below the picture shows), including using the name of the trope.
  • Star Wars
  • Brom gets cut in half by the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow. It's also/probably a shout-out to The Phantom Menace, since the stuntman who played the Horseman was also Darth Maul.
  • Bishop survives it in Aliens. Being a robot with no vital organs kinda helped in the survival process.
  • Lake Placid features the Gorn version.
  • Deep Star Six
  • Happens to a random werewolf in Underworld Rise of the Lycans.
  • Happens when Ben Moss gets caught between two glass doors slamming shut in the remake of 13 Ghosts.
  • The bugs in Starship Troopers have a fondness for this trope, being giant insects. Carmen's commanding officer gets herself cut in half by a descending bulkhead door.
  • Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: The major source of angst in Dewey's life is the fact that he accidentally halved his brother with a machete when they were little. His father shouts, "You're not half the boy Nate was. You're not even half the boy that the top half of Nate was after you cut him in half!" He is eventually forgiven by his father after the old man accidentally halfs himself while trying to kill Dewey.
  • Happens to Miss Collins in Carrie.
  • Happened in Freddy vs. Jason to one of the supporting teens; having been possessed by Freddy, the teen stares down a stalking, pissed-off Jason and looks seemingly defenseless—until he jabs two syringes full of tranquilizers into Jason's neck and injects him with the full dose. Unfortunately for the teen, that's his last act as a living person; before Jason's lights go out, he uses his machete to cut the teen in half.
  • In the first Resident Evil movie, one of the troopers is cut in half by a Frickin Laser Beam in the Laser Hallway leading to the Red Queen's lair. He dies, but there's no gore at all. On YouTube at 1:25.
  • In the most horrific scene from The Hitcher, psycho killer Ryder ties the love interest, Nash, between a Mack truck and its trailer, commandeers the cab, revs up the engine and threatens to rip her in half if he doesn't speak to Jim, the protagonist. The police enlist Jim, whom they had previously suspected was the killer, but are now convinced of his innocence, to try to negotiate with Ryder, but when Jim confronts him, Ryder orders him to shoot him. Jim refuses because Ryder's foot is on the clutch and if it slips off, Nash will die anyway. Ryder gets pissed and insults Jim, then shifts the clutch and the accelerator, resulting in Nash getting ripped in half before Jim's very eyes.
    • Well, not literally, as Jim wasn't able to see what was happening at the back of a truck he was sitting in. Nor does the audience see Nash's demise, just her bound wrists as they're pulled hard against the ropes, then go slack. The remake did show someone torn in half this way, but it wasn't the girl and wasn't very convincing.
  • During the Crazy 88 sword battle in Kill Bill the Bride hands this out to one unfortunate Mook, who is split in half right down the middle with her Hattori Hanzo sword.
  • Turkish Star Wars ends with the protagonist karate-chopping the evil Wizard in half. In a movie riddled with Special Effects Failure, this one stands out as the single most hilariously bad special effect of them all.
  • This happens to the title character in The Terminator. Of course, being Determinator (* ahem* ), he naturally didn't let this stop him chasing Sarah Connor.
  • In Paranoid Park, the main character hops onto a train and scuffles with a security guard who catches him. However, the guard loses his footing and falls onto a second set of tracks as another train approaches. The result is an unnerving scene in which the guard crawls away from the tracks, minus the lower half of his body.
  • The second The Omen movie features a man being cut in half at the waist by an elevator cable.
  • In the opening action sequence of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Sideswipe does a balletic jump over the Audi R8, Sideways, lands in front of him and grounds his built in sword blade so that as the Decepticon drives forwards he cuts himself in two lengthways. He then proclaims "Damn, I'm good".
    • In the climax of the first film, Megatron does it to Jazz, quipping that he doesn't want "a piece" of Jazz, he wants two.
    • Another case from ROTF: During the battle in Egypt, Mixmaster starts shelling the human troops. Enter Jetfire. Mixmaster promptly loses his legs to the ex-Decepticon, who apparently decides that isn't enough and stomps Mixmaster's head off.
  • Played straight then immediately reverted in the finale of Blade when he chops Deacon Frost in half, but the upper body only separates a few inches before his vampire god powers (and a lot of blood) pull the parts back together again.
    • Also done to a vampire in the sequel, except this cut was vertical, and it successfully killed the vampire.
  • Friday the 13 th Part III: The guy who walks on his hands is killed and is later found cut in half.
  • Not Another Teen Movie: A guy gets tackled from both sides by football players and Hilarity Ensues.
  • One of the fights in Gladiator sees a fighter cut in half at the waist by the large blades on the wheels of her own war chariot.
  • In the "Weird Al" Yankovic film UHF the show preview for "Conan the Librarian" depicts the barbarian chopping a patron in half, vertically, for returning books past their due date.
  • Happens to one guy in Slither. Subverted in that his organs fall out before he splits in half.
  • Hud in Cloverfield. It's a blink and you miss it moment, but if you watch closely, the monster swallows his legs, letting the upper body fall to the ground.
  • Apparently in the backstory for a background character in Corpse Bride—when Victor first encounters him, he splits in half vertically to get around the young man.
  • Every single person, except for the little girl, in the opening scene of Ghost Ship. The only reason she survives is because she's still short enough that the high-tension cable goes over her head instead of through her body as it cuts across the deck in a split-second.
  • Ichi the Killer: Brain-case to balls.
    • For at least one on-screen killing. It's implied that the messes he usually leaves behind are a lot worse.
  • Happened some time ago to a character in the Doom movie, when a teleport-pad accident sent his upper and lower halves to different destinations. Due to futuristic medicine, he lives, but as half a body permanently attached to a wheelchair/life support system.
  • Ultraviolet, Daxus is vertically sliced in half by Violet, the only way you could have made it out was because he was set alight, in total darkness!
  • Occurs by way of subway train to a rapist in Daredevil Urich observes the police carting away "Jose Quesada ... and the rest of Jose Quesada."
  • Happens in both Men in Black films:
    • In the first, Edgar the Bug is blown apart at the waist when K fires his BFG inside the Bug's stomach. Amazingly, this didn't kill Edgar; it took a second shot from another BFG to do that.
    • In the second, the Worms are cut in half at the waist, but it only appears to be a mild inconvenience until they pull their two halves back together.
  • A nonlethal version happens to Ronald Reagan in King's Row, in which he wakes up from surgery and says the famous line, "Where's the rest of me?" Reagan, by the way, plays a notorious playboy who had taken an interest in the surgeon's daughter. Think about it.
  • Reinhardt (Ron Perlman) in Blade II gets sliced by the title character's... you know... in a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Both Stage Fright Aquarius and Pieces shows a victim getting cut half with a chainsaw.
  • One of the victims in Intruder is found cut half, with his upper and lower body in two dumpsters. He also has a "1/2 price" tag on him.
  • In Signs, Graham's wife is hit by a car and he is told that she is basically cut in half and the car is the "only thing holding her together," but we don't see it.
  • Happens to a Mook in Die Hard With a Vengeance; there's a brief shot of the cable slicing him in two, and then we see the two heroes drag the corpse away side by side, one holding his wrists and the other his ankles.
  • Pitch Black: "Where's Johns?" "Which half?"
  • In I Robot, Sonny hurls another robot into an energy field that disintegrates most forms of alloy or composite. Before collapsing, it staggers about for a moment, then turns to reveal it's lost half its head and body.
  • In the beginning of The Return of Hanuman, Rahu and Ketu were cut in half. Their bodies were reattached, only that their lower halves were switched.
  • A favored fatality of the Saw franchise, several victims are usually decapitated in this manner. One victim is strapped to a bench and disembered by a razor sharp pendulum. In the last installment's introductory sequence, the girl who is cheated on the two men in the contest is dropped forcefully upon a rotating sawblade when they agree that she is the one to die in the trap. The real Gorn candidate, though, is the suspension trap that forcefully rips the victim in two vertically when it goes off.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park has a character torn in half by two T-Rexes, who then eat him.
  • Happens to one of the Rangers in Saving Private Ryan during the Omaha Beach landing sequence. Captain Miller is dragging a wounded comrade out of the water when a mortar explodes nearby, throwing Miller to the ground. When he gets back up and resumes dragging, the soldier is now dead and has been blown in half.
  • Variant: In The Cell, a horse is split into a sequence of slabs by the descending glass plates of a deathtrap. As it's a Journey to the Center of the Mind sequence, the horse's various sections remain alive.
  • In The Woman, the feral woman cuts Brian in half after Peggy frees her.
  • The main character of the film Source Code.
  • A late-entry AIP "Beach Party" movie leads up to an old-timey 'villain at the sawmill scene', where series Butt Monkey Eric Von Zipper ends up cut in two in a bloodless, painless, comical fashion with bad split-screen camera effects.
  • Happens briefly in Highlander III the Sorcerer, when Connor cuts Kane in half horizontally. But then he uses his powers to join the halves and the fight continues.
  • In Terrifier, Art the Clown subjects Dawn to Unwilling Suspension by hanging her from her ankles in the garage, and proceeds to cut her in half vertically with a hacksaw, starting at her crotch.
  • In Beetlejuice, a woman in the afterlife waiting room is separated at the waist, but still able to move both parts of her body. (An example of Jacob Marley Apparel that is common in the film. Apparently, she'd been the assistant of a magician who botched the old Saw a Woman In Half in half trick.) A hilarious scene involving her is shown at the end of the movie when the title character strokes her leg, and her upper half — who is "sitting" on the other side of him — angrily hits him with a magazine.


  • Richard inflicts this fate on some of his enemies in The Sword of Truth. It helps that his sword can magically cut through anything.
  • Mara Jade does this to some wolvkils in the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Survivor's Quest.
  • Darth Vader executes someone in Splinter of the Minds Eye by using his lightsaber to bisect him from the crown of his head right down.
    • Lightsaber combat refers to this technique as sai tok. It's Sithly in nature (even when it's necessary to kill, a Jedi shouldn't feel a desire to mutilate his enemy's body), hence Jedi almost never use it on sentients. Jedi Master Cin Drallig, however, expresses the opinion that when fighting a Sith Lord, no technique should be considered off limits to stop the threat they represent.
  • This happens to one of the mobsters in the second Dark Tower book when he is accidentally strafed with machine-gun fire.
    • Before that, Odetta loses her legs thanks to Jack Mort pushing her in front of a train. Later, Roland possesses Jack's body and makes him do it to himself-except aims the impact point just a bit higher.
  • Interesting variation in The Cloven Viscount by Italo Calvino: the title character is a nobleman who got cut in two (vertically) during a fight against Turkish forces. But, amazingly, both halves survive, one evil and the other good.
  • This happens in the novel The Wizard In Spite Of Himself.
  • In one book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, a wizard gets cut in half in the middle of a battle, and keeps himself alive briefly with magic. It turns out this was in order to complete a spell to transfer his soul into a little marionnette.
  • Happens to Kid Sampson in Catch-22 when McWatt's practical joke of buzzing the beach goes horribly wrong.
  • The protagonist in The Godwhale. He survives... and is actually called "hemihuman" through much of the book.
  • This is the fate of Navarog in Fablehaven. In dragon form, he's a huge, almost-untouchable monstrosity... but in human form, well, Raxtus got hungry.
  • L. Frank Baum's Sky Island has the Blue government practice of slicing two persons in half and recombining them with each other. They attempt it with Cap'n Bill and (a donkey?) Fortunately, Cap'n Bill escapes.
  • The Teacher From The Black Lagoon, a rather peculiar picture book, sums it up in four sentences:

"This is a boy." She takes a big bite. "This is half a boy. Now you've learned fractions."

  • Used in a 1814 german poem by Ludwig Uhland:

Zur Rechten sieht man, wie zur Linken, Einen halben Türken heruntersinken.
To the right one sees, as to the left, half a turc sink down.

  • From the Old Norse Saga of the Jomsvikings: In the Battle of Hjorunga Bay, the warrior Thorkel Midlong is cut in two.
  • When Sigurd, the hero of Volsunga Saga, is stabbed in his sleep by Gutthorm, he throws his sword after Gutthorm, slicing him in half.
  • This is taken to a strange extreme in Deathstalker: The character 'Half A Man', a former investigator, is sliced in half vertically, the missing half of his body replaced by a sinister energy being. Eventually, that side devours him, and he's well aware that it's happening for quite some time.

Live-Action TV

  • MacGyver uses the trope name verbatim... in the series' first two-part episode, Mac is strapped into a fiendish torture device vaguely inspired by The Pit and the Pendulum, and told by the Big Bad that he's about to be half the man he used to be.
  • Uncle Marty in the first episode of Harper's Island, as well as Beth in a later episode.
    • The first one happens in particularly gruesome fashion: he falls through a sabotaged foot bridge, and while he's struggling to pull himself back up, the killer hacks him apart from below with a big knife. While he tries to shoot him through the bridge. It looks for a minute like he might win out, but ... no. Many episodes later they find the body strung up in a tree .. in two pieces.
  • Alex Taylor, in the fourth Season Finale of Third Watch. Whilst attending a road traffic accident, the car she is sitting on explodes and chops her in half. She doesn't die until a few moments later, meaning she is painfully aware of what has happened.
  • In one episode of Tales from the Crypt ("Split Personality"), a conman wishes to marry a pair of beautiful blonde twins because they are both rich, but they don't like to share. No problem. He pretends to have a twin brother, and further pretends that they are both traveling salesmen, and marries each of them in separate ceremonies. Understandably, the twins are Not Happy when they discover the subterfuge, and proceed to execute their own version of Solomon's Judgment. With a chainsaw. In the end, each twin has half, and both are happy. Him... not so much.
  • Charlie Crews and Dani Reese investigate a corpse like this in the episode "Farthingale". The weirdness of the man's death turns out to be one of the least odd aspects of the case.
  • In a Kids in The Hall sketch a man told of how a shark bit him in half. It really did. His wife measured.
  • Not quite severed altogether, but a luckless man in the "Subway" episode of Homicide: Life On The Streets got trapped under a train car, which crushed and mangled his body from the waist down. It's understood by all—paramedics, police, and the poor guy himself—that the train's weight, compressing arteries in his crushed torso, is the only thing keeping death by blood loss in check.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the final fate of Caleb, via the slayer's axe. From the groin up.

Buffy: He had to split.

    • Anya meets the same fate in the final episode. Not from the groin up, though.
  • In 1000 Ways to Die: "Shafted", a bossy office manager is cut in half while trying to escape a malfunctioning elevator.
    • Actually, the first case featured in the series ever was this. "Semi-cide" features a dude called Frank, who got accidentally cut into two while working on his car in a parking lot in Las Vegas while a huge truck was around and then hit his lower half. Made worse by how both halves were sent to different hospitals by mistake.
  • The victim a Castle episode. Castle even says 'he's Half the Man He Used To Be'.
  • In the first season finale of Fringe, David Robert Jones builds a portal to crossover to the Alternate Universe, but Peter manages to get there in time to close the gateway and portal-cuts him in half.
  • One of the early shown zombies in The Walking Dead is the rotted upper half of one, who continues crawling about by pulling itself along with its hands.


  • Happens to the Kagamine twins in the Vocaloid song "Wide Knowledge of the Late, Madness." They later get stitched back together and become Conjoined Twins in "Dark Woods Circus."
  • The final sixth of "Falling Down" by Cunninlynguists makes grim humor from this during a machine gun rampage. "Walk in the Dollar Store and just let off / Now even the manager's body is 50% off!"

New Media

  • Happened to Rodolphus Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback on Honorable Hogwarts. They really don't like Canon characters there.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • One Eskimo tale tells of a beautiful bride desired by two brothers. Unable to decide who should have her, they each grabbed her from an end and pulled, result in one having the upper torso and other the hips and below. Being clever artificers, they quickly carved out a wooden replacement for the missing half, thereby explaining why the women of one tribe were so clever with beadwork (having been descended from the woman with the living upper torso) while the other tribe excelled at dancing (having been descended from the woman with flesh legs).
  • Another story implies this. Two women came to King Solomon, each claiming that they were the mother of a particular baby. The king thought about it for a while, and then came to the decision that the baby should but cut in half. Naturally, the woman who protested was the real mother, which brings to mind the question of why the fuck her rival wanted half a baby.
    • Fridge Brilliance: King Solomon made up the reason that "only the real mother would give up the whole child instead of see it cut in half". Because he couldn't say "Well, ONE of you obviously knows a little bit more than the other about what's likely to kill this kid, and what's not--and the other of you is an insanely greedy bitch who doesn't know a bad idea when she sees one. I award custody to the one who understands that YOU CAN'T DO THAT, YOU IDIOT!"

Tabletop Games

  • Dorn Graybrook in Forgotten Realms. A red dragon damaged boy's left side including bitting off arm and leg, after eating or incinerating most of the people Dorn knew including his parents. Then wizard made him new appendages and used half-golem as a gladiator until he grew up. Then Dorn got rid of the wizard and became a mercenary, seeking missions that involve dragon-slaying.
    • Long before "half-golem" became a standard template in 3E, the Ravenloft setting was home to Desmond LaRouche, an NPC from Nova Vaasa who'd lost one side of his body in a laboratory explosion, and had it replaced with a golem half.
  • Happens to too many people to list in Legend of the Five Rings. The CCG set "A Perfect Cut" refers to a specific Single-Stroke Battle that ended this way.
  • A lot of the Warhammer40000 backstory has this, usually about Space Marines. Particularly about World Eaters. And ESPECIALLY about Kharn the Betrayer, whose axe, Gorechild is stated as capable of splitting an armoured space marine from crown to crotch, or something along those lines.
  • Occasionally depicted in Magic: The Gathering card art. Slice in Twain, Vengeance, and Burn the Impure are some examples.


  • Done in Macbeth where the titular character is reported to have sliced Macdonwald "from the nave to the chaps" right before the play begins. This is done to establish right away how bloodthirsty MacBeth is.
  • Johnny Eck, a sideshow performer born without a pelvis, was billed as "Half-Boy" because his truncated body resembled this trope's outcome. At one point, he and his normal-looking twin brother worked with a magician to subvert the usual Saw a Woman In Half routine: his brother would "volunteer" to be bisected on stage, the magician would covertly switch the twins while pretending something had Gone Horribly Wrong with the trick, after which Johnny would run around the stage on his palms, shouting that he wanted his legs back.
  • A comedic example appears in The Magic Show with Charmin, who was summoned by Doug to be a Lovely Assistant whom he then sawed in half. Her bottom half is promptly lost for most of the rest of the show.


Video Games

The Axe Lord strikes the Goblin Maceman in the lower body with her =steel battle axe= and the severed part sails off in an arc!

  • A longtime feature of the Samurai Shodown series is being able to slice your opponent in half if you hit them hard enough. This is usually either at the waist or a Diagonal Cut.
  • Maw, an Elite Mook in Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, survives being cut in half at the waist in an early Cutscene and from that point forth uses telekinesis as a means of locomotion since he has no legs. Due to the badassery required to survive such an injury and the Rule of Cool being in full effect in other areas as well, he was one of the more memorable villains in the game.
  • Very common in Mortal Kombat. Usually a horizontal cut, as it's easier to animate, but Kung Lao can do vertical cuts in a few games.
  • Similarly, this also happens in the Clay Fighter games as a "Claytality". Since this is supposed to be a parody, it's nothing but slapstick.
  • In Eternal Darkness some of the larger swords (such as the long sword found in the church levels and Kareem's best weapon) can do this to zombies.
  • Wario can get cut in half vertically in Wario Land 3. Since he always comes back together as if nothing happened, it's only a minor inconvinience.
  • If you kill a boss with a sword weapon in Mega Man ZX, this will happen to them.
    • It goes back as early as Mega Man Zero, or, maybe even further, Mega Man X (most notable example: Zero himself).
    • It was also used on Wire Sponge if X used the Sonic Slicer on him.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker can have this happen to Stalfos enemies, if I remember correctly, with their top half and head trying to run away from Link and their feet trying to attack him. They can also, semi obviously literally be blasted to millions of pieces with just a head bouncing around.
  • In the video game Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, the 'evil' option at the end of a boss battle against a Symbiote-possessed Wolverine involves you tearing him in half at the waist - duplicating the Hulk's impressive feat from years before, in a demonstration of just how strong your Symbiote is becoming... or maybe the designers just forgot about the whole 'Unbreakable adamantium spine' thing and went with Rule of Cool. Either way, you don't get to see the actual damage - just the separate halves of him, pointing in opposite directions, while Wolverine bitches at you.
    • If his skeleton was unbreakable, he wouldn't be able to bend. His joints still exist, you know.
    • Yeah, he has adamantium bones, not adamantium ligaments.
  • God of War allows Kratos to rip the basic enemies in half right from the get-go, letting you know Kratos isn't the type to play around.
  • In Half Life 2 you come across headcrab zombies who are just a torso. You can use the gravity gun to fire a circular saw blade through a zombie's torso and cut them in half... but it only works on zombies, and only cutting them in half, no decapitations or amputations.
    • And it doesn't necessarily stop them coming at you...
  • World of Warcraft - when you kill one of the various tree-style elementals.
  • In F.E.A.R., you can blow Mooks in half with the shotgun.
  • No More Heroes: Travis can chop enemies in half with the finishing blow.
    • Travis does this vertically to Speed Buster in a cutscene after defeating her in the PAL version of the game (in the US version he decapitates her). Henry finishes off an assassin who came after Travis horizontally in the ending.
    • Travis also cuts Destroyman cleanly in two.
    • Travis does this to Nathan Copeland and Alice Twilight in the second game.
  • In almost every one of his various Final Fantasy appearances, Odin's Zantetsuken slices enemies in two for instant death, and the halves slide apart. Final Fantasy VIII had Seifer counter the Zantetsuken and slice Odin in half. When Gilgamesh inherits the Zantetsuken, the upper half of the sliced enemy (and parts of the scenery) fly off violently.
  • With the Blade, Whipfist and Claw powers in Prototype you can slice up people in three different ways: sideways, vertically and diagonally. Or you can just grab people with the Musclemass power, and pull them in half.
  • It's one of the finishing moves in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.
    • In the original game and its sequel, there are deathtraps that cut the Prince in two.
  • Can be done to enemy ninjas, with a katana, in Shadow Warrior.

Lo Wang: Oooh, split personality!

    • He'll also say "You're half the man you used to be!" as a Shout-Out to the Stone Temple Pilots song.
  • Off-screen example in NieR, when the Junk Heap siblings go to collect material, a robot causes debris to fall down and crush the older brother to death. The younger brother frantically attempts to pull him out, and...
  • This can happen to Laura Bow in The Colonel's Bequest if she oils the arm on a suit of armor, causing the axe it's holding to swing down.
  • Played for Laughs in the Crash Bandicoot games: His lower half walks away!
  • This happens to enemies in Okami if you finish them off with a power slash.
  • A special move in BloodRayne 2 allows you to cut a mook in half vertically.
  • Sweet Home: If the male heroes die, a quick Cutscene shows them being rent in half.
  • Occurs in a cutscene during the Awakening expansion for Dragon Age, when the massive Inferno Golem literally tears a Darkspawn in half with both hands.
  • At the climax of Dead Rising 2, Sullivan uses a skyhook to try to airlift himself out of Fortune City. Chuck, however, uses a set of handcuffs to clip one of the belt loops of his trousers to a railing, and makes good on his promise that he 'wouldn't make it out of here in one piece.'
  • The Suffering. The protaganist finds a prison guard who had somehow just been bisected horizontally. A mercy bullet is a good thing right now.
  • In Fallout and Fallout 2, this is what happens when you kill someone with a laser critical.
  • Skint in The Reconstruction. The actual bisection happens off-screen, but we do see him after the fact -- heavily bleeding, with his spinal column exposed. Fortunately, though, he dies from a relatively painless Mercy Kill instead of bleeding to death.
  • In Gears of War, the game's signature chainsaw bayonet lets you do this to baddies (or other players in multiplayer).
  • In League of Legends Urgot's backstory involves Garen cutting him in two. He survived through Pididly's techmaturgy and the Power of Hate he survived with his lower half replaced by four metal legs.
  • In Darkstalkers, ghostly samurai Bishamon's victory taunt consists of him threatening you with this: "Horizontal, vertical or diagonal?"
    • It should be noted that some of Bishamon's Special Attacks do cut his opponent in half. But unless he defeats them with the attack, they fall back together.
  • Silent Hill Homecoming will do this to Alex if you fail to escape a Schism.
  • In The Darkness 2, there is a finisher move that has the two demon arms grab an enemy by his feet and rip him in half. It's called 'Wishbone'.
  • Speedy Blupi/Eggbert 2 features large circular saws in some levels that can vertically (and bloodlessly) saw the title character in half (at least until he respawns, now in one piece again).
  • Most of the enemies in Dead Space are capable of doing this to Isaac, but with the proper weapons he can do it right back.
  • In Resident Evil 4, Mendez' legs come off once down to about half-HP. Some monsters can also One-Hit Kill Leon by doing this to him. In the earlier games, zombies could be bisected with the shotgun, but would continue to crawl after you until you headstomped them.

Web Comics

  • Miko Miyazaki in The Order of the Stick somewhat ironically, as she kills a previous villain this way in one of her first appearances.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Cindy is rendered "topless" in a most unpleasant way. This is actually one of the less gruesome deaths during the "KITTEN" Story Arc.
    • There was also a non-lethal version of this trope involving (who else?) Riff building a portal generator and multiple people getting stuck in them up to their waists.
  • Krunch of Looking for Group does this to the dwarf that killed his father by grabbing each arm and pulling. There were Ludicrous Gibs, of course.
    • His brother, Ray'd, later took Richard up on an offer to use a dwarf as a substitute for a wishing bone. After the deed, Richard admitted that he wished for the opportunity to pull a dwarf in half.
  • Penny Arcade: Used here as a way to preserve team balance.

"Do I get a vote?"
"You're about to get two."

  • Homestuck: Feferi's dreamself got cut in half by Jack Noir shortly before the destruction of her session's Derse. Tavros' dreamself (on that session's Prospit, which fares no better) is soon afterward revealed to have been slaughtered in the same way.
    • And then there's what happened to Eridan...
    • Even before the death of his dreamself, Kanaya did Tavros the favor of chainsawing off his legs so that they could be replaced with robot prosthetics.
  • Jack: Happens in "One Way to Win" when half of Taylor's body is gruesomely forced out of the car by his kidnapped victim crashing into a tree.
  • In 1/0, Zadok suffered this twice, on both the top and bottom halves. Being a straw golem, however, he was able to be repaired each time.

Web Original

  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe: Strength ripped one of Los Hermanos's duplicates apart by grabbing each of his arms and pulling. He then made a joke about pulling the wings off of a fly. The humor wasn't exactly appreciated.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts fangame, Gaston suffers this fate in addition to Disney Villain Death in a manner very similar to that of Darth Maul.
  • In Starship, Commander Up reveals that this had been done to him during the Robot Wars; however, he had been bisected "vertically! hot-dog style, not hamburger style" and the missing half replaced by robot parts.

Western Animation

  • A very weird version of this trope appears in "Sea Legs" from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. A giant apparently left his legs behind and Captain K'nuckles decides to steal them to substitute for his wooden legs. The giant wasn't happy about this when he returned.
  • In one of The Simpsons' Halloween Episodes, Seymour Skinner suffers after a golem uses him like a yo-yo.
    • A fantasy of Bart's involves Skinner getting chopped in half by a robot ant.
  • Happy Tree Friends, most notably with The Mole in the "Carpal Tunnel of Love" music video.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), this is how the Demon Shredder meets his demise, with green fire substituting for the expected shower of blood.
  • In an episode of The Powerpuff Girls, Buttercup slices a cyclops monster in half, its two halves then hop away.
  • In the medieval episode of SpongeBob SquarePants Spongebob slices Squidward in half as a demonstration of karate to the medieval Sandy; he is fine later.
  • Brock Samson does this to mercenary LeTour with his own sword. "A 7-10 split, good luck picking up that spare."
  • In a Family Guy parody of Two and A Half Men, two guys and a third who's missing his lower body scream in horror.
  • A recurring gag of Looney Tunes and Tex Avery MGM cartoons usually as a result of the Saw a Woman In Half trick, the character believes he is unharmed and his body separates as he walks away.
  • This has happened a few times in Animaniacs in "Scare Happy Slappy" a bomb blows Walter Wolf in half and he later sews himself back together, and in "Rest in Pieces" Sid Squid is cut in half by a statue's sword.
  • In the Tom and Jerry short "Touché, Pussy Cat" Jerry cuts Tom in half with an axe while saving Nibbles. He is fine later.
  • Happens to Donald Duck at the end of the House of Mouse episode "Salute to Sports" as a result of him being kicked in the chest by Mulan while attempting to show the audience her karate skills. Moments later, he is completely bandaged up.
  • An episode of I Am Weasel featured someone erasing characters in Cow and Chicken , the Red Guy. The entire episode ends by revealing it was a nightmare by Cow who dreamt Mom and Dad were only half there. The screen pans out to reveal they are. The only other episode that showed this was the pilot.
  • In The Fairly OddParents episode "Cosmo Rules", Jorgen caught the trick-ups and commented he felt like half the man he used to be. Then he hiccupped, making a magician's saw cut him in half (a symptom of trick-ups is doing a magic trick every time one hiccups). Jorgen then commented he was half the man he used to be.
  • No less than two villains tried to do this to Bean in Disenchantment:
    • First time, in the episode “The Battle of Falling Water”, Bean confronts her Evil Counterpart, Bad Bean for the final time. The villain has become Dangerously Genre Savvy, and realizes that if she simply kills Bean in any conventional way, there is a chance she will return - Death Is a Slap on The Wrist in this world, as Bad Bean knows from experience, having spent several episodes as a decapitated living corpse before Dagmar used dark magic to put her together again. So when Bad Bean gains the advantage, she mocks Bean by saying she’s going to cut her in half down the middle, simply to make it harder for anyone to revive her.
    • That attempt fails, but Dagmar later seems to think this is a good idea, and in the Final Battle “generously” asks Bean and Elfo if they want to be bisected via cross-cut or top-to-bottom. Elfo jovially suggests a rump roast - all three of them are in a shared Mushroom Samba at the time.

Real Life

  • The medical procedure for amputating people at the waist is called Hemicorporectomy - literally, the removal of half of the body. Usually done for terminal cases of pelvic cancer. As unpleasant as it sounds, it involves the removal of the the legs, the genitalia (internal and external), most of the urinary system, the large and small intestines, pelvic bones, anus, and rectum. The Other Wiki has a page about this.
    • Most hospital ERs have standing "do not resuscitate" orders for patients who have been bisected in accidents.
  • One of the nastier methods of execution used in ancient China.
  • Described in horrific detail as happening to at least one Marine on Iwo Jima in the book of Flags of our Fathers.
  • Formula One driver François Cévert, while attempting to qualify for the United States Grand Prix in 1973. He presumably overcompensated going through the track's famous Esses complex, losing control and crashing hard into the barrier at nearly 90 degrees, actually uprooting the barrier. Cevert's body was cut in half from his neck to just above his hip.
  • The Black Dahlia suffered this at the hands of her demented, unknown Serial Killer.
  • The soldier in this anti-World War I cartoon.
  • A rare, but survivable birth defect in which a person is born without legs or pelvis can resemble this trope.
  • Ancient Japan actually had warriors (and weapons) who trained to do this in a single sword stroke, the diagonal variation that is.
  • A few shark attack victims were bitten in half.