Made of Iron

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"It'll take more than being tied to a lit keg of explosives and tossed into a pit of acid filled with mutant, acid-resistant flying piranhas equipped with flamethrowers and battle axes while venomous, mechanical, missile-launching Morris dancers armed with liquid hydrogen harpoon guns are overhead; riding giant rabid killer bees with side-mounted death rays to kill Othar Tryggvassen!"

Simply put, damage is done to characters that really, really should hurt them but is easily shaken off. Nobody ever breaks a rib or other bones unless that specific broken bone becomes important later on. Note, this isn't Super Toughness or Nigh Invulnerability, where the character actually is supernaturally protected from harm. This is the ability to shrug off blows that would disintegrate a human body when you technically shouldn't be able to. So Robots, Mutants, Mages, Ki using Martial Artists do not count. Having a story-enabled reason for not being a bloody smear immediately takes one out of the running for this trope. It can also be argued that certain Required Secondary Powers may also induce this. (For example, how can someone whose sole power is throwing flame take being thrown off a multi-story building?) If someone does not literally have "increased strength and endurance" in their portfolio, then they count. The line really gets fuzzy between Badass Normal and Charles Atlas Superpower where somehow a "normal" person has become something that does not exist in Real Life.

By extension, blunt damage, concussions, and other side effects of "non-lethal" fights or a Tap on the Head never have unintended fatal consequences—death can only happen with intentionally-lethal weapons, like swords or guns. And even with normally-lethal weapons, the hero may intentionally inflict flesh wounds instead of shooting to kill.

This trope also allows our hero to take a bullet in some critical area (chest, shoulder, etc) and continue to fight as though nothing had happened, even if they should be Overdrawn At the Blood Bank. It also makes you wonder why, for all the supposed beatings they have received themselves over the course of a show, the hero/heroine never suffers any long-term scarring or lasting physical injury. See Hollywood Healing and Only a Flesh Wound.

Modern special effects are somewhat to blame for this, as they make it all look more dramatic. This sometimes approaches cartoon-esque extremes, such as smashing through concrete or walls. Being Punched Across the Room, for example, doesn't do as much as you might think.

Between them, Made of Iron and Hollywood Healing cover the two main varieties of action hero—the Terminator-type that can walk unscathed through a bomb-blast, and the hero who gets hurt badly but somehow always manages to come back and triumph in the end.

One especially tenacious example is the lack of punch drunkenness, with Nancy Drew and Jimmy Olsen getting knocked out several times in each of any of hundreds of adventures with no long-term brain damage to show for it. Indeed, unrealistic lack of damage from head injuries is the widely prevalent subtrope Hard Head.

Punch-drunk boxers are the classic real-life example of what happens to someone who takes repeated pummeling damage in many fights year after year. However, the American National Football League presents a better sampling. To survive more than a couple of seasons in the league is a guarantee of a lifetime of painful, lingering damage to battered joints, bones, and connective tissues. That life is also going to be about ten years shorter than that of the average adult American. The heart and body organs build up scar tissue likely to fail when the athlete is in his fifties and sixties. This is known as Dented Iron.

The polar opposite of this is Made of Plasticine. When the character doesn't just shrug off extreme damage but doesn't sustain any damage at all is Made of Diamond, a subset of Nigh Invulnerability. Characters who are Made of Iron, if they die at all, often die Rasputinian Deaths. If two Made of Iron characters go up against each other, it often leads to How Much More Can He Take? fights. Not to be confused with Maid of Iron.

A character who is Made of Iron isn't necessarily literally made of iron.

If a person has this kind of durability as a superpower, it's Super Toughness. See also, Normally I Would Be Dead Now.

Examples of Made of Iron include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia. England who is greatly annoyed with America decides to take a Busby's Chair (a chair cursed to give whoever sits in it a quick and painful death which has also sent at least 60 men to death) and put it so that America may sit in it and die, however Russia shows up and accidentally sits in the chair, however instead of dying the spell rebounds off Russia and the chair is broken with a disappointed England taping it back together. It's implied that Russia being TOO evil for the chair had something to do with it
    • The Nations in general can be described as this trope, though Sealand in particular takes the cake for being literally Made of Iron (its territory being an old British sea fort).
  • Hellsing
    • Towards the end of the manga, Integra gets shot in the eye, nearly point blank. She barely even falters and moves forward to finish her task. She also got shot in the shoulder when she was twelve and it barely seemed to bother her. She was even able to pick up a gun and shoot it.
    • Pip Bernadotte gets attacked again and again by Zorin and her mooks, including getting a load of shrapnel in the stomach. It takes a few shots into his torso and being stabbed through the back by Zorin's scythe to finally bring him down, and even then he's able to light a cigarette and give one last Rousing Speech before he kicks the bucket..
  • Mazinger Z: Butt Monkey and Lethal Joke Character Boss had to be to endure the punishment he received and come out of alive.
    • Great Mazinger: The Hero Tetsuya Tsurugi, withstood an incredible punishment throughout the series, being wounded and harmed constantly, and still pushing himself beyond his limits and forcing himself to battle even if the pain was tearing him apart. Several times his adoptive father -The Professor Kenzo Kabuto- had to command him to go back to the Home Base. In the first episode one of the Bridge Bunnies marvel at his physical endurance, and Kenzo states it is his strong and sturdy body what lets him pilot Great Mazinger.
  • Kibagami Jubei of Ninja Scroll seems to have a delightful tendency to be put in situations where he is repeatedly smashed in the solar plexus by giants of men, and then still be well enough to kick their asses after a nice glob of vomited blood.
  • Subverted with Kazuma of S-Cry-ed: his right side is unusable outside of battle, and his glove is always on just to hide the scarring from using his Alter.
  • Trigun
    • Vash the Stampede always shoots only to cause flesh wounds. The trope was subverted at one point, however, when he inflicted just such a wound... and then panicked and rushed to stop the bleeding—the wound was far more serious than he'd intended.
    • Not to mention Vash himself has taken ungodly amounts of damage, presumably due to his reluctance to kill aggressors. In two separate episodes, we are given a look at Vash's upper body, and he is patchwork of scars and metal.
  • Almost every character in Chaosic Rune can count. Each character fights with creatures that give them sympathy damage of equal magnitude whenever harmed. Since the battles between the creatures usually involve dismemberment, crushing, eating, and acid attacks, most fights end with the characters covered in the most terrifying wounds ever seen in a manga. Since the winner of the battle gets fully healed afterward, the damage usually doesn't stick, though they still have to feel all of the pain every time it happens. The loser usually leaves a horrifying corpse, if they leave one at all. Oddly enough, crosses over with Made of Plasticine.
  • Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop. Over the course of the series, he's taken considerable amounts of pain, among other things he was thrown out of the tower window of an old-style cathedral after a gutshot and then stabbed through the shoulder with a sword. In fact, this, coupled with the demonstrated and implied effectiveness of futuristic medicine in the series, is one of the reasons why some fans believe he survived the final episode.
  • Most of the cast of Ranma ½ can have their survival after ridiculous injuries justified by their practice of Supernatural Martial Arts (which is also the generally accepted excuse for them having a Healing Factor or for those who are outright Nigh Invulnerable).
    • Ranma Saotome, specifically, hovers somewhere on the border between this and Nigh Invulnerable. He has survived massive Kamehame Hadoken Ki Attacks, falls from fantastic heights, being blown up, and enough general physical abuse to turn a battleship into worthless scrap metal, and always manages to shrug it off and keep on going—even before simply healing the damage. Fans have theorized, after seeing him survive with mere fleshwounds against Ryû Kumon's Vacuum Blade attacks (which, for comparison, cut a 10 meter tall solid bronze Buddha statue into pieces), that he is, for all practical purposes, bulletproof. Perhaps one of the best examples might be the Golden Pair story arc: when Ranma attacks Mikado Sanzen'in for stealing his First Kiss, the resultant "battle" has Ranma headbutt the ice-rink so hard he buries himself in it up to his shoulders, pull himself out without even being fazed (which startles the hell out of his opponent), trip over when making an attack and skid across the length of the rink, on his face, at such speed that he smashes through the rink-wall when he crashes into it, and finally getting pulled into Mikado's "Dance of Death", in which he is repeatedly pummeled on for several minutes straight before being ejected out at high speed and landing hard on his head. He still manages to somersault back onto his feet when asked to stand up, only to slip and fall back down again. By the time he's gotten home, he's fine save for an assortment of scrapes and bruises, needing just a bit of disinfectant and a few bandaids.
    • When he first enters the series, Ryôga doesn't really seem to be much tougher then Ranma (though he does evidently have more stamina, courtesy of always having to spend days doing nothing but walk to get to the fight), but then he learns the Bakusai Tenketsu technique... in his first battle with it, Ranma's strongest punches have no effect on him, and it takes a focused burst of Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs to be able to hurt him at all. Though Ranma does subsequently train himself to be able to punch hard enough to get through Ryôga's defense, he remains the hardest opponent for Ranma to lay out with physical attacks afterward.
    • It does not, however, explain Tatewaki Kunô.
  • Black Lagoon. One of the main characters takes an RPG at point blank (not the explosion, but getting hit by the physical object) and escapes with lightly burned skin and a concussion. At a later date, another character survives getting shot in the gut, falling from a second story window and then having the building she fell from collapse on top of her while it's on fire, though she admits that the injuries are more or less fatal and she was lucky to be alive long enough for help to show up. And then there's Roberta, who isn't Made of Iron so much as diamond on a solid titanium-tungsten alloy base.
  • Every character from One Piece; characters seem only to die in flashbacks (or if you watch the 4Kids dub, never).
    • One can mention Luffy, who was gored with a hook, thrown into a pit of quicksand and buried there for hours, but was still able to fight Sir Crocodile the next day. Only to have all the water in his body absorbed—at least momentarily. Then he was poisoned.
    • Let's not forget Zoro. He's taken a giant sword-slash to the chest, tried to cut off his own feet to escape some chains, and, during Thriller Bark, shows his badassery by taking all of Luffy's pain in attack form- with the bloody result shown in the page picture (not shown is the blood covered ground spread out several feet around him). Although all he needs to do to recover is put on a few bandages and take a nap. This is averted after the aforementioned incident with Luffy's pain as Zoro still suffered from those injuries for several battles following it.
    • Early on, Luffy tells Zoro not to pick up a heavy cage when injured because, according to Luffy, Zoro's guts would spill out. Zoro merely says that he'll stuff them back in. Later on, there's a fight where the opponent keeps going for Zoro's wound. Zoro decides to cut HIMSELF there when he gets tired of this. No wonder Nami won't let Luffy wake up Zoro later on, when he's resting after this fight. Face it, if there weren't laws against death in One Piece, and if Zoro weren't made of iron, he'd be the deadest thing in the universe.
    • Every character has done this. Badass Normal Usopp took a four ton bat to the head after being run through some buildings and blown up several times, with the only effect after winning the battle being that he had to run around in a cast for the rest of the day. On the same day, Action Girl Nami had her foot pierced through by a round spike about an inch in diameter, without even a limp after about a half hour. These are people without powers, considered almost as weak as regular humans. Most legendary, however, was Pell, who carried a bomb with a two and a half kilometer blast radius, that's roughly a one megaton nuke, high up in the sky to save everyone and survived. At one point, a totally random Mook gets an infinite mass kick to the face and survives with only comic relief injuries. Every single person in One Piece is Made of Iron.
    • In the latest chapters there's also Whitebeard. He takes such a ridiculous amount of damage before finally dying that when he eventually does the narrations list all his injuries he lost half of his face, pierced by a high-power laser, was slashed and stabbed 267 times, hit by 152 bullets, and 46 cannonballs. And he still Died Standing Up.
    • Blackbeard is a unique case of this. Because of his power, he absorbs much more pain then a normal person does, which results in him usually yelling in pain. But, as soon as he recovers, it's usually like nothing happened to him.
    • One Piece sometimes plays this for laughs. When the Straw Hats crash through a wall with a train, a little girl, her pet rabbit and grandmother all comment that they have a nosebleed. Franky points out they should be more severely injured. Luffy comments that this was nothing and tells his crew to get up and they respond by stating "there is no way for a human being to stay uninjured" but when it comes to the "uninjured" part, they all shout it, standing up, completely unharmed.
  • The characters from the Battle Royale manga went further and further into this as it went on. Kiriyama was the worst offender; over the course of the manga he gets beaten up, shot, blown up (diving inside a car to avoid the explosion), engaged in a knock-down martial arts fight, shot by a machinegun (he was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but at least one bullet goes through his arm), and blasted in the stomach with a shotgun. His hair and face stay as perfect as when he first came on the island. (This is possibly due to the tendency of characters to point out that No One Could Survive That each time he looks like he's dead.)
  • Early on, Yasutora Sado from Bleach fits like a glove. Even before he gets his otherworldly powers, he's able to lift things that many humans can't, and he shrugs off a blow from a falling steel girder. Of course, after he gets his powers... well, read for yourself.
    • Rather cruelly subverted with Chojiro Sasakibe short ago. The old man takes a giant crossbow quarrel to the torso but manages to talk to Yamamoto and relay vital info to him while bleeding profusely, which gives a Hope Spot about his survival. But later we learn that he died shortly afterwards.
  • The title character of Pucca, although it doesn't come up much. A Running Gag on the series involves a heavy object falling on her head, and her being entirely unaffected, and sometimes said object even breaking.
  • Digimon Frontier: The Seasonal Rot envelope is pushed farther near the end, when power levels reach the DBZ scale. The human characters (who have no superhuman powers whatsoever when not in Digimon form) survive planetwrecking attacks with little more than a few bruises. Digi Eggs are seen floating by and non-plot-important Digimon aren't, proving that even the highest-level Digimon (who can have at least city-wrecking power) weren't so lucky.
  • Elfen Lied usually doesn't qualify for this trope, but does in Bandou and Nana's cases.
  • Pretty much everyone in ''Pokémon is able to shrug off high voltage electrical shocks and burns.
    • The Team Rocket trio would definitely qualify for this. It's a big part of their Joker Immunity.
    • Over the course of the anime and movies, Ash has been electrocuted, burned, had a chandelier dropped on him, petrified at least once, eaten by a tree (long story), and much more. The worst he ever gets is several cuts and bruises.
    • In Pokémon Special, Criminal agents see the Dex Holders and Gym Leaders as giant crosshairs during battle, so they're expected to take some huge attacks, but Gold earns the medal here. After taking loads of abuse from the Mask of Ice throughout the GSC arc, you'd think the kid would back down at some point, but no. He gets piss drunk on Heroic Resolve, goes right back in, and takes some more. The kid takes punishment that would kill a normal human every time and just comes back for another helping. He may be an Idiot Hero, but brute force isn't going to cure him any time soon.
    • Amazingly enough, a villain beats Gold in this department. Sird took an explosion to the face, causing her to fall thousands of feet to the ground, crawled from somewhere around Viridian to Vermillion, and got her leg frozen by Lorelei's ice shackles. Despite all this and being battered and bleeding, she somehow manages to stay on her feet, break free of Lorelei's ice shackles on her own, and turn five Dex Holders to stone. Damn.
  • Pretty Cure in all forms. Enemy attacks are always treated as a serious threat (so it's probably not Nigh Invulnerability), and yet somehow nobody ever has any injuries after getting thoroughly pummeled. (Heck, even the aforementioned enemies are perfectly fine until they eventually die.) You can tell the Magical Girls are losing if they and their costumes have gotten slightly dirty.
  • Fist of the North Star largely seems to be written about entirely unhealthy deformation of flesh and bones or the lack thereof, so it's not that surprising that its main characters are more than a little sturdy. Hero Kenshiro weathers attacks that can effortlessly shear solid steel with superficial cuts to show for it. The antagonist, Raoh, completely ignores the same, and at one point, basically strangles a suicide fire-bomber AFTER he ignited himself, without being burned.
    • In one of the first story arcs, one of the antagonists had the power to literally turn his skin into iron. He could have stayed made of flesh for all what that worked against Kenshiro, though.
  • Randel Orland from Pumpkin Scissors. Slightly subverted in that while he can ignore injuries that would incapacitate a normal man, he often ends up bedridden in the hospital after the fight's over. (But he's almost always back on duty in time for the next episode.)
  • Given the amount of abuse that Keitaro takes in Love Hina, it's a good thing that he is seemingly immortal. From the very day he entered Hinata-Sou, he's been at the receiving end of countless Naru Punches from Naru, Rock-Splitting Slashes from Motoko, flying kicks to the head from Su. Not to mention attacks from turtle-based mecha (again from Su), kicks to the shin (Sara), and a Frying Pan to the head (Shinobu).
  • Heero Yuy of Gundam Wing is most definitely made of iron. Among his greater feats are self-detonating his Gundam while standing just outside the cockpit and surviving, and falling down a cliff just to get up once he reached the ground. If memory serves, he actually broke his leg in the latter, but only had to push the bone back into place afterward.
    • In an early episode, a doctor observing Heero comments that he has over 200 bruises and broken bones and yet was still walking around as a normal person would. (It should be noted that this was the same episode where he later fell down that cliff.)
    • It should be noted that in Super Robot Wars Alpha, Heero is also apparently one of the few people in the universe capable of remaining conscious after one of Kushua Mizuha's Health Drinks, which has been known to knock out androids.
  • The mages of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha evoke this appearance since they're frequently smashed through walls and perform hard drops from helicopters. However, they wear Barrier Jackets which, while appearing to be made of cloth, give off magical fields for protection. The one time that a non-Artificial Human character's Barrier Jacket was completely penetrated, it resulted with said character being hospitalized for nearly a year. The reason she was hospitalized for so long was due to both the injury and the fact that she had overstressed her magic.
  • Berserk. Guts is superhumanly tough, able to survive being impaled, carried off several hundred feet into the air, flown at the speed of sound without any protection, than falling hundreds of feet and still be able to fight. And given what he has to face, you better believe the guy needs it.
  • Quite a few characters in Rurouni Kenshin can take inhuman amounts abuse with relatively little effect.
    • Big Bad Makoto Shishio is without a doubt, the most over the top example. During the final battle against him, he, despite having been shot in the head and burned alive, proves capable of, among other things, blocking the blows of the other superhumanly powerful swordsmen with his fingers, taking a direct punch to the face from superhuman Badass Normal Sanosuke with no effect (Sanosuke's hand shatters though), shrugging off a string of sword strikes from the main character, Kenshin that ends up shooting him through a brick wall, and taking a direct blow from Kenshin's ultimate attack (and probably the most powerful attack in the series) and still being able to stand. In the end, it is not these attacks that kill him but his own inhumanly high blood temperature, which causes him to spontaneously combust when he fights for too long. The other characters even assume that he is immortal from all the abuse he takes, although the iron plate in his head may have something to do with surviving a lot of cranial abuse.
    • Jinchu arc Big Bad Yukishiro Enishi is also an extreme example. The characters remark that he's in such an advanced state of mind over matter that his brain doesn't even recognize pain anymore, to the point where he can even inflict massive pain upon himself and still get up for more.
  • Everybody in Zettai Karen Children seems to be made of iron, since Kaoru likes to throw people around as if there's no tomorrow, causing massive craters everywhere, without considerably hurting anyone.
  • Gunsmith Cats
    • Bean Bandit from. Some of it can be attributed to his subversion of Armor Is Useless, but that can only go so far. He's been rammed by cars (in Riding Bean he rams one back), mauled at close range with 12 gauge shotgun slugs, punched through walls, and ejected out of his car going over a hundred miles an hour on the highway. And in nearly every one of these case's he has been able to more or less shrug it off and keep fighting. In that last case he tried to go on, but quickly lost consciousness and needed medical attention. And then just kept going a couple of days later, although it's implied that he used drugs to block the pain until his job was done. He's also seen acting tough and dangerous, and then almost collapsing as soon as he's gotten away the people he wanted to intimidate.
    • Gray is another good example, also qualifying as a Scary Black Man. He's muscular enough that he can effectively shield his head and vitals from handgun fire by shielding them with his arms. What does he do after his arms have been shot up? Pop the rounds out by flexing his muscles, and bandage up the arm.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Tsuna takes an inhuman amount of punishment at the hands of Reborn and his guardians - especially in the beginning. As the series goes on and gets more serious, the damage Tsuna takes tends to be taken a bit more seriously (though, considering that he's just a human, it's still friggin' amazing that his body can easily take heat that melts metal).
  • Parodied in Detroit Metal City, where the manager of the eponymous band is tough enough to stub out cigarettes on her own tongue.
  • The title character in Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple could easily be the poster boy for this trope. In almost every major fight he's in, he not only takes far more damage than any normal human could even survive, but he often (though not always) goes on to win! His masters even lampshade this, stating that while he may not have any talent for martial arts, he's a genius at taking punishment. It seems to be an in-series joke that Kenichi is literally made of iron, as whenever he is lifted or thrown, it is noted that he's heavier than you'd expect of someone so short. Subverted by the fact that two of his masters have a thorough understanding of the human body, and can do things to bring back the recently deceased; and have, on more then one occasion. The one they revived, of course, being Kenichi. Curing a couple dozen broken bones is, by comparison, a trivial thing to them. (Of course, it still hurts... But he's use to pain. If not from the horrible fights, then from the Training from Hell.) It's also averted when Tirawit tricks Kenichi into fighting his high school's Karate Club. They are decisively not Made of Iron, and Kenichi's attacks leave them badly injured.
  • In Airmaster there's Maki. You'd think taking a literal bear killing punch to the jaw or falling from several stories onto concrete would leave you at least out of commission for a while, but she's back like nothing happened next episode. Credit must be given to the minor characters too though for being able to take a drop kick from a 6' tall muscular girl jumping off a building.
  • Read or Die's Drake Anderson isn't supposed to have any superpowers, but getting sliced to ribbons by the paper users doesn't do anything except make him grit his teeth.
  • Partially justified for Seiichirou Kitano in Angel Densetsu. His inhumane reflexes allow him to move in the same direction of the blows he's receiving, considerably lessening the damage. Played straight with his father who's The Juggernaut on top of that.
  • "Oyakata-sama, most people *die* from a punch like that." Not Yukimura, though—he just pulls himself out of the wall he was embedded in and comes right back for more.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka can easily survive falling off a building or getting hit by cars with minimal injury. Perhaps the most extreme case is when he was shot three times rescuing someone from being kidnapped (and before that ran his scouter into their car when it suddenly stopped), but managed to walk all the way back to school and spend an hour taking an exam before he passed out from blood loss and went into a coma which he got out of in days.
  • Jack Rakan from Mahou Sensei Negima Some of the names he earned included "The Man Who Cannot Die", "The Immortal Fool" and "That damn guy who you can stab with swords all you like and it won't do a damn thing, damnit!" That's a direct quote. He takes the attacks of the title character which were shown to vaporize a 100-m-thick block of solid stone without so much to show for it as a BURN MARK. Even the tuxedo he's wearing is totally unharmed. He does eventually get killed, but it took an opponent who was literally capable of Rewriting Reality to do it, and even then he put up one hell of a fight. And then came back temporarily 'cause he felt like it. Given some extra time he gets better on his own. Asked by others he just notes that there is nothing impossible when one has strong willpower (proving it applies even to being removed from existence).
  • The main character of the boxing manga Hajime no Ippo Makunouchi Ippo is the embodiment of this trope. After almost 900 chapters he has received more hits than all of the other characters combined. During the more critical ones he has been going in and out of consciousness while still standing.
  • A lot of characters in the manga Baki the Grappler qualify, but none so well as the Yakuza boss Kaoru Hanayama who, at one point, gets force-fed bullets which explode in his mouth. All that after taking damage which, were it to be accumulated and released all at once, would end all life as we know it. And in his own short spinoff manga series he is shown as being able to withstand enormous water pressure by diving to the bottom of the ocean to release the angling hook which was stuck to a rock below prior to killing a 22 foot long shark. Underwater. Pro angler.
  • In Mirai Nikki Hinata and Mao, two Unfazed Everymen, survived multiple stab wounds, and suffered no worse than falling down. Hinata got at least six in her body, scattered around her arms and stomach, and Mao took a knife to the back. They are hospitalised after this. In the same chapter, Yukiteru survives being dropped two stories in a burning building and is fine after two days, and Yuno is perfectly fine a day after being stabbed in the stomach.
  • The characters in Soul Eater seem to take great amounts of physical damage without it affecting them. In Kid's case, this is justified because, as he states, he is a god. The black blood only enhances this, an example being the fight between Maka and Crona.
  • Lunar's father in Seto no Hanayome. The guy takes a direct hit from a Kill Sat without even blinking.
  • Kiichi from Shootfighter Tekken is essentially a Made of Iron Determinator who is able to pull off incredibly flexible grappling moves despite always getting hit first, and getting hit first hard enough to permanently incapacitate professional career wrestlers! A week or so after barely eking out a victory, he's back to normal with the standard handful of bandages.
  • In the second Kino's Journey movie, Land of Sickness, Kino is kicked hard directly in the breasts by a guy wearing combat boots and sent flying across the room. He then steps on her wrist to prevent her reaching her gun, and with little more than a grimace, she still fights him off with one of her legs.
  • Brutally averted in The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer. It doesn't matter how much Kung-Fu a character knows getting punched by a golem will liquify their internal organs.
  • Natsu, Gray, and all the other determinators of Fairy Tail. Special mention goes to Erza, who seems that she can survive nearly everything.
  • University headmaster Grant Oldman from Battle Athletes Victory qualifies. After a botched hijacking attempt means a space shuttle carrying new students is going to crash into the University (it's in space) he simply orders the main training field cleared, steps out onto it, then catches the incoming shuttle and forces it to stop. See this video at the about 4:30 mark.
  • In Naruto the characters fall off cliffs, are slammed into rock faces so hard they crack them, land on their heads after falling or getting throw dozens of feet, and even getting hit in the face by a punch that made a 10 foot wide crater when it hit ground without getting visibly injured, even if they're not using any ability to give them superhuman durability besides Charles Atlas Superpower.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the Third and Fourth Raikage. Mabui can only use her ability on inanimate objects and the Raikages because it will tear apart and kill anyone else.
  • Characters in the Blame-Verse suffer massive physical trauma on a regular basis, then opt to walk it off. Justified since a vast majority of the cast are ancient, hyper-advanced cyborgs who view lost limbs with the same nonchalance we would a paper cut.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh
    • Yusei Fudo has survived the most non-duel beatings, including being bombarded with scrap metal, numerous electrocutions, having shrapnel the size of a dinner plate lodged into his gut, surviving an explosion followed by a 10 plus story drop down a chasm, and just getting up and walking away. And if you see all of his crashes, Jack's a close second in this Title Race.
    • Joey/Jonouchi from the original series also counts, as he once managed to recover from a horrible beating and Electric Torture (before card games became the series focus). Also, he LITERALLY DIED as a result of his duel against Marik, but he recovered surprisingly quickly.
  • Durarara!!
    • Shizuo Heiwajima. The man gets stabbed in both legs and remarks "Doesn't even hurt." Later, he is shot in the leg and side and thinks he slipped in the rain until he sees the blood. Afterwards he simply walks to Shinra's house, and is still unfazed by his normally life-threatening wounds. Shizuo's apparent superhuman endurance is acknowledged in canon: Shinra hates treating Shizuo, because he never leaves an operation without destroying at least one of his best scalpels in the process. Shizuo's body isn't Made of Iron: it's harder than it.
    • Also the three kidnappers from the first episode. Celty hits one of them with her motorcycle and smashes another's face into a wall which leaves behind a huge mess, yet they show up later on no worse for wear. Plus anyone who Shizuo hits, throws, or punches. Special mention goes to Rokujo Chikage, who takes four steel-crushing punches to the face, yet still has the energy to taunt Shizuo about his lacking sex life. Mention must also be given to Izaya Orihara who is the regular target of Shizuo's inhuman rage. In their first on-screen confrontation, Shizuo nails Izaya by chucking and hitting him in the head with a vending machine so hard Izaya is thrown several feet. The snazzily-dressed Knife Nut just gets up like nothing happened.
  • Allison and Lillia: Used to absurd effect in the last episode. Treize was on the roof of a train that crashed off a cliff into a ravine. He was missing and presumed dead... then he shows up a couple weeks later in good enough shape to dance.
  • Dragon Ball. Even characters like Yajirobe and Mr. Satan that never throw a ki-blast survive things that should turn most tanks into smears.
  • Averted Trope, and almost Subverted Trope in the Manhwa Veritas. Through 14 issues, the main character has already suffered at least 5 broken arms, three broken legs and a concussion or two. Oddly, he seems to have done all of that on purpose.
  • Everyone in the Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt universe appears to be indestructible, all the better to enable the slapstick and Comedic Sociopathy.
  • Yaiba: The title character too is quite resilient for his age. Though usually he rarely gets slashed in vital parts, he has also suffered many vicious wounds and he always managed to survive.
  • Inazuma Eleven watchers may wonder why the hell isn't the freaking goal net destroyed as many of the shooting moves are at least half powerful as those in Dragonball Z.
  • Deconstructed in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The reason why magical girls are made of iron is because they are really Empty Shells. The true weak spot is their Soul Gems, which are more meaningful in name. This is also Invoked by Kyubey, the person who forms the contracts with the girls and knows full well what will happen if their souls weren't in compact objects and are in their person at the time of their death.
  • To Aru Majutsu no Index has Touma, who's odd ability to keep going after taking wounds that would likely kill most people actually scares an enemy into insanity (of course there was a bit of acting involved with an epic Evil Laugh.) Also to an extent Tsuchimikaido Motoharu, who, since he is somewhat of an esper, essentially starts self-destructing when he uses magic, yet can still stay alive since his esper power is level 0 auto-regeneration; just enough to keep him alive.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler
    • Hinagiku hasn't been shown to be able to withstand things like some of the others on this page, but she was described by one of her friends as a Gundam, and there's no evidence to counter this belief, given that she has the strength and endurance to knock out title character Hayate, continually, who himself doesn't qualify for this trope because of Charles Atlas Superpower.
    • Luca herself might lack the same physical strength of Hina, but having a serious head injury and still putting on a full show as a Idol Singer, shows she has the endurance, also without the background to explain it away.
  • Silver Diamond: Chigusa takes most of the damage for the team, usually to such extremes that would kill a normal man- and all of his wounds heal in seconds. In his case, though, it's more being made of plant than being made of iron.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Kamina is tough enough that he can survive being killed for long enough to avenge his own death
  • Mawaru Penguindrum
    • Shouma Takakura. The guy gets hit by a car at full speed to save his friend Ringo's life and barely suffers more than few bumps.
    • It's apparently genetic; his brother Kanba survived being dragged several miles by a speeding truck along asphalt, returning with only ripped clothes and some scrapes and bruises.
  • Here's a fun Drinking Game for those up for it: Watch Guilty Crown and take a shot every time a character is inside the 'near-miss' zone (i.e. about five feet away from the impact site) of an explosion and comes out of it untouched. You'll be drunk after five minutes. You'll be pickled after two hours if you marathon episodes. At one point, someone (it's Shuu, for those interested) gets their arm severed at the elbow without medical attention and doesn't even start bleeding, much less bleed out.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • It's actually pretty common that when comic book characters fight, characters with superpowers take superpowered hits without serious injury, even though their superpowers have nothing to do with superhuman strength or endurance. I.E. a character whose ability is to shoot Eye Beams can be punched through a concrete wall, pick themselves back up, and continue fighting as though nothing happened.
  • In one of the earlier issues of Superman, Superman literally punches Lex Luthor through a three-foot thick brick wall. Lex's only reply? "You can hit!" He was electrically charged at the time, so he had superhuman attributes (though not to the extent of Superman).
  • Many characters in Frank Miller's Sin City exhibit this trait to an incredible degree. Made of Iron is probably Miller's all-time favorite character trope for male protagonists. He just loves guys who can take an appalling level of punishment from vastly superior opponents through force of will, strength of character, or just innate badassery.
    • Two characters who seem particularly adept at shrugging off damage are Manute and Marv, who require really extreme trauma to be eventually killed: Manute in a hail of bullets courtesy of an army of prostitutes; Marv by being electrocuted in the electric chair - although notably, Marv doesn't die until the second time in a row he's electrocuted.

Marv: Is that the best you can do, you pansies?

    • The animalistic Kevin is so good at avoiding damage that he doesn't get a chance to display his durability much, but the fact that he can survive being dismembered, eaten alive by a wolf, and eventually disemboweled, without even making a sound, until he's finally killed by decapitation indicates that he's got a lot of iron in him as well.
  • Batman
    • This is sometimes subverted, as several older incarnations (The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, Batman Beyond) are noticeably battered by the years of combat. Kingdom's Bats must use a full-body exoskeleton just to get around.
    • The more recent comic books (i.e. Hush) tend to show Batman's upper body as pretty much a mass of scar tissue by this point.
    • Cassandra Cain is at least as bad about this. She usually gets out of the way, but when obliged to take a bullet she can do so and not even flinch. It's mainly practice.

Robin: Are those... exit wounds? But they're so big.
Batgirl: I... grew.

  • Subverted to tragic effect in an issue of Elf Quest, where a couple of boys from a human tribe throw a stone from a sling to knock an elf off of a high tree branch, believing that elves are indestructible. They're not. The elf breaks his back. The elves do have magical healers, but the injured elf is found and killed by the boys' grown-up relatives. And that's not all.
  • Daredevil. One of the more memorable examples would be the time when he not only survives taking casual slaps from the Hulk, but keeps getting back up to confront the not-so-jolly-green giant again. Not surprisingly, this trait was one of the things that Frank Miller left as his legacy with the character.
  • Often prominent with The Punisher, particularly as written by Garth Ennis.
    • At one point, the title character was seen walking upright with a stabbed liver. The irony of this is that Ennis claims to hate powered superheroes, while constantly playing up all-human characters with superhuman feats.
    • It remains to be seen what future authors will do with the character in terms of this, since Ennis is leaving the character after eight years, his current story arc being the final one, and other writers have already started. In the two thus far published stories, the Punisher MAX Annual #1 and Punisher MAX: Force of Nature, he doesn't take so much damage as to invoke this trope.
    • In one of the Ennis Punisher MAX stories Frank takes a shotgun blast to the side that removes a big chunk, including an entire rib bone. One would expect Frank to stumble off and let himself heal in the manner that an extremely well-trained and diligent former Marine would do. But with the shotgun wound, Frank continues to fight on... not even bleeding. In the same story The Dragon gets impaled, shot, beaten, further impaled, his face quite literally blown off and lives several moments past that, before finally snuffing it.
    • It's implied in Punisher: Born that Castle's near-inhuman ability to survive damage that would kill anyone else is that he made an unconscious pact with death during The Vietnam War that would let him continue to fight a war that never ended - for a price.
    • In Jason Aaron's Punisher MAX run, the continuation of Ennis' run, Frank's years of injuries are finally starting to catch up to him. A doctor flat out tells him that his body is a wreck and will only get worse. However, in the same series Frank takes an extraordinary amount of damage. In one night he gets stabbed several times with a sai (including one through his forearm) and takes several gunshots (including one self-inflicted one through the left chest-shoulder area to hit someone behind him). Then he walks across town and is met with no less than six more gunshots, gets his head smashed both through a car window and against a fire hydrant. He remains conscious long enough to walk back into the city then back into the suburbs before passing out. The trope is ultimate averted when Frank succumbs to his injuries.
  • X-Men subteam The New Mutants. Roberto DaCosta has super-strength, but not super-durability. He's explicitly just as vulnerable as any Joe SixPack... but somehow still survives nonsense like getting tackled through a brick wall. A degree of superhuman durability is pretty much a Required Secondary Power for any character possessing superhuman strength, as super-durable muscle fibers would necessarily result in super-durable muscle tissue, protecting most everything but the eyes.
  • In both the comic and movie versions of V for Vendetta this trope enables V to pull off a subversion of the Instant Death Bullet and a Crowning Moment of Awesome, no less:

V: Did you think to kill me? There's no flesh and blood within this cloak to kill. There's only an idea. Ideas are bullet-proof.

  • Tallulah Black from Jonah Hex has survived things like being shot in the head, being horribly mutilated, and having a baby cut out of her. And of course, Hex himself has gone through all of the above (except the last bit) and more many times, and with only 19th century frontier medicine (sometimes!) available to bring him back.
  • Sgt. Rock often takes a hell of a beating. This trope also applies, unsurprisingly, to his Arch Enemy, "The Iron Major".
  • Taskmaster. Neither getting rammed by a speeding car, nor shot repeatedly, nor being kicked in the face by an enraged Spider-Man so hard that his body punches an economy-sized hole through the (in all likelihood heavily armoured) wall of the armoury in his hideout/gym will do more than slow him down momentarily.
  • In Cruelty, Reis Northcotte is bloodied by a punch and kneed in the groin, but shows no pain. This tips off the school nurse that Reis is drugged to the gills.


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • Kent Mansley of The Iron Giant is always getting bashed into things but manages to pop back up again. Maybe he's just that serious about stopping the robot.
  • Jack Skellington of The Nightmare Before Christmas manages to get shot down by anti-aircraft flak guns without being blown to pieces. This could be justified, however, by the coffin sleigh taking most of the blow. However, this does not explain how at least a mile-high fall onto a stone angel didn't break any of his bones (the impact from the fall did seem to be strong enough to knock off his jawbone, however). This all still could be justified by the fact that Jack's undead, so he would not feel pain, if it weren't for an earlier scene where Sally accidentally pokes Jack's finger with a needle, and he yelps in pain. It's a little confusing.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • Indiana Jones. Frigidaire should use him as a celebrity spokesman.
  • Luz from Machete.
    • "What eye?"
  • The Die Hard movies:
    • John McClane fits the get-badly-hurt type to a tee. In the fourth film, he keeps taking enough damage to kill a man 3 or 4 times, yet he still wipes out an entire assault squad occupying a building, destroys a chopper with a police cruiser and a ramp, kills an enemy Action Girl with a Ford Explorer and an elevator pit, takes out a fighter plane with a big truck and an elevated highway, and shoots himself in the shoulder to kill the Big Bad that was holding a gun against him. And all he needs to get patched up after all this is a calm ride in the ambulance.
    • The Action Girl is also absurdly Made of Iron—she survives being hit by the Explorer, being smashed through a few walls, and even being slammed between the Explorer and a solid concrete wall. She was still beating the crap out of John after all this.
    • Although the first film was mainly designed as a subversion of the trope (so... yeah), and got a lot of attention for how unlike a lot of popular action movies at the time, the hero picked up several injuries over the course of the film and looked like he'd been through a warzone at the end.
  • Subversion: Matt Murdock in Daredevil is shown spitting out a broken/dislodged tooth after his first on-screen fight, and it might take less time to show how much of his body isn't scarred. His medicine cabinet is also shown to be absolutely stuffed full of painkillers like Percocet and Vicodin, suggesting that he could teach Dr. House a thing or two about living with pain.
  • Deconstructed in the movie Unbreakable. The character in question is the sole survivor of a wild train wreck. His super-fortitude is the basis for the plot.
  • James Bond
    • Mild Lampshade Hanging in the film Never Say Never Again. Bond visits a health spa in the opening of the film and a doctor notes that his body "seems to be mainly scar tissue".
    • Much of the plot of The World Is Not Enough revolves around the fact that Bond gets a tough-to-heal-from injury early in the film. Doesn't stop him from kicking butt, he just winces manfully when the injury is smacked around.
    • The Bond villain Jaws is an even better example, taking massive amounts of punishment in his appearances in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker and still surviving. (His teeth are literally made of iron.)
    • In GoldenEye, somehow, some way, Janus is not killed by being inside a chemical weapons plant when it exploded... even though he is standing right next to the gas tanks with the explosives on them. The worst he walked away with was slight scarring on the side of his face. Then he survived what seems to be a 1-mile-fall from a giant parabolic antenna and into an empty, concrete dam. Granted, he wasn't in great shape, but he was still alive. How a regular human could survive this is a downright impossibility. It took the entire antenna collapsing on top of his head to finally kill him.
  • While the blows sustained by Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the Spider-Man films may be explained by his newly acquired superpowers, no such explanation is given for how Doctor Octopus—a comparatively weak, fleshy human—can take more than a single punch to the jaw from the super-strong hero.
  • In Wild Wild West, Will Smith's character climbs up the antagonist's giant robotic spider, only to be shot point blank in the chest with a flintlock pistol. It is explained how he survives the shot—as it turns out, he has a chain mail vest made to stop bullets—but there is no explanation how, after the shot knocked him off the spider, he was able to survive falling 5 stories to land on his back.
  • Rocky
    • The worst offender may be Rocky II, where in their climactic rematch, Apollo Creed gives him twenty consecutive, unanswered shots to the face. More than once.
    • The sound of blows landing in Rocky III is dubbed in astonishingly loud, more akin to shotgun blasts than to fists; during their climactic fight, Rocky and Clubber Lang trade punches that seem like they would decapitate a normal human being.
    • Rocky IV:

Drago: He's not human. He's like a piece of iron.

  • Crime lord Bill takes this to ridiculous extremes in the film Beauty Investigators. After being shot in the heart, he still manages to beat a ninja in a fight. Later, his leg is broken almost to the point of a compound fracture, and not five minutes later he's walking with a slight limp.
  • Home Alone: Harry and Marv should have been dead by the end of the second movie.
  • Cloverfield: Much of the plot revolves around several people traveling across the city to rescue a friend they know is injured. Said friend has rebar through her upper right shoulder. Holed-Woman then runs amok with this injury, arms akimbo and survives a helicopter crash. More than the people, we'd say the camera is made of iron, as it survives as much and more than they do.
  • The Evil Dead series. Ash is a normal human, but takes enough punishment from the dead and from the sets, at one point even cutting off his own hand, to put anyone into shock. However, this is mildly subverted in that he seems vulnerable to wood.
  • Jason Statham as Chev Cellios in Crank. The original film was already well within Refuge in Audacity territory. the sequel even more so! (With a healthy dose of What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?)
  • Halloween: Michael Myers started out Made of Iron, but it was later retconned into supernatural Nigh Invulnerability.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Sam Witwicky gets dropped a few stories, tossed around by giant robots, caught in the middle of friendly fire—only the latter actually has any effect on him. Despite having a Mk84 bomb which causes lethal fragmentation up to 400 yards dropped about 100 feet behind him.
  • The heroes in Watchmen don't have any superpowers, with the exception of Dr. Manhattan. Still, in the movie, they take (and deal) some kicks and punches that ought to break bones and somehow don't, unless they're fighting mooks, which tend to snap much easier.
  • Charlies Angels: Full Throttle is full of these moments. The Demi Moore character is thrown from a car moving 40 or 50 mph and not only survives but continues to fight.
  • Urban Legend: Brenda Bates is shot in a shoulder, then in the chest, falling from a third-story window. Then, she tries to axe down the good guys, only to fly through the windscreen and falling off a bridge. Seconds after, she's shown in another college, telling THE tale.
  • Three Stooges Curly is famous for his harder-than-average head. In various shorts, Moe would use a saw or a pickaxe on Curly's cranium, only to find that the points of said tools bent afterward.
  • Captain Kirk in the new movie takes some pretty serious beatings: in approximately a single day, he gets the everliving crap beaten out of him by Romulans before Sulu saves his butt, nearly falls to his death on Vulcan trying to save Sulu's butt, nearly eaten by two monsters on an ice planet, Spock kicks his ass and nearly strangles him to death, then the Romulans beat the everliving crap out of him yet again. And yet he's still standing.
    • One might hand-wave this away with some off-screen future medical tech (which conveniently leaves the rugged bruises and abrasions alone).
  • The Narrator in The Perfect Sleep. Although he does get sliced and shot, mostly he just gets punched...a lot: He gets beaten to a bloody pulp five times during the course of one night by five different groups of highly motivated thugs, yet somehow remains functional enough to kill most of them and make it to the Final Battle with Nikolai. In the Shirtless Scene, we see he has hundreds of horrific scars from years of abuse—as his drug-dosing doctor pal calls it, "the tapestry of pain". His ability to withstand pain and death is pretty much supernatural, as he admits himself:

Walter's boys just gave me a beating that will have them waking up sore in the morning. I should be on death’s door. Walter thinks so. And you probably think so too.

  • The titular Darkman, who gets caught in an explosion and loses all sense of touch. His body overproduces adrenaline as a result, giving him Super Strength and super-endurance as side effects. He can get hurt, but he tends to ignore it most of the time.
  • Colonel Quaritch from Avatar, obviously.
  • Frankenstein's Monster (of course) in Universal's Frankenstein 1931 films. But then there's Ygor from Son of Frankenstein, who survived being hanged prior to film's events. He is shot in the end, but survives even that, and returns for The Ghost of Frankenstein. And then his brain is put into the Monster's body.[1]
  • Catwoman becomes this at the end of Batman Returns. We had previously seen her survive falls from three separate tall buildings, but two of those falls were played for dark comedy, making her an Iron Butt Monkey. What shifts her into this trope is her Crazy Awesome act of defiance in the movie's climax, where the Big Bad shoots her four times but she just keeps coming, and then uses a stun gun, an exposed fuse box and her own saliva to electrocute them both....and lives.
  • Iron Man
    • Obvious jokes aside, the recent movie version of Tony Stark appears to be able to shrug off blows that should render his head the consistency of chunky salsa, both in and out of the power suit. The flight tests, for example. He also seems to ignore a GAPING HOLE IN HIS RIBCAGE, that should make it impossible for him to breathe unassisted, let alone fight. While escaping from the terrorists in the first act, he also falls in a "powered descent" (!) into a dune with enough force to destroy a solid-metal power suit, yet all his squishy meat and bones remain unharmed.
    • Not to mention that Tony nails Rhodey in the head with a barbell and weights, the concussive force of which should have shattered every bone in War Machine's head even with the suit on.
  • Spotted Horse in The Quick and the Dead. How many times do you have to shoot a man to kill him?
  • Botany Bay. This is an oldie loosely based on the sending of the First Fleet to Australia, and what the hero had to endure aboard ship should have turned him into shark-bait. Not just mercilessly flogged. but keelhauled twice over, and then confined in a leaky brig with icy seawater constantly seeping in! To cap it off, the actor wasn't a big hulking man, but slightly built and delicate-featured Alan Ladd.
  • Friday the 13 th: Before Jason Voorhees became the demon zombie killer we all know, he was just an ordinary mentally handicapped and deformed backwoods killer who could shrug off things like a machete through his collarbone and being hanged.
  • Marv from Sin City. Hit several times by a speeding car without a single broken bone.

Hartigan: Just one hour to go. My last day on the job. Early retirement. Not my idea. Doctor's orders. Heart condition. Angina, he calls it.

  • Implied with Eric in Mystery Team, who tells Jason to shrug off a bullet wound, stating he had been shot three times. Keep in mind that Eric is seven.
  • In Act III of Con Air, Cameron Poe doesn't even flinch after getting shot clean through the bicep; instead, Poe effortlessly disarms the shooter and knocks him out. The wound is adequately dressed with a very thin strip of fabric, and Poe's arm retains full mobility through the rest of the movie.
  • Inigo Montoya at the climax of his story in The Princess Bride. He's been hit in the belly with a thrown dagger, which clearly has been embedded up to the hilt. This is a very dangerous wound in modern times, in the setting it's the kind of wound where if you're LUCKY, you bleed to death. (If you're unlucky, you die of the infection. Peritonitis is a VERY unpleasant way to go.) Within a couple of minutes, he's shrugged it off and inflicted a humiliating beat down on the man he's been hunting since he was a boy, followed by an awesome Pre-Mortem One-Liner:

Inigo: Offer me everything I ask for!
Rugen: Anything you want!
Inigo: (stab with sword) I want my FATHER BACK, you son of a bitch!

  • In Snatch, Boris the Bullet-Dodger doesn't so much dodge bullets as absorb them. He also survives being trapped in a car trunk during an accident and being hit head-on by a van without even being noticeably slowed down.
  • In Superman Returns Lois takes quite a beating throughout the film, such as being thrown about in a plane as it plummets, and having a heavy object fall on her, but the worse injury she seems to suffer is being knocked unconscious for a few minutes, and she recovers just in time to save Superman.
  • Matsu in the Joshuu Sasori series: Clubbed unconscious, hogtied for several days (during which time she's beaten with truncheons and has scalding soup poured on her), forced to dig holes for about 36 hours non-stop, tied up and used as a stress-relief piñata, tortured with a hot lightbulb...still watchful, alert and ready to escape at a moment's notice. And that's just the first film.
  • Wang Fuming from Bodyguards And Assassin walks is only killed when he gets stabbed several times each by dozens of times by assassins. What really makes this made of iron is that it happens twice and he walks away from it the first time.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the Sword of Truth, the hero Richard rips out his evil half-brother's spine, but he's still good for one last fight. It's played completely straight, and made even more ridiculous when it's revealed the character had no superhuman or magical abilities (though he did have some kind of funky acupuncture/acupressure technique that he somehow used on himself in order to keep going).
  • In Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, ultra Badass Heroic Sociopath Karsa Orlong has one of these. In The Bonehunters (book 6), he gets repeatedly mauled, cut, stabbed and bitten by a giant monster, and ultimately walks away with a slight wince and the scowl he always wears. This is somewhat justified by Karsa's being far more than a mortal human.
  • In Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks, the Idirans are revealed to be incredibly resilient to damage. One member of the species is apparently killed, and a fairly sensible member of the protagonist's crew decides to make sure of it by putting the barrel of his laser rifle into the Idiran's eye and torching off a good portion of its head. Turns out that this isn't nearly enough to keep an Idiran down, leading to the book's eventual Downer Ending.
  • Quidditch, from Harry Potter, is arguably an example. It's specifically mentioned that the worst injuries players have suffered are broken bones, in a sport that involves heavy iron balls knocking people off broomsticks 50 feet in the air. Of course, some fans have in turn suggested that wizards have a (nonstated) resistance to physical injury. Note that it's the worst that's happened at Hogwarts, according to Oliver Wood. When Harry asks him if anyone's ever died playing Quidditch, Wood responds, "Never at Hogwarts", which seems to imply that fatalities have occurred elsewhere.
    • Quidditch Through The Ages mentions that quidditch's predecessor game, which involved trying to catch dropped boulders with bowls strapped to the tops of players' heads while riding on a broom at speed, was infamous for killing almost every player who attempted to play it. So while wizards may be Made of Iron there is apparently a sharp upper limit somewhere.
  • It's a more minor example than most of these, but the four Aurek Seven stormtroopers in Survivor's Quest should count. Two of them fight for and protect two unarmored officers against a large number of Vagaari armed with blasters and charrics. Their armor is good, the blasters are fifty years old and have a weak charge, and charrics aren't designed to pierce this armor, but there are a lot of Vagaari. By the time the other two show up it is mentioned that their chestplates aren't white anymore, they're having trouble standing and walking, the nonhuman stormtrooper is forgetting to translate his responses to commands into Basic, and the other isn't responding at all, and yet they're still shooting, still taking the blaster bolt. That's how Zahn writes stormtroopers. They take a lot of damage, shoot well, and never give up.
  • Harry Dresden. Seriously. In Fool Moon alone, he gets chin-decked, shot in the shoulder, pistol-whipped, beaten with a tire-iron, slammed into various walls, savaged by a werewolf, knocked out by overuse of magic, stomped to a pulp, duct-taped to a pillar from which he rips himself free, tossed over a wall, dropped out of a moving car on the Interstate, and tossed down into a 20-foot pit, yet still manages to use powerful magic, climb hand-over-hand up a 20-foot rope, and otherwise kick the living shit out of the bad guy by the end. His friend Murphy also somehow manages to climb up a rope and rapid-fire a .38 mere hours after sustaining a compound fracture to her right arm. And that's just in Book 2!
  • Woodrow Lowe from Man of the Century by James Thayer. In the course of the book, Woodrow is whipped raw by dervishes, bloodied by a sadistic lover, knocked off a boat by an incoming boom, kicked by a horse, trampled by a bull, stabbed within an inch of his life more than once, shot multiple times, some very close to the head, has the snot beaten out of him by at least five famous 19th-century prizefighters, and is imprisoned for 368 days in a Chinese torture pit. He is a Dakotan cavalryman, a Rough Rider, an opium trader, the (deposed) ruler of China, an Amazonian sex slave, and the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. And he lives to tell about it all. At the ripe old age of 108.
  • In R.A. Salvatore's novels, the Companions of the Hall sometimes seem to be made of iron. For example, in The Halfling's Gem, the five of them take on an army of wererats, a hydra, get sent to Tartarus where they're swarmed by demons, Drizzt has the fight of his life against an opponent who is his equal... and when it's all said and done they have not only managed to beat all of the bad guys, not only managed to survive, but none of them are even seriously injured. And even though they're kind of tired, you get the sense that they could have kept on fighting for another few hours if they had to.
  • Conan the Barbarian
    • In Robert E. Howard's story "A Witch Shall Be Born", the witch survives exposure as a baby.

But the life in me was stronger than the life in common folk, for it partakes of the essence of the forces that seethe in the black gulfs beyond mortal ken.

    • In the same story, Conan himself not only survives being crucified, but after his cross is chopped down (with him still nailed to it) he helps pull the nails out and rides 10 miles before his injuries are treated.
  • Brutes, Massives and/or people with kanji of durability in The Grimnoir Chronicles books.
  • Subverted in Harald. The Badass Grandpa protagonist is on the run from The King's Wolves, and has been playing Guile Hero to try and avoid fighting them. They catch him while he's fleeing on horseback, he kills several of them, gets hit by a couple Annoying Arrows and shrugs them off - and then one of them whacks him in the head, he passes out, gets rescued by Those Two Guys Action Girls and spends months recovering from all of his injuries.
  • Lampshaded in Gilded Latten Bones, with Morley Dotes' stab wounds. The healer who treats him is astounded by the fact that none of the attacker's strikes had damaged vital organs or major arteries. Subverted in that Morley is laid up far longer than Garrett anticipated; played straight in that by all logic, he should've been one dead half-elf.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Power Rangers
    • Commander Doggie "Boss" Kruger in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger was a bit inconsistent with this trope: During his first on-screen brush with death, he was shot in the chest and survived with nary a scratch (though he was wearing a Bulletproof Vest); much later, he attempts to stop an old friend of his gone mad and was hurt enough (even through his Dekamaster armor) to need a few days in bandaged hospital care. During the season finale, however, he's not only beaten and slashed with swords repeatedly (without his Dekamaster armor on), but slammed through at least three walls, one of which he was stuck in for a half-second, but this only rendered him unconscious for a little while with little more than battle fatigue and a few somewhat minor scrapes.
    • His counterpart in Power Rangers SPD was even tougher: the finale had him and his wife drop several stories from an exploding alien Humongous Mecha, and still have enough fight left in him for one final match with the series' Disc One Final Boss.
    • While all series are guilty of this to some extent, Time Force is particularly Egregious with this. The red ranger repeatedly fell from heights that should have shattered him. One episode in particular stands out: the red ranger was recruited to be a stuntman for a scene where not only he's cut with real swords, but he falls at least five stories onto concrete after the cushion is taken out from under him. He's "lucky to be in one piece" indeed.
    • The Quantum Ranger also showed this in one scene where he's shot in the arm as he falls several stories off a bridge into a river. Plus there is a climactic scene where he and the red ranger swing out through a window, fall several stories out of clocktower, and manage to morph and land on their air speeders with nary a scratch. In real life, these two guys should have been dead several times over, but all is forgiven because of the Rule of Cool (and that last stunt in particular was pretty damn cool).
    • Ninja Storm's Grand Finale may be the worst offender: The Big Bad has absorbed all of the Rangers' powers, so they, as civilians, must fight a much, much, much stronger version of their foe. Somehow, being blasted full-on is shrugged off, less than Only a Flesh Wound.
    • Heck, there are plenty of times when unmorphed Rangers take abuse they shouldn't be able to withstand. For example, in episode 13 of Wild Force, Taylor gets distracted by Zen-Aku's hold on Princess Shayla, leaving her back unmorphed and unprotected from the motorcycle org. Said org fires two shots at her, which explode very close around her, knocking her to the ground. She's sitting on the ground "injured" for less than five minutes (or until the other Rangers show up), and is then walking around is if she's completely unharmed, only holding her arm in a way one does when they accidentally walk into a door. You're awesome, Taylor, but there's no way you should've healed that quickly.
  • Super Sentai is of course just as bad, if not worse. Unmorphed Rangers and bystanders are often seen simply sent flying by explosions and landing without a scratch, severe cuts heal far faster than they ought without special healing tech, etc.
  • Kamen Riders are just as bad. Just ask Kamen Rider Ichigo, Nigo and Riderman, who survived nuclear explosions to the face and come back just in time to aid other Riders! Then there's Kamen Rider Fourze, who, in his cameo in a Kamen Rider OOO movie, made his arrival by crash landing from low orbit HEAD-FIRST, and just hopped up from the ground, dusted himself off and went to aid OOO. All he got out of that was a mild headache.
  • Twenty Four: Jack Bauer shouldn't be able to walk by the halfway point of a typical season, and that's before you take sleep deprivation into account. By the time a season is over it's not uncommon to have seen him bleed from the mouth, forehead or arm at least once. Here's some of the worst ones. If this doesn't prove how much of a badass Bauer is, then nothing will:
    • Day 1: Grazing bullet wound to the gut. Overall it's one of the more minor ones on this list. Also had to contend with Nina after this.
    • Day 2: Survives a plane crash in the first half of the season. Is later captured and tortured nearly to death.
    • Day 6: More torture (at the start of the season no less). Later on Jack gets cracked ribs.
    • Day 7: Infected by a biological weapon. Quite possibly the worst one.
    • Day 8: Superficial knife wound early in the season. Serious stab wound in the final hours. Didn't seem too bad at first but as Jack walks away from the wall he's leaning on there is a very serious bloodstain on the wall. Shot in the final episode and even survives a serious car wreck before the end.
  • A humorous example would be Tim Taylor from Home Improvement, who despite his tendency for stupidity and Lampshade Hanging about being notorious at the local hospital, never receives scars or injuries of any severity.
  • The companions on Doctor Who, almost all of whom are human, are put through the physical and emotional wringer nearly every single time they step out of the TARDIS, yet are perfectly fine the moment they step back in. The Doctor himself partially justifies this by being a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, but considering the things he's been through, it's amazing he can still walk.
    • The End of Time. Never mind the fatal radiation poisoning, the fall from the Vinvocci ship should have had him ready for his next regeneration.
    • Jack Harkness, who keeps dying and getting better. Whatever keeps him tethered to life is Made of Iron.
  • Firefly's Malcolm Reynolds can take insane amounts of damage; in the episode "War Stories" he gets tortured to death, only to be revived and then get up, stick the torturer with his own weapon, and start beating up the Big Bad.
  • Farscape
    • The series has an entire race of Made of Iron's, the Scarrans. To drop just one takes a whole lot of firepower: God help you if you run into more than one of them.
    • Ditto Scorpius: not only is he half-Scarran, but he also wears body armour for anything his body can't deal with. Add to that his own impressive willpower, and he's damn near unstoppable. And even if it looks like you've somehow managed to kill him, well, chances are he planned ahead enough to be back again in a fortnight. Although there is his coolant system, which has been attacked by both Crichton (who sabotaged it) and Emperor Staleek (who tore the whole mechanism out of Scorpy's skull with his bare hands). To their mutual annoyance, Scorpius survived both.
  • The pilot episode of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr features a comic relief Mook named Pete, who ends up getting shot. The producers liked the actor's performance so much that they brought him back, explaining that he had recovered after getting hit in the gut. Then they decided to just go with it and had him survive the likes of Chinese throwing star and pitchfork attacks.
  • Ricky has been repeatedly shot on Trailer Park Boys, often by accident, although always in a non-vital area. The worst damage he usually suffers is to his pride.
  • The main characters on Married... with Children demonstrate this: Marcy has been electrocuted, Kelly been bitten by deadly poisonous insects, Bud suffered various injuries in his futile attempts at romance, and Al suffering everything from electrocution to shooting himself in the foot to setting himself on fire to industrial accidents while trying to build a workbench with Jefferson to repeatedly falling off the roof with Jefferson and his other buddies while trying to install a satellite dish on the roof.
  • Freddie on iCarly endures what sounds like a brutal beating from Sam in the episode "iMeet Fred", being hit hard enough with a tennis racket to cause it to break. A blow of such severity to the head (say from Sam wanting to knock some sense into him) would likely result in loss of consciousness, a concussion, and severe bleeding from cranial lacerations. Striking any part of the body that severely would be intensely painful and would result in definite physical trauma, and likely broken bones. However, at the end of this, Freddy walks out looking somewhat mussed and scared, a little bruised but no worse for wear. Moments later Sam pushes him out of a tree house, and yet he is still able to actively take part in making Fred videos afterward.
  • Supernatural: In "Born Under a Bad Sign", Dean got pistol-whipped, shot in the shoulder (and later had a thumb digging into his bullet wound. Ouch), nearly got beaten to death and was left to drown in icy water. And after all that, he still manages to drive? The boy is super-human!
  • After the events of "House's Head"/"Wilson's Heart" especially, House should be either be dead or suffering serious brain damage by now.
  • A very common trope in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Justified for Buffy, Faith, and the assorted vampires and demons and other beasties, who are supernaturally tough and can take insane amounts of punishment without blinking. However, Xander, Willow, and especially Giles should be quadriplegics several times over by now.
  • Played somewhat inconsistently in Dollhouse. Sometimes, people go down really fast. Other times, well, watch the fight between Boyd and Ballard (particularly the part where one bashes the other's head with a rock).
  • In several occasions in Star Trek with Spock, whose Vulcan physiology was used as a kind of armour. For example, in the Season 2 episode "The Apple" he is shot full of poisoned thorns and later struck full on by a bolt of lightning, both of which killed Redshirts instantly. Not justified, as on many other occasions he is shown to be fairly vulnerable.
  • Rick in The Walking Dead has feet Made of Iron. He hobbles out of a hospital loading dock down metal mesh work stairs, wanders around a city, and rides a bike (pedals have some pretty big protrusions and ridges for traction) all completely barefoot. Granted, he probably has other things on his mind, but still... ow.
  • Averted in NCIS: Los Angeles in the episode "Personal", Marty Deeks is shot at the beginning of the ep and while he does manage to struggle out of his hospital bed near the end, he's bleeding through his bandages, and collapses once the danger is past.
  • Fringe: If there's anything that will take Olivia Dunham down for more than about half an episode, some very determined people haven't found it yet. Although when she was in a car accident caused by William Bell pulling her into the Alternate Universe, she did take a few episodes to recover fully, even needing to walk with a cane for awhile.
  • In one episode of Criminal Minds, Aaron Hotchner gets blown up and is still together enough to attempt first aid on a severely wounded colleague and help get her to hospital even though no first responders will help him for fear of being the target of a second wave of attacks; he collapses briefly at the hospital, but is soon heard from fretfully demanding his clothes, after which he goes with the rest of his team to hunt down the bombers, even though he's still half-deaf from the first blast. The Reaper should have done a little research: if a bomb couldn't slow Hotch down for long, severe exhaustion plus a dozen or so stab wounds were never going to do more than keep him in bed for a few days...
  • Every single character on Smallville who isn't Clark suffers from this, easily recovering from beatings, gunshot wounds, and blows to the head. Jason Teague, The Dragon from Season 4 might be the best example though. He's shot by Lionel Luthor and falls off of a cliff and into a waterfall. He somehow recovers enough to arrive at the Kent farmhouse, take them hostage, and then doesn't go down until he's been hit by a meteor. Who'd he think he was, the Terminator?


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Because he personifies most bruiser tropes, it's no surprise that Popeye was Made of Iron back when he got his start on Thimble Theatre. In his first few story arcs, Popeye takes some brutal beatings and manages to come out on top. When in one fight he takes several handgun rounds in the gut, he manages to still win the fight before passing out. In the hospital, in addition to the bullets that put him there, knife blades, tips of pool cues and many, many other indications that you should see the other guy.


Pro Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Professional Wrestling can wander into this when things go wrong and sometimes even when they go right, generally missed completely by the tendency for people to think "knowing how to fall" equates to "falls don't hurt." See Hell in the Cell, where Mick Foley suffered a concussion, broken ribs, and a dislocated shoulder after falling from a twenty-foot height twice, and still finished the match.
  • Another great example is Kurt Angle. For the uninitiated, he was in the summer Olympics with a broken neck. No, he didn't get it during the wrestling tournament, he had it before the tryouts. Not only did he convince them to let him compete, he won the gold medal. While he's at times injury prone, his neck at least is made of titanium. This is an understandably large point of pride both for his character and in real life.

"I won an Olympic Gold Medal with a broken freakin' neck."

  • Japanese female wrestlers can take piledrivers, powerbombs, and DDT's from the top rope onto steel chairs and tables, several times in the same match.
  • The Undertaker. At Elimination Chamber 2010, Taker was making his way to the ring in his usual grand fashion (Smoke, fireballs, really slow walk, etc.). Undertaker did his usual pause at the top of the ramp, and was engulfed in flames by an errant fireball. Playing it off as being fired up, he ran to the ring, and proceeded to wrestle an entire Elimination Chamber match. He then lost his World Heavyweight Championship to Chris Jericho, but nobody's perfect.
  • Kayfabe example: Stone Cold Steve Austin uses a forklift to drop a car with Triple H inside from a great height to end Survivor Series 2000. Triple H returns the next week with a bandage.
  • Wouldn't you believe it but Zack Ryder has become one. In the month of January 2012, he's been assaulted by Kane in ways that other wrestlers his size would be dead by now. He's been dropped from ten feet in the air, had three powerbombs on his cracked ribs, got chokeslammed through the stage before finally having to be put away with a Tombstone Piledriver by Kane at the Royal Rumble before he has to be put out for a while.
  • Chris Jericho has only suffered two serious injuries to his body in his entire life. One was a broken arm caused by his own stupidity (practicing dives without a mat). The second was a herniated disk, which he suffered training during Dancing With the Stars. Keep in mind he's been in more Elimination Chambers than anyone else, been in more than a few brutal TLC matches, worked for several promotions that specialized in Garbage Wrestling, and works a hard-hitting, high-risk style in which several peers have destroyed their own bodies.


Sports[edit | hide]

  • Olympic skier Hermann Maier's spectacular crash at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. High winds caused an unintentional ski jump. He flew through the air, hit the ground headfirst at 70 miles per hour, bounced, tumbled, and smashed through two wire-and-slat fences before coming to a stop. And then he picked himself up and walked back up the hill, rubbing his shoulder (he also had a minor leg injury). A few days later, he won gold medals in two events. A news article about the event began with the words, "The Tough Man contest is over. Forever. The winner is Hermann Maier." And he almost lost his leg after a traffic accident but continues to win—his nickname "Herminator" is well deserved.
  • Hockey player Gordie Howe was said to get a goal, an assist, and a fight in every game. He continued playing in the NHL into his fifties, even through its notoriously violent era, long enough to play with his grown sons. After his retirement, he even suited up for a charity game in the minors, whereupon a local radio DJ offered a large cash prize to any player on the opposing team who fought Howe, by then in his seventies. No-one was stupid enough to take up the offer.
  • In a similar vein, Toronto Maple Leaf Bobby Baun scored the game winning goal of game six of the 1963-1964 Stanley Cup finals after sustaining a broken ankle earlier in the game.
  • This classical fencing article discusses how unreliable a sword-inflicted wound could be in ending a duel.
  • Jake Brown, 2007 X Games skateboard contender, lost control of his board and fell 45 feet to the deck below (clip is here). After a dazed few minutes, he got up and was able to walk out under his own power.
  • George Chuvalo, a former heavyweight boxer, was known to have one of the toughest chins in history. He faced some of the most devastating punchers in history and was never knocked down as a professional in 93 fights (his two technical knockout losses came when the referee stopped the fights). In fact in his fight against George Foreman (a man whose punch normally sends mere mortals to the moon), Chuvalo complained to the referee after the fight was stopped.
  • Though both have become more vulnerable as they've aged, Mark Hunt and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira were each known for this. Hunt was known for shrugging off life-threatening strikes as mere annoyances, while Nogueira was known for taking immense amounts of punishment, but still somehow managing to not only survive, but to win.
  • Bert Trautmann, football (soccer) goalkeeper active in the 1950s. During the 1956 FA Cup Final, he was injured in a collision with an opponent. With 17 minutes to go, and no substitutes allowed, he shook off the injury and continued. He saved several goals, preserving his team's lead and helping to win the match. The injury? Merely a broken neck.
  • Jack Youngblood played the entire 1979 playoffs and Super Bowl, AND the meaningless Pro Bowl game with a broken tibula. Because of this, he was called “the John Wayne of football”.
  • Steve Yzerman played on essentially on one leg due to having a blown out right knee during the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs.
  • Donovan McNabb played on a broken ankle for most of a 2002 regular season game.
  • Fedor Emilianenko vs. Kevin Randleman. Fedor got hit with possibly the most perfect suplex in history, impacting the mat with all of his own weight plus all of Randleman's weight directly onto his spinal column. He calmly turned around and made Randleman tap out.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons can be intensely silly about this. Due to the highly ambiguous definition of Hit Points, the characters therein can shrug off being shot, struck by lightning, or even terminal velocity impacts with no adverse effects but the loss of HP.
    • How do you know you're Made of Iron in D&D? When it becomes literally impossible for orbital reentry to kill you, you're a little bit too tough to exist. If you can then fly back out of the atmosphere and do it again for kicks? Now you've reached the level of absurdity. Some of the meanest things in the game can literally do this all day long, while on fire and immersed in acid.
    • Specifically to avert this, 2nd Edition introduced a rule that required a saving roll to be made if a character took more than a certain (admittedly, quite high) amount of damage in a single attack.
  • Traveller: The New Era, especially compared to the more realistic wound rules in previous and subsequent editions. When you can take a blast from an FGMP and have a fair chance of making a full recovery, something is wrong.
  • Some units and characters in Warhammer 40,000 have the special rule "Feel No Pain." They have a 50% (roll a 4 or more on a six sided dice) chance of ignoring any wounds inflicted that didn't kill them outright.
    • Units aligned to the Chaos God of Evil Nurgle almost invariably have this rule. Blight Marines, for example, who are already superhuman killing machines with basic regenerative powers that would make clerics jealous, are so bloated and disease-ravaged by their various maladies that not much can hurt them further. Also, they don't feel pain. At all.
    • The fifth edition introduced a new special rule called "Eternal Warrior." An Eternal Warrior laughs at your Strength 10 attacks, taking a mere wound if he fails any applicable saves.
    • Not to mention the Medallion Crimson of Imperial Guard, which allows any officer to survive an instant death attack. Lascannon to the face? Psychic weapon which rips the soul of a victim apart? I'm fine!
    • The current ultimate example of this is Commissar Yarrik. All of the above, then, if you actually manage to get through all of his wounds, he has an ability that lets him ignore death two times out of three. Roll well and Yarrik will survive anything and everything. Determinator does not begin to describe it.
    • Honorary mention to Captain Cortez of the Crimson Fists. If he was to tread on a land mine, that might fracture the last two remaining bones in his body that have never been broken. He once disarmed an Ork Warboss by trapping the weapon in his own ribcage, and has also fought for six weeks without supplies and led charges into the breach with a broken back. Even the Apothecaries of the Fists maintain that he's breaking the rules when it comes to how much damage a Space Marine can sustain. He's currently missing presumed dead, but they Never Found the Body and his Chapter Master flatly refuses to accept him being dead until such time as an actual corpse turns up.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st edition warrior characters (assuming that they survive their squishy and pathetic earlier careers) can acquire a condition that the fanbase used to call Naked Dwarf Syndrome, which is essentially the idea that a Dwarf Giant Slayer or similarly high level character, even if he is totally naked, can take repeated gunshots, arrows and sword strokes from average combatants without ever taking a single point of damage due to his high Toughness characteristic.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 series of Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Tabletop Game/Deathwatch, and Black Crusade zig-zag this trope. Normal humans are absolutely squishy. Space Marines and many of the core monsters, however, can be shot over and over by normal humans and ignore all damage that does not trigger the game's Critical Hit system, Righteous Fury. For a normal human, a weapon which does 4-13 damage is considered insanely lethal and able to tear arms off, while Space Marines typically wield armor piercing grenade launchers which do 7-25 damage. A typical Ork may ignore about 10 damage per hit, making them nearly unkillable with lasguns, while powerful Tyranid creatures can often ignore 12-18 damage from toughness plus another 6-10 from armor, meaning even bolters often can't even score Scratch Damage most of the time.
  • GURPS suggests a lot of Ablative Damage Reduction to replicate this. Basically it acts just like Hit Points except that you won't flinch, won't bleed and won't be "really" hurt until it has been worn away by, say, getting hit by a truck and then shot several times.
  • The Serenity RPG turns Malcolm Reynolds' aforementioned toughness (see Live Action TV above) into the character trait "Tough as Nails". It gives an HP bonus.
  • Rifts Aftermath reintroduces readers to the character of Julian the First, the leader of the infamous Juicer Uprising, some five years back. This is at least four years since Julian's body was supposed to have literally burnt out to a flaming (ultimately exploding) skeleton as a side effect of the Psycho Serum he enhanced it with. True, his body is nowhere near his peak condition, but the sheer fact that he is still alive in the first place is nothing short of miraculous.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • This can happen in many games due to glitches or unexpected game engine behavior, for example falling from a great height, but glancing off a vertical surface so the fall distance resets and the drop counts as much shorter.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Too numerous to mention. Not merely in bosses, but also in the characters before health reaches a certain point. A good example is whenever Final Fantasy IX's "Doomsday" attack (a planet-destroying meteor) misses its intended target, leaving no mark on either the enemy or the landscape. Generally, in video games, only the last hit point counts. And in fact, being beaten to near-death can even make you stronger: in Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VIII, characters who are near death have a chance of performing a special, powerful attack only available in that state.
    • The Turks from Final Fantasy VII. While they are supposed to be not enhanced unlike their SOLDIER counterpart, they seem to live through everything while SOLDIER members drop like flies. In the original game members of the Turks are seen surviving through being beaten up by the heroes several times (once hard enough for the Turk to be hospitalized), being stabbed in the stomach in the middle of an abandoned temple (though strangely you find that Turk at the entrance of the temple when the flashback showed him in the center of it - indicating that he possibly traveled through the booby trapped and monster infested temple with a stab wound), getting shot then experimented on then shoved in a coffin for 30 years, being shot down in a submarine to the bottom of the WEAPON-infested ocean, being on a plane that got attacked by a WEAPON which then crashed to the bottom of the ocean and got infested by super strong monsters and a Meteor nearly crashing on the city.
    • The trend continues in the movie sequel and remake Advent Children and Advent Children Complete when two Turks get captured and tortured by the villains (but still live to make an appearance near the end). Meanwhile the two remaining Turks (Reno and Rude) get beaten by the big bad, hit in the face by a metal rod, being pummeled by the henchmen (which included being thrown from the top of a building) and falling a great distance from a crashing helicopter onto pavement but being appearing perfectly fine in the next scene to attempt a near-kamikaze moment with dynamite (which they also survive and appear at the end of the movie unharmed). The most injuries seen on the Turks were a few bandages, a small cut and a bloody nose (the two latter which were gone a few scenes later).
    • Cloud Strife, the main protagonist can also be seen as made from iron seeing how he can survive several deadly falls with nothing more than skinned knees. Not to mention being stabbed through the chest by Sephiroth.
    • Basch fon Ronsenburg in Final Fantasy XII. He's betrayed and locked in a dungeon for two years, hanging from his scaffolding by his arms. After he's rescued by the other characters, Basch is visibly tortured - the bruises and red marks on his shoulders are absolutely horrifying to look at. He finds a corpse and loots its clothes, ties his hair back, finds his former friends and gets to work.
    • Galuf from Final Fantasy V, especially during his one-on-one with the Big Bad. Bring his HP to zero? Eh, 'tis merely a flesh wound, he fights on undaunted. Until the adrenaline rush wears off, anyway, at which point the injuries catch up with him and he suffers a Critical Existence Failure.
  • Metal Gear Solid
    • Liquid Snake. While not nigh invulnerable, he survives things which should kill your average tank. First he survives having his Hind-D shot out from under him. (It's implied he parachuted out, but still...) Snake then blows up his giant mecha by throwing missiles directly into Liquid's lap in the open cockpit. He then survives the giant mecha exploding, which knocked Snake out, despite having been inside it at the time, and in fact wakes up early enough to strip down Snake to his pants, and drag him and his Love Interest up to the top of the five-story tall now-derelict mecha, for a personal fist fight between brothers. Then, when Snake knocks him off the giant mecha, he survives the five-story fall and comes at him as Snake escapes in a Jeep, driving his own and firing its machine gun. He is still hardy enough, even after all this, to drive with one hand and shoot with the other. Snake shoots him with his own machine gun. The bare-chested bastard shrugs it off. Then, after all that, he survives the crash of both Jeeps, and comes at you with a machine gun in one hand, in all his bare-chested glory. You only survive because he then dies of a bloody virus of all things. Damn FOXDIE. That doesn't stop him coming back in the sequel; after The Dragon, who replaced his lost arm with Liquid's, gets possessed by Liquid from beyond the grave. And he still thought Snake, who dies remarkably easily, got their clone-parent's dominant traits.
    • The Gamecube port, The Twin Snakes, steps this up. After Liquid seemingly dies from FOXDIE, he picks himself up and tries to fight the virus off whilst attempting to grab Snake twice, then gets up on his feet to have a staredown with him. Then he succumbs to the FOXDIE.
    • The part about Liquid possessing Ocelot is because Ocelot inherited his father's psychic abilities. It remains to be seen if the sheer Bad Assitude is part of the transfer, but considering the Metal Gear aaga's tendency for thematic mirroring (Big Boss killing The Boss, Snake killing Big Boss, Raiden killing Solidus Big Boss killing Gene, Snake killing Liquid) it's not unthinkable.
    • Not to mention in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Raiden again. Dear God.
    • All the playable characters are made of iron, though to a lesser extent than Liquid. Despite electroshock torture, repeated head trauma, poison gas exposure, and a scene where he's clearly shot through the chest prior to the second Sniper Wolf battle, Snake manages to get through Metal Gear Solid. Raiden gets knocked around a lot as well in part 2, and the abuse heaped upon Naked Snake in 3 is pretty ridiculous. In part 4 it's even mentioned that given all the abuse the now old Snake has endured, he shouldn't be able to stand, let alone save the world.
  • Protagonist Nathan Drake of Uncharted, master of Selective Gravity. In a freak twist, our leading man gleefully and frequently endures up to twelve cartridges of automatic ammo per hour (not to mention a grenade or missile here or there), always coming out on top through a simple tactic: ducking for cover to regenerate From a Single Cell.
  • Every character in the Monster Hunter series. Every character. Players included. Jump off a cliff? No problem, you stumble a little, but take no damage. Hit by an exploding fireball that's bigger than you? Stop drop and roll, but otherwise, good to go! Stabbed, impaled, bitten, stomped, crushed, burned, eaten? Pff. Get back up and go. Nothing can stop a Monster Hunter! Likewise, the monsters are just as tough... If not tougher.
  • Ena from Fire Emblem Tellius: Path of Radiance. In a game where every mortal wound is either a Final Death or a mercenary career-ending injury, she can "die" three times and still be back for the end. The first is when the hero takes her out (reducing her to 0 HP). The second when the Black Knight strikes her down (somewhat justified because he says he checked his swing). And after joining your party, she can die a third time... but she is plot-relevant and lives to see the end.
    • She can then die two more times in Radiant Dawn. Note that the second example is part of a non-canonical Bad Ending.
  • Devil May Cry usually justifies this, as Dante and Vergil have a strong Healing Factor due to their being half-demons, but the third game has one grievous example. Lady, who is fully human, gets the bayonet on her bazooka rammed through her thigh and twisted around. For a real person, that would render that leg useless for the rest of his or her life, assuming they didn't bleed out first. For Lady? One bandage around the leg later and she's climbing up the side of a building.
  • In Black and White there's a particular guy who taunts you, and no matter what do you to him (which being a deity,it's a lot of possibilities) he will remain unscrached.
  • Several examples in World of Warcraft:
    • Any racial leader (ex: Thrall for the Orcs) can take several (usually 15>) people whaling on him/her simultaneously with lighting bolts, flesh-eating zombie summons, fireballs, gunshots, etc.
    • Raid bosses can take a ton of punishment as well. And even your own character could be used as an example of this trope, as you're pretty much invulnerable to low level mobs or characters after you hit level 80.
  • Travis Touchdown in No More Heroes is an interesting case of conditional Made of Iron. During boss introductions, he regularly takes blows that would normally leave his opponents dismembered, disemboweled, decapitated or simply blown to smithereens (at one point he has three hand grenades literally dropped in his lap, and later we see that only one of them is enough to blow a person's head off) with nary a scratch. Of course, in combat he can still have the crap beaten out of him, but a deathblow will still simply cause him to spit up blood and collapse. Not to mention he gets a hole punched in his heart with blood spurting everywhere and doesn't bat an eye, and comes out perfectly fine right after. Apparently it is mentioned somewhere that Travis wears a magical vest that protects him from even fatal blows to the chest.
  • City of Heroes
    • The eleventh official expansion to the MMORPG added a new powerset, Willpower, specifically designed to let players create characters who are Made of Iron.
    • That ability existed all along with Invulnerability, Stone Armor, etc... Willpower just gave another way to do it that seems more believable for the "Natural" Origin character. Willpower is a mix of defense, resistance, and regeneration rather than offering only 1 or 2 of those 3 like the other powers in the game do.
    • To a lesser extent, every PC in City of Heroes qualifies for this—even a relatively fragile psychic with no defensive powers is capable of taking a few machine-gun clips to the face with no lasting ill effect. And this goes double for the enemies, triple for Archvillain/Hero-class foes.
    • A game mechanic that has been active for awhile, but frequently misses notice, is that players are protected against dying from most one-hit kills when at full health. It prevents certain annoying situations and cheap deaths. The result is that although not every hero or villain can leap skyscrapers, they can all survive falling off of one, even at level 1 with no defensive abilities, merely dropping down to a single hit point. Of course actual enemies don't stop after just one attack.
  • While it takes a bit of Fridge Logic to see it, since he isn't the toughest fellow around combat-wise, but the Prince of Persia in the Sands of Time trilogy probably counts. No "normal" person should be able to keep pulling off his brand of Babylonian Ninja Le Parkour without at least getting bruises.
  • While her other "siblings" probably are of the same quality, Lamia Loveless have displayed these features several times (considering she is a Robot Girl, of course she is made of steel):
    • In SRW Advance, she stood up in between two feuding expert martial artists Domon Kasshu and Kazuya Ryuuzaki, about to punch each other. She takes full brunt of both punches from different sides. She just came back with mere bruises. Even when Domon said she got hit on the vitals...
    • In the OG saga, this is shown in OG Gaiden, where she goes through all the plugging in the ODE System, got plugged out of her mecha forcefully by Kyosuke, shot down in open air, later got plugged out again by Axel... all while butt naked. No One Could Survive That... well except her, that is. It's more fatal than the above example, but she always survives enough for further repairs to get her back to normal state. Oh, and there's also her surviving Code: ATA which is said to be able to take out two battleships at once, and still can get repaired, not utterly destroyed.
    • See Also: Arado Balanga. People claim he's Born Lucky, and they may be right. However, like Heero Yuy above, he's not only withstood one of Kushua's drinks, he actually liked it!
    • But even Arado had to admit he loses out to Kyosuke Nanbu. He has survived TWO explosions while being human (the second explosion he is in a mech that burnt down, fell over and sank into water, and he only comes out with just a few broken ribs.
  • Albert Wesker in the Resident Evil series. He gets slashed by Tyrant (he dies for real in all the endings of the original), but escapes and sets off the Self-Destruct Mechanism, and even worse in Code Veronica he has superhuman Matrix-style powers and survives having a stack of girders dropped on him, while the base is burning around him. And in RE 5, he can catch rocket-propelled grenades.
    • Though much of this is handwaved by the supervirus he takes following the Tyrant incident; a forced overdose in RE 5 removed said abilities, leading to his eventual defeat, and according to Word of God, death.
    • The player characters are pretty Made of Iron as well. Things you can survive in Resident Evil 4 include a direct hit from a rocket launcher and getting a hug from an Iron Maiden.
  • The protagonist in Disaster: Day of Crisis qualifies, as does Evans... Jesus, that guy can take as much punishment as Liquid Snake. And he loves it.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link seems to get this. He gets battered about with swords as big as he is and just shrugs it off. If he takes enough damage, he acts tired when he stands still. That's the extent of the damage.
    • King Bulblin is no slouch, either. For a humanoid mini-boss with no magical protection, he handles being repeatedly sliced, diced, and thrown off bridges pretty damn well.
  • Dr. Wily's Mega Man Battle Network incarnation defies imminent death at the end of each game in which he appears. He was at the center of a large explosion in the first game. In the third, he had his mind drained by a machine that promptly self-destructed with an explosion large enough to sink the entire island on which Wily's base was stationed. He somehow regained his mind and reappeared in the fifth game, in which he walks into a (exploding) computer room based crater of a currently-erupting volcano and actually uses the computer while it is in the process of exploding. In the sixth and final game of the franchise, Wily stands in the center of an explosion that levels a large portion of town, yet is said in the epilogue to have survived with only a few scratches.
    • Being Made of Iron seems to be hereditary, as Wily's son, Dr. Regal, manages to survive high-voltage electrocution and subsequent fall off of a very high roof. He goes on to survive the same explosion and eruption that Wily survived after having his mind and memories completely drained.
  • Everything that ever lived in any Tomb Raider game. In the first games you have to shoot any human being for minutes for it to die, not because they are hard to hit. Every. Single. Shot. Is a hit. Count the amounts of bullets you have to put through each enemy (taking into account the player uses tow pistols at the same time. You'll be surprised how much stronger than 50 cent each little monkey in the jungle is.
  • Almost every First-Person Shooter player character falls into this by default, able to soak up gunfire like a sponge. This is more Rule of Fun than anything, though—if he were humanly durable, then the game would be unrepentantly hard.
    • Perhaps the best example is also the first example, the one and only Doomguy, who manages to survive everything hell can throw at him.
      • On the subject of Doom, there's the Cyberdemon in the original games.
  • Averted in First Person Shooters at the "realistic" end of the scale—such as Counter-Strike and Operation Flashpoint—where it's possible for anyone to die from one gunshot wound, even if it's "just" to the torso.
  • Not strictly an example, but: in Yuri and Estelle's Friendship Moment the night before the final battle in Tales of Vesperia, Estelle comments on how she's surprised that he can't sleep, and he replies "You say that like I'm made of iron or something." In a meta way, it's probably fair to say he is, in every sense of the word: both as a character and as a force in battle (being one of the most broken playable characters in the Tales (series)).
  • Captain Cross from Prototype, supposedly an unpowered Badass Normal with only weapons and skills to call his own, soaks up damage that would otherwise do a number on tanks and the explicitly superpowered Super Soldiers.
  • Every Fighting Game ever. Street Fighter? Just as one example, the piledriver is capable of breaking necks in the real world when done in the somewhat controlled environment of Professional Wrestling; Zangief can perform one from effectively 20' in the air, and the victim can get up. Then there's Samurai Shodown and Soul Calibur, where you can shrug off a sword aimed through the chest. Somewhat needed, though, otherwise these games could be very, very short.
    • For the aversion, see Bushido Blade: weapon-based fighter like the two above, but one clean hit kills you automatically.
    • There are some ridiculous stage effects in the Dead or Alive series that can range from being thrown into explosive containers to literally dropping over 10 stories below. Worst that happens is a KO and otherwise everyone just gets up like nothing even happened.
  • In Super Smash Bros. the characters are more likely made of plastic.
  • An interesting example in Modern Warfare. Most of the time in game, especially on Veteran and online this trope is averted; while you can take one to three shots standing without much issue, any more than that and you'll have just as much a chance of standing as the card tower you're trying to build before the hurricane hits, metaphorically. However, in the Campaign, this trope is played awesomely straight when your character, Soap, survives, in order, falling off of a waterfall, having his head bashed into the roof of a car, being stabbed in the chest, crawling to a gun with said knife in chest, being stomped on the face with a boot, and finally pulling the knife out of his chest and tossing it into the face of General Shepherd. Damn.
  • The hillbillies of Point Lookout in Fallout 3, who despite being dressed in overalls take much more damage than the Powered Armor-clad stormtroopers of the Enclave, and also dish out more damage, despite the Enclave mooks wielding high-tech energy weapons, and the hillbillies wielding axes and breech-loading shotguns.
    • This has less to do with being Made of Iron than the game being a cheating bastard. The Hillbillies' weapons (and most of the weapons in point Lookout for that matter) deal an extra 30-50 points of damage when used against the Lone Wanderer. They also happen to have raised health(Word of God says this is because the developers wanted Point Lookout to be one of the hardest expansions).
    • This is somewhat applicable to several high-end baddies added in the expansions, the probable reason being that by the end of the vanilla game the Lone Wanderer can deal IMMENSE amounts of damage, Sneak attack critical + sniper rifle + headshot = dead almost anything from the vanilla game.
    • Also applicable to some of your followers in Broken Steel, namely Dogmeat, Fawkes, and Seargent RL-3. When the ability to level up companions was added, there was a glitch that made these three gain hundreds of hitpoints per level. By level 30, they couldn't be killed by anything less than three shots from the Mysterious Stranger's .44 Magnum, a gun you can only get by cheating that does over 9,000 damage per shot!
  • Joshua Graham of Fallout: New Vegas. This is a man who was set on fire and thrown down the Grand Canyon for losing a battle, and managed to drag himself to Northern Utah after that. In-game, he has a Damage Threshold of 50 (not counting the DT from his kevlar vest), which is more than the best Power Armor. If asked, Graham merely states that for him it was a mix of Heroic Resolve and faith.
  • Kikokugai: Subverted by Gong Taoluo, even more so considering his specialized techniques do him lots of pain when he uses them too much.
  • Steel-types in Pokémon are a literal example of this trope, with some of them (like Steelix) also living up to it.
    • Shuckle is the epitome of Made of Iron. It has the highest Defense and Sp. Defense of any Pokémon, with both of them maxing out at 614. And it can also have the Sturdy ability, which protects it from 1-hit KO moves. The only reliable way to KO Shuckle is to use attacks that do set amounts of damage or poisoning/burning it.
    • Subverted with Bastiodon, who is in the top ten for both defensive stats in the game and is literally Made of Iron, but still falls to a wayward hit because of its absolutely crippling weaknesses to Ground and Fighting-type attacks (they do four times the damage and are some of the most common attacks in the game). Aggron is a similar case, except it has much lower Special Defense but higher Defense.
  • For a murder game, Ace Attorney characters seem to be surprisingly resistant to bullets not taken to the head or heart. Manfred von Karma was shot in the shoulder and carried the bullet around for ten years just so nobody would find out about it and Lang gets shot in the leg while protecting Shih-na and just keeps walking around afterwards without so much as a limp.
    • Wocky Kitaki does get shot in the heart, and survives for over six months!
    • Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney himself seems to be borderline invincible:
      • He ate a poisoned glass necklace (and even mentions chewing it) without suffering any visible pain.
      • He was electrocuted by a stun gun and stood up again just a minute later, unharmed (whereas Maya still felt the aftereffects a day later).
      • He smashed through a massive metal door, meant to prevent possessed people from escaping the room and didn't even seem to carry away as much as a bruise.
      • He fell from a bridge, 10 meters in the air, landed in a freezing cold river with a horrifying fast current and was carried along with said current of doom for a few miles and only got a cold from it.
        • Not only a bridge, but he fell from a burning bridge.
      • And, finally, he was hit by a car and hurled 30 feet across the street, right into a metal pole, but stood up and walked away with just a sprained ankle. Did we forget anything?
  • From the same people, Ghost Trick has several characters who stretch the limits of survivability, even without the player character's death-reversing powers.
  • In Ace Combat Zero, the ADFX-02 Morgan certainly doesn't look or perform like the properly armoured A-10 Warthog/Thunderbolt II, but can take at least six missile hits to down when most enemy planes go down in two. Even then, it still manages to pull off a Single-Stroke Battle-like flypast on Cipher's plane before it finally explodes.
  • In Airforce Delta Strike, some player aircraft have 4000+ hit points.
  • Lugaru averts this. A few well-aimed blows to the head can deal with most enemies (or you) and the staff can kill with one swing (again, you too).
  • Wario in the Wario Land games will be put through every condition possible (to name a few, zombification, lit on fire, spun up into a ball of string, being trapped in a snowball, and more.) and he just shakes it off. All of them are also required to solve many of the puzzles.
  • In Mass Effect, Commander Shepard's Soldier class consists of equal parts More Dakka and Made of Iron; after some upgrade, s/he can more or less laugh off a missile to the face. Krogan buddy Urdnot Wrex from the first game also counts. And as for the second game's krogan, Grunt...with a few upgrades and his special Fortification power, bringing him down with normal gunfire is like trying to break concrete with a toothpick.
    • Krogan in-game are extremely hardy, with secondary and sometimes tertiary organ systems and regenerative abilities. Thane Krios, a superb assassin whose preferred techniques tend towards quick, low-fuss neck snaps on most species, has a somewhat different style when killing krogan while unarmed.

Top approach, double-strike to eye ridge, slide down between blinded target's rising arms, precision nerve strike to throat, secondary nerve strike to counter blood rage, quad-kick to bend target, grip each side of skull, running leaping spinning neck-snap. Alternate: Bomb.

    • Shepard turns this up to eleven in Mass Effect 3 when s/he is blasted by Harbinger's main gun on the way to the Citadel during the endgame. Bear in mind this is a gun that fires molten metal at near-lightspeed, and it has been shown to destroy dreadnoughts in other appearances. Shepard just gets up and keeps going, albeit with major injuries.
  • Suikoden II: Luca Blight ends up fighting eighteen heroes working in tandem, defeating at least twelve of them, and has to have half an army shoot him in order to weaken him enough to make a duel against him even remotely fair.
  • Super Mario Bros. Bowser, definitely. From being thrown into lava, crushed by two castles and a train, and knocked into a sun followed by a black hole among much more, the sheer amount of things he's survived with barely a scratch on him is amazing.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door lampshades this in his playable sections. He has literally infinite lives.
    • Perhaps the Mario Brothers aren't the only ones who can benefit from One-up Mushrooms.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has a literal example in Chapter 3 with the Iron Clefts/Armored Harriers/Iron Adonis Twins who cannot be beaten until Mario gets his Yoshi partner.
  • King K Rool in Donkey Kong Country. In the first game it's fairly standard punishment, but in the second, he gets his gun explode on him about ten times, gets punched out the window of an airship by a captured Donkey Kong, hits every single cliff face on the way down, torn apart by sharks, sinks into the ocean, has his gun explode AGAIN in the True Final Boss battle, flies into the island core, is presumably there when it sinks like Atlantis and sails away on his ship afterwards. Then, in the third game, he gets electrocuted like ten times from his mad science laboratory equipment, and has a giant egg dropped on his head by the freed Banana Bird queen... Then gets beaten up by all five Kongs in Donkey Kong 64, hit by a rocket powered boot shot by Funky Kong, thrown straight through the roof of the boxing roof and into K Lumsy Island, where said giant locked up Kremling proceeds to beat K Rool senseless for locking him up. He's perfectly fine in later appearances.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the Cardinal in the St. Peter's Basilica Lair of Romulus sidequest can take multiple crossbow bolts or blows from a heavy weapon, damage that would crumple a Brute, despite apparently wearing nothing more protective than cloth robes.
    • Ezio and possibly Altaïr could count for this as well. Best seen in the trailer for Assassin's Creed: Revelations, during which Ezio, while working his way through an army one by one, headbutts a guy wearing an actual iron helmet. Helmet-guy doesn't win this encounter. Desmond counts as well on the technicality that he doesn't have a health bar, meaning he can survive any fall or fight you can put him through.
      • Compounded in the extended trailer (and the second opening cutscene) of Revelations, when Ezio freefalls from several stories high only to make a Three-Point Landing with no negative physical effects, and all of his acrobatic abilities intact.
  • Luka Redgrave in Bayonetta suffers some pretty nasty abuse but is none the worse for wear by the ending. Enzo takes a few bumps, too, like being thrown head-first into the driver's seat of his car.
  • The player ship in the entire The Tale of Alltynex trilogy.
  • Raptor: Call of the Shadows has a player ship that is like this too, and that's not counting in the extra shielding (which take the same amount of damage as the plane).
  • Mortal Kombat dips into this in the 2011 Re Boot: each character has a special attack dubbed the X-Ray Move, in which they unleash such brutal attacks that it shatters bone and destroys organs, complete with (as the name suggests) a brief X-ray image of said destruction. Not only do these characters keep fighting after having their skulls cracked, spines broken, and livers frozen and shattered, but you can do it over and over again.
  • Fate Stay Night: Shirou-"My body is made of blades"-Emiya.Both literally and figuratively.
  • Portal 2: Chell can take far more punishment than one would expect. So can her Long Fall Boots, apparently.
    • She can be shot or otherwise injured an unlimited number of times with no permanent effects, as long as she has a few seconds to rest after each hit. Faith of Mirror's Edge is the same way. Neither of these cases make any sense; in all other respects they seem like normal humans, and there's no explanation for their endless bodily bullet capacity.
  • The Incredible Machine's Cosmic Plaything mini-human Mel Schlemming can withstand anything outside of getting eaten, though falling from a great height will knock him out.
  • The players in NFL Street would be hit with tackles as hard as the average football game but without all the armor protecting them. Given that football in real life had commonly resulted in injuries even when wearing armor, the players must had been pretty tough.
  • The snowboarders in SSX can take plenty of punishment. From hitting each other at the speed of a car to crashing after a massive jump, they always seem to be able to get back up uninjured. Crashing in such a fashion as to totally wipe out is incredibly rare.
  • Everyone in Scribblenauts. Especially Maxwell himself. With the dizzying array of weapons in the game, you'd think SOMETHING would cause a lasting injury. But nope. Critical Existence Failure only here.
  • Averted in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. While Major Carmack, like every other Call of Duty NPC, can eat a nigh-infinite amount of bullets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without feeling more than a need to stop and catch their breath every once in a while, during one level cutscene the Big Bad deliberately shoots him in the liver with a .45-caliber pistol while he's strapped to a table, noting that 'it should take you about twenty minutes to bleed to death' (which is an entirely realistic time estimate for that kind of injury). You spend the entire level desperately trying to carry him out of the enemy base and get him to a medical facility... and fail, with the transition cutscene to the next level being your party helplessly standing around and watching him bleed to death in the back of the truck. Approximately twenty minutes later.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

O-Chul: [This is] Xykon's spell list. Or most of it, anyway.
Roy: Are you kidding?!? How did you get this??
O-Chul: One saving throw at a time.

  • Steve from Life and Death in his fight with himself.
  • Sluggy Freelance
    • Bun-Bun has shrugged off attacks that would kill an ordinary human being, made all the more impressive by the fact that he's a rabbit. At one point he was actually eaten alive by an alien, and simply burst his way out of the alien's stomach and proceeded to kick its butt. Bun-Bun has an origin even he is not clear about; he was bought from a Magical Store.
    • Oasis might also count. She's been through many No One Could Survive That moments, including two explosions and a sniper bullet to the head. How she does this is not yet explained, and may or may not be a superpower she was given by Dr. Steve. Her "sister" Kusari has also survived being stabbed through the chest and even decapitated, again by means unexplained.
  • The entire cast of Eight Bit Theater has exhibited this despite not having any apparent magical protection.
    • One member managed to survive having Australia dropped on them. That one member? The SQUISHY FREAKING WIZARD.
    • Fighter himself has survived several stabs to the back of the head courtesy of black mage and it isn't likely he's ever felt a thing. Hell, he even had one used as a lightning rod to channel a Lightning Spell directly into his brain. That particular spell actually INCREASED his intelligence instead of dealing any damage whatsoever!
  • Girl Genius
    • Considering what he HAS survived, Othar Trygvassen (GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!) is only boasting a little in the page quote.
    • Also a defining characteristic of the Jaegers, along with their thick Germanic accents and teeth
    • And coming completely out of left field is quiet, unassuming, Mauve Shirt Airman Third Class Axel Higgs. He gets slammed into a stone wall hard enough to leave a man-shaped dent, brushes it off, then cuts the insane clank that did the slamming with a wrench in a single swipe. Although we're starting to get hints that he's not quite what he seems...
  • Ms. Jones from Gunnerkrigg Court. Trick one: a sword bounces from her face. Trick two: place a palm on a wall. Close the fist, excavating what concrete happened to fit under the fingers. Who she is wasn't revealed yet, only that she's not a robot and probably not a "normal" magic-user either. We already saw one god and one valkyrie at the Court, though... And remember, androids aren't robots, and golems don't count as robots either.
  • VG Cats parodied this with (amusingly enough, considering the Trope Picture) Zoro from One Piece. Zoro blows off some physical damage taken by earlier attacks... only for Chopper to tell him that he's taken such internal damage from the attacks that most of his colon has to be removed.
  • The title character of Princess Pi. Watch as she survives an explosion, then two throws to the ground, then a gasoline fire.
  • Memoria: The children realize their injuries should have been worse.
  • Richard in Looking for Group may qualify as a double subversion, given the huge number of Amusing Injuries he's survived with little ill effect. At first it seemed justified by the fact that he's undead, but recently some strips have dropped hints that he may be a flesh-and-blood human masquerading as an undead.
    • Triple subversion! His immortality is derived from some sort of magic which requires him to kill innocents and harvest their ashes.
  • Among other things, Vane Black of Next Town Over has been shot through the hand and hanged, and the strongest reaction she has is frustration that John Henry Hunter is getting away because of such holdups.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Jacob Starr of Survival of the Fittest is (in)famous for this trope, to the point of handlers referring to its use as "The Jacob Treatment". The character in question, over the course of his tenure on the island, was hit by arrows, burned, shot, cut and stabbed, all without seeming to flinch or even lose any mobility.
    • V3's Rick Holeman also took an absurd amount of injuries before dying. These included getting shot in the chest while still being able to run right over to his attacker, knock her over and starting to beat her down. All the while being stabbed with a knife - then he survived long enough to deliver some last words before finally kicking the bucket.
  • Justified in Broken Saints: Gabriel, The Dragon, can handle the pain of his spear wound so easily because he been genetically engineered to have enhanced physical endurance, among other attributes.
  • Usually averted in the Whateley Universe, even if it is a comic book universe. Even the Nigh Invulnerable characters get injured. Lancer is a Flying Brick, and in his combat final, he got a dislocated shoulder that sent him to the hospital. He still won, though. Phase seems to be in dire need of her roommate's healing salves on a regular basis.
  • Randall Octagonapus of The Lazer Collection 3 survives falling from the roof of a tall building and with no reaction other than "Ugh... I'm fine... but this is personal."
  • The most obvious example from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe would be The Shield, whose only superpower was a complete and total immunity to being injured. It didn't matter what you used on him... his power would let him survive it uninjured. Bullets? He laughed at bullets. Drowning? Sorry, can't drown, though he doesn't quite breathe water in those circumstances. Having a skyscraper collapse on top of him? Granted, he'd get bored waiting for you to dig him out, but in the meantime he'd be fine. Exposure to vacuum? Doesn't faze him. Drop him to the ground from orbit? Been there, done that.
    • The superheroic Stuntman from the same setting is an interesting variation. His powers revolve around luck rather than simply being immune to injury, so as a result he gets banged up all the time... but never as badly as he should be. Stuntman once was thrown from the roof of a twelve story building, and through a series of lucky breaks and coincidental events managed to walk away from it with a skinned knee and a twisted ankle.
    • Infinity is amazingly hard to hurt as well because of her mutation. Her bones are made of metal and her musculature is far more dense than normal flesh. She gets hurt all the time, but it takes a lot to do it.
    • Anvil is literally Made of Iron. Imagine Colossus of the X-Men, except permanently transformed and iron instead of steel.
  • Darwins Soldiers has a surprising amount of Made of Iron characters.
    • Pelvanida experiments are extremely hard to kill.
    • Alfred shrugged off at least two point blank gut shots from a pistol and continued engaging Marcus in a fist fight.
    • Marcus is an ordinary human Dragonstorm agent. He was capable of taking on two beings with Super Strength, even after he had been punched several times by them.
  • Corbin from Splinter Cell Extinction gets surrounded by a SWAT team, sedated, takes a Magic Antidote, his Mission Control provides him a distraction via Hollywood Hacking that leads to a Darkened Building Shootout, Corbin gets shot in the chest while totally murdering everyone in the room, then beats the crap out of four more armed commandos and escapes.
  • The Nostalgia Chick can get her head exploded and only need happy pills to cure the minor headache she got.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Teen Titans, Robin (being the Badass Normal) is the only character to ever occasionally receive minor injuries, but even those were for the sake of the plot (such as the episode "Fractured") and were invariably gone by the next episode (Raven has Healing Hands, so maybe that part is justified). Other than that, despite having no superpowers whatsoever, he is just as Made of Iron as the rest of his superpowered teammates, sometimes rivaling that of the literally Made of Iron Cyborg.
  • The Venture Brothers
    • Brock Sampson has, in various episodes, survived being beaten, stabbed, shot, exposed to the vacuum of space, hit with a bus and buried alive after receiving a supposedly lethal dose of knockout darts. When the Phantom Limb has to perform emergency surgery on Brock to save his life in the episode "Hate Floats" he runs down a litany of all the things he removed.

"I have removed the bullet. And three others, a blowgun dart, two shark's teeth, a tip of a bayonet, a twisted paperclip, and a meager handful of buckshot. You may want to learn how to duck."

    • To a lesser extent, Dr. Venture is also indestructible, having survived the loss of an arm (later reattached with no ill effects) and having an eye knocked out of its socket (he's forced to wear an eye patch for an episode, but next time we see him, all is well) and kidney removal. Both kidneys, by the way.
  • Despite frequently being on the receiving end of, among other things, giant boulders and fire blasts, the characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender rarely receive anything more than cuts and bruises.
    • A significant supporting character was Killed Off for Real with what by the show's standards was a relatively minor attack, simply because he was caught by surprise and wasn't able to brace himself for the hit.
    • The only two people who actually had bones broken were the canyon guide in "The Gread Divide" after being attacked by some canyon crawlyers and Sokka in the Grand Finale by awkwardly falling about ten metres onto a metal platform.
  • The Simpsons
    • Played for laughs in an episode where it is revealed that Homer was born with an unusually thick skull and has an extra layer of protective fluid around his brain, so he can take severe, repeated blows to the head without suffering any real damage.
    • And subverted in "Homerpalooza" when the doctor informs him that his cannonball-to-the-gut sideshow act is killing him.
  • Double subverted in the episode "Bart the Daredevil," when he falls down the Springfield Gorge twice, surviving, but sustaining severe injuries.
  • In The Movie of Kim Possible, Shego is kicked from the roof of a building that is several stories high, into an electrical signal tower, which not only electrocutes her but also collapses right on top of her. And she comes out of the incident with slightly torn clothes and frazzled hair...
  • Danny Phantom
    • Just about all the main characters get blasted, smacked, slammed, falls, and runs through other notable dangerous hazards with nothing more then scrapes. Valerie's future self fell hundreds of feet from the sky and lives!
    • Danny himself, though partially justified through his ghost abilities. Still, given the number of times he gets shocked, blasted, slammed into walls or the ground and overall smacked around by every ghost EVER, he definitely falls into this trope.
  • Everybody in the DCAU, starting with Superman the Animated Series. The first seasons of Batman the Animated Series were fairly tame, but starting with Superman and continuing through The New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyond, and Justice League Unlimited, supposedly human characters (and not just the Badass Normals) routinely take abuse that should kill or cripple everybody involved.
  • Duckman has Big Jack McBastard, who is trampled by a horse, eaten by vultures down to a skeleton, and then buried. At the end of the episode, he shows up to congratulate them on completing their job. When asked how he survived, he takes a drag on his cigar, and says "Long story."
  • Pretty much any character from Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy.
  • Major Bludd in G.I. Joe: Renegades is a fairly impressive example, taking about as much punishment in one episode as one could theoretically suffer in a kids show, and shrugging every bit of it off like nothing happened. To elaborate, he get punched, kicked, shuriken'd, knocked off a speeding truck through a billboard, smashed into crates, hit with a forklift, buried under debris from a collapsing wall, and finally blown up with a shopping mall/ammo dump. Only after the last one costs him an eye does he start to even hold a grudge against the Joes.
  • Grandfather from Codename: Kids Next Door is an extreme example. He survives getting a giant flaming metal treehouse dropped on him and shrugs it off like it were no big deal. Naturally, it's lampshaded.

"Did you honestly believe that a mere 39 gazillion tons of red hot metal and duct tape would crush me?"

  • The Ponies in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic receive a lot of their respect among male fans by the constant demonstration that they're pretty much invulnerable. Pianos dropping on them, taking a full buffalo charge, getting hit by dragon breath, hitting a mountain at jet speed, nothing appears to even stun them for more than a few seconds. On an occasion where one character falls several hundred feet and is only just saved by what appears to be dumb luck people commented on Equestria's horrible health and safety regulations, only for someone else to point at that based on their demonstrated hardiness ponies could quite likely survive such falls. The first real injury in the series is quite clearly shown to be a compound fracture, which requires a couple of days hospital stay and staying off the limb for a week.
    • Based on "Sonic Rainboom", ponies in this show can sustain over 1600 G-forces. This is demonstrated by Rainbow Dash turning on a dime at Mach 1.
    • And later we see a flashback where she does it as a young filly. She is a pegasus, and is implied that the earth ponies are the ones more physically able than the other races. If they have health/safety regulations, they are for other animals as the cows and donkeys they live with, because ponies surely doesn't need them.
    • And the royal alicorns have durability that makes their mortal cousins look like paper-mache. In the season 4 finale Twilight Sparkle is literally punched sideways through a mountain by Tirek, and doesn't so much as muss her mane. And in the season 5 finale, the Celestia of an alternate timeline is implied to still be alive despite having been banished to the center of the sun.
  • Sterling Archer is virtually impervious to pain, most recently walking away from a space shuttle crash unscathed.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Audie Murphy. There's no way to list the ways in which this man was made of Adamantium without repeating everything on the linked page.
    • During the battle of Holtzwihr in France, Murphy's company (of which 19 out of the original 128 men remained in fighting condition) was attacked by tanks and infantry. He ordered his men to withdraw while he remained and directed artillery from his forward position. When the Germans got close, he climbed onto a still-burning tank destroyer and opened fire with its .50 caliber machine gun. Almost totally exposed to enemy fire, he nonetheless single-handedly held off tanks and infantry -- for an hour (during which he was shot in the leg) until the phone line connecting him with artillery got cut and he ran out of ammo. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized his company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. At the time he had just recovered from being shot in the arm and the day before had been hit by shrapnel from a nearby mortar strike that killed two members of his squad. He received a Medal of Honor for his actions during this battle, and this isn't even the most ridiculously Badass thing he did during WWII. Not bad for a guy who was 5'6" and 130 lbs and lied about his age to enlist.
  • Shaolin monks practice a rigorous regimen known as "Iron Body Technique", allowing wooden clubs to be broken across their bodies, limbs and heads with little effect, as well as great resistance to piercing weapons. One of the most extreme examples involved a single monk bending two spears (with metal heads) almost double against his throat and having a baseball bat broken on his back at the same time.
    • Those clubs are weakened to avoid breaking bones. (They still hurt like hell, though.)
    • Most of those impressive feats are basically tricks that any moderately athletic individual could perform if they know the right technique. They're impressive in their own way, similar to magic tricks, but no great display of toughness.
    • Well then let me introduce you to the technique iron balls. Yeah it's actually testicles of steel. And thats not even counting their body temperature controlling feats, and many other crazy shit they do. You do not mess with the Shaolin.
  • Dr. Liviu Librescu, Romanian-born Holocaust survivor, scientist and academic professor. During the Virginia Tech massacre, Librescu personally kept the door shut to prevent gunman Seung-hui Cho from entering the classroom while his students escaped out the windows. He was shot through the door five times before finally succumbing to a shot to the head. Of course, he had a history, since surviving the Holocaust takes a Determinator in itself...
  • The famous death of Grigori Rasputin, who was poisoned, shot, stabbed and finally thrown into the icy Neva River. Hard to say which ultimately did him in, or if his assassins were just totally incompetent.
    • He died of drowning as they found water in his lungs and the position he was frozen in suggested he was trying to claw or force himself out of the carpet they wrapped his body in.
  • Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard. A brief autopsy after his defeat revealed that he had taken five bullets and over twenty sword wounds before he went down.
  • Truth in Television: It's possible to survive being stabbed in a non-vital area because the damage is mostly localized, so first aid and adequate medical care can allow someone to live without any detrimental effects (beyond the time it takes to heal). Bullets which are not designed to expand upon impact also can be survived, since the wound cavity is only as large as the bullet is..
  • In February 2008, British marine Matthew Croucher jumped on a grenade, was blown across the compound, and then got up with only a concussion. His backpack apparently took "most" of the blast, but still.
    • The USMC's Jacklyn Lucas smothered two grenades (one was a dud) with his body on Iwo Jima in 1945. The 17-year-old had no body armour. He died in 2008.
      • Lucas also survived jumping out of a plane when both his parachutes failed to open on a training exercise.
  • While running for his third term of office, Theodore Roosevelt was shot in the chest by a would-be assassin as he was on his way to deliver a speech. Roosevelt, never one to be deterred by something so trivial as a bullet wound, went on to deliver the entire fifty-page speech while bleeding from the gut, bothering only to add the following preface:

"I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose."

    • Bear in mind that TR delivered the speech from memory, as the bullet had gone through the speech, folded in his pocket. This slowed the bullet enough to probably save his life, but left the speech with a hole through it and soaked in blood. He also claimed that he would be giving a shorter speech than intended. He went on to speak for 90 minutes.
    • Surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly, given who we're talking about), he went on to place second in the election.
      • Note that he placed second in the election...but he was running as a third party at the time. He is the ONLY candidate to beat a major party as a third party, solely on his personal charisma and influence. Even more impressive, the major party candidate he beat was Republican William Howard Taft, the incumbent President.
    • Real-life subversion: True to his image, TR practiced bare-knuckled fisticuffs in the White House. On one occasion he took a blow that struck him permanently blind in one eye. This was carefully kept secret during his remaining time in office.
      • That's why he didn't get killed when he was shot. Because of his poor eyesight, he had to make the letters in his speech very big with plenty of space between. Consequently, this was one thick wad of paper he was carrying in his breast pocket.
      • Even more true to his image, he was also a black belt in judo, carried a loaded pistol with him around the White House and kept a fully-grown lion and bear as pets.
        • He also kept a badger as a pet. Not a trained one, considering most people complained of it running around savaging visitors ankles.
      • According to some, he took up judo after he was blinded boxing, because it wasn't as rough.
    • In short, there's a reason why Cracked.com has him as the most badass manliest-man ever.
  • During the Hundred Years War between England and France, English King Henry V was supposedly hit in the face with an arrow. He not only survived both the impact of the arrow and the surgery to remove it from his face, he proceeded to get right back up and return to beating the hell out of the French until he seized the Crown of France.
    • It was at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 when Henry was 16 and still only a prince. John Bradmore, the doctor who removed the arrow, wrote about it -- "struck by an arrow next to his nose on the left side"; "The which arrow entered at an angle (ex traverso), and after the arrow shaft was extracted, the head of the aforesaid arrow remained in the furthermost part of the bone of the skull for the depth of six inches." The aftercare took several weeks. Henry won the battle, which was against English rebels.
  • Henry V has nothing on the circus strong man Joe Greenstein, a.k.a. the Mighty Atom. He was shot in the face with a .38 revolver from 30 feet away. The bullet was flattened by the impact with his skull, and caused no serious injury. He was out of the hospital that evening. This is in addition to a career based on feats like bursting multiple chains at once by flexing his chest, bending 1/2 steel bars, and driving nails through several sheets of metal with his hands.
  • Xiahou Dun of Wei did the whole "take an arrow to the face" thing first, when one of Lü Bu's men shot him in the eye at the Battle of Xiapi. Anyone else would have been on the ground moaning in pain, but he got back up, then proceeded to rip the arrow and his own eye out, swallowed the eye in one bite, found the poor bastard who had the audacity of plonking him, and ended him in rather brutal fashion.
  • Another example from Romance of the Three Kingdoms involves Guan Yu, who once took a poisoned arrow in his arm—the best surgeon in the land was forced to cut the wound wide open, remove the arrowhead, and remove every shred of poisoned tissue, to the extent of scraping the poison off the bone. What did Guan Yu do all this time? Go a few rounds of Go with his good arm.
    • Note that these stories are from Romance of the Three Kingdoms which is not necessarily historically accurate, but instead a somewhat romanticized version of history.
  • Richard Hammond, who crashed a jet-powered racecar at 288 miles per hour and not only survived the incident (which many say would have decapitated a taller man—there's a reason he's called the Hamster), but recovered from all his injuries with no lasting damage (though he did joke about a new and inexplicable fondness for celery attributed to brain damage) and made a triumphant return to the show Top Gear the following season.
  • Marcus Cassius Scaeva. To quote:

He was getting nailed from all sides during the fight -- his helmet was destroyed, his shield was bristling with arrows, he was stabbed in the shoulder with a javelin, hit in thigh by a sword, and fucking shot in the left eye socket with a goddamned arrow. Amazingly, this only made him more ripshit pissed off. He pulled the fucking arrow out of his own eye, threw it down, and resumed with the asskickings like a blood-lusted cyclops.

  • Mr Harishchandra Shiverhankar, one of the survivors of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, had a blade slit his neck. Obviously he is still around to tell the tale. So neck-slitting is no guaranteed kill, despite what fiction may have convinced us.
  • Phineas Gage, a railroad worker who was impaled by a steel bar through the head, removing about 1/3 of his brain. He survived for twelve years (although his personality changed significantly, turning him into a textbook case in neurological studies).
    • He also apparently walked away from the explosion that caused it without noticing the steel bar in his brain. However, that's probably due more to shock than anything else.
  • Marcus Luttrell, as Badass of the Week can attest.
  • A canine example of this trope: Dosha the miracle mongrel. Said dog survived being run over, shot and spending two hours in a freezer before being found sitting up in the dog equivalent of a body bag.
  • Tsutomu Yamaguchi, having survived both WWII atomic bombs and living into his nineties, is Made of Lead. You think you had a bad week? Try getting nuked. Twice.
  • Andrew Jackson, 7th president of the United States, dueled quite a bit. In one duel, he actually allowed his opponent to take the first shot, then shot and killed his opponent while he was reloading. Repeat: in a contest where the object is to kill your opponent, Jackson volunteered to be shot at first. Apparently, his opponent had such a reputation as a duelist that he saw no purpose in trying to draw faster, so he accepted the rapid-but-badly-aimed first shot in order to retaliate with an aimed (and therefore lethal) shot. Keep in mind, Jackson got shot in the ribs, with the bullet so close to his heart no doctor would try to remove it for fear of killing him. Yet he walked away from the duel, acting like nothing had happened. Also a real life example of Authority Equals Asskicking.
    • Jackson actually had several bullets, a few arrowheads, and a bayonet tip lodged permanently in his body. It was said that he "rattled like a bag of marbles" when he walked around. (There's a story about Jackson digging a bullet out of his own arm during a Cabinet meeting, no form of pain relief, then mailing it back to a former duel opponent with a note along the lines of "I believe this belongs to you". This could be apocryphal, but given who the story is about....)
      • According to Cracked.com's The 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time, Jackson never had any of them removed, probably because "time spent removing the bullets would just fall under the general category of 'time not dueling,' Jackson's least favorite category."
      • Also under the category of "get post-op infection and die".
    • Then there was the time Richard Lawrence tried to assassinate then-President Jackson. Two pistols misfired, and Jackson promptly beat Lawrence so thoroughly with his cane that his aides had to physically restrain him. Jackson was 67 at the time, and reportedly having respiratory problems.
      • The respiratory problem is the only reason that the two aides were able to stop him before he added another name to his kill tally.
  • Adrian Carton De Wiart... just look him up.
  • Colonel John Stapp, Ph.D, was the human precursor to crash test dummies. In his life conducting tests for human endurance in acceleration and deceleration, he subjected himself to over 50 potentially lethal experiments. He shattered conventional wisdom of thinking people would be subject to lethal injury at 18 g-forces when he walked away with temporary blindness and some bruising after sustaining 45 g-forces for over a second. His research was prime material that led to better car and aircraft safety the world over. He was also a good friend and colleague of Chuck Yeager
  • Speaking of Chuck Yeager, he walked away from an airplane crash after beating a fire out on his face with his bare hands.
  • Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot point blank through the head and was communicative when she arrived at the trauma center 38 minutes later. At this very moment she's in the ICU with half of her skull removed but doctors are cautiously optimistic about her chances for recovery. Of people with similar wounds, 90% die on the spot and another 5% die before getting to the operating room
    • And less then a year later, Giffords was back on the job.
  • William George Barker of the RAF citation for the Victoria Cross says "On the morning of the 27th October, 1918, this officer observed an enemy two-seater over the F'oret de Mormal. He attacked this machine, and after a short burst it broke up in the air. At the same time a Fokker biplane attacked him, and-he was wounded in the right thigh, but managed, despite this, to shoot down the enemy aeroplane in flames. He then found, himself in the middle of a large formation of Fokkers, who attacked him from all directions; and was again severely wounded in the left thigh; but succeeded in driving down two of the enemy in a spin. He lost consciousness after this, and his machine fell out of control. On recovery he found himself being again attacked heavily by a large formation, and singling out one machine, he deliberately charged and drove it down in flames. During this fight his left elbow was shattered and he again fainted, and on regaining consciousness he found himself still being attacked, but, notwithstanding that he was now severely wounded in both legs and his left arm shattered, he dived on the nearest machine and shot it down in flames. Being greatly exhausted, he dived out of the fight to regain our lines, but was met by another formation, which attacked and endeavoured to cut him off, but after a hard fight he succeeded in breaking up this formation and reached our lines, where he crashed on landing."
  • Nicholas Alkemade was a tail gunner for the RAF during the Second World War. On the night of 24 March 1944 his Lancaster was attacked and set on fire by a Junkers Ju 88. Alkemade—whose parachute had been consumed by the flames—chose to jump rather than burn to death. He fell for 18,000 feet, eventually crashing through pine trees and coming to rest in a snowdrift. Despite the fall, and the sudden stop at the end, he suffered only minor injuries. His captors refused to believe that he was not a spy, until the wreckage of his Lancaster was found. He spent the rest of the war as a POW, and died of natural causes in 1987.
  • Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen—the Red Baron. He was shot in the back of the head with an aircraft machine gun in late 1917. The bullet ricocheted off his skull, doing no permanent damage... at least physically. Those who knew him said he was a changed man after that day though, and may have led to his death in April, 1918.
    • His eventual demise was also notable. The .303 machine gun bullet that hit his chest ruptured his heart and severely damaged his lungs—a wound that should incapacitate a man instantly and lead to death within a couple of seconds. Not if you are the Red Baron. He managed to land and bring his Fokker plane to a full stop safely before moving on to the next world.
  • Everyone from the following Cracked.com articles: 7 Fatal Injuries That People Somehow Survived and 7 People Who Cheated Death, Then Kicked It in the Balls.
  • A couple of years ago in California, a man emptied his revolver into his lawyer at point blank range in front of the courthouse. Not only did the lawyer not die, but he was even able to casually walk away when the gunman ran out of ammo. The tail end of the incident was caught on video and circulated around on the internet. The lawyer was not wearing armor and he was indeed hit several times (including being shot through the neck), but you wouldn't know it from the way he seems to shrug it off in the video.
  • This guy. When your first reaction to getting stabbed is to call not an ambulance but the police, and then your second is to walk a mile to go and order a coffee...
  • This is a common trait of Wombats, which is probably the tank of Australia. It is one of the few animals where you are advised to swerve to avoid because hitting one will generally wreck the car.
  • Similarly, Moose. If you're driving anything smaller than a loaded transport truck in the Canadian Shield and hit a moose, it will walk away. You will need a new car. (They've been known to walk away from collisions with transport trucks too, but less often).
  • Airman First Class John Levitow, USAF, lowest ranking airman to ever win the Medal of Honor. He was a loadmaster on an AC-47 Gunship over Vietnam when his plane was hit by a stray artillery shell. Riddled with shrapnel, he saw a similarly wounded crewmate at risk of falling out of the open cargo door of the damaged plane. He crawled over to the crewmate and dragged him to safety, only to realize that a magnesium flare, used for night-time illumination of the battlefield, had fallen from its rack and begun to ignite, while rolling around on the floor amidst the cans of ammo used for the guns aboard the plane. Levitow threw himself upon the flare and body-dragged it to the door, where he threw it free of the plane. He died more than thirty years later of cancer.
  • Simo Hayha, a Finnish sniper in the Winter War (and current page image for Cold Sniper) spent months in severe winter conditions (-20 to -40 degrees Celsius) hiding in snow killing Russian soldiers and officers using his bolt-action rifle with iron sights and a sub-machine gun. The Russians dubbed him the White Death and often employed artillery fire, tanks and counter snipers against him to no avail. His confirmed kill count was 705 when he was finally hit with a headshot by an enemy soldier. He recovered and died of natural causes by the age of 97.
  • Tardigrade, also known as "Water Bear" is the toughest animal on Earth. 1 millimeter in length, it can be found in the Antarctic, on the summits of the Himalayas, in the deep sea as well as in your backyard. The list of conditions it can withstand includes near absolute zero temperatures (1 Kelvin) as well as temperatures well over the water boiling point (100 degree Celsius), pressure ranging from 0 (vacuum) to 1200 atmospheres. It can also survive more than 10 years of dehydration and 1000 times the doses of radiation lethal to a human. In 2007 tardigrades were flown to the Earth's orbit and exposed to outer space conditions for 10 days. They survived.
    • And had sex. In space.
  • Juliane Köpcke, the 17 year old schoolgirl who was the sole survivor when her plane broke up in mid-air above Peru. She fell more than two miles but only broke her collarbone. She then trekked for 9 days through the rainforest to find help. Some scars remain though.
  • Cpl. Matt Garst stepped on an IED, which blew up, sending him flying 15 feet. Immediately standing up, he yelled at his squad, "What the f-- are you looking at? Get on the cordon!"
  • There was a newspaper article about a cute little kitten that liked to play in the laundry basket, hiding beneath the clothes. One day, it was laundry time and the kitten ended up inside the washer machine. The poor thing spend the whole cycle in there before its owner heard the screams and came to the rescue. What happened to the little kitten? Absolutely nothing, just the shock.
  • In 2010 a Frenchman fell over 75 feet into the Grand Canyon but somehow survived.
  • These bacteria are immune to radiation. Several other animals are capable of surviving crazy high and low temperatures and pressures that would kill most anything else; these are known as extremophiles, and the most famous may be the water bear.
  • Subverted with the RMS Titanic. It was claimed to be "unsinkable" by its owners. Pretty Ironic, huh?
  • World War II Airman Henry Erwin. A phosphorus flare exploded prematurely in his aircraft, leaving him blinded and burned. He knew that if the flare stayed where it was, it would burn through the floor of the aircraft and set off the bombs in the cargo bay, killing all 11 people on board. So he picked up the burning flare with his bare hands, crawled into the cockpit with it, and threw it out the window, saving everyone. He received the Medal of Honor for his bravery. Doctors expected him to die from his horrific injuries, but he recovered and lived to age 80.
  • Colloquially, NHL players who make it through a season without an injury are referred to as "Iron Men".
  • Brett Michaels from Poison. You don't survive an emergency appendectomy, a brain hemorrhage, AND a hole in the heart all within six weeks if you're not this.
  • RAF pilot Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader lost both his legs in a fairly horrific aerobatics accident, but recovered and tried to return to work as a pilot on the grounds that his two tin legs were perfectly good for the job. He was retired on medical grounds, but returned to the service as a fighter pilot in World War II, becoming a recognised fighter ace. When he was forced to bail out over occupied France and captured as a prisoner of war, he made so many escape attempts that the Germans actually threatened to take away his prosthetics unless he stopped. He didn't stop.
  1. (However he goes blind from this because their blood types are incompatible)