Major Injury Underreaction

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Black Knight: 'Tis but a scratch.
Arthur: A scratch?! Your arm's off!
Black Knight: No, it isn't.
Arthur: Well, what's that then?!
Black Knight: *Looks at bleeding stump* I've had worse.

In webcomics and cartoons especially, characters in great pain will demonstrate this pain by making frequently deadpan statements, along the lines of "The truck lodged in my stomach is excruciating" or some such.

Often justified by the character being resistant to pain in some way or a Badass. In Real Life, a person might not notice an injury right away due to adrenaline, shock, or panic, all of which can eclipse pain. which may be used to make a Mortal Wound Reveal more shocking.

Contrast with Minor Injury Overreaction, which is a direct inversion of this trope. Compare Only a Flesh Wound, I Ain't Got Time to Bleed.

Examples of Major Injury Underreactions include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • One "Got Milk?" commercial had a mother telling her kids to drink their milk when they refuse to. One of the kids tells her that their next door neighbor, who was outside working, never drinks milk. Then, when the neighbor attempts to lift up a wheelbarrow, his arms snap off from their sockets. While the mother and kids scream in horror, the old man simply replies "Oh, that's not good..."
  • A whole campaign for Mike's Hard Lemonade revolved around these; one, for instance, had a guy impaled with rebar. It gets used as a bottle opener.


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Suzumiya Haruhi: Yuki Nagato's reaction to six sharp poles passing through her body: "I am fine". Shortly after, she turns her opponent into a pile of sand.
  • Dragon Ball Z - Piccolo's reaction to having his arm blown off by Radditz's attack? "Don't worry about it. It's not as bad as it looks. I'm not out of this fight yet." Granted, it was later revealed that he could regenerate lost body parts but we didn't know that at the time.
  • Subverted in Naruto, where Hidan (who is relatively immortal) is extremely whiny about the pain caused by deadly injuries.
    • Interestingly enough, it's often not the pain he should be complaining about, such as when he complains about Kakuzu picking up his head by the hair, whereupon Kakuzu notes that being decapitated should have hurt more.
    • Taken to ridiculous levels at the start of the encounter. Hidan's only reaction to being impaled by two large swords is "Who the hell are you?"
    • Deidara takes to an extreme, even knowing that he could probably get his limbs replaced by Kakuzu or use it as part of his plan. Gaara rips his arm off and he merely grins, Kakashi sends the other arm to an alternative dimension and he barely even acknowledges it. Nutter.
    • Done in a completely Badass way when the Raikage has his arm set on fire and is force to cut it off to keep the fire from spreading which happens without him even flinching and his next line is to tell his medic to quit gawking and stop the bleeding.
    • And Kisame barely reacts at all to Killer Bee throwing a sword into his shoulder, apparently just because it would have gone even further in if Samehada hadn't eaten the chakra the blade was enhanced by. Likewise, his reaction shortly afterward to Killer Bee launching an attack so strong it smash through Samehada and blew open his chest was to calmly let his opponent know this surprised him before Samehada fused with him to heal his injuries. And his reaction to getting his head popped off was to compliment Raikage and Killerbee's speed.
    • Shortly thereafter, Madara did pretty much the same thing as the Raikage, except he didn't even stop: he just notice his arm was infected with microscopic poison insects, snapped it off at the shoulder with his one other hand, and then drop-kicked it at his opponent. This is probably because, as we later discover, he can regrow the thing. When fighting Konan the same arm gets destroyed again, and he just seems slightly annoyed.
    • In general, characters in this series don't seem to consider losing limbs anything other than a minor annoyance.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Gokudera, while rushing over to the hospital to give Tsuna roses, got run over by cars a couple of times and is covered in blood. This didn't seem to deter him, and when told by Tsuna that he should go see a doctor, he replies that "this is nothing."
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, Lithuania gets all his fingers broken by his date, Belarus. He considers the date to be pretty good and goes to tell his friend Poland about it. While she's still doing it.
    • In one comic, Russia's heart falls out of his chest. While the other nations are freaked out, not only is he unconcerned, but says that this happens on a semi-frequent basis.
  • Hellsing often has Seras getting stabbed and wounded but barely reacting, 'cuz you know, she's a a vampire-hunting vampire and she's freaking cool. And let's not even talk about Alucard. Most grievous injuries will at best make him laugh.
  • In one of the answer arc episodes of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, after getting hit in the head by a chair,Keiichi, and his friends don't seem to care, compared to their fear before he got hit in the head, especially considering that it was Shion doing the hitting, of all people. A very angry Shion.
  • While the setting in Angel Densetsu is pretty much realistic, and it was not a very deep wound, usually you do at least notice when you're being stabbed in the face!. Bloody-faced Kitano is even scarier than normal... if such a thing is possible.
  • In the Fate/stay night anime, Shirou and Saber open the door to their house to see Tohsaka Rin beaten to a bloody pulp in the corner by Kotomine. She's smiling when they walk in. Admittedly, this is because they finally got here to help her, but the image is quite jarring. Shirou is an actual example; for instance, in the game's Unlimited Blade Works route, Shirou takes a spike to his hand defending Tohsaka, and his utter lack of reaction to having a hole in his hand (instead being more concerned about her condition) completely freaks Tohsaka out. It is around this point that she realizes that Shirou is a completely broken person, and begins to take measures to fix this deficiency.
    • Another example, later in the same arc, is when Saber, under mind control, cleaves into his shoulder before cutting towards his neck, and his first thoughts are "That's.....not good".
      • The best is in Heaven's Feel, with this direct quote:

Shirou: Man, I panicked too much. All I lost was my left arm.

  • Rin from Mnemosyne does a preemptive snark: just before being sucked into a running airjet turbine, she utters with hysterical calm, "This... may be too much even for me..." Makes sense, since she doesn't exactly have anything to speak with afterwards. Of course, being an immortal helped her a lot, but she still felt every millimeter of her body being ripped into watery dust.
  • Most people scream in agony when someone drives ballpoint pens through their hand and thighs. Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima, on the other hand, casually wonders if it would be better to patch the wounds up with band-aids or superglue.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in a later episode where, after Horada shoots him, Shizuo casually strolls into Shinra's house drenched in his own blood.

Shizuo: Yo.
Shinra: Oh my God! What happened to you?
Shizuo: Eh, you know. Got shot.
Shinra: Your leg and abdominal muscles have taken considerable damage. How are you even walking around like this!?
Shizuo: Why? ...'Cause I can.

  • In Hunter X Hunter, Hisoka's response to getting his arm ripped off in a tournament fight is to wave it around for a while with his other arm while mocking his opponent. Grinning. He then fakes reattaching it to mess with the guy's mind, plays with him until he breaks, and then leaves and calls in a specialist to sew it back on with microscopic energy stitches. And then he has a shower scene.
  • Bleach: Chad took a steel girder to the shoulders and a head-on collision with a motorcycle without even the slightest complaint (the cyclist was hurt more than he was) before he even developed his powers.
    • Also, Ishida is surprisingly calm after losing use of his left hand (cut off in the manga, badly broken and burned in the anime), especially considering he needs two hands to operate his main weapon. He later feels well enough after being impaled to (albeit gently) snark at Ichigo.
    • Orihime too. In her introductory arc she gets hit by a car (one too many times, according to her) yet she laughs it off, claiming that the driver didn't mean to hurt her on purpose.
    • Then there's Kenpachi. Stabbed with twelve blades at the same time. His response?

"Is that all? I'm disappointed."

  • The main character of Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan says something like "I wish you'd stop doing that!" every time his head is ripped off... and immediately resurrected. An even more outrageous reaction we get at one point is, while his head has been ripped in half, his mouth remaining, and the stump is spewing blood in a geyser-like fashion, he /thanks/ Dokuro for saving him from the other angel trying to kill him.
  • In chapter 15 of Franken Fran, Fran is nearly decapitated. Her reaction is to croak out "Begin... oper...ation" and sew her head back on. By the time her sister/bodyguard Veronica shows up, Fran is more worried about the woman who hired the guy to kill her because she's afraid an experimental medical treatment might not work properly. Justified in that Fran's an Artificial Human, it's not even a given that she feels pain and having backup systems in case of decapitation is not out of the question, so her lack of reaction makes sense.
  • In episode 4 of Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru Zess's response to getting stabbed in the chest with a BFS and bleeding all over the ground is to smile softly at Yuki and say "I'm fine."
    • And in episode 13, Takashiro's response to getting four ice spears stabbed into his back is to wince and tell Yuki "I'm fine." (Turns out he has a Healing Factor).
  • Fate Averruncus from Mahou Sensei Negima is completely unconcerned when Ax Crazy Tsukuyomi cuts off one of his arms (basically for giggles). He actually uses the severed limb as a comedic prop, and seems more worried that he did the joke wrong than that his arm is off. Especially odd considering his earlier reaction to being punched in the face for the first time.
  • In Muhyo and Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, Vector, a powerful half-ghast, barely survives getting crushed by the Hands of Hades, which results in him bloodied and having Blood From the Mouth. He remarks that he's glad the rest of the Magical Law practitioners he's up against aren't as powerful as Muhyo.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes gives us this. If you haven't noticed yet, Reuenthal is kind of badass.
  • Avoided in Blood Plus. Several Chevaliers avoid any major reactions (screaming in pain, etc) when they undergo injuries. These injuries include having arms sliced off and giant holes ripped through their stomach. However, many of these aren't major injuries in the first place as they heal extremely quickly.
  • Claymore: Lose an arm? Don't worry: Claymores will look shocked for a moment and continue fighting. If they're offensive, they can easily reattach the limb, or even better, if they're a defensive type, they'll just regenerate the limb later. Legs are a different deal entirely - because they won't be able to escape without them! Also when they lose both arms, so now they can't hold their sword or reattach their other arm. The realization hits them at that point.
    • Perhaps best exemplified by Roxanne's reaction to Awakened Cassandra biting off and eating her left arm: "Oh?" Her facial expression at that moment amounts to what one usually has upon someone calling out to you by name.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist most of the Homunculi embody this trope. Being practically invincible they don't have to worry about things that would kill any normal human. The exception seems to be Envy, who reacts quite realistically to having his eyeballs boiled and blown apart multiple times, and Lust, who seems to be reacting rather realistically to being burned over and over, albeit as long as she's actually on fire. Once she heals, she seems to stop feeling the pain.
    • Also Lan Fan for when her arm is cut off she cares nothing of hers own safety. Further reinforced by the fact she was the one who cut her own arm off without a second thought.
    • Major Armstrong gets into a bit of this as well, while fighting Sloth; Sloth dislocates his shoulder. His response? He lets Sloth continue to hit him there until Sloth knocks it back into place.
  • In Haou Airen, Hakuron is shot to death. His reaction is to calmly go towards the church where he was supposed to get married. There, he spends his last moments next to his weeping bride Kurumi, comforting her about the fact that they won't spend the rest of their life together.
  • Thanks to their super pain-nullifying pills, the baddies in Sword of the Stranger do this several times, often getting shot by multiple arrows and just continuing to fight or casually chat about something else. In one scene, a man's arm gets lopped off; he hardly notices, and seems more upset that he didn't get to finish firing his gun.
  • Ai no Kusabi has Iason Mink who doesn't even wince when his legs are cut off just above the knees.
    • Also Riki who is rather calm and even understanding when he wakes up to find out he got an impromptu penectomy.
  • In episode 20 of Mirai Nikki, Uryuu Minene gets her hand blown off. Her reaction? "My hand..." Spoken in a whispered voice, with only a slight wince.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Thanos' reaction as he sees his own heart being torn out by Drax the Destroyer ?

Thanos : Interesting...

  • In the horrendous comic Silent Hill: Dying Inside, Christabella is shot in the eye, but is only angry because the blast set her hair on fire. She also says that she doesn't mind the giant gash in her stomach, just the flies that constantly get on her and when dogs try to eat out of it in her sleep.
  • The Punisher once lost - didn't break, lost - a rib to a shotgun blast. Didn't slow him down.

Frank's monologue: That's a rib gone. Not broken. Gone. [keeps fighting]

  • Not so much an injury as a change, but when Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America (Bucky) are turned into frogs in one comic, Thor (to whom this has happened before) is annoyed, Iron Man freaks out, and Bucky, the least-experienced of the three, has no real reaction to it at all (his first comment is to tell Tony to relax).
  • Stuka in Sin City. Got an arrow right through his body and seems entirely nonplussed, even though he states that "it's really starting to hurt".
    • All of his friends seem unconcerned as well. They calmly read the note attached to the arrow, then file out of the room to look for the archer, leaving Stuka standing there, confused.

"I don't know, guys. Maybe I should see a doctor or something. I don't think this is the kind of thing you can just ignore."

Tim Drake: How can you take a bullet and not bat an eye?
Cassandra Cain: You know that... kid game, "Two for Flinching?"
Tim Drake: Yeah. Oh, no. Don't tell me.
Cassandra Cain: My... dad and I played something like that.


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • In the first Shrek, after Fiona fights off Robin and his Merry Men, both she and Shrek are surprised to discover he'd sustained an injury:

Fiona: There's an arrow in your butt!!
Shrek: (looks at butt) Oh, would you look at that.

  • In Moana, Maui gets hit in the buttocks by a swarm of blow-darts, to which is rather annoying.

 Maui: Really? A blow-dart in my buttcheek?


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • Avatar: Grace looks down at her blood-drenched hands and the bleeding wound in her side. Voice deadpan, she says "This is gonna ruin my whole day." Quaritch also only deigns to acknowledge that his shoulder is on fire once his walker is deployed.
  • Played for dark comedy in Chopper, when the title character is shanked multiple times by his friend in an effort to kill him. After each stab, Chopper's only reaction is to talk about how hurt his feelings are that his friend is attacking him.
  • The Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He has all his limbs cut off one by one and the reaction each time is to deny it.
  • In Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, a British officer based in Africa takes a very blase attitude about losing a leg to a tiger. In fact, he's more preoccupied with the absurdity of a tiger in Africa.
  • Red from Pineapple Express sustains injuries that should, by all logic, kill him and only agrees to go to a hospital after breakfast, which may be several hours after the climactic fight.
  • In Zombieland, Bill Murray reacts to the buckshot to the chest in an "oh, this is unfortunate" sort of tone and goes out pretty calmly. Being high as a kite might've had something to do with his nonchalance.
  • In the narmful classic Death Bed: The Bed That Eats one of the protagonists gets all the flesh melted off his hands when he foolishly tries to pull a victim out of the Death Bed. Instead of showing any sign of pain at all, he just stares at his skeletal hands in Dull Surprise for a long time and offhandedly remarking how the way the bones detach from the ligaments means the tissue's died. Gee, you think?
  • One of the police officers in Mystic River recounts a story about a guy who walked into the emergency room with a knife sticking out of his shoulder and asked the nurse where the Coke machine was.
  • In The Hangover: Part 2 Teddy is more curious than concerned about his missing finger.
  • In Rubber, Lieutenant Chad asks to be shot in the chest twice and does not react at all. In fact, he doesn't seem to be actually injured at all. He does it to demonstrate to his fellow officers that they are all fictional characters in a film.
  • The shock/panic variant of this trope occurs in Saving Private Ryan, in which Sgt. Horvath says "Just got the wind knocked out of me" after being shot several times and mortally wounded, and a GI on Omaha Beach picks up the arm that just got torn off his shoulder and walks away.
  • Mickey Blue Eyes provides a subversion. Frank is aiming a gun at Michael, and the latter asks if this is going to hurt. Frank says, "Not a bit." BANG BANG! Two red spots appear on Michael's chest, while he calmly says that it actually did hurt quite a lot. The subversion? They were practicing for a fake assassination. The gun was loaded with blanks, and the bullet holes were fakes rigged by a mechanism Michael was carrying.
  • In Friday the 13th (film), a teen gets his arm chopped off, has his wound sealed temporarily, and then is brought back to the medical bay to have the limb reattached. Granted, he's a bit of a stoner, and it's far enough in the future that painkillers are probably excellent, but seeing him carry his own arm back with him (and crack jokes about it while doing so) is definitely this trope.
  • The shop teacher in UHF cuts off his thumb while demonstrating a circular saw. His reaction: "Would you look at that? Just call me 'Mr. Butterfingers'. I think it's on the floor somewhere. Is my face red?"
  • In Spider-Man, the Green Goblin, played by Willem Dafoe, spends much of the film chewing as much scenery as he can. At the end, when he is about to be impaled by his own glider, his only reaction is a soft "Oh".
  • In Johnny Dangerously, a gangster gets shot, but his only reaction is to note that he's got a hole in his suit. Soon after, he keels over from smoking. Don't smoke, kids!


Jokes[edit | hide]

  • And, of course, the classic old joke:

Two young subalterns are sitting in the officers' mess, talking about what wonderful chaps their troops are, how brave and hard-working and loyal to Queen and Country. And sitting nearby, the grumpy old colonel looks up and tells them: "Nonsense. You young whipper-snappers don't know quality. Why, I remember when I was at Poona in '76, after a battle I found one of my men pinned to a tree. One of the enemy horsemen had driven his lance clean through the fellow's belly. He was still alive, poor fellow."
"Good God, man," I said to him, "does that hurt?"
"Only when I laugh, sir."

  • Ardal O'Hanlon does a bit about how people are not as tough as they used to be and older folks have a higher tolerance for discomfort even when terminally ill.

"How have you been?"
"Oh, not bad."
"What about the terrible searing pain?"
"Well, it helps to pass the time."


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Redliners, David Drake has a character mention that a bad sunburn can cause more pain than some combat injuries. Doubtless due to the sunburn being restricted to nerve-rich skin.
  • In Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, X-wing pilot Hobbie Klivian, disabled in combat, has a shot fired through his cockpit that takes off his hand. He sighs, the narration says that it's been quite some time since he had a real left arm, and sticks the sparking stump into the new hole in the ceiling so that his pilot's suit will seal off the hole. Then he sticks his right foot into the new hole in the floor, and although his boot gets sucked off this gets sealed too. At some point he collides with something and thinks that his foot may have just been sheared off, but that's okay. It's been a long time since he's had a real right foot.

"I lost -- I don't believe this! -- My right shin and foot got clipped off! My suit's self-sealer worked... the wound's frozen already. No bleeding, minimal pressure loss. But it's starting to hurt."

  • K.J Parker's Scavenger Trilogy: several characters maintain cool, sophisticated conversations after traumatic injury.
  • In the fourth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the character Phil gets his leg crushed. He reacts to this with, "Well, this isn't too bad. My left leg is broken, but at least I'm right-legged." Somebody comments, "Gee, I thought he'd say something more along the lines of 'Aaaaah! My leg! My leg!'
  • Codex Alera: Aquitainus Attis matter-of-factly describing his mortal injuries to Amara and Ehren in excruciating, even slightly snarky, detail. Justified here by magic: Metalcrafters have the ability to suppress their own feelings, including pain.
  • In The Dresden Files, Ramirez looks down and says, "There's a knife in my leg", then "There's a knife in my gut", then "Holy crap, they match". Justified, because he's in shock.
  • Dave Barry's Guide to Guys: "Guys always say it's 'just a sprain,' because this way they can avoid falling into the clutches of medical care. A guy could have one major limb lying on the ground a full ten feet from the rest of his body, and he'd claim it was 'just a sprain.'" To illustrate this point, Dave Barry offers an anecdote about a guy who broke his ankle while on a fishing trip with some other guys, and neither he nor they noticed the seriousness of his injury until the next day, when his wife observed that one of his legs had become so swollen he could hardly walk.
  • The second of Jenő Rejtő's Dirty Fred books starts with the Jim, the main character, looking for his knife, and finding it in the back of the guy he was asking. The guy insists on keeping it there, or replacing it with a bigger one to prevent any bleeding, until he gets medical attention. He got better.
  • In His Dark Materials, Will Perry's first reaction to seeing his severed fingers on the ground is to note their resemblance to a bloody quotation mark and laugh.
  • The Fire Swamp scene in The Princess Bride is much darker in the book. After being attacked by a trio of R.O.U.S.es, Westley begins packing mud onto his wounds, lest more of the creatures smell the blood and come after them. He screams at Buttercup (to pull her out of her shocked stupor) to help him. As they continue their journey, she asks about his wounds.

Westley: "I'm in something close to agony, but we can talk about it later."

....although [Monoclonius] looks rather unconcerned about the whole thing, just standing idly by while T. rex takes a nibble.

  • In Lolita, pedophile Quigley is shot to death but continues to speak to his killer politely.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Greatjon insults Robb Stark and has two of his fingers bitten off by Robb's direwolf. Defeated, the Greatjon grips his bleeding hand, makes a wisecrack and laughs it off. Bran, who watches the whole thing, is flabbergasted.
  • In the Discworld novel Men At Arms , Detritus is injured. The fact that he's injured at all is remarkable, as he's made of stone. When asked if it's normal for his cracks to be oozing a thick liquid, his only reaction is "Dunno, sir. Never oozed before."
    • Later followed up with "Ain't got time to ooze."
    • From the same novel, Vetinari trying to dismiss the gunshot that's just shattered his thigh with "No need, it's just a flesh wound."


Live action TV[edit | hide]

  • In the SNL sketch, Gift Wrap someone gets a small paper cut. Not what most people would typically regard a major injury. And being cavalier about a paper cut would normally be an appropriate reaction. However the guy was just squirting out blood. When asked if he was on blood thinners, he said "a few." And from there things just get worse.
  • In one episode of Scrubs, Jordan gets her face Botoxed so much that she isn't able to make facial expressions. At one point, another character accidentally hurts her and she says with a straight face (and a fairly monotonous voice): "I think you separated my shoulder. The pain is excruciating."
    • Similarly, when Cox tests this by asking her to show him "funny, sad, etc". When he asks for angry, she kicks him in the nuts and he remarks "you got angry down" as he falls.
    • There was also a brief sequence in an earlier episode in which a Japanese chef with a butcher's knife embedded in his shoulder flatly replies to the obvious question: "Does what hurt?" This is part of a series of examples of how different people deal with pain differently, another example given was a husband standing next to his wife who is in labor when he happens to bite his lip and exclaim "Nothing has ever hurt this much!"
  • Jack O'Neill, Stargate SG-1. The episode where Carter and O'Neill discover the second Gate. When Carter sets O'Neill's broken leg, he groans, "Jagged bone grinding into nerves hurts. Who knew?"
  • From Red Dwarf:

Lister: Kryten! Are you OK?
Kryten: I have a medium-sized fire axe buried in my spinal column. This sort of thing can really put a crimp on your day.

Noel Coward: Oh, shot!

  • A dramatic example comes from Battlestar Galactica episode "Faith". A Number 6 encounters Barolay who had tortured and killed the 6 on New Caprica. After an exchange of insults, the 6 gives Barolay a brutal beating, including grabbing her head and slamming it to the side of a Raptor. After the fight is broken, Barolay gets up and says "I'm ok. I'm ok" before collapsing and dying of a fractured skull.
  • The Doctor's reaction to having his hand cut off is a mildly annoyed "You cut off my hand!" Of course, he immediately proceeds to grow himself a new one, which probably accounts for his lack of concern (though you'd think it would still hurt).
    • Auton Rory gets one when relating his own death when he reappears to the Doctor's shock in "The Pandorica Opens"

Rory: Well I died. And then I was a Roman. Its very distracting.

    • This seems to run in the family. Rory's daughter River Song reacts quite simmilarily throughout 'Let's Kill Hitler'. She gets shot in the chest and doesn't tell anyone for minutes, before finally saying; 'Hitler. Lousy shot.' Later, after regenerating, she gets riddled with bullets, but just smiles smugly at the Nazi guards.

'River Song: Here's a tip. Don't shoot a girl when she's regenerating!

  • The Greatjon, in Game of Thrones, has two fingers bitten off by a direwolf when he draws his sword on Robb Stark. He then has the presence of mind to de-escalate the situation before it gets further out of hand by making a joke at his own expense while he stands there with a bleeding maimed hand.

Robb: My Lord Father taught me it was death to bare steel against your liege lord. Doubtless, the Greatjon only meant to cut my meat for me.
Greatjon: [holding a hand with two ragged stumps] Your meat... is tough. [laughter]

Mr. Trick: (indignant and mildly shocked) Oh. No. No, this is no good at all...

  • In a Monty Python sketch, a British soldier in Africa played by Eric Idle barely seems annoyed that his leg has been eaten by a tiger. At first it seems to be a case of extreme Stiff Upper Lip until he reveals that he expects it to grow back.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Calvin and Hobbes did a parody of Dark Age comic books, in which a character having a huge hole blasted through his torso says: "I could feel my spine shatter. It hurt... a lot."


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Akira Hokuto broke her neck during a tag team match in 1987. She went on to finish the match holding her head in place with her hands. She would also incur a number of other painful injuries (broken ribs and smashed knee, to name a few) where she would either wrestle through the pain or the match would be stopped by the promotion itself.
  • Cactus Jack lost an ear mid-match with Vader. He kept going.
  • Not to be outdone, Vader had his eyeball pop out of its socket during a match. He popped it back in and continued.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • In Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio says his wound from Tybalt is "just a scratch" before dying.
    • Not sure this qualifies. It appears to be but a scratch, even prompting Romeo to essentially tell him to man up "Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much," to which Mercutio admits that while it's just a scratch "'tis enough, 'twill serve."
      • Actually, if you read the exchange, Mercutio is in MAJOR Sarcasm Mode there.
  • In at least one version of the script of Othello, Cassio's line "my leg is cut in two" is written without an exclamation mark, making him seem like he's just plainly stating the nature of his injury instead of having an actual emotional reaction.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Slowpoke from Pokémon. It takes a full 5 seconds before it feels the pain!
  • Persona 4: "I think mine cracked too... Critical Hit to the nads..."
  • Quoth the Spy of Team Fortress 2: "I appear to have burst into flames./I do believe I am on fire."
    • Oddly the Spy's third reactions to it is "Fire, fire, fire!".
    • Likewise, most of the Heavy's reactions to fire are suitably loud, except one which is just him saying "Ooh!" as if he stubbed his toe or something.
    • "You call that breaking my spine? You Red team ladies wouldn't know how to break a spine if- (crack) AAAAAAHHHHH MY SPINE!!!
    • Because of the way the game assigns vocal responses, players can die with varying levels of noisiness...but it's hard not to chuckle a little at the Demoman's quiet, hissed "Oh, that smarts!" even as he's being blown into a dozen bloody pieces by a rocket. Given that Death Is Cheap though, this is more comical than morbid.
    • The Soldier could be considered a variation on the trope; since he says pretty much everything in the same deranged bellow, it's hard to tell when he's shouting because he's been hit and when he's shouting because that's just the noise he makes when things happen.
    • Near the end of the "Meet the Medic" video, the Scout steps out after having undergone extensive heart surgery (including, as it is revealed, accidently having a live pigeon inserted) and cheerfully announces to his allies, "You would not believe... how much this hurts."
  • Zaeed Massani of Mass Effect fame survived being shot in the head. He put it down to his own inherent badassitude.
    • Granted, he's on a team with Garrus Vakarian (who survived taking a fighter jet's missile to the face) and Commander Shepard (who, by the time of conversation, has just bounced back from being dead for two years), so maybe a mere bullet doesn't deserve that much of a reaction.
  • In Hellgate:London, the ending involves Murmur revealing his purpose in the story line, and thanking you for your help. During the whole speech, however, he is literally torn apart with gaping graphic wounds.
  • The Mooks in No More Heroes, upon being brutally sliced in half, will sometimes scream "my spleen!"
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, there is a support conversation between Kieran and Rhys, who notices that Kieran has an axe lodged in his head.

Kieran: Hey, Rhys! Nice day, isn't it.
Rhys: Oh, hello, Kier... Yaaaa! What happened to you!?
Kieran: Huh? What is it?
Rhys: Th-there's blood gushing down the side of your head!
Kieran: Hm? Why, so there is... Isn't that odd?
Rhys: Odd? Please, hold still! Just stay there! Let me get my heal staff.
Kieran: Heal staff? Bah! I'm fine. A scratch like this will heal itself! You should have seen the time I fought the Giant Scorpions of...

  • Agro, the horse from Shadow of the Colossus, could be counted. If he's hit with an exploding arrow, falls from a low cliff (which could permanently cripple a real horse), or gets shot by Basaran, the most he'll do is limp for a while—and he'll even stop early if you jump on his back.
  • Yuri Hyuga in the first Shadow Hearts game had his arm sliced off by a minion. He doesn't flinch, instead he crushed the imp with his remaining hand, and just reattaches his own arm.
  • In Mega Man & Bass, King chopped Protoman in half. His reaction? "It's just a scratch..." Justified in that he's a robot and has a shiny new pair of legs by the end of the game, but his reaction is still eyebrow-raisingly blasé.
  • In Dwarf Fortress (as of v0.28.181.40d), dwarves tend not to notice that they've caught on fire. This can be troublesome, as fire will eventually kill them, and they can easily spread it as they go about their business.
  • In the Bonus Stage of Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night, Mokou's reaction to being repeatedly killed and resurrected is "Ow, it hurts!". Thank you Mokou, we never would have known otherwise. This is hinted to be due to doing the same thing with Kaguya nearly every single day for several centuries, which would certainly build one's tolerance for pain.
  • In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Shi-Long Lang gets shot in the leg... and doesn't even acknowledge it.
  • American McGee's Alice has the Dormouse and the March Hare who have gone under some serious Body Horror. They barely react to that fact, simply asking for tea. The Dormouse is the extreme example, though.
    • The Dormouse is arguably justified, given the implication that he's being drugged as well as undergone physical experiments. Of course, the Griffin also claims that their failure to comprehend their situations are because "they're blithering idiots".
  • Quake IV: An overheard radio conversion (paraphrased)

Marine: (requests medical evac)
Radio operator: Who is this? I can't get a read on your ID chip.
Marine: My chip was damaged.
Radio operator: What? those chips are implanted near your heart.
Marine: I know, I'm looking at it.

Lion: Will... your left arm!
Will: Ah, right. Must have forgotten it. It'd be a pain to go back and get it now.

  • Cultists in the original Dawn of War have the tendency to announce "Oh! My spleen!" after being slammed by a Space Marine (as in, 7 feet of equal parts cybernetics, genetic engineering, and extreme prejudice, with power armor overlaying the whole mix) hard enough to land a good thirty feet away.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Whenever something like this happens to Richard in Looking for Group, he nearly always makes a snarky comment or just ignores it unless it gets utterly annoying. Loses both his arms? Steals a bear's. Gets his back full of arrows? "Is there something on my back?" Axe in his forehead? "Good was shot a that. Toast. HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE!" (he then goes on with his day as such). Justified because he's undead.
    • Recent developments have shown that Richard is not undead, and something actually hurting him is a sign that he needs to recharge his powers.
  • "It hurts and stings" was a Running Gag in the webcomic Elf Only Inn for a while.
  • In Homestuck, alternate Dave only has one response to a slashed throat:

TG: welp

    • Also, Tavros, when he gets paralyzed.

AT: vRISKA JUST PUSHED mE OFF A CLIFF
AT: tHAT'S REALLY ALL THERE IS TO SAY ON THE MATTER.

Durkon: How badly are ye hurt, lad?
Elan: That depends. How important is one of these?

    • Similarly in this. How does a demon roach react after being impaled by a jail bar during O-Chul's prison break? "Ah, crap."
    • Early on in the strip, Roy throws Xykon into Dorukan's Gate. Just before he explodes, Xykon calmly states "Y'know, actually, this isn't that bad." Justified, like Richard's case, because he's undead, a lich to be exact, and regenerates from his phylactery over the next few weeks.
  • Riff from Sluggy Freelance has one of the most extreme examples.

Riff: Nobody panic, but I may have just killed myself. Let me check my notes.

Tycho: 911? I've cut off all my fingers. They are all gone. It is excruciating, yes! Please send an ambulance to...Oh. Well yeah. They should definitely finish their quest first.

  • This Nerf Now strip has the female engineer rather nonchalantly and seductively asking the Pyro if he could help her. While on fire.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Dan McNinja sets himself on fire to escape other ninjas, and you would expect someone as badass as him to be able to shrug it off, and he did, but his son seems genuinely worried about him being set ablaze.
    • Subverted in that Dan's ninja uniform is fireproof. However, the cropduster pilot forced to wear it and then getting shot down and set on fire definitely counts.
    • Then there was the time the Doctor was shot to death, then kicked Death's ass and got back up. He was pretty defiant at the time, but when he returned to the office, he calmly scolded the gorilla and velociraptor fighting there.

Doctor: Now, I'm not mad at you two... But I am disappointed. I'll hold out on lecturing you until after I get my transfusion stash out of the fridge. I think my body has just enough blood to keep a kitten alive right now.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • When the Yogscast attempted to teach Jesse Cox how to play Minecraft, one of them falls in lava while explaining spelunking. His reaction?
  • In Red vs. Blue, Sarge is shot in the head. Upon appearing in the afterlife, he is only annoyed that he didn't get to screw with Grif one last time. This situation also fits because Grif's response to the injury is to perform CPR, which strangely works. Sarge berates Grif once he regains consciousness.

Sarge: Grif... Why in hell would you give somebody CPR for a bullet wound in the head? That don't make a lick of sense. I mean, it's all so damn inconsistent! What would you do if they stabbed me in the toe? Rub my neck with aloe vera?

    • Note that when first told he was revived with CPR he was relieved and amazed someone thought up such a brilliant idea—until he found out it was Grif who did it.
  • "Oh my God, there's an axe in my head!"
  • Dr. Gears has this. It's almost a superpower.
  • In the Super Planet Dolan Episode, What If The World Were Square?, Doopie has her left arm bit off by SacredSnewpee. Doopie gets annoyed by this, though she eventually has her arm reattached, as she considered Snewpee’s puns even worse.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • During a supervillain trust building exercise in Justice League, Killer Frost is expected to use her ice powers to catch Giganta—falling from a cliff—who warns that she's heavier than she looks. We then hear a giant crash from offscreen, followed by Killer Frost saying "Ow."
  • In Futurama, after a faulty Swedish particle accelerator blows up, we see Fry (and Zoidberg) in a hospital, seeming rather nonchalant, then it pans down to show he's been impaled with a pipe.

Zoidberg: Oh, the hypochondriac's back! So what is it this time?
Fry: Well, my lead pipe hurts a little.
Zoidberg: That's normal.

    • This is pretty typical for Zoidberg. Even his own autopsy struggles to hold his attention.

(surgeon removes Zoid's heart)
Zoidberg: Take, I've got four of them.

  • During a The Fairly OddParents episode in which they parody Star Wars (Timmy being Skywalker, naturally), Timmy's hand gets light saber'd off like in the movie, but his response is different: "Hey-- I only have two of those!"
  • Occurs numerous times in Drawn Together, most notably in the montage of Captain Hero's "adult childhood" where he falls off of his bike and scrapes his knee in a stereotypically childish manner. When he reveals the scrape, a large section of his leg is missing with his bone snapped but it is treated as a scrape anyway.
  • In Frisky Dingo, Killface is somewhat concerned about the giant pipe impaling his left lung, but he insists that the doctor treat the shallow cut on his son's arm first.
    • A later episode has a rocket pierce him through the chest. He's only mildly annoyed at the whole situation. Even the gaping hole it left after the explosion doesn't faze him much.
  • Hulk vs. Wolverine we get Deadpool who lost an arm, and being stomped by Hulk. His reaction? A joke ("Could you give me a hand?") And "Ow...".
    • Justified by his Healing Factor. All he has to do is reattach it.
  • Happens all the time in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy. For example, when Ed's toy makes a hole in Eddy's belly, he just complains that his toy ate his breakfast.
  • A subplot on one episode of Mission Hill had Wally attempting to persuade his boyfriend to go to the hospital after getting a knife stuck in the top of his head. Gus continues to act like everything is perfectly normal, the only concession to his injury being a giant hat so he stops frightening customers.
  • When Billy fell off his bicycle on his way over to a lemonade stand in Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, he scrapes his face along the pavement. When he slides up to the stand, he raises his head and reveals that his entire face has been scraped off and is now skeletal. He seemingly didn't notice.
    • In the very next scene, his face is back to normal, with only a pair of bandages on his nose to show for it.
  • A cutaway gag in Family Guy shows what the family would be like if they were stereotypical high class gentlemen. Halfway through the scene, Peter spontaneously combusts and calmly says "Oh dear." then describes it in an incredibly casual manner.
    • Another cutaway features Brian talking to a disfigured WW 2 veteran. Disfigured as, he's only a head.

Veteran: I'm glad i could do my part.
Brian: I think you might have done too much.

  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Katz's normal reaction to getting hit? A deadpan delivery of one of his Catch Phrase, "I wish you hadn't done that."
  • When South Park's Mr. Garrison gets his first sex change (from a man to a woman), we see live-action footage of genital surgery. He doesn't even get anesthetized and his reaction to the pain is a flat "Ooh, that stings".
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the Belly of the Boss", the Simpsons drop a bomb from the ship into Mr. Burns' stomach (foggy memory) and it goes off inside him, causing his stomach to swelling momentarily. Burns said was a flat "Well, that hurt like hell."
    • In a regular episode Lenny once gets a coin embedded in his forehead. After a moments panic "Get it out! Get it out!" it only succeeds in starting to spurt blood at an alarming rate, leading to "Put it back in! Put it back in!". He then promptly shrugs off going to a hospital and continues about his business, leading to an even more hilarious moment where he tips his hat to a passing woman, by removing the coin.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades has Major Bludd losing an eye to an explosion in one ep, then an arm to an alligator in another, only pausing long enough in both instances to make a Badass Boast. "Hope ya choke on it."
  • Ray, a character on the cartoon The Head (shown on MTV's Oddities), has a lawnmower blade lodged in his skull. He's been told that he'll die if it's removed, so he's stuck with the thing.
  • Misery from Ruby Gloom often says "Ow." whenever she's randomly struck by lightning. A Friday the 13th episode revealed that she's so used to bad luck that it's quite comforting for her.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "No One Can Hear You," Finn gets his legs snapped backwards by a rampaging deer. His reaction before passing out? "Whatever."
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Iroh can't decide whether a plant he found is a type of tea leaf, or poisonous.

Iroh: Zuko, remember that plant I thought might be tea?
Zuko: You didn't!
Iroh: I did. (Turns around to show his face has become red and swollen) And it wasn't.
Zuko: (Repulsed) Yah!
Iroh: When the rash spreads to my throat, I will stop breathing.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Truth in Television, in some instances. Superficial wounds tend to hurt more than deep ones, both because of the greater concentration of nerve endings near the surface of the skin and because injury makes the body release natural painkillers. Handgun bullets for example are very likely to kill you but on the whole don't hurt much more than a mild burning sensation. People can often be completely unaware of multiple gunshots to the trunk and instead will complain about the graze (which hurts like hell).
    • Some people do not possess the ability to feel pain. This can lead to them suffering serious injuries and only realizing it when their bodies stop functioning. The condition is called Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis or CIPA. (Very rare, and the victims don't often survive to adulthood.)
    • Leprosy degenerates the nerves in the extremities of the body i.e. fingers, hands, toes, feet. Skin sores, high infection, and no pain is just a recipe for unintentional gangrene; which is the actual cause of lost limbs.
      • As an subversion the Order of Saint Lazarus was originally an order of knights infected with leprosy. They had a reputation for being extremly hard to kill since they did not feel most of their wounds.
    • Major injuries tend to cause shock, which can lock out pain (and also cause odd behavior in general).
    • In the real world, panic doesn't just mean screaming and running in circles; it can produce an assortment of odd behavior including ignoring the situation entirely. (Whether or not the person is injured.)
    • Go to YouTube and look up a faceplant or epic fail compliation of video (it should be easy; there's thousands of them). More often than not, there's several people who, after scraping off a portion of their arms or faces, get right back up and pick up their skateboard or bicycle. Some even make light of their situation (groaning like a zombie after seeing their bloodied faces is a popular one). This may be because the adrenaline in their bodies turns what would be an incredibly painful wound into a mildly annoying itch.
  • An anecdotal occurrence came from the Napoleonic Wars—specifically near the end of the Battle of Waterloo, with the British command staff observing the French attacks from a hilltop. Cannons fire, and:

Lord Uxbridge: By God, Sir! I've lost my leg!
Wellington: By God, sir, so you have!

    • A similar bit of battlefield black humor occurred during or after the Battle of Trafalgar. A British sailor's injury was so grave as to require the amputation of his leg. Said sailor's reaction was: "Never! Where shall I find another match for this one?"
  • In real life, while campaigning for re-election, US President Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest and the bullet went through his steel glasses case and the folded speech he was about to give before it hit him, but by that point, it had been slowed enough to not be a life-threatening wound. Declining suggestions that a hospital visit might be in order, Roosevelt instead proceeded to give a 90 minute speech, opening with the lines:

"Ladies and gentlemen, 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." [1]

    • Roosevelt became president after the assassination of William McKinley, who died not from the gunshots themselves but 8 days later from gangrene after surgery in early 20th century conditions. Avoiding the operating room when he knew it wasn't necessarily life threatening was probably very high on Roosevelt's priority list.
  • Leon Trotsky, formerly Vladimir Lenin's #2 man, was seeking asylum in Mexico City. An assassin sent by Josef Stalin broke into his home, and buried an icepick in his head. Trotsky stood up, icepick in head and fought off the assassin before he was subdued by his bodyguard. He was rushed to the hospital, and died a day later. Tom Reimann is "hoping he lived long enough to fire those bodyguards."
  • Douglas Bader's diary entry after losing both his legs in a plane crash: "Crashed slow-rolling near ground. Bad show." Of course, being an RAF pilot he had both Stiff Upper Lip and working Danger Deadpan in his favour.
  • Imagine this: you're swimming in the ocean, when you see blood around your body. You look underwater, and your legs are gone. Ask a shark bite victim, and they'll likely say they didn't feel pain at first.
  • After John Hinkley's attempt on his life, Ronald Reagan was unaware that he'd been shot until he started coughing up blood on the way back to the White House.
  • Following the 1985 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season, punter Frank Garcia was diagnosed with a broken leg. He'd been playing that way for half the year.
  • During his No Cure for Cancer special, Denis Leary relates how his father, an Irish immigrant, reacted to nearly cutting off his thumb with a circular saw. Mainly, patching it up with electrical tape and driving himself to the hospital. Denis then says the following:

I turned to my brother and said "Hey pal, forget about crying, okay? Crying is over. We're never gonna be able to cry about anything ever, okay? Our father figure is a man who could sever his own head with a chainsaw and he'd staple gun it back on *staple sound effects* 'Fuckin head came off!' *staple sound effects*"

    • He also relates how during a visit home Denis once saw his father shoot a nail through his hand with a nailgun, and without missing a beat pulled it out with his teeth.
  • This Cracked article has 5 rather notable real life cases of this trope.
  • Head trauma is often like this. Often someone who got skull cracked would bleed to death inside it and never feel anything that suggests the problem is worse than a mild concussion. Which is why SOP is to have diagnstics applied as soon as possible regardless of what the patient does or doesn't feel.
    • Actress Natasha Richardson hit a tree while skiing and whacked her head. She felt OK and sent the medics away. An hour or so later help was summoned again due to increased pressure from the bleeding in her brain, but by then it was too late and she died in the hospital.
  • A Truth in Television - as mentioned above, some injuries (namely losing a limb) are so severe that people go immediately into shock, and often talk quite calmly about the lost limb while not feeling any pain at all.
  • Severe burn victims often do not have pain in the most badly burned areas, as the nerve endings are destroyed. Of course, the edges of the burned areas are still very much alive.
  • Of course, an intense local burn doesn't necessarily have wide borders between destroyed and intact areas. While having your body charred by an electric discharge sounds like something you should notice immediately, many people playing with Tesla coils while ignoring basic safety re-discovered that often the first sign of severe high-frequency electric burns is a smell of roasted flesh. And if the ventilation blows another way, an arc can cut through the skin and well into internal tissues before one feels that something is wrong.
  • Empress Elisabeth of Austria was stabbed in the stomach by an assassin. She fell over but was able to get back up and stated that she felt no pain, believing that he had simply missed (in reality, the 4-inch blade had gone all the way in). Later when she removed her clothes she promptly died from her wound, her corset being the only thing keeping her from bleeding out.
  • While not nearly as serious as some others on the list, Sean Bean was assaulted and stabbed with a broken glass bottle in a bar fight. His response? He refused medical attention, patched himself up with the bar's first aid kit, and ordered another drink.
  • Subverted in one Story Corps interview- the interviewee's father had a wooden leg which broke one day while he was working on a farm. The man cried, "Oh darn, I think I broke my foot!" and then just snapped it back in place and kept working. The person who was helping him didn't know the leg was a prosthetic, and turned white as a sheet and later called the man "the toughest man I've ever seen."
  • This case of a man who had his hand sliced off by a sword-welding thug at a pub. What goes the Irishman do? He had his hand reattached long after punching the sword-welder in the face with the stump.
  • Sometimes, drugs can result in this for those drunk and/or high on them. Spare a thought for any doctor who has to treat someone in this stage.


  1. The Bull Moose was the mascot of his political party, and is an animal with an apparently tough hide. Of course, being an avid outdoorsman, he'd likely know exactly how hard it is to kill a Bull Moose.