Minor Injury Overreaction

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"You made me swallow my gum. It's going to be in my digestive tract for SEVEN YEARS!"

Gideon Graves, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

In dramatic settings, no matter how much punishment a villain takes all that seems to really get them riled up is deliberate albeit minor injury, especially across their face. Extremely potent with egotists, this tends to send the White-Haired Pretty Boy and The Fighting Narcissist into a foaming rage. Can also occur with characters who are Nigh Invulnerable, where the overreaction is due to the fact that even inflicting a minor injury on the character is supposed to impossible; it might even be the first time that character has ever been injured.

Can (un)intentionally coincide with the Rant-Inducing Slight and/or Afraid of Needles.

May lead to Disproportionate Retribution, Irrational Hatred and House of Broken Mirrors.

Contrast with Major Injury Underreaction, and with After-Action Patchup, where the reaction tends to be humanizing. Compare with Blood Upgrade.

Examples of Minor Injury Overreaction include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Project A-ko there was the "My Cheek... It's cut!" moment.
  • In Full Metal Panic! ? Fumoffu's second Fan Service episode, Kurz Weber takes a small laser burn to his backside, and convinces Shinji Kazama to go on without him as if he were dying.
  • In Kanokon this happens when an attack causes a slight rip in a villains jacket. "YOU WILL COMPENSATE WITH YOUR LIVES!"
  • Frequently happened with the villains in Dragon Ball (mainly in Z and GT), and was most often prompted by outrage that Goku or whoever was fighting them actually managed to not only hit them, but do some damage (in Frieza's case it made sense, as by the current scale he was so stupidly powerful that he hadn't had a decent fight in decades. When a 20-x-Kaioken Kamehameha actually burns his hand, he flips out.). Vegeta tried to destroy the Earth because Goku made him bleed a little.

Nappa: Aaaagh! No! My face! My precious modelling career!

    • Surprisingly averted with Broly, after Goku kicks him in the jaw hard enough to draw blood. Broly barely reacts, even smirking, and licks off the wound. In fact, the one who overreacted was Goku.

(Broly turns to Goku with his mouth bleeding, then smirks and licks off the wound)
Goku: Eew! That was completely unnecessary! Disgusting!

  • Dilandau in Vision of Escaflowne descends further and further into madness as the show goes on after receiving a wound from Van that resulted in a facial scar. Given that he started out an Ax Crazy Psycho for Hire...
  • During the Baratie arc of One Piece, one of Don Krieg's crewmates, "Invincible" Pearl, boasted about never having spilled a single drop of blood... whereupon Luffy fell out of the sky and smacked Pearl's head into his armor, giving him a nosebleed. Pearl's response? Panicking and lighting his armor on fire.
    • Subverted in the Arlong Park arc. After Zoro sliced off part of Hachi's hair, the Fishman decides to... forgive Zoro. It's only hair, after all.
  • Bleach: Szayel Aporro's Fraccion, Medezeppi. Renji pokes the skin on his palm with his sword and Medezeppi (a man at least 16 feet tall) throws himself on his back and begins thrashing around and crying.
    • Subverted with Nnoitra. Nnoitra constantly boasts that he cannot be harmed and demonstrates by letting opponents hit him to no avail. When Kenpachi finally manages to cut him, he's shocked, then orders Kenpachi not to get cocky and keeps fighting normally.
    • Played straight with Charlotte. When a large lock of his hair is sliced off he goes berserk.
  • In the Record of Lodoss War OVA, Ashram—who has gone through an entire battle untouched due to his skills—gets very angry when Parn manages to scratch his cheek with his sword.
  • In the Cowboy Bebop episode "Pierrot Le Fou", Tongpu is an insane super soldier who's Immune to Bullets. When someone manages to injure him for what's probably the first time since he snapped, he's so shocked from experiencing pain that he breaks down crying. Because he has the mind of a child, he reacts like a child would.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!!'s Yugi had an extreme case of this. It didn't even have to be a corporeal wound; several times, when his opponents would take a chunk out of his Life Points, he'd act like he was having a heart attack.
    • Let's not forget Bakura's infamous "Check his pulse!" line in the dub.
    • Of course some times it's a psychological impact (Kaiba's disks were designed for that effect in the anime) and other times damage to life points rips part of your soul out.
    • And other times the common hologram is so realistic that it can cause heart attacks(see Yugi's grandfather, who was hospitalized after losing a duel).
  • Fist of the North Star has two notable characters like this—the fat man, Mr. Heart, is almost invulnerable to most attacks, but the mere slight of his own blood changes him from genial and polite into a bloodthirsty psychopath. Juda, a Red Haired Pretty Boy, similarly goes berserk when his face gets some minor cuts.
  • Schoen of Weiss Kreuz is an incredibly vain former model. She takes Ken trying to kill her in stride, right up until he scratches her cheek. She spends the rest of the series trying to kill him for it - though, since she was trying to do that anyway, Ken doesn't really notice the difference.
  • While Vita of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is naturally aggressive, she gets especially pissed off when one of Nanoha's attacks damages and knocks off her Nice Hat. Cue Nanoha's "uh oh". It has sentimental value.
  • Bambi from Bambi and her Pink Gun overreacts tremendously to any kind of injury or even possible injury that might be inflicted on her; she, at one point, nearly killed a man for smoking near her. Of course, here it isn't exactly vanity: Bambi's a health nut (and Psychopathic Manchild) who is obsessed with keeping her body "perfect."
  • In the Gunsmith Cats anime, Radinov the Chaotic Evil Renegade Russian tries to torture Rally to death because our heroine shot her earring off. Then again, Radinov isn't the sanest person around.
    • If someone had shot off a chunk of my ear, I'd be pretty pissed, too.
  • Accelator in A Certain Magical Index has something of a berserker freak out when Touma manages to lightly slap his hand. Considering that his powers are utterly broken to the point of him usually being untouchable, apparent flight and bending matter around him with vectors, it sort of makes sense. Plus he's not exactly the model of mental health.
  • Played humourously in Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, where Kyohei is the one whose face gets scratched but Sunako is the one who takes offense.
  • Merika from Afghanhis-tan, a one volume manga based on the modern history of Afghanistan, went batshit on Afghanistan after a cat bit her hand. If you didn't notice, this was their depiction of 9/11.
  • In the original version of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Yusei is impaled by a shard of debris after almost getting killed by Ccapac Apu (complete with landing on his head), knocked unconscious, bleeding pretty badly as a result and has to be rushed to an orphanage with one of probably few doctors in Satellite. In the dub of the same incident, he comes out of it with bruising on his abdomen.
  • In Gundam Seed there's Yzak Joule, who takes HUGE issue with a big scar on his face given to him by Kira Yamato, during a battle in which shrapnel broke his visor. This in a setting where scar tissue can be easily fixed by cell regeneration technology, but he keeps it as memento of being harmed. Subverted later, when he drops his grudge after getting some Character Development and gets it healed eventually. The injury though not life threatening was a very painful one.
  • Done in the Gali fight in Monster Rancher when Genki manages to chip Gali's mask in an attack. Gali goes ballistic and turns into a whirlwind while screaming he'll destroy everything.
  • For a guy who has literally gone to Hell and back and has the scars to prove it, Guts from Berserk can't even stand being poked with pointy edges (like the ink quill that Schrieke uses to etch the seals over his brand, that burns like hell whenever he's close to demons by the way) let alone being sewn up with needles after a huge battle. Not even when Casca is doing the sewing.
    • From a not-very-nice character, Guts' adoptive father, Gambino, got extremely pissed off when little Guts managed to cut him across the cheek while he was training him as a child. Gambino reacted by slashing Guts across the bridge of his nose incapacitating the kid for quite awhile. The resulting scar never healed.

Comic Books

  • Subverted in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: Johnny explodes regularly; when even slightly insulted he starts to scream and rant (and kill people) injuries don't interest him much.
  • Xerxes from 300. Turns out that God-Kings do bleed after all, but he didn't believe it either.
  • In the Silver Age Superboy storyline, Lex's resentment towards Superboy had been building for some time, but he didn't become Superboy's archnemesis until the accident that gave him his trademark baldness (which he blamed on Superboy). A later Retcon would give Lex better motivations.
  • Doctor Doom was going to be a case of this at one stage of development, the 'horrible disfigurement' that led him to wear a mask at all times truly being a tiny scar. Doom saw it as worse than it was due to his ego; the slightest marring of his perfect features mean this face was Ruined FOREVER. However, there was nothing they could do about the many people who recoiled in horror from the times his face was shown, typically saying they'd heard it was bad but this was much worse, so nothing came of it.

Fan Works

Film -- Animated


"Oh, I'm hurt! I am very much hurt!"


Film -- Live Action

  • A hair-related version in Spaceballs: After refusing to handle a gun, saying she hates them, Princess Vespa's hair is shot... the resulting reaction? "My hair! He shot my hair! Son of a bitch." Followed by her mowing down her opponents. Her 'droid-of-honor' calls the victory "pretty good for Rambo".
  • In more ways than one, this Trope is a driving force behind the events of Death Becomes Her. Helen Sharp's childhood "friend" Madeline Ashton is always ruining Helen's serious relationships by stealing her boyfriends, including Helen's fiance near the film's beginning, even though Madeline herself has no feelings for them. This prompts Helen to hatch an elaborate plot to KILL Madeline, a goal she is still pursuing obsessively fourteen years later. As extreme as THAT may seem, it somehow manages to pale in comparison to Madeline's amazingly petty motive for repeatedly hurting Helen (arguably ruining her life multiple times) in the first place: Helen thought Madeline was cheap, and by all indications merely in the sense of not being classy... BACK WHEN THEY WERE SCHOOLGIRLS!!!
  • The Blues Brothers: "They broke my watch!"
  • In the B-Movie "The Horror of Party Beach", the lead female Elaine, SCRATCHES HER LEG ON A ROCK, and begins moaning loudly in pain. Well, she moans, anyway; she doesn't moan like she's in pain.
  • When Red Sonja accuses the evil queen Gedren of slaughtering Sonja's family, the regal bitch dismisses the accusations as the victims' lives are nothing in compare with a minor scar on her cheek.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Robin's first encounter with the Sheriff of Nottingham ends with the former cutting the latter's cheek for no other reason then to piss him off (oh, and to exert the first portion of vengeance for murdering his father, perhaps). Sheriff is (in)appropriately enraged, and utters the famous threat to Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon.
  • Dodgeball: "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood!"
  • During the raid on Mathilda's home in Léon: The Professional, Mathilda's father manages to shoot Norman Stansfield in the shoulder. Stansfield is pretty subdued about this until he has the time to notice the damage done to his suit, whereupon he follows the injured suspect through the apartment, shooting him in the back. He does this until he's out of ammunition... and then starts to reload so he can continue shooting the guy's corpse.
  • In Nothing to Lose Tim Robbins' character spends several minutes moaning and crying in agony after being shot in the arm, but once he finally gets his shirt off to inspect the wound, it turns out that the bullet barely grazed him.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Gideon has one, not to a cut along the cheek that would normally elicit this reaction, but to an earlier attack which left no visible mark. But of course, he did have reason...

Gideon: You made me swallow my gum. That's going to be in my digestive tract for seven years!



  • Soto, a History Monk in Thief of Time who believed in the sanctity of all life and the ultimate uselessness of violence, decided to kill three Auditors posing as humans when a wild axe swing accidentally sliced off a thick lock of his hair. Somewhat justified as his hair is his Berserk Button.
  • Older Than Feudalism: In The Iliad, Aphrodite gets cut by Diomedes. As a goddess, she cannot die, but she's completely unaccustomed to pain, causing her to run screaming to her brother Ares and plead with him to teach Diomedes a lesson. With the aid of Athena, Diomedes cuts Ares as well, and he has the same reaction, literally running home to cry to this mama.
  • In Gordon Korman's The Zucchini Warriors, one of the Macdonald Hall football players (who has ironically given himself the nickname The Beast) gets a bruised elbow. He then insists that it's actually a compound fracture and walks around with his arm in a sling for nine weeks.
  • In Robert Munch's children's book Zoom!, the main character's older brother pricks himself with a fork, causing a small amount of blood to come out, and everyone freaks out and takes him to the hospital. Played for Laughs, of course.
  • One of the Queens in Alice in Wonderland freaks out excessively over a small cut...before she receives the "injury." Afterward, she pays little heed to it.

Live-Action TV

  • Played with in a episode of Scrubs where JD talks about the "Pain Chart", noting that gender can affect the perception of pain. Cut to a woman giving birth and her husband whining about how he just bit his finger out of nervosity.
  • On Friends, Rachel accidentally head-butts Ross while giving birth, and he moans "you have no idea how much this hurts." All of the women in the room give him epic death glares, and he shuts up.
  • In The Office, Michael Scott burns his foot on a George Foreman grill and is dismayed when nobody takes his injury seriously. He even tries to monopolize the doctor's attention at the hospital when Dwight is taken there with a pretty serious concussion.
  • Adam Savage tends to ham it up whenever he gets a minor injury on MythBusters.
  • Variant: In Top Gear, under hypnosis, presenter Richard Hammond was led to believe the tiny toy car he was riding was his new car, and that co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson had dinged it (by bumping it with another tiny car). He pitched a credible minor fit.
  • In Chuck, the title character is dodging bullets on a regular basis, and actually sees many people get shot, but when pretending to be a doctor and kidnapped by the bad guys, he is accidentally cut in the hand with a scalpel and immediately freaks out and starts babbling about how he gets woozy at the sight of blood. Needless to say, the baddie is not amused. At least, not until they both inhale an almost lethal amount of Nitris Oxide, and start laughing about how they're both about to die. This is sort of reversed when Chuck ends up hurting his leg when a windowsill closes on it. He tells everyone that it is only sprained, but later learns that it is actually a hairline fracture. He openly objects to having it treated at first, and later expresses unhappiness at having to wear a cast.
  • The short-lived sketch show Fridays had a sketch in which guest star William Shatner played a man at a disco who overreacted to minor pain. When his dance partner (played by cast member Brandis Kemp) accidentally steps on his foot, Shatner's character reacts so violently that he tosses Kemp onto the ground and accidentally exposes her butt clad only in thong underwear (when the episode that had that sketch reran, the shot of Kemp on the ground with her thong exposed was cut).
  • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Big Bad Oiles Gill freaks out when Gokai Red manages to graze his arm with a single bullet, and spends the rest of that episode (as well as the next one) whining about how much it hurts and how he'll make the Gokaigers pay. This is, of course, done to show how much of a Spoiled Brat Gill is.
  • Deliberately invoked by Klinger in the M*A*S*H episode "It Happened One Night." Klinger is accidentally shot by a nervous private who isn't used to night sentry duty. The resulting superficial graze wound prompts Hawkeye to say, "Could you at least bleed?" while examining him. Since Klinger is constantly trying to get discharged from the Army, he acts like he's just received a mortal wound and starts swooning all over the place and describing visions of his deceased relatives. Naturally, nobody buys it.

Newspaper Comics

  • Linus van Pelt, in an early Peanuts strip, panics big-time after bumping his head.

Professional Wrestling

  • At one point in WWE's history, Chris Jericho and Kane had a long and bloody feud over the fact that Jericho had accidentally spilled coffee on Kane at the catering table backstage. Seriously.
  • Pretty much any move ever taken by Shawn Michaels, Marty Janetty, or Curt Hennig.
  • A lot of the finishers are essentially sold to the crowd by doing this. The Stone Cold Stunner is a notable example (as is the hilarious way The Rock always flopped across the ring after receiving one).
  • Almost anytime someone uses a grapple in pro wrestling, it's this. Grapples are usually applied lightly without using too much pressure, while the other wrestler screams and writhes as if it's agonizing. It's done for the Kayfabe.
  • In WWE, this was the basis for Cody Rhodes's former character. After Rey Mysterio broke his nose, the narcissistic Rhodes believed his good looks were forever ruined, and went insane. He's no longer a smug pretty boy, but destructive and perpetually brooding (while a broken nose is no picnic, it's nothing big in pro wrestling terms).

Video Games

  • The primary tactic involved in fighting Super Punch-Out!! opponent Narcis Prince is first hitting him in the face, which enrages him and causes him to use a series of attacks that can be easily countered.
  • The vain antagonist Vega from the Street Fighter series is so afraid of this happening to him that he wears a protective mask in the ring (the mask is shown shattered in his loss scenes). This becomes a plot point in Street Fighter The Animated Movie where the only thing that really saves Chun-Li is a good set of injuries to Vega's face that send him into a berserker rage she can counter.
  • Yaga-Shura the fire giant in Baldur's Gate: Throne of Bhaal will run away for even more reinforcements (there's already a small army fighting you) the first point of damage he receives. This perfectly demonstrates his lack of Genre Blindness and his understanding of the threat the player character poses, especially as the player succeeded has in removing his Nigh Invulnerability (of the instant regeneration kind).
  • In the introductory video to Sid Meier's Pirates! Live the Life, the evil captain's slapping of the main character is what sets off mutiny. Of course, it's previously established that he's a complete bastard to his crew, so that was probably a Last Straw moment as much as anything else.
  • Subverted with Kuja in Final Fantasy IX. When Queen Brahne summons Bahamut to blow him to atoms, Kuja simply steps protectively in front of his dragon and takes the full blast. He is smirkingly uninjured, until a trickle of blood runs down his forehead, causing him to react in shock for a moment... then immediately sing the praises of the powerful summon monster.

Kuja: You even managed to hurt me!... a little.

  • In Final Fantasy VI Kefka gets lightly stabbed. He spends half a minute running around the screen, screaming: "I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE YOU!" in one translation, and an extremely long list of insults in the other translation. Shortly afterward, he destroys the world. Though this probably had more to do with his general insanity than anger at that particular wound.
  • Suikoden IV. "Ow, my arm!"
  • Possibly the best example would be the Witch from Left 4 Dead. All you need to do to flip her crazy switch is to get too far inside her personal bubble. Stay there for a second too long and you'll be wondering how the pale, weeping waif just tore out your entrails.
  • In StarCraft II, one of the Battlecruiser unit's off-screen, "I'm-under-fire"-voice alerts is "Abandon ship!", regardless of whether it is under attack by an enemy fleet of capital ships or a single, puny marine. Especially hilarious seeing as how the Battlecruiser is the Terran paramount of military power.
  • Dwarves in Dwarf Fortress will stay bedridden for years over broken toes or bruised fingers. This leads many players to design their hospitals to include magma-powered euthanasia devices.
  • The pedestrians in In Famous will occasionally trip on the sidewalk or other low obstacles and then lay there squirming in pain until the player heals them.
  • In Wild Arms: Second Ignition, after you fight Judecca in his Devil Spire, he notes that he's bleeding and shoots himself.


  • A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel are rife with this. A Running Gag in both plays involves a character {usually Malfoy} being hit in the face by something and repeating this routine a few times before someone tells him to shut up: putting his hands to his nose, taking them away, looking at them in shock,and turning to someone else while constantly repeating "I'm bleeding! Look at this!" in an incredulous tone.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The original Hunter in Gargoyles was just someone that Demona scratched in the face when he was a kid. Granted, this was a major injury, with his face ending up deeply scarred for the rest of his life, but it still borders on a flimsy pretext for devoting your life to killing some random gargoyle.
  • Spoofed in Drawn Together when Xandir, while trying to escape from a Terminator spoof, sprains his ankle, acting as if it were life threatening (despite the fact that over the course of the show Xandir has suffered some of the worst injuries to any of the main characters).
    • Subverted in the episode "Orphan Hero", when Captain Hero during his childhood montage, falls off of his bike and scrapes his leg. When he reveals his scrape, it turns out that a large section of his leg is missing, but his mother treat it as a minor injury anyway.
  • In an episode of South Park, Cartman is angry that Kyle ruined his Christmas tells him that he's going to really kick his ass. Kyle responds by very lightly slapping him and Cartman wails like he's in major pain.
    • Done many times by Cartman throughout the series. However as of lately it is suggested he fakes it to gain sympathy.
  • Hulk vs. Wolverine has Deadpool trying to stop Hulk by sticking a grenade in Hulk's mouth. This naturally fails, Hulk being Nigh Invulnerable and having a Healing Factor, and makes him angrier than before. This is a minor injury because earlier Hulk was stabbed and slashed by Wolverine in several vital areas, and actually screamed in pain, despite the Healing Factor. The overreaction is justified because, well it's the friggin' Hulk.
  • An episode of Nightmare Ned revealed that Ned panicked every time he lost one of his baby teeth, despite his parents' reassurances.
  • In one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Spongebob cries a fountain of tears simply because he stubbed his toe. This is the same character that repeatedly rips his own arms off for a sight gag.
  • Geoff did this in an episode of Total Drama Island, while walking he suddenly fell over and grabbed his leg, screaming in pain. While all the other contestants rush to his side and agree he's way too injured to move on, the camera man zooms in on his leg and scans it over several times, confused that nothing's actually wrong. Finally, we see zoomed-in he has a tiny splinter. Needless to say, he's pampered for the rest of the episode.
  • Edd from Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy tends to react this way at times.

Eddy: (after the kids ambush them for quarters) Double D! Tell me you saved some! Tell me we're okay!!
Edd: Eddy! It was horrible Eddy! LOOK WHAT THEY DID TO MY SHIRT!!

    • It's almost the whole plot of the episode 'Cry Ed', when Jimmy manages to hurt his foot with a clothespin, and everybody in the Cul-de-sac starts fussing over him, leading Eddy to decide to get "injured" and sympathy, too.
  • Knock Out actually has this as his Berserk Button. He's very proud of his paint job and takes any damage to it very seriously.

Real Life

  • The cast commentary of the first The Lord of the Rings film had a humorous example of this, with a story about Dominic getting a splinter and grossly exaggerating how bad it was.
  • In Association Football, players often try to draw free kicks, etc. by "diving" - falling to the ground and pretending to be much more seriously injured than they actually are. The trope is effectively Lampshaded when, more often than not, said player gets up and runs off at full tilt when their pleas are ignored.
    • This is known as "flopping" in basketball circles. Former Laker and Hornet Vlade Divac was considered the best around at drawing fouls from fleeting or non-existent contact.