No Endor Holocaust

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"No deaths? Incredible."

"I've always felt it's best not to dwell on these things."
Discussion on the recent lack of fatalities in one of The Hulk's rampages.

Explosions are cool. So are giant objects. Therefore, giant objects exploding are extremely cool.

But let's think about this for a moment. Halt the Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever in a major city by blowing it up. Or just kill it and let it fall over, for that matter. That's going to do some monstrous damage to the city. Yet any collateral damage or casualties are depicted as minimal. Either we cut to credits before we see any aftermath, or (more blatantly) we actually see that there was no collateral effect at all. If there are, they are just Conveniently Empty Buildings.

Why? Well, you can't have the heroes take down the alien spacecraft For Great Justice and the American way, only to look sheepish when the flaming debris flattens the city. Not in any show on the idealism end of the scale, anyway. Maybe they have a brilliant plan to lure it somewhere uninhabited before they blow it to rubble, but surprisingly often, it's just not something the writers concern themselves with, leading viewers to notice the Inferred Holocaust.

For a look at what happens in these instances in real life, one need look no further than the tragedy of 9/11/01, in which the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, "merely" two buildings, not only resulted in about 2900 deaths, but spread dust and debris across the entirety of lower Manhattan and caused significant damage to other nearby buildings, including 7 World Trade Center and the Bankers Trust building (which didn't collapse on its own, but had to be demolished later).

If you're a hero, though, you needn't worry about this too much. Even if there is collateral damage, your Hero Insurance is probably going to cover it. If not, then Sued for Superheroics.

See Colony Drop for when a large man-made object is deliberately dropped on top of a planet in order to cause a massive impact.

Compare There Are No Global Consequences.

Examples of No Endor Holocaust include:

Trope Namer

  • The trope comes from Star Wars and is named after a theory that argues the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi turned the Ewok homeworld into a smoking wasteland. The Wookieepedia article explains that canonically, the Endor Holocaust did not happen, only existing as Imperial propaganda. Later material would Hand Wave it by explaining that the Death Star's destruction created a wormhole that sucked most of the debris (including The Glove of Darth Vader) into parts unknown. Furthermore, there has been a rebuttal to the original theory that argues the original theory overestimated the size of the Death Star by a substantial amount.

Anime and Manga

  • Pell of One Piece saved Alubarna by flying the giant bomb (designed to annihilate the whole city and its inhabitants) straight up for a few seconds. And he also survived the blast, even though clutching onto the bomb. Hey, unless it's a flashback, nobody dies in One Piece.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's includes an attack that results in an huge explosion. There is no damage afterwards.
  • Played straight in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, which is a Magical Girl show with lots of Stuff Blowing Up. Each battle take place in a Phantom Zone that removes non-magicians, but static structures remain. At one point, the title character is sent crashing down into a building. At another point, a character forcefully enters the Phantom Zone and, upon landing, makes a crater on a building's rooftop. Some dialogue implies that the The Bureau has to fix the damaged areas before they can drop the Phantom Zone effect.
    • Somewhat related to the above. Probably due to some internal Lampshade Hanging within the production company, the majority of fights in the third season averts this by having the fights taking place in the abandoned part of a city the protagonists are stationed in. That way, they can blow up as much stuff as possible and nobody would care, since the infrastructure was abandoned anyway.
  • Mazinger Z partially averts it. The show constantly shows how much death and destruction would cause a humongous war mecha rampaging through the land or a battle between giant robots in a highly-populated city, and the heroes often have to suffer the consequences of it. Episode 7 gave an example when mobs of people -sick of people getting killed and homes getting demolished due to several Humongous Mecha battling- threw stones to the heroes and besieged the Institute and Kouji's house. Still, the series does not go into that topic with so much deepth as it could. The sequels -Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer- dealt the trope in similar fashion.
  • In Saint Seiya, when Princess Hilda of Asgard or Poseidon flood the Earth by melting the ice caps, the series goes out of its way to show the devastation from tidal waves and superstorms even in spite of Athena's attempts to hold the waters back. When the villain du jour is defeated, though, it's considered a victory for mankind, and no mention is made of the millions of lives lost while the Saints battled. Likewise, the Gold Cloth Saga actually showed a very violent war breaking out, but it never reached the heroes and was never brought up before or after the Big Bad's defeat.
  • Dragonball Z: Piccolo blew up the moon to stop a monkey from rampaging in a forest.
    • The Abridged Parody had something to say about this.
    • Jackie Chun beat him to it in the original Dragon Ball... but played with when the announcer for the tournament chews him out for it. Notably, they fixed it by having Kami make another one after Goku him traded his tail... which didn't happen in the DBZ example.
    • In addition, the opening sequence to DBZ Budokai 2 has Goku slice the moon in half with a Kamehamaha. Dragon Ball just seems to have it in for the moon.
    • The series also generally falls under this when it comes to especially destructive Ki Attacks. Apparently something that is strong enough to blow a planet apart is no danger as long as it's not pointing down, even though that kind of thing should have sucked the atmosphere right off of Earth. An especially bad case was Vegeta's "Final Flash" attack against Perfect Cell, which made it into space despite being fired horizontally and apparently taking a continent's worth of land with it.
  • In the Pokémon anime, there's one episode where a coastal city is attacked by a giant Tentacruel. The place is flooded within seconds and several large buildings are destroyed, yet there's never any mention of injuries or deaths. That's to be expected, though, considering the show's place on the Sliding Scale.
  • UFO Princess Valkyrie has a huge UFO crash-landing in the middle of a bathhouse, still filled with visitors, with exactly one casualty - which is instantly rectified. Somewhat later, a destructive fight between a crazy Catgirl With Psycho Weapons and a Kamehame Hadoken-throwing space-princess leaves several large chasms blasted through the entirety of the cityscape. Neither the potentially-astronomical casualties, nor the damage to the city, is mentioned again. But the catgirl apologized, so it's cool...
  • Slayers usually avoids it - the very first episode ended with Lina nuking a dragon, which ruined most of the village she "protected", was commented by the happy employer with "Like hell it's 'all right'!" and got her chased out with Torches and Pitchforks. But it's played straight when Lina uses a Dragon Slave to blow up an enormous rock that threatened to fall on Seyruun. The spell accidentally destroyed a sizable chunk of the city, and presumably killed hundreds of people.
    • Mostly, by the time someone decides to invite a master of Black Magic infamous for leaving craters anywhere she goes and fireballing people who address her with one of nicknames she disapprove, things already are bad enough to grab what you can and run to the hills. That world doesn't have Godzilla Threshold, it have Lina Inverse threshold.
  • It's worth noting that virtually every single episode of The Big O simply begins with the eponymous robot exploding up from underground, taking streets, cars, skyscrapers, and one can only presume people along with it. And yet the chief of police is good friends with its pilot and never bitches him out for mass slaughter.
    • Hand Waved when the Gainax Ending reveals that the entire two seasons were some sort of simulation or theatrical piece on a massive sound stage. There are lots of such headscratchers in real fiction too.
  • In the Sonic X adaptation of the plot of Sonic Adventure, it's stated that no one died when Chaos flooded downtown Station Square, because everyone evacuated in time. They also blew up the moon at one point.
  • In Code Geass Nightmare of Nunnally, unlike in the main series, the consequences of triggering an avalanche on Narita are largely unexplored, given that the plot quickly moves on.
    • The main series also plays this straight when Lelouch sets off Mount Fuji. No mention of an evacuation of all the towns surrounding the mountain for about 100 miles (which should include much of the Tokyo metropolitan area) is ever made.
      • There are a large amount of people fleeing the Tokyo Settlement after the battle starts. A bit late, considering, but chances are there were some evacuations prior to the battle in the area immdeiately around the battlefield. That said, massive evacuations of anything except the immediate battlefield would have tipped someone of about Lelouch's plan.
      • Lelouch is going for a Zero-Approval Gambit (haha) at this point, so several hundred thousand casualties do more to advance his plans than anything else.
      • The series ending is really upbeat, considering that Lelouch is hated by everyone. How does he exceed the nuking of Tokyo and Pendragon? How does he exceed Charles' rampant warmongering on the entire planet? He'd have to either kill an enormous number of people to do it, or otherwise enact some sort of extreme tyranny that somehow ruins fun for everybody. But it's never mentioned, and no one who knows about Lelouch seems to care. And for the record, between the epilogue and a post-series DVD bonus feature, that's the entire (surviving) main cast.
  • Parodied in Dirty Pair Flash: After one of their little "accidents" involving a space station Kei and Yuri are ordered to send a hand-written letter of apology to each one of the 300,000 survivors.
  • The first El Hazard OVA features this. When an Attack Animal is awakened, one of the villains immediately orders her to destroy an entire city, which she goes about efficiently and brutally. Fortunately this is an unimportant city, and throughout the continuity said villain never faces any consequences for ordering this destruction. The main cast even confronts him in the sequel OVA and nobody even brings up the subject. This also holds true for the living weapon herself, although she technically had no choice in the matter.
  • The series finale of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has the entire cast fighting for the universe... in a robot large enough to use galaxies as weapons, which they do quite often. It's implied that the universe they fought in may have been created by their own warping power, and so nobody was actually in trouble.
  • Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea gives us a non-explosion version, where the main character causes sea levels to rise drastically, but no one ever points out that logically she could have killed millions of people.

Comic Books

  • As mentioned in one of the page quotes, The Incredible Hulk can go a long way without killing anyone during his rampages. Hulk's buddy, Amadeus Cho, tries to explain this by suggesting that the Hulk is amazingly gifted, doing math to know exactly where every chunk of debris he creates will fall.
    • At least during The Hulk and Superman's bout in DC Vs. Marvel, they were teleported to the Grand Canyon, where Superman lampshades that it would be one place they wouldn't hurt anyone collaterally.
    • Averted in Banner, where the plot involves testing The Hulk as a Weapon of Mass Destruction by repeatedly dropping him in populated areas where he wakes up to find entire square city blocks leveled, complete with strewn body parts.
  • Lampooned by Scott McCloud's Destroy!!, in which two quarreling superheroes demolish most, and finally all, of Manhattan. The punchline: "Well, at least no one was hurt."
  • The Punisher, in his 30-odd years of punishing (racking up something in the order of 2000+ bodies, it's estimated) has never killed an innocent. It's reasoned that Frank's whole schtick is that he's a phenomenally well trained, extremely diligent US Marine, who makes damn sure everything's in place before he starts his "work".
    • In the Welcome Back Frank Trade Paperback, he actually kills a copycat vigilante for not taking the same precautions and accidentally killing an innocent.
  • Played straight for the most part in Astro City. The city is frequently attacked by hundred-foot-tall monsters or rampaging gods, but most collateral damage either occurs off-screen or with scenes showing heroes rescuing civilians. Most aftermath is limited to broken windows and litter in the streets, and the residents take this all in stride, praising the city's robust public works services. To be fair, it is hinted that some heroes use their powers or cosmic gadgets to help repair damages after the battles.
  • Parodied in The Far Side where one panel depicts the aftermath of King Kong with a Chalk Outline of King Kong on the street. Inside the outline of Kong are lots of outlines of people apparently flattened when he fell off the Empire State Building.
    • Two others have the end of a dog leash coming out from under him, implying he crushed a dog, and a squashed shopping bag with a woman lamenting, "Well, there go my tomatoes."
  • Unlike most traditional superhero comics, Invincible averts this hard: whenever there's a big, city-levelling battle between superheroes and supervillains, a large number of innocent civilians die.

Fan Works

  • In a Flash Forward from I Am What I Am, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic by M. McGregor, a future version of Willow dumped a full dossier on the true nature of the world into every human mind on Earth in order to prove that the New Watcher's Council wasn't a bunch of crazies at the outset of an invasion by The Legions of Hell in 2012. This Info Dump lasted a full two minutes, during which everyone who received it apparently blacked out. Despite this, there was no mention of car crashes, bungled surgeries or other adverse effects which one would expect from such an event.


  • If X-Men Origins Wolverine is to be believed, Wolverine is at least partially responsible for the Three Mile Island leak aka, one of the things that helped kill nuclear power, and the first major leak in American history. Granted, Deadpool could have stopped firing, but you've got to wonder what Wolvie was thinking causing his head to fall into the silo.
    • There's also X2: X-Men United, as pointed out in this abridged script, when Stryker first makes Xavier use the other Cerebro to try to kill all mutants in the world (of which there are hundreds of millions). We are shown the X-Men writhing in pain. Then Magneto comes and rewires Cerebro to kill humans instead. All 6 billion of them. While Xavier is stopped a few minutes later, this means that for several minutes, every human in the world (including pilots, surgeons, high-rise construction workers, etc.) were immobilized with pain. Guess what, no collateral damage is mentioned. However, given that the president seems about to do something drastic with regards to mutants before Xavier stops him, there may, in fact, have been tremendous damage.
  • Independence Day initially looks like it's going to avert the trope with the considerable concern about the collateral damage which would be caused by staging a nuclear attack on one of the alien ships, but then plays it straight anyway in the climax:
    • The destroyed battleship was directly over the Area 51 bunker when it was destroyed (from beneath and in the center), yet it goes flying to one side until it's completely clear before crashing into the desert. How convenient; if it had gone straight down, it would have buried the bunker entrance and trapped everyone inside.
    • The mothership was destroyed with a nuclear warhead that apparently made its reactor explode. See that debris burning up in the skies? That's nuclear fallout irradiating the atmosphere of the entire hemisphere. There's also the issue of 18.4 sextillion tons of alien mothership rubble falling out of orbit...or not. If it stays up there then space is now an unusable cluttered junkyard. If it falls in big chunks it's the end of life on Earth. If it falls in small chunks the heat of friction as it burns up will likely render the Earth uninhabitable.
      • Tropers have no sense of scale. The sun hits the Earth with 200 million Hiroshimas each day; the friction of that much mass (the mothership appears to be mostly empty space with a volume much smaller than the Death Star) isn't something our planet would even notice. And as for falling objects - 70% of the earth's surface is water, and the vast majority of the remaining 30% is uninhabited. Hundreds of similarly sized meteors impact the earth each day - when was the last time one of those killed anyone?
    • All those giant spaceships were hanging over major cities and historical places all over the world, but when they crashed, they apparently all aimed for unpopulated countryside. Very considerate aliens, indeed.
    • With some extra fridge logic, this might be intentional. All the aliens inside the ship, safely inside their lightspeed proof rooms far from the explosion that damaged the drive, might stand a better chance of surviving after the crash with a city to pillage and to hide in within their reach.
    • There are sequel novels. Presumably, precisely this does indeed happen.
  • In the movie Fight Club, when the narrator confronts Tyler about his plot to destroy 11 skyscrapers in the downtown area, Tyler explains that it won't kill anybody, as the buildings will be empty at that time. No mention is made of the possibility that the collapsing buildings might damage surrounding areas. The shooting script of the movie also says that Tyler, being a polymath, carefully arranged the bombs in the buildings to make sure they collapse inward on themselves with minimal collateral damage, as in a controlled demolition.
    • The book, on the other hand, had only one building, which would topple and crush the national history museum. However, Tyler, being a considerate and self-sustaining individual, made the bombs out of a mixture that he knew only occasionally worked, that he had never quite managed to get working properly. It failed.
  • The Incredibles:the whole reason that the various Supers were forced out of the heroing business is because society is tired of all the collateral damage and interference. (And because people figured out that lawsuits can be used on Supers.) However, at the very end, Violet is shown putting up a force-field when some wreckage from the explosion comes by, but no one seems concerned about anyone else being injured and you even see the neighbor kid from before standing just a couple dozen feet away a minute later completely unharmed. Never mind the climactic fight itself or the Underminer's appearance.
  • Alien Resurrection ends with the good guys destroying the aliens on the research ship by crashing it into Earth's surface. We get a view from space as it crashes into what appears to be the east coast of either Africa or India, producing an enormous explosion that realistically would undoubtedly have killed millions... maybe more than a xenomorph infestation.
    • Lampshaded on the DVD Commentary, as one of the special effects guys asks if we'll ever learn what part of the planet was sacrificed—as if in response the Special Edition edit of the film ends with Call and Ripley on Earth, overlooking a demolished Paris.
      • Although in this case it is implied that Earth was already a devastated wasteland ("Earth. What a shithole."), not that the ship impacted Paris. Indeed, all of the buildings are still standing, just very decrepit and dirty.
  • Played completely straight in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer with Galactus (a huge sentient cloud-thing several times the size of earth) being completely obliterated as he hovers above the planet, having a snack. This would at least strip away Earth's atmosphere with the shock wave or, far more likely, just disintegrate Earth entirely. But no, the Richards/Storm wedding goes off as planned.
  • Batman may have "one rule" in The Dark Knight Saga but he was tremendously lucky that there was no one in any of those cars he blew up (we even see two kids playing in a car one row over), or that no shrapnel from the Batmobile's "intimidate" setting hit those vagrants, and that when he went barreling on a very large, fast, heavy motorbike-thing through a shopping centre all the people in his way were agile enough to leap out of it. What if they'd chanced to be disabled, or obese, or if they'd simply frozen in shock?
    • Invoked by an exasperated Alfred after the Tumbler chase in Batman Begins, in which Bruce causes a lot of structural damage across the city and smashing into police cars. Alfred calls him out on his recklessness and emphasizes that it was a miracle that no one was killed.
    • In Begins Bruce's actions set off a chain reaction, leading to the complete destruction of the ninja-monastery thing he was training at. It's rather unrealistic to think everyone made it out alive, especially the shackled prisoners. The extra irony is that Bruce rebelled in the first place because he had been ordered to kill one of said criminals. Sure, he went out of his way to ensure that Ducard didn't die, but even that didn't turn out to be such a good idea. While Batman doesn't kill, Bruce did, and probably had to do it more than once while travelling the world.
  • Near the end of Deep Impact, the crew of the spaceship sent to knock the comet off of its collision course with the Earth (they failed to do this) essentially turns their ship into a missile and flies straight at the comet as its entering Earth's atmosphere. We are treated to a nice light show. In reality, this would be the equivalent of detonation a massive bomb in Earth's upper atmosphere.
  • Amazingly, despite making liberal use of Hollywood Science, rival movie Armageddon averts this trope as it's used to explain why they can't just Nuke the Killer Asteroid. played straight at the end however.
  • In the 1980 adaptation of Flash Gordon, the moon is hurtling towards the Earth, causing natural catastrophes. Flash "saves" the world just in time, but... er... forget it.
  • At the climax of the V for Vendetta, the Houses of Parliament are destroyed by a massive bomb on a tube train beneath them. An explosion of such size would devastate a wide area around it, but miraculously the thousands of be-masked V supporters watching the show from only a few metres away are completely unharmed, rather than being shredded by flying debris.
    • Given that most of these turn out to be people who are known to be dead, it's possible that there really wasn't anyone near the building.
  • After test audiences left WALL-E thinking that the ending of the movie left humanity doomed, the credits sequence was specifically designed to let people know they survived quite handily.
  • The Ghostbusters movies play this trope both ways. It's averted between the two films:The death of the giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man rained splodge over most of the city (and its inhabitants, and cars) and resulted in the devastation and demolition of several buildings; by the beginning of the second film, the Ghostbusters had been bankrupted by the subsequent lawsuits. But then it's played straight elsewhere in the films - at no point in either of the films (or the 2009 video game) is it confirmed that anyone has died from an encounter with a ghost. Considering some of the things we've seen the ghosts do (such as ghost driving vehicles - poorly), human causalities were a very real possibility.
  • In the Ocean's Eleven remake, Danny's crew uses an electromagnetic device to shut off all electricity in Las Vegas for 30 seconds. Realistically, we should be looking at pacemakers going haywire, car crashes in the thousands, hospital equipment failing, and god help them if any planes were flying low over the city when it happened. Yet the sequels still only refer to them as thieves, not as the most successful and high-tech terrorists of all time.
  • Turned Up to Eleven in the Cutie Honey movie: Panther Claw have this giant drill-like tower underneath Tokyo Tower. Meaning: If you work in the area, don't bother coming in. Then, Scarlet Claw blows up three buildings. They all remain largely intact, save for a giant hole in the middle. One of them, hilariously, is Cutie Honey's former office, and the only reaction this gets is a dazed "what the...?" from the boss. And finally, the tower explodes. If you're in Tokyo when this kind of thing is happening, get out of the city. The only things we see? A traffic jam and other people not caring.
  • Transformers
    • The first movie. Very strange logic on the part of the army to take the Allspark into the middle of downtown Los Angeles when a horde or psychotic giant alien robots plus the good guys' jet fighter air support, was destined to converge on its location. The ensuing battle destroys a huge number of buildings and who knows how many innocent bystanders. But the situation was so desperate that it was the only option.
    • The 3rd film has Cybertron itself in the process of being teleported to Earth's orbit. Cybertron is a massive, metallic world much larger than Earth, yet no effects on the tides and earthquakes are mentioned. Especially considering that one of Megatron's plots in the Generation One cartoon was to bring Cybertron close to Earth specifically to cause said tidal waves and earthquakes, and then harvest the energy from them. The movie's novelization does in fact mention this as a concern. Gen 1 ended with Cybertron either in Earth's orbit or between Earth and Mars with no problems
  • In Battlefield Earth, most of the aliens live inside a large artificial dome that was constructed over the city of Denver, along with thousands of human slaves and lots of old human buildings that have been repurposed for Psychlo rule. The heroes plan to shatter the dome to suffocate most of the Psychlos since many of them will not be wearing their protective masks; very little time is given to the incredible collateral damage of shattering foot-thick glass all over the tops of everyone, humans included.
  • Blue Thunder pulls an interesting one in having the big aerial battle sequences occur over a major city (presumably Los Angeles). In the course of the battle, Misguided Missiles hit a Japanese barbecue shop and a skyscraper, and a jet aircraft is shot down. While the people in charge do express dismay over these events, nowhere is it implied that anyone got killed, and the news voiceover that closes the film seems more concerned with the fate of the helicopter than with the flaming debris raining down over the city.
  • ...and King Kong didn't land on anyone when he fell off that skyscraper. In fairness, surely the first thing any sane person would do if they say a giant ape climbing the Empire State Building being attacked by fighters would be to get out of Dodge.
  • The 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still ends with Klaatu causing his ship to emit a massive EMP wave that shuts down all the GORT nanites. It also shuts down every piece of technology on the planet, even things that should not be affected by EMP, such as analog watches. This means millions dead in hospitals, planes falling out of the sky, no way to get food or water to starving masses, etc. And billions of dead silicon-based nanites covering the landscape. Good luck making use of that land. Yes, Klaatu mentions our way of life will have to change. He just didn't mention most of us would die, while he happily flies off home, mission complete.
  • In the Star Trek film, the Big Bad is stopped from destroying Earth, while he was drilling a big hole into Earth's crust to reach the core in the San Francisco Bay. Everybody is happy, but there is still a big hole in the bay, which can lead to all sorts of bad things for San Francisco and Starfleet (whose HQ and academy are in the city). Additionally, the film fails to mention that Starfleet is now in a bad shape, thanks to the loss of the majority of the graduating class and 6 top-of-the-line starships. There is also the loss of one of the founding member worlds of the Federation. There is also the threat of another war with the Romulans. Good luck convincing people that Nero was not associated with the Empire.
  • Halfway through Kung Fu Panda 2, Lord Shen fires cannons at his ancestral palace in order to kill Po and the Furious Five. The tall palace collapses on the side, while Po and the others manage to run up its side and survive. Thing is, Gongmen City is a bustling metropolis (for fictional Ancient China). How many cute rabbits were crushed by the falling building?
  • Iron Man 2 features more collateral damage than you can shake an explosion at, including a swarm of combat drones going amok among a crowd of people, and not a single bystander is shown with so much as a scratch. Even the test pilot being shown having his spine snapped (bloodlessly) is pointed out to have survived.
  • Hulk went out of its way to show that no-one died during the Hulk's rampages.
  • Averted in two fifties era giant monster movies, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and The Giant Behemoth. In both of these films, disposing of the titular monster's corpse is a major concern for the heroes because of an extremely virulent germ contained in the blood of the former and the overwhelming radioactivity of the latter preclude destruction with more conventional weapons, which would scatter pieces of the monsters' corpses thus contaminating a large area.
  • Averted in The Avengers, but in a subtle way. While no bodies or civilian deaths are seen in the Final Battle, a news report afterwards shows a bunch of grieving people in front of wall covered in memorials for innocents killed by the Chitauri.


  • Countless soft science fiction stories feature weapons that are said to vaporize a person shot with them. The effects of those weapons are always depicted as making the victim disappear without any effect on the surroundings, rather than creating a large steam explosion. Or disintegrating the planet in the case where the entire mass of the person is converted to energy.
    • This sort of weapon is intended to be parodied, but is actually used correctly in Futurama - The Beast With A Billion Backs. Bender and Calculon have a duel with "planetary annihilators", and when Bender fires his, he blows a neat circular hole in Calculon - along with many other neat circular holes in every building and person in the beam's path.
    • Say an adult male human masses 100 kilograms. His rest mass energy is equal to 8.98755179 × 10^18 joules, by the famous E=mc^2. This is equivalent to the energy released by combusting 2.15 gigatons of TNT, or equivalently, 2,150 megatons or 2,150,000 kilotons. Compare to Little Boy (the Hiroshima bomb) at 13 to 18 kilotons (they don't have an accurate estimate), and Fat Man (the Nagasaki bomb) at 21 kilotons. The largest nuclear bomb ever tested was Tsar Bomba, at 50 megatons (50,000 kilotons). The energy contained in our hypothetical human is therefore over 40 times larger than the largest nuke.
      • Dealt with 'realistically' as part of the plot in Neal Asher's Polity novel Gridlinked. The interplanetary transport system, called a runcible, is sabotaged causing a single person to arrive at a planet as pure energy. The ensuing explosion and resultant environmental impact kills off the entire planetary colony.
    • But nowhere near enough to disintegrate a planet.
  • Commented upon in a Battletech novel where a commander berates a subordinate about firing indiscriminately in a crowded city in order to get to him. So it was a simulator fight, but still...
    • While there are commanders who will make at least a token effort to avoid it, the novels nonetheless show plenty of instances of combat in an urban setting. The presumably resulting civilian casualties are rarely even mentioned in passing unless it's explicitly a plot point (like the Smoke Jaguars' orbital bombardment and resulting total destruction of Edo, which was in fact considered over the top by even their allies and a genuine war crime by most everybody else).
      • The Jade Falcons repeat the orbital bombardment in the animated series, but it's explicitly stated that the city's population was evacuated prior to the bombardment. A sourcebook for the series goes into further detail, comparing the two incidents, and bringing up the question of what the Falcons did with the people afterwards.
    • In Battletech, it's considered a fact that if you fight in a city, there will be civilian casualties. However, this trope is played straight in that the fusion reactors that power Battlemechs, if ruptured, would spread radioactive products[1] over a decent radius, but cities are never rendered even temporarily irradiated from this happening despite centuries of warfare.
  • Deconstructed and averted in Final Watch. As explained there is a fundamental difference between Mass Sleep spells used by the Light Ones and the Dark Ones. The Light version allows the victim a few moments of consciousness to put whatever he's doing to a halt and make himself comfortable. The Dark one simply knocks everybody out. After the Dark spell is used the characters enter the area of effect and register numerous crashed cars, starting fires and other unpleasantries.
  • Averted in Mission of Honor. The destruction of space stations orbiting the Manticoran system worlds causes a great deal of collateral damage from debris striking the planets below, including the complete destruction of a city, and a treecat clan being wiped out.
  • Averted in Mikhail Akhmanov's novel Invasion, where the destruction of the alien mothership's computer causes its autonomous modules to crash and explode, while they were suspended above Earth's major cities, destroying countless historical artifacts and killing millions of people. However, this is still viewed as a victory, as the aliens were planning on enslaving humanity. This also serves to drive humanity to the stars in the later novels of the series. In all fairness, though, 40 million people is still a little low, given that these modules were filled with Antimatter.
  • Mostly played straight in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. The rocks are carefully guided to cause minimum casualties (in the hundreds or maybe thousands at most), and in fact many were aimed at completely unpopulated areas as a show of force. However, some were aimed near heavily populated areas and if they were intercepted they were knocked off their intended course and caused a lot more damage. In addition, the ones aimed at unpopulated areas? Some people decided to mock the aim of the Lunar residents and picnic in some of those places. A textbook example of Too Dumb to Live.
    • In fairness, those "heavily populated areas" were next door to the military bases and spaceports the Moonies were trying to bomb in the first place, not the actual targets themselves. And only one or two are mentioned as having been knocked off course in such a manner. (They specifically avoided targeting the headquarters of the government they were revolting against, since it happened to be dangerously close to the Taj Mahal. Quite apart from the PR implications of destroying the Taj Mahal, it was the favorite building of the revolutionary prime minister.)
  • In the Star Trek novel Beneath the Raptor’s Wing, several starships carrying antimatter explode in orbit over Andoria. The planet is fine, but characters do note that had the explosions been a certain degree more powerful, the atmosphere could have been stripped away.
  • In the novel Nuklear Age, this is parodied to an extent; a Giant Enemy Crab rampages through the city, destroying entire buildings, but no one is harmed because everyone happens to be out on a lunch break. Later, when a city block is nuked, casualties are handwaved by the fact that the people of the city had already been sent off to work in warehouses and construction zones, to build an invasion fleet for their new hypnotic master; and, towards the end, the trope is subverted with a quite vivid description of casualties.
  • Partly averted in Vladimir Vasilyev and Alexander Gromov's novel Antarctic-online, in which the titular continent inexplicably finds itself in Central Pacific, while the islands that used to occupy the area find themselves near the South Pole. While the novel largely focuses on the political consequences of a continent that nobody wants suddenly becoming prime real estate, there is plenty of talk about the ecological consequences, such as many coastal cities being flooded in the near future as the result of the melting Antarctic ice cap (this is handled, more or less, realistically - it's stated that the process will last for millennia given the sheer amount of ice). There are immediate effects, though, such as tidal waves hitting the coasts from the sudden shift, and the numerous Polynesian islands, stuck in the Antarctic Circle, to evacuate. The world's nations wish to blame somebody, and the blame falls on the newly-declared sovereign Antarctic nation. Many nations demand reparations from Antarctic representatives, even though the continental "jump" was not their fault.

Live Action TV

  • In the season 4 finale of 24, a military-grade nuclear missile is intercepted and destroyed just above downtown LA seconds before it was to detonate. While this should have spread several kilos of plutonium across the city in a "dirty bomb" effect, nobody seems to be concerned about this aside from a Hand Wave about NEST cleaning up the scene. Although the plutonium would only be particularly dangerous if inhaled or eaten, as the alpha radiation it emits wouldn't penetrate your skin. There was some handwave about prevailing winds blowing it away from the city.
  • In Power Rangers, the Monster of the Week's energy blasts regularly hit the Zords and they fall back and through a building. Nobody ever talks about the implications of that... The later dodge of many fights happening in an abandoned warehouse district is an inelegant solution to say the least.
    • In the first season, a news reporter almost always assured us that amazingly, no one was seriously hurt in the day's monster rampage.
    • Usually, it's the bad guy blasting, kicking, or shotputting robots through buildings, but once, the Rangers knocked an opponent through a good chunk of the city. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
    • This was lampshaded in an episode of Power Rangers SPD (though not intentionally) with the line "Thank goodness no one was in that building!" The Ranger saying it really had no way of checking, too. In another episode, a Monster of the Week says "I hate empty buildings!" before smashing one (not, by the way, the more menacing line used in the trailer.)
    • When you take into account that the majority of the Big Bads actually do want to kill everyone, their focus on empty buildings becomes even sillier.
    • A Lampshade Hanging in Tokumei Sentai Gobusters: In one episode, the heroes kablooify the Monster of the Week, and then reduce an enemy Humongous Mecha to scrap, in the good ol' Power Rangers/Super Sentai tradition. ...Then, the next episode begins with them having to clean up the wreckage of the enemy robot.
  • Leverage: In the season finale, Nate rigs a component of a nuclear to explode when terrorists try to use it. In a show that meticulously avoids killing people off indiscriminately it's a bit jarring to see the smoking wreckage of the plant that went boom. But . . . it's okay since it's terrorists? Sheesh.
  • An EMP problem ensued in an episode of the short-lived alien invasion drama Threshold, where an EMP is unleashed in Miami to keep an alien signal from spreading. The team leader is told no one was killed. You're telling me not one pacemaker shorted out in a city located in the Retiree Capital of Earth? Riiiiight.
    • In fact, an episode of a cartoon called The Magician had stopping such an EMP as the plot of an episode because pacemakers and medical equipment frying would result in quite a death toll.
  • FlashForward averts it brutally in the pilot. When almost everybody on Earth falls asleep for two minutes, there aren't exactly exemptions for drivers, pilots, or train conductors.
    • In one episode the theory is advanced that the Chinese did it, because most people in China were asleep at the time, and so went unharmed.
    • Although one could argue that the number of casualties was a lot lower than it had any right to be.
    • Played straight in the season series finale, however. The good guys manage to figure out that the next black out will happen within a couple of minutes. Authorities and media are alerted, and then we get a montage of the black out in which everyone seems prepared and dramatic casualties appear to have been avoided. Except that two minutes are a rather shitty forewarning for such a global event. What of planes? Of surgical operations? Of people simply not listening to the media in those couple of minutes? Sure, better than the first black out, but still...
      • Commercial planes have fly-by-wire. They can do the entire flight autonomously from taking off to landing without the need for human input. Air-line pilots right now are more observers then controllers.
    • However while FlashForward averts it in the pilot, and continues to show signs on buildings, every single car featured in the show later should have some physical evidence of the fender bender it was put through when/if it was on the road (and lots were, especially it Los Angeles where it was 10am), during the Flash Forward yet in many, many long shots you see cars and streets with absolutely no sign of the Flash Forward having taken place. (Or the body shops did a real bang up job cleaning up in just two months.)
  • Doctor Who has plenty examples of this:
    • In the Series 2 Christmas Special, Torchwood blows up the Sycorax's ship while it's still in atmosphere, with no ill effects, when just earlier, the ship's entry into the atmosphere shattered windows.
      • Actually, before the beam strikes the Sycoraxi ship, we see it pass by the Earth's moon. So, we should be able to assume the ship is more than 300,000 km away from the planet. Earth's atmosphere stops at around 10,000 km for all practical purposes, and then, there aren't many particles in the exosphere. Yes, parts of the ship reach the Mesosphere, burning like meteors into ash. Really, the explosion shouldn't have been that large on screen.
    • In The Poison Sky, the Doctor sets the ENTIRE ATMOSPHERE of earth ablaze to eliminate all the poisonous gas the Sontarans have released, and nothing even gets SINGED.
    • Defied in The Next Doctor, where after defeating the local 50 Foot Whatever, the Doctor makes sure to teleport it away before it falls over and crushes London. Its initial rampage probably still did some damage, though.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures is subject to this, notably when the Moon had a closer orbit to Earth, an asteroid was within probably a few hundred kilometres of the surface, and all power everywhere was removed for a few minutes. No widespread damage or visible deaths. In series 4, after almost all humans were briefly taken away, Clyde and Rani noticed that the streets were surprisingly clean and un-wrecked.
  • Babylon 5 seems to have left little psychological damage in proportion to the death and destruction implied. While there are Shell-Shocked Veteran s, and enmity, there seem to be no where near as many as there would be after, the Minbari trying to destroy the humans, the Narn threatening to destroy the Centauri, the Centauri actually trying to destroy the Narn, the Shadows and Vorlons trying to destroy everybody, the Minbari warrior caste trying to destroy the religious caste and on and on. There are emotional scars shown but you would think that almost everyone would be a helpless puddle of trauma after all that.
    • Highly debatable. People are extremely resilient overall, even in the face of unimaginable tragedies. It's not like everyone sucked their thumbs and rocked in a corner for a few years after World War Two.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, huge sections of Atlantis are regularly demolished by alien invaders, natural disasters and our heroes - yet this seems to have very little overall impact on the city as a whole and the population, which appears to stay remarkably steady in numbers. Although the latter could be explained after contact is re-established with Earth as new personnel arriving to fill the gaps. Still, all in all, Atlantis must be one of those alien cities which is capable of almost instantly rebuilding itself when damaged.
    • It is mentioned that Atlantis is gigantic... it is a city after all. Over 90% of it is uninhabited; the expedition (numbering a couple thousand at most) stays almost exclusively in the central tower, while the Athosians live in colonies on the mainland.
  • Most starships in the Star Trek universe are powered by a controlled matter-antimater reaction, and therefore carry a supply of hydrogen and anti-hydrogen for fuel. Several times in both the show and the features, we have seen starships destroyed in orbit of populated worlds; yet those worlds are never shown to be devastated by the massive energy and radiation discharge that would result from those ships loosing antimatter containment.

Video Games

  • In Dolores, i, the eponymous Humongous Mecha/Robot Girl causes a massive wave after falling to earth a hypersonic speeds, inundating a city up to at least the second floor. Although the damage is blamed on the heroes, there are oddly no fatalities mentioned.
  • In [[The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask]], in which the moon falls close enough to the planet for the Humongous Mecha-sized Four Giants to catch it, and is later disintegrated, all without harm to the surrounding area. The scenes with the moon in the atmosphere make the moon look a lot smaller than it does in the sky...
    • Averted when it does hit - rather than just crushing the city like it might do, it catches fire in the low atmosphere and causes a planet-wide flaming shockwave that kills all living creatures. It also fucks up the earth's gravity fairly dramatically.
    • And when it disintegrates... well, you can't have the moon suddenly disintegrate without massive changes to the planet's inhabitants' way of life.
    • Although... Termina doesn't have lunar tides in the first place. You can wait at the ocean all three days and the level never changes. And the moon disintegrated? Maybe it was being teleported back up.
    • Termina's moon is actually fairly small, only about the size of Clock Town (as you can see in the ending scenes, or by using cheats to fly up to it earlier on). It is also a lot closer than you think, and is "falling" very slowly. Probably not big enough to make much of a difference as far as tides are concerned, although at the speed that it's falling it shouldn't be catching on fire in the atmosphere or making much of an impact on collision (aside from crushing Clock Town). Let's just say Majora did it.
  • Averted in Chrono Trigger. Near the end of the game, when your party defeats Lavos, the entire floating continent Zeal which used him as a power source crashes down to earth, bringing significant climactic change and death along with it.
  • Notably Averted in City of Heroes. The Rikti invasion included an enormous mother ship that hovered over Paragon City. When it was eventually defeated by a huge gathering of heroes (many of which died in the battle), the ship crashed into a section of the city now known as the "Rikti Crash Site," which is walled off from the rest of the town and considered extremely dangerous for all but the most powerful and experienced heroes. It's also a quite sizable game map of what one would expect a cityscape to look like after a gigantic alien battleship fell on it.
    • The back-story indicates that the heroes saw the damage they were doing when they took down the ships, so they then started tossing them into the ocean instead, which is why there's even a city left standing at all.
  • Pick a cinematic attack in the game Touhou Soccer 2. Any of them. Come on. There's no way the audience could have survived this.
    • Rising Game starts with the world blowing up. And then Sakuya and Eirin send knives and arrows flying in every direction. If the explosion didn't kill the audience, all those pointy implements would've skewered them!
    • One word: Danmaku.
      • This is a tricky one. ZUN is expectedly obtuse on the matter, and interpretations range from it being only dangerous to the intended target, only dangerous to people and not the surroundings (Perfect Memento mentions that while danmaku duels are pretty, a safe distance is advised), to potentially damaging everything it impacts but most people and things in Gensoukyou are resilient enough to avoid lasting damage.
  • One between-levels cutscene in Afterburner Climax passes you orders to hunt down a nuke-bearing bomber, and explicitly tells you not to worry about the "sympathetic detonation" of the nuclear device.
    • Realistically, it's questionable whether a nuke would undergo sympathetic detonation, unless it was specially designed to do so. They're not exactly easy to set off.
  • Averted (slightly) at the end of the Ghirlandaio mission in Valkyria Chronicles. The explosion that Selvaria causes is explicitly stated to have vaporized the entire army and demolished the fortress, but this has no impact on the player or Squad 7 because the army is painted as an unsympathetic hindrance to the militia.
    • By that point, most of the Imperial army was defeated so the militia can handle their remnants. And if the Universal Conscription is anything to go by, I'm guessing that the bulk of Gallia's military might is in their militia anyway, which explains why the regular army doesn't get anywhere much while the militia does the heavy lifting.
  • Explicitly lampshade-hung in Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception, where it's noted that the raining debris from the Gleipnir somehow never caused any casualties. As if in acknowledgement of this trope, however, earlier on we had Crux pleading for the Gleipnir Captain not to crash the airborne fortress into Santa Elva.
    • The last mission of Ace Combat 5 involves shooting down a satellite aimed to fall on the Osean capital city, and explicitly carrying a nuclear bomb. It explodes less than twenty miles off the coast, and rains debris over the city. No indication of any damage is given.
  • Airforce Delta Strike sends the squadron to destroy a space elevator located in the center of a city, then in the immediate next mission, you have to destroy the falling debris to prevent the Endor Holocaust
  • Averted in EVE Online: The Empyrean Age. The falling wreckage from the Minmatar and Amarr fleets fighting over Mekhios were more destructive than any orbital bombardment could have been.
  • Averted in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. When the second nuke goes off, Starfish Prime style, the ensuing EMP blast over D.C. knocks out aerial vehicles (despite their military grade electronics shielding), sending them crashing to the ground and killing fellow soldiers.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, the Lunar Cry causes monsters to rain down from the Moon. The last time this happened, it destroyed the Centra civilization and reduced most of a continent to a crater (plainly visible on the World Map). When it happens in the game, it even tints Esthar's sky red and infests the country-sized city with incredibly strong monsters. This causes some consternation, but it is implied that despite the damage of the monster assault, the Estharian military is able to contain the situation.
    • Well, they were prepared for it. So it makes sense they had plans for next lunar cry.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, the ending has Cocoon falling towards Pulse, only to be saved by Ragnarok forming a giant crystal pillar to stop the fall. Logically, a very large portion of Cocoon's population should be dead (if nothing else, because the l'Cie providing artificial gravity to the inside of the Hollow World were gone, to the detriment of the people on the upper half of the inner surface who are now subjected to the planet's gravity,) but the ending implies that there was No Endor Holocaust.
  • In Mass Effect 2, a gunnery sergeant is shouting down at his troops that if you fire a gun in space that projectile keeps on going and will eventually hit something. When using a weapon that strikes with the impact of a city-buster, this is a very bad thing, so under no circumstances are you to "eyeball" it.

Sergeant: " may keep going into deep space, and hit someone else in ten thousand years. If you pull the trigger on this, you are ruining somebody's day, somewhere and sometime."

    • Sovereign's destruction at the end of the first game seemed to play this straight, except for the one piece that landed on the Citadel Tower. The sequel (set two years later) reveals that at least tens of thousands were killed by falling debris, and they're still clearing out debris and making repairs and are expected to continue for at least five years (five years more or five in total, it isn't clear). From the destruction of one ship.
      • That said, it was an ENORMOUS ship.
    • Subverted hard in Arrival. To stop an imminent Reaper invasion, Shepard is reluctantly forced to cause the destruction of a Mass Relay, wiping out a solar system filled with 300,000 Batarians.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the end of the game has the Citadel explode above Earth, with a mass of 7.1 billion metric tons. Along with a lot of spaceships, and possibly a lot of Reapers depending on which ending you chose and how well prepared you were. Earth is not going to be a nice place to be for a long time.
    • The Citadel isn't the only thing that explodes. A massive surge of energy is sent through the entire Mass Relay network, destroying them all. The only other time a Mass Relay has been observed exploding, it took out the entire solar system it was in. If it happened this time as well, almost all major planets will have been destroyed wiping out billions.
      • Due to the game's Gainax Ending, it's difficult to say whether the relays were actually exploding or just transmitting the "space magic" energy before harmlessly (relative to the Alpha Relay at least) breaking apart.
    • Millions of aliens are stranded in the solar system with nowhere to go. Without the mass relays, the turian and, if they're with you, quarian fleets are bound to starve to death, though if the two Liveships are still alive and well by the end of the battle (which is a big if), the Dextro-species at Earth may very well be the best off (which isn't saying much). The millions of stranded aliens on Earth and Mars are trapped on planets that aren't theirs with very limited resources and a destroyed economy and infrastructure. This kind of situation is bound to lead to outbreaks of famine and likely rioting. Without the mass relays, no planet is able to get supplies from other systems, and planets such as Thessia and Palaven will be missing huge segments of their population thanks to the fleet, hampering their own reconstruction efforts. Even if efforts are made to rebuild the relays, many small colonies are out of communication with the rest of the galaxy and lack the technology to rebuild the relays. They are almost certain to never come in contact with the rest of the galaxy again. In short, even if the mass relays didn't destroy the systems, people are still going to be dying in huge numbers after the end of the game. The universe is in a terrible state and, as the aftermath of Sovereign shows, it will not be easily rebuilt.
  • Despite the series already having a major metropolitan area and a military island base among its human casualties, and despite Shadow the Hedgehog being a Darker and Edgier spinoff, the game makes note that all civilians evacuated the capital city before it was destroyed by a giant space laser or overrun with alien forces. A slightly more justifiable example from the same game occurs during the final boss, where the heroic NPCs comment that they were able to escape the aliens' comet/organic spaceship, freeing the protagonist to not worry about destroying the thing.
    • Sonic Unleashed is horrible about this, considering in the opening cutscene Eggman kind of, you know, cracks open the planet and no-one even considers the extremely high probability that he just slaughtered billions of people.
    • The original Sonic Adventure is also guilty of this. Perfect Chaos assembles in the middle of Station Square, taking the city's populace by suprise. The cinematic before the fight clearly shows streets bursting into rubble as water erupts from beneath, and buildings being blown apart from within by flooding. When he's finished, the city is completely destroyed and flooded by hundreds of feet of water, and yet people are heard cheering Sonic on as he prepares to battle despite no one being visible.
  • In Final Fantasy X, when you first fight Sin, you're treated to a couple cutscenes showing you exactly what you're about to fight. The attack shown is strong enough to pull the moon, and absolutely tear up the geography, leaving behind a series of tunnels and canyons filled with fire and rubble. After you beat Sin, you can go and visit the rest of Spira, and at no point did you see any collateral damage. Considering what happened at Djose, you'd think that thousands of people had died in those blasts. Nope. All the places are intact, and no one mentions dying in the attacks.
    • Invoked in the Calm Lands, where battles are staged specifically to avoid collateral damage.
    • It is mentioned in Final Fantasy X-2 that Sin fell on Bevelle during the final battle and did cause some damage to the lower districts, all of which seems to have been repaired in the two years between the two games.
  • Averted in Mega Man X. The post X5 games show that, if anything, the collateral damage caused by the pieces of Eurasia falling to Earth was even worse than what the damage would have been if simply the colony itself fell.
  • The ending of Free Space is, while bittersweet, is still treated as a triumph, but let's look at what actually happened. Yes, the human and Vasudan colonies have survived, as shown by the Expansion Pack and the sequel, and have even prospered. But what about Earth? It has been cut off from the rest of the galaxy, meaning it's probably overpopulated, low on resources, and just had lost the ability to trade with other worlds, meaning planetary economy will be in ruins. Neither the Expansion Pack nor the sequel show what happens to Earth after the collapse of the wormhole. If Freespace 3 is ever made, it should be about pissed off descendants coming back into the galactic community to "thank" everybody for cutting off their only link to the rest of the galaxy.
    • Yes, Earth was saved from being turned into an uninhabitable wasteland by the Lucifer, no one had any idea that blowing up a giant ship in subspace would destroy the subspace node it was done in and the ones who did it were stuck on the Earth side of the node, but humans tend to have short memory for good things and long memory for bad. The descendants will definitely blame their colonies and will probably think they caused this intentionally to gain independence. Assuming there are technologically proficient survivors.[2]
    • This is addressed by numerous fan-made sequels, which often feature a war breaking out when the GTVA repairs the node and re-opens passage to Earth. There are also some fan-made stories taking place within the Sol system after the cutoff, generally showing the fragmentation of society, civil wars, and (usually) eventual reunification under a new government. None of this is actually canon.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, in May 2011 a skeletal version of the Death Star was being built to destroy Valhalla (the afterlife). The player base eventually blew it up. This trope was very much not in effect.[3]
  • The second act of Warzone2100's singleplayer campaign appears to dodge this one at first, as it takes place in the ruins of a city that had a nuclear warhead dropped on it. Then comes a mission where you have to prevent the opposing faction flying a large number of civilians out of the area. The realisation that those half-wrecked apartment buildings (which some players had probably shot at just to see the rather cool collapse animation) might have had people inside them made this mission something of a Wham! Episode.
  • Occurs in the Asura's Wrath demo. Physical God Wyzen assumes a form that is apparently larger than the planet the game is set on and attempts to crush Asura with a mountain-sized index finger, but he is destroyed. The following cutscene shows even larger explosion that should have shattered the planet as well. The gravitational effects of having such a vast entity suddenly materialize just outside the atmosphere are also absent.
  • Certain developments in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years lead many players to assume that the planets on which the other Final Fantasy games take place were blown up as "failed experiments" by God, who is actually a Sufficiently Advanced Alien Evilutionary Biologist. Word of God assures us this did not happen.
  • Occurs in Saints Row 3 when the military brings in a giant flying aircraft carrier to bomb Steelport. It eventually gets blown up, but the city miraculously does not get flattened by the falling debris.
  • The last act of Xenoblade has players witness no less than The Bionis and Mechonis, the Humongous Mecha/continents the game's characters live on, coming to life and engaging in mortal combat. No one on either continent is concerned about this happening (besides the High Entia, who have other problems to deal with), and no one is shown dying or being injured, even though the simple act of the Bionis moving its leg should have ended at least 3 civilizations.

Web Comics

  • Adventurers! Subvert this, ending with the heroes desperately trying to stop the Big Bad's collapsing flying fortress from crushing a city. when they solve it in their usual manner, there is, indeed, No Endor Holocaust. The fact that there's No Endor Holocaust when there logically should've been is what forces Ardam to give up his attempts to surrender to irrationality.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has averted and played straight. In a direct parody of the trope namer, a giant bone space-station is defeat above the ruins of Valhalla, reducing it to even more ruins. However, the update message reminds the players that a thousand years is as a day in Valhalla, so it'll be just fine when you get there.
  • Schlock Mercenary doesn't play up collateral damage, but doesn't make it disappear either. If anything goes boom, it knocks something over and has appropriate minimum safe distance (if this was a star, this can be five hundred light years). Even when people take time to minimize it--

(narrator): There is, however, a wide gap between "safe" and "safer than a six kiloton warhead"... That gap is presently full of shrapnel...
Tagon: Okay, let's make sure he lives to appreciate not being nuked.

Web Original

  • Apparently The Mercury Men universe never heard of the Roche Limit; the Moon gets so close to the Earth that it's affecting the cloud cover. Possibly justified however, as we don't really know how the Gravity Engine works.

Western Animation

  • Superhero fiction is a big offender here as well... Especially if you're Superman fighting Darkseid. Or fighting Captain Marvel. Or Doomsday...
    • That's nothing. In an episode where the Justice League's space gun was taken over, it destroyed half the city of Covenant, New Mexico, "sending shockwaves detectable as far away as Japan". Yet, no one was killed, despite almost EVERY SINGLE BUILDING in the city getting knocked over or having its windows blown out and every road getting torn up by the blast and resulting shockwaves.
    • Worst of all: a Superfriends episode from the 1970s had Green Lantern move the Earth from its orbit in order to prevent a rogue planetoid from crashing into it. He never put it back.
  • Megas XLR: New Jersey is utterly destroyed by the end of several episodes, but is always fixed by the next one. Subverted in the episode where Coop accidentally blew up part of the moon: Earth was hit with severe and deadly climate change, at least until Coop flew back up and put the moon pieces back.
  • Spoofed in a What If episode of Futurama: When the characters see what it would be like if Bender was a giant, he goes around destroying New New York. A newspaper headline reads "Giant Robot on the Rampage. Thousands Dead. None Injured."
    • Further spoofed in the superhero episode: "Thank you, mysterious heroes. The value of the Gemerald you saved is slightly greater than the cost of the damage you caused to this museum. A net gain for our great city!"
    • Also parodied in Futurama episode "Love and Rockets".

Zoidberg: As the candy hearts poured into the fiery quasar, a wondrous thing happened, why not. They vaporized into a mystical love radiation that spread across the universe, destroying many, many planets, including two gangster planets and a cowboy world. But one planet was exactly the right distance to see the romantic rays but not be destroyed by them: Earth. So all over the world couples stood together in joy. And me, Zoidberg. And no one could have been happier unless it would have also been Valentine's Day. What? It was? Hooray!

  • In Transformers Animated Bulkhead warps an about-to-explode burning oil tower into the middle of the lake. Better than the alternative, sure, but what about the pollution from the oil? Though near Detroit, who'd notice?
  • Played horribly straight in Transformers Headmasters: Scorponok plans to blow up Mars and harvest the energy. The Autobots are motivated to stop him primarily to prevent Earth being bombarded with billions of asteroids. However, after Mars does explode, no mention is ever made of Earth being damaged.
  • One episode of Kim Possible had Ron stopping a balloon filled with extremely smelly gas that would cause the victim to stink for years exploding in the conference hall by pushing the balloon out of the building. Later it did some Karmic Damage to some bad executives. All Is Good In The End, until you think about a balloon with extremely stinky gas infected the entire town with bad smell.
    • With so much open air, it probably dissipated a lot easier than it would have in a crowded auditorium.
  • In the final Story Arc of the Iron Man animated series, the Mandarin uses Applied Phlebotinum to cut off all electrical power in New York City, and, later, several other cities. It's explicitly stated that this applies to all "electrical and mechanical" devices, not just the main power grid. Both Tony and MODOK have a hard time muddling through without their life-support technology, but they do survive. Nothing is said of the thousands of other people who would have surely been killed by these power outages. Tony isn't the only person on artificial life support, and some of the others couldn't survive without it nearly as long as he did...
  • In Gargoyles's "City of Stone" arc, Demona casts a spell that turns the large majority of Manhattan's population into stone during the night hours. Leaving aside all the physical damage that is likely to have occurred, the fact that Manhattan in effect stops working from dusk to dawn (which, given the fact that the story takes place in early November, would be from roughly 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) for two consecutive days should have caused a nationwide panic, and had notable economic impact. However, once the spell is reversed, there seem to be no long-term consequences.
    • One of the episode cliffhangers is David Xanatos stuck in a helicopter with a Taken for Granite pilot. He doesn't watch TV either, as he's busy planning stuff.
    • Then there's that woman whose arm Demona casually broke off. What do you think happened when the curse was lifted?
      • Word of God says this is averted, but unable to be shown due to Disney's censorship practices. The woman remains an amputee. The piles of rubble are rather disturbing come morning. The economy's not mentioned, but this was otherwise going to be referenced as a major aspect of the origin of the Quarrymen in Season 3. Naturally, Executive Meddling killed off this and other storylines.
    • There's a similar instance in "The Gathering" when Oberon put every human in New York to sleep, except for Xanatos and Fox. We do see a bunch of cars crashing, but no mention of anybody dying. Even though Oberon likely killed more people in that one episode then every other villain in the series combined, nobody seems to hold it against him.
  • Spoofed/Averted in The Simpsons Movie which ends withthe bomb destroying the thick glass bubble that has encased Springfield. The huge car-sized pieces of jagged falling glass have a suspiciously small effect on the town and its citizens, with the sole exception of Dr. Nick, who dies horribly.

Dr. Nick Rivera: Goodbye, everybody!

    • Oddly enough, he's been seen in episodes that came out after the movie.
    • Spoofed in "The Otto Show" episode, after Otto causes a massive bus crash.

Principal Skinner: It's a miracle no one was hurt!
Otto: Hey, I stand by my record - fifteen crashes and not a single fatality!

  • Technically, the entire series Thundarr the Barbarian could be considered an aversion of this trope, as civilization's collapse was a result of a comet passing between Earth and the Moon. Although a direct collision by this comet is narrowly avoided, humanity is still knocked back to the Stone-Age-plus-cheesy-magic by the gravitational havoc it wreaks.
  • In an episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius casually blows up one of Miseryville's three suns. Something like that is bound to have consequences, but none occur. Probably Rule of Funny.
  • Both The Powerpuff Girls and Sym-Bionic Titan have enormous sections of the city annihilated, which one may realize by Fridge Logic that THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE DEAD, but the few times that the actual damage is addressed, only the damage to property is mentioned, often by an official.
  • Beast Wars: the planet the show takes place on is prehistoric Earth, and in the series finale Megatron, while onboard a working spaceship, with a weapon that outright killed the near-god like Tigerhawk, opens fire on a tribe of protohumans (it was made clear repeatedly in the show that this was the ONLY tribe of protohumans and killing them would prevent the human race from ever existing). It's outright shown at the end of the episode that all or most of them are alive and well, without so much as minor injuries.
    • The last time Megatron tried to wipe out the prothuman tribe and failed, it was specifically stated that after his attack the protohumans had scattered to many separate areas instead of all staying in the same valley.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Sandman tries to help the mob jack crude from a tanker. Spidey shows up, and they do what superheroes and villains have done for ages...only now they do it on an oil tanker. In New York harbor. At least the Valdez wasn't anywhere near a human port of millions of people, though I'm sure that was cold comfort to the wildlife.
  • Yet another blunder from Redakai. "Kairu", the Life-energy of the universe, is regularly made off with by the heroes. However, the presence of the energy generates prosperity with the surrounding wildlife. The heroes realize this in one episode when they find some of the energy on a farm where one of them grew up. They decide to leave the energy where it was in this case, but what happened to the places that they have taken the energy from before and since?!

Real Life

  • Self-proclaimed "alternate historians" who advocate the hypothesis of a global diaspora from Atlantis are quick to invoke this trope, if asked how such an ancient sea-spanning trade empire managed to avoid spreading hundreds of virulent epidemic diseases and invasive species across the globe, along with their pyramid-building techniques.
    • To be fair, historically, spreading across the globe has brought both problems but notably failed to exterminate entire populations.
      • Not so in the case of invasive species, which are notorious for causing the extinction of native species.
  • New WMD technologies and anything else involving large explosions or forays into the fundamental forces of the universe are often accompanied by a group of die-hard doomsday prophets proclaiming that this New Thing will definitely bring The End of the World as We Know It. So far, no device has lived up to this expectation.
  • Inverted by neutron bombs which kill people but leave buildings intact.
    • For instance, it was hypothesized that travelling at over forty mph (this was back when trains were just being introduced) would cause fatal brain haemorrhages. Another gem was the belief that the A-bomb would cause all the oxygen in the atmosphere to ignite, killing everyone and everything on earth.
    • Well, yes and no. The neutron burst is accompanied by a gigantic conventional explosion (as indeed are all nuclear bombs—it builds up the requisite heat and pressure in most advanced nukes), which will happily plow through any buildings in its path. Indeed, in most designs the radius of destruction for non-reinforced buildings is bigger than the neutron burst radius. However, it won't blow down hardened structures like concrete bunkers and military headquarters, which are the intended targets.
  1. most notably tritiated water
  2. Alpha Centauri is in Vasudan/GTVA space, so sending and receiving messages at light-speed isn't actually all that much of an issue, given that Freespace 2 takes place thirty-two years after the first game, yet no-one in the GTVA knows what is happening in the Sol system
  3. Although the trope was Double Subverted in that the thousand-year reconstruction took only a day as far as the players could tell, due to the flow of time being different in Vahalla.