Super Toughness

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"Any sufficiently durable individual is indistinguishable from immortals."

The power of unambiguously superhuman durability, ranging from being "merely" capable of taking a dozen gunshot wounds and keeping walking like they were nothing, to getting hit by a train car and only suffering a few shallow cuts and minor bruises, to having enough explosives to take out a skyscraper strapped to your chest, have them detonate, and get a few second degree burns and maybe a couple of broken ribs for your trouble.[1]

This is a Required Secondary Power to be able to do anything with Super Strength; without it, Newton's Third Law would result in you breaking your hand every time you threw a super-punch, and every bone would snap under the tension of lifting a car.

Nigh Invulnerability (specifically, the Made of Diamond type) is this trope's big brother, where almost nothing is able to harm the character. Compare Made of Iron, where an explicitly non-superpowered character can take a lot more punishment that is normally possible for no apparent or explained reason, though Charles Atlas Superpower can blur the line between Made of Iron and Super Toughness.

A standard component of the Flying Brick package. Sometimes a side-effect of particularly adaptive Healing Factors. Most Super Soldiers possess it. Combine it with Super Strength, and you're likely to end up with the Implacable Man. Can be achieved with Mind Over Matter.

Examples of Super Toughness include:

Media in General

Anime and Manga

  • In Ghost in the Shell, Mokoto Kusanagi, courtesy of bionics. Batou even more so.
  • In Inuyasha, Yokai and Hanyou can take more damage than a human can.
  • In Macross, lampshaded by Bretai:

"I am not built as weakly as you are"

  • This is basically Shioon's power in The Breaker.
  • The Shinigami from Bleach have this. Their life force equal their reiatsu, meaning both that they're more difficult to injure than humans and that they can survive far, far more damage than humans could.
    • The Arrancar have a super-tough skin (called [2]) which makes it difficult to damage them.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!!. Someone once shot a ballistic knife into his chest at almost point blank range. It went in about half a centimeter.
  • WHITEBEARD from One Piece. When getting half of your face punched off by a Magma Man is a minor annoyance, you are this trope.
  • THE THIRD RAIKAGE from Naruto. When you can Won't Work On Me an attack that's capable of damaging you on a cellular level, you are an exaggeration of this trope.

Comic Books

  • Rogue of the X-Men, when she was a Flying Brick (due to a certain instance of power absorption), was usually tough but not fully invulnerable. One comic had her taking a bullet to the head, which knocked her out (whereas such things would simply bounce off of other Flying Bricks).
    • Note that she often referred to this as "nigh-invulnerability." The "nigh" part was meant to mean that there were indeed still things that could hurt her, so it's not the Nigh Invulnerability we speak of in trope-speak.
    • The Juggernaut and The Blob
  • Wonder Woman is quite strong, and has the toughness to match as the required secondary power, but she's not so tough that she'd rather deflect bullets with her skin instead of her indestructible bracelets.


  • In the case of RoboCop, this arguably is his main superpower, with super strength and Justified Improbable Aiming Skills as his secondary ones.
  • Not sure if King Kong or other Kaiju count or not, since relative to size, human weapons are rather puny.
  • The Terminator, especially in its debut film. It's not indestructible, it takes damage throughout the film. Actually getting what's left of it to stop is another story.
  • In Unbreakable David Dunn discovers that he has this power when he's involved in a train crash:

ER Doctor: And, to answer your question, there are two reasons why I'm looking at you like this. One because it seems in a few minutes you will officially be the only survivor of this train wreck, and two, because you didn't break one bone, you don't have a scratch on you.


Live Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives us Buffyverse vamps, Slayers and many species of demons. All of them can take quite a beating, ranging from being able to take a full-force beatdown from someone with super strength to needing a specific way to be killed.
    • Also, while slayers are actually a little stronger than vampires, vampires can take a more thorough beating because they're technically not alive and thus don't have to worry about things like internal organ damage.

Tabletop Games

  • The discipline of Fortitude in the Vampire: The Masquerade is explicitly this, giving characters a larger 'dice pool' (i.e. a larger chance) to 'soak' (reduce or ignore) damage. It also allows those who have it to partially soak damage they normally couldn't, like a vampire reducing damage from sunlight or fire. Fortitude is not an automatic reduction, however, and a bad roll of the dice means you can still get just as carved up with a knife as anyone else. There's just a lesser chance you will.
    • It shows up in Vampire: The Requiem as Resilience. Activating it grants a temporary increase in health levels, and allows a vampire to downgrade a certain amount of aggravated damage to lethal.

Video Games

  • Master Chief of Halo fame is a Spartan-II who can survive atmospheric reentry and subsequent impact with the ground almost unaided. The fact that he didn't turn into a squishy soup like mixture is a testament to his Super Toughness.
  • Prototype gives us Alex Mercer. He isn't unkillable, but multiple RPGs, choppers, tanks and zombies aren't going to do the job unless the player is playing the game wrong.

Web Original

  • Plenty of supers at Super-Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, but Peril is a good example. He field-tested an inventor's jetpack. It exploded at two hundred feet up (so he took the blast and then the fall). He's fine now.
  1. Well, assuming that you don't get buried under enough rubble that you suffocate to death, that is
  2. spanish for Iron