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Attacking the tail For Massive Damage. Common in cartoons, especially for cats.

Compare Groin Attack, Literal Ass-Kicking. See also Amusing Injuries.

Not to be confused with attacking with tails.

Examples of Attack the Tail include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Dragon Ball, the Saiyans' tails are their weak point. If you hold onto their tails, they are in so much pain it immobilizes them (e.g., Goku, Gohan and Raditz). Subverted later, when it turns out that Vegeta and Nappa don't have this shortcoming (because of their training) When the Z Fighters made a break for their tails it ended up backfiring because it didn't immobilize the Saiyans like they expected, leaving them open targets. Played straight later, though, when Yajirobe cuts off Vegeta's tail to return him to human form after he'd transformed into his Great Ape form.
    • Goku managed to overcome this weakness long before Vegeta was introduced. It's odd how Krillin didn't remember this when he faced them.

Comic Books

  • Gaston Lagaffe was once hurt by someone stepping on the tail of a kangaroo costume he was wearing. There is no official explanation, but a character speculates that he forgot a needle in an unfortunate place when sewing the tail on.

Film

Folklore

  • There is the tale of salting a bird's tail so that it doesn't fly away. It has been played with in many cartoons, such as the first Woody Woodpecker cartoon.
    • Once played with in a Magilla Gorilla cartoon. Magilla tries this on a bird and the bird thinks it won't work, but Magilla drops an entire bag of salt on the bird.

Live Action TV

  • In one episode of Dinosaurs, Baby notices something small and pink moving nearby, and stabs it with a fork. His moment of triumph is interrupted by the arrival of pain signals from his tail.

Video Games

  • The Moldorm in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past and The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening has a weak point (often shaped like a flower) in its tail.
    • In The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games, the miniboss Syger (the rolling tiger) has to be hit in the tail.
    • In The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, in order to defeat Ganon, you must hit his tail.
      • In the N64 generation, Dodongos can only be killed if Link attacks their tails or throws a bomb at them.
    • The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask presents two examples excluding the dodongos:
      • The wolfos, humanoid wolf-like creatures; they can be attacked in other ways but an attack in the tail kill them instantly (they even cover their tails with their hands)
      • The other example is Twinmold, two giant centipedes; their only weak points are the head and the tail.
    • In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, the Goron Mines dungeons had fire-breathing salamanders with armor that only left their tail exposed as a weak point.
      • Those would be TP's version of Dodongos. Since you don't get bombs until after you beat the Goron Mines, Nintendo traded their mouths' instant-death-weakness from bombs to arrows.
  • Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel both have Dino Piranha bosses that Mario can defeat only by attacking the bulb at the end of their tail, knocking it up to strike their head.
    • A variation occurs with Peewee Piranha in Super Mario Galaxy 2, where you must hit its butt.
    • Also, Bowser from Super Mario 64, who is actually defeated by being grabbed by the tail and being thrown across the arena.
  • One of the penultimate tactics in the Monster Hunter games against any big monster with a tail is to attack the tail enough that it gets cut off/cracked/broken, among other parts of their body. Doing so rewards you with more rare items and creates more openings in the monster's defenses (like their tail attack's range get shorter, or they flinch more when an attack hits their tail stump.)
  • The Serapede in Gears of War is an Elite Mook that are mostly invincible with the exception of its weak point: the tail.
  • This is a way to get cool weapons (normally axes) in Dark Souls, as seen with the Belfry Gargoyles, the Gaping Dragon, and Seathe The Scaleless. Cut off the tail and pick up what drops and you'll get a weapon.
  • In Star Fox, the tail was one of two ways to damage Monarch Dodora, the other being its two heads. Just shooting it doesn't do damage, though, you needed to make them retract into its body, then shoot the body.

Western Animation

  • In Tom and Jerry, there's hardly an episode where a tail isn't crushed, burned, severed or hurt in any other way. Tom is the usual victim.
  • Looney Tunes: This happens sometimes to Sylvester.
  • During the Wizard Duel from The Sword in the Stone, Merlin at one point actually tricks Mad Madam Mim (who is turned into a rattlesnake) into biting her own tail (Merlin, as a mouse, actually attempts to try it himself while Mim is still a tiger).
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