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The Hero is on the ropes, getting his butt kicked by the villain. In desperation, the hero pulls out a weapon and hurls it.
He misses! Or maybe the villain dodges. Either way, the bad guy smirks or laughs at this futile final act of defiance as he closes for the kill...
... only to have the thrown weapon come back and hit him from behind, knocking him out or even killing him. Turns out, the weapon was in fact a Precision-Guided Boomerang (sometimes obviously so), or had boomerang-like properties.
A comedic variant is for the character hit to be also the one throwing the weapon away, believing to get rid of it. Of course, it is extremely unlikely for a boomerang thrown by someone not knowing what it is to actually come back, but this takes a backseat to the Rule of Funny.
See also Exactly What I Aimed At.
Anime & Manga
- In Mazinkaiser vs. Ankoku Daishogun, a badly-damaged Great Mazinger kills the Warrior Beast generals attacking New York like this.
- Subverted in episode 3 of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Kamina throws Simon as a Fastball Special while fighting Viral. Viral dodges; Kamina expects to win the fight when Simon comes back again from behind, but Viral dodges the second attack as well. Mind you, the previous episode played it straight.
- In the first season of Digimon Adventure, Ikkakumon launches his Harpoon Torpedo at the Monster of the Week, then when it's not looking, the torpedo opens up and fires a guided missile that comes back and tags him.
- In episode 3 of Gundam Seed, Kira Yamato's (Sword) Strike Gundam uses this against an attacking suit whose pilot is vastly more experienced. The inevitable return takes off the enemy machine's leg, stunning the awesome minor character Miguel Aiman inside it long enough for Kira to slice him clean in half.
- Not exactly a boomerang, but in Yu Yu Hakusho, in a last ditch effort to beat Hiei, Yusuke goad him into the path of a point blank Reigun shot. It would have hit any other opponent, but Hiei manages to use his extreme speed to get out of the way. He then takes the time to gloat about how Yusuke was almost good enough, only to be hit in the back by the return shot a few seconds later; as it turns out, Yusuke figured Hiei would dodge, so he positioned himself so the shot would hit the Mirror of Darkness behind him and ricochet back when Hiei wasn't paying attention. Good thing it worked, too. Because if his shots didn't work that way, he had no other plans left.
- In Basquash, Dan uses his Lightning Ball technique this way to get out of a pit fight in the underground city of Underground. Actually, all signs point to Dan being able to actually control the ricochet of his shots in real time, so...
- Done in the Saiyan Saga of Dragonball Z. Goku gives Krillin the energy for the Spirit Bomb to use against Vegeta. Krillin throws it, Vegeta dodges and the bomb flies at Gohan, who then repels the attack back towards Vegeta. He thinks he's in the clear, but then Vegeta gets broad-sided by the attack.
- DC Vs Marvel shows a fight between Bane and Captain America, with Cap missing a shield toss, and Bane closing in and grabbing him, only to get struck by the returning shield before he can break Cap's back.
- There's also the Captain America comic where Cap is fighting Hydra agents, stands on a pile of them, takes off a glove and licks a finger to hold up, throws his shield up into the air, and looks at his watch. "Two... one..." The last standing Hydra agent shows up with a hostage and goes into a standard Hydra rant about the organization's plans. He stops when he realizes that Cap is without his shield, Cap tells him that "It'll come if I whistle for it", the agent pulls a gun, Cap whistles... and his shield arcs down to hit the Hydra agent, leaving the hostage standing. That issue is full of him doing things like that; naturally, it's also the issue where it is lost.
- Meanwhile at the Hall of Just... ahem, The DCU, Captain Boomerang pulled this stunt against a member of the Jihad in the second issue of the original series of Suicide Squad.
- In both film and comic version, Green Goblin tries something like this against Spider-Man using his glider and attempting to hold/distract Spidey in place long enough for the glider to hit him. It doesn't work and Goblin gets impaled on his own glider for his trouble.
- Subverted in JLA Avengers, where Hawkeye fires a boomerang arrow at Flash, who easily catches it on the return and remarks that he's had a little experience with these things before.
Films -- Live-Action
- In Jingle All the Way, the main character -- in a Turbo Man costume that includes all the weapons -- throws what is a high-tech boomerang. The villain lets go with one of his hands, while the other hangs on. He grabs the Turbo Man toy out of the boy's backpack and shouts "Victory is mine!", before the boomerang hits his other hand, causing him to fall. He lands on a parade float and is promptly arrested.
- Occurs in Captain America II: Death Too Soon, a made-for-TV film from 1979 starring Reb Brown as Captain America, where the Captain foils a mugging attempt by tossing his trademark shield at a perpetrator, missing him at point-blank range, and the thug gives his shield enough time to curve back and knock himself out.
- In The Brothers Grimm movie, there is the magic handaxe seized from the lycanthrope woodsman, that can come back to the thrower. Toward the end, Jakob Grimm uses it to fight the French general's aide-de-camp, and miss -- but the soldier is struck in the back by the axe returning before he could kill the hero.
- Variation in the infamous scene in The Goodies, where Bill is proving "Ecky Thump" is superior to other martial arts. Graeme misses with a boomerang, but later when Tim has disarmed Bill with some bagpipes, it comes back and clouts Tim from behind.
- In Jedi Outcast and Academy this is a useful trick, as a saber throw is easily blocked going forward, but impossible to block when it hits the enemy from the back.
- Shown in the very first cutscene in Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. Unluckily, though, it's the very beginning of the game and the setup to the actual plot, so it gets worse.
- The boomerang in Igor Objective Uikokahonia is used solely in a cutscene for this purpose.
- One of your new tricks in Batman: Arkham City is to do this with Batarangs. The first example is in a hostage situation in a cutscene; following that, you can do it to thugs at will. It comes in handy with Predator battles because mooks will tend to focus their search in the direction the hit came from rather than where you actually are.
- Fate Stay Night: Archer does this very effectively against Caster in the UBW route, throwing his swords right before she freezes him in place with a spell. In the HF route, Shirou mimics this exact tactic repeatedly in rapid succession, attacking from all directions to overwhelm his opponent.
- Double subverted in Errant Story. When Sarine throws her dagger, her opponent knew Sarine was trying this and blocked it with her sword. Which is why Sarine charged it with lightning beforehand.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the second episode, Sokka throws his boomerang at Zuko, who dodges it. Sokka then charges with a spear, Zuko blocks it, breaks it, pokes Sokka on the head with it, and then it comes back and smacks him in the back of the head.
- In the Batman Cold Open of an episode of Justice League Unlimited, Batman pulls this off against KGBeast.
- Yumi of Code Lyoko sometimes uses this trick when she misses with her tessen fans, usually helped by telekinesis. She vanquishes William twice this way: once by kicking him into the fan's return trajectory, and another time nailing him in the back just as he is devirtualizing her.
- In an episode of Tom and Jerry ("Duel Personality"), Jerry tosses a bent rapier at Tom; Tom dodges, but the rapier comes around and hits him.
- In an episode of the 1994 Mega Man TV series, Megaman fires a buster shot at Protoman which misses and enters a steam pipe. The steam pipe loops again behind Megaman, who ducks just as the shot comes out the end of the pipe, hitting Protoman.
- The scene quoted at the top of this page comes from Thor's introductory episode of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Thor manages to hit three of the Wrecking Crew's four members by throwing his hammer. Then, he magically summons it to fly in the opposite direction, pummeling the fourth.
Throwers hit variant
- Gaston Lagaffe
- Parodied in volume R5, page 14: Gaston's boomerang shatters a window. An angry neighbor brings back the boomerang and throws it directly at Gaston's head while Fantasio says, "Gaston ! Ça revient toujours à celui qui l'envoie !" ("Gaston! It always comes back to the one who throws it!").
- Also in volume 14, page 24: Prunelle throws through a window a wooden coat hanger which lost its hook (and happens to be shaped exactly like a boomerang) and it comes back in his face, to Gaston's hilarity.
- Garfield once told Odie to fetch a boomerang, only to get knocked over first by the boomerang and then by Odie.
Films -- Animation
- On the Over the Hedge DVD set, RJ and the kids are shown filming a "documentary" of Hammie finding a boomerang; one had been a running gag through the film itself. Hammie has... issues in getting rid of it. Issues exascerbated by the kids throwing more boomerangs at him from a box.
Films -- Live-Action
- Parodied (what isn't?) in the movie Airplane! when Striker throws his jacket off-screen in a Disco, preparatory to a John Travolta Disco routine, only to have it fly right back at him.
- An example from an action movie, although still comedic in nature: in the first Transformers film, Frenzy is beheaded by one of his own CD-shuriken ricocheting wildly.
Frenzy: Oh shit!
- Discworld: At the end of Interesting Times, when Rincewind ends up on Fourecks, he runs into some natives who offer him a boomerang. Thinking it's yet another Call to Adventure, Rincewind throws it away in disgust and starts complaining that he's not going to do anymore heroics ever again, only for the book to end in mid-sentence with Rincewind apparently being clonked on the head by the returning boomerang.
- It's stated that this is likely to happen to Lensmen without the Sense of Perception who use energy weapons on the planet Trenco. Because the entire planet is so energistically charged, even sight is unreliable and energy beams have been known to enter the backs of the people who fire them. Perceivers are able to sense and correct for the distortion, knowing where the target really is and how not to shoot themselves.
- The Hunger Games: This is how Haymitch won his game. He made it to the edge of the arena, where he discovered there was a force field that reflected back everything that was thrown at it. The other remaining competitor caught up with him, threw an axe, Haymitch ducked, the axe bounced back, and killed the thrower.
- One episode of Blackadder II has Edmund giving a boomerang to the Queen as a present from his expedition around the world. She's unimpressed by it, and tells Percy to throw it away. He lightly tosses it out the door behind him, and a few seconds later, it miraculously emerges to strike Percy on the head. (Which, of course, amuses the Queen immensely.)
- Sherlock: A side case in "A Scandal in Belgravia" involves a man found dead from a blow to the head by the bank of a stream. He had been seen standing there, all alone, with no one anywhere near him, seconds before he was seen dead. he had received a boomerang as a gift, and had been experimenting with it. He had just thrown it, when he was distracted by a car backfiring, turned to look, and was hit in the back of the head. The boomerang landed in the stream, and floated away.
- The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess uses this as the way of defeating an early miniboss: he throws a boomerang from atop a set of columns, and if you roll into the column he's on after he's thrown the boomerang, destabilizing him, it'll knock him down when it returns.
- This is a very common phenomenon in Tron 2.0. If you throw your disc at an enemy and miss, there is a pretty good chance it will hit the enemy on the return pass. The effect is even better with the sequencer subroutine.
- Xkcd plays with this as a long-term running gag: 1 2 3
- In Knights of the Old Coding, when Kuros finds the Axe of Agor, he discards the Knife of Throwing, forgetting that it always returns until it stabs him in the back.
- Dark Intruder: The one throwing the boomerang isn't the one hit, but as Smart Girl points out, he's still in trouble.
- The DungeonVerse-inspired site Les Parchemins Anodins invented the no-return boomerang: a magical boomerang which always comes back, decapitating the launcher. Ouch.
- Double-Subverted in a Wile E Coyote and The Road Runner cartoon. Wile E. buys "One (1) Acme Boomerang" to use against the Road Runner, but when he hurls it, it seems to come and smack him from the other side of the screen... until the camera pans over to show the Road Runner standing next to a box for "Another Acme Boomerang". Wile E. starts to give chase... then his original boomerang comes back and hits him.
- In an episode of Justice League Unlimited, Captain Boomerang sends a swarm of boomerangs flying at The Flash, who catches them and throws them back. They turn around and fly back at him (suggesting that these boomerangs are so good that it doesn't take any skill to use them, they return whether you want them to or not). Upon seeing them going back towards him, Flash's response is a "DUH!"
- Robot Chicken shows us that the hero of Krull has had this problem with the Glaive.
- Futurama: In Bender's Game, during the parody of The Lord of the Rings, Pr. Fansworth (as the stereotypical fantasy wizard) turns his staff into a giant boomerang, but it hits him in the back when thrown -- or even when slightly going past the screen border.