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Bulletcatch

Okay, now you're just showing off, Domon.

This is a topic which brooks no serious debate. Anyone who can actually catch a bullet has to be pretty amazing. We're talking about something which has the ability to cause death to any normal person (well, in Real Life anyway), and here somebody just grabs it mid-air. How unbelievably cool is that?

Even moreso than its close sibling, Arrow Catch, Bullet Catch is not even close to something anyone can actually do. Bullets now move faster than the speed of sound, and no human has the physical capability of slowing one down with their pathetic meatbag bodies. Even if you could move your hand in time to catch it, your hand is too soft, and it'll simply tear through your flesh.

Note that to a superpowered character, this is a much easier feat, justified in that they have, well, superpowers. Although eventually you have to wonder whether it would be easier to let them bounce off or just avoid them altogether.

See Catch and Return for this trope plus a follow up move. Also see this trope's Sword Counterpart, Barehanded Blade Block.

Examples of Bullet Catch include:


Anime & Manga

  • Jotaro's Stand Star Platinum in Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure is so fast it caught a bullet that Jotaro fired at his own head at point blank range.
  • Dragon Ball Z.
    • So many times. Including the very first scene where Raditz caught a farmer's bullet, and flicked it at him with the force of the rifle.
    • Or a lazer in the Bowdlerized 4kids version of Kai, which makes it somehow even more ludicrious.
    • Earlier, in Dragon Ball, the Muten-Roshi's island gets attacked by the Red Ribbon Army, who think the old man must be the scientist behind the Dragon Radar. A conclusion the reached purely because he's an old man. At one point in the ensuing fight, a soldier opens up at Kame-sen'nin's back with an automatic rifle. The old master spins around and grabs all the bullets without much apparent effort.
    • Also occurred in the Great Saiyaman Saga with Gohan.
  • Shows up in the intro to Death Note. The character in question is a Shinigami, though.
  • In Bubblegum Crisis, Largo catches a railgun dart.
  • In Advent Children, Cloud Strife deflects bullets with his BFS with little effort. Not quite as cool as a catch, except he stops tons of them.
  • In G Gundam, Domon does this against automatic rifles. Several of them. From very far away. This did happen in the Roman Coliseum after all.
  • In Baccano, Graham Specter catches bullets with an adjustable spanner. That would seem substantially more difficult than catching bullets with your hands.
  • Hellsing
    • In the Flash Back episode, Alucard uses his arm to take a bullet meant for Integra. Later, he catches a magic bullet in his teeth.
    • Near the end of the anime-only plot line the main villain catches Alucard's bullets in his head. It doesn't make sense in context either.
  • When Nabeshin has a Stand off against Alien #1, in Puni Puni Poemy.
  • Kagura does this in Gintama, even catching one in her teeth.
  • The first episode of Mahoromatic has the title character do this with a pair of punks hijacking a bus.
  • The anime version of Saint Seiya (although, since even Bronze Saints move at the speed of sound, it's implied they can do it there, too.) Namely: when being shot at with a machine gun, Hyoga merely walks towards his assailant as his Cosmo deflects the bullets. But then, when Seiya is shot at, he catches each and every bullet in his hands, freaking out the enemy when he drops them on the ground. Which of the two is more Badass is up to debate.
  • Gamma from Zombie Powder inserted armor in his right arm just so he could do this. At least that's what he tells people.
  • Neuro in Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, so many times.
  • Voltes V featured a Monster of the Week patterned after a samurai. The heroes have trouble fighting it, and The Big Guy, a kendo master, had to teach his older brother The Hero to catch a sword between the hands. The Hero only manages to learn the trick by asking his brother to do the trick with a pistol, stopping the bullet by using two stones.
  • Graham Spector somehow manages to catch bullets with a monkey wrench. He can also disassemble a car before it hits the ground, though, so he's clearly had practice.
  • In his unrestrained form, Son Goku of Saiyuki does this twice- once with his teeth.
  • Tsukuyomi of Mahou Sensei Negima shows early on that enough Shinmeiryuu training lets people catch bullets with their swords (and yet Mana remains a powerful fighter at the higher levels of combat...)
  • Black Butler: Sebastian doesn't just catch a bullet... he catches a bullet from a gun shot point-blank at his master's head.
  • In Yami no Aegis, the main character deflects (and sometimes catches) bullets pretty much every chapter.
  • A chapter of Toriko has the title character do this, when visiting a shady area where the crime rate is high. He catches the bullet with his "fork" technique. (Which is just his hand, made to look somewhat like a fork.)

Comic Books

  • Daredevil, although easily fast and agile enough, lacks the necessary durability to properly pull this off. He does however use his fighting sticks to knock bullets back at the shooter with surgical precision. Before his radar had developed, he even tracked bullets by feeling the way they displace the air around them.
  • Iron Fist uses this trope quite casually nowadays.
  • Ozymandias pulls this off near the end of Watchmen, because he is Charles Atlas Superpower incarnate.
    • And even he admits he wasn't sure it would actually work.
    • In the film version, he has an inch-thick padding on his palm, into which the bullet sinks (but still breaks the skin). The bullet's momentum causes him to lose his footing and go tumbling down the stairs, leaving him stunned for a few minutes at the bottom.
  • Parodied in Spider-Man. Peter tries to train himself to do this, and is surprised when he succeeds. But then he remembers there were two bullets, and the other one went through his other hand. Upon realizing this, he faints in a very undignified manner.
  • Jay Garrick is seen doing this on the cover of Flash Comics #1 (from 1941).
    • Snatching bullets out of the air is a standard tactic of pretty much all of the speedsters in the DCU.
    • Wally had one instance that parodied just how easy this is for speedsters. A psycho with an Uzi opened up on a room and Wally walked around picking a half dozen bullets out of the air, and disarming the man in a very casual manner. He misses one bullet that then kills an exit sign when he returns his perception of time to normal.
  • Featured in the Lucky Luke book "Fingers". Joe Dalton is about to shoot an unarmed Luke when Fingers (who had been playing cards with that Daltons) holds his hand in front of the gun and says that shooting Luke "wouldn't be nice". Joe fires anyway and Fingers catches the bullet. Joe then shoots Fingers in the face and he catches the bullet with his teeth. Luke then grabs Joe's gun only for Fingers to tell him that he had earlier switched all of the bullets in that gun with blanks so it would be "safer for playing cards": the rest was all due to Fingers near supernatural sleight-of-hand.
  • At one point, Superman does this along with his trademark "get shot a lot, bullets bounce off" thing, by catching the bullets as they ricochet off of him so they won't harm any bystanders.
    • Subverted in "Superman and the Legion of Super-heroes". After being sent forward to the 31st Century, Superman is attacked by a bunch of police. He casually puts his hand up to catch the lasers from their guns... and they go straight through his hand, badly injuring him. He then learns that 31st Century Earth's sun is now red, rendering him powerless.
    • On another occasion, while catching a bullet fired at Jimmy Olsen from across a room, Superman took the time to stuff wads of cotton in Lois and Jimmy's ears to protect them from the sonic boom caused by his passage. He doesn't specify whether he just carries cotton with him or if he had to stop and pick some on the way.
  • Supergirl has also performed this feat at least once.
  • The Thor villain called "The Demon" who gained superpowers thanks to some mystic Phlebotinum was able to do this to some Communists trying to shoot him. Bonus points for throwing the bullets back at his attackers at superspeed, forcing them to retreat.
  • Marvel's supervillain/anti-hero Taskmaster has picked up the ability to do this. Being Taskmaster, of course, he copied it off of another bullet-catcher, and promptly killed him immediately afterward.
  • Power Girl, being a Kryptonian, can do this. On one occasion she was being repeatedly shot by the Crimson Avenger (magic bullets), who she could not hurt in return as she is just a red mist in human form. So she caught one of the bullets and threw it back at high velocity, and that hurt the supernatural gunwoman.
  • Big The Cat...yes, that Big The Cat. In Sonic the Comic, after appearing to be shot, Big sits back up with the steaming bullet in hand and casually tells the shooter that his gun just went off, and that he should be more careful with it. However, while doing so, Big gets angry and attacks him. Talk about crouching moron...

Film

  • Leeroy Green pulls this off with his teeth in Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon.
  • Clark Kent did this in the 1978 Superman film in order to stop a mugger, palming the bullet to protect his identity.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, The Beast shows off his formidable skills by putting a gun to his own head, firing, and catching the bullet with two fingers. Any remaining dissent was silenced.
  • There was the bullet catching trick in The Prestige (though it's fake). Failure of the trick results in the magician getting a couple of his fingers blown off for extra-owie.
  • Terence Hill's character in The Super Fuzz has a goon fire some seven shots at him. And he catches first six with the barrel of his (empty) revolver and the seventh, with his teeth!
  • Austin Powers catches a bullet in his teeth at least once.
  • Ace Ventura also manages to catch a bullet in his teeth.
  • Does stopping bullets in mid-air simply by holding up your hand count? Plucking one of the frozen bullets out of the air afterwards and casually dropping it on the floor only adds to the coolness factor.
  • The hero does this in Barehanded Blade Block fashion in Dead or Alive 2: Kanzaisha (not related to the games, but rather the post-apoc sequel to the Takashi Miike movie), which prompts his opponent to question whether the guy is even human.
  • Berthold in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen manages to catch a musket ball by running after it. He is the world's fastest man, after all. In his case, he tries to reach out and grab it several times because it's still hot from leaving the musket and it burns his fingers.
  • One of UHF's parody shows has a Rambo-esque character catch a bullet in his teeth, then spit back a hail of bullets like a machine gun.
  • Casshern does this in the 2004 live action movie. With a cannon shell. Which he then crams into a robot's chest. Holy shit.
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader does this. With lasers blasters. Then force pulling the blaster out of Han's hand before sitting down to dinner.
    • He doesn't so much catch the blaster bolts so much as block them with his palm, but it was still intimidating.
  • The villain of The Returner is fast enough to get his hand up in time to catch a bullet, but not tough enough to prevent it from going clean through his hand and into his head.
  • District 9. The protagonist in alien Powered Armor catches an RPG-7 rocket fired at Christopher's command ship. Then it explodes in his 'hand'. He survives though.
    • Also, the armor has the ability to suspend incoming bullets in a force-field generated from one of it's arms and then fire them back at the assailants.
  • It should surprise no-one that Bulletproof Monk might feature this trick.
  • In Terminator 3 Arnie gets shot in the head, but there's no visible wound. He moves his jaws around a bit, spits out the bullet and tells the shooter "Don't do that.".
  • In You Don't Mess With the Zohan Adam Sandler catches bullets with his hands and one with his NOSE.
  • In Davy Crockett and The River Pirates, Crockett fakes this as part of a trick-shooting bet -- The bullet he 'catches' with his teeth he put in his mouth while everyone was watching the ricochets.

Literature

  • Practitioners of Sinanju catch bullets as training or to show off. When they're being serious, they prefer to dodge or deflect (when guarding someone else) as it's more practical and efficient.
  • Demonhosts in Eisenhorn books are depicted to be able to catch bolts (essentially mini-missiles shot from a machine gun) in mid-air.
  • A police detective in one of Kalman Mikszath's short stories from the Slovak Relations anthology, manages to trick a superstitious bandit, into believing that he used black magic to catch his bullets (in truth he had two bullets with him from the beginning, and the bandit missed two consecutive shots).

Live Action TV

  • Sledge Hammer's father, Jack, was a carnival performer who had this as his greatest trick. He did it once. Years later, Sledge needed to learn the trick, and managed to pull it off successfully when shot at.
  • In the pilot episode of the TV series War of the Worlds one of the Martians catches a grenade fired from an M203 launcher by Lt. Colonel Ironhorse. The Martian stares at it in puzzlement as Ironhorse (who doesn't realise he's fighting aliens) gapes in amazement, then the grenade explodes in his hand.
  • During his debut episode in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, DekaBreak showed off his skills by catching a couple dozen bullets fired at him by the Monster of the Week in-hand (his Power Rangers SPD counterpart, the Omega Ranger, did the same thing, but with the bullets changed to "energy pellets"). Similarly, Doggie Kruger has shown to be skilled at manipulating bullets in midair with his sword as DekaMaster, first by catching then flinging a bullet shot at him at the fuse of an armed dynamite pack, saving the Distressed Damsel the bomb was attached to; then by cutting down a good thousand bullets fired at him in such a way that they formed an "X" at his feet.
  • In one episode of The New Avengers, the Russians had developed a super-martial arts training program which would enable those who survived to deflect bullets with their hands. The graduate did fairly well, but it turned out he could only deflect attacks from one direction at a time.
  • Myth Busters tested the catch-a-bullet-in-your-teeth myth. To say the myth was busted is an understatement. They couldn't even get CLOSE to THEORETICALLY doing it. Not only is human reaction time nowhere near fast enough to catch a bullet, but molars of a PIG (which are larger and stronger than our teeth) couldn't survive a bullet, so never mind the thin teeth at the front of your mouth which is where most magicians catch bullets.
    • They also tested the variant of a ninja swatting away a bullet. Needless to say, it was busted. Human reaction time only gets the hand moving after the bullet has passed. Even if the hand somehow made contact, he bullet would still plow through the soft flesh and keep going into its target.
  • On Heroes, arch-villain Sylar can use his telekinesis to freeze bullets in mid-air Neo style. Although after he gained a superpowered Healing Factor, he generally stopped bothering and just took the hits.
  • This used to happen every other episode on Smallville. Justified in that the show is about Clark Kent before he became Superman, and it only failed once, when his attacker was using Kryptonite bullets.
  • On Fringe, the mysterious Observers demonstrate this ability.
  • Done by Jonathan Smith on Highway to Heaven when a would-be convenience store robber tries to shoot him.
  • In Touched By an Angel Raphael pulls this trick in nearly the exact same circumstances as the Highway to Heaven example above.

Music

  • The music video for Korn's "Freak on a Leash" ends with the little girl catching the security guard's bullet and passing it back to him, although admittedly it was hovering in the air in front of her when she grabbed it. Mind you, that bullet did a lot of weird stuff in that video, such as flying around the band members like an inquisitive bee.
  • Coldplay's "Paradise" mentions this trope by name: "When she was a girl/She expected the world/But it flew away from her reach/And the bullets catch in her teeth."
  • Sleeping at last manages to make this sound romantic in their song "Umbrellas": "I would catch bullets with my bare hands/Because you were meant for amazing things."

Tabletop Games

  • In the "Enter the Zombie" supplement of All Flesh Must Be Eaten, one of the Chi powers available to Martial Artists (though it can probably also be used by Shooters) gives them the ability to do just this.
  • The Tabletop RPG Deadlands actually allows this. Kung fu martial artists can do this with bullets and then shoot it back to the sender with the appropriate power.
  • The Missile Deflection power in Champions has several different levels of ability (which each cost a few more points than the one before it) that lets you knock away arrows, bullets, cannon shells, and other ranged attacks, up to and including lasers and other energy beams.
    • Simplified a bit (and renamed to Deflection) in 6th edition, but works the same.
  • Characters in GURPS can do this if they have Enhanced Time sense. With great difficulty they can deflect lasers.
  • One of the sidebar mini-stories from the Cyberpunk game involves someone with enhanced reflexes doing just this. The storyteller mentioned that he had to get a cyberhand afterwards, but he figured the guy would be getting drinks off that story till the end of time.
  • This is one of the things an Aberrant character can do with a high enough MegaDexterity attribute.
  • In Mutants and Masterminds, adding the Precise power feat to one's Deflect power allows a character to do this.
  • Optional in Big Eyes Small Mouth. Two abilities, Deflection and Reflection respectively, allow a character to catch or deflect any incoming missile, and subsequently fire it back at the attacker that initially launched/threw/fired it. The mechanics don't specify what sorts of attacks can and can't be deflected, leaving it up to the GM's discretion.

Video Games

  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, the Blade Grasp ability lets you do this. Somehow.
    • At least in this case, it's a bug. The developers, though, seem to have realized it was a Good Bad Bug, and it was kept in the eventual rerelease while other bugs (like the infinite JP glitch) were fixed.
  • Vergil of Devil May Cry is only hit by bullets if he allows it - his Katana can be wind-milled to stop all bullets fired at him without much effort. Occasionally, he'll send them back.
    • And in a cutscene, Dante catches a bullet in his teeth. This isn't immediately obvious; first he's shown being jerked back by the impact, then he spits the bullet out.
  • In No More Heroes, Travis has no problem blocking any bullets flying at him -- even ones fired from behind him -- so long as you hold that Z button for dear life.
  • The World Ends With You features this At the very end of the game, where we find out exactly how Neku died. But before that, Pi-Face tries to shoot Joshua a dozen times (from a revolver) - Joshua then stops all the bullets in midair, a la Neo.
  • In Killer 7 MASK de Smith does not catch the bullet. Oh no. He headbutts it out of thin air. And he wins. He isn't even Made of Iron. He's made out of freakin' adamantium.
  • Karikeya of Wild Arms 5. After he throws his shotgun at Greg and tells him to try and kill him with it, he proceeds to catch every single one of Greg's shots with his bionic arm. Greg eventually gets past the arm by shooting Kartikeya's face at point-blank range. Unfortunately, Kartikeya caught that bullet with something else.
  • This is your character's special ability in the WWII first person shooter Uber Soldier.
  • A variant is seen in Alien Soldier, wherein the main character can create a brief force field that turns enemy fire into health powerups.
  • One of the weapons in Conduit 2 has the ability to suspend incoming bullets in a force-field, then fire them back at opponents.
  • Mischief Makers: Marina's main skill is grabbing things, especially projectiles! It's usually missiles, but even lasers can be caught and thrown back as balls of energy. Other caught bullets sometimes drop as colored gems to be picked up, instead.
  • Jeanne's ability to slap away Bayonetta's bullets is part of what makes her That One Boss (as well as The Rival).
    • Father Balder subverts this during a cutscene by slowing down time, taking the bullets and then repositioning them back at Bayonetta's face.
  • The primary mechanic in Mars Matrix. Your Masquto is equipped with a shield that can catch bullets. Hold it down all the way and it turns into a standard bomb, but if you let go before then you can fling the captured bullets at enemies. And boy do you need to master it.
  • The first gameplay trailer for Bio Shock Infinite shows protagonist Booker DeWitt using Telekinesis to do this with an artillery shell.
  • In Alice: Madness Returns, the Menacing Ruin can allow your pepper grinder shots to be embedded into its huge arm, before surely flinging it back at you.
  • Possible in source engine games, but much easier to do in Garry's Mod. You just need to install a Bullet Time addon and a hostile NPC with a non-Hit Scan weapon.


Web Comics


Web Original

  • In Fine Structure, Arika catches a number of bullets single-handedly in the chapter Capekiller. She's fast enough to dodge if she wanted to, but she was making a point.


Western Animation

  • Done in an over-the-top fashion purely for laughs in the "Police Cops" pilot on The Simpsons. Detective Homer Simpson catches a bullet, then throws it back hard enough to kill the criminal who fired it. And that's the end of that chapter.
  • Parodied in Chilly Beach, where in a skating performance circus (long story), a man jumps into the air while on skates and attempts to catch a bullet in his teeth.


Real Life

  • A classic stage magician's gag is appearing to catch a bullet, usually in the teeth (Hans Moretti used to do it sometimes) or on a china plate (Chung Ling Soo died when this went wrong. Paul Daniels recreated the effect safely in the '80s)

 Announcer: They say it's impossible for a man to catch a bullet in his teeth.

BANG!

Announcer: And they were right! It is impossible!

  • One mobster by the name of Carmine "The Snake" Persico built up a reputation as a man that was hard to kill. In one noteworthy incident, the car he was in was riddled with bullets. One of the spent rounds lodged itself in his mouth, and he spat it out when he got up. Thus, Carmine became known among his compatriots as a man who could literally catch bullets.
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