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This is a strategy by which a character intentionally allows his enemy to consume him so that he can attack it from the inside.
There are two basic variations on this. The first type is typically used against Extreme Omnivore monsters which have no compunction against just eating the hero. The hero allows the monster to swallow him whole so that he can blast its unprotected insides. The second type is used against villains in the You Will Be Assimilated mold. The hero lets the villain assimilate him or absorb his powers, which turns out to actually hurt the villain by in some way; through poisoning, or passing on an infection or curse, or by being just so Blessed with Suck that gaining his power is actually a hindrance to the villain.
This strategy can also be used by villains, but is much rarer, mainly because as a result of Bad Powers, Bad People few heroes have abilities that involve eating or assimilating their opponents.
When the result is unexpected rather than planned or is played for laughs, that's Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth.
Not to be confused with Schmuck Banquet.
Anime and Manga
- In Digimon: The Movie, Magnamon and Rapidmon let Cherubimon swallow them so they can attack the virus within it.
- Though this only happens in the Dub. In the original, Cherubimon tricked them into thinking they beat him, but instead materialized behind them and munched them.
- In Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, as part of a Cooking Duel episode, the villains try to feed Loki a shapeshifted monster (one of the four stags that eat the branches of Yggdrasil), as Loki will be unable to block an attack from within. Loki spots it right away, though, and doesn't bite.
- In King of Thorn, Marco and Kasumi have to jump down the mother monster's throat to reach the Big Bad, Zeus.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has Unit-02 hold open Gaghiel's mouth so that two battleships can smash into it and fire their guns into its soft insides.
- Dead Leaves has this happen at the end of the film, with the giant space caterpillar eating Pandy's rapidly aging baby, and the baby blows it up from the inside and sacrifices itself. It... actually makes even less sense in context.
- In some of the mid-Alabasta arc filler in One Piece, Portgas D. Ace hops into a giant lizard's mouth so he can roast it from the inside.
- Vice-Admiral Momonga allows a Sea King to eat him, and just cuts his way out in the most Badass way possible.
- In Dragon Ball, Piccolo had sealed Kami-sama in a bottle and then swallowed it. Therefore, Goku couldn't attack him at full power. When Piccolo shows his ability to become a giant, Goku provokes him to grow to his maximum size, and then shoots himself down Piccolo's throat. Piccolo vomits him as quickly as he could, but not before Goku hits his insides and recovers the bottle.
- In Nextwave Machine Man lets Fin Fang Foom eat him, the better to defeat Foom from the inside.
- The Incredible Hulk let the Galaxy Master eat him, for the same reason.
- During the "Return of Hawkman" arc in Justice Society of America, Atom Smasher is swallowed whole by one of the main villain's lieutenants. He gets free by literally bursting him open from the inside.
- Wolverine during the Messiah Complex X-books crossover let the Predator X swallow him because his claws couldn't cut through its metal hide. So he tore it apart from the inside.
- In the 'Old Man Logan' story arc, Logan let the Hulk eat him so that he could kill him from the inside.
- Which is REALLY strange considering the Hulk may have a STRONGER healing factor than Wolverine and nowhere in the story was it suggested that he'd lost this power.
- In the 'Old Man Logan' story arc, Logan let the Hulk eat him so that he could kill him from the inside.
- In DC: The New Frontier, Death Seeker Joe kills the T-Rex that murdered his friends by jumping down its throat while holding live grenades.
- Agent K letting the bug eat him so he can retrieve his gun at the climax of Men in Black. Trope Namer.
- Godzilla in Godzilla 2000. When Orga tries to swallow him, Godzilla obligingly sticks his head in the monster's mouth -- then blows Orga up with a supercharged blast.
- Hellboy is swallowed up by the Ogdru Jahad monster and blows it from within with a handful of grenades.
- Disney's Mars and Beyond. One segment about the plant men in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories has a bird drop an egg on the plant man's head. The plant man swallows it, then a baby bird with a saw-beak cuts its way out. Watch it here, staring at 3:25.
- In The Nightside novel Nightingale's Lament, John lets the Primal swallow him, knowing they'll try to possess his body and won't be able to handle it.
- Also used in Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth, when Razor Eddie lets a gigantic centipede-monster from the Street of the Gods swallow him so he can tear it up from within
- In Tangled Webs a berserker with a BFS was devoured by a giant squid -- not as a deliberate provocation, he just didn't care in his battle frenzy. It was a very unlucky squid.
- In The Strain, Abraham Setrakian allows The Master to infect him, knowing that vampires cannot vomit to expel poisons, and thus swallows blood thinner to poison The Master. The bastard cheats, though.
- In Observation On The Spot by Stanislav Lem it is mentioned as a method of fighting some huge monsters.
- Jonas tries this on the giant shark in Meg: A Novel Of Deep Terror. It works.
- In Gateways, Oyv is swallowed whole by Devil the mutant alligator, then fatally wounds it by chewing his way free. At least on the surface, Oyv looks like a chihuahua, but is definitely something more.
- In Dungeons and Dragons, this can actually be a good strategy for fighting very large monsters, as they're generally not armored nearly so well on the inside as the outside! But since the stomach of a creature that regularly swallows its food whole is not exactly a hospitable place, you'd better have a lot of HP. Usually swallowed people may use only short weapons, though.
- In the History of Ashes arc in the Pathfinder campaign setting, the players are given the quest of provoking a giant fiery sandworm into eating them and then cutting their way out to win over a xenophobic tribe of Sclar Qua. It Makes Sense in Context.
- The Purple Worm - a gargantuan purple eathwormlike creature - is the archetypical D&D monster for this trope, in that it's one of the few creatures - if not the only creature - who has both a "swallow whole" attack that doesn't incapacitate the victim and detailed rules for what happens to anyone inside the creature and how they can affect it in every edition of the game.
Live Action Television
- In Star Trek: The Original Series, this strategy is used to destroy the planet-eating Doomsday Machine, by self-destructing a ship just as the machine swallows it.
- In the Power Rangers Wild Force episode "Forever Red" the then-current Red Ranger flies into the mouth of Lord Zedd's zord in order to blow it up from the inside.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: In his last battle as the Green Ranger, Tommy tricks Turbanshell into swallowing him so that he can weaken Turbanshell from the inside with a heat blaster. He collapses from heatstroke briefly before getting back up to finish the job. It's an awesome scene - Turbanshell is walking along, saying "Hm, what should I destroy next..." and then suddenly cries out in pain as "Go Green Ranger Go" starts playing.
- In the stage version of Little Shop of Horrors, after failing to destroy Audrey II from the outside, Seymour determines he has to go inside in order to kill the plant, and so he willingly goes into Audrey II's mouth, and gets eaten.
- It doesn't work.
- To defeat an early boss in Star Fox Adventures you have to let him eat you then, uh, beat the hell out of his heart with a stick.
- In Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Momohime lets herself be eaten to rescue Jinkuro's soul. Considering what was about to do the eating, she wisely told it that it was currently fashionable to eat humans quickly and in one bite. It's also advantageous to bait the monster into doing this mid-battle as well, since doing so easily allows you to hack off one of his lifebars with no resistance other than his stomach acids, which only poison you and can't finish you off.
- God knows that it wasn't on purpose, but Delta Squad makes the most out of what they get.
- The second half of the C'thun boss fight in World of Warcraft involves being swallowed by one of the boss's tentacle mouths, attacking its weakpoint inside the stomach, then getting out before taking too much damage from digestive juices.
- One of the quicktime sequences in Dantes Inferno involves having Cerberus' middle head devour Dante in order to destroy the creature.
- The Queen Metroid from Metroid 2. The most common way to beat her is to be eaten by her, plant bombs in her gut... and get spit up so you can repeat the process multiple times.
- Getting eaten in morph ball form and bombing your way out is necessary to get past a certain creature in Metroid Prime.
- A certain maggot demon in Devil May Cry 2 is a bore to kill since it spends so much time burrowing under the ground. Get eaten, however, and Dante will burst out and destroy the creature, even if you do take damage in the process.
- Eat Me can be invoked by the player against Nightmare in DMC 1. It's dangerous inside that thing, but you can get a health item by destroying the enemies inside.
- In Tales of Legendia, some of the largest monsters in the game are too big for Senel to throw, so instead of throwing them, he'll invoke the trope by jumping into their mouths and pummeling them from the inside.
- Vaarsuvius in Order of the Stick does this to defeat a dragon enemy.
- In El Goonish Shive, Ellen Dunkel jumped into monster's maw and discharged a force blast. Let's just say everyone present had to bathe before debriefing.
- Eight Bit Theater had Red Mage (unintentionally) do this at least twice.
- In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, in a Bad Future conquered by superintelligent dinosaurs, Dan and Mitzi McNinja battle the Horrorsaurus. It swallows Mitzi whole, and then Dan dives in after her. While being digested in its stomach, Mitzi asks Dan why he followed her, revealing that she's decked out with explosives and got swallowed in order to kill it from within. Dan whips out his own vest of explosives, and replies, "You didn't pack enough."
- In one episode of Unforgotten Realms, the group ends up having to fight an ogre. The ogre is too strong for them to hurt with anything besides poison, and it's doing more damage than they can handle. So Sir Schmoopy casts an enlarging spell on Petey the rat and tells him to swallow the rest of them in order to wait for the poison to finish the ogre.
- In Ferngully the Last Rainforest, Krysta flies into Hexus's mouth, carrying a single seed. With everyone's help, that seed sprouts into a tree in a matter of seconds, and Hexus is sealed away once again.
Examples of being Assimilated:
Anime and Manga
- Schrodinger from Hellsing is a villain example. Eating his soul (temporarily) destroys Alucard.
- In the Majin Buu arc of Dragonball Z, the leader of the Kaioshin let Buu eat him. Absorbing his personality changed the Omnicidal Maniac Evil Kid Buu into the far more affable Fat Buu.
- Also in Dragon Ball Z, Vegeto lets Super Buu absorb him so he can rescue the other people who were absorbed; this turns into an entire Fantastic Voyage Plot.
- Hohenheim's plan for destroying Father in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Hohenheim has spent the past three hundred years getting know each of the 536,329 individual souls within his philosopher's stone body. When Father, the one responsible for turning them into a philosopher's stone, attempts to absorb Hohenheim's stone into himself, the souls seize their chance for vengeance and tear his body apart from the inside. It didn't work. Fortunately, Hohenheim had a backup plan...
- In Inuyasha, Naraku feigns being beaten at his own game and lets himself be absorbed by Moryomaru when Moryomaru tries to prove that he has surpassed him. Naraku promptly regenerates inside Moryomaru, removes his core, and then assimilates him. Probably shouldn't have assimilated the guy who came up with the idea to assimilate people in the first place, Moryomaru.
- Clare, mortally wounded by Priscilla and the Destroyer, allows the latter to absorb her before taking over it and using it to defeat her nemesis.
- In the James Bond 007: Blood Stone mini-series from Marvel Comics, Elsa Bloodstone's blood is fatal to vampires.
- In an X-Men annual, Mojo allowed Rogue to absorb his powers and memories, knowing that she wouldn't be able to handle what she got, or to drain enough to inconvenience him before it was too much for her.
- In The Matrix Revolutions, Neo allows Smith to assimilate him so that Smith will die with him when the machines electrocute his real-world body.
- Also from Revolutions, the Oracle allows Smith to assimilate her so he'll gain her power of precognition and be set up for the final confrontation with Neo. When Oracle!Smith says "Everything that has a beginning has an end" (which the Oracle had said to Neo earlier), Neo realizes he needs to let Smith assimilate him.
- In the eleventh Slayers light novel (not yet translated to English, unfortunately), Aria lets the Bell-Doolgofa chimera kill her so that it will absorb her pacifism, causing it to stop fighting.
- In the Barbara Hambly novel Those Who Hunt the Night (a.ka. Immortal Blood), a character injects himself with a lethal dose of silver nitrate before allowing his blood to be drained by a vampire; silver being lethal to vampires in this setting.
- In the Discworld novel Carpe Jugulum, Granny Weatherwax is bitten by a vampire who is trying to turn her into another vampire. He is surprised to discover himself craving tea. As Granny puts it "You've been Weatherwaxed".
- In Forgotten Realms / Planescape cycle Lost Gods the illithid god agreed to let protagonists go only for a ransom of "unique information", draining it right from the victim's mind. The bard paid, naturally, with a not-yet-performed song. By the time illithids across the whole Multiverse began to rhythmically twitch, Ilsensine decided it would be better off without this sort of "unique information".
- In Dark Of The Moon, the second book of The Chronicles Of The Kencyrath by P.C. Hodgell, Torisen does this to a Darkling Changer during a blood-binding ritual. It was completely accidental on both sides: Tori didn't know that the person he thought he was performing the ritual with wasn't exactly who he looked like (if he had been the ritual would have merely created an almost-unbreakable emotional bond between the two), and the Changer didn't know that Tori was a Shanir blood-binder and that ingesting any of his blood would be fatal.
Live Action Television
- Star Trek: Voyager introduced several instances (including Future!Janeway in the finale) involving people letting themselves be assimilated as they had anti-Borg viruses in them.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Smith and Jones", the Doctor lets an alien absorb his genetic code (by drinking his blood through a straw!) so that it will show up as non-human on the Judoon scanners.
- Inverted somewhat in Buffy: The Scoobies are fighting against a demon that can possess corpses. So, Angel lets the demon enter his body and Angelus destroys the intruder in a matter of seconds.
- Done another way in Angel. Angel is confronted by a necromancer who specializes in giving ghosts and demons a new physical body. In order to do this, the necromancer allows the ghost to pass through him first. In order to help Angel, a newly resurrected and incorporeal Spike plays Fake Defector and convinces the necromancer to put him into Angel's body. Once in the necromancer's body, Spike possesses him and stops him using his powers, letting Angel kill him easily. (The more direct approach against someone who controls corpses had not gone well for a vampire.) Though Spike keeps attacking until Angel chops his head off.
That was you hitting me?
The last bit, yeah. Hainsley's been dead since he hit the table. Oh, come on. Had to get a few licks in, didn't I?
- In one episode of Dollhouse, Echo plugs herself into the neural network of a group of super-soldiers so that she can overload and control it with her many personalities.
- In an Alternate Universe Bionicle story, Matoro allows Makuta to absorb him, using it as an opportunity to overpower his conciousness and crush his will, thus destroying both of them.
- In Sluggy Freelance, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the year 2003 goads the Groundhog's Shadow into killing him and claiming his power by right of caste. This grants the Groundhog's Shadow all of 2003's considerable power, but also means that it will die when the year ends -- which is in twenty seconds...
- Incidentally, this would also kill the switchblade-wielding mini-lop that the Shadow was bound to.
- An episode of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, "DNA Doomsday", has Jonny letting the Monster of the Week absorb him while he's in Quest World in order to short-circuit it.
- In The Grim Adventures of the KND, Mandy intentionally allows herself to be assimilated by the Delightful Reaper knowing she can take it over from the inside.