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"Masochism is a valuable job skill"

When characters, particularly tough guys and girls, get large amounts of projectiles or weapons stuck in their body. They continue on fighting with the blades and shafts eerily poking out of them at odd angles. Essentially, these become a new fashion accessory that testify to their exceptional prowess and stamina, and they do very little to actually slow down the lumbering war machine. In fact, the character in question may actually enjoy this situation. To take this even further, the impaled characters can pull the weapons out of their bodies and use them to fight back.

Alternatively, this trope can also be invoked through a character's particularly gruesome death, where the victim is pierced in a similar manner but does not quite fare as well as their seemingly-invincible counterpart. In this case, the odds and ends stuck in the victim's body underscore the brutal fate, along with adding unintentional Nausea Fuel for those with weak stomachs.

Either way, having a character with multiple objects sticking out of them adds a touch of dramatic tension, while highlighting that character's Badass qualities, even if they die. Note, however, that for this trope to have been truly invoked, the work must feature a character with a sufficient amount of projectiles/weapons stuck in their body, typically at least 4 or 5. Otherwise, the atmosphere created isn't quite the same.

Compare Impaled with Extreme Prejudice for characters being viciously impaled by various implements, Annoying Arrows for projectiles being treated untruthfully in fiction, Only a Flesh Wound for wounds that do little to slow an attacker down, and Death By a Thousand Cuts for deaths involving a long repetition of small cuts or hits.



  • The subject of this very funny commercial.

Anime and Manga

  • Black Lagoon: Hansel and Gretel do this to one of Balalaika's men after kidnapping him. It is implied that they did this while he was alive, and continued after he died because they found amusement in his spinal reflex's making him "twitch like a fish."
  • Naruto: Zabuza got a small armies worth of weapons deposited in his sides when he attacked Gatto for betraying him.
    • Sasuke got six of Killer Bee's seven sword stuck inside of him, though thanks to some Intimate Healing (and no apparent damage to vital organs) he lived.
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: in Yuki's memorable battle with Ryoko, she is impaled by a large number of metal spikes, but doesn't seem concerned at all.
  • Monkey D. Luffy ended up looking like an actual pincushion in the sixth One Piece movie.
  • Blood Plus: In the anime, during a battle with the Schiff, Hagi returns to Saya's hiding spot with weapons still piercing him. He later becomes a human, er, chiropteran pincushion as he is impaled and pinned to a tree with just about every one of the Schiff's weapons, eventually walking the spear still in the tree through himself to escape.
    • In the Blood+ Adagio manga, Hagi becomes a pincushion as multiple swords are driven into him to prove his immortality. Just because he's immortal, doesn't mean the poor guy can't feel pain.
  • In Vision of Escaflowne, King Duke Freid rises from safe cover to shout defiance at the invading Zaibach army... only to get struck with dozens of bolts simultaneously, from nearly every conceivable angle. He dies immediately.
  • In The End of Evangelion, this is the Mass Production Eva's final insult to Asuka's already-gnawed corpse. Because she hasn't given up and is still trying to attack them.
  • Thors in Vinland Saga gets shots with about a dozen arrows. He then continues talking with the enemy leader and says goodbye to his men and his son, and only then falls over to die.
  • Takes place thrice in the anime renditions of Dangan Ronpa:


  • X-Men: The following characters exhibit this trope:
    • Wolverine invokes this every so often thanks to his Healing Factor. Ranges from things like arrows to multiple swords.
    • Marrow from had this as her superpower; she could grow bones out of her body, usually as outward jutting spines or claws.
    • Spike from X-Force had the same abilities and tended to use them in a similar fashion.
  • Mr Croup in the comic version of Neverwhere.

Fan Works


  • Three Hundred: In the Bittersweet Ending Grand Finale, where every remaining Spartan warrior is killed and outnumbered by the Persian army, many of the Spartans have arrows, swords, and other weapons encrusted in their bodies.
  • Hellraiser: What else do you expect from a character with a name like "Pinhead"?
    • Probably subverted, seeing as he enjoys it.
  • Return of the Living Dead 3: Julie Walker drives spikes into her own body after becoming a zombie, attempting to numb her bestial impulses with pain. By the end of the movie she's got rail spikes through her arms, along with nails and glass shards sticking out of her head.
  • Hero: The ending features this, though the result is only implied. Thankfully.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler: The Almost-Dead Guy who rides hundreds of miles to deliver news of One Eye's army... while pierced in the back by about a dozen arrows.
  • The 13th Warrior: one of the vikings gets about a half dozen spears (!) stuck in his chest and back before finally keeling over
  • Shaun of the Dead: While darts are being thrown at a nearby zombie, one dart hits and stays in Shaun's head.
  • Being pincushioned with arrows (by his own men) is how Washizu dies in Throne of Blood.
  • The villain of the 2007 film The Promise Keeper.


  • Discworld: the first death of soon-to-be Zombie Reg Shoe, when the thwarted revolutionary is stuck with eight arrows but can still shout defiance at his attackers before dying. He soon recovers from this, and as a zombie proves it's impossible to kill him twice. In Jingo he confounds the Klatchians by blithely fighting on even after losing an arm, devising a new form of unarmed combat by using his severed limb as a club to hit people with. As a policeman, he concludes arrests with arrows sticking out of him, often while complaining about the holes in his armour and uniform that he will have to make good himself.
  • Lord of the Rings: Boromir goes out in a fashion similar to Longinus of the Sienkiewicz Trilogy while buying the hobbits time to get out of there. (The movie only shows three arrows, while the novel details many more)
  • Sienkiewicz Trilogy: Both in the book and in the movie, Longinus dies from from being shot with multiple arrows after the enemy corner him but dare not approach within the range of his sword.
  • King Edmund "the Martyr" of East Anglia supposedly was killed by Viking invaders in this way in 869 AD, when his captors tied him to a tree and riddled him with arrows. Some 120 years later, his biographer Abbo of Fleury gives a particularly vivid description of the event:

 They shot then with missiles, as if to amuse themselves, until he was all covered with their missiles as with bristles of a hedgehog, just as Sebastian was.

Live Action TV

  • CSI had an episode with a victim where the cause of death was "gunshot wounds to everything".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel - vampires die from a stake to the heart, but other methods of impalement don't kill them. Spike got quite a few arrows stuck in him while Buffy was fighting a vengeful Native American spirit. He later took the opportunity to run Angel through with a sword to get to a monster.

 Spike: Fuss, fuss. The thing was about to strike. It was on your back. What was I supposed to do?

Angel: Ask me to turn around.

Spike: Heat of battle. Wasn't time.

Angel: You just like stabbing me.

Spike: I - I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that you'd say that. I much prefer hitting you with blunt instruments.

Newspaper Comics

  • Hagar the Horrible: Returns home looking like this sometimes (usually axes, spears and arrows), showing that his last pillaging foray wasn't as successful as he'd hoped.

Religion and Mythology

Tabletop Games

  • In Warhammer this tends to happen to Goblin Fanatics, extremely dangerous and totally crazy goblins with ludicrously large Epic Flails. The reason for this is that they cannot be attacked in close combat, and most units are not allowed to split their fire between two target units (and each Goblin Fanatic counts as a unit).

Video Games

  • Brutal Legend: The Tainted Coil's Punishing Party unit in Brutal Legend consists of several Dominatrices and the Slave. The Slave is a big demon with a truckload of arrows, swords, and other pointy objects stuck in his body. Punishing Party's basic attack is tearing out a projectile from the Slave's flesh and hurling it at the enemies.
  • Dungeon Siege: Particularly visible throughout the series and downright ridiculous in "winter" areas, where opponents tend to use large ice shards instead of arrows.
  • Devil May Cry: In the third installment, Dante is interrupted in eating a slice of pizza by a large group of scythe wielding daemons warping in around him and turning him into an inhuman scythecushion. Up until Dante grins, walks a few steps dragging the daemons still holding onto their scythes and proceeds to kill every single one of his attackers with the scythe blades that are still stuck in him.
  • Fate/stay night: Archer is seen to have died this way in flashback. Then it happens in-game, but this time, he sticks around for a day after.
  • Metal Gear Solid: In the third game, you can be turned into one by The Fear. If you use the medical screen to heal your wounds except for pulling out the arrows, Snake will spend the entire game with arrows sticking out of his body.
  • Team Fortress 2: Arrows shot into a ragdoll will persist until they die and their bodies fade, so Heavy Weapons Guys in particular will be seen having multiple arrows protruding from their bodies (and shooting non-fatal arrows thusly earns a Huntsman-wielding Sniper an achievement).
  • Touhou: The common fate of anyone who severely pisses off Sakuya Izayoi, the knife-throwing, time-stopping Ninja Maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, according to Fanon, with Hong Meiling being her most common victim.
  • World of Warcraft: Enemy projectiles such as arrows and spears remain in the Player Character's body for a short amount of time after making a hit, so coming under attack from multiple ranged units can easily invoke this trope.
  • The cause of Asch's death/defeat (the ending waffled a little bit) in Tales of the Abyss. Buying time for the rest of the party he held of a force of replica knights as long as he could, eventually getting impaled with three swords. To cement his badassery though, he managed to pull one of them out of his torso and use it to kill a few knights before finally going down.
  • In Duodecim, the prequel to Dissidia Final Fantasy, this is part of Desperado Chaos's EX Burst, and the impaling...elements happen to be measured in stories. Distressingly, the impaling isn't even close to being the scariest or most horrifying part of that particular attack.
  • In The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion characters can be turned into human pincushions with literally dozens of arrows sticking out of them. If their health is high enough they can keep going.
  • Ditto in Mount and Blade, extending to other throwing arms such as javelins and axes, as well.
  • In dwarf fortress, items can become impaled in a character. Mostly arrows shot from a bow/crossbow. This item will then be in your inventory. So, if after a battle, a character suddenly has a bunch of arrows added to their inventory but didn't pick any up then they have just become pincushions.
  • Any game with visible arrows/javelin/pointy/non-pointy impalement has a possibility of a character looking like this if the injections stay.
  • In Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, this can easily happen to Stranger in if he gets hit with enough shots and doesn't shake them off.

Web Comics

  • Looking for Group: One scene has Richard in a torture chamber with various sharp objects stuck through his body, telling the torturer there's some room near his thigh. Justified in that Richard is a supremely overpowered undead warlock, for who this is a pleasant experience.
  • In Eight Bit Theater, Black Mage does this to his teammates on a fairly regular basis - i.e., whenever they really piss him off. They're all fine in the end, though.
  • Teen Girl Squad: Had this as one of the many possible deaths of the main characters.

Real Life

  • One of the things actual fakirs can supposedly do is skewer various appendages of their body without feeling pain or bleeding. For example...
  • Benkei, retainer of Minamoto Yoshitsune, died this way while pulling a You Shall Not Pass. His body, riddled with arrows, was said to be still standing after his death.
  • Being simultaneously pierced with multiple implements is actually Fetish Fuel for some sexually deviant subcultures.
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