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Fists occupied? Feet unavailable? Thirty-two weapons are still available: the teeth!
This trope is about biting someone in combat. Biting is typically a desperate last resort employed when limbs are pinned. However, it is a move that can turn the tables in an instant. The true Combat Pragmatist will bite anytime he fancies: an unexpected bite to the throat can take a foe down quickly. That kind of savagery can also be a sign of being Raised By Animals, or being outright Ax Crazy. Strangely, despite the brutal nature of the attack, there are far more heroic examples than villainous.
A bite can result in some of the worst flesh damage a character can do to another, without a weapon. Most other unarmed attacks depend on blunt force. Expect the bitee to react with pain, shock and horror. As this is a trope about pragmatism, humans and other organisms not expected to bite should only be listed. No dogs, no vampires, ect.
Anime and Manga
- In one chapter of Blade of the Immortal, a crazed Itto-Ryu attempts to finish off Hyakurin this way.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Big Bad Shishio Makoto takes a chomp out of Kenshin to show that he's serious about his Social Darwinist philosophy ("The flesh of the weak is the food of the strong.").
- Invoked in the first Hellsing anime, after Alucard shoots off Anderson's arms but Anderson still charges at him, prompting Alucard to taunt him: "Are you gonna bite me next?" Anderson decides to retreat with dignity after hearing this (from a vampire, no less).
- Seras Victoria later bites off half of Zorin Blitz's hand while being punched in the face by her.
- In Dragon Ball, Goku was prone to use this, most notoriously when fighting against Freeza and Kid Buu.
- In a flashback within a Yu-Gi-Oh! episode, Anzu bites the arm of a rapist (thief in the dub) after he knocks Yugi down.
- In To Aru Majutsu no Index, Index bites anyone who irritates her. Usually Toma.
- In One Piece Filler Arc Little East Blue, Yoko uses biting as her way to attack.
- In Baccano, Creepy Child Czeslaw Meyer tells world-renowned assassin and complete lunatic Claire Stanfield that he's not afraid of him, having been hurt and tortured in horrible ways for years. Claire's response is to grab Czeslaw's hand and bite his fingers off.
- In Nabari no Ou, Shijima occasionally bites people in combat.
- Welcome To Hoxford: Ax Crazy killer Ray Delgado of the horror comic has a strange fixation with biting, though notably he isn't a cannibal. In addition to being superhumanly strong, he uses this trope to great effect thorughout the story, chomping down on both his fellow inmates and the werewolves that run the Hoxford prison. When one of the transformed guards enters his cell, he smiles … and then by tears out its tongue with his teeth.
- Secret Six: Being a team of Combat Pragmatists, the Six like this one. Bane kills a guard by biting his jugular, Ragdoll deactivates an opponents' power armor and gleefully chomps into his face, King Shark has it as his fighting style (naturally), and Catman takes down Bronze Tiger with an artery bite and later, as pictured above, bites out a kidnapper's eyes.
- In Preacher (Comic Book), Jesse breaks free of a headlock by biting out a chunk of the holder's arm. Later, Jesse gets one of his eyes bitten out by God.
- In The Walking Dead, Michonne bites off the governor's ear, and later bites him the neck. Later, Rick rips out a bandit's throat with his teeth. Much later, Eugene tops them both by biting a Neganist in the dick.
- The Legion of Super Heroes: Matter-Eater Lad mostly just eats weapons, but push him far enough...
- Empowered does it when her suit doesn't work anymore (and she's depowered). Well, at the beginning. Later she stopped it, because bitten mooks tend to have grudges.
- In the Sin City story "The Big Fat Kill," Gail does this to Becky, nearly ripping her throat out, after learning that she sold her and the girls of Old Town out to the mob to save her own neck.
Gail: Your neck, your neck, your precious little neck...
- Conan the Barbarian: Shortly after he is crucified upon the Tree of Woe, Conan is pecked at by a vulture and bites into the animal's neck, killing it. This scene was also borrowed from the original story "A Witch Shall Be Born." (They swapped in a dead vulture for the live one when filming this scene, and Arnold Schwarzenegger actually bit into its neck. He had his mouth washed out immediately after to protect him from disease.)
- Batman Returns: The Penguin reacts to the jibes of one of Shreck's image consultants by sinking his teeth into his nose.
"Still, could be worse -- my nose could be gushing blood!"
- In The Bone Collector, Denzel Washington finishes off the killer this way. A Crowning Moment of Awesome since Denzel's character was paralyzed from the neck down.
- In Dirty Work, Chris Farley plays a man whose nose was bitten off by a Vietnamese whore.
- In The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, this is Jaws' specialty.
- In From Beyond, the heroine chews off one of her monster boyfriend's tentacles.
- In Conspiracy Theory, Mel Gibson's character bites off a baddie's nose while otherwise restrained, using the resulting confusion to escape.
- In Kill Bill, the Bride's first kill upon getting out of her four-year coma was a trucker who tried to rape her, whose tongue she ripped out with her teeth.
- Beauty and the Beast: "In a wrestling match nobody bites like Gaston!"
- Much like The Bone Collector example above, the killer monkey in Monkey Shines is chomped to death by a quadraplegic.
- In Die Hard 2, John McClane bites the hand of a terrorist.
- In Saving Private Ryan, Mellish is forced to bite the German he's fighting (it briefly stops him, but then the Nazi gets the upper hand and a knife).
- In The Last House on the Left, one of the victims dupes the kidnapper/rapist into a sex game, then performs fellatio on him... you can guess what happens.
- In Black Swan, Nina gets the main role for biting Thomas while he forcingly kissed her.
- In a rare villainous example, Hannibal Lecter bites a guard on the face in The Silence of the Lambs.
- It's mentioned in the novel that he'd previously done this to a nurse who was administering a medical test, which cost her an eye and most of her face. Why do you think they put that mask on him?
- In Bunraku, the anonymous drifter chomps down on a killer while caught in a grapple. It forces him to let go.
- One of the characters in Enter the Dragon bites down while in a leg lock, forcing his opponent to let go. See the Bruce Lee quote in the Real Life section.
- Sarah rips out a crawler's throat with her teeth near the end of The Descent.
- Not shown, but a security guard in Ocean's Thirteen is decoyed away from his post by a fake phone call from his son's school, claiming that his kid just bit the lunch lady again.
Live Action TV
- In the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, a rape is averted when the intended victim bites off her attacker's ear.
- Jack Bauer kills a terrorist guard this way in the Season 6 premiere of 24, biting the guy's throat out.
- Kamen Rider Amazon regularly bit the shit out of his foes. Along with the gore, this was likely one reason Moral Guardians complained; a bite to the neck is a heck of a lot easier for kids to imitate than a Rider Kick.
- Cordelia once held off a vampire by sinking her teeth into his arm.
Cordelia: See how you like it!
- On Hill Street Blues, somewhat crazy detective Mick Belker occasionally bit suspects. The HSB page even refers to him as a Rabid Cop. At least once, he was ordered to stop, just before he could sink his teeth into a fellow's leg, because Captain Furillo could see the perp was already subdued. A few criminals made panicked "he was trying to eat me!" sort of comments.
- In the Diablo tie-in novel Legacy of Blood, the villain is bitten on the neck by a woman he's about to torture. He starts to panic, thinking she might be a vampire, then realises she's just acting out of desperation.
- Solomon Kane is not above ripping an opponent's throat out with his teeth when necessary.
- One of Norm's favorite attacks, and apparently also erotic for him, in Rose Madder.
- Jeremiah toward squad leader The Stoic Asher in Someone Elses War. Jeremiah is seven, so perhaps it's a little more justified.
- A move traditionally used by Heels (especially those with a "savage" gimmick), but may be employed by smaller, weaker Faces as well. As with any comparisons of Heels and Faces, expect some Moral Dissonance.
- Sting recently told Hulk Hogan (or was it Ric Flair?) not to point his finger at him; otherwise, Sting would bite it off! This would have been an out-of-character moment for Steve Borden at any time in the past, but it perfectly fits his new "Insane Icon" gimmick.
- Dementia of Glow always did this, more than any of the other rude ones. It only worked on jobbers or wrestlers unfamiliar with her, more technical wrestlers would use it to their advantage.
- Classy Freddy Blassie began his performance career biting the heads off small animals, it only made sense he'd start biting other people when he wrestled.
- One of the Rage Powers available to a Barbarian in Pathfinder is "Animal Rage," which gives your barbarian a bite attack and allows them to execute this trope on their enemies.
- In Siren: Blood Curse, little Bella Monroe bites a Shibito's hand to make it release her mother.
- This trope crops up in Dwarf Fortress combat all the time. In fact, in adventure mode, players regularly defeat Boogymen by biting them, then shaking them around until their 'lower body is ripped off.
- Street Fighter veterans should be familiar with seeing this as a grapple from Wild Child mutant Blanka. And Husky Russkie Zangief can get in on the delicious facechomping action. Yummy!
- Side-scrolling Beat'Em Up Warriors of Fate featured this as an option for one of the heroes, in-game known for his love of eating. Enemies seem to count for his appetite, it seems.
- A Newshounds story arc had Lorna thinking she was a dog, and watching a bad man (her father) chewing out Kevin. One of the other dogs compliments her technique (while watching in shock).
- In the Darwin's Soldiers Expanded Universe story Pavlov's Checkmate, James Zanasiu bites Richard "Ricky" Warden during the climactic battle inside a wormhole to break free from a chokehold to seize his knife and kill him with it.
- In Survival of the Fittest v1, Cody Jenson kills Madelaine Shirohara this way after raping her, ripping out her throat with his teeth.
- Often played for laughs in Warner Bros. cartoons, usually some animal-based Toon chomping on another Toon's leg or biting his bottom.
- Justice League: Wonder Woman bites a Thanagarian.
- The infamous "Bite Seen 'Round The World" during the 1997 Mike Tyson/Evander Holyfield match, where Tyson got disqualified for biting Holyfield's ears, one bite being severe enough to rip off a piece of his right ear. The incident in question did not help Tyson's image at all, and made him look like even more of a savage.
- A woman in South Africa bites off her rapist's tongue and hands it to police as evidence.
- The field of forensic odontology, in addition to Identification by Dental Records, also deals a lot with bite mark analysis in cases where a criminal or a victim bit the other during the commission of a crime. Cases where such evidence played a key role included the case of Serial Killer Ted Bundy as well as the case of Jesse Timmendequas (the Megan's Law case).
- Biting incidents also crop up in child care settings.
- Bruce Lee once said he wouldn't be above biting someone in a fight if he believed it was necessary.
- See also the Useful Notes.