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"Now, now, perfectly symmetrical violence never solves anything."
Professor Farnsworth, Futurama

You and your rival get yourselves into a fist fight. You each throw a punch simultaneously and, through some wild fluke, strike one another squarely on each others' fists. What happens?

In Real Life, of course, the result would be two broken hands and the fight would end in a draw. In anime, video games, and other heavily stylized works, on the other hand, the punches cancel one another out and both parties are unharmed. In fact, one or both parties probably did this ON PURPOSE. This is a Punch Parry. It may be justified if both punchers have Nigh Invulnerability or Invulnerable Knuckles, but more often than not the only explanation is the Rule of Cool.


Often results from Fearful Symmetry if two identical combatants are attacking each other. If done several times in rapid succession, may overlap with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs. Compare with Cross Counter and Pummel Duel (The Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs variant) Not to be confused with fistbumping.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • The Big O. Occurs during the fight between Big O and Big Duo in episode #24.
  • Happens all the time on Dragonball Z. Justified in that all major characters are Nigh Invulnerability.
  • Occasionally shows up in One Piece, most notably in the Luffy vs. Rob Lucci fight. Justified for Luffy because his bones are made of rubber and thus virtually unbreakable.
  • In the Street Fighter 3 manga, Ryu does this to Dudley.
  • G Gundam loves doing this one, especially whenever Domon and Master Asia fought.
  • Happens in Digimon Savers between Masaru and Kouki.
  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure is the Trope Codifier for most japanese media, usually in reference to the final battle between Dio and Jotaro. This example and subsequent homages overlap with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs.
  • In Naruto, Sakura and Ino do this during their Chuunin Exam fight.
  • Bleach. In anime episode #12 Chad and a Hollow swing at each other and hit each others' fist. In a variation, the Hollow has its arm ripped off.
    • When he tries this again much later, near the beginning of the Arrancar Arc, his arm is the one that's smashed.
    • Also, might be justified in the fact that his punches fire a beam of energy as well as deal physical damage. Thus that might have been what caused the damage, rather than the punch itself.
  • In Sakigake Otokujuku, the main character, Momotaro, does this on purpose, and it's sold by the bystanders as his big-time secret technique. Its net effect is to disable the opponent's fist. It works great. Momo's Evil Mentor Senpai, Date Omito, uses something almost like this against a guy who attacks with his fingers, with the twist that his fingers are so strong that fist vs. fingers is an even match (his fingers are so strong that Date accounts for "overtraining" as one his opponent's weaknesses.) This leads to the great moment of Date's opponent doing Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs with his thumbs.
  • Subverted when Bean Bandit does one of these to an impostor in Gunsmith Cats. The impostor ends up with compound open fractures in his hand. Bean ends up looking absolutely badass.
    • Best part? Bean points out that the impostor is used to having his hands protected by boxing gloves, and he felt the bones in the guy's knuckles crack when he took a shot to the jaw. He's been bare-knuckle fistfighting his entire life, and his hands are exponentially more durable.
  • This happens in the final fight of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's first arc- between giant robots, so it's justified. Then Gurren Lagann produces some drills and wrecks up Lazengann's hand anyway.
  • The final confronation between Galvatron and Starscream in Transformers Cybertron is played out this way, after a bit of preliminary shield-meets-shield Beam-O-War. Taken Up to Eleven, with Battle Aura on both sides, and a Sphere of Destruction sufficient to destroy a SMALL planet where their fists meet.
  • Subaru and Ginga from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S do this. It's justified as both of them are wielding Powered Armor gauntlets. The fact that they're both literally Made of Iron also helps.

Film

  • Wolverine does this in a cage match in the first X-Men movie, on purpose no less. Justified because he has an adamantium skeleton, so instead of bone meeting bone, it's more like bone meets a solid wall. The contender is every bit as injured as he should be.
  • In a bizarre variation, when two boxing gloves do this in the trailer to Rocky IV, they explode.
  • Happens between Hellboy and Mr. Wink in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Justified since Hellboy's hand is made of extremely tough stone and Wink's is metal. Wink breaks his fist in the attempt.
  • In It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Russel and Hawthorne do this when they get into a scuffle. In a note of realism, it clearly hurts a lot.

Videogame

Web Original

  • This happens with a couple of characters in the TGWTG Year One Brawl.
  • In The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon, Jack and Max do this unintentionally in a fight. Which leads to both of them clutching their fists and screaming in pain. Max, being Max, celebrates this as "the best fist bump ever".

Western Animation

  • Bender does this with his "evil" twin Flexo in Futurama, but all they accomplish is hurting their hands. The page quote refers to an incident where Leela attempted to fight her alterante universe double, reasoning that she knew her double's moves and thus had the advantage. Both Leelas perform a jump kick and end up running into each other full speed.
  • Happens approximately halfway through the battle between Superman and Doomsday in Superman:Doomsday.
  • Popeye and Bluto would do this all the time.
  • Roadblock and Heavy Duty do this in G.I. Joe: Renegades. Both immediately recoil in pain.
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