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In fiction, the roundhouse kick is one of the most badass martial arts moves one can make, spinning in a full circle, thus giving the kick the force of 360 degrees of awesomeness.
In Real Life, such a move is Cool but Inefficient. A proper roundhouse kick is spinning in a just partial circle, to give the kick some extra force, but without telegraphing the move too much. And even then there is a high risk of the opponent dodging the kick or even grabbing the leg if he is skillful enough.
Of course in fiction, Rule of Cool says that doesn't have to be a problem, although some fighting games give a nod to the slower speed by making the full circle kick the slowest, but most powerful, kick that several characters have.
- Walker, Texas Ranger liked to finish his fights with this move, often knocking the bad guy into Cardboard Boxes. Conan O'Brien showing such clips a lot also led to jokes about roundhouse kicks being quite popular in Chuck Norris Facts.
- The Street Fighter series has characters that do this as their strong kick, including Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat.
- In Tsunami Channel, Magical Mina actually deflects a punch with one.
- Digimon Frontier: Arbormon's main attack is called Roundhouse Punt, which involves him jumping up into the air and swinging out either his left or right foot.
- The Saffron character does a lot of roundhouse kicks to the head.
- In "Objects In Space", Jubal Early gets punched in the face, and recovers by spinning around to do this kick.
- In Maximum Ride they use roundhouse kicks a lot, especially in the first book.
- The Matrix series
- The Matrix.
- Both Neo and Morpheus during the training fight.
- Trinity does it to a soldier during the battle in the lobby.
- Neo does it to Agent Smith during the battle in the subway station.
- The Matrix Reloaded.
- Both Neo and Seraph, during their brief battle.
- Neo, during the Burly Brawl sequence and the fight against the Merovingian's goons.
- During the fight on top of the truck both Morpheus and the upgraded Agent use it.
- The Matrix.
- In King of Fighters, characters such as Robert (Ryuu Geki), King (Muay Thai), and Kim Kaphwan (Tae Kwon Do) have this as either their standing strong kick, or performed during their special attacks. Robert's Genei Kyaku and King's Trap Shot, in particular, both end with roundhouse kicks.
- One of Kimahri's Overdrives in Final Fantasy X is a turning kick, called a Mawashigeri in some translations.
- In Rosario to Vampire, Inner Moka, a vampire feared even by other monsters, often uses a roundhouse kick. In addition to being badass, it makes for a significant portion of the show's fanservice, as her Dangerously-Short Skirt guarantees a Panty Shot.
- Chuck Norris, after retiring from his acting career, went to create his own martial art style: Chun Kuk Do inspired on Tang Soo Do, which is heavy on kicking, including roundhouse kicks.
- In One Piece Jinbei the Whale Shark Fishman use a roundhouse kick against Wadatsumi's fist. In short, he manages to kick back and flip over a giant the size of a building.
- Road House. Especially when Peter watches it in Family Guy, which inspires him to do it as an answer to anything. (Road House!)
- The 2D Mortal Kombat games have one of these for every character, executed by holding back when doing a high kick, that does decent damage and great knockaway. Rain from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 gets special mention for using one so powerful that the opponent flies off the screen and ends up behind him.
- Code Geass gave us the Spinzaku meme.
- Rolling Kick from Pokémon, whose Japanese name is Roundhouse Kick.
- A standard melee attack in Crackdown.
- In one cutscene in Sonic 2006 Silver telegraphs a punch and runs at Shadow. Shadow responds by stopping time with Chaos Control, calmly walking behind Silver and roundhouse kicking him in the back of the head. Widely considered one of the beter moments of that game.
- In Jackie Chans Action Kung Fu, Jackie can do 180-degree and 360-degree spin kicks.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Dai-Gurren (a giant robot about the size of a battleship) runs up a mountain to perform a kick to a flying battleship. When they miss, they turn it into a flying roundhouse kick.
- In Xenoblade Chronicles, Melia's Starlight Kick is a clumsy leaping roundhouse kick that causes her to land on her rear. It hurts about as much as you'd expect it to, coming from a Squishy Wizard, but it can knock almost anything off its feet, two story tall dragons and robots included.
- Martial artists in Jagged Alliance 2 can do this to knock down enemies in melee unarmed combat.
- In Starfighters of Adumar, Wes Janson K.O.'s a duel opponent with a roundhouse kick to the head.