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WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

They say they hate me; they wanna hold me down.
I guess they're scared of the rebel; the rebel of the underground!
But I never let it get me.
I just make another record 'bout the punks trying to sweat me!


This is for when something that is used against a particular character is either beneficial and/or pleasant to that character or at least perceived by that character as such.

Subtropes include:

See also Shooting Superman, where rather than backfire it does what the audience expects: nothing.

Examples of Attack Backfire include:

Anime And Manga

  • In Dragon Ball GT, Goku tries to take down Super 17 with a variety of ki-based attacks, only to discover that he can increase his strength level by absorbing them.
  • Ranma ½: Ranma kicks Taro into a rock. Rock shatters revealing a water spring. Oh Crap moment. Pissed flying minotaur.


  • In Surf's Up, the main protagonist, Cody, tries to beat up a bully named Tank, but his punches are so weak that he takes it as a massage.
  • In The Fifth Element, the big dark planet of evil is attacked by Earth's military with several rockets. Instead of the rockets hurting it, they cause it to get bigger.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies gives us Mr. Stamper, whose insides are rewired so that any intended painful action he receives (such as stabbing with a knife) gives him pleasure. Conversely, any intended pleasuring action he receives (such as tickling) gives him pain.
  • In the 2012 The Avengers movie, Thor blasts Iron Man with a bolt of lightning. The effect on Tony's suit?

Jarvis: Power at 400% capacity.
Tony: How bout that?

    • This could be a nod to the fact that Tony's arc reactor is based on the Tesseract technology of, possibly, Asgardian origin. As is Thor's Mjolnir.


  • In a gamebook from the Grail Quest Solo Fantasy saga, there's a sort of humanoid insect that you can fight. However, despite having only 25 health points, each of your attacks will give him more health. However, he'll let you go if you give him enough health points.
  • In one of the Blood Sword gamebooks you could try dealing with a huge Djinni by blasting it with the Orb of Fire. He finds it refreshing and it doesn't end well for the character attempting it...

Live Action TV


  • The page quote, aside from being a classic case of No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, also states that kicking up a fuss over his first album gave him extra ideas for material for future albums, and put him in a position to use his controversial status as part of his image.

Newspaper Comics

Video Games

  • In Final Fantasy II, attacking enemies with the wrong spell (eg Ice monsters with Ice magic, Undead with Drain and Osmose or Blob Monster with Poison) will actually heal the monster. In case of Drain or the Blood Swords results will be ugly.
    • In fact, all Final Fantasy games after the first one have a system of elemental absorb.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. games, Ness' and Lucas' PSI Magnets absorb energy projectiles (i.e. Mario's fireballs, Samus' charge shot) and heal by the amount of damage the attack would have caused.
  • In Street Fighter 4, Zangief gets a victory quote against Blanka informing him that his electric blasts helped relieve his back pain.
  • The Pokémon abilities Volt Absorb and Water Absorb not only make Pokémon with these abilities immune to Electric- or Water-type attacks respectively, but also heal them by one-quarter of their maximum HP each time they are hit by attacks of the corresponding type.
  • This trope is pretty much what makes Shin Megami Tensei games earn their reputation as fiendishly hard. There are too many monsters that have the ability to absorb one or more elements that yours character can use, and there are too few attacks that are guaranteed deal meaningful damage all the time. On top of it, some games have a system that gleefully punishes you for using the elements the monsters absorb.
  • In Minecraft, throwing a Splash Potion of Instant Damage at a zombie or skeleton will heal them. Likewise, throwing a Splash Potion of Instant Health will hurt them

Web Animation

  • RWBY has an opposing hunter use an electrical weapon on Nora. While it worked well on Ren, using electricity on Nora only makes her stronger.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • On The Simpsons, one episode was a series of stories from The Bible. When Moses (Milhouse) sends a plague of frogs to vex the Pharoah (Principal Skinner), he and the other Egyptians just end up eating the frogs' legs. The Pharoah comments that Ra must be rewarding them for punishing their slaves.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Mermaid Man mistakes Spongebob for evil and attacks with his trademark Water Balls. Spongebob enjoys it, because as a sponge, he absorbs it.
  • One episode of Godzilla: The Series had some hispanic army use a biological weapon against the Monster of the Week, but it turns out to strengthen it. Then they try it again.