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File:Link saves and destroys 7114.jpg

Perhaps this is what happens in The Legend of Zelda series.


The Magdalan Order is supposed to prevent the destruction caused by demons and the supernatural... not cause that destruction ourselves!

Sister Kate, Chrono Crusade

Basically, Terrifying Rescuers who cause about as much damage, more or less, as the threats they save the day against.

Say a hideous monster is terrorizing the town. All seems lost, until the Big Damn Heroes arrive. They beat the monster down, and the whole village celebrates with them.

... What the hell? The heroes fought the monster and defeated it soundly, but they just smashed the place to pieces during the battle.

Well, no one was killed, but these people are barely better for the town than the monster. Some saviors.

Yes, some heroes have bad luck enough to cause significant destruction, often more than the villains. It could be by complete accident, not caring, being a Sociopathic Hero or a combination of the three. Either way, you're better off moving away, no matter the outcome. And don't expect any Hero Insurance to cover this. Insurance companies blacklist this kind of hero.

Often this comes from careless use of the powers of a Person of Mass Destruction, but often it's just a tendency to cause Disaster Dominoes.

Compare What the Hell, Hero?, when the heroes get called out for ruining the town. If the destruction that happens truly isn't the hero's fault, then he's just a Walking Disaster Area. If the situation was already disastrous beforehand and he can't possibly make things that much worse than they already are, then he's justified through the Godzilla Threshold. Sometimes this is the practical result of Summon Bigger Fish. A Willfully Weak character may become one, often after a World of Cardboard Speech.

Examples of Destructive Saviour include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Dirty Pair got their name because of this (don't call them that to their faces though!).
  • Love Pheromone of Akahori Gedou Hour Rabuge have been called "Dirty Pair from hell."
  • Mazinger Z: This trope was played tragically. As soon as the first episode we could see how destructive Mazinger-Z may be (in the original manga, Kouji destroyed half city as he was trying figuring out how handling the damned machine. In the anime series he activated Mazinger on an unpopulated area; still, he destroyed his grandfather's lab, went on a rampage through the landscape and nearly got his little brother killed). When Kouji and Sayaka battle a Mechanical Beast, usually there is not much left of the battlefield in the wake of the fight. And when it is a city, buildings crumble down and people dies. As soon as the episode 7 it was shown people did NOT appreciate this and as far as they were concerned, Mazinger-Z was just so bad like Dr. Hell's Mechnical Beasts.
  • Lina Inverse has a nasty habit of casting the Dragon Slave in populated areas, especially when the series takes a turn for the funny. The most famous incident is probably the first episode of the anime, in which a village is being attacked by a dragon Lina accidentally set loose by slaughtering/robbing the gang of bandits that it belonged to. Lina first makes the village elder promise to pay her before lifting a finger to help, then destroys the whole village along with the dragon because the dragon insults her by not stepping on her. (She still expects to be paid.)
  • Zambot 3: This series personifies this trope. Yoshiyuki Kill'Em All Tomino went to extreme lengths to show why it is not a good idea getting two Humongous Mecha fighting in a populated area. Although the children piloting Zambot try to stop the Mecha Burst, they make just so much damage (which does nothing to convince the Earth folk who hates them they are ON its side).
  • Averted in Desert Punk. In an early episode, Desert Punk and Rain Spider prepare to duel in the center of town for the right to a woman... as payment for her father's debt. The town elder tries to warn them off, saying their duel will be so epic and destructive that it will destroy the town. Turns out he didn't need to worry, as the duel turns out to be so non-epic and drawn out that most of the townspeople wander off in boredom after a few hours.
  • In Chrono Crusade...
    • Rosette Christopher almost always creates a ton of property damage for every mission she is involved in. Her superiors have even said: "We can even make a book from your destruction reports".
    • And in the manga, Chrono actually tops Rosette when he goes into an Unstoppable Rage—and ends up destroying a few streets in the downtown area of a city.
  • When things are starting to get rough in Ghost in the Shell, the members of Section 9 generally try to avoid hurting innocent bystanders. Everything else usually gets completely trashed within minutes by heavy machine gun fire, rockets, tanks, and the occasional mecha.
  • Ayaka Kisaragi from Phantom Quest Corp (Yugen Kaisha in Japanese). Most of her battles with ghosts end up trashing the nearby environment (including poor Tokyo Tower).
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Parallel Works 6 has an alternate Gurren-dan defeating their Beastmen oppressors in an incredibly Badass way, but at the very end of the short, the ersatz Simon (who is an older, ordinary bloke in this version) is distraught to find that they have completely decimated his hometown in the process.
  • Vash the Stampede of Trigun, who is known as the "Humanoid Typhoon" due to being one of these. He eventually gets declared to be "the first human Act of God" because wherever he goes, things get wrecked.
    • In the manga, he eventually gets dubbed "God's armed arm" in the aftermath of a particularly spectacular catastrophe. That's right, it's so bad he's considered the instrument of divine retribution (though, in all honesty, it was because of his brother Knives.)
      • The best part, and a good bit of the comedy early on in the series, revolves around the fact that Vash is an Actual Pacifist, and things getting wrecked is utterly caused by people gunning for him. His introduction into the series involves him sitting down to a bar and a hail of bullets completely and utterly destroying the entire building, save the stool he happened to be sitting on. Everyone tries to kill him because of the huge bounty on his head, and there's a huge bounty on his head because destruction follows him everywhere.
        • There was that one incident that started the hunt.
          • Technically, he's declared an Act of God because that means the insurance company won't have to pay off for damage he causes.
          • The torts law involved in this is very, very complicated, as torts law generally is, and the Gunsmoke version is of course unknown to us. The anime makes a lot more sense here, having Meryl and Millie called off the case for a while after this is declared, while in the manga, for no clear reason, the insurance agents are assigned to him when this happens, but his bounty is removed. Which, let us reiterate, makes no sense.
    • Not to mention he put a hole in the moon while trying to stop Knives (Which also happened to be Knives' fault).
  • The titular Humongous Mecha of Cannon God Exaxxion is so huge is causes massive property damage every time it takes a step. And let's not even get into the shockwave created by the damn thing's BFG.
  • In the Devil May Cry anime, Dante manages to stop a number of demons...unfortunately, the money for doing so is rarely enough to compensate for the way the damage bills add to his debts.
  • Spike Spiegel's penchant for causing massive destruction when chasing a bounty head is one of the reasons why he and the other crew of the Bebop live in Perpetual Poverty:

Spike: What happened to the one million woolongs we got as bounty for that last guy?
Jet: The repair bill for the plane you wrecked, the repair bill for the shop you trashed and the medical bill for the cop you injured killed all the dough!

  • Koichi Hayase in the early parts of Linebarrels of Iron caused quite a lot of property damage with his humongous mecha, it later comes back to bite him in one of the most cruel ways imaginable, and THEN he gets called out on it.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion mentioned this a lot pretty early on, with NERV officials getting bills and complaints about all the damage caused by the frequent battles in and around Tokyo-3. Shinji is quickly singled out as the pilot of Unit 01 as he's the only new kid to show up right when everyone's moving out because they don't much like the idea of 'living in a warzone.'
    • In the same vein, the repairbill of a single Eva - usually 01 - was supposedly large enough to bankrupt a small country, and Seele criticises Nerv for needing them to bail them out after they go over-budget.
  • In Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar, this trope bothers Koutarou Taiga so much he has the Dividing Driver built by episode 4. It creates a safe battlefield in any area by shifting the rest of the matter out of the way temporarily.
  • Generally averted in Bleach, where the Gotei 13 use barriers ( in one case, replacing an entire town with a replica of it specifically for fighting in) and their ability to stand on air in order to have their battles high enough that nothing will get too damaged in the fight. Played so straight with Komamura whose fight with Poww results in as much damage to the real town they're protecting as the fake one they're fighting in that even his allies comment on how much that'll cost him after the fight is over.
  • Most of the cast of Fairy Tail. At one point Natsu even states "The mages of Fairy Tail specialize in property damage!" shortly after this he hits a guy through a tower. Not through just a wall, from the tip of the structure to the base.
    • Natsu's first fight involves him wrecking a harbor. In the next chapter you find out he also destroyed seven private homes, a clock tower, and a church.
    • And then there's Gildarts. The city the Fairy Tail guild is based in has to be moved out of the way whenever he shows up due to his Crash magic.
  • The titular Children from Zettai Karen Children at first have a tendency to apply some amount of overkill during their missions. They get better though under the guidance of Minamoto.
  • Dai-Guard plays this humorously. The heroes have to file the paperwork for all the lawsuits they incur.
  • Hakaima Sadamitsu. It's in the friggin' title! (Sadamitsu The Destroyer). For those who haven't seen the (sadly overly short Too Good to Last) show, he's a sort of brain dead Ichigo (yes, it's possible), pretty much whacking every alien he sees, while destroying a few neighborhoods every time. When a government weasel decides to turn Earth into a refuge for reformed intergalactic criminals and Sadamitsu tries to call him on it, he's very well put down with the fact that "the rest of us can't afford to run around with a robot head destroying the entire planet... you... destroyer". That actually hits a nerve, mostly because it's the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
  • Heavily deconstructed in Bokurano, where the heroes' Humongous Mecha, along with their opponents, are so powerful that their battles can cause thousands of civilian casualties if they don't take extreme caution. The pilots soon learn to fight in evacuated or unpopulated areas to limit the damage, but even then they're Not So Different when fighting in other worlds. The populace initially has no way of telling that the heroes are even fighting for the Earth, and commonly refer to the mecha as Kaiju. Some foreign governments are so afraid that they send assassins against the pilots.
  • Quite common in Fullmetal Alchemist—though, for alchemists, the repair is just as easy as the destruction.
  • Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima eventually develops into a Destructive Savior (as opposed to a Person of Mass Destruction resigned to his status as a monster) after a run in with Saika makes him realize that, while he might never get complete control over his anger and power, he can at least make some proactive use for it. Cue such feats such as kicking around cars, thugs, and ex-Mafiya to save a kidnapped child or making use of highway posts to punish scumbag gang leaders like Horada.
  • Panty and Stocking live and breathe this trope. Luckily the citizens of Daten City all appear to be Made of Iron.
  • Kazuki's efforts to get to the roof of his school to stop Victor's resurrection at the end of the LXE arc of Busou Renkin cause more property damage than the LXE did in the entire story arc. And to top it off Kazuki's transformation into Victor III makes him inadvertently do as much harm to his classmates as Victor did once he woke up. At least he was able to prevent any actual (civilian) deaths...
  • Kuro and Al-Azif in Demonbane. Several areas of Arkham are devastated by their mech and magical spells. So many, in fact, that their Hero Insurance is rapidly running out. their employer even threatens them with not letting them use Demonbane (well, not supporting them, anyways. There's really no way she can not let them use it).
  • Tiger and Bunny's Kotetsu Kaburagi/Wild Tiger cares deeply about saving people—and not a lick about property damage. Thank God there's literal Hero Insurance in his city, though it still gets him chewed out regularly by his corporate sponsors. It's also earned him the nickname "Crusher for Justice."
  • Guts from Berserk overlaps with this and Walking Disaster Area, as most of the time, shit is already messed up by the time he gets to a town (the usual scenario is that an apostle is a terrorizing the place). However, since Guts hunts apostles, he takes it upon himself to kill them, which should make him a hero... but he does his deeds at the expense of everybody around him and for his own desires - and he knows it. Thus, Guts is pretty much viewed as a villain by most who come across him.
  • Inuyasha: In the final battle, Naraku banks on his enemies being so concerned about collatoral damage that they won't attack him just in case Kaede's village is destroyed as a result. This is part of a plan to buy him the time he needs to reach the Bone-Eater's Well. Unfortunately, for him, he didn't take into account Sesshoumaru. As Inuyasha's group does indeed hesitate as he hoped, Sesshoumaru responds with "So what?" and attacks which encourages Inuyasha's group to join in. Despite the damage the village suffers, they're happy for Inuyasha's group to live permanently with them after the grand finale and even tolerate frequent visits from Sesshoumaru.
  • Madoka from Rinne no Lagrange tries not to be one, but she's still in a Humongous Mecha fighting other Humongous Mecha, so it doesn't always work.
  • There is a reason they make Luffy fight on the outer deck in the Baratie arc of One Piece. It of course gets smashed up, not in the least because Luffy declares he's going to fix everything by just sinking the goddamn ship and letting it be done with. He doesn't really.
  • When Mirai Ozora takes on the mantle of the superhero Moldiver in the anime of the same name, she turns out to be quite unintentionally destructive while stopping the depredations of her nemesis, Professor Machinegal. Which unknowingly makes her defeats of Machinegal even worse for him, because in his civilian identity he's the lowest-bidder contractor hired to repair the damage caused by their fights.

Comic Books

  • Fight Man in the Marvel Universe.
  • The Authority, dear god, The Authority.
    • The Authority does actually acknowledge the incredible level of destruction they cause, and stay to help clean up their mess if they've got the time. They're also pretty justified in and of the fact that the things they fight are usually on the level of Eldritch Abominations whose victory would pretty much ensure the destruction of the entire world.
  • There's an X Wing Series comic created for and published exclusively in the Omnibus which has Wedge Antilles beating some bad guy or other by shooting proton torpedoes at a tall monument, making it fall in exactly the right way. The locals are furious at him for destroying their monument, and then another X-Wing pilot lands and, exasperated, lists off all of Wedge's Crowning Moments Of Awesome until the locals agree that yeah, they can just build another monument. Wedge's fanboy happens to be Luke Skywalker.
  • Incredible Hulk
    • Even more so considering that in the Planet Hulk storyline he literally played the dualistic roles of Savior and Destroyer.
    • His sons are also this. In fact, they may well be more dangerous than their father, because while the Hulk typically tries not to kill other people, his sons have no such compunction.
  • Groo the Wanderer is the living embodiment of this trope- he's flattened multiple cities he was trying to save (accidentally, of course), ruined the lives of everyone involved in his periodic attempts to help them, shattered empires, and is widely considered to be worse than plague, famine, drought, war, pestilence, flooding, and bandits put together... often because he'll cause any or all of them to happen, sometimes simultaneously. People who know of him learn never to ask for his help, but he will still offer, which is more terrifying than him offering to kill them. Heart of gold, brain of stone.
  • Frequently Lampshaded in the X-Men comics- after any particularly vicious, property-wrecking fight, one of them will look around and make the standing joke of "... well, you can always tell where we've been."
  • Played for drama in the Astro City story "Old Times", when Flying Brick Supersonic is called out of retirement to stop a rampaging giant robot. Unable to think of a clever scheme to stop it, he settles for simply pounding it instead, and the ensuing brawl takes out a dozen residential blocks.
  • One Sergio Aragones gag in Mad Magazine plays this for laughs with a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. It ends with Jack running from an angry mob since when he cut down the beanstalk, it and the giant landed on their village.
  • The Avengers are almost incapable of going more than half-a-dozen issues without having to promise some irate civilian that Tony Stark will compensate them for losses incurred due to the Avengers smashing a hole in an intersection/using a streetful of cars as crude ballistics/blowing up a subway tunnel/demolishing a building or three/etc, etc.

Fan Works

  • Fairly English Story: There's a lot of colleteral damage in the Full Moon Shadows.
  • Pokémon Master: Places tend to end up burning, crumbling down or exploding in the wake of Ash and his friends. One character lampshades this in episode 10:

Lily: "You know, places that go to hell seem to be quite common when you're around."
Ash: "Tell me about it."



  • Demolition Man. A reporter asks Spartan why he felt it necessary to destroy a multi-million dollar mall to rescue a child whose ransom was a mere fraction of that cost. Hearing it, the girl answers, "Hey, fuck you lady!" which Spartan deems a good answer.
  • Team America: World Police. After killing 4 terrorists, Paris is a burning wasteland.
    • They do, however, get called out on it by the Film Actors Guild, who don't approve very much of the team's destructive tendencies when dealing with terrorists. There's also a protest staged outside the team's headquarters in Mount Rushmore after terrorists destroy the Panama Canal in retaliation for Team America stopping another attack in Egypt[1]
  • Arguably, this is what makes the Ghostbusters so appealing.
    • They do get called on it, in a minor fashion in the first movie, and in criminal court in the second.
    • But what's worse is that the city not only stiffed them on the bill for defeating Gozer, but had the sheer audacity to turn around and sue them instead. And they were only sort-of responsible for the damage Stay-Puft did. (It just "popped in there.") Plus, they had actually hired the Ghostbusters to deal with the problem in the first movie.
    • By the time of the game, the city has decided to just roll with it, and has a standing insurance policy to cover the damage they do. People still aren't too happy, though.
  • Godzilla. "Thanks for leveling our country!"
  • In RoboCop the title character stops a convenience store robbery ... but damages most of the store in the process. The owners don't look too happy.
  • Pretty much the point of the first half or so of Hancock.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has the Joes not only wreck Paris trying (and sort of failing—they stop it, but not until it's already done a lot of damage) to stop Cobra, they get banned from the country.
  • Pretty much everyone in the second half of The Avengers. A city official tries to call them on it during the post-battle montage of news reports, but he's drowned out by the chorus of civilians saying "thanks for saving us from an alien invasion." But the MVP, hands-down:

Cap: Hulk? Smash.
Hulk: [grins and smashes]

  • Superman in Man of Steel all but demolishes Metropolis during his fight with Zod and the other Kryptonians. The destruction he caused is a direct cause of his conflict with Batman in the later film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.


  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, elves, humans and other good people in the beautiful continent of Beleriand face the evil Morgoth who relentlessly kills them and destroys their kingdoms one by one. The desperate remnant calls upon the Valar - extremely powerful gods or angels. The Valar come in force, launch the "War of Wrath" and utterly defeat Morgoth - but in the process, nearly all of Beleriand is flooded and sinks under the sea, only a few mountain tops surviving as small islands.
  • Dying alien warrior Prince Elfangor, one of the technologically-advanced Andalites, reveals a covert invasion of Earth by another alien species, the Yeerks, to five human teenagers. He gives the teenagers access to morphing technology in hopes that they can launch a guerrilla war against the invaders, promising that Andalite reinforcements are on their way, and they wouldn't need to stall for time more than a year. The teenagers, becoming the Animorphs, end up fighting for three years, because the Andalite military that the Animorphs were so desperately waiting for deemed Earth a low priority, and assumed the kids were lying to try to become a high priority in the very few times the two groups were able to make contact. When the Andalites realized that they've made a mistake and the Yeerk invasion on Earth has turned into a full-blown war, they decide to forfeit Earth and let the Yeerks concentrate all their manpower on Earth...before they blast the entire planet from orbit, killing everyone there, Yeerk...or human. This really is something of an indicator of Andalite arrogance, who believe humans to be second-rate species.
  • Sir Apropos of Nothing isn't really like this in the first book, but in the second book, when he isn't Brainwashed and Crazy, he does things of his own choice, and in the third book, he's even more like this.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Lews Therin Telamon and the male Aes Sedai (read: wizards) successfully locked the Dark One back in his prison, but the Dark One countered by poisoning The Force, causing all male channelers to go irrevocably insane and start World Sundering en masse. Even in the story's modern day, 3,000 years later, there are debates on whether men hiding in Anti-Magic Fields made the Breaking Of The World worse (by spreading out the damage) or better (by preventing an Earthshattering Kaboom).
    • Oh, and Lews Therin's reincarnation, the actual Main Character of the series, is the Chosen One and is known to be a Destructive Savior, since male channelers are still going crazy. He will either prevent the release of the Dark One, leading to the unmaking of all reality, or succeed at defeating the Dark One, but at the cost of horrendous war—not to mention going insane enough to get back into the World Sundering habit. In amusing bits of Insane Troll Logic, some people thus try to kill him in the hopes of "saving" the world.
  • Referenced in the Zilpha Keatley Snyder youth novel, Song of the Gargoyle. One of the many songs court jester Komus taught his son Tymmon is "The Knight of the Honorable Name," a ballad about a lordly knight who wanders around fighting monsters and bandits, but often leaves his beneficiaries worse off than they'd started. One specific example is given of a town which is being menaced by a dragon. The titular Knight and his retinue slay the dragon, but only after they've lived in the town for so long, taking the townspeoples' goods and food, that they've laid waste to the town themselves. The Knight and his followers then ride off, proud of their success and oblivious to the destruction.
  • Harry Dresden. Fights monsters, saves the city, and racks up a ton of property damage in doing so. Since he favors fire magic, he tends to burn down or severely damage at least one building per book. Check out the quotes page for some choice comments on the subject. The foreword for one short story in the Side Jobs compilation notes that a part of the planning process was finding a nice mall in the Chicago area for Dresden to destroy. Needless to say, the place is on fire by the end of the piece.
    • A non-exhaustive list of the destruction Harry has inflicted includes: wrecking an elevator (giant scorpion golem), burning down a townhouse (evil sorcerer drug ring), blowing a hole through three buildings (giant loup-garou), burning down a warehouse (vampire kidnappers), setting most of a mansion in fire (more vampires), rampant destruction in a Walmart (faerie assassins), setting fire to most of a floor on a high-rise (fallen angel terrorists), burning down a school (it wasn't his fault, it was those demon baboons with flaming poo), burning down a homeless shelter (more vampires!), massive damage to downtown Chicago (zombie tyrannosaur and necromancers), destroying an entire cavern complex (giant clusterfuck involving vampires, ghouls, evil sorcerers, and C4-packing mercenaries and gangsters) the walls of a business tower, the front end of a townhouse, most of a subway station, and significant parts of and aquarium park (faerie hitmen and more fallen angels). Changes takes this even further, with an entire building being blown up (they said they were cleaning out asbestos....) and the finale involving leveling most of a pyramid.
    • The very first time Harry ever fought anything with magic (He Who Walks Behind) he ended up blowing up a gas station.
  • K.H. Metzger's Skye Sparkler, a superpowered twelve-year-old, has a tendency to do this if she isn't extremely careful.

Live Action TV

  • In Stargate SG-1, the Tok'ra considered the Tau'ri to be this, since they lose a lot more people after the Tau'ri start knocking off System Lords left and right. If it weren't for the fact that they are incapable of reproduction, one might almost take it as just being mad that the Tau'ri are so damn effective for "newbies" while their Holding Out for a Hero method hadn't borne any fruit until recently (and then the Tau'ri forced them to shelve it for being too brutal).
  • On Lexx, Stanley tends to carelessly blow up the planets he just visited.
    • Some blame can be placed on Lexx himself, as the ship does not have a very good grasp on ethics or even basic slang, not to mention that it likes to blow up planets. At one point a planet was destroyed simply because Lexx didn't understand the meaning of "belay that order" and didn't bother to ask.
  • The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers destroyed a lot of buildings when they fought in their Zords. Later Power Rangers series began to use clear areas for the Zord battles.
    • Mind you, it's usually not their fault - the Zords get knocked into buildings by the Monster of the Week. However, when the Rangers are in town, you can expect a good deal of town to get demolished. It seemed to steadily increase until 9/11 happened, at which point building destruction became vanishingly rare and is only recently beginning to creep back in.
    • Given that the buildings are destroyed in stock footage from Japan and building destruction is never, ever mentioned in Power Rangers dialogue, it's unclear whether this is supposed to actually be happening or just some kind of visual metaphor.
  • In Chuck, Casey ends up ruining Ellie's wedding when he and his special ops team drop in saving Chuck, Sarah, and Bryce, his response "You rang". Of course being Chuck Jeffster then ruined it as well covering up the spy related stuff.

Tabletop Games

  • In Monsterpocalypse, the faction called G.U.A.R.D. are UN troops who ride around in Humongous Mecha to defend the world's cities from devastation by giant monsters. Needless to say, given how the game works, they knock down just as many buildings as the freaks.
  • Dungeons & Dragons tends to have characters that do this quite often. In one example, a high level cleric summons two elder earth elementals to fight off the bandits attacking them in the night. On the second floor of an inn. Then blamed the collapse of the building on the bandits when the town guard showed up.
    • A number of spells usable by player characters can lead to this trope. A few examples include: Meteor Storm, Tsunami, Earthquake, Wish, Alter Reality, the Mordenkainen spells, Colossus, any of the higher level Monster Summoning spells, a well placed Fireball, Creeping Doom, Summon Weather, Gate, etc. Honestly there are too many to name. The more powerful a magic-using PC gets, the more the potential for this trope increases. Keep in mind, this applies to Psionicists and reckless artifact/relic users, also.
    • This is set up in the adventure module Apocalypse Stone. The player characters are unknowingly being tested by a divine agent, and their current test is one of generosity. They are given the possibility to donate magic items to renew enchantments that protect a village from a minor Sealed Evil in a Can. To make sure they can't just get away with waiting for it to be released and killing it (actually, them; two behirs), it's written so that the battle will automatically destroy the village even if they win.
  • If the Protoss technique is counted, we must also list the closest-to-good guys in Warhammer 40,000. The Imperium has been known to 'save' cities from zombies or aliens by knocking half of it down with artillery and setting the other half on fire. (They also frequently save systems from daemonic incursions by reducing the world with the warp rift on it to a smouldering ruin with orbital bombardment.) The Eldar and Tau aren't much better when it comes to not solving problems by killing planets.
    • The difference with the Eldar is, unlike the Imperium and Tau, it's never their own worlds that they destroy. And to the Eldar, no one else actually matters.
    • In the words of a man who was unfortunate enough to be on a planet that needed Space Marine assistance, "We used to pray to the Emperor to send his Angels to deliver us. Now we pray He never does so again."
  • Dragon-Bloods in Exalted have anima banners that flare up with representations of their elemental aspects as they use their Essence. Combat in Exalted tends to burn a lot of Essence. One of the Dragon-Blood aspects is Fire. Suffice to say there's a reason that Dragon-Blood construction favours stone instead of wood.
    • Then there are the renegade Abyssals, whose efforts to protect locations have to include leaving really quickly to avoid wiping out the town in a colossal Resonance eruption.

Video Games

  • The protagonist of Xenogears certainly qualifies as this to the extreme. The current incarnation, Fei, has been born and reborn several times throughout history. His original incarnation is not shown as being responsible for anything destructive, but his reincarnations? Hoo boy.
    • His first incarnation, Kim, is a researcher engaged in developing nanotechnology with the best of intentions in mind. Kim's technology is rediscovered 6,000 years later and is instrumental in the development of nanotechnology which is utilized to revive Deus (and, consequently, wipe out most of the planet's population).
    • His second incarnation, Lacan, is a mild-mannered painter who becomes a hero in the struggle against Solaris for the freedom of surface-dwellers. This lasts only until the love of his life dies in a heroic sacrifice. This results in a particularly unfortunate series of events resulting in Lacan becoming Grahf, who immediately summons ancient murder weapons known as Diabolos which end up killing off most of the planet's population. And that's just for starters.
    • Finally, there is Fei, a guy who generally augments his angst with a solid heroic archetype. But, if you stress him out too much, he transforms into Id, a completely amoral monster and Super-Powered Evil Side who wipes out entire civilizations just because.
  • In an Abridged Series of Ocarina of Time, Link is like this.
    • In the real games, he's limited to pottery and rocks.
  • In the little-known Lord of the Rings parody adventure game Kingdom 'O Magic, this is what happens at the end of the "Magnificient 7-11 Quest"; after bravely defending Flake Town from the invasion, the whole town gets wrecked anyway in the ensuing celebration.
  • The entire premise of the Red Faction series revolves around saving people from oppression by BLOWING SHIT UP!, particularly Guerrilla. (It helps show off the Geo-Mod system.)
  • The main goal of the Just Cause series: you destabilise the governments of various rogue nations by blowing the crap out of their property. Most of this property also being used by civilians (such as water towers and power generators) isn't even lampshaded, hilariously.
    • Notice how Red Faction: Guerrilla and Just Cause 2 have VERY similar premises?
  • StarCraft: The prefered method of the Protoss to get rid of Zerg? Cook the entire planet.
    • Only way to be sure.
  • World in Conflict actually has you avoid that situation to a degree. In several cases, you have to deal with enemies under a time limit before command is forced to take drastic measures. Played straight with Cascade Falls getting nuked to stop the Russians.
    • That being said, there aren't many cities that survive being saved by American forces. Even Seattle, at the end of the game, will likely require billions upon billions of dollars to bring back to any semblance of normalcy.
  • This is played for laughs in Eric the Unready—the hapless protagonist, the knight Eric, seemingly manages to finish each section of his quest by wrecking everything (purely by accident, no less.)
  • Freedom Force, though it's only towards the end of the sequel that confrontations start knocking down city blocks by accident.
  • Mercenaries is built on this. Though how much of a "savior" you are depends.....
  • Alex Mercer saves Manhattan from a nuke and fights the infected. He also has a civilian kill count well into the thousands, often in a single mission and unintentionally.
  • The trope could well be renamed Angry Birds, as the object isn't just to Kill'Em All, but points are awarded based on how much is destroyed.
  • The title character of NieR is like this, heedless of the destruction he causes trying to save Yonah. This ultimately results in the death of mankind.
  • Most chases in Driver San Francisco end with you using a semi truck, bus, what ever you shifted into to ram into the target from the oncoming lane.

Web Comics

  • 8-Bit Theater (minus the Savior bit)
    • In fact, they're later outright stated to be the true villains of the universe.
      • Not that Sarda is any better.
  • VG Cats has this example when talking about Chromehounds.
  • There's a reason that Celesto Morgan of Dominic Deegan is referred to as "Collateral Damage Man." He's only recently become anything close to a "savior" in his attempts to stop "The Beast," and tends to prefer the fighting style of "throw Chaos at it until it explodes." Admittedly, strictly speaking he wasn't trying to save Lynn's Brook in particular, but the world as a whole, and considers the loss of Lynn's Brook acceptable.
  • Kamina (Yes, that Kamina) of Double K proudly boasts during his introduction that he's the only cop on the force to cause more collateral damage than the entire budget could cover.
  • Axe Cop has worked with Electric Man, who had the habit of running too fast when trying to catch bad guys, slipping and falling on his face, shooting out electricity and causing earthquakes, and leveling the whole city. They got him a metal space suit so that from then on he just slipped and fell.
  • Devil Bear with Bearzarro "heroics". Also, he got a Torches and Pitchforks crowd after him (but then they got the wrong guy).

Space Banana: Whooo! You saved the city… by destroying it!


Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, there was Battery, who fought his nemesis to the death and destroyed one of the New York City bridges in the process; and the Flying Bulldozer, who wasn't smart enough to avoid major damage when he pursued felons. Now there's Tennyo, who has done things like: destroy an entire building and most of a street fighting the Arch-Fiend; and completely destroy the underground NORAD C base while rescuing her parents.
  • Lewis and Simon's world saving escapades usually result in severe property damage.

Western Animation

  • Megas XLR had fun with this in two directions. On the one hand, the series was the trope namer for Conveniently Empty Building. On the other hand, there was an entire episode devoted to the consequences of this, in which a group of other heroes proclaimed Coop the greatest villain on Earth and tried to bring him to justice.

"Nobody wrecks MY city! Uh... except me."

  • Powerpuff Girls. Most notable one being when the girls fight in Humongous Mecha. Others are not that destructive.
    • This is actually deconstructed in one episode where they move to a city on the more cynical end of the scale. The mayor calls them on destroying an important suspension bridge in order to stop some bank robbers who stole only a few hundred dollars.
    • Mojo Jojo also pulls a gambit to make the girls super huge so that they wreck townsville as they search for him. He's more anxious than usual about being caught, but the growth does get half the job done.
    • Also shows up in The Movie.
  • On the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Wormy", Spongebob and Patrick sound the alarm about a monster (actually a butterfly) and send the entire city in a panic that causes far more destruction than the "monster" would have ever caused.
    • On the episode "Sandy, Spongebob, and the Worm", Spongebob and Sandy managed to drive a giant worm away as it fell down a large cliff. However, at the same time the citizens of Bikini Bottom were pushing the city somewhere else in an attempt to get away from the previously mentioned worm and the city ended up at the bottom of the cliff that the worm fell in and so the giant worm landed on top of Bikini Bottom, destroying it.
  • Duck Dodgers destroys Planet X in an argument with Marvin the Martian in the original Looney Tunes short.
    • Seeing as it was a Cold War satire, this was quite intentional.
  • In the episode of Disney's Aladdin that introduces clean freak inventor Mechanicles, the villain attempts to destroy a village. The heroes' attempts to stop him end up forcing the villain to unleash his Humongous Mecha beetle to attack the village. As a result of the following battle, the village is demolished. Hilariously lampshaded by the village elder.

Jasmine: We did it! We saved the village!
Village elder: (surveying the pile of rubble that used to be his village) ... And what village would that be?


Sari: I'm sure it wasn't that bad. You saved the city, right?
Bumblebee: After destroying half of it.
Sari: Not helping.

    • Of course, as the perspective Autobot team in Animated started as a repair crew, and the city of Detroit isn't exactly happy about the collateral damage, on more than one occasion they have forced the Autobots to clean up after themselves. Which is good, because even the live-action PG-13 movies don't feature as much destruction as Animated.
  • One of the most-remembered episodes among fans of the original Transformers series involved peacenick Autobot Beachcomber stumbling across a strategic resource in an unspoiled meadow. Naturally, both sides end up completely laying waste to said meadow fighting over it. The final line of the episode is Beachcomber surveying the scene of devastation and declaring, heartbroken, "We won."
  • Cyborg in Teen Titans picked up a building to hit Plasmus. Raven likewise tends to telekintically throw anything and everything not nailed down at her enemies, which has included buildings.
  • Futurama: "Thank you, mysterious heroes. The value of the Gemerald you saved is slightly greater than the cost of the damage you caused to this museum. A net gain for our great city!"
  • The Simpsons: "Thank you, Bartman. Your overzealous homicide has saved me eighty cents!"
  • Mega Man X in his one-episode appearance in Mega Man.
  • Happy Tree Friends: Splendid frequently causes a tonne of damage along with the frequent fatalities he inflicts during his "heroism".
  • This trope, or rather the lawsuits that resulted from this trope, is the reason for the "forced superhero retirement" in the beginning of The Incredibles.
  • Godzilla in Godzilla: The Series. He IS as big as a building and can tunnel underground, so it's unavoidable.
    • Forms the basis of the plot of an early episode, in which the military is trying to stop Godzilla under the belief that he's just indiscriminately attacking New York considering all the damage he's doing, when in reality, Godzilla is trying to hunt down an infestation of giant mutated rats, which conveniently vanish once the military actually arrives.
  • The original World of Cardboard Speech was followed up by Superman punching Darkseid through at least six skyscrapers (none come down, but at least a couple appear to take sufficient enough damage to be condemned) and then pounding him into a city-block-wide crater. The city was already torn up from the preceding fight, but daaaaaang.
  • Korra in The Legend of Korra is such a Destructive Savior that Republic City's police chief is desperate for her to leave the city for good.


  • An interesting variation by the Christian savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus had said that he had "come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword." This is often interpreted to mean that those who accept Jesus will bring conflict and division to his surroundings. However, it's implied that those who refuse to accept converted family members into the fold are primarily responsible for the suffering that happens when divisions pop up. Also, it's families, societies, and relationships that suffer when he divides them, not city infrastructures directly.

Real Life

  • In Real Life, happens quite a lot. World War II saw numerous examples, such as both Leningrad and Stalingrad, which were virtually levelled in the successful defence of them. Many of the great capitals of Europe, like Paris and Rome, escaped this sort of destructive fighting only because the German commanders quit them rather than engage in destructive fighting there. Douglas MacArthur, upon fulfilling his pledge to return to the Philippines, expected the Japanese to do the same in Manilla, but instead they dug in, and the US Army flattened most of it with artillery fire.
    • The reasons for this type of defense are many, but the primary reason to obliterate a city while defending it is not so much to deny the enemy the resources, but rather to slow the enemy down. Stalingrad, for example, held up the Germans for months as they tried to get enough forces through the ruined city. This is less common in modern warfare with precision weapons, but still occurs. Fallujah during the Iraq War, for example.
  • The liberation of France involved blowing a lot of it up. Some residents of coastal towns bear a lot of resentment towards the D-Day invaders (in part due to the rapes and such that accompanied the liberation).
    • Succinctly described by the anonymous member of Patton's Third Army who remarked of the smoking ruins of the French Village he occupied, "We sure liberated the hell out of this place."
  • WWI also had its share of this. Before/After photos of Passchendaele illustrate it fairly well.
    • Many towns were literally wiped off the face of the Earth. A number of these "Lost towns" are listed on memorials to the war dead.
  1. And of course, this trope is definitely in play during that scene, as the team ends up accidentally destroying the Sphinx in foiling the terrorists.