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Sometimes, you need to let the Big Bad have it right where it hurts. Sometimes, you just gotta burn that smirk off of The Dragon's face in the most direct and painful manner possible. Sometimes, The Hero deserves to know just how powerful you are when you're Drunk on the Dark Side.

Sometimes, you just need to give them the Face Palm of Doom For Massive Damage.

The Face Palm of Doom, named so because it is a Face Palm... of Doom, is basically when you grab someone in the face, or sometimes just by the head, but usually the face, and proceed to unleash the pain by releasing some kind of energy, or in a more bloody series, crushing it. As you can imagine, such a move is probably extremely painful and is usually pretty high up there in terms of power. Due to the nastiness inherent in assaulting someone's visage, as well as the frightening potential for Eye Scream, this trope is generally indicative of the Ruthless Anti-Hero or the Obviously Evil. It is essentially the bare-handed equivalent of shooting an opponent executioner-style, and carries many of the same connotations.

Compare Neck Lift.

Examples of Face Palm of Doom include:

Anime & Manga

  • The Shining Finger, Darkness Finger, and God Finger from G Gundam. It even got two Shout Outs in its franchise.
  • Guts from Berserk does this to a scummy knight of the Holy Chain during the "Retribution" arc, actually lifting him off the ground by his face despite his heavy suit of armor. After interrogating him, he then throws the knight at a horse-riding enemy, still gripping him by the face.
  • Kallen's Signature Move in her Guren II from Code Geass; there's a reason why people call her the daughter of Domon.
  • Hei of Darker Than Black uses this to fry people's brains so often that it's practically his signature move.
  • Fist of the North Star: This is how Falco executes Jakoh. More exactly, he melts his face off.
  • Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist kills his victims in this manner; he grabs them by the head and makes their bodies disintegrate.
    • In addition, Kimbley in the anime sometimes does this as well, making his victims explode. As a matter of fact, the former's eponymous injury is the result of the latter performing a Face Finger-Poke of Doom on him.
    • This is how Ed kills Pride: by grabbing his face, physically and metaphysically, and ripping his soul out of his body.
  • Sachiel does this to Shinji in Unit 01 in the second episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • The Big O: The eponymous mecha's signature attack (Sudden Impact) can work like this by it grabbing an opponent's head and retracting the pressurized pistons inside the arms and subsequently releasing them For Massive Damage.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, the Spider Tank grabs the Major's head and crushes it.
  • In Alive the Final Evolution, the normally Idiot Hero protagonist goes Let's Get Dangerous on a powerful enemy and does this using his heat powers. The formerly Bishounen enemy is left with permanent scars on half of his face and later adopts a rather large Eyepatch of Power.
  • Grimmjow Jaggerjack, of Bleach, kept trying to use this as a finisher, unleashing his Cero blast at point blank range against Ichigo and Rukia; but a third party kept jumping in and interrupting him. By the time he does catch Ichigo with one of these, he's taken enough levels in badass to shrug it off without any real harm.
    • Ichigo himself does this to Aizen before literally pulling him across a whole town in a matter of seconds.
    • Ulquiorra does this to Ichigo in his Segunda Etapa form.
  • In One Piece Miss Monday attempts to punch Zoro's face into the ground at one point. He is completely unfazed, and responds by casually pulling this on her until she passes out.
    • Whitebeard usually do the same thing, but using his Quake Quake powers, resulting in a mini earthquake limited to the victim's head. Ouch...
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn Tsuna does this to Mukuro at the end of their fight.
  • Baccano, in which the immortals, most notably Szilard, "consume" one another by placing their right palm on someone's forehead and essentially vacuuming up their entire body in an exceptionally grisly manner...
  • In Hellsing, Seras gives one to Zorin Blitz during their fight, intending to crush her face. Zorin retaliates by giving a Face Palm of Doom of her own, attempting to Mind Rape Seras. This totally backfires, allowing Seras to move ahead with her previous plan, albeit with the addition of utilising a wall as a kind of makeshift cheese grater. Suffice to say the results are quite messy.
  • Broly of Dragonball Z absolutely loves this, as well as several villains in the Dragon Ball series.
  • In Session #5 of Cowboy Bebop, "Ballad of Fallen Angels", Vicious does this to Spike after the latter disarmed him with a bullet in the shoulder (thus using his still good arm). And then Vicious use this grip to throw Spike through a stained glass window.
  • Showing surprising strength in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie First, Precia grabs one of the Adminitration Bureau mages in this manner and bodily lifts him off the ground before throwing him at one of his fellow Bureau mages when they entered the room containing Alicia's body
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia The Movie , everyone is fighting the mooks: America is boxing, Japan is wielding a stick katana, and guessed it.
  • Simon in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this in the crushing variety in a giant robot TO a giant robot. Considering the series, it and everything around it explodes spectacularly.
  • After a vicious beating, Suitengu Chouji grabs a scumbag's pulped face and utterly shreds his body with his superpower.
  • Happens in a flashback in Tiger and Bunny when a young Yuri Petrov activates his NEXT power and sets his father's hand alight. Rather than screaming in pain, his dad (who arguably deserved it, incidentally) starts to laugh and puts his hand over his son's face, leaving a massive palm-shaped burn. This is not enough to save him, however.
  • While being attacked by a teacher, Tsukune from Rosario to Vampire does this. The look on the dude's face is priceless.
  • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, Veyron gets this done to him, but it doesn't take. He returns the favour more permanently shortly afterwards.
  • In the second Fatal Fury OVA, Terry has a nightmare of Krauser doing this to him.

Card Games


  • Spider-Man Anti-Hero Kaine uses this as his preferred method of murder. He grabs the poor victim's face, then makes their cells explode, leaving them dead and with a scorched on handmark as a souvenir. Ouch.
    • In a more recent issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Pete remembers that he has Required Secondary Powers and tears off the face of a villain that was dogging him through most of the arc.
  • Black Adam to Psycho-Pirate: "No more silly faces."
  • The Hulk does this to Cyclops in World War Hulk to block his eye-beams. Takes Scott out for the rest of the fight.

Fan Works


  • Kung Fu Hustle: The hero uses this as a ranged attack. It first makes a crater in the ground, then creates a palm-shaped hole in a building.
  • Seen in the film Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, see Literature (and it was more gruesome, beside — instead of merely burning Quirrel, Harry's touch actually caused him to crumble into ash.
  • This is what happens to one of the last victims of The Thing: it grabs his face, digs its finger into him, then starts absorbing his body from there.
  • The T-101 does this to a female guard in Terminator 2, though since he had been instructed not to kill, it is not as Squick as it could have been.


Live-Action TV

  • Star Trek the Original Series: In "The Enterprise Incident", Spock uses the infamous "Vulcan Death Grip" to kill Kirk. However, there's no such thing as a Vulcan Death Grip. It's a trick.
  • You know how Daleks have those plunger-arms in Doctor Who? In the new series, they can crush a man's skull with them. Eep.
  • In Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan, Vul Shark's Shark Jaws attack consists of grabbing the enemy's head with both hands several times.
  • In Sherlock, the assassin known as 'The Golem' puts one of his massive hands over a target's face and crushes the life out of them.

Pro Wrestling

  • The clawhold submission, commonly called the Iron Claw.
  • WWE sometimes plays this trope for laughs, such as when The Big Show once eliminated a jobber from the Royal Rumble by facepalm-shoving him backwards over the ropes.
  • Since his late 2011 return, Kane has added this to his arsenal, clamping his hand over his foe's nose and mouth to suffocate them into unconsciousness. This even works on John Cena.

Video Games

  • Mega Man X: According to the Day of Sigma OVA, Sigma gets his signature scars on his eyes when X pulls off of these off on him. It should be noted that X's attack looks a lot like Shining Finger, due to X being voiced by Domon Kashu's dub actor at the time.
    • In X4 it's shown that Zero gives him those scars. Gotta love Retcons.
      • The above might not count as we never saw just how Zero put those scars there.
    • Sigma pulls this on your character in the hard mode of X8.
  • In Disgaea 3, Mao has the Blast Finger attack.
  • Mage!Hawke pulls this in the Dragon Age 2 Destiny trailer, despite the fact that you can't actually do that in-game and it was definitely not the climactic move of the fight.
  • Yoshimitsu in all of his Tekken appearances, and his predecessor in his Soul Calibur appearances too... basically, a life-drain attack that consists of grabbing the opponent by the face and sucking out their life-force. An alternate version, however, allows you to HEAL them by channeling your own life-force into them... nice way to show off.
    • Though, in some games, if the oppononent blocks it the effects are istantly reversed. Yes, this means that if the opponent reverses the healing version, he heals you.
  • Ganondorf's side-B special move in Super Smash Bros Brawl utilizes this. In addition to the "energy attack" part of this trope, he also literally picks his opponent off the ground by the face before exploding their face with dark fire (if the two of them are on the ground), or grabs their face and them slams them back down into the ground. (if done in the air) Ouch.
  • One of Testament's throwing moves in Guilty Gear is to grab his opponent's face and impale the victim with spikes extending from his palm.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Darth Sion leads with this and eventually moves on to a Neck Lift in an unusually visceral beating for the StarWars universe.
  • In the Street Fighter series, one of T. Hawk's specials is grabbing his opponent by the face, leaping into the air while windmilling them around (still by the face) and slamming them to the ground.
    • Sagat gets a simpler one starting from his first Zero appearance - no leaping or windmills, just grab and knee as many times as you can buttonmash in.
    • Now, M. Bison/Vega/Dictator does it as his 2nd Ultra, right before he gives you "The Psycho Abortion."
  • Happens at the end of Devil May Cry 4. Except instead of grabbing the face of the False Savior and then releasing the energy, Nero uses the Devil Bringer to project an even bigger hand which is closer to the Savior's scale. Then he just crushes its face.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core has Genesis do this to Angeal and set off a point blank magical explosion. It seems to only knock him out for a minute, as he turns up soon after looking no worse for wear.
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy: Jecht does a pretty impressive one for one of his HP attacks. He charges, ON FIRE, down at you, GRABS. YOUR. FACE, and then causes an explosion in his hand. This causes him to shake out his hand from the pain, and this is the guy who kicks a meteor into your face and can plant his huge sword half-way into the ground with one hand!
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep: Master Xehanort does a back-of-the-head version of this to Ventus at one point. In the CG version of that scene, he grips Ven's head hard enough to crack his whole helmet before freezing and dropping him to the ground. Ouch.
    • He'll also rarely try it on you while you're fighting him with Terra, though you can escape with button mashing before you get frozen.
  • In Blaz Blue, Ragna's immensely narmy defeat of Mu-12 happens like this.
  • In Resident Evil 4's Separate Ways campaign, one of Saddler's attacks involves grabbing Ada's face and slamming her head into the ground. Fail the Quick Time Event, and it crushes her skull.
  • The last scene of the prologue in .hack//GU//rebirth features not-Tri-edge doing this to the main character during their Curb Stomp Battle, complete with Haseo's first-person view of it. [1]
  • One of Chuck Greene's special moves in Dead Rising 2 can involve this. Chuck grabs a zombie's head (whether it's a Face Palm of Doom or not depends on whether the zombie is facing Chuck) and viciously slams their head into a nearby surface, usually resulting in Your Head Asplode.
  • If Adam Jensen from Deus Ex Human Revolution grabs your face, you're about to break your neck.
  • One of the consumes for the claw power in Video Game/Prototype and Video Game/Prototype2 involves Mercer or Heller grabbing the victim's head, and shoving it into their torso.

Web Comics

  • Occurs in Goblins, and is one of the first warnings that things are going to get serious. A cleric grabs a goblin by the face and casts the level 1 spell Inflict Light Wounds. The results are not pretty...
  • In Bear Nuts Death Bear does this to Evil at one point.

Web Original

  • In There Will Be Brawl Ganondorf does this to Link, by ramming his arm through Zelda as she went to protect him, and explodes Link's head while Link was at full health. Quite a Heel Face Door Slam.

Western Animation

  • In Star Wars: Clone Wars, General Grievous uses a variation where he grabs an opponent's head with his clawed foot, smashes it into the ground and then throws the corpse into the ceiling.
  • In Teen Titans, Pantha has a move called "Pantha's Claw" that leaves a red burn on the victim's face.
  • In the Grand Finale of Superman: The Animated Series, Superman wins the climactic fight against Darkseid using this move defensively: while Darkseid is charging his Omega Effect, Superman holds his hands to Darkseid's eyes, causing a massive explosion which blackens his eyes and opens up massive, red-glowing wounds on his face. (As his next appearance in The DCAU would show, they scarred permanently.) And Darkseid is a god. Pretty good move, that.
    • Interestingly, the exact same thing with the roles reversed happens in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Superman attempts heat vision at point-blank range only for Darkseid to facepalm him. Cue Disco-Ball-of-Lasery-Doom effect.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Zuko Alone," when Zuko is fighting the thuggish soldiers. He knocks one of the soldiers' weapon out of the way and then grabs his forehead and knocks him down.
  • Blight does this against mr. Freeze in Batman Beyond, almost melting through Freeze's glass-dome helmet in the process.

Real Life

  • There is an eye gouging technique which involves placing the palm on the forehead to gain leverage, and ramming the thumb into the above mentioned target. Its a fairly dirty move, but there is no denying it gets results when things deteriorate that far.
  • Also a method of throwing your opponent to the ground in Sambo, by pressing the base of your fingers onto your opponent's nose from beneath.
  • Jujitsu and the related disciplines have a throw which consists of placing your hand on your opponent's face, rotating the head back, and pushing down. It's amazingly effective on most people and looks practically effortless.
    • Some monkey-influenced styles of Kung Fu and Silat go one step further by having you continue the Face Palm of Doom all the way to the floor and bouncing your victim's head off whatever surface happens to be avaliable - such as concrete, tarmac, or your own knee. This is Awesome Yet Practical.