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Have you ever noticed that when you drop a piece of toast, it will always land buttered side down? (Wait, you haven't? But never mind.) Well, if media is to be believed, something similar happens if you drop or throw a weapon — it will always land pointy side down. And not only that, but it will always penetrate the ground at a neat angle between 90 and 45 degrees and stay upright. Why? Because it looks cool, of course!
This also applies to vertical surfaces, with the blade almost always at a perfect 90 degree angle to the wall or cliff. Also when a dagger (or sword) is thrown into a person it will stick out at a perfect 90 degree angle.
In more ridiculous instances, this will even apply to blunt weapons like staves.
Depending on the the type and quality of the special effects, this can be justified a bit; the padding that the faux blade rests in once it's hit an actor needs to keep the blade there for a bit, and a 90 degree angle does this easiest, since it gives the blade more support.
Can be Truth in Television sometimes, but only if the pointy end is heavier, which is common on cleaving weapons like axes but not with certain swords, since the center of balance of a thin sword like the one in the page picture is close to the hilt. However, even in balanced swords, the pointy end is so much longer that with enough spin, it is still likely to strike blade-first, if perhaps not point-first; so long as the blade travels less distance in the course of one revolution than the difference in length between the blunt and sharp ends, the sharp bits will always hit first.
Throwing knives with enlarged pommels take this one step further, as the center of mass - and thus the center of a good spin - is extremely close to one end, making it a near-certainty that a spinning blade will strike edge- or point-first. Whether or not it'll actually plunge the point in is, of course, another matter, and it won't be a neat, perpendicular insertion - unless by chance it happens to run out of momentum in that position after cutting through the surface. If the knife is thrown as a dart instead of spining in mid-flight, it likely will land pointy end in. Note also that knife-throwing still takes a bunch of practice to do correctly.
When the sword is used to climb, stand, or swing off of after penetration, it's also Stepping Stone Sword. When thrown intentionally, may overlap with Throwing Your Sword Always Works. When physically driven into the earth by hand, it's a Sword Plant.
Anime & Manga
- It happened sometimes in Mazinger Z, but it was more frequent in Great Mazinger, since Great Mazinger was the first Humongous Mecha sword-wielder. UFO Robo Grendizer, Sinister Scythe also followed this trope every so often.
- Done in the most epic way, in Mazinkaiser, where the titular character curstomps the Evil Guy, Ankoku no Dai Shogun, and his sword, that flew off his hands almost a minute ago, lands in the pointy end in the middle of the very face of said evil guy. Bonus point that said Big Bad Evil Guy had two heads, one over the shoulders and another in the torso. Mazinkaiser ripped his first head with Dual Rocket Punches, before said end.
- It happened every so often in Daimos. If a sword-wielder was defeated, often his sword landed tip-first. It happened even to Kyoshiro.
- Taken to a ridiculous extreme in Gundam Wing, episode 31: in a fencing match against Dorothy Catalonia, her sword ends up like this. The ridiculous part? They were practice fencing swords, with a round point! How did he manage that? We will never know.
- Happens constantly in Inuyasha, where even a staff and a boomerang are capable of pulling off this feat. This is especially ridiculous when you remember Tessaiga will shrink from a BFS to a normal katana when it leaves the titular character's hand, which should leave it sitting in a crater, which should in turn destabilize it enough for it to fall over.
- In One Piece, Zoro tests a super-sharp cursed sword against his luck by throwing it in the air and holding his arm out. The sword spins around his arm perfectly and lands point down, sinking through the wood floor almost to the hilt.
- In Record of Lodoss War, all weapons land on the pointy end. Always! It happens about two or three times each episode.
- In Soul Eater, Mifune uses a Storm of Blades to create a Field of Blades, using this principle. Every single sword he threw [read: launched 20 of them simultaneously into the air without seeming to even aim] landed Pointy End In, and stuck with enough firmness that he could run across their hilts at one point. A bunch landed this way even one time he launched them directly out of his big case, where they started with handle facing the target, by 'kicking the end of the box a bunch of times.
- Inverted in Yu-Gi-Oh: The Pyramid of Light. When Yugi tosses the Dagger of Fate, the hilt ends up hitting the target.
Abridged!Yugi: Damn, I suck.
- During the final battle of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Deed's sword lands in this manner when she's taken out by a head shot from Vice.
- Used in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, mostly so that Sayaka can pull it back out of the ground like a boss.
Films — Animation
- Happens constantly in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, where bladed weapons stick in literally everything point first — the ground, buildings, trees...
Films — Live Action
- Happens in Enchanted at the end. Giselle apparently has enough strength to make a thrown sword pierce a metal decoration, with enough strength to support a grown man's weight...
- The Princess Bride. During his duel with Inigo Montoya, the Man in Black throws his sword. It spins end over end and impales itself in the ground point first.
- The end of Braveheart had one of these with Wallace's claymore.
- Mystery Men: Subverted somewhat in that the Blue Raja won't use knives. And all his forks invariably bounce off what they're aimed at — until the Sphinx shows him how to throw. Then they always stick tines first, and are strong enough that Mr. Furious can use them to climb with.
- In Starship Troopers: All of the blades thrown stick point first — except Ace's, which bounces off the target.
- Inverted by the second Crocodile Dundee film. Mick Dundee wants to knock out a guard with his knife. Because the pointy end always lands first when he throws it holding the blade, he flips it around and throws it by the handle, causing the handle to hit the guard in the head and render him unconscious instead of drawing blood.
- This is far from the only movie this stunt is pulled in. As a general rule, flipping the knife 180 degrees before throwing will result in blunt end first, even if done by a Distressed Damsel.
- In V for Vendetta, one thrown knife can be seen to stop spinning in mid-air so that it hits a Mook at a right angle.
- In The Mummy Returns, this is the end result of a sword throw working. After Ardeth Bey throws his sword at an Anubis Warrior, it lands pointy-end-down in the sand so that he can pick it up while riding past.
- Averted at the end of Big Trouble in Little China when Jack Burton throws his dagger at Lo Pan and misses - the dagger bounces off the wall and clatters harmlessly to the floor. Lo Pan picks it up, amused, and flicks it back at Jack, who snatches it out of the air and throws it back again, this time nailing the sucker right between the eyes! "It's all in the reflexes."
- Averted in Scream 3, which has a failed knife throwing end with the intended victim hit with the handle.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean Will throws the swords that he made himself with enough strength that Captain Jack Sparrow can't get it out of the wall. And again at the end of the movie where Sparrow can use it to stand on.
- In The Colour of Magic, the first book, Rincewind kills a troll in this manner — through a bizarre coincidence resulting from the gods using them both as pawns in a board game.
- In Night Watch, during a duel Sam Vimes throws his sword away and the blade sticks into a wall. He hadn't intended to do that, but notes to himself that it looked damned impressive.
- And in The Fifth Elephant, it happens by sheer accident when Vimes throws a screwdriver onto the floor in frustration.
- In Hogfather, a crowbar which falls several dozen stories, end over end, amazingly manages to land point-first on a flagstone where it stays standing up.
- In Reaper Man, a very large iron screw falls from the chandelier in the University dining hall, and gets stuck point-down in the dining table near Mustrum Ridcully's hand. Pterry really likes this trope.
- Happens in The Stormlight Archive when Kaladin kills a Shardbearer and the Blade ends up sticking up out of the ground, the fact that it embeds itself in the ground and stays there is justified in that it's an Absurdly Sharp Blade.
- Averted in Steven Brust's Taltos books. The protagonist spends weeks practicing and states that he has a 2 in 3 chance of getting a thrown dagger in point first if his target will stand perfectly still, exactly 15 feet away. He then asserts that the real point of throwing a knife is for the target to flinch, giving him a few seconds to do something useful.
- Played straight and then subverted in A Song of Ice and Fire. At one point, Arya and Sandor Clegane get into a fight, where one of their opponents throws a knife, which, while misses the intended target, lands in the wall perfectly pointy end first. Arya tries the same on said opponent, failing.
- In Stargate Atlantis, Teyla throws a knife into the ground and manages to get it to stick. She was arguably doing it on purpose, but she manages to do this to a metal floor.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The original Megazord's sword is summoned from the skies, and is either caught in the Megazord's hand or lands point-first in the ground. They actually take advantage of this once, to cut the Megazord free of Octoplant's vines. Additionally, Goldar's sword lands point-first after Tommy kicks it out of his hand in "Green No More".
- In the first episode of Young Blades, Jacqueline throws a sword which lands not only point-first in the ground, but safely between the legs of a male character.
- In the TV show Top Shot, which revolves around various tests of marksmanship with various weapons, a knife-throwing challenge came up. The entire challenge showed just how unrealistic the trope is, with most thrown knives simply bouncing off the wooden targets.
- Anything thrown by Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer invariably ends up pointy-end first in the heart of her target, but Oz tried it with a stake once and it just bounced off harmlessly.
- Used in a non-canon Bionicle promo animation featuring Kopaka Nuva. As he somersaults, he lets go of his sword, hand still attached, which then sinks into the mountain snow with its tip. Re-attaching his arm to it with a loud click, it causes the whole mountainside to collapse, taking the three Bohrok standing on it with it.
- The Final Fantasy series is fond of this:
- In Dragon Quest IV, Torneko Taloon occasionally trips when going up to attack the enemy with his sword. However, it somehow always lands in his target, pointy end first (always scoring a Critical Hit in the process, no less). Due to the vague description of the act, it's hard to tell how much of this is an accidental case of Throwing Your Sword Always Works, but the fact still stands. You know, even if Taloon happens to be wielding an abacus.
- The intro to Soul Calibur.
- Done in the DS title Children of Mana's opening sequence.
- Inverted in Icewind Dale: the heroes can find a throwing axe that was badly botched by the craftsman and then enchanted. Though the spell turned it into a Precision-Guided Boomerang, it remained badly unbalanced. As the result, it deals bludgeoning damage, as it always hits the target hilt-first.
- Devil May Cry has this happening so very much... Granted, the swords are alive.
- In Starcraft 2 General Warfield pulls a hydralisk spike out of his arm and drops it. It sticks point-first into the ground.
- Whenever Travis Touchdown suplexes someone in No More Heroes, he throws his sword in the air. It then lands point-first in their chests.
- In Modern Warfare 2, the throwing knife is like this, no matter what it hits. It's also an instant kill.
- Happened in Tenchu 2 after Ayame knocked away Tatsumaru's sword.
- Way of the Samurai 3 has this happening with every single weapon that leaves anybody's hand, whether it's a spear or a stick or a sword (or a giant tuna, or a six-foot-long green onion, you get the idea). Especially noticeable when you do one of the hundred-foe 'My bad for accidentally killing allies' missions - every single weapon lands pointy-end first. Slightly subverted in that it doesn't stick in the person if you throw them at people - it just hits, point-first, and bounces off, spins in the air a couple times and THEN lands pointy-end first, as usual.
- The Realmz scenario Castle in the Clouds has your party notice a blue dragon far overhead lose a fight to some reds attempting to find something it had. Later, you can discover a powerful quarterstaff planted in the ground, having split a large bush's trunk in two top to bottom.
- Common in The Legend of Zelda series. In particular, both Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker's final boss fights open with the Master Sword spiking beside Zelda like a thrown shuriken after Ganon backhands Link, inches from an unconscious Zelda's head in the latter case.
- Intentionally averted in a cutscene in Twilight Princess, where Zelda's dropped blade falls hilt-first and clangs unceremoniously onto the ground. Since she's surrendering, the was probably done because landing point-first wouldn't present the same theme of helplessness.
- Whenever a weapon flies out of someone's hand in Samurai Shodown games, it ends up this way. Exceptions are rare and generally weapons where they're physically incapable of sticking out of the ground upright. Sometimes.
- The "Knife" sub-weapon in the Castlevania games is one of the "thrown as a dart" types, though the "axe" weapon never deals less dzamage from hitting on the handle or top.
- Penny from RWBY. Then again, her weapons are clearly designed to do this.
- Happens in Bionicle: Mask of Light when Tahu and Kopaka get knocked out.
- Happens with the sleevespace blades that Six uses in Generator Rex.
- Happens frequently to Ulrich's Katana in Code Lyoko, whether he throws it or drops it.
- In ThunderCats (2011)
- In "Omens Part 2" The Sword of Omens falls this way after its wielder King Claudus is stabbed, embedding itself in a branch of a giant tree.
- In "The Duelist And The Drifter" The Sword of Hattanzo very neatly falls vertically into the turf after the Duelist sends it sailing skyward out of his opponent's grip.
- As anyone who has dropped, or accidentally brushed or knocked a knife off a counter can attest, this can become a very real worry very quick. There's a reason professional cooks are required to wear steel-toed shoes in certain countries.