"Message for you, sir!"You're on one side of a medieval or fantasy battle or castle siege, and you want to deliver a message to someone on the opposing side. How to do it? Write your note on a scrap of paper, tie it to an arrow shaft, and have a friendly archer send it on its way. Bonus points if you hit an enemy mook on the receiving end. If the note is wrapped around a brick or rock instead, and then tossed through a convenient window, it's Window Pain.
— Concorde, Lancelot's servant, on the receiving end, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
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Anime and Manga
- Episode 14 of the Little Lulu anime, but with a toy arrow.
- Ranma ½. One episode has Ranma deliver a note to Tsubasa in this manner to ask him on a date, unaware that Tsubasa was a boy! And, in the Waterproof Soap episode, Shampoo also sends a forged letter from "Akane" to Ryoga in the same fashion.
- In Yaiba, the Spiderman tries to send Kojiro's challenge to Yaiba with arrows. However, Yaiba thinks they're part of the training he's doing so he ignores them or deflects them.
- In Rurouni Kenshin, the Hiruma Brothers are tasked with sending such a message to Higashidani (Sanosuke's true father). The old man casually grabs it before it can even hit him, read the message and casually throws it away, hitting the older brother squarely in the ass.
- In an early chapter of School Rumble, Tenma tries to deliver a love letter to her would-be boyfriend, Karasuma, this way. (They are living in modern-day Tokyo.) She keeps peppering him with arrows while he dodges without even noticing, and he never even spots the letters.
- The main method of communicating with Mashiro and Hakuya while they're living with Kobeni and Benio in Engaged to the Unidentified
- In Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Gentleman Thief Stone River shoots an arrow with a note into Milky Holmeses room. But since the titular heroines are about as dumb as a bag of rocks, they don't even notice it. When they eventually see the fourth of fifth arrow, the proceed to read the vertically written note horizontally and have no idea what it's supposed to be. So Stone River shoots yet another arrow with a small tape player attached to it, reading the message out loud.
- Shirayuki gets a message via arrow in Akagami no Shirayukihime, warning her to turn back. She is undeterred.
- Used in Lucky Luke stories featuring Indians; one time the sheriff finds out when he takes the arrow in the rear.
- In The Big Fat Kill from Sin City, Miho delivers a note to Manute and his crew this way.
- The Grey Smurfs sent arrowgrams to the Smurfs prior to attacking them, hoping that they would surrender, in The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurf Threat".
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Concorde receives a note for Lancelot by getting an arrow to the chest. Concorde doesn't appear very upset about the whole thing, but Lancelot, being the Large Ham that he is, starts giving Concorde a farewell speech.
- Sin City: Pulling directly from the comic, Miho delivers Dwight's note to Manute.
- In Small Soldiers, the Commando Elite send Alan and the Gorgonites an arrow with a video tape of Christy telling Alan to surrender the Gorgonites or else the Commando Elite will kill her.
- Used in the second Astérix movie to get a message to the architect on a construction site.
- This happens twice with a flaming arrow in the Sentai parody Rolling Bomber Special.
- The Forest of Hands and Teeth has two sets of characters living in treehouses for a brief period of time, unable to go to the ground or hear each other over the din of the zombies. The only means of communication is by arrow and letter (and given one of the communicating character's poor aim, this isn't so easy).
- At the beginning of the Lord Darcy novel A Study in Sorcery by Michael Kurland, a company of English soldiers are escorting a group of Native Americans through the lands of another tribe with whom they have a bad history. The chief of the local tribe sends a message arrow into the tent of the head soldier, warning him that they plan to attack and giving him a chance to withdraw his men. (History being somewhat different in this series, the messages is written in formal English on mass-produced notepaper with a printed letterhead.)
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Making Money. Moist von Lipwig receives a message by black arrow with impeccable italic enamelling in white down the side: The Guild of Assassins. Where style counts.
- In Ivanhoe, Robin Hood's merry men use a relay of bowmen to transfer messages.
- Doc Savage: In the opening chapters of Land of Long Juju, a threat is tied to the shaft of a spear and hurled into Renny's tent.
- Kung Fu: "Besieged Part Two: Cannon at the Gate." The Mole communicates with the besiegers via flaming arrow - the flame is so they can see where the arrow is headed and go pick it up after it lands.
- A 1950s episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood in which Robin (Richard Greene) sends a message via a flaming arrow. When someone asks, in lieu of the audience, if the message won't get burned up too, he replies that it'll slide to the back of the shaft in flight.
- The Count does this in Young Dracula, tying a note proclaiming a blood fued to a flaming arrow and shooting it at the Branaghs. However, the burn damage the note sustains causes half the message to be unreadable and Graham Branagh thinks it's a note asking him to examine Dracula's drains. Hilarity Ensues.
- In the Wayne and Shuster parody of Kung Fu, a throwing knife with a note attached buries itself in the wall next to the railroad president's head.
- Sidereals in Exalted have a charm that lets them explicitly shoot messages (among other things).
- Called "Arrowgram" in Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams. Specifically, Munenori shot 500 of these messages to mount Hiei (where Soki was resting after being defeated by Hideyoshi). Trope Namer
- In Shinobido you receive your mail with arrows at the end of each "day"/Mission.
- Kingdom of Loathing shares Trope Namer credit, with an arrow item that can be used to send notes to other players.
- Gunnerkrigg Court sees Steadman delivers a note for Jeanne in this strip.
- In Adventurers!, Gildward sends Karashi a note this way.
- In The Order of the Stick, Haley combines this with Passing Notes in Class as a gag during the Azure city battle, the arrow hitting a hobgoblin mook about to attack Elan. Said arrow had a cute romantic note on notebook paper. Hinjo plays up the role of the exasperated teacher who takes the note and requests to see Elan after class, err battle.
- In the Homestar Runner animation "A Folky Tale", Saddy Dumpington gets one of these.
- An episode of George of the Jungle sees George receive an arrow with a note, saying (after a list of demands) "...this is your last warning." George says he never even got a first warning. George receives a second arrow: "Correction: this is your first warning."
- The Daffy Duck short "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" has this as part of the swashbuckler film Daffy pitches to J.L Warner.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Leonardo gets an invitation from Oroku Saki this way.
"It's not your regular mail, I guess Mikey would call it 'Air Mail'"
- Numb Chucks: In "Kung Fear", the Chucks want to contact the lint monster. Not having its phone number, they decide the best way to do so is to shower the town with Arrows on Fire with notes tied to them.
- Using rockets or missiles to deliver mail has been done by various nations throughout history, often as experiments or gimmicks. The US Postal Service once famously used a Regulus cruise missile to deliver 3,000 pieces of mail, consisting entirely of commemorative postal covers addressed to the President, the Postmaster General, and numerous other public officials and VIP's to celebrate the event. The Post Office established a post office on a Navy submarine, which postmarked the letters before loading them into the missile, which was launched at a nearby naval station, where the mail was sorted and forwarded to the postal service for delivery by the typical methods. During World War II, on the Eastern Front, when radio communication wasn't available or forbidden because of stealth, the Red Army employed dud Katyusha missiles to deliver mail.