Luigi: Did I catch the ball?
Mario: What do you mean, "catch the ball"? You were the ball!A character gets squished into — or otherwise turns into — the shape of a ball, and then gets used as such. Typically the "ball" will then be played with like the real thing, but kicking or throwing the character can also occur. Often, the character will be about the size of a basketball, and the person who did the squishing shoots or slam dunks the victim into a hoop. May be a Bouncing Battler if a character uses this as his primary fighting method. Not to be confused with Rounded Character. See also Accordion Man, Squashed Flat, Rolling Attack, Goomba Stomp, and Pinball Gag.
—Super Mario World, "The Yoshi Shuffle"
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Anime and Manga
- Kinnikuman gets rolled up and kicked around by his enemies in the second opening. Also, Benkiman does to his larger opponents to compress them into a more easily-flushed shape.
- Berry Good, a Marine captain in One Piece, combines this with Detachment Combat. He can transform into several small floating balls that he controls at will.
- Frieza does this to Goku in Dragon Ball Z, trapping him in a sphere of energy and then batting him around for a while. Much later, there's an instance where this is used willingly and unwillingly in quick succession. Super Buu curls himself up into a ball to attack Gotenks, but Gotenks turns it around by using his Galactica Donuts attack to trap Buu in a highly volatile energy sphere...that he and Piccolo then use as a volleyball.
- Whenever they are not fighting, Bakugans will actually compress themselves into tiny spheres.
- One of the Witches is described in Puella Magi Madoka Magica's supplementary material as doing this to humans, turning them into a ball and bouncing them for every lie they've told in their lives. Ouch.
- A filler episode of Bleach had this done to Kon.
- In the first part of Episode 3 of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, the wolf ghost squashes Panty and Stocking into a ball and throws them through a basketball hoop, then the two are seen flattened afterwards.
- In A Certain Magical Index New Testament Vol. 8, Othinus squashed Teitoku Kakine into a ball.
- In a Sailor Moon episode, Tesuni, one of Nephrite's youma, traps the title character in a giant tennis ball, Nephrite's target for that episode being a tennis player.
- This is one of the standard technique of the Akimichi clan in Naruto. It's called "Meat Tank".
- In The Law of Ueki, a one-shot character named Mario has the power to turn himself into a giant billiard ball.
- Legion Of Super-heroes has "Bouncing Boy". Already rotund, he can inflate into a large ball that gathers momentum as it bounces.
- The 1985 Squadron Supreme limited series featured a B-grade villain named Pinball whose entire schick was this trope. In battle, he'd inflate his green jumpsuit into a giant ball, then bounced or rolled into his targets.
- Rufus Crustbuster from his own titled comic strip in Jack And Jill magazine became a ball-shaped creature in an attempt to restore his actual anthropomorphic dog appearance after being turned into a living pancake by the Narrowegians.
- An Astérix comic had a Roman squad that mixed the magic potion with a healing tonic inflating into balls. To make things worse, once deflated they were miniscule.
Films — Animated
- In Antz (which is also the Trope Namer), large numbers of ants join together into a massive wrecking ball. If you're lucky, you're somewhere in the middle of the ball; if you're Z, you're one of the ten or so forming the chain at the top who have to support the weight of the rest of the ants.
- According to a joke he told to a little boy at the end of Monsters, Inc., Mike Wazowski was actually once used as a dodgeball.
- During the end credits of Finding Nemo, Bloat the puffer fish is actually used as a volleyball by Gill, Gurgle, and Jacques after they and the rest of the Tank Gang are finally released into the ocean.
- On The Road to El Dorado, Miguel and Tulio are playing a Mayan ball game to prove they're gods. They switch the regular ball for a rolled-up armadillo, which then scores all their goals for them.
Films — Live-Action
- A rare example of a LIVE person occurs in Space Jam, with Michael Jordan.
- The fat kid in Hook can do this.
- Another live action example is in Kazaam with Shaquille O'Neal during the climax when Shaq's character uses his genie magic to turn the villain into a ball and slam dunks him into a garbage chute, since, you know, he's a basketball player.
- In Sky High (2005), the kids of Superhero parents are divided into those with the abilities of heroes and those of sidekicks. One girl's power is to turn into a giant rubber beach ball. The unimpressed Coach kicks her away shouting "SIDEKICK!"
- It was also done in The Toxic Avenger Part II, with a midget.
- Occurs in Godzilla Final Wars in which Godzilla and King Seesar have an imprompteau soccer match using Anguirus as the ball.
- In an example of this being the character's regular shape, the droid BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a ball-shaped body and moves by rolling around. Lampshaded when Rey, piloting the Millennium Falcon tells him:
Rey: BB-8, hang on!!BB-8: Bleep,bleep [With what?]
- In the book Harry Sue, the main character was thrown from her family's apartment by her father when she was five, and since her dad played basketball, he squished her into a ball first and launched her out hard enough that she landed in a nearby tree instead of falling straight to the ground.
- Hedgehogs are famously used as croquet balls on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
- Shel Silverstein's poem "Play Ball" has the narrator describing his baseball team in great detail, finishing with telling the reader, "You can be the ball!"
- Katherine Pyle's poem "The Sweet Tooth" has a fat kid melt down into a ball in the hot summer sun. He gets used for soccer until some of his fat wears off.
Live Action TV
- Mahou Sentai Magiranger:
- Houka/Magipink has the ability to voluntarily shapeshift herself into almost anything. This includes a giant soccer ball during giant battles, which is then used by the others to finish off the Monster of the Week. Vida Rocca, the Pink Mystic Ranger from Power Rangers Mystic Force also does this.
- Happens to a Mook in Magiranger's first episode. Then Kai kicks him into the other mooks.
- One of the Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger's Beast Batteries, Pukuputor, causes its victim to swell up like a balloon; one episode particular sees the team use it on Kyoryu Blue and bounce him around like a volleyball in order to counter the Quirky Miniboss Squad's own volleyball-themed special attack.
- The Violence Dopant from Kamen Rider Double can turn himself into a wrecking ball.
- In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Welcome Back Duke", Salem complains that there's too much estrogen and Sabrina says that her and the girl's basketball team will go outside and practice free throws where Salem says thanks, and she says that they'll need a ball and with her magic, she turns Salem into a ball and the girls bounce him as they head outside.
- Garfield has been known to do this to Odie on occasion.
- In BIONICLE, the Bohrok and Bohrok-Kal sets were able to roll up into balls. In the fluff this was to allow for ease of storage when they were inactive and also allowed for much faster travel over Mata Nui's rough terrain compared to their slow waddle when unfolded.
- Mario & Luigi series:
- In Superstar Saga, the Bros. move Knockback Bros involves Luigi hammering Mario into a ball, which is then hammered towards the enemy golf-style. Also, unlocking the Advanced version of Knockback Bros. turns the golf game into a racquetball game, allowing Luigi to repeatedly hammer Mario into the enemy for ridiculous amounts of damage!
- In Partners in Time, one move allows Mario and Luigi to form a ball shape together which allows them to get to places they couldn't get before.
- One of Bowser's special moves in Bowser's Inside Story involves Bowser getting rolled up into a ball and being pulled back like a slingshot pellet by Shy Guys. Also happens during a Yoo Who Cannon Bros. Attack.
- Ball Bounce in Dream Team, which is like the Partners in Time move, but it bounces.
- Mario Pinball Land. Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Mario gets turned into a ball in a fairground game, and has to save Princess Peach from Bowser by being used as a living pinball.
- In Mario Party 8, When a player uses a Bowlo Candy, the player transforms into a ball and bowls around the board, bowling over players that get in the way and taking 10 coins from them.
- The enemy Wendigo in Final Fantasy VIII does this to a random party member as an attack called Dribble and another attack called Shoot.
- Another Final Fantasy example, but IX this time. The Mimic enemy does this in its "Eat" attack, but instead of playing around after squishing them to a ball, it chomps down it's victim into its big gaping treasure chest mouth, crunches a few times and then belches them out whole with some random gold coins.
- From Guilty Gear we have Venom's Instant Kill "Dimmu Borgir", in which he grabs his opponent and turns him into a ball, then pool balls come and obliterate his oponent making him/her explode. The Xrd version gives the same attack, now called Giga Machina System in glorious 3d.
- One boss in the Wario Land games is all about this. In Wario Land II you face him in a basketball game- each player tries to jump on the other one and throw them into the basket for points. In Wario Land 3, it's a soccer game instead.
- Ball Kirby
- Kirby: Canvas Curse has this as the entire gimmick—Kirby's been reduced to a sphere, and it's up to the player to guide him through the stage via magic ink.
- Kirby's Pinball Land, the third game in the series, already had him in a nigh-permanent ball shape; Kirby's Dream Course and Kirby's Block Ball did this as well.
- Kirby and the Rainbow Curse has it happening once again in a way similar to Canvas Curse.
- Space Quest I: Hang around in the Oorat's cave for too long, and he'll pick Roger up, compress his body into his spacesuit helmet and dribble him like a basketball. Needless to say, Roger doesn't survive the experience.
- Metroid has Samus Aran's ability, Morph Ball, which goes beyond an attack and is in fact one major factor of her mobility. Many puzzles require being in Morph Ball shape or making use of one of its upgrades.
- Lord Raptor from Darkstalkers has a special move named Hell Dunk, where he transforms the opponent in a ball and next slam dunks them into a hoop provided by his partner Le Marta.
- Turning into a ball is a Sonic the Hedgehog staple. Sonic Spinball is a full game based around him acting as a pinball, and other games have pinball-themed zones.
- The Age of Amateria in Myst III: Exile ends with the player being launched into the massive roller coaster-like trackway that spans most of the Age, riding inside a ball-shaped capsule, coated in the material that the ice spheres in the Age are made of.
- Strike Man from Mega Man 10 literally turns himself into a ball as one of his attacks. He cannot be harmed when he's in this phase.
- The pangolin-like Yooyu Petpet from Neopets, best known for their use as balls in the sport of Yooyuball.
- A commercial for Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire actually showed Treecko being launched into a pinball machine. In-game, it's possible to do this in the Sealeo bonus stage if you hit a Spheal while it's wadding up a slide; it will get bounced by Sealeos through a basketball hoop.
- The Pokémon Sandshrew, Sandslash, Donphan, Miltank, and at least a dozen more can do this willingly through the moves like Defence Curl (to raise their Defences), Rollout, Ice Ball and Steamroller(the latter three are attacks).
- Tiny Toon Adventures games:
- In Babs' Big Break for the Game Boy, during the battle with Arnold, if you try to attack Arnold when he isn't standing still, he will bounce you like a basketball and toss you in one of the hoops.
- This is Hamton's special ability in Acme All-Stars for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.
- The Gorons in The Legend of Zelda curl themselves up into balls in order to move at high speeds and to attack their enemies. Since Link can turn into a Goron in Majora's Mask, he gets to use this ability as well. Meanwhile, Princess Zelda herself in Spirit Tracks can curl when she possesses a Wrecker Phantom in the Tower of Spirits.
- In the Shantae series, rock Golems both big and small attack in this matter, curling up into a ball before rolling across the screen.
- In League of Legends, Zac's "joke" emote involves inflating himself into a ball and bouncing until otherwise commanded.
- In the Monsters, Inc. game Scream Arena, one of the possible balls you can throw is the Morph Ball, which turns a competitor hit by it into a ball themself.
- In Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter, with his robot suit, finally gets even with the bullies who have been pounding him in dodgeball all the previous week. One of them is squeezed into a basketball and slam dunked.
- There's a variation in The Powerpuff Girls. In the episode featuring the return of the Rowdyruff Boys, the poor girls get squeezed into a hockey puck instead of a ball.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- Spongebob makes himself into a ball shape for Pearl to shoot into a hoop.
- In another episodes, he turned himself into a ball on the beach so that everyone can continue to play volleyball after he was tricked into destroying an actual volleyball.
- In Suction Cup Symphony, Squidward does this to both SpongeBob and Patrick before kicking them out his window. They then come back in the same ball.
- Not human, but in one episode of Wacky Races Dastardly loses the basketball he was going to trigger one of his traps with and has to use Muttley instead.
- This happens to Dojo in Xiaolin Showdown. Unfortunately for him, he has about two seconds to realize it.
- Legion Of Superheroes' Bouncing Boy has this as his superpower.
- In the Schoolhouse Rock video "Naughty Number Nine", the cat known as no. 9 uses the mouse as a billiards ball, twice!
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends Pilot Movie, while a little girl was trying to adopt Bloo before Mac could make it to the house to see him, Wilt, Eduardo, and Coco tried to keep Bloo away from the girl to keep her from adopting him. During the following chase scene, Wilt turns Bloo into a ball and handles him like a basketball. Ironically, earlier on in the movie, when Mac and Bloo first visit the foster home and see Wilt for the first time and are amazed at how tall he is, Bloo makes a comment that he should play basketball. So they allow him to play by making him the ball.
- In the Sam & Max: Freelance Police cartoon, Sam rolls Max up as a bunny bowling ball.
- Happens to Jimmy in Jimmy Two-Shoes when he suggests a game to Lucius.
- Fairly OddParents: Timmy plays football in gym class with a bunch of older-looking kids, and when the coach shouts out their positions, he literally gives Timmy the position of "ball." Timmy is then slammed into the ground and gets a big block of earth stuck to him for apparently the rest of the day. In other episodes, Timmy is actually turned into a ball. Once by Trixie's bodyguard and then shot into a hoop and once or twice by Francis.
- In the Looney Tunes short "Bad Ol' Putty Tat", Tweety hides from Sylvester in a can of shuttlecocks, resulting in his being hit back and forth during a game of badminton.
- In an episode of Underdog, the title character got cursed by the Flying Sorcerers to this.
- This is Richochet's signatura attack in ˇMucha Lucha!
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Trixie does this to poor Spike, when she possesses the alicorn amulet.
- In the Motorcity episode "Off the Rack" several people under control of the Safe-T Suits end up becoming this. Tooley seems to get a kick out of this.
- One of Bot's abilities in Team Umizoomi is to turn into a ball at will when a situation calls for it. He doesn't seem to mind, but when this ability will be used against him, one may never know.
- Tiny Toon Adventures:
- In the episode, "Hero Hamton", when Hamton is too scared to go into the boxing ring against Montana Max, Dizzy Devil, and Calamity Coyote, Buster and Babs take his place. Once the bell is rung, Monty tells Dizzy to take care of them. Dizzy starts to spin around and grabs Buster and Babs while he is spinning. When he's done, Dizzy throws them towards the mat and shape sthem into basketballs. He, Monty, and Calamity then take turns bouncing Buster and Babs around the ring until Hamton steps in and scares the three bullies away.
- In the "A Cat's Eye View" episode segment, "Party Crasher Plucky", when trying to get into a party with Shirley The Loon, Plucky is not on the list. The person who held the list, called the "bouncer" is dressed as a basketball player. He squishes Plucky into a ball and dribbles him down the walkway and then tosses him into a hoop. After being shot in the hoop, Plucky says, "So that's why they call them bouncers."
- In the Brandy & Mr. Whiskers episode "Flim Flam Fever", Mr. Whiskers goes out into the forest to look for a flower to cure Brandy who is supposedly sick. He gets flinged by a tree to a territory of apes who get mad and start throwing Mr. Whiskers around and one of the apes then turns Mr. Whiskers into the shape of a ball and bowls him like a bowling ball.
- In Dave the Barbarian This happens to Oswidge when him, Dave, Candy and Fang are trying to fight off invisible people and one of them turns Oswidge into a ball and bounces him up and down.
- In the Cow and Chicken episode "Can Cow come out and Play" When Cow finds out that the Red thing put the whole town into a trailer just to get alone time with her to get her toys, she uses her cape to turn into Supercow and first uses the red thing to play jump rope and then turns him into a ball, dribbling him and then shooting him into a hoop.
- In the CatDog episode "Hypnoteased" When in a fight with the greasers, one of the greasers squish Catdog into a ball, dribbles them for a little bit then passes it to another greaser who kicked Catdog then the third greaser puts his hands like a hoop for Catdog to go through and then the greaser who originally squished Catdog into a ball kicks them and they land in a tree back in their regular form.
- In The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh episode "Paw and Order" Nasty Jack shows Piglet the difference between bouncing and trouncing by turning one of his fellow horse thieves into a basketball... dribbling and shooting him into a hoop for good measure.
- Woody Woodpecker: In "Pantry Panic", Woody gets smacked around as a ball.
- This is the primary use of Ben 10's Cannonbolt form.
- Tony the Tiger does this in this Frosted Flakes commercial.
- In Darkwing Duck episodes "Apes of Wrath", "Incredible Bulk", "The Darkwing Squad", and "Smarter than a Speeding Bullet", DW is squashed and used as the ball.
- In Infinity Train, One-One is a spherical robot with a Literal Split Personality, each personality inhabiting one-half of the sphere and able to operate independently.