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Bear Hug
The Hug of the Gods!!!

The standardised, FDA-approved display of affection for The Big Guy (especially if s/he is a Gentle Giant and/or a Boisterous Bruiser), this consists of the hugger grabbing someone — or multiple people, if necessary — from behind (usually) with a big, sweeping motion and pulling them close (sometimes lifting them off the ground entirely), with the hugger's arm(s) wrapped tightly around the huggee's neck and/or shoulders. Being The Big Guy is not actually required, but having a large "stage presence" (whether it stems from size or sheer charisma) helps make this more convincing.

Note that this is as much a means of displaying the character's dominance/strength as it is of showing that they're just a big ol' teddy bear, and like its cousin The Glomp, is oftentimes far from consensual; the huggee often doesn't appreciate being manhandled by somebody twice their size, and you can tell a lot about a character based on whether they give in to the hugger's crushing embrace or struggle helplessly to escape. If the hug goes on for too long, expect cries of "can't... breathe..." or something similar. Despite all this, there is often little-to-no risk of actual physical injury unless the hugger Does Not Know His Own Strength on top of being overly affectionate, in which case the odds of Amusing Injuries being inflicted vastly increase.

This is Truth in Television, as any real life Gentle Giant (or a close friend of one) will tell you.

Similar to The Glomp, but with less full-body tackling and a far higher risk of asphyxiation. Unrelated to bears in general as a trope, though they can coexist in very specific circumstances. Like many tropes, can be deconstructed to horrifying effect.

Examples

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Anime & Manga
  • Goku's father-in-law Ox-King from Dragon Ball could give a pretty good bear hug when the situation called for it.
  • In The Twelve Kingdoms, Youko's reuniting with Rakushun. When Youko arrives in En only to find that Rakushun had made it there on his own and had been coming to the docks every morning when the ships bearing immigrants from Kei arrived, hoping that Youko would be among their number. Youko then proceeds to give him a "d'awww" inducing bear hug in gratitude.
  • Gendo Ikari expressed his desire to bear hug Shinji from behind in Ikari Shinji Raising Project, among, er... other things.
  • THIS BEAR-HUGGING TECHNIQUE HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN THROUGH THE ARMSTRONG FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS!
  • Gentle Giant Kurita in Eyeshield 21 is prone to bear-hugging his teammates when he's happy. When Musashi returned to the team, Kurita went to Bear Hug Musashi who dodged and Kurita ended up crushing the truck Musashi was driving.

Comic Books:
  • In The Boys former Soviet superhero Love Sausage bearhugs Billy Butcher (in a friendly fashion) when they first meet.
  • In Marvel Comics, former Soviet Super Soldier Ursa Major (who turns into a bear) uses this as his main attack move.

Fan Works

Films
  • Chien Po from Mulan does this.
  • Chewbacca from Star Wars is something of a bear, and he is as fond of hugs as he is of ripping out arms from their sockets.
  • Something similar to this happens in the 1996 film Michael, during Archangel Michael's dance with hippie waitress Anita. During the dance Anita excitedly jumps towards Michael, who catches her in a hug and lifts her up before playfully spinning her around with Anita's giggling showing she is enjoying it, especially with her doing some Foot Popping. (In this case, Michael is supporting her with one hand on her waist and the other under her buttocks).

Live-Action TV
  • In Smallville, Clark does this to Chloe so many times we have lost count. Notably, he is always gentle enough to avoid the negative effects... And when he hurt her, it tipped her off that she is dealing with Bizarro.
  • On LOST, when Hurley sees Sawyer again after three years, he hugs him and pulls him off the ground. Fans have dubbed it (and other hugs given by Hurley) the "Hurley Hug".
  • In Drake & Josh, Josh often hugs Drake like this, much to Drake's consternation.
  • Katie the Yellow Ranger from Power Rangers Time Force was fond of giving these.
  • The Almighty Janitor from Scrubs to Carla when she included him in the group photo. She was less than pleased, probably because she doesn't like being manhandled, but mostly because The Janitor is crazy.
    Carla: I thought you were going to kill me.
    Janitor: I fought the urge.

Literature
  • The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Halflife has the Doctor do this:
    And with that, the Doctor bounded over and gave Fitz a huge, rib-cracking hug, lifting him clear off the ground.
They're both fairly slim and unremarkable to look at, although, in another book, the Doctor lifts Fitz up in a rather effortless Bridal Carry, so he's kind of got that Muscles Are Meaningless/Waif-Fu thing going on.
  • Hagrid does this to Harry, Ron, and Hermione a lot in Harry Potter, sometimes more than one of them at the same time.
  • In the Twilight novel Breaking Dawn Bella is turned into a vampire , then hugs Edward and, much to his surprise, he feels uncomfortable because of her strength.
  • Bear Olefsky from The Star of the Guardians is very fond of this.
  • In ColSec Rebellion, Cord does this to Samella after the final battle.

Video Games

Web Comic

Web Original
  • Blue Team's original leader Captain Butch Flowers from Red vs. Blue:
    "Men, your delightful tomfoolery puts a spring in my step, and a bounce in my britches. If I weren't your commanding officer I'd pick you both up, give you a giant bear hug, and make you call me Daddy."
  • Want to see a pony do a bear hug? Introduce yourself to Kettle Cornflakes.

Western Animation
  • Genie in the end of the first Aladdin movie.
    Genie: Aww! Group hug, big group hug!"
  • Owen from Total Drama Island
  • Chien-Po, The Big Guy from Mulan
  • Lampshaded in The Simpsons with a real bear hug. The bear itself was only lashing out because of an electronic tag, and embraces Homer after he removes it. Unfortunately, it still has claws.
    Homer: (looking at the marks) I don't know why bear hugs enjoy such a great reputation....
  • Road Rovers:
    Exile: I give all my comrades big kiss!
    Blitz: Stop with the kissing, or I'll start with the biting.
    Exile: OK, I give you big bear hug instead!
    Blitz: (straining) Go back to the kissing! Go back to the kissing! Kiss me! Kiss meeee...
    Exile: Don't be a weird boy.
  • The appropriately named Lotso-Hugging Bear in Toy Story 3.
  • Timon and Pumbaa are quite fond of this
  • Beezy J. Heinous on Jimmy Two-Shoes, occasionally.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown, Clay, who Wouldn't Hit a Girl, defeats Catnappe with this, on the basis that he's not actually hitting her.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Luna gives one to a shell-shocked Fluttershy after Fluttershy helps her learn to turn down the volume.
    • Pinkie squeezes the stuffing out of Rainbow Dash after learning that Dash was accepted as a Wonderbolt cadet in Wonderbolt Academy.
  • In the The Legend of Korra episode "Welcome to Republic City" The titular character uses an Effortless Amazonian Lift to pick up three kids and their father and give them a massive group hug. She's only seventeen.
    • For bonus points, her actual Polar-Bear-Dog gets in on it.
  • In the second season of Jackie Chan Adventures, the Enforcers are trying to make a getaway from their hideout when they see their old buddy Tohru in the way. Having not seen him since the previous season's finale, they don't realize he'd switched sides until the big guy grabbed all three in a Bear Hug and tossed them aside.
  • Starfire of Teen Titans likes to hug this way. Unfortunately for the other person, Starfire has super strength and may forget that when she's being affectionate.
  • Junko of Storm Hawks gives a couple of these to his teammates. They don't protest the hugs, but are obviously struggling to breathe.
  • At the end of Kung Fu Panda 2, Po gives a literal one to Master Tigress.

Real Life
  • Kim Komenich, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and professor foiled a bank robbery by wrapping the perp in a bear hug until police arrived. The fact that Komenich has covered wars in places like Vietnam, is 6'2" and weighs about 230 pounds probably helped.
  • Ozzy Osbourne isn't particularly fond of them:
    I have a message for anyone coming to the Ozzfest this summer (2000): If you're planning to jump up onstage during my set, please do not give me any bear hugs, because they fucking hurt. Listen to me, I'm dead serious. On the first night of last year's tour, this enormous guy jumped up onstage and gave me a huge bear hug. He crushed three of my ribs and I had to do the whole tour in absolute agony. I couldn't believe it, the first fucking show!
  • This maneuver can be used aggressively, though, as a sufficiently tight bear-hug can squeeze the air out of someone's lungs. There's a rather easy counter for this, though - push your thumbs into the hugger's sides, just above the hip-bone, and push away.

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