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Chain of People
Haaaaaaands...across Americaaaaa...

Take My Hand meets The Power of Friendship.

Essentially, one person falls off a cliff to their certain death. However, just before they slip out of reach, another character catches them. Then, as they start slipping, another person catches that person, then another holds onto them, and then... well, you get the idea.

Human Ladder is a similar trope. Not to be confused with a Chain of Deals.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Digimon Tamers, the kids and their mons tried pulling this off to get Takato onto the Arc. Unfortunately, the end of the chain was Culumon... but they get help from a returning Ruki and Kyuubimon.
  • In Seijuu Kourin Hen after a bunch of characters are sucked into hell and the rest jump in after them to save them, they try to form a human angelic chain. Slight variant in that a few are holding hands but most are holding onto the whip of the bottom-most guy while the winged character tries to fly back to the surface hauling 8 people this way. Rule of Cool, I think.
  • Naruto. The title character will occasionally do this all by himself.
  • Seen in Planetes — Hachimachi sees Ai's hand reach out to him when he falls, but he sees her connected to a vast chain of almost every character in the series as well.
  • Occurs in the Pokémon short Pikachu's Rescue Adventure as a chain of Pokémon.
    • And in two other episodes, there's a long chain of Pikachu ("Pikachu's Goodbye") and Pichu ("The Apple Corp").
    • Master Quest anime episode "Throwing in the Noctowl". Team Rocket forms one to save Misty's Togepi, who has fallen out of a plane.
    • Pokemon 3 has Brock, Misty...and even the Team Rocket trio doing this to save Ash from falling off a cliff. They fail, but then Charizard appears out of nowhere to save him.
    • The end of the episode "As Clear As Crystal". After "blasting off again" (for the third time in the same episode), Team Rocket ends up hanging from the edge of a cliff. Then they're electrified by a Legendary Pokemon they tried to capture during the episode. They just can't win...
  • Hanaukyō Maid Tai La Verite episode 7. Taro, Ryuuka and Ikyo Suzuki form one after they fall over the edge of a cliff while exploring an underground dungeon below the mansion.
  • A standard technique of the Ham-Hams in Hamtaro.
  • Code Geass has Lelouche jumping after Shirley when she falls from a roof and Suzaku grabbing onto Lelouches leg to catch them both. It is both a good example of, despite being enemies, Lelouche and Suzaku are still old friends totally insync with one another and a shining example of the characters' unfortunate noodliness.
  • An impressive chain between the five warriors and Manta forms at the end of Shaman King, to keep them from falling into Hao's black hole.
  • On an episode of Sailor Moon, Usagi, Ami and Chibiusa form a chain while they're doing a trapeze act.
  • On an episode of Kirby of the Stars, King De De De almost falls to his doom, but his life is saved by all his Waddle Dee's forming an amazing chain and catching him just before he hits the ground.

Comic Books

Film -Animated
  • Seen in Monsters vs. Aliens. Well, technically, it's a chain of monsters, although half of them are mutated humans.
  • The film of Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland does this near the end: All Nemo's friends hold onto him while he blast the Nightmare King with the magic staff.
  • Disney's Mulan: Mulan and the captain are about to fall off a cliff, but Mulan fires an arrow up into the heavens. Cut to Yao, who is distraught because he let go of the rope that could have saved them. As he says it, the rope falls into his hands; naturally, he's dragged away, but then the whole troop jumps on him in an attempt to save Mulan and the captain. Then The Big Guy arrives and gets the job done.
  • During the original sky-is-falling panic recounted in Chicken Little, one mama bunny has apparently trained her baby bunnies to form a chain during evacuations, as seen by the steadily growing chain of bunnies she pulls out of her Clown Car pram. With just a hair's breadth of leeway, it worked.
  • Happens at the climax of WALL•E: As the Axiom turns on its side, the Big Fat Future people begin falling out of their chairs. Eventually, one-by-one, the passengers grab hold of one another, preventing the others from falling to the end of the ship.
  • In Despicable Me, the minions do this to save Gru and Margo towards the end of the movie. And they do it really fast.

Film -Live Action
  • Also happens in Hot Tub Time Machine.
  • A variant of this appears in one of the most epic scenes in Iron Man 3. Thirteen people are freefalling from a plane. Iron Man catches one of them, and instructs her to grab the hand of another, and so forth, forming a chain in midair. They still end up falling in the ocean, but he slows their fall enough that they all survive. Note that he had to do it this way because he could have only carried four.
  • The Muppets form a rather impressive one in The Great Muppet Caper.
  • In It's a Wonderful Life young George and friends use the chain to save his brother from drowning in a frozen pond/lake when he falls through some thin ice.

Literature

Video Games
  • One of Olimar's moves in Super Smash Bros. Brawl has him forming a Chain of Pikmin to attack. It's useful to grab off ledges too.
  • Played for Laughs in Riviera: The Promised Land, where an optional event has the party members slip one by one into a river, with each grabbing onto someone else, who grabs on to someone else, who grabs onto someone else until they all fall into the drink.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Justice League had one when Flash is nearly sucked into an alternate dimension after running so fast he taps into the Speed Force. First Hawkgirl, then Green Lantern, then everyone else joins hands as they try to pull Wally out. Strangely, Batman winds up anchoring them, when the next four people (pictured above as Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman) would've performed the same role better, showing that strength isn't necessarily key to this trope.
  • Pooh's Grand Adventure. They do end up falling off the cliff, but nobody's hurt.
  • A variation in VeggieTales: The Toy that Saved Christmas, as Wally P. Nezzer goes flying into the air over a cliff, then Buzzsaw Louie and a gaggle of penguins go flying after him. Louie and the penguins form a chain in midair, and then one end of the chain gets snagged by someone on solid ground, and the other end catches Mr. Nezzer.
  • Captain Planet. Kwame and Wheeler form an impromptu one after Ma-Ti falls off the Capitol while the gang is pursued by zombie drug addicts.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?. In one episode Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred form one to rescue Scooby Doo and six puppies.
  • In the Mickey Mouse short "Mickey Foils the Phantom Blot," Mickey, Goofy, and Donald Duck use this to get to the Phantom blot's airship.
  • In the Total Drama World Tour episode, "Anything Yukon Do, I Can Do Better" Tyler, Noah, Alejandro, Izzy and Owen end up dangling off an icy cliff in that order as a result of Owen's stupidity. Thanks to Tyler's insanely strong fingers, they manage to make it back up.
  • This happens twice in the Halloween special The Halloween Tree: Once when the kids struggle to avoid getting sucked into a haunted house, and again when they form the tail of a giant kite.
  • This occurred in three episodes of 101 Dalmatians: The Series.
    • In the episode, "Chow About That", Lucky and Cadpig do this to rescue Rolly from the flowing river, but of course, once Lucky grabbed Rolly, his added weight caused the tree branch to break.
    • In the episode, "Splishing and Splashing", Lucky, Rolly and Cadpig do this as a Tarzan impersonation to rescue Spot from an alligator.
    • In the episode, "Animal House Party", all four of the main pups do this while hanging from a ceiling fan so they can brush Persian Pete.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, in the episode "A Dog and Pony Show", Spike lowers a jewel given to him by Rarity on a fishing pole into a hole to try and catch one of the Diamond Dogs so they can rescue her. When the bait is taken, Spike gets pulled into the hole—Applejack grabs his tail and gets pulled in, Twilight Sparkle follows, then Rainbow Dash, then Fluttershy, and finally Pinkie Pie, who didn't even try to pull and thought it was fun. All of them hang on to each other as they were dragged down the tunnel.
    Pinkie Pie: Wheeeeeeeee!
  • In the Pound Puppies (2010) episode, "Toyoshiko! Bark Friend Machine", the main dogs form a chain to try to get Strudel out of the sewer with Niblet at the top holding Lucky, Lucky holding Cookie, and Cookie holding Squirt.
  • Happens frequently in the various Scooby-Doo series— one instance had the gang forming a chain to rescue Scooby and a bunch of pups from a river.
  • A variation on Bob's Burgers: When Louise falls into a pit trap in an abandoned factory, Tina suggests everyone form a human ladder to help get her out. It almost fails, until Louise uses the taffy dummy she "befriended" as a bridge between her and the end of the chain.

Real Life
  • A mountain climbing team does this routinely— naturally, since one person will have a hard time catching a falling person of roughly his own weight.
  • The Baltic Way, a peaceful political protest consisting of two million people forming a chain of over 600 kilometers across the Baltic states, to protest against the Russian occupation.
  • In the Korean DMZ, whenever the South Korean troops manning the DMZ are opening a door that leads to the North Korean side, they routinely form this. More than one SK soldier or worker has been snatched and dragged across the border while doing so, requiring this precaution.
  • Lifeguard and rescue training include instruction on forming these to save a drowning victim. If it is too dangerous to venture into the water alone to rescue someone in trouble, this is often the best way to retrieve the victim. Rescuers link at the elbow and the strongest members wade out into the water until the chain reaches the victim. Once they have hold of them, the portion of the chain on the beach hauls them all back in.

The Chain of HarmDrama TropesChains Of Love
The CavalryIndex to the RescueChanged My Mind, Kid
The CavalryJust in TimeChanged My Mind, Kid
Caught the Heart on His SleeveHand TropesClasp Your Hands If You Deceive
Circle of FriendshipFriendship TropesChildhood Friends
The BlankImageSource/Western AnimationCoat, Hat, Mask

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