Giving Someone the Pointer Finger
What's the problem? Pointer fingers were made for pointing!
Many cultures in Real Life
hold that it's not polite to point. In a lot of western cultures, this stems from a superstition that finger-pointing was how witches would jinx people
. Of course, the fact that aggressively thrusting a body part at someone could possibly serve to annoy them
probably has something to do with it.
In real-world Japanese society, personal space is at a premium and thus of the utmost importance. One is careful to avoid even the appearance of proximity, and one keeps one's hands at one's sides. Thus, in animeland
, it is a gesture of extreme emotional importance to physically point at someone. This should be saved for only the most appropriate of times. If breaking out the pointer finger, it is traditional to be especially dramatic
about it. A stylized "swirly" fingerprint symbol on the fingertip is optional.
However, most characters who Give the Pointer Finger aren't really doing it in an appropriate situation, which can signify either immaturity or status as a Large Ham
Often used to denote a new rival
or Unknown Rival
, although more often than not it is simply the trademark of a hammy character.
Generally unrelated to giving someone the Finger Poke of Doom
, nor is it really related to giving someone another finger
Compare Sword Pointing
, which is similar, but done with melee weapons.
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Anime & Manga
- Pretty much everyone in Yu-Gi-Oh! does this seriously. And then, of course, there's the point at which they edited out some firearms.
- Protagonist Judai does this constantly in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, always accompanied by his Catch Phrase: "Gotcha! That was a fun duel!"
- Haruhi Suzumiya does this a few times in a non-homage context, because she's loud, brash, and doesn't care about personal space.
- Tsuruya has a tendency of doing this when she laughs.
- Used by Ichigo in Bleach when rescuing Rukia Kuchiki. When she started to object that he should save himself, he points at her and tells her that her opinions have been rejected.
- Also done when Ichigo and Ganju meet unexpectedly in Kuukaku Shiba's house. Hilarity Ensues.
- Used by Amelia in The Slayers when she is introducing Zelgadis and Gourry to her father, and trying to rally them to return to the fight with Zanafar. She also poses and points dramatically when they finally do confront Zanafar again. None of them pay attention to what she is saying and all of them comment on how impolite she is being, including Zanafar.
- Chii from Chobits, frequently does this — mostly while repeating whatever tidbit of information she just learned. Chii, at least, has the excuse of being an android who doesn't know proper etiquette.
- And she's too cute for anyone to get mad at her for long.
- Hikaru from Himechan No Ribon does this extremely closely to Hime-chan's face when declaring war over Daichi.
- Haruka (pictured above) from both Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome is rather fond of pointing...and shouting.
- Nozomi from Yes! Precure 5 does this while nitpicking at someone to distract them from anything they've noticed that had to do with her Secret Identity.
- Yuma Tonami from To Heart 2 does when the male protagonist beats her at something. She points at him and yells at him that he hasn't won yet.
- Konata's finger-pointing in the Lucky Star Dancing Theme has been parodied countless times already. Give her some space, viewers.
- The exposition sequence at the beginning of Detective Conan movies always end with Conan pointing at the camera to deliver his ultimatum. "There is only one truth!"
- Also, the detectives often point dramatically at the suspect when making their accusation. (Especially Mouri Kogoro, who is usually wrong.)
- The Kindaichi Case Files - Kindaichi also dramatically points at his chief suspect at The Reveal.
- Nenene rudely cuts off her chauffeurs in Read or Die the TV with a pointer finger because they have misspelled her name "Nununu".
- Early in Part Four of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Angelo points at Josuke during his post-defeat rant. Josuke punches Angelo's hand into a rock and tells him not to point.
- This was probably a self-reference by the author, since Jotaro (Part Three's protagonist) was practically synonymous with use and abuse of the pointer finger.
- Eyeshield 21: Hiruma does this a lot, rude bastard that he is.
- Not to mention Monta, who even has the swirl on his fingertips, even when he's wearing gloves.
- Kabuto Kouji from the Mazinger trilogy -Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer- loves doing this. A lot. Especially in Mazinkaiser. If there aren't a bare minimum of two instances of this in every episode, then you're watching the wrong anime. Usually accompanied by an In the Name of the Moon speech which will generally go something like "This Mazinkaiser will be your opponent!" The supporting characters tend to join in.
- Honorable mention goes to Tetsuya's Great Mazinger, whose Thunder Break attack produces and absorbs a lightning strike, then fires it out the pointer finger.
- Duke Fleed, the main character of the third series, sometimes fell into this, too.
- Allison from Allison & Lillia does this a fair bit; as a Genki Girl who clearly wears the pants (flight suit, actually) in her relationship with childhood friend Wilhelm, it's practically a given.
- Gauron from Full Metal Panic! does this to activate his Arm Slave's special attack, and he doesn't give a damn about personal space. He's crazy like that.
- Pixy Misa in the Pretty Sammy canons does this fairly often.
- Zoro from One Piece does this to Tashigi when he rants about how she resembles his dead childhood friend, lapsing into really, really childish behavior.
- Naruto does this a lot. Being the brash, immature loud-mouth that he is, it's not surprising that he doesn't have manners, either. In the original before Shippuden, he usually pointed when accusing someone (usually a teacher or Sasuke) of undermining him or doing something behind his back.
- Sakura does this to Hinata in one Naruto Shippuden omake when suggesting that the chocolates she's making for Valentine's Day need an extra touch (unfortunately, the nutritional supplements she adds end up making them taste disgusting) to appeal to the recipient.
- Itachi has a more reserved, but far more weaponized version of this. When he points his finger at you, you've probably just been caught in a genjutsu.
- Ouran High School Host Club: A large percentage of Tamaki Suou's scenes involve this.
- Renge is also a big fan, and specializes in the swirly fingertip version.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: THIS (dramatic upwards point) IS THE DRILL THAT SHALL PIERCE THE HEAVENS!
- Kyouka's pointing finger is prominently displayed throughout Kyouran Kazoku Nikki.
- Kare Kano: Yukino to Arima in the third episode; she's actually a rude bastard, and she probably enjoys invading his personal space anyway.
- While Light from Death Note usually keeps his hands to himself, he points emphatically at L during their post-tennis-match war of words.
- In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Battler does this to Beatrice (Because well, she did just kill everyone on the island, most of them very messily; although he's pointing at her arguing that she didn't.) as a way of Throwing Down the Gauntlet.
- In Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, the titular detective has his partner point out criminals this way once he's figured the mystery out.
- Great Mazinger: 'SANDAA BUREKU!!!
- Kaze does this in Final Fantasy: Unlimited when he announces "The Soil Charge Triad to use on you has been decided!"
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Nodoka does this to the Big Bad, and later on to one of his minions. Fully justified as it's how she activates a magical item that allows her to learn their real names. As such, whenever she does this, it tends to be an epic moment.
- Kai from Beyblade points his finger at Brooklyn. Dramatically.
- In The World God Only Knows, Keima uses this often in argument.
- The entire cast of Ranma ˝ does this at some point or other.
- Ubiquitous in Doraemon. About the only ones who don't do this are Shizuka (who is a girl) and Doraemon (who doesn't have visible fingers).
- Natsu of Fairy Tail does this a lot to people he's yelling at or challenging to a fight.
- However, a more epic and dramatic example is Loke/ Leo, who does it to Caprico in a You Shall Not Pass moment.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, resident Delinquent gang leader Harry Tribeca does it to Rio right before the start their match after making sure that Rio was emotionally all right.
- Just about any comic drawn by Jack Kirby.
- God almost always does this when sending someone to hell in Jack Chick's strips.
- Every major character in Scott Pilgrim does this. The cover of the first volume even features Scott triumphantly striking this pose.
- "Do you want to have SEX? I think we should have SEX. CASUAL SEX."
- Evangelion 303: Asuka does this several times:
- Kyon's sister to Sasaki in Kyon Big Damn Hero when the former accuses the latter of making Kyon lose his smile.
- In With Strings Attached, Paul does this several times in a nonserious way; he does it in Real Life.
- Though he has to stop gesturing altogether after he gets super-strong.
- Also, John does it to As'taris just after getting the Kansael. While jabbing his finger at the elf, he accidentally squirts him; and when he looks at his own finger, he squirts himself.
- Turnabout Storm: Phoenix Wright makes liberal use of them, they being his signature gesture after all. This time it's more jarring than usual, given the general lack of any fingers to speak of on the inhabitants of Equestria.
Don't point that ugly sausage of a finger at Trixie
Films — Animation
- In The Book of Life, Manolo and Joaquin do this to each other in the main foyer of the Posada household while fighting over Maria, until she makes them break it up.
- My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks:
- In the prelude short "Guitar Centered", Trixie (as usual a Large Ham) dramatically points at Rainbow Dash while stating "You'll pay for that, Rainbow Dash!"
- In the movie, Flash Sentry points at Sunset Shimmer when saying "Now that's the bad girl we love to hate!" Harsh considering their past together, but he's Not Himself.
Films — Live-Action
- In the film Ghost Rider, the title character often does this, even when he really oughta know better (it's probably not wise to point and say "YOU!" to Satan himself). He once points threateningly to a young child while transformed, and then says "innocent!" and walks away. Said child passes out from the fear.
- Gunnery Sergeant Hartman is very fond of doing this in Full Metal Jacket.
- In Practical Magic, Sally lowers her daughter's hand to stop her from pointing — but her daughter does it anyway. It actually was a Magical Gesture, but it's cute given that the worst the girl can think of is "I hope you get chicken pox".
- The Sunshine Boys "The finger?!? Again with the finger?!?"
- The 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers has the alien replicas pointing and screaming at normal humans in order to mark them for the other aliens.
- A variation of this trope appears with drawn or carved pointing hands being all over the film versions of Harry Potter, the hands standing in for arrows on signposts but many serving no clear purpose in the Daily Prophet newspaper except to just point at things.
- At the end of the first Harry Potter book, Ginny excitedly points at Harry after he arrives back at King's Cross and Mrs. Weasley tells her that it's rude.
- In ''For The Emperor'', Inquisitor Vaile confronts the treacherous Governor Grice, "pointing an accusing finger at him like a schola tutor admonishing an unsatisfactory student." Of course, she was wearing a digital needler that shoots poisoned darts.
- A Song of Ice and Fire. King Joffrey points accusingly at Tyrion Lannister as he's dying, making his mother the Queen Regent believe that Tyrion poisoned him. After his arrest further "proof" of Tyrion's guilt is quickly assembled given the long-held antagonism between Tyrion and Joffrey, though Tyrion is in fact innocent of the crime.
- Stephen Colbert in The Colbert Report: You're all "on notice"!
- Chris Morris sometimes does it on Brass Eye.
- The Apprentice: Baron Alan, who generally reserves his finger for the fired.
- In the DVD commentary for the first season of The Mighty Boosh, Noel Fielding describes Matt Berry as a 'pointing actor', as he tends to use this trope extensively in the roles he plays, particularly in Boosh and The IT Crowd.
- Kamen Rider Double: "Now, let's count up your crimes!"
- On Scrubs, Cox and Kelso only know one hand-sign *guitar riff*
- Ultraman Zero uses this quite a lot whenever he's facing his enemy.
- Kamen Rider Fourze: "My name is Gentaro Kisaragi, and I'm going to be friends with everyone."]]
- The Power Rangers tend to do this a lot, usually after morphing.
- A rather tongue-in-cheek example of this is in a Power Rangers in Space episode where Zhane is disguised as the Silver Psycho Ranger. When the Blue Psycho Ranger grows aggravated with Zhane's actions, he points at him intimidatingly. This provokes Zhane to respond in a very cavalier manner: "Ah, ah, ah. It's not nice to point."
- The Office (US): How Michael Scott interprets the term "Power Point".
- Spoofed by the Australian comedy series The Late Show in "The Olden Days" (a Gag Dub of "Rush").
Trooper 1: This man thinks he's an Automated Teller Machine!
Trooper 2: (jabbing man repeatedly in the chest, to dubbed beeping sounds) Is that so? Well he appears to be out of order!
- Game of Thrones. Prince Oberyn does this during his My Name Is Inigo Montoya scene when battling Ser Gregor Clegane, who murdered his sister and her children on Lord Tywin's orders.
"You raped her. You killed her children. Say her name: Elia Martell. Who gave you the order? (points at Lord Tywin) WHO GAVE YOU THE ORDER?!"
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Giles has a Not So Stoic moment in "Checkpoint", and does this to Watcher's Council leader Quentin Travers when he tries to lean on Buffy. Given that Watchers are the epitome of the Stuffy Brit stereotype, the personal space violation is the same as in Japan — another Watcher immediately moves to hold Giles back.
- The Wicked Witch of the West periodically does this to the player in Jersey Jack Pinball's The Wizard of Oz.
- Western example: uber-star Hulk Hogan did this all the time when he made his big comeback. Inevitably, after the fingerpoint (punctuated by the crowd yelling "YOU!"), the match would be won within a minute.
- Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender tends to do this when she's annoyed, yelling at someone (namely, Katara), or just when she wants to make a point. She has a very distinctive way of doing it: being blind, turning her body to face you does nothing for her, so she'll point dramatically at you with her arm/hand and nothing else.
- Korra from The Legend of Korra has been known to do this to people she doesn't like... including Tarrlok.
- Justice League, "Only a Dream": Lois Lane points at Clark in Superman's dream, accusing him of "hiding something", right before her death.
- The not so evil monkey that lives inside Chris Griffin's closet on Family Guy does this all the time.
- Uncle Sam, who wants YOU for the U.S. army.
- For the Brits, Lord Kitchener, who wants YOU to join your country's army.
- Averting this trope is considered common speech etiquette. Bill Clinton is most famous for averting it, using the common technique of pointing with his thumb pressed against the first joint of his index finger, which became a hallmark of his impersonators.
- At Disney Theme Parks, "cast members" are trained to gesture with their whole hands, mostly for the benefit of international guests whose cultures follow variations of this trope.
- When an object fails to break or deform in a suitably spectacular way on Daily Drop, Paul sighs... and then summons the crowbar with this very gesture.
- What made Ricardo Lagos famous in Chilean politics was mixing this, Kubrick Stare and "The Reason You Suck" Speech during a TV debate in 1989. While directly addressing Augusto Pinochet, who was still in power.
- In the US Military, a common subversion is to avoid pointing at someone with your finger, particularly if you are correcting them. Instead, it is common to point with your entire hand, in a gesture known as "Knife Hands". Use a "karate chop" motion or angle the hand more aggressively for added emphasis.
- A lot of people criticized Arizona governor Jan Brewer for pointing her finger in President Obama's face during a meeting. A lot of people saw some Unfortunate Implications, saying that if she were a man or if Obama was white, she never would have had the audacity to do it in the first place.
- In Northern Ireland, the act of emphatically jabbing a pointed finger at the person you are talking to so as to reinforce the point is culturally acceptable and not seen as anything out of the ordinary. British soldiers had to be explicitly told this was not meant to be an aggressive or disrespectful thing — just normal everyday Norn body language. Witness the (now deceased) Reverend Ian Paisely in full oratorical flow.