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Glassy Prison
So a character has been busted, caught, kidnapped, jailed ... Whatever. It's not uncommon for characters to be captured, in fact its par for the course for most villains. But the situation does call for a character to be contained somewhere and what appears to be better than a transparent cell where your captors can trace your every move, expression. Maybe if they're feeling generous a little conversation wouldn't go amiss.

However to be imprisoned in such a manner where you are displayed in the same style as an exhibit can either be an riveting or a demeaning moment for our characters. Possibly could be a side effect if the character falls victim to The Collector, or could overap into Human Popsicle stage if taken to a sinister extreme.

This trope comes into action when a character is deliberately placed within a transparent cage to hold them akin to a prison cell. This transparent material can stretch past glass such as plastic, ice, water, resin or any material where the captor can visually see the captive.

Compare Cardboard Prison and Crystal Prison.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Naruto: The Water Prison Technique fits this trope perfectly. Once trapped within one, the target is unable to move due to the sheer heaviness of water.
  • Snow of MÄR interestingly averts this trope, as she encases herself in ice when she first appears though its made quite clear that she can only stay in her ice prison for a couple of hours before she frrezes to death.
  • Pokémon: Team Rocket put Pikachu in one of these in the Best Wishes episode "The Name's N".
  • Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Pleiades Saints, Kazumi's teammates, are horrifically doing this to other magical girls after harvesting their soul gems effectively turning them into human popsciles.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle: R!Sakura and R!Syaoran voluntarily enter one of these, where they are separated from each other for a long period of time as their price for one of Yuuko's wishes.

    Film — Animated 
  • The blue canine-like alien Stitch, of Lilo & Stitch is firstly introduced to the audience in a holding cell of this variety. He's not happy to be in one to put it lightly.
  • Titan A.E. features Cale Tucker being held in the brig of the Drej mothership. The door to his cell is a transparent energy barrier.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Raoul Silva in Skyfall is taken captive by Bond and is incarcerated in a glass cell before being interogated by M. Due to the visable nature of him within the cell, this makes his escape all the more chilling.
  • Species: The young Sil is held inside a confinement area with glass walls. When the project director decides to kill her with poison gas, she breaks through the glass and escapes the laboratory.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: The Big Bad, John Harrison (Cumberbatch) is seen quite smug he's sporting this look in the latest trailer.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter goes through a number of glass cages, from a glass-fronted cell in the beginning to a glass-on-all-sides enclosure he eventually escapes from.
  • The Avengers: The SHIELD Helicarrier contains one as a Tailor-Made Prison for the Hulk but they are using it to hold Loki that can be dropped 30,000-odd feet out of the bottom of the ship at the push of a button. He escapes (surprise, surprise) and traps Thor in it, who escapes by smashing his hammer through the glass.
  • Thor: The Dark World: Loki ends up in one of these again in Asgard's dungeons, with energy fields instead of glass.
  • X-Men:
    • Although not made out of glass, Magneto is imprisoned within a plastic, transparent prison at the end of X-Men.
    • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, large panes of glass form the ceiling of Magneto's cell underneath the Pentagon.
  • In Clockstoppers, the corporation responsible for creating the hypertime watch keep an accomplice who attempted to escape earlier in a prison cell made of glass in the center of the lab floor. He was in hyper-time, meaning that the onlookers couldn't see him, but he wrote disdainful messages on the walls of his cell that could be seen after spending a week in hypertime and aging prematurely.
  • In Austin Powers Goldmember, Dr Evil was imprisoned in transparent prison where everyone can see his every move, even when he takes a wizz.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Secret World of Alex Mack has Alex and her family trapped in one of these.
  • Alias: Irina Dereveko is held in one of these by the CIA.
  • Nikita: After being overthrown by his Dragon Ascendant Amanda at the end of season 1, Percy ends up in one of these. Naturally, he eventually escapes.
  • In The Twilight Zone episode, "The Silence", a chatty fellow lives in a glass cell in the middle of a Gentlemen's Club so he can prove he's keeping his wager to stay silent for an entire year.
  • The Blacklist: Done to Raymond Reddington after he turns himself in to the FBI.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Hanna-Barbera's Superfriends has a Mad Scientist called The Raven imprisoned in a glass cube. Nonetheless, The Raven is able to construct a lifelike robot duplicate of himself and escape.
  • The Archons of "The Sleeping Planet" believe that Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space have stolen their Robotron, and imprison them in a huge transparent bubble.
  • The most secure cells in the below-ground Acmetropolis Prison are an isolated circular platform with a transparent dome. The Sagittarius Stomper was put in one, alongside his mother. Likewise for Mallory Mastermind. And for four of the six Loonatics Unleashed.
  • The cells in Arkham Asylum in Batman: The Animated Series have one wall that is made out of glass.
  • Professor Pericles in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is imprisoned in a see-through cage.


Girls Behind BarsPrison TropesGreat Escape
Gilded CagePrisonThe Gulag

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