[[quoteright:350:[[Film/TheHungerGames http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rue_net.jpg]]]]

->''"Net... overpowering! Arms... tired... heavy! Can't... move... must... urk..."''
-->-- '''Bat Thumb'''

Want to incapacitate somebody without killing them? Then the most foolproof way of pulling this off is with the Inescapable Net, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's a net that, when thrown over someone, causes them to just flail around helplessly, trapped like a bunch of fish, ready to start dying.

This trope is particularly popular in children's animation, where the intended audience usually just accepts the application of this trope without considering the general silliness of the idea. Suffice to say, this trope is much more difficult to pull off in live action television, in which the participants usually just end up looking silly.

To some extent this is TruthInTelevision. Animals surprised by nets usually don't have enough time to figure out a way to get out of it before the hunter is able to incapacitate them permanently. Of course, anything that is substantially stronger, smarter or with more escape time than your typical hunted animal doesn't have this excuse. Sometimes however, heavy weights will be added to the edges of a net to make it more difficult to escape from, or the corners will be attached to long ropes to drag the captured target away. In addition even without the weights some nets are just so heavy by themselves that they require several men to carry around as seen in nets used by commercial fisherman which is so strong enough to carry hundreds of fish in one catch. Also as the method they are often portrayed in fiction is used int raps, just the gravity alone is enough to bring an impact equivalent to getting hit even if the net is not heavy as seen in net guns used by policemen. And some nets are designed to tangle people with their holes to make it more difficult to escape despite weighing less than a pound.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime, Pokémon caught inside Team Rocket's nets will only rarely manage to free themselves, despite them usually being pretty powerful in battle. Usually handwaved as being electric/whatever proof nets. The peak of this trope may be when Team Rocket captured Cresselia, a ''Legendary Pokemon'', with an ordinary net.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** Justified when the Marines use a net to trap Alvida and Buggy -- it's a net specifically designed to counter Devil's Fruit powers, so they're screwed.
** Don Krieg can fire a weighted net from his gun, which is used to send people into the water. Doesn't stop Luffy.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Averted in a very early ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'' comic featuring Kraven the Hunter's debut. Kraven catches Spidey in a net, but Spidey reasons that, just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the net must have a weak joint in it, and he then tests the netting until he finds a part he can make big enough to escape through.
* One Silver Age ''ComicBook/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' story had the Flash trapped in a net that would shrink around him and crush him to death.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In the ''Aasman Ko Chukar'' sequence in ''Animation/TheReturnOfHanuman'', Hanuman used a net to capture figures with a bad name such as terrorists and UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': In ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', the protagonists find themselves suspended in snare-nets laid by the Ewoks. They are able to quickly escape, but not before the [[KillerRabbit Ewoks]] arrive in force to surround them.
* Spoofed in ''Film/KungPowEnterTheFist'': the hero is trapped in a net that isn't even big enough to cover his head.
-->'''Mayor:''' Master Betty, my compliments! That tiny net was sure-fire!\\
'''Master Betty:''' Mm, yes, a tiny net is a death sentence. It's a net and it's tiny!
* ''Film/{{Predator}}'':
** In the first movie, the mercenaries manage to catch the Predator hunting them in a net thanks to Dutch playing bait, but the alien promptly tears the net apart by firing his plasma caster.
** The Predator nets in the film series are quite effective, but that's also because they automatically contract on the target and are apparently made out of something like piano wire, so targets are less incapacitated and more cubed. How well this works when the "prey" starts bleeding an [[Franchise/{{Alien}} insanely corrosive acid]], however...
* Rue in ''Film/TheHungerGames'' is inescapably trapped under a net tied to tree trunks. A [[http://www.leavemethewhite.com/caps/displayimage.php?album=254&pos=718 freeze frame]] reveals the trap's poor set up which Rue should have had no problem escaping from.

* In ''Literature/LoneWolf'' book 8, ''The Jungle of Horrors'', your traveling companion Paido is snagged by the bad guys in a net that is also studded with fish hooks, making it practically impossible to quickly free him before they drag him off. You see him again a couple of books later, alive but covered in scars from where the hooks were pulled out.

* Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse:
** "Connor Nets" are capable of doing this to ''starships''. Connor Nets are justified by them being EMP's in the form of a net to tangle stabilizers and shut down engines.
** As well as Stokhli Spray Sticks, which basically fire [[StaticStunGun electrified]] riot goop.
** Force Nets, which are actually a darkside method of executing someone by constricting the net.
* Lampshaded/justified in the ''Literature/PlanetOfTheApes'' book: The protagonist and narrator writes that he was so panicked he did exactly the wrong thing when trying to escape from the net, which led to his capture.
* In one of the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' field guides, one cat told a story about how his ancestor got chased through an old rabbit warren by some kind of terrier. He dashes out of one of the tunnels, only to get caught in a net and be at the mercy of the human and the dog.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* On ''Series/TheElectricCompany1971'', Spider-Man catches criminals this way with his webbing.
* One episode in the second season of ''Series/WhoWantsToBeASuperhero'' had this happen to the good guys early on to act as a lead-in to the supervillain death-trap challenge.
* Averted in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "Consequences". The Watcher's Council trap Angel under a net, and to make sure he stays down they start whaling on him with crowbars.
* Used in each season of the reality TV show ''Series/TheColony''. In the first season GrandFinale, the colonists drop a huge, weighted cargo net on a group of raiders that had been channeled into a narrow corridor. In the second, one of the colonists is hit by a net with weighted corners made of very light fiber that wraps around him and tangles him, rendering him completely immobile.
* ''Series/MidsomerMurders'': In "A Rare Bird", the killer uses birding nets to entangle his first two victims before killing them. Justified as birding nets have a very fine, almost unbreakable mesh, and the killer only needs them to hold long enough for him to deliver the killing blow/shot.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The [[CombatPragmatist Brawler]] subclass from ''VideoGame/DungeonFighterOnline'' has a skill called Heaven's Net, where they throw a net forward and use it to pull enemies up to them, as well as immobilize them.
* ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'':
** The Ensnare ability, throwing a net on the unit to keep it from moving. While it makes sense when bringing down air units to ground level, why ground units never try to break out is anyone's guess.
** The Undead have a similar (air-only) ability with sticky web strands.
* ''VideoGame/RiseOfTheTriad'' has troops that can fire nets at you. If you don't have a knife handy (a knife whose sole purpose it is to cut nets, apparently), your character is pinned down ''hard'' until you shake it off. No moving, no shooting, not even any turning. Though curiously, if you DO have a knife, you can still run around as usual until you cut the net off.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0556.html where the party gets trapped in a net]] on an island with an orc tribe hunting after them. They quickly figure out a way to get out of the net, but Elan warns them that the presence of the net is proof that they were ''supposed'' to be caught, and that trying to escape from the net is ultimately futile because the narrative structure is working against them. They're then beat up while still removing the net.
* Also parodied by ''Webcomic/DaisyOwl'' with [[NetGun Net Guns]] used [[http://www.daisyowl.com/comic/2010-01-26 here]].
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': There is significantly little struggling shown but Agatha and Larana's group is [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20160803 captured by Larana's father using a net]] when returning to The Incorruptible Republic of the Immortal Library of the Grand Architect from the adjacent old Corbettite Vaults and only Violetta escapes capture, and she managed to avoid the net entirely.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Many Creator/HannaBarbera cartoons.
** Done most blatantly in ''WesternAnimation/{{Superfriends}}''. These are characters with the ability to vibrate through walls, move entire planets, turn into lightning bolts -- but put them under a net and they have no idea what to do. If you're lucky, it'll be a kryptonite net, but that still doesn't explain that no one else can escape.
** Also used in ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' and shows like it to capture the monster at the end.
* Happened in ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' several times, the most JustForFun/{{egregious}} of which is when a villain made entire of malleable, liquid water gets trapped in an ordinary net.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', fairies are literally incapable of escaping if trapped in a butterfly net. Not a special, fancy net--an ordinary butterfly net. Talk about WeaksauceWeakness! [[AWizardDidIt Rules of magic.]] Handwaved the first time it's brought up, with Wanda stating that if it has wings and flies, a butterfly net will catch it.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short WesternAnimation/ElmersCandidCamera, Elmer puts a net over WesternAnimation/BugsBunny. Bugs then begins gasping for air and [[FakingTheDead pretends to die]], causing Elmer to [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone sob and call himself a murderer]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/LadyLovelyLocks'' dragon-hair nets are almost completely unbreakable and are resistant to most magic. Ravenwaves uses one to capture Shining Glory, while Maiden Fairhair uses one to stabilize the castle after a tunnel was dug underneath it.
* Ruby-Spears' ''WesternAnimation/MegaMan'' cartoon used this on occasion. Since Mega Man was a robot the nets were either metal or electrified, and one instance had him invoke this in order to get into where Dr. Light was being held prisoner.
* The ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' episode "The Runaway" starts with Toph Bei Fong -- badass, fearless, unstoppable, justifiably self-appointed "greatest Earthbender in the world" -- being trapped in a net and hauled off to prison, apparently helpless to break out or put up a fight. [[spoiler:It was all an act.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/RosePetalPlace'' Nastina uses spider webs to trap Rose Petal on a few occasions.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfSuperman'': In "The Men from A.P.E.", Superman dumps the villains in the ocean and ten scoops them up in a fishing net. Apparently, Lex Luthor has nothing on him capable of dealing with a net.