A variation on throwing weapons, yo-yo's allow you to both throw the weapon a short distance and then have it come back to you, without any antigravity generators or built in homing devices.
— 1001 Science Fiction Weapons
According to popular legend, the simple child's toy known as a yo-yo began as a weapon in the hands of Filipino tribesmen centuries ago. Whether this is true or not, if you see a yo-yo, particularly in an anime and particularly in the hands of a young girl, it's a safe bet that it will be slung with deadly intent and accuracy.
This legend may stem partially from the fact that as a weapon, the yo-yo bears a resemblance to the Chinese meteor-hammer, one of a set of flexible weapons in Chinese martial arts that can be employed to devastating effect and with great flair. The mundane yo-yo makes a great stand in for these types of weapons. It may also stem from the fact that a typical yo-yo user (a small child) can, and will, cause major harm to anyone in the yo-yo's vicinity.
Historians attribute the weapon quote to Filipino hero Jose Rizal, who might have been really joking. He used to carve yoyos while traveling and playing these on ships. He isn't an expert on ancient Filipino weaponry, however.
A type of Epic Flail
. See also Improbable Weapon User
. Compare Battle Tops
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Anime and Manga
- Saki Asamiya in Sukeban Deka was armed with a special metal yo-yo, which became her signature weapon — so much so that it's an integral element in the logo for the 2006 Live-Action Adaptation (now available in the United States under the title Yo-Yo Girl Cop).
- Akashia Moka flings a yo-yo at a Tengu-maked thug during their field trip to the human world in Rosario + Vampire season 2. The yo-yo cracks the mask in half to reveal a face that is nearly identical.
- Princess Sparkle from Spider Riders liturally kicked Grasshop's but with hers, several dozen times.
- Momoko "Blossom" Akatsutsumi in Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z.
- Jun from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Of course, hers explode, so their effectiveness as a weapon is never in doubt.
- One of the first and most well-known examples in anime is the Choudenji Yoyo (Super Electromagnetic Yo-Yo), the signature weapon of the Super Robot Combattler V.
- Kiyone Makibi from Tenchi Muyo!.
- A storyline in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga (and the first series of the Yu-Gi-Oh anime) features an entire gang of yo-yo thugs, lead by one of Jounouchi's/Joey's middle school rivals. Yami Yugi is good enough with it he brought down the roof of a shed!
- In the anime, one of the yo-yos even has spikes.
- Parodied in the anime series Bakuen Campus Guardress: one of the characters fights with a kendama.
- Genis of Tales of Symphonia does this seriously. Understandably, he's a magic-user, but still...
- To be fair, there's a series of skits dedicated to just how improbable it is.
- YuYu Hakusho features a child demon in the first round of the Dark Tournament who uses psychically controlled yo-yos as his favored weapon.
- Hunter × Hunter, has Killua occasionally using super-yo-yos on wires as his preferred weapon, on those occasions he uses any weapon at all — he's shown knocking chunks out of trees with them (he's super-strong, and the things weigh 40 kilograms each).
- Employed by Super Doll Licca Chan in one of her forms.
- Cirucci Thunderwitch in Bleach wields a huge yoyo-like weapon in its unreleased shape.
- Mamiya in Fist of the North Star uses a yo-yo that suddenly produces blades in mid-air, which makes her a competent normal human fighter, but still nowhere near as strong as martial arts practitioners.
- Chikusa Kakimoto of Katekyo Hitman Reborn! wields a pair of metal yo-yos that shoot poisonous needles.
- Nanaho Kinjo of Best Student Council.
- Carmen 99 uses a bladed yo-yo in GUN×SWORD.
- From the anime Machine Robo Rescue, Ninja Mama is a Captain Ersatz of the Saki/Yoko archetype, complete with Killer Yoyo.
- The Ryuuseisui-wielding Suboshi is Fushigi Yuugi's resident Psycho Yoyo Boy. He doesn't use an actual yoyo, but it counts.
- Crossbone Gundam has the Quavarze, which uses a beam saw mounted on the end of a "chain" of whip-like segments; again, not exactly a yoyo, but close enough.
- Sylvain Clark from Marginal Prince uses a yoyo to fight off bad guys during the last episode. He tends to fanboy over it in an earlier episode, as it is some merchandise from his favourite anime.
- Comic book example: Frank Einstein, the titular Madman, uses a lead weighted yo-yo among other toy-based weapons.
- The Simpsons Comics #131 featured a manga-styled segment. Lisa appears at the end, wielding two yo-yos and sporting understandably Super Saiyan-like hair. Pretty much a general Shout Out to Sukeban Deka.
- The Trickster, from The Flash's Rogues Gallery, has included yo-yos in his arsenal.
- While under the Top's influence, his near obsessive use of the yo-yo (commented on by one of the G-men) is probably also a tell for the normally playful James being buried under the stern, serious Agent Jesse, possibly as a bit of a slip in Top's mind screw.
- Comics example: In the Marvel Universe, Daredevil foe the Jester wields a weighted yo-yo as a weapon.
- In the Norwegian fantasy series Miranda, the eponymous heroine wields a so-called "coil" with great success — it is easily hidden, and nobody expects it from such a pretty girl.
- The Joker once pulled one of these in a fight and was ridiculed for using such a cliched weapon. The intended victim asked him "let me guess, it's really heavy or it explodes or shoots acid or something?" Joker proceeds to unwind the cord of the perfectly normal yo-yo and strangle the guy with it.
- Showed up in a special issue of The Punisher, where the villain wielded one and made a reference to the aforementioned Filipino arts.
- In his origin story, a young Bullseye was shown throwing a yo-yo and killing a bird with it.
- An issue tying into the Justice League cartoon has Speedy playing with a yo-yo in the Watchtower; he's able to hold off the villain at one point using it.
- Yo-Yo from Flashpoint uses a pair of these when fighting against Batman.
- James Bond is attacked by a bunch of Indian mooks in Octopussy. One of them wields a yo-yo buzzsaw.
- While it doesn't kill, Michelangelo knocks out several hooligans with a yoyo at the beginning of the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film.
- Hansel (He is so hot right now!) in Zoolander uses a yo-yo to disarm an opponent
- Obviously, Yo-Yo Girl Cop is based on this trope.
- Egor in the Day Watch movie is seen playing with a YoYo like object. It turns out to be a magical weapon. The user flings it like a YoYo but upon impact, the object shatters into hundreds of pellets that continue attacking the target, do not suffer any loss of momentum and can multiply themselves by shattering as well. Needless to say it goes out of control and eventually wipes out Moscow.
- Master of the Flying Guillotine features a yoyo/hat-like device attached to a string that, as you can imagine, acts like a guillotine when it lands.
- A character is attacked with a yo-yo, among other things, in Childs Play 3.
- The bladed lug wrench is upgraded to this when some rope is attached to it at the end of Sorority Row.
- Cadderly Bonaduce, a character in the Forgotten Realms novel series The Cleric Quintet, uses a halfling "spindle disk" to great effect.
- They became even more effective when he
coated them in filled them with oil of impact...
- Their original incarnation, before the aforementioned addition to their firepower, wasn't all that strong and effective, as they were made from rock crystal. (In fact, Cadderly was aware of that from the start — he simply pulled an Ain't No Rule to have his toy classified as a 'weapon' for training purposes, being more interested in tinkering and occasionally fooling around than actual fighting at the time.) However, when Ivan makes him a new pair out of Adamantite, even he admits that they're a good weapon (while having to remove a piece of someone's face before giving them to Cadderly).
- The The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson claims the Filipinos had bladed yo-yos, and gives one to the enigmatic Enoch Root.
- The Marvel Comics novel Time's Arrow: The Present has Taskmaster attempting to decapitate Jean Grey with a yo-yo that has a monofilament string and an automatic circuit to ensure it constricts. He also takes the time to give a brief lecture on their use in the Philippines.
- A brief passage in the final book of The Demonata describes a small girl using a yo-yo to fight off demons. No, really.
- Subverted in the first Alex Rider book: one of Alex's "gadgets" is a modified yo-yo. He expects it to be weaponised somehow, but instead it has an extendable and extremely strong cord.
- In Elven Star, the second book of The Death Gate Cycle, a character uses a weapon called a "raztar" that appears to be a yo-yo with extendable razor blades.
Live Action TV
- In Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kamen Rider Verde wields a yo-yo.
- Power Rangers: Dino Thunder has Conner and his Battlizer armor, the main weapon of which is the Dragon Yo-Yo. A killer yo-yo made of fire. Silly, but it works.
- One of the entries in the Syfy channel's Face/Off makeup-F/X game show, submitted for a challenge to design an original horror movie character, used a yo-yo as a lethal weapon.
- 1001 Science Fiction Weapons has a chapter on combat yo-yos. There is a complaint it's uncommon outside anime.
- An article in Pyramid magazine had a 'Delinquent Schoolgirl Cop' archetype (an obvious homage to Sukeban Deka) for the Feng Shui role-playing game. One of the weapon choices available for the character was the combat yoyo.
- Bridget from Guilty Gear XX wields a standard yo-yo as a weapon; this is likely part of the joke, as it goes nicely with the nun habit, in-line skates and teddy bear.
- And giant handcuff belt-hula hoop thing.
- Which according to one of his win animations, also doubles as a yo-yo holster.
- (Yes. His. Likely part of the same joke, at least via culture context).
- In The Adventures Of Willy Beamish, a yo-yo is the weapon you finally beat the Big Bad with. Since you begin the game with it and only get to use it at the end, if also serves as a Chekhov's Gun.
- Mike Jones' primary weapon in StarTropics is a yo-yo. You upgrade the weapon as the game progresses.
- There's also a bola weapon.
- "Yoyo Yoko" Koshibojin from the fighting game Ehrgeiz uses one in most of her attacks; hence the nickname.
- In The Goonies II, Mikey's primary weapon is a yo-yo, which isn't found in the movie to which the game is an unofficial sequel.
- One of the ranged weapons in EarthBound is a yo-yo. It's practically useless, but all ranged weapons (except Jeff's best ones) suck in this game. Strangely enough, in his appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series, his yo-yo attacks are much more useful: in the first game, they do massive damage, and in Melee, can be used in a Ness-only glitch to make him virtually-untouchable.
- Mother 3 has the "Friend's Yoyo" as an optional weapon. It's actually quite powerful, raises speed, and can be given to any of the party members except for Boney.
- And then on Tanetane Island, you can buy a Spiky Weapon, which is basically a yo-yo, with spikes.
- While we're still on Smash Bros., one of Kirby's exclusive copy abilities in Kirby Super Star is Yo-Yo, taken from the Gim enemy. It consists of breakdancing combined with a yo-yo (and a backward baseball cap.) An attack from that ability replaced his Fireball running attack in Brawl.
- One of the weapon sets available to Acrobats in Fly FF is a yo-yo.
- Yo-Yo is a chip starting from Mega Man Battle Network 3. It deploys spinning blades from the disk as it's fired.
- The Spinning Blade from Mega Man X3 becomes this when charged.
- Malin from The King of Fighters.
- Megumi Taktsuki from Rumble! @ the Campus.
- One of the prototypes show Kiyo wielding one.
- A massive, bladed yo-yo called a "Diskarmer" is the signature weapon of the Rygar series.
- The last boss in Hippodrome is a giant taking up half the screen wielding a Killer Yo-Yo of Doom simply called "!@#$%!@!". Considering this troper never was able to kill said boss, she found the weapon's name highly appropriate.
- Captain Blue Jr. from Viewtiful Joe.
- The ancient terrifying Disney game Nightmare Ned.
- The titular character in Superfrog fights enemies with a yo-yo, but sadly, it has use only against flying enemies.
- In the SNES game Legend of the Mystical Ninja,
Goemon "Kid Ying" has a yo-yo as his best weapon. This is not seen in any other games, though the chain pipe serves a similar purpose as a long-range weapon.
- Enough yo-yo weapons were implemented in Kingdom of Loathing to make its own weapon type. Examples range from the yo (a primitive yo-yo which does half damage) to the yohohoyo, a multi-elemental weapon wielded by the wacky pirate.
- The Toy Story game fills Sid's room with spiked yo-yos hanging from the ceiling.
- Rita from Tales of Vesperia gets a yoyo as a weapon.
- In the Super Mario Bros. games, the term "Hammer Bro" originally referred to an elite group of Koopa Troopas that specialized in throwing hammers, but their ranks have since expanded to include Troopas with other weapon specialties. One such specialty, seen in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, is the yo-yo, wielded by a species called "Yo Bro".
- Gotcha Force's Spinner Girl uses a spiked yo-yo.
- The "Yo-yo of Death" from Neopets is a powerful battledome item. How powerful? It's sold in the Hidden Tower.
- In Super Robot Wars, the R-2 wields a Beam Chakram attached to a cable. The Huckebein Mk II also has an exploding one as a weapon.
- Mid-90s third-person fighter/shooter Time Commando had a weaponized yoyo in the 'future' levels.
- The washed up superhero Captain Rainbow duel wields yo-yos. No, really.
- One of Jupis Tooki McGanel's special attacks is Yo-Yo Shock, where he swings an electrified yo-yo in a circular arc to damage all enemies.
- One of the weapons in the game adaptation of TaleSpin was a yo-yo.
- Samurai Warriors 3 - Hanbei Takenaka wields a giant bladed yo-yo that he also uses as a one-man helicopter.
- A much more serious-looking variant occurs in the Castlevania series, where multiple titles feature animated suits of armor that wield large spinning spiked discs, usually known as "disc armor" or "discus armor".
- Another discus-style weapon wielder is Bunny from Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils.
- Candi Roll from Kung Fu Chaos wields twin yoyos.
- Spinmaster had yo-yos as the player characters' main weapon.
- The Yobobot in Shatterhand flings a large white ball around itself.
- One of the two styles of melee weapon available to Dawn in Lemegeton, the "rotary knife" (actually more like a meteor hammer with blades attached), has yo-yo-like animations during some of its attacks.
- Frak! for the BBC Micro starred a caveman armed with a yo-yo.
- Batman: The Animated Series:
- The Joker has used one at least twice.
- In The Clock King the titular villains use a pocket watch as this against Batman.
- Toyman utterly owns Killer Frost with one of these in the penultimate episode of Justice League Unlimited.
- Velma's yo-yo in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Although it's not a killer, it's extremely helpful, as she used it to hold on trees, tangle villains, gain speed in their Mystery Skate...
- The Boy typically used special Yo-yos.
- In an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, a mobster uses a yo-yo to hit the button that will lower Jackie and Tohru into a shark tank. Moments later, Jackie uses the same yo-yo to entangle the mobster's feet, preventing his escape.
- Wadi wields one in The Secret Saturdays.
- In Gadget Boy & Heather, Gadget Boy uses a yo-yo to tie up the villains in the show's opening.
- In one episode of Hey Arnold!, Arnold's yo-yo proves fatal to Eugene's goldfish when it breaks from its string, falls into the goldfish bowl, and knocks over the toy knight, killing the fish.
- The Smurflings used yo-yos against Gargamel in The Smurfs episode "Have You Smurfed Your Pet Today?"
Truth In Television
- The boleadoras used in the Argentinian pampas.
- While not identical in style to a yo-yo, a type of weapon known as the Slungshot works in a remarkably similar manner.
- The Philippine killer yo-yo was rumoured to primarily be used as an anti-snake device in farm fields.
- The Chinese yo-yo, while not an actual weapon, can be spun to dangerous speeds that can result in the loss of teeth or eye(s) if the wielder loses control of it.
- A standard Western yo-yo, as noted above, is the bane of babysitters and parents everywhere. Those fancy trick yo-yos that were briefly fashionable around the turn of the millennium are even worse.