Marionette Master
Alice assembles her doll army for disturbingly cute warfare.

This guy doesn't fight via his own power; he has an army of Perverse Puppets—that he controls via strings, magic, or advanced technology—to do it for him. Particularly sadistic ones can also make People Puppets. See also Evil Puppeteer.

A Subtrope of Art Attacker and The Beastmaster. May overlap with Robot Master or Wicked Toymaker.

Compare & contrast Puppeteer Parasite. See also Marionette Motion.

Not to be confused with Puppet Fighter, a metaphor to describe a certain type of gameplay.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Hidden Sand Village from Naruto is renowned for its ninja puppeteers, who typically use puppets full of hidden weaponry, including poison; unlike most examples, said puppeteers, including Kankuro and Chiyo, are actually fairly heroic (eventually, anyways). Sasori, however, not so much.
  • Gein from Rurouni Kenshin hides inside his puppet and basically uses it like a Clock Punk Giant Robot.
  • Leonof the Puppetmaster from Trigun.
  • Walter from Hellsing upgrades to using his Razor Floss to making People Puppets.
  • Evangeline from Mahou Sensei Negima! makes the list as well. One of her several dozen titles is "The Puppetmaster", and at the height of her power she could apparently control an entire army's worth of puppets. Though as a powerful Vampire mage, this is mainly a secondary ability.
  • Makubex & co in Get Backers.
  • Castor in 07-Ghost
  • The Hollow Numb Chandelier in Bleach has this as her main power, using the virus to make People Puppets out of Orihime's friends.
    • Ditto one of the Bounts, Mabashi, who takes over Rukia's body; Orihime restores Rukia's sanity by hugging and then activating her powers.
    • Also, the Septima Espada Zommari Rureaux.
  • Doflamingo of One Piece is of the People Puppets variety, though he also seems to have the strings themselves as part of his personal arsenal.
  • Friagne, the first villain in Shakugan no Shana, controls hordes of exploding dolls (possibly constructed from torches). His goal is to turn Marianne, the Rinne doll he loves, into an independent existence.
  • Corona of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid is revealed in flashbacks to have doll manipulation as her main talent. After Vivio praised her for it, she trained and refined this skill to the point where she can now manipulate giant Golems in battle. She can also use it on herself to become a Ditto Fighter.
    • Olivie Sägebrecht used a similar technique to control her artificial arms when she was alive.
  • Pandora Hearts - Zwei, or rather her Chain Doldum, is one of those. Poor Gil.
  • One of Yura of the Hair's abilities in Inuyasha. She would use threads of hair to manipulate the bodies of unconscious people from Kaede's village, then force them to attack Inuyasha and the group.
  • Genso from Genzo is a puppet master of amazing skills, and combines this with being Crazy-Prepared. Other "puppet masters" in the series are his teacher and father-in-law Seibei and his half-brother Koshiro, who's even more skilled than him.
  • Faust of Saber Marionette J.
  • Tiger & Bunny: Kriem, who uses her powers to control Mad Bears (Ugly Cute teddy bears). The Mad Bears go into giant robots and start attacking the city.
  • IV from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL used monsters called Gimmick Puppets, nightmarish marionettes with graphic and macabre powers.

    Comic Books 
  • Teen Titans foe the Puppeteer.
  • Superman villain the Toyman usually uses an army of toys to do his fighting for him.
  • Wanted has The Doll-Master, who's a Captain Ersatz of Toyman. Like his inspiration, he has a small army of puppets at his beck and call.
  • Toybox from Top 10.
  • The now obscure General Jumbo and his Pocket Army, appearing in The Beano between 1953 to 1974, was another heroic example. Unusually, the forces at his command extended to full air and artillery support as well as a variety of vehicles for several thousand Small Soldiers-style infantry bots, and a lot of the weapons involved were explicitly capable of inflicting lethal harm.

    Fan Works 
  • Lupine Tree has the timberwolves, the most notable of which being the protagonist himself. The timberwolves are trees that drop "transmission seeds," which can magically gather up plant matter and assemble it into the form of a wolfnote  and puppet the construct within a set radius of where they grow. The wolves hunt for prey and use it to fertilize their controlling tree.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Other Mother aka Beldam in Coraline. Her dolls are not primarily made for fighting, however if her victim comes to realise the trap it has fallen into and attempts to fight back, they can become rather deadly.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Andre Toulon in the Puppet Master series as well as anybody else that the puppets obey.
  • Tales from the Hood: The army of undead slave dolls tormenting a white supremacist is controlled by an elderly voodoo priestess whose soul is contained inside an old Civil War painting.

  • Seanan McGuire's Velveteen Vs series features Velvetveen, who fights with animated stuffed animals and dolls. When she needs new ones, she goes to Goodwill, animates all theirs, and lays out the score: that going with her will mean giving up any chance of a new child and probably a short life, but also doing good in that period.

    Live Action TV 


    Video Games 

  • Homestuck: Dave's Bro may or may not have been this with his favourite puppet, Lil' Cal. On one hand, he was capable of flashstepping so fast that he could have been making it look like Lil' Cal was moving of his own accord, and initially that's what appears to be happening. On the other hand, there's plenty of evidence and testimony throughout the story that Lil' Cal actually is alive and capable of autonomous movement. We simply can't know for certain, and that makes it all the more terrifying a thought...
  • All over the place in Erfworld. Dollomancy, Croakamancy, and Decryption are all this trope through and through. Even the setting, where soldiers telepathically know their leader's wishes to some extent, counts.

    Web Original 
  • SCP-237 is an Otaku version of this, who creates small animate figures (the Foundation refers to them as "homunculi") based on fictional (primarily anime) characters. He is also probably a Chaos Insurgency spy. While most of his creations are harmless, the last note implies that he can create something much more dangerous.

Alternative Title(s): Puppet Warrior