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Anime and Manga
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle: Kurogane threatens to clock clone Syaoran for one of his actions. The original gets a half-hearted knuckle-tap in his clones' stead, though the Distant Finale suggests that there may be a way to bring the Clone back after all, so Kurogane uses the "he still owes me a punch" as an excuse to travel with original!Syaoran.
- Fai also does this to Kurogane after he cut off his own arm to save Fai's life. Yes, Fai is the one punching Kurogane for doing that. It Makes Sense in Context (kind of).
- In Love Hina Naru does this to Keitaro after he peeks at her diary. And when he stumbles on her bathing. And when he's sitting quietly minding his own business. And when there's a weekday with the letter "y" in it...
- In the anime version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Toji demands that Shinji do this to him after realizing he's unjustly treated Shinji like crap. Shinji complies after some hesitation. In the manga adaptation, Shinji decides it's better to have Toji owe him one, and later embarasses Toji in front of the girls in their class during PE.
- In Soul Eater, Black Star does this with Maka (at her own request) after she punches him in an argument. He doesn't hold back.
- After Polnareff apologizes to Kakyoin for being a hasty, angry prick and apparently getting Avdol killed in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Kakyoin's response is to smash an elbow into Polnareff's face, compounding Polnareff's already bloody injuries.
Kakyoin: That takes the place of my handshake, Polnareff. OK?Polnareff: Agh!!! T...Thank you...Kakyoin. Oo.
- In Durarara!!, Celty does this to Shinra after she discovers that he knew Yagiri Pharmaceuticals had her head in the past. He claims it's the same as a wedding ceremony.
- Subverted in an episode of Digimon Adventure, where Taichi offers a chance for Koushiro to hit him to atone for having taken out his anger on him, but Koushiro passes it up, understanding that Taichi was just venting and didn't mean to antagonise him. Their Digimon seemed willing to take Taichi up on it, however.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz has a variation on this. The boys are cornered by the enemy army and Heero, out of the blue, asks Duo to punch him. After some initial hesitation, Duo complies with a right hook...and Heero counters with a gut punch that knocks Duo out. "One for one, now we're even." Heero pretends to be unconscious and gets away when the guards aren't looking, and Duo later escapes their prison (having realized Heero's plan but wishing he'd come up with a better one).
- In Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Steel Seven, Europa and Captain Onmo meet up after Onmo had Europa tailed because they weren't sure she wasn't a spy. The meeting is tense but polite at first, with Europa saying she would probably have done the same thing had the situation been reversed... then she slugs Onmo in the stomach and walks on.
- In Blood Lad, at least the manga adaptation, Staz does this to his older brother, Braz, in return for a Hilariously Abusive Childhood and being near constantly antagonized over the course of the series.
- Chapter 13 of We're Alive Burt asks Angel to hit him to make up for trying to abandon the Tower in the previous chapter. After Angel lays Burt out, all is forgiven (Though Michael can be heard yelling "Hit him again!" from an overlooking window.)
- In one Batman / Punisher crossover, The Punisher punches Batman. Batman then says, "I let you take that punch, because I'm sure you think I deserved it. I won't let you take another."
- Batman actually does this a lot. If he knows he's been a jerkass to his allies, he tends to let them have one punch "free". Other examples include Kevin Smith's Green Arrow run, and again during "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive".
- And Superman sucks Batman's punches at least once an year. It seems to be a Batman privilege of sorts.
- Shortly after Jason Todd was killed, Batman punched Superman, who was trying to talk him out of pursuing revenge. In a hilarious subversion, Batman hurt his hand, and rather than apologize, Superman mentioned that if he hadn't rolled with the punch, Batman could've crippled himself.
- Another time Superman offers to do this again. Since Batman is standing on the Batwing, and is really pissed off this time, he opts to take his free shot with missiles instead.
- During The Road Home one-shot, when Stephanie Brown sees Bruce again after he returns from being thought dead and putting him through another Secret Test of Character she slaps him, then runs off yelling that she's glad he's not dead. He lets her have it.
- Grace Choi of The Outsiders tried this on Supergirl as revenge for freezing during a battle and failing to watch her back, but broke her hand despite her formidable strength.
- Gold Digger has a hilarious and tear-jerking example. Brittney is fighting the Dynasty, who are very much an expy of The Borg in this area. One of her allies sends her off, promising to get away. Said ally reappears...as a Dynasty warrior. Brittney promises to get her back to normal, and then punch her for lying. After the brainwashing and such is reversed? She follows through, then commences with the tearful reunion.
- FBI Agent King Faraday tries to arrest The Flash in DC: The New Frontier. Later, when they have to work together to save the earth, Flash has no hard feelings. After he punches Faraday in the face, that is.
- In the Forgotten Realms comics, Ishi beats on Jasmine rather harder than she intended when Jasmine taunts her about her "boyfriend" Agrivar. After recovering her temper, an embarrassed Ishi offers Jasmine one free shot to make them even, and Jasmine promptly kicks her in the head.
Jasmine: You're right, copperskin. I'm fine now.
- In Winter War, Ikkaku does this to Yumichika- not for his apparent betrayal of Soul Society earlier, but for not telling Ikkaku a rather critical piece of information (which would have allowed Ikkaku to figure out what was going on, among other things) beforehand.
- In the Ben 10 Fan Fic Hero High: Sphinx Academy, Ben begrudgingly decides to go along with Alex's plan under one condition. That condition being where Ben slugs him in the gut as hard as he can. A bit subverted however, as Alex's friends knew that if Alex wanted to he could have easily dodged Ben's punch and possibly broke his arm, but allowed himself to get hit as it seemed like this would speed things up.
- In Dark Marauder, a Harry Potter fanfic, Remus Lupin does this to Sirius Black after being held at wandpoint in his own house and accused of betraying Lily and James.
- In Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls, Applejack forgives Discord for all his lies and manipulations after socking him in the gut.
Films — Animated
- Chicken Run: "That's for leaving. This is for coming back."
- In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Earl calms down the crowd that's going after Flint (for accidentally creating a devastating spaghetti tornado) but adds, "Look, I'm as mad at Flint as you are. In fact, when he gets out of that car, I'm gonna slap him in the face!" And he does.
- Something like this happens in How to Train Your Dragon thanks to junior Tsundere Astrid. She punches Hiccup on the shoulder, says "That was for kidnapping me," then kisses Hiccup on the cheek and says "That was for everything else."
- In BraveStarr: The Movie (aka BraveStarr: The Legend) this is how Thirty-Thirty responds to the title character's offer of a helping hand up after BraveStarr called him a horse, tried to steal his gun and punched him through several walls before knocking him unconscious with a sucker punch and saving him from a collapsing building. Followed by Thirty offering BraveStarr a hand up in turn, with a comment of "Now we're even".
Films — Live-Action
- The Last Boy Scout: Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) finds his wife having an affair with his best friend after he pulls his gun out. Outside, he gives the friend the offer "Head or gut?", and the friend chooses gut.
- In the film Zombieland, Tallahassee hits Columbus at "45%" strength after getting sprayed with perfume.
- In Major League, Ricky Vaughn accidentally has an affair with Roger Dorn's wife (she set him up). After the Indians win the pennant, Dorn slugs Vaughn, before helping to his feet and giving him a big hug.
- In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Joe is preparing to stop Totenkopf's rocket from destroying the world. Unable to find another way to stop love interest Polly from following him, Joe punches Polly. Apparantly not hard enough, as Polly shows up in time to save him from Totenkopf's android enforcer. After punching him in the jaw, they go off to save the world.
- In McLintock!, McLintock tells Jones:
"I haven't lost my temper in 40 years; but, Pilgrim, you caused a lot of trouble this morning; might have got somebody killed; and somebody oughta belt you in the mouth. But I won't. I won't. The hell I won't!" (He belts him in the mouth).
- The Hurt Locker plays around with this when the squad is drunk.
James: (punches Sanborn in the gut) That's what you get for fuckin' hitting your team lead, motherfucker.
Sanborn: I think you hit me a little harder than I hit you, so I owe you a punch.
- Go uses this trope with a non fatal gunshot wound in place of a punch.
- At the start of Ned Kelly, Ned has just done a stretch in prison and has an organised bare knuckle boxing match with the man who ratted him out to avoid prison himself. Ned curb stomps the guy and then they're friends again.
- Exaggerated very awesomely in Chappie, where Chappie hunts down Moore to the Tetra Vaal offices and subjects him to a very violent Curb-Stomp Battle that breaks nearly all his limbs and leaves him near-death, for murdering Chappie's "mummy" Yolandi with the MOOSE.
Chappie: Now, I forgive you, bad man.
- In Unwind, Connor does this to Lev. The injured party tells him that he let him get away with that punch because it was deserved - but never again.
- In Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg delivers a beautiful one to Inspector Fix. Due to a case of Mistaken Identity, Fix has chased him round the world, caused him many inconveniences and finally arrested him as soon as he arrived back in England, potentially delaying him enough to make him lose his wager. When Fix releases him, apologising for his mistake:
He walked to the detective, looked him steadily in the face, and with the only rapid motion he had ever made in his life, or which he ever would make, drew back his arms, and with the precision of a machine knocked Fix down. [...] Fix, who found himself on the floor, did not utter a word. He had only received his deserts.
- To prove that Fix is now forgiven, Fogg gives him a share of the profit from the successful wager.
- In the non-fiction book Donnie Brasco, Agent Pistone is accused of being an undercover cop by two criminals, and is held at gunpoint until they contact someone who can vouch for having committed crimes with him. After Pistone is cleared (by an FBI informant) they put their guns away, and Pistone immediately hits them, as it's important for his Villain Cred not to let that kind of thing slide.
Live Action TV
- When both Angel and Gunn are undercover to foil a robbery, Angel hits Gunn when he disagrees (partially to maintain their cover, and partially because he wanted Gunn out of there). Later, when they're alone and keeping a watchful eye for the bad guys, Angel apologises. Gunn says "That's okay." and WHAM decks him without looking. "Don't do it again."
- When Justine disobeys an order from her mentor Holtz, he impales her palm with an awl and then walks away. When Justine hasn't removed the awl by the time he's returned, he knows she has the commitment needed for his cause, gives her the task of recruiting more soldiers like her, then yanks out the awl himself. Justine punches him — with her injured hand.
- Firefly: Zoe punches Saffron in "Trash" before agreeing to work with her.
- Magnum, P.I.: In one episode Magnum gets a little bit more friendly with a man's wife then he should. The husband sees him and slugs him. Then he raises his fist again, and Magnum grabs his arm and says, "I deserved ONE".
- How I Met Your Mother:
- Barney offers Ted a free punch anywhere but in the face. Ted accepts, punches him in the groin, and says that while he forgives him he's still ending their friendship.
- There's also the Running Gag of the Slap Bet - Marshall is allowed to slap Barney five times, at any moment, with no warning. This is based on a ruling by the Slap Bet Commissioner, Lily, as punishment when Barney prematurely slapped Marshall.
- Done in Party of Five, when Will realizes that his girlfriend Sarah is still in love with his best friend Bailey, and vice versa. He breaks up with Sarah, gives Bailey his blessing to pursue the relationship - and then punches him in the stomach.
- Was a Crowning Moment of Funny in an episode of Friends. Joey, to apologize for fake proposing to Rachel, offers Ross one of these. Joey then goads Ross into doing so, who throws the punch and hits the metal pole behind Joey, who had ducked. Joey explains it was instinctual ("when a fist comes at your face, you duck") and shows Ross by punching him...who doesn't duck. Then, as they leave to go to the hospital, Joey accidentally hits Ross again with the door. Seen here
Joey (using air quotes): Oops.
- Later he again tries to demonstrate by punching Chandler. He ducks, so Joey ends up punching Ross again.
- Played for laughs unexpected laughs in Kamen Rider Double. In an episode about halfway through the series, Ryu Terui gets his Berserk Button pressed by the Weather Dopant and starts treating the other protagonists harshly, which has the indirect effect of getting The Hero badly injured in a fight. Later on The Watson Phillip confronts Ryu and punches him out, then offers his hand and says "According to Shotaro, that makes us friends again", referring to a similar incident from the first episodes.
- Happens quite frequently in House, usually but not always between House and Wilson. Among others, there is the time Wilson spends the entire episode not responding to House's pranks, instead getting more and more emotionally distant, and it almost looks like they're going to properly fall out - until House's cane snaps in half, landing him on the floor. Wilson comments that it's almost as if someone carefully sawed halfway through the cane. And they're friends again. There is a much more direct example in Series 7 - Wilson has decided that House has finally crossed the Moral Event Horizon and informs House that they are no longer friends, eventually leading to House pleading with him to "Just punch me in the face, do whatever you have to do to get over this." Right at the end of the episode, Wilson enters his office, punches him in the face, then calmly suggests, "Dinner later?"
- Star Trek: Enterprise. Commander Shran beats up Captain Archer on their first encounter, but when Archer proves his allegations against the Vulcans, Shran says that he owes him one. Later Shran double-crosses Archer on the orders of his government and tries to apologise, reminding him that he still owes Archer and will deliver at a future date. Archer responds by decking Shran. "I've owed you that one for a long time!"
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the 2nd season episode "A Mater of Honor", Riker, on an officer-exchange program with a Klingon ship, has to employ trickery to oust the captain from command in order to prevent a deadly misunderstanding with the Enterprise (the normal Klingon procedure would be to assassinate him). When he yields command back at the end of the episode, he accepts a punch to the face from the Klingon captain; while it's unlikely the captain exactly forgives him, it does even the score, satisfying Klingon honor and letting the captain recover some dignity after the embarrassment.
- Discussed but averted in the second episode of Game of Thrones. When King Robert mentions Ned's affair during a campaign far from Ned's wife, he immediately mentions that if he wasn't the king, Ned would have punched him right away.
- Dornish prince Trystane Martell was punched by Jaime Lannister's swordsman Bronn midway through the fifth season, so when Trystane's father Doran offers to let him pass judgment Trystane has Bronn set free... and then elbowed in the mouth by royal bodyguard captain Areo Hotah.
- Tommy punches Nolan in Defiance because Nolan slept with his ex-girlfriend. Nolan mocks the punch and when Tommy offers to hit him again Nolan says he deserved that one but he'll start hitting back if he wants to take it further.
- In one version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Green Knight in question dares Gawain to take a swing at him with an axe, with the caveat that should said Knight survive, he'll return the blow one year later. (Un)naturally, he lives, but when the time comes, he discovers that his wife tried to seduce Gawain, who kissed her but ultimately refused her. As a reward for honor, he spares Gawain's life—but gives him a scar because of that kiss.
- One arc of Funky Winkerbean had Wally Winkerbean return to Afghanistan to do aid work after escaping from mercenaries who shot down his Army helicopter there in a previous arc. While there, he met one of said mercs, Khan, who was now working as a native guide. After Khan saved Funky's life after he stepped on a Bouncing Betty, Funky thanked him, then decked him for shooting down his chopper.
- Happens in Tales of Vesperia to The Mole. Instead of killing him for very nearly getting the party killed themselves, The Mole is told that his life belongs to Brave Vesperia now, and then every single party member minus Repede take their turn to administer his punishment. Including the one character who isn't a member.
- And then, off screen, it happens with the one party member that was out of the group at the time paying The Mole his due.
- In Wing Commander 3, after Blair learns that his good friend and comrade James "Paladin" Taggart has known about Angel's death for some time, and lied to him, the player has the option to punch Paladin in the face. If you do, he accepts it as deserved; if not, he begs you to.
- Garrus' loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2 includes a scene where Garrus confronts the ex-C-Sec officer who helped hide the man who betrayed Garrus' vigilante team to their deaths on Omega. After extracting the information needed to find said turian, Garrus goes to shoot him, whereupon a Paragon interrupt allows Shepard to stop him. Garrus headbutts him instead. As Shepard and Co. walk away, Garrus has this to say:
Garrus: I didn't shoot him.
- In Final Fantasy X, Wakka hates the Al Bhed because his brother Chappu got killed wielding an Al Bhed weapon, which went against the teachings of their religion. When he learns that his friend Luzzu was the one who convinced Chappu to join the Crusader army, Wakka clobbers him. After Luzzu gets up and goes off to fight Sin, Wakka tells him to come back alive:
Luzzu: You're just saying that so you can punch me some more, aren't you?Wakka: Lots, lots more!
- If Luzzu is killed during the battle with Sin, of course, Wakka will be extremely upset. If Luzzu lives, Wakka tells him to get ahold of himself, and return to Besaid to recuperate, saying that he can't beat him up when he's depressed
- In Mortal Kombat, Kung Lao's ancestor was slain by Goro in Mortal Kombat, leading to a feud between Kung Lao's family and Goro. Kung Lao and Goro eventually agreed to make peace, but Kung Lao punched Goro at the meeting. Goro initially thought Kung Lao wanted to continue the fight. Kung Lao just did it to let Goro know that he hadn't forgotten the bad blood between them but he was still willing to let it end there.
- In The Wonderful 101, Wonder-Blue finally apologizes for his Revenge Before Reason Leeroy Jenkins behavior against Vijoune and asks each member of the team to give him a hit right in the jaw. Wonder-Red pulls rank so he can personally punch Blue across the Virgin Victory.
- Apparently, this is SOP for the ferrets of DMFA. When Wildy-San publishes a slash-fic novel starring Jyrras as the main character, Jyrras is royally pissed off. Wildy, faced with an angry friend, offers him a free shot at her to make it up, but being a gentleman, Jyrras of course refuses. Later, the episode is mentioned when she visits her brother, Biggs... he's amazed that ANYONE would pass up a chance to get a free shot at Wildy. ('tis true, too. He could probably have made a fortune if he'd auctioned out that free shot... not that he needs the money.)
- In PvP, when Brent is willing to reconcile with Cole over a matter, he says "man code demands I punch you with a significant force." Both men admit, however, that Brent can't punch anything with significant force, so he arranges for a proxy to do it - his wife, Jade.
Jade: ...Head or stomach?Cole: I don't want to do this anymore.Brent: Yeah, I'm having second thoughts myself.
- In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, after Commander Badass recovered from the Nomura Syndrome incident, he went back to his Spacefuture handlers responsible to chew them out for it. The Admiral points out that between all the other concessions Commander had wrangled from them for prior transgressions there was basically nothing, at this point, he could ask them for. Commander suggests this trope, and wins One Free Punch to the Admiral's face, to be delivered at his own discretion, at an undisclosed time of his own choosing.
Soldier: I dunno, doesn't sound as satisfying as walloping him right there.Commander: It ain't about me hittin' him, it's about him knowing they're gonna let me.
- In Red vs. Blue: Revelation, Tex asks Epsilon-Church for the right to punch Tucker for his smart-ass comments in exchange for calming down. Epsilon agrees, and Tucker remains clueless about what is going on until he's been punched.
- In Critical Role, Vax preemptively apologizes, and then proceeds to punch Percy in the face after learning that he was the one who triggered the trap that (temporarily) killed Vex in the previous episode. Also a common result of conflict resolution between Grog and Vax - especially when the latter does something to prank the former.
- There's a Family Guy episode in which Stewie grants Brian a fair shot at him to make up for the episode-long beating that Brian took from him. Brian agrees, but on the condition that he's not going to tell Stewie when it's coming. Stewie spends the rest of the episode in terrified anticipation, even going so far as to brutalize himself in order to get off the hook. At the very end of the episode, Brian pushes him in front of a bus.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer's brother (Herb) visits Homer at home. Angry that Homer had ruined his business, Herb punches him, states "Sorry but I'm still mad at you, just every word you say makes me want to punch you in the face." to Homer, so Homer's probably not quite Easily Forgiven. He does this again in the same episode. However, Herb's second time was when Homer made a crack about him not being a good businessman after losing at a game in Monopoly.
- At the end of the episode, Herb has reclaimed his fortune thanks to Maggie, and gives each family member a present. When Homer's turn comes up, he asks "Is it another punch in the face? Because I don't want that." Instead, Herb's gift is that he no longer hates Homer, then hugs him - and that he bought Homer the vibrating recliner he'd been lusting after at the time.
- Brave Starr: Thirty-Thirty socks one to Bravestarr before they become bestest buddies.