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Parasol Parachute
Don't laugh, or he'll beat you up with it.

"The sun shines on this Parasol of mine. Where I walk, enemies balk, and I float gently down..."
Description of the Parasol ability, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland.

A Sub-Trope of Improvised Parachute and Puny Parachute, in many cartoons and video games, an umbrella or parasol can be used as an improvised parachute, allowing someone who opens it in midair to float safely down to the ground.

Of course, the umbrella or parasol may fail, turning inside-out and sending the unfortunate user plummeting to the earth below. Don't Try This at Home, especially not off the roof.

MythBusters tested this, alongside other forms of hindering falling: surprise, surprise, it didn't work. Real parachutes have vent-holes in the top to help keep it stable, but that would defeat the purpose of an umbrella in the first place. Theoretically it is still better than nothing since it makes you fall feet-first, so the main impact won't be on your head.

Compare Parachute Petticoat.


Examples

Advertising
  • Ads for Travelers insurance (now part of Citigroup) featured men in black pinstripe suits carrying gigantic red umbrellas (Travelers' logo) in this manner.
  • Subverted in a 1976 commercial for Kellogg's Raisin Bran. One defective raisin is considered not sweet enough to qualify for the signature 2 scoops, and gets jettisoned in the air by Sunny. The hapless raisin parachutes to the ground with an umbrella that quickly fails.

Anime and Manga
  • This is a primary mode of transportation, both up and down, for the stuffed-animal Mary Land characters in Onegai My Melody.
  • Miss Valentine in One Piece has this as her main gimmick, which along with the ability to change her weight to anywhere from 1 to 10,000 kilos allows her to float using her parasol — or turn it around and crush her enemies flat.
  • In the first arc of Sailor Moon, Usagi uses a parasol to gently float down from a 4th floor balcony. As if that isn't bad enough, she had Tuxedo Kamen — a young man — hanging on to her during the descent. This is perhaps justified as the parasol was created as part of a magical disguise, so it could very well be magical itself.
  • This is Older Than They Think, actually. In a rather creepy episode of Mahou No Mako Chan, one of the titular Magical Girl's rivals is a Creepy Child who uses his red parasol (a traditional Japanese one) this way when he jumps off a building and escapes from her.
  • The Ame-Warashi in Xxx Ho Lic is seen doing this in the opening credits with her umbrella, as well as once in the manga. Then again, she is the Rain Spirit, so her use of it might not be entirely unjustified.
  • One episode of Smile Pretty Cure! has the team, shrunk down to insect size, summon umbrellas from the Umbrella Decor and use it to float down to ground level from the window ledge, with the acrophobic Akane and Nao hanging onto one umbrella in a panic.

Comic Books
  • This is a classic shtick of Batman's Penguin who would have special umbrellas that either were designed to be strong enough to act as a parachute, or have a helicopter function instead.
  • One Archie Comics story has Archie and Veronica go for an afternoon drive. With Archie unable to close the roof of his jalopy, they use an umbrella to protect themselves from the sun, and lower the windshield to catch a breeze. The breeze eventually becomes so strong, it blows both the umbrella and Veronica away, but they land safely in Reggie's car.
    Reggie: Don't tell me, I know the name...Mary...Mary Popoff!

Film
  • Mary Poppins - Mary P could somehow propel herself upwards with one, as well. Then again, she's got magic.
  • Jackie Chan does this at some point in The Accidental Spy, as he is chased in Turkey. There are no special effects in the scene, he really did it himself. Like almost every other crazy thing he has done in his movies (of course, lots of the times he ends up severely injured... while in the movie he immediately continues to run or whatever)... Medallion was a lot less realistic in this aspect (although to be fair, people died from falls, it was the titular Medallion that brought them back to life with super-natural powers).
  • Played straight in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only, when Bond uses a poolside umbrella to slow his fall when jumping off a wall. It's also useful as a momentary visual shield to avoid bullets.
  • Though not exactly a parasol, Short Circuit 2 has Johnny 5 use a built-in hang glider to slow his fall from a skyrise building. Read that again: a multi-hundred pound robot breaks his fall with a dinky hang glider small enough to fold into a standard-sized toolbox, all while falling upside-down from several stories of a New York high rise. To be fair, they somehow had to spice up the previous scene from the first movie, in which he saved himself with a common parachute.
  • In The Aristocats, Edgar used an umbrella when he jumped off the windmill trying to evade the dogs but turned inside out seconds later.
  • While falling out of the spaghetti twister in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Flint grabbed hold of an umbrella, only for it to turn inside out after a few seconds.
  • The conclusion of Practical Magic.
  • Near the climax of the Inspector Gadget movie, Gadget and his love interest are plummeting from the top of a skyscraper, so he begins shouting out every possible gadget he can think of that might slow their fall or soften their landing (after he tries "parachute" he glances up for a second because it's actually plausible), eventually trying "parasol", which works. The parachute does open - after they've landed, providing only privacy for an intimate moment.

Literature
  • Ruth Plumly Thompson's Speedy in Oz (1934).
  • This goes back to L. Frank Baum's Sky Island, in which the child Button Bright has a magical umbrella that flies him wherever he wants to go.
  • Subverted in Astrid Lindgren's Madicken where the titular heroine tries this jumping off a roof, fails miserably, and is home with a concussion in the next chapter.
  • In Scott Westerfield's ''Pretties'', Tally has a dream where she's a princess who gets out of a tower with a Parasol Parachute. Even in a dream, it doesn't work like she thinks it should.
  • Main function of umbrella belonging to one of main protegonists of Arcadia Snips and the Steamwork Consortium. It's also very sturdy and doubles as Parasol of Pain (see there).

Live-Action TV
  • In Arrested Development Tobias tries this (while dressed up as a British nanny) to rekindle some wonder from Maebe. Naturally, he just ends up falling through the living room table.

Newspaper Comics
  • Calvin finds out that umbrellas don't work that way in Calvin and Hobbes. He also orders a propeller beanie from the back of a cereal box, and is disappointed when it doesn't let him fly like a helicopter.

Music Videos
  • The music video "Tonight Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins (an homage to the 1902 film Le Voyage dans la Lune) features the two characters using parasols to slow their fall to the moon's surface. (Well, the lady uses a parasol. The gentleman uses a more masculine umbrella.) It becomes a Parasol of Pain when the Moonmen attack.

Video Games
  • Older Than the NES: Occurs in Richard Bartle's original MUD.
  • Lemmings allows you to create floaters who use umbrellas to avoid splattering after falling long distances.
  • The main character in Goblins 3 uses an umbrella to slow down his fall after jumping off the flying ship where the game starts.
  • Many Kirby games feature the parasol as an available power, which lets Kirby use it to float like this (even if it is kind of pointless since he can fly).
  • Princess Peach uses parasols in several games.
  • The umbrella in the Super Smash Bros.. games also works like this, automatically slowing your descent if you jump while holding it. It's reproduced from the Kirby games, and is more useful to the combatants who can't fly.
  • There's a level of Power Stone where you are falling from a broken airship, and have to grab umbrellas to slow you as you fall.
    • In Power Stone 2, Julia came pre-equipped with an umbrella, letting her do this. In the aforementioned level, she still needs to grab one of the other umbrellas, though, or splat.
  • The tutorial of Zack and Wiki uses this to slow your descent after jumping from a blowing up plane. The tutorial then uses the opportunity of you holding an item to show you how to drop items. While you're still falling. It doesn't tell you that what it's just asked you to do is how to drop items until you've done it, of course.
  • Sonic Heroes Team Rose can do this with Big's umbrella. It's actually a Shout-Out to the Studio Ghibli movie My Neighbor Totoro.
  • At one point of The Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush fell from a cliff and had to use the umbrella he had in the inventory to float safely to a cave in there. Else he'd fall, crash with the rocks and the bottom and splash on the water...just to surface at the shore seconds later to try again.
  • Subverted in Mega Man Battle Network 6, Lan tries this...and the umbrella collapses.
  • Alice in Wonderland, released in 1985 for the Commodore 64. Though most plummeting descents would leave Alice stunned on her ass with her bloomers in the air, with the parasol she could guide her descent to reach ledges she otherwise couldn't. Alternating this with the top hat, which allowed her to float up in the same way, she could reach a lot of hidden characters, treasures, and Easter Eggs.
  • An ancient ZX Spectrum Donkey Kong ripoff named Monkey Biznes used this, making it Older Than The Nes.
  • In CJ's Elephant Antics and its sequel CJ in the USA, the titular elephant uses an umbrella as a parachute.
  • One of Faust's entrances in the Guilty Gear series has him floating down from offscreen using an oversized umbrella.
  • Lieselotte of Arcana Heart enters matches by floating down with her parasol.
  • This trope is built into the Parasol Stars video game.
  • Olaf from The Lost Vikings does this with a wooden shield. Despite likely weighing as much as the other two vikings combined.
  • The Drowning Doom Bride units from Brütal Legend do this when they spawn: they hold open their parasols and gently float to the ground after jumping off your stage.
  • One of the main power-ups from Knytt Stories is an umbrella used this way.
  • P.B. Winterbottom's umbrella from The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. Doubles as a weapon.
  • The Penguin has one of these in the Lego Batman game, which can also be used as a weapon.
  • Rachel Alucard of BlazBlue can slow her descent using her Shapeshifting cat, Nago as a parasol.
  • One of the standard tools in the Super Granny series is a parachute umbrella. Jumping off of things while using it is sometimes accompanied by a voice clip of Granny saying "Supercalifragilistic."
  • The protagonist of the BBC Micro game Boffin used his umbrella to slow falls.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Inspector Gadget - Gadget's mechanical arms produce a pink ruffled "Gadget-brella" for comic effect during a fall. Sometimes the gadget-hammer would appear instead, providing no help at all.
    • Played straight in the movie when he opened a parasol from his hat while falling from a skyscraper with a damsel holding him.
  • In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, "Seer No Evil", Chip fell out of a window, but had his fall slowed by an umbrella. (Of course, thanks to the square-cube law, even a fall lacking in increased drag would have perhaps only left him momentarily dazed, so the "flying horse" wouldn't have exactly saved him...)
  • Parker does this in Thunderbirds after falling off a cable car and is forced to use Lady Penelope's umbrella as a parachute. The scene serves as a Shout-Out to Mary Poppins.
  • In The Venture Bros., Dr. Henry Killinger uses his umbrella to float away like Mary Poppins. However a Hank Venture is shown trying the same from the roof of the Venture compound and plummeting to his death.
  • The Three Caballeros/Saludos Amigos - José Carioca is typically seen carrying an umbrella. And since he never seems to use it to keep the rain off of him, Parasol Parachute is one of the alternate uses he has for it.
  • Pinocchio (and also Fun and Fancy Free) - This is Jiminy Cricket's chosen mode of conveyance.
  • An early Classic Disney Short had Minnie Mouse try this. The umbrella went inside out after a few seconds, causing her skirt to puff out instead and slow her fall.
    • Another classic short had Minnie Mouse jump out of a plane & she pulls a string deploying her bloomers.
  • The music video for the Shaun the Sheep theme tune has one of the sheep jumping off the roof of the farmer's house using an umbrella.
  • In The Perils of Penelope Pitstop episode "Jungle Jeopardy", a single small umbrella is enough to lower the entire Ant Hill Mob and Chuggaboom safely to the ground.
  • At the end of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, an elf onboard Santa Claus' sleigh actually gives all of the misfit toys umbrellas to soften their landing after being dropped from the sleigh... ...except for the toy bird that can swim but cannot fly. He refuses to give the bird an umbrella, and pushes him off the sleigh instead!
  • Happens to John Darling during the song "You Can Fly!" from Peter Pan.
  • In the Futurama episode "The Mutants Are Revolting", the gang is thrown down into the sewer. Zoidberg, however, had the foresight to bring an umbrella and gently floats down while the others drop like stones.
  • In Dogstar, Gran's cyborg arm includes an umberella which she sometimes uses as a parachute.
  • In Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword, Scooby and Shaggy use a paper umbrella to first fly (using paper fans as wings), and then parachute. It works fine till Scooby tries climbing on top of it.

Real Life
  • A man in China once tried this, and found that this trope doesn't work in real life (he injured his legs).
  • Chin Shih Huang Ti, who ruled China over 2,100 years ago, liked to jump from the Great Wall of China carrying an open umbrella over his head. Existing accounts say that he was never hurt. (However, the Great Wall is only 5-8 meters tall, so it's not really much of a drop anyway.)
  • Brainiac: Science Abuse once did this along with attempting other makeshift parachutes.
  • MythBusters tested it. As the Real Life example a couple entries up demonstrates, the best thing that can be said about trying this is that it makes you less likely to fall on your head, and more likely to land feet-first, injuring your legs instead of your brain.


Painfully Slow ProjectileVideo Game PhysicsProjectile Platforms
Parachute PetticoatSkydiving TropesPuny Parachute
Parachute PetticoatImprovised IndexImprovised Platform
Parasol of PrettinessLet This Index Be Your UmbrellaSpoofing In The Rain
Giant Robot Hands Save LivesArtistic License - PhysicsPerpetual Motion Machine
Parasol of PrettinessAdded Alliterative AppealPardo Push
Mineral MacGuffinImageSource/Video GamesPower Copying
Outside RideJustForFun/Tropes Examined by the Myth BustersPerpetual Motion Machine

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