When embarrassed or reluctant, ditzy
characters frequently touch their forefingers' tips together in front of them and twiddle them up and down, often accompanied by a "toiktoik" sound. It's also done by shy characters
when speaking to the object of their affection.
While this trope is most prominent in anime and manga-influenced
works, it's occasionally found in western works.
Often seen in anime in a Cannot Spit It Out
or "please don't embarrass me" situation. Not to be confused with Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive
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Anime & Manga
- Just in case you didn't think she was already cute as a button, Molly from Runaways does this when she discovers she's the only one who came up with a super-hero costume.
Films — Animated
- WALL•E does the robotic equivalent, which does not involve as much twiddling as the human type.
Films — Live-Action
- Boxer Santaros does this a lot in Southland Tales, nervously tapping his fingers together in a somewhat odd manner. This is because he is having constant schizophrenic breaks into the character of Jericho Cane.
- Oliver Hardy often did this when nervous or embarrassed. That is, when he wasn't fiddling with his necktie.
- Done by Thompson and Thomson in the Tintin story Red Rackham's Treasure.
- In Howl's Moving Castle (original book), you could tell that Sophie's sister Martha was lying when she stopped twiddling her thumbs. While not a plot point per se, this information did let Sophie confirm that Michael was talking about the right sister.
- Micky from Makai Kingdom does this. Being a purple, four-armed demon general that's the upper part of a three-bodied monster who is the overlord of its own netherworld, it is a good sign that Micky isn't, by their standards, very good at being an overlord.
- In Tokimeki Memorial 2, this is Akane Ichimonji's standard sprite pose when she's in Tokimeki State.
- Tali, a normally confident and fiery Quarian engineer from the Mass Effect trilogy, has a habit of wringing her hands whenever she's nervous, which is usually any romance scene between her and the player's male Commander Shepard.
- Oneshot character Meng from Avatar: The Last Airbender does this as she admits she's "kind of been stalking" Aang.
- Bolin from The Legend of Korra, who is actually not shy at all, has done this.
- Beast Boy of Teen Titans sometimes does this, usually when he's being reprimanded for something.
- Bumblebee does this in Transformers Animated when Prowl asks him exactly where he was keeping that iPod. Hint: he wasn't in car mode and robots don't have pockets.
- Butters from South Park tends to do a motion similar to wringing his hands when he is flustered about something. The animation style makes it semi-ambiguous as to whether it is full out hand-wringing or finger twiddling.
- Ben Tennyson from Ben 10: Alien Force does this once as Humongosaur after his then Love Interest Julie informs him that the explosion he was shielding her from is over and that he does not need to keep holding her.
- Gonard in Kappa Mikey, most famously accompanied by a sheepish "Not really."
- Booster from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command does this a lot.