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Stepping Stones in the Sky

A version of Colossus Climb controlled by the Rule of Cool. A character somehow jumps and runs along a rain of falling debris or projectiles — none of which are actually attached to anything — not only to dodge but to gain altitude, sometimes to reach the area firing the things in the first place. A very good way to not only show off a character's agility but also their speed.

A common variation of this seen in Platform Games is having to climb a waterfall by jumping on logs which are cascading down.

Technically due to Newton's Third Law of Motion this isn't actually impossible, it just requires that the rocks have enough mass to be worth pushing against, and that the character can run and jump faster than they are falling. It all becomes much more plausible if their destination is in freefall along with them.

Not to be confused with Floating Continents. See also Improvised Platform.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • Project A-Ko, the title character on a wave of missiles.
  • While not using stones, the samurai in Samurai 7 tend to leap from huge flying cyborg to huge flying cyborg, slicing apart as they go.
  • The last chapter of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann features Stepping Galaxies In Outer Space!
  • In InuYasha, the character Koga, whose speed and agility are enhanced by magical jewel shards in both his legs, demonstrates the ability to run up rockslides, even while carrying another character. The title character sometimes does so, too, though it usually takes the only slightly more plausible form of leaping from one large, plummeting boulder to another.
  • Jiyu and Freeshia from Jubei-chan spend a portion of their final title bout duking it out on top of a falling redwood which, for bonus points, they'd just sent flying in the first place.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!; Ku-Fei found herself doing this when she accidentally shattered the rock spire she was standing on while training her martial arts in the Magic World. An inversion, since she did it to get down and away safely. Also a use of Flash Step, rather than superhuman leaping.
  • The last episode of Slayers Next has Gourry doing this. What's more remarkable is that by doing this he beats people who are simply flying their way out. The Power of Love is strong, indeed.
  • In the Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun scene pictured above, Those Two Guys not only dodge the rocks but also to cover considerable ground while climbing a cliff during a rockfall.
  • Optimus Prime in Transformers: Robots In Disguise does this to stop the Predacons interfering with a race. Slapper complains that he's breaking the laws of physics.
  • Viewtiful Joe: Justified in episode 23 — he used Slow. What made it impressive was that he punched the ground to make the rocks fly up in the first place.
  • Justified in Fullmetal Alchemist where the homunculus Wrath used his Magical Eye to know how to escape a train going off destroyed tracks by running up the rubble the blast created.
  • The title character of Naruto eventually discovers he can gain some level of aerial maneuverability by making a Shadow Clone in midair then either kicking/shoving off of it or having it throw him.
    • When Guy didn't get enough distance with a jump, he summoned Ningame for the first time in years (both in and out of story) in midair to give him something to get extra air off of.
  • In the Sengoku Basara 3 manga, Ishida Mitsunari takes this to the extreme by slashing a group of soldiers into the air with his sword and using them as stepping stones to reach a second floor balcony.
  • Ranma Saotome from Ranma bounced around the falling debris of a collapsing mountain to save Herb after knocking him out in the first place. Much earlier, and arguably even less reasonably, he swam up the spray of a fire hose during his fight with Kodachi.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, to rescue Kuroko, Mikoto blows a hole in a building with her Railgun attack, then Touma runs and leaps along the flying debris from the attack to grab Kuroko. Kuroko was on the fourth floor.

     Comic Books  

  • The Flash can get away with this because he's not just quick, he's supersonic. Running up the side of a building is a standard Flash trick. But Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, didn't stop there; he took this trick (and so many others) to truly hilarious lengths. Barry would routinely run along things like smoke particles and — no joke — light beams.
  • In the Archie continuity of Sonic the Hedgehog, the Hedgehog hero once pulled it off using sand he got out of his shoes to go from falling off a cliff to running to safety.

    Films — Animated 
  • Tai Lung's prison break in Kung Fu Panda involved clawing his way out of a bottomless pit by leaping from bit to bit of the falling debris that would have crushed him. Po does it later in the film with some broken off roof tiles.
  • The end of the anime film Mind Game has the main characters escaping their prison in the stomach of a giant blue whale by running up the water pouring in when it surfaces. Then they run up planes, subway trains, boats, and a large amount of other things being swallowed by the whale with enough power to launch them far into the sky. Earlier the main character outruns God.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Flint performs a version of this during the spaghetti twister.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Nanaki, Yuffie, Vincent, and Tifa leap into the air and throw Cloud further upwards. It happens again in the final showdown between Cloud and Sephiroth, where part of the fight literally takes place on, in, and through falling rubble from a destroyed building.
  • Done by Tigger and Roo at the climax of The Tigger Movie. Justified in that they're really quick jumpers by nature.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beautifully parodied in the movie Kung Fu Hustle: during the final battle, in order to gain enough height to execute his Finishing Move, the hero uses a bird in flight as a stepping stone.
  • Done in Priest by the titular character. In this case, his stepping stones are rocks thrown horizontally by the Priestess.
  • Spider-Man 3: Spidey performs an inversion of this trope: he uses falling rubble to go down faster.

     Literature  

  • Luke, Mara, and Tahiri perform this during the New Jedi Order series, at a point where they're fighting a Dark Jedi with the language-less mentality of a five year old on a ruined Coruscant. Slightly easier for them as they had the help of the Force, as well as the fact that many of the rocks they were hopping across were building size.

    Manhwa 

     Mythology  

  • In Irish myth it was said that C Chulainn could throw three spears at three targets, leap to the last spear thrown, from there to the second, then to the first, then to the ground to slay another opponent even as the spears hit their targets. Making this Older Than Feudalism.

     Video Games  

  • Every Sonic the Hedgehog game ever. This ranges from logs in waterfalls to the much more regular falling stepping stones. Other objects include midair springboards to floating enemies that (usually) Sonic must homing attack across.
    • The intro movie in Sonic CD has a particularly badass example of Sonic jumping on falling rocks before Spin Dashing through a large boulder and hopping off it before it crumbles away.
  • Dante from Devil May Cry has done this a few times in cutscenes, and can actually do it in-game.
  • Bayonetta: The protagonist does this a few times with her ability to freeze time.
  • Sly 2: Band Of Thieves; Sly races down the large chunks of Arpeggio's airship platform as it crashes and breaks apart, in an effort to reach and save his teammates.
  • Super Mario Land
    • One of the bosses in attacks Mario by throwing boulders at him, and the only way to get close enough to defeat him is to jump from boulder to boulder (in which the preceding levels have provided ample practice, but with less of the "In The Sky" factor).
    • Also many hacks do this with falling springboards, shells, P switches and keys. There's also actually a trick required in the hardest of them that actually requires Mario to continually jump upwards while pulling up the key he's standing on in mid air.
    • Not to mention whenever Bullet Bills appear in any 2-D Mario game—they're there as things for Mario to leap off of, especially in later stages when he needs the extra height to proceed.
  • Used in Skies of Arcadia when after Zelos was awakened, the whole lower structure of the Dangral Island complex attached to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon starts to collapse including the rail lift that took the Heroes there, so they had to run all the way up to the start of the rail lift while it was crumbling. At the end it resulted in a full body catch after the last of them got off at the start of the rail lift.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, you can do this with fragments of buildings. That you cut into pieces yourself.
  • A boss fight in The Force Unleashed's Jedi Temple downloadable level has Starkiller invoke this trope to gain higher ground.
  • The Infocom text adventure Spellbreaker has this as a puzzle solution ... though it makes a little more sense jumping up rocks when you've stopped time in the middle of the rock collapse.
  • With the right Schticks, characters in the Feng Shui game can walk on hails of bullets. It's still damn hard, just not impossible.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wario is capable of doing this by pulling his bike out of Hammerspace when in midair then immediately jumping out of it, which still allows him access to his Double Jump. Doing this actually boosts him higher than his regular recovery move.
  • Asura in Asura's Wrath does this to jump above the second form of Wyzen and continue to attack from above when sky diving.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy, we have the staircase at the end of each Bowser level leading to the planet which Mario fights Bowser on, which gets smashed apart by meteorites summoned by Bowser (and in the case of the final boss battle, his son Bowser Jr.) as he does so.
  • In The Lion King, the "Hakuna Matata" level has a waterfall Simba has to climb by jumping on logs.
  • Disgaea 4 has a fist move called Master Palm in which the user causes Chunky Updraft to send boulders (and their target) into the sky, uses them as stepping stones to get up to a particularly large one, rapidly punches it into the shape of a hand, and then kicks the massive stone hand at their opponent, crushing him into another boulder.
  • Halo 4 gets in on the action when Master Chief jumps onto a Lich to get near a fleeing capital ship.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden does this to MISSILES BEING FIRED AT HIM!!! during the TUTORIAL LEVEL, WITHOUT a quicktime event. View it in all it's awesome here.
  • Vice Project Doom: Stage 5-1 has the waterfall log-jumping version.
  • The Legendary Axe II: Stage 2 has the waterfall climbing version.
  • Rayman Origins has you doing this in the second-to-last level. It marks a large Difficulty Spike in an already moderately difficult game, some of the things it asks of you are absurd.

     Web Original  

  • Red vs. Blue: Tex. Wash. The Meta. Falling and cracking ice shelf. It is awesome. It takes a whole minute of it to stop their ongoing gunfight.
  • RWBY: Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang do this when the Nevermore smashes the temple they were in.

     Western Animation  

  • In Teen Titans, using her name-implied superpowers, Terra performs a visual interpretation of the trope to get Badass Normal Robin into the face of a giant robot worm. Robin himself used this method several times over the course of the series.
  • Sort of used in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Spongebob and Sandy are chased by, and eventually end up riding, a huge Alaskan Bull Worm. It heads toward a cliff and after it begins to plunge off the side, they run back up the falling worm and end up safe and sound on the cliff's edge.
  • Transformers: Robots In Disguise
    • Optimus pulls this one once, with the somewhat gaggy English dub having the Predacon Slapper protest Optimus's ignorance of gravity.
    • Pulled of epically in the third season premiere of Transformers Animated where Blurr uses craters, asteroid, planetary rings, and Thundercracker's face to run from some unknown planet to Cybertron.
    • Starscream pulls off a variant. Using F-22s.
  • In the on Flux short "War", the sword-wielding fighter climbs by jumping off a series of enemy soldiers rappelling down from an aircraft.
  • Wakfu
  • Agent Six's Establishing Character Moment in the first episode of Generator Rex is jumping out of a low-flying plane with a pair of katanas, toward falling debris that is about to land on a handful of squishy civilians. He proceeds to jump from piece to piece, slicing them apart as he goes, before landing on his feet while the rubble lands harmlessly around the civilians, and telling the faltering main character to get a move on. And he only gets more badass from there.
  • Near the end of one episode of the short-lived Spider-Man Unlimited series, Spidey easily executes this to escape a Collapsing Lair, with Venom and Carnage right behind.
  • Happens in two episodes of Sym-Bionic Titan. First in "Roar of the White Dragon" which Lance does with a car. Lance again in "Escape from Galaluna" when the bridge he and his opponent are on blows up.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Equestria Games, Spike reaches the ice block by jumping off the backs of several flying pegasi.


Projectile PlatformsImprovised IndexImprovised Sail
Sitting on the RoofDangerous HeightsSuper Window Jump
Stepping-Stone SwordAdded Alliterative AppealStillborn Serial
Laser HallwayImageSource/Anime & MangaGravion
Stab the SkyRule of CoolStuff Blowing Up

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