troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
The Hunter Becomes The Hunted
"Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind die Jäger!" note 
Attack on Titan (Opening #1, "Guren no Yumiya")

The hunter is usually the one pursuing the prey, be it a literal example of one hunting animals or the Villain relentlessly hunting his victim in a sporting example of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. But in some cases, the hunted gains resolve or the upper hand and turns the tables on his pursuer, turning the hunter into the hunted.

Once the victim pulls this off, the hunter's game falls apart, and he will be forced to recognize his victim as an actual threat to him. The turnaround embodied in this trope usually signifies that The Hero will soon defeat the Villain and put an end to his twisted game.

This trope has roots as far back as Greek Mythology, where a quite literal hunter, Actaeon, is transformed into a deer by Artemis and eventually torn apart by his own dogs.

Vampire Hunters and Demon Slayers live by this trope in a supernatural context, since vampires and demons are often portrayed as predators of human beings, and human beings tend not to like being prey.

See also Egomaniac Hunter, Evil Poacher, Serial-Killer Killer.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • Attack on Titan is about humanity being hunted to the brink of extinction by the eponymous Titans, and the humans fighting back and hunting them in return.
  • One episode of Domo features a hungry bear attempting to catch and eat Domo for a meal. However, the tables are turned when Domo gets hungry and then proceeds to pursue the bear to eat him.
  • In the first season of Dragon Ball Z, Gohan was left in the wilderness by Piccolo as part of his Training from Hell. A ferocious T-rex like dinosaur tries to eat him. As Gohan becomes stronger, the tables get turned. Gohan eventually chases down the dinosaur every day and chops off a piece of its tail for breakfast. By the end, the dinosaur's tail is all but gone and it is terrified of Gohan.

Film
  • Predator and Predator 2 provide a perfect example, as the consummate trophy hunter/Proud Warrior Race Guy alien stalks and kills dozens of dangerous, deadly men, only for one of his would-be victims to Take a Level in Badass and begin to hunt him in exactly the same fashion.
  • Westworld. The tourist being hunted by the gunslinger android eventually turns the tables on him and destroys him.
  • At the end of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, Laurie turns the tables on Michael Myers and starts hunting him down with an axe.
  • Das Boot is this trope in spades. It's even used as the Tag Line for the English release.

Live-Action TV
  • Star Trek: Voyager once had the crew give hologram technology to aliens called the Hirogen, so they could practice their hunting skills without killing people. The Hirogen made the holograms both sentient and capable of learning, so they could adapt and become better prey to hunt. As you've probably deduced, the holograms got sick of this, Turned Against Their Masters and eventually lured several Hirogen to a toxic planet to give them a taste of their own medicine.
    • They also kidnapped Voyager's holographic doctor, who was initially sympathetic but changed his mind quite rapidly when it became obvious that a Full-Circle Revolution was going down, and the ringleader had started murdering innocent bystanders to boot.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Obsession". Kirk has the Enterprise pursue the vampire cloud creature. Eventually, the creature gets fed up with this: it turns and attacks the Enterprise.
    Spock: May I suggest that we no longer belabor the question of whether or not we should have gone after the creature. The matter has now been rendered academic. The creature is now after us.
  • Charlie's Angels episode "Angel Hunt". A vengeful man lures the Angels to a deserted island to be hunted, but they start hunting him.
  • Played with all the time in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, seeing as Buffy is always a potential victim, but is, well...a vampire slayer.
  • An episode of the revived Outer Limits involves an illegal android hunt. The androids are prevented by inhibitor chips from harming humans. That is, until they find plans for their bodies in a shack and proceed to remove their inhibitors. They kill several hunters but are ultimately gunned down, except for one who manages to escape.
  • In the paranormal documentary Creepy Canada, a team of ghost hunters search for the ghost of a sailor named Jem Horner who died in the 19th century. During the investigation, they were surrounded by a cold mist and strange noises prompting one of the ghost hunters to say that they have, at that point, become the hunted.
  • Heroes: Matt Parkman goes after Emil Danko, a.k.a. The Hunter, who had abducted him and strapped him to a bomb - but only after Danko causes the death of Matt's girlfriend Daphne Millbrook.

Literature
  • The Most Dangerous Game. A big-game hunter falls off a yacht and finds refuge on an island that is home to a Russian aristocrat. This aristocrat is also a highly-skilled big game hunter. So highly skilled that he's hunted just about every animal and quickly became bored with simply hunting them all over again. So he forces the people who get shipwrecked on his island into a "game" in which he hunts them. The aristocrat is another example, since his "prey" sneaks into his home to ambush him.
  • Firestar from Warrior Cats thinks of this after Brightpaw and Swiftpaw were attacked by a pack of vicious dogs.
  • In Rogue Male the protagonist goes from being a cool aristocrat stalking his human prey (a European dictator) with a rifle to being a hunted animal, literally driven to earth in a den he had dug as a last refuge.

Pinball

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons adventure S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. While the ship's crewmen pursue the escaped intellect devourer, it turns on, pursues, and attacks one of them, eventually killing him.
    One of the hunters soon became the hunted, and the chase eventually led to the tween decks. The crewman blasted the flesh of the body away, but the devourer then did for him.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the story behind Avacyn Restored set is basically this trope - after angel Avacyn is released from Helvault, humanity gains the power to drive back vampires, werewolves and zombies that were preying on them. Possibly shown best on Revenge of the Hunted card, which can turn an average human into somebody able to slay an average dragon and live.

Theatre
  • In Euripides's Bacchae, the young king Pentheus is lured into this fate by Dionysus. He hunts down the crazed maenads, seeking to spy on them, but ends up as the hunted when they notice him — Dionysus makes the maenads hallucinate and see him as a lion to be hunted and slain. Interestingly, his fate is foreshadowed by mentions in the play of his cousin, Actaeon, whose own fate is mentioned in the trope description.

Video Games
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • Any time a dragon crosses the Dragonborn.
    • Also in a more traditional manner during a quest to hunt a Sympathetic Murderer werewolf, who's trying to isolate himself to avoid any urges to hunt innocent people. The player can continue hunting and eventually kill the werwolf, or join forces with him and kill the other hunters that hoped to kill the werewolf first.
    • This trope is why werewolves are Hircine's note  favorite creatures. Werewolves hunt mortals during the night when they have the advantage, and then must flee from angry mortal hunters during the day, when the werewolves are hiding in caves or stuck in their mortal form.
  • Pac-Man, whenever he gets a power pellet.
  • Diablo III: The Demon Hunter. Usually survivors from demonic invasions themselves, they're recruited by more experienced Hunters and devote their lives to chasing and killing the creatures of the burning hells, using a variety of ranged attacks and traps to accomplish their goals.

Web Original
  • In Worm, the Slaughterhouse Nine are a band of superpowered serial killers that travel from city to city, committing mass murder as, essentially, performance art. When they come to Brockton Bay to replace their deceased ninth member with one of the local heroes or villains, they set up a series of challenges wherein the candidates are tested one by one by each member. After the first few rounds, the local supervillains decide that waiting for the Nine to come after them is exactly why the Nine are always able to pick their fights to their best advantage and survive in a world where superheroes don't pull their punches, and instead go on the hunt for the Nine. Three members of the Nine leave the city alive.

Western Animation
  • At the end of the Looney Tunes short "Rabbit Fire", as Bugs and Daffy continue to pull away posters saying "Rabbit Season" and "Duck Season" alternately, each trying to convince Elmer to shoot the other, they finally reach the final poster, which reads "Elmer Season". In the next shot, we see Bugs and Daffy dressed as hunters, carrying rifles and "Hunting for Elmers".
    • Also, there's a short in which Pepe Le Pew gets painted all black and his perennial harassment-victim, Penelope Pussycat, gets a head cold that blocks her sense of smell. Sure enough, she turns the tables and starts pursuing the suddenly-terrified "big strong tomcat" Pepe.
      Pepe: Why is it that whenever a man is captured by a woman, all he wish to do is get away?
  • In the Tom and Jerry short "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse", near the end, Tom finally drinks his own power potion which Jerry had been using throughout the short. Instead of growing stronger, however, it backfires, and Tom shrinks until he's as tall to Jerry as Jerry normally is to him. The short ends with Jerry chasing after Tom with a fly swatter.
  • In Red Hot Riding Hood, the Wolf, while trying to hunt down Red, instead encounters her Granny, who becomes his Abhorrent Admirer at first sight and chases the Wolf through her building.
  • In the Tales From The Cryptkeeper episode "Hunted," a Jerk Ass hunter is poaching in Africa and runs afoul of a supposedly mythical beast. Determined to catch this beast and make a profit, the hunter pursues it deeper and deeper into the jungle. Just when he thinks he has it, the beast springs its own trap to capture him instead. Turns out, the beast was once a Jerk Ass hunter himself and had been cursed. Forced to live in the wild, he learned to respect nature and its creatures. He regains his human form and passes the curse onto his captive to start the cycle over again.
  • The subject of the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Farmer Hunter, Farmer Hunted", where a deer, tired of him and his family being hunted, goes off to hunt man. In this case, Eustace.
  • Birdman episode "Hannibal the Hunter". The title villain lures Birdman to his island and traps him, then tries to have him fed to some lions. Birdman escapes and destroys Hannibal's base, freeing the captive wild animals held in it. While fleeing the animals Hannibal is captured by one of his own traps. Luckily this is a children's show, so Birdman captures Hannibal and saves him from the same fate he was trying to inflict.


The HunterBig Trope HuntingHunter of His Own Kind
Honor-Related AbuseRevenge TropesI Ate What?

alternative title(s): Hunter Prey Inversion
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
25278
6