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The Klutz

Reggie Mantle: What did the klutz do this time?
Veronica Lodge: He somehow walked into my locker door.

This is a character that everyone knows and loves. So long as they aren't involved in their plans, anyway. The klutz bumbles and fumbles at seemingly anything they do, but they are kept around for one reason or another. The unstated reason is that they make a great Plucky Comic Relief, and serve as a humanizing accessory to a hero if he is The Stoic.

There are varying degrees of klutziness, of course. Some characters are fairly capable with a notable tendency to trip, drop things, forget important tasks, or just plain hurt themselves with their reckless use of explosives, while others can effectively be a force of raw chaos, inducing Deus ex Machina levels of disaster that can foil even the best-laid plan.

A broader supertrope covering those characters that cannot be fit into the narrower Cute Clumsy Girl / Dojikko, which combines with Ms. Fanservice, The Ditz, and The Woobie specifically to transform the character into a Moe factory. Klutziness may be the bunny ears on the Bunny-Ears Lawyer, where their clumsiness is forgiven when they possess valuable knowledge or work skills where their utter lack of grace are not such an impediment. May occasionally transform into The Millstone or Spanner in the Works, depending on how well the heroes can point the klutz at their enemy's plans, and away from their own. If the klutz is routinely The Millstone, the audience may be compelled to yell "Just Eat Gilligan!"

Often used as an excuse to inject The Pratfall and other elements of Slapstick comedy. Interestingly, they may actually be Graceful in Their Element— it's just not land.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Osaka of Azumanga Daioh.
    • Chiyo oftentimes as well.
    • Kimura's Wife displays traits of this as well as an All-Loving Hero. Now that's a combination you don't see very often.
  • Misuzu from Air is exactly this. Much of the comic relief lies in her tripping and falling on her face whenever she starts running.
  • Akane Tendo of Ranma ˝ is the klutz in spite of being a Tsundere with greater-than-average strength and martial arts training (if severely outclassed by every other fighter in the series). She gets teased for it a lot, even in the threat of her Hyperspace Mallet. Unlike some other examples, though, she usually learns from her mistakes —for example, when she tried to learn rhythmic gymnastics, she made a mess of everything and tripped over her own feet... but by the end of the week she was pretty good at it, and by the end of the manga she pulls off feats of near-superhuman agility.
  • Naruto starts out as a klutz in the beginning of his series.
    • Tobi is one as well intentionally.
  • Louie from Rune Soldier to the point where the first volume of the US DVDs is called "Enter the Klutz".
  • Amelia from The Slayers manages to be a formidable magic user, in spite of general klutziness and sometimes being The Ditz.
  • Mai's mother in Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash☆Star, explained as being due to a lack of sleep — she works as an archaeologist of the non-adventuring kind, and frequently pulls all-nighters.
    • Yes, you read that correctly. Mrs. Mishou is an archaeologist who, seemingly uniquely on television, actually spends her time on research and on carefully excavating dig sites with small, precise tools.
  • Taiga Aisaka from Toradora!.
  • Dr. Tearju Lunatique from Black Cat to a very small extent. She trips several times, and each time she has some sort of strange food or something that stains/burns that always lands on Sven. She ruins two of his Fedoras in the course of one chapter (once with a substance that's supposed to be eggs, and again with scalding hot tea). Sven even questions how the hell she managed to trip over her own feet when attempting to carry the tea.
  • Dino from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!! takes this to extremes: when his fellow mafia family members are present, he's especially skilled and all-around awesome. Without them, though, he gets so clumsy that he can't even eat a simple meal without getting it on himself, or walk up or down stairs without tripping and falling (mostly onto Tsuna for added effect.) When the series shifts into action territory, however, this trait seems to be all but written out of the plot.
    • He still does this in most appearance where he does more than just standing around being the Combat Commentator, including falling down the stairs of the Namimori Shrine. Luckily he's Made of Iron.
  • Daisuke in D.N.Angel is another male example, and an odd one. Given that he's a bit of a ditz at times, he has a tendency to trip or not watch where he's going. That being said, he's been trained since he was a young child to be a Phantom Thief, so he normally can perform an aerobatic save — but he doesn't want people to know his "weird" background, so he often purposefully flubs it at the last moment.
  • The Loveless family maid Roberta from Black Lagoon is completely inept in any housework. She's using the job as a cover, being a former FARC guerrilla fighter and international terrorist.
    • Greenback Jane from her self-titled arc is another big example, though she's nowhere near the unstoppable badass Roberta is.
  • Dawn's Piplup is a mon version of this. When it tries to stretch itself up in ego, it falls over. It'd be quite a bit more liked if it weren't used so damn often.
    • Better examples are Ash's Gligar (who mostly got more competent when it evolved) and Misty's Psyduck.
    • And Ash earlier on in the series.
  • A repeatedly lampshaded trait of Eto "Careless Hachibe" Hachibe from Iono the Fanatics. She desperately tried to hide it using her side, but alas, clumsiness is just one of those things that are really to control.
  • In GaoGaiGar, one member of each pair of the "Dragon Brothers" (and according to Super Robot Wars, the Dragon Sisters) is very bad at landing when launched into battle (see here).
    • Funny thing is, it is usually the Red Oni counterpart who is prone to crash-land, as proven with the Dragon Brothers. But for the Dragon Sisters, it's the Blue Oni who is the one to crash-land.
    • However, in the actual show, KouRyu (the "red" one) never has to land, but has a great deal of comical trouble maneuvering in space.
    • Actually, in the aforementioned scene in FINAL, both of them crash-landed. AnRyu simply had a more spectacular one, more akin to EnRyu's kind of "landing" as opposed to the simple "thud" that KouRyu experienced. Given that they were both falling in from orbit and had likely been tossed away by Puranus, though...it's kind of understandable.
  • Koyomi, the protagonist of Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou. Her only magical skill is summoning falling basins, and she tends to get herself into trouble even when that's not happening.
  • Lilika from Burn Up! Scramble. Especially when drunk.
  • Yomiko Readman of Read or Die, although she is outclassed by Joker's assistant Wendy's dojikko antics.
  • Jinpei in Gatchaman, through a combination of his young age and tendency to leap before he looks.
  • Miranda from D.Gray-Man went through a lot of jobs thanks to this.
  • Nyu, the innocent split personality of Ax-Crazy Lucy in Elfen Lied.
  • Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket. The whole reason she discovers the Sohma curse is because she trips and grabs onto Kyo while trying to stop Kyo and Yuki from fighting, followed by panicking and running into Shigure and Yuki. In the manga at one point, she tries to break a watermelon with her bare hands, just to cause herself a lot of pain. Tohru seems prone to spacing out and/or not knowing what's going on.
    • Tohru's mom, Kyoko, is also a good example, the best is example is a flashback, when she hits Tohru in the head with a cabinet. This could also be an example of Tohru's cluminess and ditziness, as she just simply giggles. Though she still sends Kyoko into a state of panic.
    • Kisa Sohma would fall into this category too.
  • Kiara the Amaranthine from There, Beyond the Beyond, despite being the most sought-after magical artefact in the world, trips over her own feet quite often.
  • Kotetsu T. Kaburagi from Tiger & Bunny is not known for his grace. Even on active superhero duty. Especially on active superhero duty.
  • Tearju Lunatique from To Love-Ru Darkness, as far as we've seen, including apparent inability to walk properly if something NSFW would happen otherwise.
  • Sancho and Pedro from The Mysterious Cities of Gold, who bear the brunt of the physical comedy and whose Gold Fever regularly leads them into obvious traps that blow up the building they're standing in.

    Comic Books 
  • Male example: Archie from Archie Comics.
    • When Jughead was invited to an Andrews family reunion, he notices that the clumsiness is a trait that is shared among Archie's entire family.
  • Awkwardman from the Inferior Five. He's been known to bump his head on panel borders and knock over the laws of perspective when he falls. That's right, this man is so clumsy that the conventions of the medium and physics both topple before his fumbling.
  • Wildcard from G.I. Joe literally accidentally breaks everything he touches without fail. Sooner or later, it will happen.
    • Tripwire trips over air and his shaky hands can't keep a grip on anything for long... unless he's handling explosives, that is.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Clumsy Carp from the comic B.C.. In one strip, Peter and Thor are watching Clumsy approach from far away, across a flat plain that's totally featureless... except for one small rock, which he duly trips over. Peter turns to Thor and says "Pay up."
    • Well, almost exactly. He's not a carp.
    • He's also charged five times the standard admission to an antiques show in one strip.
    • He has tripped over beaches. Beaches.
  • This is one of the many ways in which Gaston Lagaffe makes a mess of things.
  • Klak from Pocket God is very clumsy, which often leads to his death. In fact, he dies the second-most often in the series; behind Nooby.

    Films — Animation 
  • Nonhuman example: WALL•E has a tendency for falling down things. Having treads doesn't help.
  • Jeremy the crow from The Secret of NIMH, though he seems a much better flier than walker.

    Films — Live Action 
  • Chunk in The Goonies. Mikey even uses Chunk's clumsiness to break the Treasure Map from its frame. "What'd you break this time, Chunk?"
  • Star Wars' Jar Jar Binks, on his own admission: "Messa... clumsy."
  • The Pink Panther: Inspector Clouseau.
  • Cadet (later Officer) Fackler in the Police Academy films. Oddly, most of his mishaps inflict injury on people other than himself.
  • The Princess Diaries: Mia Thermopolis has her moments, at least in the movies.
  • Vincenzo Cortino in Jane Austen's Mafia!.
  • Dr. Allison Reed in Evolution.
  • Seymour in both The Little Shop of Horrors and its recursive adaptation Little Shop of Horrors. In the original, he's a Lethal Klutz.
  • Godzilla of all creatures, particularly during the Showa era. During his rampages and monster fights, the King of the Monsters frequently loses his footing and tumbles to the ground (often taking out a building or two in the process).
    • This was all too common in the actual filming of such scenes, particularly in the first movie; stunt actors would often topple over due to the awkwardness of the toe spread.
  • Wendell of Tricky People can't even play with a Newton's cradle without making a complete mess of his boss's desk.
  • At the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Elsa Schneider turns into a major klutz at the worst possible time. After crossing a forbidden boundary with the Holy Grail, she loses her balance due to an earthquake and she drops the grail. She sprints after it but in her haste, she clumsily trips and knocks the grail into a crevice. This sets up a Take My Hand moment where she tries to reach it while holding onto Indiana. Her hand comes up inches short and she falls to her death. Had she been less reckless, she might’ve recovered the grail before it fell into the chasm in the first place.

    Literature 
  • Bella Swan from Twilight always makes a point of discussing her klutzy tendencies. Which, conveniently, hides all her injuries from her altercations with vampires.
    • Spoofed to hell and back with the extravagant clumsiness of Belle Goose in the Harvard Lampoon's parody, Nightlight.
  • Prince Rhun in The Castle of Llyr. As Fflewddur put it, "If there were a field with one stone he'd trip over it!" And get back up with a smile on his face.
  • Penlan from Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novels.
    "Penlan?" Kasteen looked thoughtful for a moment. "Isn't she the one they call Jinxie?"
    "Yes." I nodded. "But she's not nearly as accident prone as she's supposed to be. I'll grant you she fell down an ambull tunnel once, and there was that incident with the frag grenade and the latrine trench, but things tend to work out for her. The orks on Kastafore was as surprised as she was when the floor in the factory collapsed, and we'd have walked into right into that hrud ambush on Skweki if she hadn't triggered the mine by chucking an empty food tin away..." I trailed off, finally listening to what I was saying. "You know how troopers tend to exaggerate these things," I finished lamely.
    • But the troopers want to be near her; they think she soaks up all the bad luck in the vicinity.
  • Tonks from the Harry Potter books. She nearly failed her Auror's exams because of her poor stealth skills, and passed only because of her handy Voluntary Shapeshifting abilities.
    • Neville Longbottom as well.
  • Jackie Rodowsky, a regular charge of the Baby-Sitters Club, and nicknamed "the walking disaster".
  • Fitz Kreiner from the Doctor Who Expanded Universe. He's not as cartoonishly clumsy as some of these examples, but no other character in the Eighth Doctor Adventures is anywhere near as clumsy as he is. One gets the impression that if there's a possible obstacle, he finds and trips over it, and if there isn't one, he just trips over his own feet instead. He once got a Twisted Ankle climbing on a rock wall, which ended up serving as a plot device to split him up from the main group, and to make matters worse, he attempted to kick someone with his injured foot. And he's admitted himself he's rather uncoordinated.
  • Sachar in Oblomov, who regularly breaks stuff.
  • Sidney Rampulsky in the Macdonald Hall series. He is so bad that the assistant headmaster orders him to learn ballet in the neighbouring girl's school to learn some coordination. He tries so hard to get out in one session that his klutziness gets even worse and he single-handedly destroys the gym!
  • Nijel the Barbarian in the Discworld novel Sourcery. If he was lost in a trackless wasteland, you could find him by putting something delicate and precious on the ground, and hurrying back when you heard the crash.
  • As British statesman Lord Chesterfield wrote about them in Letters to His Son: "He is at a loss what to do with his hat, when it is not upon his head; his cane (if unfortunately he wears one) is at perpetual war with every cup of tea or coffee he drinks; destroys them first, and then accompanies them in their fall. His sword is formidable only to his own legs, which would possibly carry him fast enough out of the way of any sword but his own. His clothes fit him so ill, and constrain him so much, that he seems rather, their prisoner than their proprietor." (letter 83)

    Live Action TV 

    Music 
  • Parodied in the Country Music song "I Break Things" by Erika Jo. She admits to being a klutz who "make[s] things snap and fall apart"... including other people's hearts.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Extremely obscure Dungeons & Dragons example: Derider Fanshaen, an NPC of the Greyhawk setting, introduced in the 1980s. Painfully clumsy to the point that she had to be let off of certain duties when training for the priesthood because she destroyed too many fragile objects, but at the same time not someone to mess with: she's one of the most powerful clerics in the city of Greyhawk, so she can smite you to oblivion if you threaten the city. Also one of the ruling oligarchs of Greyhawk, meaning she's politically as well as magically powerful. And still one of the nicest people around. It's taken to the point where her Dexterity stat is listed at 4, and a description of her quarters in another supplement entirely still emphasized that all the potion containers in her treasure inventory were made of metal, not breakable glass or ceramic.
    • Must be a cleric thing in general. The 3.5 iconic cleric, Jozan, is depicted as being a klutz when it comes to anything more dexterous than bashing things and dodging (though he is pretty good at that). His complete inability to successfully sneak around quietly, in particular, causes some issues. Alhandra and Lidda needle him about his klutziness occasionally, much to his embarrassment in the former situation and annoyance in the latter.
    • Depending on character build, Dexterity is a not-uncommon Dump Stat for clerics in D&D. Almost every other stat is useful - Wisdom is important for spellcasting, Strength for when they join the fighter in melee, Intelligence for more skills/proficiencies, Constitution to help tank heavy blows as a front-liner... Even Charisma can be useful, depending on edition. Combined with few skills that use Dexterity, being The Medic, and a habit of wearing heavy armor, it's almost safe to let Dex suck when everything else demands attention too.

    Video Games 
  • Tales of Symphonia: Colette is such a klutz that some of her attacks are essentially her falling on someone (with an added bonus effect of stealing their items). Her tendency to stumble and fall on the exact thing the party was looking for (a rare book, the off switch for a trap) leads her companions to call it a "divine clumsiness", which doesn't preclude her being just plain clumsy at times — the room in which the game begins has a Colette-shaped hole in the wall.
    • Another wall that Colette leaves a Colette-shaped hole in is still there in the second game and used as the town's tourist attraction (an NPC suggested it be used for such a thing in the first game). This place is one place that IS reasonable to trip, as it is at the end of a steep downward slope.
    • At one point, in Welgaia, she trips into a deactivated machine, turning it on. Not only that, but later in the game she manages to trip and fall over despite being able to fly. That's an achievement in itself.
      • After the scene where she turns on the machine, she gets an actual title for being clumsy. She can wear it, as well.
    • By the time the second game rolls around, she's learned to use her clumsiness as a cover; she sometimes knocks people over so they won't get hurt by something else (for example, a rampaging garuda).
  • Yuffie, from Final Fantasy VII, is... interesting. During the Bahamut Sin fight in Advent Children, she leaped from building to building, effortlessly catching the her shuriken no matter what happened to it in flight, and even doing crazy acrobatics. In Dirge of Cerberus, she set off a flash bomb, darted in and dragged away someone who should be much heavier than her in the space of a few seconds, and virtually disappeared. After that, she spent most of her appearances in said game falling over and hurting herself. She seemed to vary from ditzy to deadly competent in the original game, too. Maybe she just doesn't use her ninja agility until it's needed? Or perhaps she's just Obfuscating Stupidity?
  • Rikku in Final Fantasy X falls on her rear end so many times it becomes a plot point in an Final Fantasy X-2 sidequest.
  • As a male example, Mario's brother Luigi tends to display this feature, especially in the RPGs and to some degree in the Super Smash Bros. series which actually has this present in gameplay: one of his special moves has a chance of misfiring and another ends with him turning upside down in midair and landing on his head (Mario's version of the attack lands him on his feet).
    • One of Lucas's taunts has him tripping backwards.
  • Shurelia from Ar tonelico starts off as a somewhat cold Ladyof War, but after you actually get her into your party and put her into a costume other than the Linker suit, it becomes apparent that she's incredibly clumsy. She will actually fall over after casting spells, and gets lost repeatedly in the course of the game. In spite of all of this, she's probably the smartest character in the game. Jacqli from the second game will also almost fall over while casting spells.
  • Neverwinter Nights: In gameplay, Linu would be a competent cleric if her A.I. weren't problematic. However, every conversation you have with her mentions some bit of chaos that she caused through clumsiness, usually by way of Disaster Dominoes (e.g. spilling a drink in a bar and causing a Bar Brawl that destroyed most of the building.)
  • Anthony the pageboy, one of Eternal Darkness's Chosen, is a protagonist example. Let's see, he reads a cursed scroll he was meant to take straight to the king, knocks open a coffin containing the body of a priest who was killed by Bonethieves, drops a vase (which turned out to contain a component for Magick, so no problem there), potentially stabs himself... yeah, it's hard to think of a hindering flaw as cute rather than worrisome in a Lovecraft Expy work. The only thing that would keep him from getting himself killed is that thanks to the curse he spends his chapter gradually turning into a zombie and therefore unable to die normally or significantly injure himself.
  • Though all Dead Rising characters besides Frank have limited screentime, Paul does a good job of looking The Klutz. His post-miniboss-fight cutscene goes without saying, but even during the fight, the easiest/least damaging way to get a chance to attack him is to wait for him to get bowled over by one of his own explosives.
  • Cal-Vina in Agarest: Generations of War Zero is so clumsy that Routier specifically - and very seriously - asks Eugene to make sure he never holds a knife. As she says:
    Routier: "You see, my brother is awfully clumsy. So much so that it is, at times, mistaken for a strange sort of skill."
  • Seek And Destroy 2002: An interesting vehicular example is Jevons, a tank from Seek and Destroy 2002, aka Combat Choro Q. When exited, (usually by the delivery of big news) he has a bad habit of forgetting to hit his brakes and crashing off screen. Also doubles as the game's Woobie, since his crashes usually end up with him getting injured.
  • In Pokémon, there is an ability that certain Pokemon can have that is actually called Klutz. Appropriately for the trope, it is one of the less useful abilities in the game, preventing Pokemon with it from being able to use their held items. Pretty much the only Pokemon the Klutz ability is considered good on at all is Lopunny, both because they get moves that capitalize on the few advantages to the ability there are(one of which involves forcing the ability on the opponent's Pokemon), and because their statistics make them rather bad at anything else.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Mackenzie Blaise of Tales of MU tends to trip when startled. She's very easily startled.

    Western Animation 
  • Goofy is well known for being one of the earliest animated klutzes. It's the trait that has characterised him relentlessly wherever he appears.
  • Young Hercules in Disney's Hercules, due to his Super Strength. The TV series based on his teen years had this as a recurring theme.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series has an experiment named Woops, who is this trope. He's actually important to the story in his first and only appearance.
  • Eugene in Hey Arnold!, who is not just extremely clumsy, but is also just a bad luck magnet in general. In one episode it was revealed that he was born on Friday the Thirteenth, which explains a lot.
  • Daphne from Scooby-Doo. Other cast members sometimes sarcastically refer to her as "Danger Prone Daphne."
  • Amy Wong in Futurama is described even by the other characters as a "klutz from Mars" and gives precisely the same scream every time she falls over. In the early seasons, Amy doing a pratfall was pretty much a Once an Episode occurrence.
    • In one of the DVD audio commentaries, the writers mention this trait was given to Amy to see if such slapstick humor could be funny if inflicted on a cute female character. (As opposed to The Simpsons, where Bart and Homer were the primary focurs of physical gags.)
  • Oopsey from Adventures in Care-a-Lot.
  • Clumsy Smurf.
  • George, George, George of the Jungle... WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE!
  • Nancy in The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. A psychic even pointed this out once while attempting to read the bumps on her head, most of which were obtained through Nancy's own klutziness. In another episode, Mr. Chan instinctively calls out to Nancy when he hears someone crashing into a lamp. (It was Stanley, who's also rather clumsy himself.)
  • Irma from the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is really a klutz tending to step on people's feet and often addressed as this by others including Bebop and Rocksteady.
  • The title character of Doug could be this at times.
  • My Little Pony
    • The original Applejack. It's a main part of her backstory for the toys, and she got a song in the UK about how "silly" she is. Not so much in the cartoon, though. The one big spill she ends up in is Firefly's fault.
    • My Little Pony Tales has Clover.
    • My Little Pony G3 has Minty.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
      • The title goes to fan-favorite Derpy, who despite only having a few lines so far in a single episode, has been seen dropping furniture on people, accidentally pulling the plug out of an apple-bobbing tub, accidentally smashing holes in the roof of a building she was getting ready for a party, and creating a hole in the floor by sitting down too hard.
      • Rainbow Dash is often crashing into things or accidentally breaking them, often as a result of being Too Fast to Stop.
      • Sweetie Belle is so clumsy she can burn juice.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), a running gag is that Orko messes up many of the spells he attempts. He also seems to spend quite a lot of time bumping into things.
  • Mr. Bogus in spades, even moreso in the original claymation vignettes.
  • An episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants featured SpongeBob's cousin, Stanley, who was mailed to SpongeBob's house when his father got fed up with him. Most of what he touches explodes in a mushroom cloud.
  • One episode of The Simpsons has Mayor Quimby's nephew charged with putting a waiter in the hospital for his inability to say the word "chowder" without a French accent. Later on, it turns out that the waiter was actually injured because he's a klutz of epic proportions and had a humongous accident in the kitchen after Quimby's nephew left. When the waiter tries to refute this, he has another epic klutz episode right there in the courtroom.

    Real Life 


Ineffectual LonerArchetypal CharacterKnight in Shining Armor
Kindly HousekeeperStock CharactersKnight in Shining Armor
The KindnapperCharacter Flaw IndexKnight Templar
Humanlike Foot AnatomyImageSource/Western AnimationLong-Lost Relative

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