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Three-Point Landing

A popular visual trope often associated with martial arts. After performing a particularly cool move, or dropping from a great height, the character lands on the ground in a crouching position, feet wide apart and supporting their weight with one hand on the floor while the other hand is outstretched away from their body, usually pointed diagonally upwards. Extra coolness points are added if said hand on the floor is a fist that actually causes damage to the ground you land on.

A common variation of this features a head snap, where the character will land looking downward and after a brief pause, suddenly look up just in time for something to blow up behind them, and/or sending a Badass Death Glare to the enemy up front, or a Kubrick Stare for the camera.

Very common in manga, anime, and video games, but can also be seen in movies — especially those with visual styles inspired by them.

A pun on "three-point landing", an aircraft landing in which both the main gear (the wheels further back on tricycle gear aircraft like airliners) and the nosewheel/tailwheel touch down on the runway at the same time, which is seen as a mark of skill among pilots. Also not to be confused with the skydiving three-point landing, where you land on your feet and then fall on your ass.note 

Watch the SuperCut version!


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Kurogane Pukapuka Tai, Commander Kuki lands like this after sliding down a rope to repel boarders, just before kicking ass overboard.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! uses this twice on one page in volume 3; when Asuna face-kicks Evangeline on the bridge, both of them execute a three-point landing. Asuna with rotation pivioting around her right foot, while Evangeline has to bleed off momentum. And this was a few pages before Asuna enters the probationary pacto with Negi.
  • Juliet from Romeo X Juliet, after bursting through a prison skylight to free one of her friends.
  • Subverted in Asuka's debut episode in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Unit 02 destroys an Angel while underwater (an environment the EVA is not designed to handle), launches itself into the air via the resulting explosion, does a perfect three-point landing onto an nearby aircraft carrier... and then collapses into a useless heap as its power supply runs out.
  • Subverted in Slayers: Amelia tries to perform acrobatics, but accidentally lands head down, and it hurts.
  • In Change 123, when Hibiki (merged with Zero) chases Sora, at one point she does a spectacular three-point landing (presented on a double page spread, no less) after jumping off from a moving truck.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! You're on a soon-to-explode artificial island, running for your life towards the blimp that is your only means of escape, but your Morality Pet kid sibling can't keep up. What do you do? If you're Seto Kaiba, the answer is: pick him up and throw him onto the blimp's ramp with one hand, then jump clean over him and land like so. Seriously.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Sena unintentionally pulled this off as he was thrown into the air and thus making his Big Entrance against the first game of the tournament against the Cyborgs.
  • Kirito pulls this off in his Big Damn Heroes ascent to the entrance of the World Tree in Sword Art Online. Dressed in a black Badass Longcoat, it almost seemed more of an homage to The Matrix. His sudden ground-shaking landing caused other players nearby to wonder if a special game event was in progress.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man does this frequently.
  • X-Men: Nightcrawler too.
  • As do almost all of the "animalistic" characters like Wolverine, Beast, Creeper, Sabretooth, X-23 and so on...
  • Iron Man does this so often it is his signature pose, although unlike most characters, his legs aren't widely spread apart. And his fist usually ends up in the ground as opposed to on top of it, since Iron Man usually does this at high speed and wearing heavy, durable armor.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Matrix
    • Trinity does this a few times, most notably when she spectacularly makes this landing in front of a small building, having just backflipped off a motorcycle moving at an extreme speed through the air. As she lands, the motorcycle smashes into the building and explodes.
    • Agent Brown, at the very beginning of the first Matrix movie, jumps over a city street while chasing Trinity over rooftops. He lands perfectly in the pose, complete with Desert Eagle in his free hand.
    • Neo, himself, does this at least once, from flight, landing atop a building in search of the Oracle.
  • The Bride does this at one point in Kill Bill.
  • Chun-Li does this in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
  • Iron Man
    • Iron Man does this basically whenever he lands at high speed (and at one point, hovering at head level before cutting thrust and literally dropping himself into this pose).
    • Black Widow does it in Iron Man 2, as seen in the page image, but it's not a landing; she's actually getting up from a slide along the ground.
    • In Iron Man 3, the Creative Closing Credits feature a montage of shots of three-point landings from throughout the series.
  • Jet Li does it a lot, but hell he and Vicent Zhao (who also does it) have a whole fight scene almost entirely crouching in Fong Sai Yuk.
  • Donnie Yen and almost everyone in Dragon Tiger Gate.
  • Whenever the girls from Sucker Punch land from leaping out of their transport during the dream sequences. Also, after Baby Doll kills off a samurai.
  • The Man From Nowhere features a three-point landing onto the hood of a fleeing car.
  • Over the run of TRON: Legacy, this is seen being performed by Quorra, Sam, and Rinzler. This seems to be carried over to TRON: Uprising.
  • Spider-Man 2: Peter spider-senses a getaway car coming up behind him while he's on his bike. He leaps straight off the bike and over the car, three-point landing in the middle of the road — all in plain view of two stunned boys.
    Kid: How'd you do that?
    Peter: Uh... work out, plenty of rest, y'know, eat your green vegetables.
    Other Kid: That's what my mom is always saying! I just never actually believed her!
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Matthew Patel does this during his battle with Scott.
  • Pacific Rim; Gipsy Danger pulls this off after killing Otachi. Notable as this is done from fifty thousand feet in the air.

    Literature 
  • Conan the Barbarian does this from time to time since he'd rather hit the ground a bit harder than be disarmed.
  • Lara and her sisters from The Dresden Files does this on one occasion in Turn Coat. From a helicopter. Without descent lines. It was flying above treetops before it reach the drop zone.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry
    • Dante does this at the beginning of Devil May Cry 2.
    • In Devil May Cry 4, both Dante and Nero land this way every time an enemy knocks them off their feet.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, while fighting the Storm Rider in Mulan's world, one can perform an reaction command which will stun the Storm Rider. Afterwards, Sora lands in the described way. It can be seen in this video.
    • That game also features Sora's Anti Form, which relegates itself to a feral stance. As a result, any landing ends up like this, since it's his default pose.
  • Mace Windu's jump attack in Star Wars Battlefront 2 looks like this, except that the hand in question is holding a lightsaber. And it does area damage.
  • Samus Aran from Metroid does this several times, usually after a spinning jump in the air. Kind of the only way for her to land, given that one of her suit's hands is an Arm Cannon and therefore lacks a hand.
  • The Elite Beat Agents do this often.
  • Blood Elves in World of Warcraft do this after jumping.
  • Iron Man does this when landing at high speed in the 2008 Game of the Movie.
  • Snake, Raiden, Drebin, and just about everyone from the Metal Gear games do this all the time.
  • Vincent does this a few times in the cutscenes from Dirge of Cerberus.
  • Crisis Core
    • Zack does this twice in the intro train cutscene — once when he jumps out of a helicopter onto the roof of a speeding train, and once when he dismounts from the train after it stops.
    • Sephiroth also finishes his Octaslash attack with this.
  • In fact, Sephiroth starts this habit back in Final Fantasy VII, although blocky polygons make it hard to see. He floats down and lands this way behind Tseng or in front of Cloud several times during the Temple of the Ancients sequence.
  • The Prince from Prince of Persia (2008) lands like this after finishing a mid-air combo.
  • Captain Falcon in Super Smash Bros Brawl. Heck, most athletic characters in the game do this, but Falcon tends to be a more obvious example.
  • Kasumi from Mass Effect 2 lands with one of these after disabling Donovan Hock's Mantis gunship's shields. Funnily enough, this is less impressive than the moves she pulled to get onto the gunship just before.
  • Satele Shan from Star Wars: The Old Republic performs one, complete with area of effect damage, during her big damn heroes moment in the Return cinematic.
  • Link does this from long falls in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, like going to the ground from the sky, or entering Skyloft.
  • Ryu, the player character of Ninja Gaiden, can be seen in this position frequently.
  • The characters of Section 8 will do this if, while dropping in from low orbit in nothing but your Power Armor, you think "You know what? I don't need airbrakes." As awesome as it looks, it does leave you immobile for a second while your character and his armour recovers from the landing, which isn't always a good thing in a multiplayer shooter.
  • In Persona4 Golden, after an ill-fated attempt at a crowd surf, Yosuke and Kanji land flat on their faces while the Protagonist performs one of these.
  • Dead Space 2: Isaac Clarke manges this after being fired from a rocket ejector seat, flying though space, crashing though a vent and firing his rocket boots to slow his descent. Watch it here or here for context.
  • In Crysis 2, whenever someone falls for a long but not quite fatal distance they do this, especially while in Armor Mode.
    • This is expanded on with the Air Stomp ability in Crysis 2 and 3. After falling from a set height, you can bring your fist down to create an ground-shattering shockwave, dealing lethal damage to all enemies unfortunate enough to be nearby your landing point.
  • Oni's Konoko lands like this after jumping from an airplane to infiltrate the Big Bad's base. Without a parachute. Bonus points for ground shatter.
  • The second opening cutscene of Assassin's Creed: Revelations has the protagonist Ezio Auditore freefall from several stories up only to land like this with no negative physical effects.
  • Adam Jensen of Deus Ex: Human Revolution falls into this stance every time he uses the Icarus Landing System.
  • Player Characters in DC Universe Online do this after drops from great heights, including a proper spray of dust and debris.
  • Spidey does the punch variant in Spider-Man 3, complete with a cracked floor and sound effect.
  • Sonic lands this way whenever he power stomps in Unleashed, Colors, or Generations.
    • Also during the video game trailer for Sonic Boom, Amy lands like this, whereas the boys hit the ground in less dignified manners .
    • Metal Sonic does this as well in The Stinger of the Gamescom trailer.
  • Vivio's Full Drive Burst in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny begins with one, before she dashes in for a melee combo that ends with a point-blank Sacred Blazer.
  • The Pokémon Frogadier and its evolution Greninja have this as their standard pose. Diggersby also makes use of this in its entrance animation, with one of its ears substituting for the hand.
  • In Mario Strikers Charged, several characters make their home entrances in this manner.
  • A slight variation in Asura's Wrath in Episode 22, when Asura charges a downed Chakravartin.
    • Asura jumps up high, summons his mantra halo, spikes on said halo start barraging Chakravartin with Mantra, Asura then lands facing away from Chakravartin with a four-point landing, and his extra arms react to the explosion behind him.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • This guy does it a lot in his presentations and competitions.
  • It exists in real Wushu and could be a variation of the "ZUO PAN BU" stance.
  • Quest Crew did this at the end of this performance.
  • If you have forward momentum, jump down as little as six or seven feet, you'll put at least one hand out to help slow your landing. Try it by running and then jumping down about a dozen stairs — though for safety's sake, try it with smaller numbers of stairs first so when you land badly and fall, you won't break yourself.
  • If you have a lot of forward momentum, then you might be forced into a roll on landing, in which case having one hand out on landing would be more or less necessary to stop you from just splaying out instead. You probably don't want to try this at home.
  • Some toy review sites, like Collection DX, use the "Iron Man pose test" to judge a toy's articulation.


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