"This tickle torture isn't funny!"
So, we have a Card-Carrying Villain
who is going to inflict a horrible torture on his victims. Cutting off fingers
won't work in a G-Rated show, what can be a substitute for that? Tickling, of course!
Usually done with a feather, despite not being the most effective method in Real Life
, it is often led up to by the tickler saying "We Have Ways of Making You Talk
Compare Friendly Tickle Torture
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Happens in the Ah! My Goddess manga, as part of a contest.
- Basquash! features a scene with Dan being tickled by foot fetishist Haruka in their first encounter, where she caresses his feet, which drives Dan to tears with laughter.
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo invokes this with startling and unexpected frequency between the various characters in the show, which comes as no surprise given the anime's sense of humor. Often zigzags into this trope's more "friendlier" counterpart.
- Dragon Ball
- Goku gets tickled by Caterpy (no, not that Caterpie) in his first round of the Otherworld Tournament.
- He is not so lucky in Dragon Ball GT when he is tickled out of the ring during the Junior Division by a nerd. (Thanks in part to a distraction by Vegeta.)
- He was also tickle tortured by an old hag in hell after she attempted to cook him.
- In Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, Rouge orders this done to Pritz with a dramatic buildup that makes you wonder whether she's a villain or just crazy.
- Galaxy Angel Rune has the angels subjected when an ai of Hot Spring Asteroid wants to know their problems.
- In "Memory Gallery" on The Galaxy Railways, this is one of the ways in which the SDF convinces the memory thief to give back Bruce's memory.
- One episode of Kirby: Right Back At Ya! has King Dedede becoming overweight from eating too much of a spiked food meant for Kirby. Granted Kirby manages to eat some of it by accident, but Dedede orders a Fitness-based Monster that forces him and Kirby through a series of torturous exercise routines. One of them involves muscle massaging, which briefly yet still very evidently is this exactly trope, hence Dedede and Kirby's laughing during the session.
- The "Is Lupin Burning... ?!" episode of Lupin III (Green Jacket): Occurs to Fujiko in one of the most famous scenes of the episode.
- In Maburaho, Elizabeth does this to Yuna. You can't see what's happening, though, and she does it in such a dramatic and over-the-top fashion that Kazuki assumes it's actual torture.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Asuna got the tickle treatment in the nude from Fate who could make water turn into a bunch of arms. It's later revealed that the only thing stopping him from ripping her to pieces was Asuna's magic-cancelling ability.
- Later on, most of class 3-A does this to Chao.
- Gingka of Metal Fight Beyblade gets this treatment during a "training course" orchestrated by Merci.
- In Nabari No Ou, Raikou and Kouichi do this to some poor Alya Academy student for fun.
- At least 3 times in Nagasarete Airantou. Once on Mikoto from some bats summoned by Rin. Again on Ikuto when he was placed in a trap by Chikage. And lastly on Suzu, when she refused to do studying and was subjected to this by Ikuto.
- Jiraiya interrogates some mooks from the Rain Village using this method. When that fails, he threatens them with turning them into frogs.
- The Team Rocket trio, among other things, use a tickling machine on the Safari Zone Warden to try and get him to reveal the location of a Dratini in Pokémon.
- Ash has his Bulbasaur tickle Misty's Psyduck into submission in the episode Who Gets to Keep Togepi?, and this was long before Tickle became an actual attack.
- Meowth tickles Ash into letting go of a torch that holds "The Flame of Moltres" during the first episode of the Indigo League Arc.
- A Mincinno in episode 13 of Best Wishes uses Tickle no less than three times, tickling Bianca's Pignite and Ash's Oshawott into submission. Pikachu manages to resist it, however.
- Happens to Sasami in the second OVA and an episode of the Pretty Sammy TV series.
- Happens to Sammy (a.k.a. - Sasami) again in Magical Project S via a tickling hand by Mrs. Third of the Lovely Madams.
- Evoked with Fanservice in the 1st episode of the Queen's Blade OVA, Utsukushiki Toushi-tachi, when Echidna uses her pet snake, Kenta to "play" with Elina's "lady-parts..."
- When Nanael is trapped by Melona and Airi she is subjected to this in their cage.
- In Samurai Pizza Cats, when entering a Kung Fu Tournament, Polly Esther goes up against a fighter named "Smiling Jack" the Chiropractor. Smiling Jack easily defeats Polly by tickling her until she rolls out of bounds.
- In episode 27 of SD Gundam Force, this is how the Zako Soldiers get the Zakurello Gate to change its destination mid-transport. "Do what we say, or you'll get..." "TICKLE TORTURE!"
- Sengoku Otome When the Saigoku Three show up and finish their introduction, Nobunaga easily defeats them and ties them up. To find out where the Dismantled MacGuffin is, Hideyoshi does this to each of them. They return the favor later in the episode.
- Ika Musume discovers this in a chapter of the manga (which was adapted into an anime sub-episode), and goes on a tickling spree with everyone she meets. Naturally, she decides to use it to make Chizuru die of laughter. Chizuru being who she is, though, means annihilation ensues. (Presumably, the episodes are not in chronological order, as a couple of earlier episodes show her tickling Eiko both as revenge and to convince her to become her servant, and on the four alien-obsessed scientists to find out why they wanted a strand of Chizuru's hair.)
- In Tenshi Ni Narumon, Noelle is subjected to this by several tiny robots after a series of weird, non-lethal experiments by Alien Robots.
- Used in To Love-Ru by a Man-Eating Plant. Since it's To Love Ru, it's purely for Fanservice.
- In Yumeiro Pâtissière, Kashino is tied up and tickled by his sister when he refuses to be follow his family's tradition as a patissier.
- Astérix: Getafix also suffers from this, only he's actually unaffected and "playing along". Complete with "Torture me instead!"
- In the screwball comedy Ball of Fire, some mild-mannered professors do this to extract information from a gangster's Mook. It works.
- Baloo tickles King Louie in The Jungle Book
- Strongly subverted in Kung Fu Panda, when Tai Lung tries to kill Po with his Nerve Strike Attacks. Unlike his previous foes, all this does is tickle Po thanks to his immense body fat.
- In the Laurel and Hardy feature "Way Out West", the dance-hall villainess gets the deed to a gold mine from Stanley with a ruthless full-body search that leaves him helpless with shrieking laughter for several minutes afterward.
- Grimmace and Hamburglar become victims of this in the second Ronald McDonald animated movie.
- The climax of Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure involves this. King Koo Koo is normally short, but inflates when he laughs at the misfortune of others. So he sets a tentacled sea monster on our heroes and many of the supporting characters and orders it to tickle all of them at the same time...
- This happened a couple of times on The Three Stooges. In the short "Self-Made Maids," the Stooges tie up the father of the girls they want to marry. When he refuses to give his consent, Shemp tells Moe to "do his stuff." Moe then takes off the father's shoe and..you can guess what happens next.
- In the short "Space Ship Sappy" the Stooges are on a spaceship and land on the planet Sunev (which is Venus spelt backwards). As they explore the planet, the stooges are captured by tall amazon women who plan on making a meal out of them. But they first decide to tickle the Stooges half to death before trying to eat them.
- Employed in Dasepo Sonyo, when two of the boys are trying to figure out why the girls have become virginal.
- Inverted for Gallows Humor in A Song of Ice and Fire, which has a Torture Technician known only as "The Tickler" who "tickles" captured villagers to gather information about Lord Beric Dondarrion's outlaw band.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets introduces the spell "Rictusempra," a Tickling Charm which is used only once on Malfoy. Other sources however claim that Rictusempra is also a stunning spell.
- The faceless monsters known as night-gaunts in the works of H.P. Lovecraft (such as The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath) will explicitly inflict this on victims they've grabbed and are carrying off. While flying.
- Played deadly seriously (literally so) in the short story "The Screaming Laugh" by Cornell Woolrich.
- Where's Wally?: in the medieval setting of the book Where's Wally Now, one of the things one can find is a man in stocks being tickle tortured.
Live Action Television
- An episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys had a screaming man in Tartarus subjected to having his foot tickled with a feather. It's a short moment of full-blown camp in an otherwise dramatic scene.
Hades: [The torture is] no crueler than he was in his previous life. Believe me, he deserves it.
Torturer: Tickle, tickle, how does it feel?
- Johnny and the Sprites had the feared "tickle troll." "A tickle troll, a tickle troll! He'll try to make you laugh, that's his only goal! A tickle troll, a tickle troll! Just one tickle, and you lose control!"
- An episode of Life With Derek did this, when Derek had to babysit.
- Happens in the first episode of Maid Marian and Her Merry Men.
- An episode of Monster Squad (the 1976 live-action kids' series, starring Fred Grandy and Henry Polic II) had a villain who used giant feathers in an attempt to tickle Our Heroes to their doom. It was as silly as it sounds.
- On The Office, Darryl further educates Michael on the ways of the street by explaining that gangs often duel using a technique called Fluffy Fingers, where members of each gang tickle one another to the point of capitulation.
- Call of Cthulhu. Nightgaunts can grab people and tickle them, rendering them helpless so the nightgaunt can carry them away.
- The Joker briefly does this in an attempt to make Batman give in to the Titan transformation right before the final battle of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- The children's game Dracula's Secret requires using two sources of tickle torture - a feather, and a spider.
- A heroic example happens in Donkey Kong 64 during Tiny Kong's turn facing the Final Boss, (King) Krusha K. Rool. It involves entering one of his boots that has a hole in them and shooting feathers at his toes.
- In just one of many blatant examples of Fanservice in Rumble Roses, one ringside weapon is a long stick with a cartoony hand on one end that is used to tickle an opponent. It doesn't hurt them, but causes their humiliation meter to rapidly shoot up.
- In The Sims Medieval Pirates & Nobles Expansion Pack, this is one of the methods a Spy can use to gather information from a Sim tied to an interrogation chair.
- In Sly 2: Band Of Thieves, THE MURRAY captures General Clawfoot so Bentley can get info on the Contessa's castle from him... With a feather.
- Averted but still Lampshaded in Sonic Rush Adventure when Captain Whisker threatens to subject Marine the Raccoon to this when she mouths off at him.
- In Space Ace, one of the death scenes involve Ace and Kimberly falling off of a maze and into a pit filled with pink balls called "Tickle Plants." This is reinforced by Ace and Kimberly's hysterical laughing upon falling into the pit.
- In the "What If? Mode" of Spider-Man during the 1st boss fight with Venom in the Back Alley. When Venom uses his "lick attack" on Spider-Man, Spidey with start giggling and lampshades this trope.
- In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, if you don't give in to Yaridovich's Hostage for MacGuffin demands, he tickles the town's mayor mercilessly until you give in. (The more you resist his demands, the number of Flowers you get from him afterward is reduced to merely one. Keep it up long enough, and all you get is a single coin.)
- A quest in World of Warcraft's Northern Barrens has you interrogating a Quilboar. You can break him instantly if you either feed or tickle him as opposed to punching or kicking him. You also get a status buff, "Saintly" because you're a nice person for using non-violence.
Haha - <snort> ha - heee! <snort> Haha no stop haha <SNORT> <wheeze> Hee hee! Battlemaster Tortusk
never prepared us for this!
- One episode of Arby 'n' the Chief has Arbiter doing this to Chief so that he can play Halo: Reach's Beta release.
- The best example of this is undoubtedly Cor and his huge variety of short stories and vignettes which together explore every variation of this trope possible.