, of course, occur in most Western cartoons of the classic era. Like any genre trope, they became consistent enough to be considered the "natural laws" of that setting.
Toon Physics hangs a lampshade
on those tropes, by explicitly and consistently pointing out how creatures of ink and paint operate under different rules from those of flesh and blood, while coexisting in the same setting
. Toons living in or visiting a flesh-and-blood world will still operate under their own unique laws of nature.
visiting a cartoon
world may operate according to the local laws — or may not. This doesn't have to be consistent even within a given work. In Who Framed Roger Rabbit
, for example, Eddie experiences many Animation Tropes
first hand — but his brother was killed by a falling piano
(admittedly this may have been a real piano that was dropped by a toon; it was also presumably dropped outside of Toon Town
, onto a normal human).
Seen in any Trapped in TV Land
tale that includes a jaunt into a cartoon.
Contrast Refugee from TV Land
and Real World Episode
, where characters from a "fictional" milieu enter the "real" world and, more often than not, find that the world doesn't
work the same way anymore.
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Anime and Manga
- The Toon World theme from Yu-Gi-Oh! takes this and runs with it. In the anime, they're made nigh-unkillable by it, with Toon Mermaid's armless clam catching a sword, and Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon taking the opportunity in-manga to contort its body to dodge its normal counterpart's Burst Stream of Destruction.
- Ouran High School Host Club occasionally takes advantage of this. Mostly in the anime, though.
- Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu does this almost all the time.
- Kill la Kill has Mako Mankanshoku and Nui Harime, who operate by this while everybody else uses standard shonen anime physics. The former of the two uses them for their traditional comic relief purpose, while the latter weaponizes them.
- The Awesome Slapstick, aka Steve Harmon. After being transformed into "living electroplasm" from an accident with an alien portal, Slapstick is essentially a Toon — he is able to freely abuse Toon Physics, making him a Nigh Invulnerable minor Reality Warper. He can recover from all injuries almost instantly with no damage, and has performed otherwise impossible feats, such as swallowing a box of bullets and rapidly firing them by spitting them out like a machine gun.
- Specifically, Slapstick is a character in the 616 Marvel Universe, just like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. However, he has super powers that *just happen* to make him resemble a cartoon. He has a normal human form, but when he transforms to his Slapstick form, he has Rubber Man powers, meaning that he can be stretched harmlessly and turn into an accordion when crushed, and a very powerful Healing Factor, meaning that he can be riddled with bullets, and burned to ash and leave his eyes unharmed long enough for a few blinks. He also has gloves which can access a "sub-spacial storage pocket," or, in layman's terms, Hammerspace. Finally, he has the personality of a practical joker. Put it together, and he's a cartoon character who could reasonably interact with the X-Men.
- In The Multiversity #1, Captain Carrot invokes this in a fight with a Hulk Expy on Earth-8, a fight he won by the way. Being squashed flat doesn't do anything to him, because he can just pop back up again.
- In one of the first appearances of Mr. Mxyzptlk after the John Byrne reboot, he makes cartoon characters real and attacks Superman with them. The creatures (expies of, among others, Fred Flintstone, the Smurfs, and Mighty Mouse) obey Toon Physics and are thus somewhat of a chore, but when Superman himself is turned toony by Mxy, he exploits it (pulling a cat from Hammerspace in his cloak to scare the Mighty Mouse expy, for instance).
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the toons naturally have this power, but live humans do not outside of Toon Town, which means even though the vast majority of them are benign and friendly, it's entirely possible for a toon to kill a human using cartoon rules. This is what makes Judge Doom so scary, because he can and does kill people with toon physics, and also found a way to kill toons with paint thinner.
- Cool World has a comic character emerging into the real world and alternating between the two, with all the associated physical effects.
- The Mask invokes magical powers to give those who wear the mask superpowers that amount to classic cartoon physics. Some justification is given in that the first wearer is a fan of them.
- The Movie of The Twilight Zone includes a sequence where the Omnipotent Child both brings a cartoon character into real life, and sends Nancy Cartwright into a cartoon.
- Space Jam and Looney Tunes: Back in Action In fact, in the former, it turns out to work on normal humans as well, setting up an awesome moment for Michael Jordan.
- The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle showed this as the characters were in the real world with a Shout-Out to Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Kung Fu Hustle is a rare live-action example that doesn't involve the Roger Rabbit Effect. The back cover of the DVD aptly describes the film as Looney Tunes meets Quentin Tarantino.
Live Action TV
- The basis of the season 8 Supernatural episode "Hunteri Heroici". A powerful telekinetic loses his grip on reality and retreats into a dream-world made up of his childhood cartoons. His abilities go full-on Reality Warper and apply toon physics to everything in his vicinity.
- The lead characters in Sam's Strip had almost Seinfeldian conversations about the physical laws in their comic strip world.
- Steve Jackson Games published a roleplaying system called Toon. It obeys this trope to the letter; characters are unkillable (though they can Fall Down for a few rounds), failing an intelligence roll can allow one to ignore gravity, and sawing through a tree branch has a fifty percent chance of causing the tree to fall with the branch suspended in midair. The entire point of the game is to be as funny as possible.
- Team Fortress 2 is a rather unique example. The game's physics are very consistent with real life, due to using the Havok physics engine, however:
- The Pyro's Flamethrower comes equipped with an air compressor that can reflect rockets.
- Scout can jump in midair (common in video games, but also common in cartoon physics as well).
- Soldier can shoot explosives at people's feet, which propels them upward (including his own feet).
- The recoil from one of the Scout's weapons is so strong that he can propel himself in mid-air with it.
- The Heavy can shoot people by making his hand into a gun-shape and shouting "POW!".
- Saxton Hale from the self-named mod can jump 100 feet in the air on a whim.
- EVERYONE stores their weapons in Hammer Space.
- Engineers fix their stuff by nonsensically whacking it with a wrench.
- One can die by being hit with a fish four to five times from full health.
- A bomb on a stick is a viable weapon outside of suicidal charges, leaving the Demoman using it still alive.
- The Scout can send someone flying across the map with the swing of a bat. Bear in mind he has normal human strength. Mostly.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is also like Team Fortress 2, in that it mixes Toon Physics with realistic physics done in Nintendo's own proprietary physics engine. In fact, all in-game physics is realistic, with impressive simulation of rope bridges, string, hair, and cloth, and generic Newtonian dynamics, while Toon Physics only appears during cutscenes, which have scripted animations that are rendered within the game engine.
- Small enemies can be squashed flat by a giant hammer in regular gameplay, though.
- Skullgirls characters all operate under some degree of cartoon physics due to it being a fighting game, but none moreso than Peacock. Peacock's entire gimmick is being a superpowered cyborg whose appearance and abilities are all heavily based off of Golden Age cartoons. She is explicitly described as being able to bend reality to fit her cartoonish fighting style. Peacock pulls a plethora of weapons out of Hammerspace, summons Shadows of Impending Doom to drop random objects such as pianos and other hefty objects on her opponents' heads, shoots Abnormal Ammo from her comically oversized revolver, pulls opponents into a Big Ball of Violence, can summon an entire backup squad of cartoon cronies including a multitude of walking bombs, and utilises many other playfully painful fighting techniques that operate under Toon Physics rules.
- After being transformed into human cartoon characters, the (live action) characters in The Cartoon Man begin operating on toon physics.