Walk on Water
I have to pay the ferry, to cross the GalileeI Have the High Ground, with a body of water substituted for the slender pole. As the name implies, Walk on Water involves a person who is somehow able to stand or walk on water. This may occasionally have a tactical use, but it is usually much more about looking cool. A common variant is the ability to only run across water (frequently by Super Speed characters such as The Flash), which is just as cool, and somewhat more scientifically plausible — high speed is what enables thrown rocks to skip across water and jet-ski boats to (no pun intended) run; in these cases, losing speed or coming to a stop will result in the character sinking, requiring them to swim. Characters with flight might achieve a similar effect by hovering just about the surface, and those characters who like Making a Splash might use water powers instead. The most well-known water-walker is probably Jesus Christ in the New Testament, who casually walked out over a raging sea (a feat few other water-walkers have ever matched — Jesus Was Way Cool indeed) to meet his disciples' boat. Disciple Peter followed suit, but his lack of faith caused him to sink beneath the water and he had to be saved by his master. Despite its Biblical origin, the trope is usually executed without an especially strong What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic? feel to it, as the primary objective is, once again, about looking cool. This doesn't stop the occasional Baptist-Fundamentalist Media Watchdog from complaining about people other than Jesus being depicted as doing such a thing, despite that Peter walks on the water to Jesus almost immediately after seeing him. Not to be confused with the 2004 Israeli movie of the same title. Compare with Walk, Don't Swim, which is about walking under water.
but not my brother (no not him) he walks across for free
but not my brother (no not him) he walks across for free
— The Arrogant Worms, "Jesus' Brother Bob"
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Walking/standing on water
Anime & Manga
- Milked for all it's worth in Naruto. Some of the most climactic battles of the series have taken place over a large body of water. Like their usage of I Have the High Ground, it's related to the "standard" ninja ability to channel chakra into the feet. Sometimes the animators forget that everything else is meant to sink — one filler episode showed huge clods of earth sitting happily on the surface.
- Subverted in Ranma ˝, in a scene in which Cologne is shown approaching the beach while apparently riding a wave, and the others comment on how a master of the martial arts can balance even on a twig floating on the water; at a suitably dramatic moment, however, the shark whose head Cologne has been standing on breaks the surface of the water.
- Seems to be a standard ability for any sufficiently skilled mage or ninja in Mahou Sensei Negima!. Lampshaded during the Tournament Arc:
Spectator: Maybe it's just really shallow?
- The first opening of Cardcaptor Sakura has the title character tip-toeing on a sakura petal that lands on a body of water.
- Princess Tutu
- At the beginning of the first episode, Mytho dances, apparently naked, on top of a lake, with Ahiru watching hidden in the rushes.
- An underground lake is magically transformed into a dancing stage for the Magical Girl and her Dark Magical Girl rival to have a Swan Lake themed dance-off. (It Makes Sense in Context.) Fakir also uses it to fight crows, but when the battle turns in his favor, Kraehe causes the water beneath him to no longer magically hold his weight, which nearly causes him to drown.
- D.Gray-Man's Tyki Mikk possesses the power to selectively interact with his environment. This means that, among other things, he can walk on water.
- Subverted in an episode of Gundam X where it looks like someone is standing in the middle of a lake — only to reveal that he's actually standing right on top of his submarine.
- Maybe more Moses than Jesus, but in Fullmetal Alchemist, when Hohenheim (who has godlike powers) goes to explore a dangerous cave where his path is blocked by water, he transmutes a smooth path out of the rocks under water and calmly walks across.
- In the Pokémon anime, Suicune can walk on water.
- Smile Pretty Cure!'s Ending Theme cranks this trope Up to Eleven. From the mark of 0:53 onwards, the Cures are shown dancing on water — and it's a very energetic dance at that rate. It must be seen to be believed.
- The ghost of the ship captain in March Story makes use of this ability to hunt pirates like he did in real life. As a bonus, if he tap dances on the water he can makes bubbles form that will explode on contact with the pirate's ships.
- In Binbō-gami ga!, Ranmaru Rindou due to a childhood trauma, can't swim well but while in a contest and with spirit and determination she masters an ability to run along the surface of the water to beat her opponent.
- Awatsuki Maaya from A Certain Scientific Railgun can do this thanks to her esper ability Float Dial, which lets her control buoyancy.
- Subverted by Chess of the Wapol Pirates in One Piece: when he first appears, it seems like he's standing on water, but he's actually standing on a submerged submarine.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Alice does this at one point. The 4Kids Entertainment dub cut this scene out because they don't allow "religious imagery" even though Alice does this through dark magic.
- Partway through the Battle Tendency arc of Jojos Bizarre Adventure, in order to demonstrate her mastery of Hamon, Lisa Lisa walks out onto a Venice canal. Joseph, refusing to be shown up, follows her out - neatly demonstrating the gulf between them at that point; Lisa Lisa steps lightly on the water's surface, while Joseph wades out like he's wearing snowshoes. Both are doing so by channeling Hamon into their feet, but Joseph has to pour a far larger amount into place to make it work.
- This is a common ability of the ship girls in Kantai Collection 'coz well, you know, they are girls with the spirits of WWII Imperial Japanese navy ships in them. When it came to this, the official 4-koma compared it to ice skating.
- Ascended Meme: Originally, it was unsure how the ship girls even moved while on water. On Nico Nico Douga, where Miku Miku Dance models became prevalent after the popularity of the game, videos popped up which showed the girls skating on water as a possible way of emulating the propeller on an actual ship. So it is unsurprising that the 4-koma decided to go along with the idea as well.
- Near the end of the graphic novel Watchmen, as Dr. Manhattan notes his interest in creating life, he's standing on water. The implication is obvious. In The Movie, the walking on water scene is visible in a commercial but lacks the symbolism.
- Subverted in an issue of Superman: a priest asks him if he's able to walk on water, and Superman admits that yes, he can, but he wouldn't take advantage of the priest's faith like that. Although he does this in the Batcave in Kingdom Come.
- In the French comic Les Naufragés d'Ythaq, this is part of the Water Elemental Power set.
- In Transmetropolitan, shoes called "Air Jesus" are actually available, and according to their advertising, allow the wearer to walk on water. They turn out be less good at allowing the wearer to walk upside down on the ceiling.
- John does this a couple of times in With Strings Attached. Notably, the first time he does it, he screams “Look at me! Look at me! I'm Jesus!”
- A would-be girlfriend to Twilight Sparkle in A Stitch in Time (sequel to Hard Reset) tries to comprehend the idea of dating a mare who 'practically walks on water'. This being Twilight Sparkle, she does indeed do just this. And dares her to walk out onto the lake with her.
Films — Animation
- In Princess Mononoke, Shishigami the Forest Spirit, being a spirit of nature, is able to walk on the surface of his pond. Then again, Shishigami certainly is Crystal Dragon Jesus.
- Metro Man from Megamind walks on water towards the beginning of the movie. All though he is in fact just floating directly above it. Watch his heels: they never actually touch the surface, only his toes do.
- Kida does this in Atlantis The Lost Empire when she becomes possessed by the crystal.
- In Epic the lily pads actually glide to Queen Tara's feet so she has places to step over the water.
- Frozen gives us the standard variant of the water freezing everywhere Elsa steps. Not only that, but once she gains full control of her powers, she goes from trudging through the snow like everyone else to effortlessly walking on top of the snow without leaving footprints.
Films — Live-Action
- In Superman II, in contrast to most alien visitations, when the three Kryptonian criminals touch down on planet "Houston", General Zod lands in a lake. He then proceeds, using his gravity-defying abilities, to rise above and walk on top of the surface of the lake, freaking out an onlooker nearby.
- Bruce Almighty. When Bruce receives God's powers, one of the first things he does is walk on the surface of a puddle (which he's splashed himself on before). A few minutes later he and God take a stroll on a nearby body of water while the latter explains the rules.
- In X-Men, when various locations of and children in the Institute are being displayed as Xavier is giving Wolverine the tour, one is shown running (not-superspeed) horizontally across a tadpole pond.
- Metatron does this at a pivotal moment in the movie Dogma.
- Featured heavily in Wire Fu movies, particularly those which focus on the theme of spiritual enlightenment.
- A Sword Fight takes place over a lake in one of the several Rashomon stories in Hero. At times, it's only the tips of their swords that need to touch the water in order for them to maintain placement. Somewhat justifiable as this particular fight is imaginary, serving as a "eulogy" by Nameless and Broken Sword to the "defeated" Flying Snow and is made up by the Emperor as part of his theory of what REALLY happend. He's wrong.
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon includes a number of scenes of characters skimming across ponds.
- A great way to symbolically finish the movie Being There with Peter Sellers.*
- Alluded in Lawrence of Arabia. Ali tells Lawrence that instead of wanting the Arabs to do reasonable things, he wants them to walk on water. Later in Deraa, Lawrence walks across a puddle and laughs.
- Klaatu shortly demonstrates this in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).
- As does Imhotep in The Mummy Returns, over a pool in Karnak.
- Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled: The Djinn and Lisa are both standing on top of a lake in a vision he projects.
- Spoofed in The Tuxedo when Jackie Chan's character absent-mindedly walks across a pool. It turns out that there is a large object just below the water.
- Ironclad has what is arguably a symbolic example. The film begins and ends with a shot of the king standing ashore with his feet awash, which looks exactly as if he was standing on water. This fits the Medieval idea of the king being anointed by God and thus granted mystical abilities of a saint.
- RoboCop (1987) has a symbolic variant where the resurrected Murphy walks through shallow water during his showdown with the film's villain, Boddicker. (The entire movie is full of religious symbolism, since the premise is more or less "Jesus of Nazareth in rundown, futuristic Detroit, only with guns".)
- Subverted in Soviet comedy The Diamond Arm. A smuggler who ended up resorting to robbery is stranded on an islet about a kilometer from the shore. Some boy asks him what's wrong and walks away after being told to get lost. Then the criminal notices the boy walks on water, becomes a born-again Christian and follows him to the shore. But his faith doesn't live long after he discovers it was just a strip of shallow water. See the scene on Youtube.
- In a scene in Herbie Rides Again Herbie and his human companions are blocked from leaving the beach by a truck stopped on the only road out. So Herbie takes a detour... into the ocean. A few minutes later and he's worked his way back to the surface, skimming his tires along the water as they try to find their way back to San Francisco.
- From the Manger to the Cross, being a silent-era movie about Jesus, features Him doing this.
- Used in one episode of the children's series Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left. Dovis uses her powers to walk across a pond and save her friend. They then need to find some way to logically explain how she did this to Michelle (which they did by putting a log there to walk across).
- In Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy, the Kiint can walk on water, probably through the use of some supertech or Psychic Powers. They think little of it.
- From the same author, the Void Trilogy actually has a character called Waterwalker (it's a nickname, actually, but he did do it). His ability is derived from the fact that he lives in a universe which allows Psychic Powers, and he's a very powerful telekinetic.
- In the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, a fairly simple spell will allow a wizard to walk on water, although one has to be careful to maintain the masquerade and not let the muggles notice. Given a reasonably logical explanation — the spell redistributes the caster's weight to a large enough area around the feet that the surface tension of the water will support it.
- Lightly deconstructed when Nita and Kit use the spell on the open sea. Making water hold their weight doesn't make it still, and keeping their balance on the waves over a long trek leaves some seldom-used leg muscles very sore the next day.
- Elphaba does it in Wicked (the book), freezing the water at each step and she doesn't even notice it.
- Polgara of the works of David Eddings manages it, in order to make a point. Her adversary, Chabat, has a much harder time of it when trying to copy her. Still, the characters in question are sorceresses...
- In Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, the title character has an almost psychic ability to read snow and ice. Thus she can walk on a half frozen sea because she can see which ice patches will support her weight and which won't. The onlookers are suitably impressed.
- Saber can do so in Fate/Zero, because of the blessing of the Lady of the Lake. It never comes up in Fate/stay night, however. Then, in Hollow Ataraxia, it turns out that despite being able to walk over water, she can't actually swim, and freaks out in a public pool. It is hilarious.
- A line in the spy novel The Hungarian Game invoked this as a statement of implausibility: the narrator's co-worker claims to have done something subtle, and the narrator notes that a vision of this fellow acting subtly is instantly followed by a vision of their boss walking across Lake Tahoe.
- In Illusions, Donald Shimoda does this trick to demonstrate his powers...and then follows it up by swimming in land.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry once freezes part of a lake and runs across it, and invokes this.
- In the Labyrinths of Echo series Shurf Lonli-Lokli walks on water in Green Waters of Ishma when he saves drowning Mind Controlled victims.note Max lampshades it, of course, including the fact that Shurf is wearing his snow white toga-like uniform at the time.
- From Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Titan Hyperion does this. Percy copies him and they have a swordfight on water. Percy could probably do this all the time, but since he can breathe underwater and swim super fast there's no real need.
- In Arrested Development, Michael's (developmentally disabled) love interest Rita leaves both him and the series as a whole by walking thoughtlessly across the surface of a swimming pool (in a Shout-Out to Being There, mentioned above). Michael assumes that his magician brother has rigged the pool as part of his performance, but GOB tells him, "No. That's not my trick, Michael." Immediately subverted in the 'next episode' trailer: "... It's my ILLUSION!!!"
- Most seasons of Power Rangers (and, by default, Super Sentai) where the Rangers' powers revolve around the elements have the liquid-controlling Blue Ranger able to stand/walk/run on water. A rare few seasons with ninjas may do it too, but if a season has both elements and ninjas, it will never be a generic ninja ability.
- As well as that, Reje does it in episode 28 of Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger.
- Rory Bremner portrayed Tony Blair as walking on water in one sketch, soon after Blair was elected.
- On the Misfits Christmas Episode, an evil Priest manages to acquire an array of flashy superpowers, including the ability to walk on water, in order to convince the local population that he is the second coming of Jesus (and so he can steal vast quantities of money from the poor and sexually abuse women without repercussions).
- On an episode of Glee Will does this across a swimming pool whilst proposing to Emma.
- In the 2010 christmas special episode of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson claims that as "J.C.", this means he can walk on water. May and Hammond point out he's just standing on a shallow bit, so make him walk to the left. He does and falls straight in the sea, where without missing a beat:
Clarkson: I've invented swimming!
- Exit 57 had the song, "My Wife Dumped Me For a Guy Named Jesus":
I'm as good as that guy named JesusI could cure a cripple with a prosthesisAnd I can walk on water when it freezesI'm as good as that guy named JesusAnd Jesus better watch his back
- Elvis Costello, "Don't you think that I know that walking on water won't make me a miracle man."
- Singer Steve Harley, sometime in the 1970's, suffered a messianic delusion whilst preparing for an open-air gig in a London park. He had the band perform on a small man-made island in a lake, whilst at huge cost he insisted on a causeway being built, just underneath water level, to allow him to - apparently - walk on the water to the band. As it was a hot day in London and a public park, the inevitable happened and lots of people going for a dip in the lake found the hidden walkway first, thus making Harley's grand entry something of an anticlimax. He had to shoulder through crowds to get on stage...
Myths & Religion
- For obvious, Biblical-related reasons, this one is Older Than Feudalism.
- Buddha did it before that.
- Greek Mythology:
- Orion came before either of them.
- With Euphemus the Argonaut coming straight after; helped along by the fact his father was Poseidon, and his maternal grandfather was possibly the aforementioned Orion.
- North Korean propaganda claims that Kim il-Sung once crossed a river by walking on fallen leaves (among other miracles).
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The boots of water-walking, a magical item which has since turned up in many D&D homages.
- Also the ring of water-walking and a water-walking spell starting 2nd edition.
- The Body Equilibrium psionic power allowed this already in the 1st edition.
- GURPS has the "Walk on Liquid" advantage.
- Exalted has a few Charms which enable this. Namely, the Feather-Foot Style.
- In Changeling: The Lost, the first clause of the Contract of Separation allows this.
- Several very skilled magicians and illusionists have performed this particularly showy trick. It gets a good reaction.
- Mindfreak's Criss Angel performs this on his reality-show, an episode of Las Vegas, and various locations in accordance to his characteristic street magic. He assures any who may be offended that his tricks have nothing to do with being prophetic or symbolic, it's just artistic and looks cool. The crowning achievement is when he does this on Lake Mead with random onlookers moving their hands under his feet to check for stilts. When he gets pretty far, he slowly sinks. Prior to that, he walks across a shark tank. The sharks were probably more confused than anything.
- British magician Dynamo (real name Steven Frayne) once walked on the Thames, attracting quite the crowd. A canoe paddled through the path he had walked through.
- Vamp in Metal Gear Solid 2, can not only move across the surface of water but can actually swim through exceptionally light water that your character will instantly sink to the bottom of and drown.
- Final Fantasy
- Final Fantasy X has one scene where Yuna performs a sending by walking out onto open water, then performing the traditional sending dance while the water rises into a column under her feet. It's never explained how she did that and she never does it again. Considering Yuna's role in the plot, it was probably a case of What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?.
There's also the fact that between this, the level of awesome the scene contains, the music that accompanies the scene, and the beauty of the graphics, this may be everyone involved with the making of the game showing off.
- The ability to move over water without sinking (and thus being unable to act) is a support ability of the Ninja class in Final Fantasy Tactics, and some monster classes can do so as well.
- Final Fantasy Tactics Advance gives us Feather Boots, which have much the same effect but can be equipped by any class. They really come in handy in the swimming tournament battles.
- Final Fantasy X has one scene where Yuna performs a sending by walking out onto open water, then performing the traditional sending dance while the water rises into a column under her feet. It's never explained how she did that and she never does it again. Considering Yuna's role in the plot, it was probably a case of What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?.
- In Startopia, every species has a swimming animation, except the Zedem Monks, who walk across the surface. Their planet's hat is a papal miter, it seems.
- Soma Cruz in Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow acquires the ability to walk on water. Considering who he "is" and that his last name more or less translates to "Cross", makes this possibly symbolic. Although Mina, who tells you about it, compares you to a ninja instead.
- In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, Illidan gained the ability to walk on water, since he teamed up with the amphibious Naga and needed to be able to move with them.
- World of Warcraft
- Shamans have a spell to that effect. It's almost useless, except to kill annoying guildmates when battling a boss that requires frequent submersion, escape certain monster, and impress new players. Nonetheless, this, coupled with the class' unique ability to resurrect themselves, has spawned many "Jesus was a Shaman" jokes. It's also useful when fishing pools, or doing any quest which sends you to the middle of a lake — since, in the latter case, you don't have to swim to shore in order to eat and drink.
- Priests can use their Levitate spell to float a foot above the water's surface.
- Death Knights do it in a slightly different way, freezing the water below them. You have to stay relatively close to the Death Knight to benefit from it, though.
- There is also a water walking potion. You get them as rewards for the daily fishing quests, from fishing in certain areas, or crafted by alchemists.
- As of Mists of Pandaria, a mount that you can purchase from the Anglers can walk on water.
- In the Brewmoon Festival scenario, you are temporarily granted the ability to walk on water while fighting the mini-boss water spirit, Li Te. You got a similar benefit when fighting the water spirit Quid in a daily quest that has now been removed.
- Kirby can walk on water with the Ninja ability, as well as skim over it when going fast enough with the Wheel and Tornado abilities. He can also dash across it using the Water ability in Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
- Water-walking in Achaea is accomplished using enchanted footwear or potions of levitation, which allow easy, quick movement just as on land. Without it, swimming is slow, hard work (for those who can't, for example, turn into a turtle...)
- A player of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 (X360) discovered a glitch that allowed the player to stand and shoot on water hazards (dubbed, naturally, "The Jesus Shot") and posted video of it to YouTube. Electronic Arts's (the games's publisher) response: "It's not a glitch. He's just that good."
- The Touhou series feature an example and a subversion. The former case is due to Yukari Yakumo's ability to manipulate boundaries, which she used to manipulate the boundary of truth and lie in order to invade the moon, through its mirrored image in a lake (she and her ghost friend Yuyuko Saigyouji invade the moon again through this method, in the official manga Silent Sinner in Blue); the subversion is that the 9th game, Phantasmagoria of Flower View, features the Sanzu River, through which the souls of the dead are ferried to be judged. This river is canonically described as unswimmable, and only a shinigami's boat is able to travel through it without sinking.
- In Tactics Ogre, mermaids and ninjas can move over water tiles like land, and their sprites are shown as standing on the surface of the water.
- Fisherman-cum-Tempest Devon has this ability in Ultima VIII: Pagan, and demonstrates it by going on a walk out to sea after defeating his sister in an elemental duel. The Avatar never learns to do this though, since unlike the other Magical and Elemental Powers in the game, tempestry is apparently limited to the Tenebrae royal family as an inborn talent.
- The Ultima Underworld series allows the player to cast water-walking. It makes numerous sections a lot easier, and lets you fight water monsters that otherwise have to be lured to shore if you want to strike them.
- A pair of magical boots allows Link to do this in The Adventure of Link, but only on one very specific body of water around the fifth palace. There's a Heart Container hidden there too.
- Another pair of boots allows this (and walking on air) in Ocarina of Time... but only for about two seconds.
- In the original Creatures, the title creatures can actually walk around on the ocean's surface. However, one needs to abuse certain objects to get them onto the sea in the first place, so it's rather obvious that walking on water was due to programming limitations and not deliberately invoked.
- Possible in NetHack with a pair of water walking boots. You can even use them to walk on lava, provided they're fireproof — and in an aversion of Convection Schmonvection, it'll still hurt, unless you're also fire-resistant.
- A puzzle in Tomb Raider: Revelation is solved by dumping some ancient Egyptian chemicals into water that allows you to walk on it (okay, ankle-deep, but that's more due to engine limitations).
- The main Pokémon series doesn't use Suicune's ability to walk on water outside of cut scenes, but it is used in the third Pokemon Ranger game.
- Mother 3's hackers found out during their fiddle that Flint and Claus can walk on water in some places they aren't meant to be in. For Flint's case, this glitch racks his Memetic Badass trait up even more.
- The yellow ninja from G. G. Shinobi walks on water as his special power.
- In Golden Sun's Mercury Lighthouse, once Mia prays to a statue of a Goddess, certain floor tiles light up and grant Isaac (and the Party in My Pocket) the ability to hop on the surface of the Lighthouse's pools and fountains for three steps (before falling in, flailing comically, and returning to where he was).
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: water walking is an alteration spell that allows you to walk (and run and jump) on water for a limited time, though you can also enchant it as a permanent effect. Very useful for moving around quickly in the many coastal and swampy areas of the map.
- While water-walking is no longer a spell in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Dragonborn expansion has a pair of enchanted boots with the effect. They cannot be disenchanted to learn the effect, so you're forced to hang onto the boots if you want to use it.
- In the Heroes of Might and Magic series, heroes can walk on bodies of water via spells or artifacts that allow it. Pretty useful on maps with lots of water since traveling on a boat is usually less efficient than walking unless you waste precious skill or artifact slots to boost travel over water. In the sixth game, Sanctuary heroes can do this if their armies consist of nothing but Sanctuary units, all of whom are either aquatic or amphibious.
- Might and Magic series has a spell to walk on water, although with the games' interfaces it's unclear whether you are walking, swimming, using a boat or flying low (though in the later games the latter two is significantly less likely — using a boat more so, and 8 has levitate as a separate power to Water Walk that also allows walking above water).
- Cryo Legionnaire's from the Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 add on Uprising can walk and stand on water by freezing it just beneath their feet.
- Ninjas from Sengoku Basara have this ability, but only in cutscenes.
- "Witch Time" in Bayonetta sometimes gives the opportunity to stand and move around on water for a short while.
- The water walking potion in Terraria grants the player this ability.
- Gameloft's My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic video game has two locations, Ponyville and Canterlot. Both have rivers. In Canterlot, bridges exist over the rivers, and the ponies use them to cross. Ponyville has no bridges, and no way to build any. But it doesn't matter, because the Ponyville ponies can walk and stand on the rivers as if they were solid. (You can build ponds, though, and the ponies always detour around those.)
- The "Dark Rain" cheat on the original Age of Empires allows archers not only to walk on water, but, when standing still they get to turn into trees. Trees.
- The saintly hermit Calin can do this in Bruno the Bandit. He also reminisces fondly about playing "Walk-On-Water Hockey" back in divinity school.
- The Order of the Stick, "Pop Idolatry":
Durkon: Water Walk!
Daigo: You had Water Walk prepared?
Durkon: I live onna boat an' wear heavy armor.
Daigo: Good point.
- In the comic Triquetra Cats, Rain Soricha being a magic user in the realm of complete control over the domain of water does this frequently, even going as far as creating floating disks of water that she can use as ledges to leap on to gain access to high points.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Inevitably, Katara, a Water-bender, has come to express the ability. She most commonly achieves it by freezing ice around her feet and sort of skating. As her alter ego the Painted Lady, she does so without the freezing to better impress the villagers and Fire Nation soldiers.
- In Code Lyoko, people possessed by XANA's specters in the real world gain the ability to move atop water.
- Brother Blood in Teen Titans could do this, while strangely Aqualad could not!
- Clam does it in one episode of Camp Lazlo, complete with heavenly choir and the onlooker's response "Holy mackerel".
- Played with in I Am Weasel. At the end of an episode where everyone had been shunning Weasal only for him to prove himself a hero afterwards, he walks out onto a lake. The crowd rushes out after him and sink right down, prompting Weasal to quip, "You know, I really need to teach these guys to stick to the shallow part."
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Twilight Sparkle does this, as part of her training with Zecora, while levitating spheres of water. She falls in when she loses her concentration.
- Certain insects, like the Gerridae, are capable of doing this thanks to cohesion (basically, they stand on the membrane the water's surface forms). Course, that's just plain ol' physics/chemistry.
- The fishing spider (Dolomedes) is covered by a layer of hair that completely repels water, allowing it to walk on it. If it goes underwater, it must hold on to something like an underwater plant because it will automatically float to the surface if it lets go.
- This can be possible in dreams without even particularly trying due to a poor representation of physics leaving the surface of dream water to behave for one's dream self almost as it does for the above mentioned insects.
- Real life aversion: A priest tried to prove that one could walk on water if one only had enough faith. He demonstrated using himself as the example. It didn't go as well as he expected, earning him a Darwin Award.
- A self-proclaimed messiah in early 20th-century Australia took his followers out on a boat into the middle of a lake and asked them if they believed he could walk on water. When they replied "yes", he said, "Then there is no need for me to do it."
- Of course, everyone can walk on water as long as it's frozen.
- British midgit submarine crews in WWII were fond of the trick of 'parking' their submarine within half an inch of the surface and standing upon the hull to wave at passers by. It appeared they were standing on water.
- There is a magic trick where a magician appears to walk across a pool, sometimes with people swimming underneath them. The trick involves walking on perspex blocks, which turn invisible if you get the angle of the audience and lighting right.
- On leave on the Tunisian coast in 1943, comedian Spike Milligan found a natural ridge of rock just beneath water level. He drew attention to this fact by seemingly walking on the water and periodically calling up "Hey! Dad! Look what I can do!" The regimental padre to his army unit had a few words later about taking the Lord's name in vain...
Running on water
Anime & Manga
- One Piece
- Brook. One of the few upsides to being a walking skeleton is being light enough to run on water.
- Aokiji rides his bike across water, but he's An Ice Person so he's actually freezing a path across the ocean.
- Whereas the straight-out walking version is subverted in the Ranma ˝ manga, the anime has Ranma do this in one OAV after he decides that, if he's going to fight in female form, he should play to its strengths, with this being part of the Training from Hell/test of his skills.
- InuYasha: Inu-Yasha does this in the second movie, so he could attack a monster in the lake. In the anime filler arc about the panther youkai, the one with ice powers freezes a fairly large stream and walks across it.
- In Air Gear anyone skilled enough on their Air Trecks can do this. So far only Gabishi and Orca have been seen doing it. Ikki does more of a gliding on water variant when he gets the Wind Regalia.
- Cherry demonstrates this ability in an episode of Urusei Yatsura (along with a weird fossile bird animated by Lum). As many things in this show, not to take too seriously.
- Pretty much all super-speedsters in any Super Hero continuity will be able to do this — The Flash and Quicksilver being perhaps the two most prominent. This is supposed to be physically possible, if you can sustain a speed in excess of 60 miles per hour, obviously a snap for these guys who consider going supersonic essentially just a brisk walk to them.
Films — Animation
- The utter coolness of being able to run on water is repeatedly stressed in The Incredibles, especially since Dash didn't know that his Super Speed would enable him to do this. Then there's the moment where he is caught between two enemy hovercrafts and didn't know how to escape them: He comes to a stop, then sinks below the water's surface while the enemies crash into each other just inches above him. And later on, after the fight with the Omnidroid...
Dash: That was so cool when you threw that car!
Mr. Incredible: Not as cool as you running on water!
Films — Live-Action
- The very end of the movie Remo Williams The Adventure Begins (also known as Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous), a Pilot Movie that never became a The Destroyer show, has Remo's mentor Chiun doing this to escape some villains and to show Remo he's still got a lot to learn. (The trick, it seems, is to run really fast.) Remo himself earlier runs across wet cement, while the Mook following him falls in and drowns. This is shown as being a kind of mind-over-matter trick of becoming lighter, not really faster.
- By Interesting Times, Rincewind has apparently become an amazing runner — to the point that, when running from yet another hazard, he sprints across the surface of a koi pond without missing a step.
- In The Destroyer, Remo Williams can also run over water.
- In David Farland's The Runelords series, there is at one point a story told about a messenger who used magic to become a speedster and run across a sea in order to deliver a warning. And then promptly died of old age, in a clear reference to the run of Marathon.
- MythBusters thoroughly disproved this trope... or at least, one version of it. Their version involved supposed techniques for ninjas to make a quick getaway by scampering across the enemy stronghold's moat, fitting in perfectly with the What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic? definition of this trope. They finally resort to cheating, by adding enough corn starch to make the entire thing a non-Newtonian fluid which briefly becomes a solid when pressure is applied to it; run fast enough and you can "walk" on "water", but the moment you stop you're going to sink.
- Time Warp replicates this trick for their show.
- Brainiac: Science Abuse did it even earlier.
- They tested another myth that a human running fast enough could support his weight on the water's surface for just a couple of steps. This was busted too. At any feasible running speed, as soon as you hit the water, you're going down.
- They did recreate various videos of fast running on water — with an underwater walkway.
- They did another myth about riding a motorcycle on water - this time confirmed (for three hundred feet, anyway. Which is still pretty awesome).
- In Smallville, Bart Allen is able to move fast enough to run on water without breaking the surface tension. It is implied that this is something Clark cannot do, until he finally starts doing this in Season 8.
- Daphne in Heroes claims to be able to run all the way from the US to Paris at super-speed. Then again, this was all in her head, but it is possible she could still do it.
- Barry does this in The Flash (2014) episode "Plastique" to save the city from the title metahuman who's about to explode. Since he runs up a building earlier in the same episode, this shouldn't be much more difficult. He's even able to outrun the large wave caused by the underwater explosion. He is, however, unsure at first if this is even possible, but his Mission Control tells him he can.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- The "Tiny Mushroom" powerup in New Super Mario Bros. makes the player so small that they can run (even walk) across the surface of water, although they will start to sink if they stand still. Dottie's ability in Super Paper Mario allows the same thing.
- A power-up in Super Mario Sunshine allows Mario to do this, using FLUDD to zoom across the water's surface.
- In Super Mario 64, one can ride on the surface of the water using a Koopa shell.
- There is also a certain enemy based on a water-strider bug that can freely stand on water.
- Luigi can do this briefly in Super Mario 64 DS.
- In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Yoshi can do this after eating a Dash Pepper.
- In Wario Land The Shake Dimension, Wario can run over water when sent dashing out of a certain machine. But of course, he sinks if he turns around while running across said water.
- Hahli can do this in BIONICLE Heroes, despite no Toa of Water demonstrating this ability in the main canon.
- Similar to Naruto, Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden is apparently capable of running on (and leaping from the surface of) water, simply by virtue of being a NINJA.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic, as a speedster, has been able to do this in some games. He kind of has to — if he doesn't go fast enough, he'll sink underwater, where he has no traction on the water's bottom. He can't swim, so drowning is fairly guaranteed... Oh, and all this is in the Sonic X anime; he seems to be okay wading through water in the games. Unless it's one of the 3D games, which treat water like a Bottomless Pit unless you're moving fast enough to run on it (or slide across it rather oddly in the 06 game). Some of the Game Gear titles allow Sonic to curl up into a ball and bounce across the water's surface like a skimming stone.
- Other characters in the series, such as Tails and Knuckles, are also capable of this.
- Jude of Wild ARMs 4 does this in order to save a puppy drifting down a river. More precisely, he runs on leaves in the water using his Super Speed.
- In World of Warcraft, players may obtain glyphs, which enhance the player's abilities in various ways. Rogues may obtain "Glyph of Blurred Speed", Which allows them to run over water while using sprint, which boosts their speed by quite a bit. Combine this with the fact that using sprint doesn't break stealth, and you can get certain builds of rogues sneaking across water. Also, standing completely still while using sprint (thus defeating its purpose) doesn't drop you in the water, surprisingly.
- Donkey from Donkey Kong Country can do the "running" variant. If you roll off an edge you get to jump on the air; and if you do the air jump thing in the edge between air and water, you get to jump again. Rinse and repeat. Kiddy from the third game could do the same (that is, the orangutans do it, the monkeys don't).
- Link could do this in the Bubblegloop Swamp area of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.
- Runman in Runman Race Around The World can stay on water surface as long as he keeps on zooming.
- The new DC Universe Online allows their speedsters to run across water. If you stop moving, you drop back to swimming mode.
- In Freedom Force, The Flash Expy Bullet's origin story has him being hit with Energy X while in-flight and crash-landing in Vietnam during the war. The energy makes him a Speedster, so he is able to run away from bullets but has trouble stopping himself before hitting the ocean and ends up running all the way to the US. He can't do that in the game, though.
- In Final Fantasy IV The After Years, the ninja Tsukinowa manages to run across an ocean in a cutscene.
- The best Ninja Spy-enhanced Monk class in Dungeons & Dragons Online receives "Dance of the Water Strider", the ability to run over most watery areas in the game. Not quite as useful in that few quests have bodies of water handy to impress your co-questing friends, but still cool, nonetheless.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. You can jump around on top of the water without the aid of magic if your acrobatics skill is high enough. There is also a water-walking spell for the less athletic.
- Kazooie can do this in Banjo-Tooie, but only while wearing the Turbo Trainers.
- In Golvellius, the Aqua Boots allow Kelesis to walk on water.
- Golden Sun: The Lost Age has Taopo Swamp, where Felix (and the Party in My Pocket) will sink gradually as he moves around, and eventually go under and wash up back on the shore, but can be buoyed to the surface by streams of bubbles. By "running" precisely from one bubble stream to another, he can navigate across the swamp and find a cave dungeon on the other side (which isn't necessary to advance the plot, but contains minerals for Item Crafting).
- The Pokémon Heliolisk is based on a Basilisk lizard, which can run on water (see below)and can learn surf despite not being a water-type.
- The anime has also shown the Froakie family as being capable of doing this, seeing as they're water ninjas, it's very appropriate.
- In the NES version of Strider, Hiryu can walk on the surface of water after acquiring the Aqua Boots in Egypt.
- Justice League Heroes: The Flash uses running on water in a Sunken City level. Entering Bullet Time will allow The Flash to cross water in between platforms. His Arch-Enemy, Zoom, can do the same thing, leading to an on-foot High Speed Battle while still running on water.
- In Hatoful Boyfriend, Oko San attends swimming class, only to run across the pool's surface instead of swimming. Oko San actually is divine in his extended ending, as an avatar of the Pudding God.
- 8-Bit Theater has an instance of Chocobos running on water.
- An basic trick in Juathuur.
- Parodied in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal where Jesus thunder is stolen because the lake happens to be frozen at the moment. He can still walk on water otherwise, but since he cant show it off at the moment, the Apostles are not impressed. He then attempts to levitate only to realize his sandals have frozen to the ice.
- Frequently in Western animation — fear is an excellent motivator. If your fear gives you super speed, you can run on the water without sinking. See Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo for this sort of gag, among many others.
- There are other motivators — Pepe Le Pew spots a "belle femme skonque" on an ocean liner out at sea, and rushes to her. "You know, I suddenly realized that I never learned to swim! Silly me...(glub)" He continues running on the ocean floor.
- This naturally had to be executed at some point in the Kim Possible episode "Queen Bebe", in which she received red hypersonic speed sneakers.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Aang is able to decrease wind resistance in front of himself to increase his speed to perform feats such as running up vertical walls and across bodies of water, nicknamed "Wind on Waves" in the TCG.
- Fire Nation characters also utilize Mongoose Lizards, giant reptilian creatures modeled after Basilisk Lizards that possess the ability to naturally run on water (see Real Life below).
- Code Lyoko: Ulrich's Super Sprint. Though not that often; there is that one time Ulrich was training in the Ice Sector, which has lots of not-deadly virtual water. Combined with Doppelgänger Attack in that he uses Triplicate at the time, and all three clones are running in unison. For obvious reasons, does not work on the Digital Sea!
- Wakfu: Nox's pet Igôle has the power to run extremely fast over water, thanks to the Xelor magic of his collar.
- In an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Superman and Flash have a race around the world using their Super Speed and, since the Earth's surface is mostly water, they spend some time running on the ocean.
- Justice League, "The Savage Time": Flash runs across the Atlantic, to warn the Americans that Savage and the Nazi-stand-ins are headed their way.
- Steven Universe has Lion showing this ability.
- A particular kind of lizard called the Basilisk Lizard can sprint across water, leading to it also being known as the "Jesus Lizard".
- Water is what scientists call a Newtonian fluid. Non-Newtonian fluids (like, say, water plus lots of starch) exhibit properties more cool for purposes of Real Life water walking, like you can run on their surface, but sink while standing. It is doubtful that Lake Genesareth was full of starch during that storm, if you're curious — but the idea of Jesus having to do this just to stay afloat is, depending on your point of view, sacrilegious and/or pretty funny.
- Some extremely powerful custom cars and some snow mobiles can do this trick over short distances; as covered in Top Gear.
- The 2013 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon.
- There is an actual sport called Watercross, in which people ride a snowmobile on water.