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Airplane Arms
aka: Bird Run

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"It's-a me! Aereo!"note 
I'm a little airplane; nyow.
I'm a little airplane; nyow, nyow,
And wangeddy-wang,
I'm a little airplane now.
Jonathan Richman, "I'm a Little Airplane"

A strange position where a character in a generally good mood runs with their arms fully outstretched to the sides like the wings of an airplane. (Try it, it's fun!) Little kids may be depicted doing it as it looks cute.

A cooler, more aerodynamic variant, with the runner's body leaning foward and the arms swept farther back, like the wings on an F-14 Tomcat, is also often used to indicate a very fast and agile runner. Ninja are frequently portrayed running this way, though they now tend to prefer the Ninja Run. Samurai also run in a similar manner, usually while keeping one hand grasped onto their katana. In a more (apparently) realistic series this may have something to do with the runner having a reduced profile and thus being harder to hit with ranged weaponry, but it's generally just the Rule of Cool. In modern Japan, this pose is known as "buun".


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Misuzu often runs around like this in Air, which is likely a hint about her background. That she falls down a lot may also be very symbolic in the show's context.
  • In Attack on Titan, at least all members of the Survey Corps. run this way.
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • This is parodied in a track episode. Chiyo, inspired to catch up, goes into this pose and promptly ends up running even slower.
    • Osaka tries a variant to keep people from passing her. It fails, mostly because her arms aren't twelve feet long.
  • For some reason, when Kanzaki Akari from Battle Athletes does this, she goes super fast.
  • The Big O villain Schwarzwald plays this straight. After he initially discovers his flying giant robot he's so excited he can't help but run through the hangar with his arms outstretched.
  • Shinigami in Bleach use a variant of this running style, especially in combat or hurrying to the next scene/encounter.
  • Episode 8 of Bubblegum Crisis shows Lisa Vanette running off in this manner after an exchange with Nene.
  • Souga in Cheeky Angel chases after Megumi in a Bird Run, and Fujiki imagines himself doing so across a field of flowers.
  • Sayoko (a Ninja Maid) does this in Code Geass.
  • Ed from Cowboy Bebop does this quite frequently. Complete with sound effects!
  • Daphne in the Brilliant Blue: Child!Maia in a flashback, used to highlight how carefree she was back then.
  • Doctor Slump:
    • Arale is perhaps not only the first manga/anime character to ever do this, but she's also probably responsible for the name, since she does it to pretend she's flying and makes a sound like a jet engine.
      Arale: KIIIIIIIIN.
    • Obotchaman does this, too, though less frequently than Arale.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Gohan and his little brother Goten run like this while training. They likely get it from their father Goku who would often run with Airplane Arms in the original Dragon Ball. In some Generation Xerox Pan runs like this in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, in the exact same fashion as Arale (whom she's already very similar to in this version).
  • Koshi Rikdo of Excel♡Saga does this in the opening credits. Excel herself does it quite often too.
  • Gundam:
  • Kuu in Haibane Renmei does this a lot. The bird-impression is enhanced since she actually has wings on her back.
  • In the sixth Hellsing OVA, the Nazi vampires run this way. The eighth episode has Iscariot officers running through Alucard's infernal host this way.
  • I'm Gonna Be an Angel!: Noelle loves this pose, especially when she is about to glomp Yuusuke.
  • Basically any major character who play soccer in Inazuma Eleven. Yes, even Endou the goal keeper.
  • Inuyasha, whenever he's in a hurry.
  • Nadeshiko of Laid-Back Camp runs like this when excited, and since she is easily excitable it is a frequent occurrence.
  • Kitsune does this in Love Hina while looking for her drill in Episode 13.
  • Vivio does this in episode 15 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS as she runs to Nanoha and Fate... before promptly falling flat on her face.
  • Kana from Minami-ke does this sometimes. In a desperate situation in episode 5 of Okawari, she Bird Runs all over town. (Unsurprisingly, she skins both knees in the process.)
  • The ending credits to My-Otome follow Arika as she does a Bird Run across an endless field of stars.
  • As you'd expect from the mention of Ninja above, pretty much everyone in Naruto does this, either by running on the ground or by jumping and gliding from one rooftop/branch to another.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: While piloting Unit 01, Shinji skips past airplane arms and goes straight to jet arms. 'Jet' specifically because he's breaking the sound barrier.
  • In One Piece several characters occasionally run with Airplane Arms such as Luffy and Sanji during the Thriller Bark arc. Of course actual ninjas like Raizo and Shinbou from Wano run like this too, even Nami runs like this after becoming a kunoichi.
  • Lucario does this in the Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew movie.
  • Everyone runs with their arms trailing behind them aerodynamically in Saint Seiya, at least past the Sanctuary arc. This new style coincides with the updated, wispy character designs. Averted in The Lost Canvas.
  • Mugen does this in an episode of Samurai Champloo. That this is done during the Edo period is due to Anachronism Stew.
  • Mihoshi does this a lot in Sora no Manimani.

    Comic Books 
  • Luke Pearson's Hilda often times does this, normally when springing into action.
  • Superboy: In the first issue of Superboy (2011), Kon wonders what his childhood would have been like if he'd been allowed to have one instead of being artificially aged while watching a kid run through a field with his arms outstretched and a makeshift cape pretending to be a superhero.

    Film — Animated 
  • Despicable Me: The little boy in the opening sequence runs towards the pyramid like this with his toy airplane, continues up the ramp, takes one step too many and falls from the great height, but then realizes he's actually airborne so he continues with the pose.
  • In Frozen, Anna does this pose at the end of "For the First Time in Forever", and Elsa does it in the middle of "Let it Go".
  • The Mayor in The Nightmare Before Christmas runs like this, due to his body's size and shape compared to his small feet.
  • Cody does this in The Rescuers Down Under after being taken on an epic ride by a giant eagle.
  • Space Jam: Hubie and Bertie, cartoon mice, conduct the intros for the Tune Squad. As Hubie intros Michael Jordan, he uses the honorific "His Royal Airness," at which Bertie stops munching cheese and assumes the spread-arm airplane pose, mimicking an airplane making turns.
  • Taken a step up in Spirited Away, where Haku is able to swiftly hover inches above the ground by running this way.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • There's a character in Hidden Talents who everyone calls Flying Dan. He can't sit still for very long and spends most of his time running about with his arms out like an aeroplane.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Lakertyans of Doctor Who run like this, though with their arms very close to their bodies. Apparently the intention was to make their species and culture more alien: it worked very well.
  • Colbert whips his shirt off and does this in Generation Kill for no readily apparent reason, much to the bemusement of everyone watching.
  • Happens fairly frequently in Horrible Histories songs, especially Shakespeare's song.
  • Barney on How I Met Your Mother does a lovely airplane-armed run to see the mysterious girl in Ted's bed in the Pineapple Incident.
  • In the closing credits of Little House on the Prairie Laura runs down a hill with airplane arms extended. And airplanes weren't even invented yet!(She said she did it to keep her balance.)

  • Jonathan Richman has a song entitled "I'm a Little Airplane"
  • Weezer's video for "The Good Life" has Matt Sharp and Patrick Wilson briefly doing a slo-mo airplane run across the studio together during the instrumental bridge of the song — appropriately enough, this is cut to when the pizza delivery driver from the Concept Video segments is watching an actual plane skywrite the word "DELIVER".
  • Most of the fan-made MMD videos for the Hatsune Miku song "Popipo" have Miku do this.

  • This a fairly common celebratory dance for various sports, most notably scoring a goal in soccer
    • Former Italian striker Vincenzo Montella (pictured above) was nicknamed "L'Aeroplanino" ("The Little Aeroplane") for his tendency to celebrate in this manner.
    • Jason Eugene Terry, nicknamed JET from his initials, of the NBA's Boston Celtics (and previously Dallas Mavericks), often does this after making a big shot.
    • Saquon Barkley frequently does a variation by windmilling his arms forward while running after a long play for a touchdown. Done briefly here by both Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr.
  • One of the common house rules for Ultimate Frisbee mandates this trope. It's much harder than you'd think! Try throwing without using your elbow or shoulder, for example.

    Video Games 
  • Alba: A Wildlife Adventure: When running longer distances, Alba will occasionally do this. As with her Skip of Innocence, this helps show her general cheerfulness.
  • Villagers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons will sometimes Airplane Run around the plaza. Villagers with the play hobby will do this any time.
  • Altair and Ezio from the Assassin's Creed series do this whenever they're running on something narrow like a wire, wall or a fence. Justified in that the outstretched arms help with balance.
  • Blacklight Retribution: The 'Airplane' taunt, complete with sound effects.
  • Taokaka from BlazBlue does this in her forward dash.
  • Zer0 in Borderlands 2 does this if he's sprinting without any guns equipped.
  • Bubsy the Bobcat does this when he glides.
  • The Acrobatics travel power in Champions Online also has the character running in this position. Therefore, the power is often mocked and (incorrectly) nicknamed Ninja Run.
  • Harle in Chrono Cross.
  • Ceph Grunts, Captains and Stalkers will do this in Crysis 2 when they charge to engage in melee combat. Stop them dead or go into armor mode, or you will be in for a world of hurt.
  • In Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, Genocide Jack runs with her arms behind her back, each holding a pair of scissors, with a purple energy trail behind her.
  • Day of the Tentacle: Laverne's walking animation involves her running with her arms outstretched unless she is wearing the tentacle costume.
  • The Majestic 12 Commando in Deus Ex does something similar to this while aiming and firing its Arm Cannon-like machine-guns. It looks silly but they can and will mess you up six ways 'til Sunday.
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Majin CaCs do this for their run animation.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • King Trode in Dragon Quest VIII always runs like this. It may have something to do with how he's cursed to look like a little green troll for most of the game...
    • In the Nintendo 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VII, Maribel runs with her arms outstretched behind her.
    • In Dragon Quest XI, Veronica runs like this in contrast to the other party members.
  • Dual Wielding and sprinting in Skyrim will result in this. With the right perks, you can go from this to a power attack that nobody will walk away pretty from.
  • Vincent Valentine of Final Fantasy VII does this during running animations. Since his character concept and design was basically the Rule of Cool personified, it's justified.
  • Ninjas in Final Fantasy XIV have this as a unique running animation.
    • This is shown most in the Lalafellin race due to their short arms.
  • The "young girl" characters, such as Klee, Qiqi, and Diona, all run like this in Genshin Impact.
  • An early Guild Wars 2 bug resulted in this, which some players found hilarious (as shown in this video). Years later for their April 1. joke they brought it back with airplane arms for every player, a pilot's cap, a vintage filter and the PC constantly making airplane noises (even appropriate ones during falling).
  • Ghirahim does this in his running animation from Hyrule Warriors.
  • Yayoi Takatsuki from The Idolmaster has a habit of bowing with her arms in this position, in a manner resembling a scissor door.
  • When she's not teleporting, Nix in inFAMOUS 2 gets around with a fast, low-to-the-ground Airplane Run. The Harpies in the DLC Festival of Blood do the same, suggesting that they use some of Nix's code.
  • Klonoa in the opening for Namco × Capcom.
  • In League of Legends, Udyr being in his Phoenix Stance changes his run animation to running with airplane arms, tilting slightly to either side with each step like he's actually pretending to fly. Also Zed, a ninja champion, changes his run animation to airplane arms at high movement speeds.
  • Kainé from NieR runs this way, holding her huge serrated knives out to the side.
  • In Octopath Traveler II, Ochette's running animation shows her with her arms stretched out behind her. It emphasizes her Genki Girl nature.
  • Aigis (the robot) in Persona 3. This looks especially funny when she has her sundress on. In FES's "The Answer" mode, she moves less like a jumbo jet and more like a quail — less stiff, but even more birdlike.
  • Recette and Charme of Recettear do this when running through dungeons. Charme uses a dangerous variant, dual wielding knives that she holds out as if to cut things just by running by them. (Unfortunately, that doesn't actually work in the game.)
  • The Remake of Romancing SaGa has Jamil and most of the thieves/rogues/amazons running like this.
  • Kunoichi in Samurai Warriors runs this way. Justified as she carries two large, very sharp knives in each hand, and running as fast as she does while keeping then close to her body may not be the best idea in the world. Ironically, Nene in the sequel keeps her arms much closer to her body, despite carrying an even larger pair of blades.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The title character has run this way ever since Sonic the Hedgehog CD; his Super Mode also flies like this.
    • Parodied by one the many NPCs of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). A man with Sonic hair and a familiar dress style will challenge Sonic to a race, claiming to be the real Sonic, and he reenacts this style of running. He's really, really slow, though, and it's almost impossible to lose against him.
    • Tails (whether he's flying or not), Knuckles, Amy, Cream, and Eggman all do this when running full speed.
  • One of 'Splosion Man's running animations.
  • Falco Lombardi runs in variations of this manner depending on the game. In the credits of Star Fox 64, he is seen running exactly this way. Probably appropriate, since he is essentially an anthropomorphic bird... and in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, it's actually Fox that sprints at a full-on Bird Run. Huh. Falco goes for more of a Ninja Run for this game.
  • Sakura from Street Fighter runs into her matches this way and almost overbalances before assuming a fighting stance.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario runs this way in Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder. In 3 and World, he can take flight when running this way with certain power-ups equipped (the Racoon Leaf and Tanooki Suit in 3, and the Cape Feather in World). He also runs like this in New Super Mario Bros. 2, but only when he has the Raccoon Leaf, in homage to 3.
    • When he first appears in Super Mario Galaxy, Mario is seen running towards the Star Festival with his arms out, just because he's such a happy-go-lucky guy. Also, he can run like this in-game in Rainbow form.
    • Mario runs with his arms outstretched when he's at top speed in Super Mario Odyssey. Interestingly, he can't reach this speed by simply running normally; he needs to have a bit of extra momentum, such as from running downhill or over a speed booster.
    • In Mario Strikers Charged, Luigi runs around and does this as one of his animations when he scores a goal. He does the same in the Gamecube Strikers Game
    • Interestingly, while Peach does this while running in Super Mario 3D World, Mario and Luigi don't, instead tucking their arms in while running.
    • In Mario Golf Toadstool Tour, Bowser Jr's eagle animation shows him doing this before striking a pose
  • Also in Super Smash Bros., Ness, Mega Man, Kirby, and the aforementioned Sonic all run like this with their arms swept behind them. Meanwhile, Lucario uses the ninja variant, and Marth and Lucina use the samurai variant, with Mewtwo evoking the former as he floats.
  • Occasionally Miis do this in their apartments in Tomodachi Life, either by themselves or with someone else. No repercussions occur if they collide, however.
  • Rumia and Suika from the Touhou Project series do this, with two different justifications: Rumia does it for Faux Symbolism reasons (it helps that she keeps the pose while standing still), and Suika is always drunk.
  • Maria in Xenogears actually does this, though it's more of a blink and you'll miss it in the ending (since Maria is only visible in one shot for a few seconds).

  • In El Goonish Shive, Grace does this while considering the long-term potential for a relationship between Justin and Luke.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Cheerful Child Sealand does this quite a bit.
    • The entire Italian army does this while running away from lookout duty.
  • The track art for "Lifdoff" in Homestuck Vol. 7 features John doing this.
  • In Kiwi Blitz, robots run with their arms swept back. In The Rant on page 226, Mary Cagle explains that this is because their locomotion is quite different from a human's.
    Since they don't have a human's muscular system, it's actually efficient for these gals to run NINJA STYLE. Unlike actual humans and/or narutos.

    Web Original 
  • This was brought up in an episode of Game Grumps when the grumps were playing Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations (Jon as Sasuke, Arin as Shikamaru).
    Egoraptor: Everybody knows the runs-faster by wiggling your arms around behind you.
    JonTron: Look at him, he's like "I'm a worm, I'm flying through the air!" [high-pitched] Superman with broken arms!
  • An episode of Because Science tested this trope out with the show host and a professional athlete. Verdict: Because of the instinctual fear of falling over due to the animé run's positioning, both runners are 3% slower than when they run conventionally, though the professional's "animé run" is still faster than the show host's standard sprinting.
  • The "Naruto Run" is mentioned as the part of the "Storm Area 51" meme, it is (jokingly) said it can outrun bullets.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Young Nicole runs like this on her way to a martial arts tournament in "The Choices".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The fire nation kids seem to be a fan of running like a Ninja. The shuriken-wielding Mai runs like this in her first appearance. Ty Lee runs like this on wires during "The Boiling Rock" two-parter. Zuko runs like this during the Final Battle and even Azula runs like this while fighting Aang in "The Drill". Possibly justified in Azula's case as she seems to be using Firebending to propel herself like an actual aircraft, but it fails since Aang halts her with a stream of mud making her lose balance and slip.
    • Suki along with rest of the Kyoshi warriors run like this. Since they are based off Japanese theatre it's very fitting.
    • Toph does a unique "swinging arms" version while performing a Earth Wave to go fast.
    • In The Legend of Korra, the Ninja-like Equalist chi-blockers occasionally display this trope. In Book Two, Korra appears to have adopted it herself.
  • The Backyardigans: Uniqua does this in the opening of "Fly Girl", establishing it as a pilot-themed episodenote .
  • Bob's Burgers: Tina does an awkward version of this where she runs with her arms just simply hanging at her side. The only time she runs normally is when her and Louise deduce that an extremely annoying girl is going to ask Gene to date her, and they rush to try and stop it from happening.
  • Numbuh Two from Codename: Kids Next Door runs like this sometimes. Fitting because he's the teams pilot.
  • Doug: In the beginning of "Doug Flies a Kite", after Doug mentions flying a kite, his father, Phil, runs around the room imitating an airplane, which leads Doug to convince himself that his father has gone insane.
  • The Dragon Prince: In Book 1 Rayla would occationally "ninja run" with her arms at her sides, as a homage to the most famous example of this by the animators.
  • Family Guy: Appears for a split-second, in the episode "No Meals on Wheels", after Peter shocks Lois in a little trap of his (It Makes Sense in Context), he runs away, makeshift cape flapping, in a very familiar manner.
  • Goo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends does this, along with stumbling around off-balance.
  • Freakazoid! extends his arms above his head ala Superman and makes wooshing noises to pretend he's flying. He can run super fast. He chooses to keep himself amused.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In Brother Brat, an aircaft worker leaves her son for Porky Pig to babysit, enthusiastically telling him "We hafta build those planes!" and heading out with arms outstretched — and then seen flying off in the distance!
    • Bugs Bunny does this in The Hare-Brained Hypnotist, after he is somehow hypnotized into thinking he's a B-19 aircraft.
    • In 1936's Plane Dippy, Porky has outstretched arms and imitating a plane to tell an army sergeant he wants to be a pilot.
  • Ready Jet Go!: In "Scientific Sean", Jet makes airplane arms when running around and pretending to fly.
  • Teen Titans: Happy Raven does this when Beast Boy and Cyborg enter Raven's mirror in "Nevermore". It's their first hint that she isn't the Raven they're used to.

    Real Life 
  • Some penguins can be seen doing this. And yes, it is just as adorable as it sounds. Other ground-dwelling and/or flightless birds will do this to balance themselves as they run. Ostriches and secretary birds are good examples.
  • Common in small children as an attempt to balance. Or, of course, when they're pretending they're an airplane.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Bird Run, Aeroplane Arms



What better way to start a pilot-themed episode than with Airplane Arms?

How well does it match the trope?

4.83 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AirplaneArms

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