When the Archer Archetype fires an arrow and someone has enough hand speed to yank it out of mid-air, that's an arrow catch.
Like so many tropes, this one exists for one reason: it's cool. You don't have to be an arrow scientist to figure out that arrows go at crazy speeds. Very few people in the world can catch arrows, and the archer has to help them in order to make it practical, but when they do do it, it's pretty darn cool.
James Randi (a.k.a. The Amazing Randi) has discussed this, as among the many, many things he's done in his life, he's also studied archery. Most arrows used in this trick are called a flu-flu; an arrow with fletching designed for hunting birds. The arrow will leave the bow at high speed, but at a certain distance will slow down dramatically so that you can retrieve your arrow if you miss. Those who catch arrows do so after it has slowed, but before people can see that it has done so. In other words, don't try this at home unless you've got the right equipment.
It can be justified in some cases by giving a character an advantage such as Super Reflexes thanks to a innate ability or Charles Atlas Superpower. It's a good way for the Badass Normal to show off in comparison to the truly superpowered or just the general badass in works where everybody's going medieval on each other.
Beware the Trick Arrow, however! More than one would-be badass has been undone when a seemingly-normal arrow has exploded in their hands or suddenly turned into a snake.
See Bullet Catch for this trope with bullets instead of arrows. See Catch and Return for this trope plus a follow-up move.
- Bleach: A thousand years ago, Haschwalth and Bazz-B lose their homeland and families to Yhwach and train together to seek revenge. Once they meet Yhwach, Haschwalth switches sides and catches the arrow Bazz-B fires at Yhwach. A thousand years later, the pair fight over Yhwach again, and Haschwalth again catches Bazz-B's arrow in almost exactly the same stance.
- Souma did this in Destiny of the Shrine Maiden. Unfortunately, the arrow immediately exploded in his face.
- Dr. STONE: Senku uses a crossbow to shoot an arrow at Tsukasa in an attempt to ward him off, but to his surprise, Tsukasa catches it in mid-air. Though he had already begun planning for it at that point, it's this event that really drives Senku to start developing a gun.
- Sting from Fairy Tail not only catches an arrow, but then eats it and shoots it back with a massive beam of light using his Dragon Roar attack.
- Bazett does this in Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA when Kuro attempts to use the Archer card on her. She then throws it back to Kuro like a javelin.
Bazett: I've already seen this tactic.
- This is an actual Hokuto Shinken technique in Fist of the North Star, called Nishi Shinkuu Ha (Two-Finger Nil-Space Grasp).
- Its first appearance in the anime is episode 2, when Kenshiro uses the technique to hurt Spade, a cruel man with a wrist-mounted crossbow harassing a guy with rice seeds, catching his bolt before putting it right into Spade's eye.
- He uses the technique in the following episode to save a boy whose father is being forced by one of Diamond's mooks to shoot a can off his head William Tell-style. In both examples, he returns the arrow at high speed into the mook responsible.
- In Kenshiro 0 Den he uses it to catch and return a salvo of arrows fired by an entire archer battalion. Yes, every single one of Jugai's longbow-wielding henchmen gets their own arrow back. In the face.
- Rei even warns Mamiya not to use her crossbow on Raoh as he knows Nishi Shinkuu Ha as well.
- The eponymous hero from Inuyasha has repeatedly shown that the arrows can fend off with his hands, even if he can not catch them. As a hanyou, he is so fast that a bow and arrow has little success against him. But that does not apply to the spiritual arrows of a miko.
- Rudy pulls one of these off by accident in Log Horizon. He was making a flashy pose and just happened to place his hand where it intercepted an arrow between his fingers. He did not handle the subsequent arrows nearly as gracefully.
- Tigre from Lord Marksman and Vanadis catches an arrow aimed at his Childhood Friend Teita, then fires said arrow back to where it came from. He did this one-handed. But his hand was badly scraped by this, prompting Titta to immediately bandage it with a strip of her dress.
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
- As pictured above, the various warriors in are capable of moving at speeds enough to catch quickly moving objects out of the air. The catcher in question is Kaede, a super-powered Ninja.
- Setsuna does it with not one, but 5 darts.
- Ranma ˝:
- Happens regularly in the manga. It's pretty much amongst the basic abilities of martial artists, even the less skilled ones. To the point the arrows are rarely even intended at wounding; more often than not, it's an Arrow Gram... still aimed straight at the martial artist's head.
- Even more impressive is the one time Mousse has female Ranma tied up to circus wheel and using her as target for his throwing knives... unable to use her arms, Ranma stops the knives with her teeth.
- Haru Glory catches one with his mouth at point-blank range in Rave Master.
- In Reborn!, Kyouya does an impressive feat of catching Belphegor's throwing knives between his fingers.
- In Rurouni Kenshin Kenshin does this in the manga during the Jinchu arc when Otowa Hyoko shot an arrow at him, albeit a small one from a hidden shooter, it's still impressive nonetheless. It's also show bleeding slightly from the hand, in a bout of realism. Later, Higashidani Kamishimoemon Sanosuke's biological father catches an Arrowgram, read the letter and throws the arrow straight into the archer's ass without looking (the arrow, he looks at the letter, obviously).
- One of the samurai of Samurai 7 could do this. He practiced it as a street performer. Though it should be noted that on the street there are advantages that make it somewhat plausible: He provided the bow and arrow, so he knows exactly how fast they would fly, he was watching the archer as he fired, and so knew exactly when the arrow was shot, and he marked the target on his body, so he would know where the arrow would be going. Those advantages don't apply in actual combat (where he manages to do it anyway).
- Gowther from The Seven Deadly Sins was able to do an extremely impressive arrow catch when he caught an arrow that was fired off like a Kamehame Hadoken.
- Vampire Hunter D does this in the second anime movie — Bloodlust, when a homing crossbow bolt curves to hit him as he climbs a hill on horseback. He then snaps the metal bolt one handed. In the fifth book, he catches a regular arrow.
- In Chapter 23 of We're Alive, Ink is able catch one of Riley's arrows from mid-air when she and Kalani encounter him in the hospital.
- In Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter, thanks to the Magic Potion Asterix catches an arrow between thumb and index finger (an inch from his nose), and then throws it bare-handed back at the archer, cutting the string of his bow.
- Batman once caught a Trick Arrow shot by Speedy (Roy) over his shoulder, without looking. It was meant as a joke by Roy, and it made a durable impression on him until long after he became Arsenal.
Arsenal: Dick, he caught the frickin' arrow.
Nightwing: Would you stop with that already? How many years ago was that?
Arsenal: He didn't even turn around and he caught the frickin' arrow!
- The comics of Buffy the Vampire Slayer show a new breed of vampires. These are much more powerful than the old vampires. One of them, Shane, catches a crossbow bolt that has been fired at him. This shows how powerful the new vampires are, because the vampires of the old breed are only fast enough to catch crossbow bolts when they are very old.
- Vandal Savage does the same thing with one of Arsenal's arrows in DC One Million. He then tosses it at Supergirl, instantly disabling her.
- This was a trademark move of villain Constantine Drakon in Green Arrow; much to the Emerald Archer's annoyance.
- In a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) mini-comic, Clamp Champ catches an arrow stealthily fired at him by Ninjor. As Clamp Champ explains, he possesses Super Senses that make him impossible to take by surprise (though that doesn't explain how he could move quickly enough to catch it in the first place, especially when it was fired from fairly close range)
- In Sonic the Comic Amy and Johnny notice Sonic battling the Metallix. Amy pulls out her longbow and fires an armour-piercing arrow at the robot. Meanwhile, the Metallix is about to be beheaded but survives by firing its death ray at Sonic. The robot apologises, stating it used the blaster's lowest setting, and reveals itself to be a Mobian in disguise. As this sinks in, Sonic notices Amy's arrow approaching and grabs it before listening to the Mobian's story. Justified by the fact that he has Super Speed.
- Wonder Woman:
- Diana will easily catch arrows when they're shot at her or bystanders near her, though it's not that surprising given that catching and deflecting bullets has been her signature move since her very first appearance.
- Wonder Woman (1942): When Queen Clea's original plan for Steve Trevor's execution falls through since Steve kills all the beasts she sent into the arena with him intended it to be a hopeless fight she has her archers lose their arrows on him instead. He lifts the last of the beasts he killed to shield his front and Diana jumps in and deflects and nabs those aimed at his back until their other ally deals with Clea and Clea's fighters with knockout gas.
- Wonder Woman (1987): The White Magician just ignores the first thirty or so arrows Artemis looses into him during their final confrontation, but eventually nabs one after slowing it with magic and then returns it to her where it lodges in her chest and fatally wounds her.
- X-23 pulls one off in Target X, snatching a crossbow bolt out of the air, from her back, after having her neck broken, when Kimura tries to murder her cousin Megan.
- Young Justice:
- This popped up when the villain Harm caught an arrow shot by Arrowette and used it to stab her in the shoulder. Superboy (who was enamored of Arrowette) spent the next issue or two trying and failing to catch her arrows. When an alarm comes, Robin is able to catch two arrows, and get them back on topic.
- Later, when Arrowette is about to kill a criminal, Superboy manages to catch it just in time.
- In a Peanuts strip from long ago, Charlie Brown is trying to play fetch with Snoopy using a bow and (suction-cup-tipped) arrow: as explained by Charlie Brown, he will shoot the arrow and Snoopy will run to where it landed and fetch it back. Snoopy doesn't feel like expending the running energy though, so he just catches the arrow with his mouth right after Charlie Brown shoots it.
- Fates Collide: Bazett Fraga McRemitz catches an arrow from Cinder Fall. It explodes in her face, but she is unharmed.
- In Maybe I'm a Lion, it's apparently a standard magus test of the reflexes of supernaturally empowered beings to have them catch a bolt shot from a crossbow; the shaft is banded in color, and the score determined by where they grasped it. Lio asks if he gets bonus points for catching it in his teeth. (Lio is somewhat beyond the ordinary parameters of the test.)
- New Beginnings (Smallville): When Clark Kent meets Oliver Queen, he ends up catching arrows until Ollie understands he is not an enemy (and his projectiles are useless anyway).
Clark motioned to the now open door where Oliver had already disappeared.
"He's gonna shoot me with his bow, isn't he?" asked Clark as they walked down the stairs.
"Probably," said the guard.
"What part of 'I'm not here to fight' did he not understand?" asked Clark as he snatched an arrow out of the air. Clark caught the next three also sighing. "He's a slow learner, huh?"
- Jason from Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm can do this. Despite losing his powers and being effectively human, he's still one of the fastest men on the planet, so much so that he use his shuriken to knock Tuxedo Mask's razor roses out of the air.
- Soul Eater: Troubled Souls: Stein does this to Tsuji during the field exam. The arrow in question was fired via Marcellus’s Longbow Form. Kim, Jackie, Marcellus, and Tsuji were floored.
- The Way, Truth, and Light: Jesus is able to effortlessly catch arrows fired by Alcides, aka Heracles, even though the arrows are the size of people and fired by the World's Strongest Man. Cu Chulainn catches one, but it strains his muscles to the limit.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: During his fight with Batman, Superman catches an arrow shot at him by Green Arrow. However, the arrow in question is a Kryptonite Trick Arrow that proceeds to explode in his face.
- Although it's in the background, in the movie Brave during the mead-hall skirmish, if you look for it you can see the Hunk catch an arrow mid-flight right in front of his face. Bonus Points in that his arm, hand, and fingers were absolutely the only things he moved, the expression on his face and even the direction he was looking in didn't change.
- Tigress does it in Kung Fu Panda 2. Bonus points for the arrows being on fire, and her not even turning to face the arrow when she catches it. She does this again in Kung Fu Panda 3.
- Parodied in Mulan when an arrow flies right into Yao's hands without him attempting to grab it.
- Ashitaka does this in Princess Mononoke at one point. It's the shot that takes some guy's arm off. Extra points in that he immediately reloads it into his bow. He's also shown to be capable of cutting flying arrows out of the air.
- The Swan Princess: Prince Derek was sometimes seen to practice this with his dopey sidekick. His friend Bromley would shoot an arrow at him, then he'd spin around, grab the arrow out of the air, and shoot it back with his bow. At the right moment, Brom fired the arrow at Derek, and he caught it and shot it at the monster.
- Amitabh Bachchan's character does this with multiple arrows in the 1991 Bollywood film Ajooba. Also an example of Right Back at Ya!.
- Featured in the opening ambush of the old swordplay movie... Ambush. When the bandits starts off their ambush on the caravan, with one of their archers firing arrows, one which the caravan's chief of guard, Master Fan, catches out of thin air with a single grasp. (A fun anecdote: the bandit archer is played by a 16-year-old pre-fame Jackie Chan, whose role in the film is uncredited.)
- Michael Dudikoff's character does this in the second American Ninja film.
- In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Michelle Yeoh's character catches a dart fired from a blowgun.
- Daredevil (2003). Bullseye snatches a baton off Daredevil and throws it at Elektra's father. Daredevil uses his Super Senses to try to catch it in mid-air...except an explosion goes off and disrupts his 'radar' image, causing his hand to miss and the baton to impale its target.
- In Hero Nameless and Flying Snow are able to effortlessly sweep aside hundreds of arrows, while Broken Sword catches one without looking for the simple reason of needing a new writing tool after his previous tool was broken by a passing arrow.
- Have Sword, Will Travel have a restaurant confrontation scene where Lu, the expert swordsman, displays his dexterity by catching a dart using chopsticks.
- The old warrior monk in Hong Kil Dong does this to save Hong Kil Dong from getting shot by a bandit.
- Used by the Big Bad in The Hunted (1995) — at point-blank range, too.
- The Karate Kid: Mr. Miyagi in The Next Karate Kid does the Zen Archery thing, catching an arrow before it hits him.
- Master Pain (a.k.a. Betty) does this in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist.
- Taimak in The Last Dragon karate-chops an arrow out of the air. As it turns out, he really did, and the stunt only took two hours to get right.
- Mad Max: Fury Road. Max covers his eyes whenever he has a hallucination of his dead daughter. This instinctive reaction saves his life when a War Boy simultaneously shoots him with a crossbow, giving Max an Impaled Palm instead of an impaled head.
- In a movie version of The Mahabharata, Shiva catches an enemy's arrow in his mouth.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- In The Avengers, Loki catches one of Hawkeye's arrows a second before it can go through his eye, as Hawkeye has expressed a desire to do. He then turns to look at it with the smuggest, most shit-eating smirk imaginable. And then the explosive tip detonates in his face, throwing him through a window into Stark Tower and setting the stage for a truly epic (and hilarious) Curb-Stomp Battle at the hands of the Hulk.
- In Thor: The Dark World, Lady Sif does a slightly more plausible version of this trope when she stops an arrow fired at Thor by getting it stuck through her shield.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier: The Winter Soldier catches Cap's shield, thrown at him edge on, with his metal arm. From behind no less. This is Cap's first encounter with the Winter Soldier, so it gives him an Oh, Crap! reaction.
- In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Quicksilver is fast enough to casually pluck Hawkeye's arrows out of the air. Trying to do the same with Mjölnir, though, proves a very bad idea.
- In Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther catches two of Clint's exploding arrows without missing a beat. The tips explode too, but his vibranium suit allows him to ignore the blast.
- In a similar vein to Winter Soldier, there's Hela's Hammer Catch in Thor: Ragnarok. Do remember Mjölnir could knock The Hulk around in Avengers, which explains Thor's This Cannot Be! reaction.
- The Mummy Trilogy: Also happens in The Scorpion King. The villain Memnon likes to show off this ability in front of his troops. The first time we see it, he catches an arrow during practice. At the end of the movie, when Mathayus goes to shoot an arrow at him, Memnon tries to block it with his swords... and misses. (Mathayus is shown before the shot to have pulled his massive bow back farther than he usually does, adding the extra power needed to get past Memnon's hands.)
- A variant occurs in O Brother, Where Art Thou? The "heroes" bust up a KKK rally while trying to save Tommy Johnson from being lynched. One of them grabs their flag and waves it around, distracting all the Klansmen who don't want it to touch the ground. He then throws the flag into the air, then Big Dan Teague catches it — with the arrowhead on top of the flagpole an inch from his eye. Unfortunately for him, he then doesn't move out of the way from a falling giant burning cross...
- In the tortoise-formation battle from part 1 of Red Cliff, Gan Xing catches a spear thrown by an enemy. In the same battle, Zhou Yu catches an arrow, but in his shoulder, in order to protect Zhao Yun.
- The hero of the kung fu film, Rendezvous With Death, must prove his worthiness of undertaking a quest by dodging three arrows. He effortlessly dodges the first two, but when trapped in a tight spot, he simply uses his cool umbrella to catch the third.
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights has one of Robin's merry men save him by catching an arrow fired by a crossbow. Said catcher was blind.
Ahchoo: Blinkin! How did you do that?
Blinkin: I heard that coming a mile away.
Robin Hood: Right-o, Blinkin, very good.
Blinkin: Pardon? Who's talking?
- Lin Jen-shiau, the hero of the wuxia The Sword of Swords catches a pair of arrows fires at him from point blank during an ambush, before stabbing it through the archers. What's even more impressive is that Lin is blind.
- Lucien does this in the beginning of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. He spends the rest of the movie being shot in the back. Apparently these Mooks were paying attention.
- Animorphs: A time traveling villain tries killing Henry V (long story) with a bow and arrow, which is foiled when Tobias swoops in and catches the arrow in his talons. Because hawks don't go around snatching arrows in midair, this tips off said villain that the "Andalite bandits" are onto him and can follow him through time.
- In Ben Bova's Orion novels, Orion (who's a time-traveling Super Soldier with superhuman strength and reflexes) discusses this trope but averts it: even with how much stronger and faster he is than a normal human, snatching arrows out of the air is beyond his ability (he can still deflect them easily enough).
- Shanir weapons-master Randiroc easily catches an arrow in To Ride a Rathorn, book 4 of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath — but then, he's pretty much the only living Kencyr with combat skills that match heroine Jame's undead teacher Tirandys.
- This happens in the novel Jingo, with Vetinari snatching the bolt out of a crossbow before it's fired.
- It happens in Feet of Clay, where Dorfl the golem catches a crossbow bolt fired by Sergeant Detritus. Well, he doesn't so much catch the arrow as stop it, but the bolt in question was a huge metal arrow fired from a converted ballista. Golems are incredibly strong, and much faster than they look.
- Then happens again later in Making Money with Gladys, another golem. The arrow's sudden deceleration causes it to catch fire in her (ceramic) hand.
- David Gemmell's Drenai saga:
- In Quest for Lost Heroes, a character knocks an arrow out of the air with his sword which impresses the would be assassin so much it leads to a Defeat Means Friendship moment. Subverted because the guy with a sword is a kid who was just practicing his fencing and didn't even know he was being shot at, Beginner's Luck.
- In Legend, Druss cuts an arrow out of the air with a huge double bladed axe, and it too leads to Defeat Means Friendship. Being Druss, he meant to do it.
- Journey to Chaos: Nulso can catch the arrows Annala shoots at him because his barrier slows the arrow's speed to the point where this is possible. He rather block it entirely.
- Jiang Wei in Romance of the Three Kingdoms is capable of this.
- Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures: Rumo can do this, thanks to wolpertings' prodigious speed. It does, however, hurt his hand.
- Second Apocalypse:
- Kellhus can pick up arrows from the air without much trouble because he's just that good. Not only can he pluck them from the air, the first time he was shot at he went on to curiously study the arrow (having never seen them before) whilst simultaneously dodging round the hundreds of other arrows landing around him. At another point, Kellhus catches a javelin and throws it back. Dunyain training is serious.
- Skin-spies, which have superhuman reflexes, can bat arrows out of the air, though they are not perfect at this maneuver and occasionally miss. They will eventually be overwhelmed by a sustained volley.
- In Son of the Black Sword, Ashok can slap arrows out of the air with sword or bare hands. Of course, if there are too many arrows, he's still going to get hit. Then things can get...painful.
- So This Is Ever After: Lila plucks an arrow out of mid air which would have killed Arek if it struck early on.
- Talenel of The Stormlight Archive was once the World's Best Warrior, but has spent over 4000 years being tortured and was driven completely catatonic by it. Yet when Iyatil tries to assassinate Amaram with poisoned darts, Taln catches both almost unconsciously.
- Richard from the Sword of Truth series does this once in the second book, to intimidate a group of natives. He rarely gets the chance thereafter, since when arrows are fired at him, they tend to come in larger numbers. The internal justification is that it's part of the manifestation of his War Wizard powers in the context of bladed weapons. He doesn't actively use his power, so it forces itself out of him. He'll vigorously deny it, but especially in later books with the whole "I can do awesome things with any blade with no additional training" shenanigans...
- Tortall Universe:
- Liam Ironarm, the Shang Dragon, catches an arrow aimed at Thayet in the last Song of the Lioness book.
- Nawat does this for fun in Trickster's Choice. Mequen's guard makes a game of seeing how many of their shots he can nab.
- Lanik, the protagonist of the book Treason by Orson Scott Card does this in a sense, but ups the badass level to impossible by slowing time (really just speeding himself up so that everyone else appears to be moving in 100x slow motion) right as a squad of archers shoot at his friend. In quicktime, he grabs the arrows and sticks them into the wall behind his friend. The archers, which are an execution squad, are perplexed, but fire again. This time, he goes into quicktime just after they fire, takes the arrows out of midair, and stabs them back through the respective archers' hands.
- Uglies: Tally catches two arrows in Specials when they are simultaneously fired at her and she doesn't have time to duck.
- The Witcher: Parrying an arrow is a skill witchers are known for. Geralt at one point managed to parry two arrows at once, but his success came to him as a genuine surprise.
- Angel manages this trick when rogue vampire slayer Faith fires at him with a crossbow. From about 2 feet away from behind.
- Right after Angelus escapes in season 4 and sneaks back to the hotel, Cordelia shoots a crossbow at him, and he catches the quarrel. Oh and then he throws the bolt back at her and nails her in the thigh.
- Subverted in the episode "War Zone". Angel catches the arrow alright, but with a very painful open palm.
- So many people do this in Arrow, they might as well call it Arrow Catch instead!
- In one of the flashbacks to events on Lian Yu, Yao Fei shoots an arrow at the man in the Deathstroke mask, who catches it easily, then contemptuously breaks the arrow one-handed.
- Huntress is capable of doing this feat, despite being comparatively untrained compared to the other people who caught arrows. However given that she knew she'd be going up against the Arrow, she rehearsed the move in case it was needed.
- In the penultimate episode of the first season, Oliver Queen tries to kill billionaire executive Malcolm Merlyn, only for Merlyn to calmly catch the arrow, revealing himself as the Dark Archer that nearly defeated Oliver half a season ago. Oliver does it again to the Dark Archer in the finale, except this time he learned his lesson by shooting a Trick Arrow that exploded after Merlyn caught it.
- Season 2 has League of Assassin's Al-Owal (The First), the man who trained Malcolm himself catching an arrow shot at him... from behind without even looking.
- As the skills of Team Arrow progress, it's not unusual for team members to do this trope just to pass arrows to each other. For instance in "Invasion!", Thea Queen passes Sara Lance an arrow by firing it. Sara catches it and stabs (an illusion of) Damien Darhk with it. In another episode, Oliver passes Roy Harper an electronic Trick Arrow this way.
- Oliver himself is shown doing it twice, in "Sara", he catches Komodo's arrow and in a fluid movement, nocks it on his bow and shoots back, ending the fight. In the season five episode "Bratva", Oliver is shown catching an arrow for presumably the first time on the field, given that it happened in a flashback.
- When the Arrowverse expanded to include the Flash, a guy with actual Super Speed, this was inevitable. During a training session, Oliver tricked Barry Allen into catching an obvious arrow attack, only to surprise him with automatic crossbow traps from behind. Barry finally gets payback for this in Elseworlds.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- "Help" has Buffy catching a crossbow bolt that was fired by an automated trap.
- In "Prophecy Girl", the Master catches a bolt from her crossbow.
- In "The Wish", an Alternate Universe Buffy fires a crossbow at the Master from around 15 feet away, instead this time he yanks Xander (his lackey in this world) who's standing beside him into the path of the bolt to save himself.
- Criss Angel did this once for Criss Angel Mindfreak... after many, many, many attempts. From the footage they shot, it looked like he injured his hand pretty badly as well. He also attempted it with a nail gun. That one... Didn't go so well.
- Love and Destiny:
- Played with. Kai Yang stops an arrow in mid-air, but he doesn't actually catch it. He uses his powers to hold it in place.
- Jiu Chen catches the heart-piercing needle just before it stabs him.
- The short-lived '80s series The Master has this in the opening credits. In the actual series, he pulls this off twice in the same episode by the same opponent.
- In Merlin, Mordred shoots an arrow at Maab and she just catches it. She's an elemental being (sorceress/witch, just like the Lady of the Lake), so she has an excuse.
- MythBusters busted this trope. An arrow would be easier to catch than a bullet but you would have to be incredibly lucky to grab the shaft (and grab it so you won't injure your hand). A quick reminder is that busted doesn't mean impossible, but instead incredibly unlikely or impractical. They brought in a martial artist to test the myth, and he managed to catch a few arrows, but would have been killed by the other two dozen that hit him (if not for the safety precautions), not to mention they weren't putting the equivalent of a full draw on the bow, so the arrows were noticeably slower than they would be if the archer were truly shooting to kill. The main thing they noted was that if you had the skill to do this it would be more practical (just less badass) to either dodge the arrow entirely or deflect it. Furthermore, the ninja they brought in called foul, and said that a real ninja wouldn't just stand there taking it — the whole point of being a ninja is not to be noticed to begin with, so any ninja worth anything wouldn't be seen by the archers anyway. Still, he proved that an arrow could be deflected with a sword. So, in a way, Samurai > Archers > Ninja. (Also, the ninja was in his forties, which is past the prime for such a profession.)
- Once Upon a Time:
- Regina does this in season two after she gets her magic back and Red's grandmother fires a crossbow at her. She then sets it on fire, and throws a fireball around the room. Needless to say, this cows the crowd into submission.
- Happens again in Season 3 when Henry shoots a crossbow at Peter Pan, who catches it. He doesn't even seem upset at Henry for trying to kill him.
- Neal shoots what's essentially a poison arrow at Pan as well. He, of course, catches it again. Good thing Neal's smart enough to put the poison on the shaft.
- In season 5, after becoming the Dark One Emma is able to grab Merida's arrow mid-air.
- Ripley's Believe It or Not!: The man in question was in his 50s and barely missed the arrow, having the head cut into his palm. Although, he did manage to stop the arrow at least.
- Space Cases: In the episode King of the Hil, Thelma catches an arrow right before it hits Harlan Band.
- In Teen Wolf the werewolves are fast enough to do this, with Scott doing it the first time on accident after Stiles messes around with a crossbow. It's reliable enough that Allison has made a habit of drugging the shaft rather than the tip.
- Xena: Warrior Princess does this all the time, and so does Hercules in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. He at least has the excuse of Super Strength, though. On one occasion, Xena caught the first arrow fired in her left hand, the second in her right, and the third in her teeth. However, in "Chariots of War", Xena catches an arrow in each hand, only for a third to nail her in the gut.
- Aztec Mythology: Quetzalcoatl's mother Chīmalmā's name means "shield-hand," because when her future husband shot five arrows at her she caught them all with her bare hand.
- Norse Mythology:
- One of the powers of Odin was that he could catch arrows.
- Snorri Sturluson relates in Prose Edda how after Frigg has made all things swear they will not harm Baldur, the gods make a game of shooting arrows at Baldur, and Baldur catching them from the air for fun. He could not catch the mistletoe, which was the one thing that Frigg had forgotten.
- Robin Hood's companion Friar Tuck is sometimes said to have trained his dogs to catch arrows (though Little John's shafts were too fast for them).
- In Interstitial: Actual Play, Marche is able to grab one of Luxord's cards out of the air when it's thrown at him.
- Summer from Sequinox grabs a crossbow bolt out of the air in the gothic horror world from the Gemini arc.
- One of the available abilities in Dark Heresy is "Deflect Shot", which allows you to parry ranged attacks from primitive weapons such as bows. Or muskets.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The monk class had this ability from the first edition, whether it was the Oriental Adventure version or not. They could catch any number of arrows as long as they made the saving throw.
- The monk class in 3rd Edition has the Missile Snare ability starting at level 3. This can be used to dodge or catch any non-magical missile, including arrows, quarrels, ballista shot, and boulders(!).
- In 3.5, this is changed to a combination of two feats: Deflect Arrows and Snatch Arrows, and specifically said that it wouldn't work for things like boulders and ballista bolts. You can also only use it once per round... until you are epic-leveled.
- Dragon Magazine #358 adds the "Protective Talons" feat for characters with an animal companion, which gives a trained raptor bird a chance to intercept projectiles aimed at its master.
- A 5th Edition Monk learns the ability Deflect Missiles, which reduces the damage caused by a missile from any ranged weapon attack. If the damage is reduced to 0 the missile is caught rather than deflected. The monk can then use a Ki point to throw the missile as a ranged weapon using the stats of a dart.
- GURPS includes the skill "Parry Missile Weapon", which can be used to parry thrown spears, arrows and crossbow bolts. MA84 introduced Hand Catch (cinematic) for this, allowing the possibility of catching the weapon if the parry succeeds, for a considerable penalty.
- Ninjas And Superspies: on a successful parry of a thrown weapon you can spend your next attack to roll strike to catch it. This rule is absent in all other Palladium Books games.
- Averted, for all the game's pulp roots, in Spirit of the Century. A "Catch" stunt exists, but explicitly only works on objects thrown at the user with hostile intent (and then still requires a very good defense roll to kick in) — so, you could catch a thrown knife or hatchet, but not an arrow per se.
- Occurs in Ryu Hayabusa's ending from the third Dead or Alive video game. While Ryu is fishing at a stream, an arrow flies through the air. He catches it and reads a piece of paper that is attached to the arrow. Neither the message, nor the person who shot the arrow, is revealed.
- In Dishonored, if you manage to Stop Time just as an enemy fires any kind of projectile at you, you can walk over and pick said projectile out of thin air, adding it to your inventory.
- If you Screw Destiny in Dynasty Warriors 5 and save Sun Jian during the battle of Jing province, he'll do one of these to intimidate the archers who were firing on him.
- Theoretically possible in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as arrows in flight can be interacted with and picked up, but to do so would require inhuman reflexes. Easier to do with one of the shouts, which slows the game down effectively giving you inhuman reflexes. Freddie Wong uses this trope in his Skyrim Badass video to defy the tired "arrow to the knee" meme.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics, the "Archer" class can gain the ability "Arrow Catch", which effectively allows them to block and counter any arrow-based attack by doing this. Ninja have the ability to catch any thrown projectile, but not arrows. On a similar note, due to a bug, the "Sword Grasp" ability of the Samurai Class, works against EVERYTHING — swords, maces, fists, arrows, and yes — bullets too. The sequels would add the "Return Fire" ability which allowed a character to not only catch an arrow, but to throw it back at the shooter as a counterattack.
- God of War Ragnarök: Heimdall can do this, which is justified by his foresight powers and the fact that he's a Physical God. It backfires magnificently in a similar vein to Loki in the film section when he goes up against Kratos wielding the Draupnir Spear, which Kratos can make explode.
- Near the end of Story Mode of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Regime-Raven possesses Ollie's body, making him shoot arrow after arrow at Batman. Catching them is a QTE mini game.
- Injustice 2: If you pick Green Arrow to fight Bane in chapter three of the campaign mode.
Bane: Your spine will break — like this! [snaps arrow]
Green Arrow: Now you've done it. That was my favorite arrow.
- Troy from Struggling can do this after unlocking the Super Reflexes ability. It can also be used to grab onto flying javelins.
- In the fourth installment of Super Smash Bros. the Animal Crossing Villager expands this trope beyond arrows and applies it to things like Energy Balls, lasers, trees... it works on any projectile.
- TowerFall and it's Updated Re-release Towerfall Ascension use this as a gameplay mechanic, as you have a limited supply of arrows it's either catching them during a dash, or walking around collecting them. It is essential to survive against enemy archers, and other players.
- Hrist is shown doing this in Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria. Justified by the fact that she's a goddess of battle.
- The Witcher:
- Played with in The Witcher. The Professor claims to have heard that a Witcher can catch arrows in mid-flight, shortly before shooting Witcher-in-training Leo with a crossbow and killing him. Geralt later parries a crossbow bolt, causing the professor to realize he was right all along.
- In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings you can get a skill to parry arrows, and even deflect them back to the shooter, although how the arrow keeps the momentum or still hits with its point is not explained. Most players don't find the skill worth investing points to, since archers and arbalists are very rare enemy type in the game, and can usually be eliminated before they get two arrows/bolts shot.
- In RWBY, Tyrian's lightning reflexes let him easily catch several of Robyn's crossbow bolts, including one between his teeth. Unfortunately for him, Robyn was clever enough to have made that one an explosive bolt. Tyrian has just enough time for an Oh, Crap! before it detonates in his face, breaking his Aura and taking him out of the fight.
- Melna pulls this off in Dominic Deegan, complete with incredulous Lampshade Hanging by another character.
- Girl Genius:
- Punch is strong enough to throw small metal bolts bare-handed, hitting a Lakya with a Pretty Little Headshot, going straight through Baron Wulfenbach's leg, and taking out several others of his soldiers... until he tries it on Von Pinn. Who catches the bolts effortlessly between two fingers. Punch then tries a whole volley of them, but Von Pinn deflects them all, moving her arms so fast that they become a blur.
- Super Soldier Jenka is seen stopping an actual arrow.
Jenka: I forgive. Once.
- The webcomic Goblins, being based on D&D, has a goblin monk demonstrating the ability. It doesn't work on full volleys of arrows, though.
- Keychain of Creation features the badass Dragon-blooded monk Ten Winds pulling this off. While being a Deadpan Snarker.
- Looking for Group: Cale'Anon can do this with a crossbow bolt fired from behind him. And then he impaled the shooter through the head in the same motion as turning around, as part of his continued taking of levels in badass.
- Guere pulls this off in Miamaska.
- Played for laughs in a page of No Need for Bushido.
Cho: I found something!
Ina: An arrow? We must be getting close. Where was it?
Cho: I was just walking and... [catches a second arrow] Oh! Another one!
- In The Order of the Stick, Tarquin proves he's good enough to catch Haley's arrows out of the air. He does it again a few strips later, and Nale has just enough time to gloat before POOOF. At the end of the arc this ability backfires again on Tarquin, since even if he can catch two arrows at the same time, doing so while you need both hands to cling to a railing proves problematic.
- In Worm, Flechette manages one in Chapter 9.2 when her arrival catches fellow Wards member Shadow Stalker off-guard.
- Critical Role:
- Percy from the first campaign at one point gets Gloves of Missile Snaring. As the name suggests, they allow him to snatch missiles fired at him.
- Beau from the second campaign, being a monk, can do the same - if she rolls well enough, she can even throw the arrow or bolt back at the one who fired it.
- This Dungeons & Dragons story describes an instance in which one of the players managed to catch a balista bolt, making it a perfect example of Exaggerated Trope.
- Finn in Adventure Time catches an arrow of ice in the episode "Chamber of Frozen Blades" where Finn and Jake were in a ninja fad.
- Biker Mice from Mars: Vinnie, true to himself, does it in a more spectacular way in "Once Upon a Time on Mars", stopping an arrow from a crossbow with his teeth.
- Danny does this in an episode of Danny Phantom. He was mad impressed when he did so, but failed to notice until the last minute that said arrow had dynamite strapped to it. You can tell what happens next...
- Storm-Shadow from G.I. Joe (a ninja character) is capable of, and performs this feat. Followed shortly thereafter by a double-face-kick to two guys either side of him.
- John Redcorn caught an arrow in an episode of King of the Hill. It probably helped that he was standing right next to the archer at the time.
- Samurai Jack:
- Jack manages to catch one once, but the arrow turned into a venomous snake and bit him.
- Ashi in Season 5 has this as one of her trademark moves. And favors using the arrows she catches to kill the archers who shot them.
- In the We Bare Bears episode "Ranger Tabes", Tabes, a gung-ho park ranger, bursts into a police station, startling a cop playing darts. He accidentally throws the dart at her face, but Tabes catches it without even pausing to react.
- In the episode "Secrets" of Young Justice (2010), the villain, Harm, manages to catch several of Artemis's arrows. Artemis however, wises up and tricks Harm into catching an arrow while he's standing next to a gas stove. The arrow bursts into flames and and blows up the kitchen Harm's in. It only slowed him down though.
- Lars Andersen catches an arrow in part of his video here. Of course, keep in mind that this is a trick under controlled conditions and he makes some claims about his technique that other archers consider to be inflated.