When a character needs to do something impressive, they'll often do it with a snap of their fingers. Sometimes it's just a signal for Mooks to carry out a Villain's orders, but sometimes the snaps themselves have magical powers. Alternatively, the finger-snapping may just be a specific Character Tic that tells something about the character's personality.
Fridge Logic makes one wonder about the "orders" one. How do they know whether the finger snap means "bring the suitcase of money", "kill them", or "You, Get Me Coffee"? Context is one of the only possibilities... but it sure tells you they're exceptionally well trained.
Interestingly, there is some scientific basis behind this trope: studies have shown that finger-snapping is the fastest gesture humans are capable of (about 20 times faster than a blink of an eye), and humans' fingers are ideally suited for snapping, implying that this gesture had some evolutionary purpose.
- Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist can cause fiery explosions by snapping his fingers, using specially-made gloves to generate a spark.
- G Gundam's Domon snaps his fingers in order to summon his Gundam.
- An episode of Bakugan had one of the baddies cause seemingly inexplicable combat events by snapping his fingers. he was actually signaling his invisible ally.
- Wei in Darker Than Black has a Bloody Murder power activated in this fashion. He drips his blood on something or someone, and the instant he snaps his fingers, there is an explosive/teleportation effect signaled by a flash of light.
- Cinque's introduction in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS has her throwing knives at the Administration Bureau's shield generators and snapping her fingers to detonate them.
- In Tiger & Bunny, criminal NEXT Jake Martinez activates his force field powers by snapping his fingers. The results vary but are almost always painful for whoever he targets.
- Giant Robo has a villain, the Fabulous Fitzgerald, who can cut anything in half by snapping his fingers at it. Watching him take apart a base and all its troops while practically dancing his way through the flame establishes this character as a badass and psychopath.
- An early episode of Code Geass has Zero unveiling a massive poison gas bomb behind him with a dramatic fingersnap... and instantly taking hostage hundreds of civilians who have no idea what the contraption behind him is. It's not a chemical weapon, though; just a smoke bomb.
- In High School D×D, Issei activates Dress Break by snapping his fingers. It does exactly what it says. How badass is it? Badass enough to overcome a higher tier Longinus that's currently strapped into Asia from turning her into a tactical nuke.
- In Slayers NEXT, Hellmaster Phibrizzo demonstrates his powers by snapping his fingers and instantly killing someone. That someone is Gaav, the Demon Dragon King, although admittedly Gaav had been weakened due to being sealed in human form and having taken Lina's Ragna Blade spell on the chin.
- In Smile Pretty Cure!, Akane Hino does this during her transformation to light her powder puff on fire. As Cure Sunny she does this sometimes to light her fist on fire.
- In Doki Doki Pretty Cure, on the one side, the Selfish Agents turn Psyches into Dark Psyches and rip them off by a single fingersnap - in other words, they rip the people's hearts off. They need the Dark Psyches to turn them into Jikochuus. On the other side, Regina activates her magic abilities by snapping her fingers. She corrupts Psyches by using a Finger Gun instead. The main difference between the Selfish Agents and Regina is that the Selfish Agents can only increase the selfishness of people, while Regina creates selfishness by force.
- In Sailor Moon, the Amazon Trio snaps their finger to summon the tablet behind their victim to hold them in place while looking into their Dream Mirrors.
- Jessie in Pokémon sometimes does this when ordering James and Meowth around. Put to good use when a Character of the Day called her out on lying about her age to get into a Contest:
Jessie: [calmly snaps fingers] Take him away.
[behind her, James and Meowth immediately grab the guy and drag him off-screen]
- Giovanni in Pokémon: The First Movie does this when he orders Mewtwo to attack.
- In Dragon Ball Super Episode 68, Beerus does this and causes Bulma's new time machine to explode. From miles away. In a secret room.
- In Seikesshou Albatross, Shrike activates his powers by snapping his fingers.
- In The Seven Deadly Sins, expect King to do it every other time he brings out Chastiefol, expect Merlin to do it a few times, and expect Hendrickson to indulge in it once in a while.
- In Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh attacks any and all enemies with a Storm of Swords triggered by a finger snap.
- Exeve from The Brave Express Might Gaine can set his men that failed him ablaze with a snap of his fingers, as both Six & Seven learned the hard way.
- The Irregular at Magic High School: Tatsuya Shiba uses this with volume amplification to defeat the Crimson Prince Masaki Ichijou at Monolith Code.
- "Snapper" Carr, sidekick of the Justice League of America, eventually developed the power to teleport, but only when he snapped his fingers. (Thus being temporarily depowered when his hands were cut off.)
- The Flash: Hunter Zolomon, the second Zoom, used his "speed" powers to create deadly sonic booms, which he activated by a simple snap.
- Thanos, at the peak of his godlike powers in The Infinity Gauntlet, killed off half the population of the Universe at the behest of Death. (Naturally, that state of affairs didn't last.) He did so with a finger snap.
- PS238: How Ultimate Powers changes his clothes, and also sometimes how he uses his powers.
- The gods of The Wicked + The Divine usually activate their powers this way.
- In Spider-Man storyline Go Down Swinging, Norman Osborn uses one to activate the shards of the Carnage symbiote he left in the victims of his previous attacks, killing them all in unbearable agony all at the same time. It fails due to Flash Thompson running interference with his Agent Anti-Venom powers.
- In 2017 storyline Escape from the Phantom Zone, Supergirl defeats Magog by causing a shockwave which knocks him down with a snap of her fingers.
- Incredible Hulk:
- Child of the Storm has Lily Potter, White Phoenix of the Crown, reveal this as one of her signature moves. How badass is it? Well, the first time she uses it, it's almost entirely off-hand and it cows a fragment of Chthon that had been powerful enough to go toe to toe with Odin. Twice. The second time, noting impishly that she doesn't often get the chance to show off, she uses it to transport everyone from London to the royal hall in Asgard. As a deeply impressed Carol puts it...
Carol: Dude. Your mom has got moves.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami has keepers being able to control and order their minions, dungeons and tools telepathically. Some keepers like to snap their fingers to signal when they're doing something. Keeper Mercury in particular used a snap to release a former opponent's chained slaves, and then teleport them to safety.
- The Hill of Swords gives us a beautiful moment in the last fight where Shirou stops playing around and unveils Unlimited Blade Works, with all that entails, as quoted above.
- A very notable case in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, where Harry snapping his fingers very quickly suffers from Memetic Mutation to the point where most of the children believe he can do anything by snapping his fingers. He even uses a hand ready to snap its fingers as his coat of arms for his army.
- Burning Black: Timmy does this at the end of Act IV in order to activate the spell that launches a Dark Spire into the air and destroys it.
- In the Facing the Future Series, whenever Sam uses her fire powers, she usually unleashes her aura with a snap of her fingers.
- Megami no Hanabira, Shusui Naito springs his ambush on the girls in this manner: he snaps his fingers and a battalion of Yakuza come streaming into the room, completely surrounding the heroes.
- Paul in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has trained his Grotle to use Stealth Rock when he snaps his fingers, to catch the opponent off guard.
- Pokémon × Nimja: Play the Game: One word: Drop. Congratulations, you have just been hypnotized by Nimja, who alternates between this and cracking his tail like a whip. (He is transformed into a Mew in the fanfic.)
- Akarui from Kamen Rider Kage tends to snap her fingers when the Akuma she just finished off explodes.
- A Certain Magical Friendship: In "The cover of darkness - BRING_back_the_SUN", How Nightmare Moon, as a human, casts her magic to remove the sun:
With those words, Nightmare Moon snapped her fingers.
And the Sun disappeared.
- Played for laughs in The Court Jester, where a finger snap is the signal that turns on or off the hypnotic conditioning that turns timid Hawkins (Danny Kaye) into a badass, super-confident fencer. Inevitably he always comes into situations where both partners in a conversation keep saying things accompanied by finger snaps, e. g. telling the other that they would not give as much as "that! *snap*" for this, that or the other etc.
Hawkins: And now, Mylord Ravenhurst, you old rat-catcher, we shall see whose life isn't worth that!" *snap* [panics]
- In Doctor Zhivago, the title character steals some firewood. When the house captain and the neighbors find out, it looks like Yuri is in trouble. However, a secret policeman followed Zhivago back and with a snap of his fingers dismisses the collected mob. It turns out the policeman was Yuri's half-brother Yevgraf.
- Ben Stiller's character in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story snaps his fingers to command his henchmen throughout the movie. Very much Played for Laughs.
- Disney's Mary Poppins. During the "Spoonful of Sugar" segment the title character starts magically cleaning up the room by snapping her fingers, and then the children start doing it. Watch it here.
- In Night at the Museum, the protagonist Larry Daley is really fond of snapping his fingers, up to the point that he even invented the Snapper, an electric switch which is similar to the Clapper, but responds to the sound of finger-snapping.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Discussed in Avengers: Infinity War, with it being noted repeatedly that Thanos, with all six Infinity Stones, could erase half of all life in the universe with a snap of his fingers. Despite the heroes' best efforts, he acquires all of the stones and executes the lethal finger snap in question. Cue a long sequence of many heroes crumbling to dust.
- In Avengers: Endgame, this occurs three separate times with the Infinity Stones. The first time, off-screen, Thanos uses a fingersnap to destroy the Infinity Stones, necessitating the rest of the film's conflict. The second time, Bruce Banner does this to restore all the people who were dusted in Infinity War. The third time occurs at the end of the final battle, where Tony Stark does this to the time-displaced Thanos and his army, at the cost of his own life.
- In Spy Kids, Floop uses this to good effect with his robot minions (who resemble a giant humanoid combination of thumbs) with the threat "I snap my fingers and my fingers snap you."
- In The Baroque Cycle King Louis XIV, who is far, far, too elegant to ever snap his fingers, snaps his snuff box closed as an alternative signal.
- Discworld: Played with in Eric, where Rincewind thinks he has gained the ability (to his and the reader's great surprise) to grant wishes. However it is really Hell's Evil Chancellor who is doing the magic and just making it coincide with Rincewind snapping his fingers.
- In Harry Potter, Dobby uses his magic abilities by snapping his fingers, which also creates a little spark effect.
- The Mortal Instruments: Lampshaded in City of Ashes, when Magnus Bane gives a warning finger-snap, and somebody feels the need to explain:
Magnus: There's no need to clarify my finger snap. The implication was clear in the snap itself.
- Subverted in The Saga of Darren Shan. Mr Crepsley seemingly has the ability to summon objects to him by snapping his fingers. He later reveals he's actually grabbing them at Super Speed, and the finger-snapping is a form of misdirection (which he'd know about, as a stage performer).
- In A Practical Guide to Evil, Cat uses one to rip Thief of Stars into pieces after the Revenant steals her staff. She mentally admits this was unnecessary, but wanted to keep the Heroes guessing at her capabilities.
- Adam Ruins Everything: Adams sometimes warps reality with a finger snap. Notably in "Why a Wall Won't Stop Immigration", he sends everyone on the USA-Mexico border in a flash of light, Q-style.
- In one episode of Burn Notice, Michael Westen convinces a gang of hardened Latino criminals to help him. He does this by snapping his fingers, at which point his careful planning will result in the other members of his crew (Sam Axe and Fiona) causing something dramatic and incredible to happen, like a car exploding or a door being blown off its hinges; he essentially intimidates them into helping him. At one point, he has to improvise, and he bluffs by holding up his fingers, ready to snap them. By now, the gang is so afraid of what his finger-snaps cause to happen, even if they are reasonably sure that he's still an ordinary mortal man, that they quickly acquiesce to his demand without him having anything in place. At the end of the episode, as we cut away from the gang members from the last time (Michael's plotting having resulted in them taking control of a large turf from a much-worse cartel), the gang's leader snaps his fingers as he walks away from the scene of the confrontation, full of new confidence and most likely new ideas. This later gets a Call-Back when a client sarcastically asks Michael if he can just make the drug dealers disappear by snapping his fingers.
Westen: Well, it's worked before.
- Doctor Who:
- "Voyage of the Damned": The Doctor snaps his fingers to have two of the Angelical Host lift him into the bowels of the ship.
- The Doctor later discovers he can open the TARDIS doors with a snap of his fingers.
- "The Return of Doctor Mysterio": The Ghost introduces himself this way, snapping his finger to shatter a window. Later, during his interview/date with Lucy, he snaps his fingers to light a candle.
- Sherlock: At the beginning of "A Scandal in Begravia", Moriarty calls off the snipers aiming at Sherlock and John this way.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- Q's snapping can do all sorts of things, like fling the Enterprise all the way to the Delta Quadrant. To be fair, he's omnipotent, so can do anything he wants with any gesture he wants; he just snaps his fingers to look nonchalant while he does it.
- Q's been around them for long enough that, by "Devil's Due", Picard is using this to signal his crew during trial.
- Q's son also picks up this trick. It gets Subverted, though, when he gets temporarily Brought Down to Normal, as he learns when he snaps his fingers and nothing happens.
- Other Q use different gestures to the same effect - Amanda Rogers in "True Q" uses more full arm movements in front of her, while Q2/Quinn does a little hand twirl.
- Supernatural has a thing for this trope: the Trickster/Gabriel, as well as Crowley have thedo ability to make people explode with a finger snap. Lucifer did this to Castiel, who later used it on Raphael. Castiel also used it to free Death from a binding spell. In Watsonian versus Doylist term, the Watsonian reason is to show those character as incredibly powerful, the Doylist reason is to covered for the No Budget nature of the show.
- In Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, Torin has a regular finger snap as his Character Tic; it becomes this after he upgrades from mentor to Tenth Ranger Kyoryu Silver.
- In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Jae activates her power of karma manipulation by snapping her fingers. Though it doesn't always work in her favour, as demonstrated by her snapping her fingers one time and doubling over in pain from her own bad karma.
- The main antagonist of Honkai Impact 3rd the Herrscher of the Void pulls an incredible example: After her first awakening, hundreds of thousands of mechs were sent after her. Of course, she pulled an equally large force from the void to fight back. But when the opposing mechs fired huge missiles at her, all she did was stare it down, expressionless. That was, at least, until she gave a small smile and... snap.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, Saïx snaps his fingers to summon more Nobodies to fight Sora and Company. In Chain of Memories Axel snaps his fingers to kill Vexen by causing him to burst into flames.
- In Scarlet Nexus, Hanabi (whose name means fireworks) controls flames with pyrokinesis, and borrowing her ability comes with a cut-in of her snapping her fingers to activate her power.
- Evie characters that specialize in scythes in Vindictus can learn two major skills that can take enemies out with one snap of their fingers. The first skill, Bloody Thread, surrounds up to four mobs with thread and when Evie snaps her fingers, the thread contracts for massive damage. The second skill, Mark of Death, has her marking up to four mobs, getting the soul from one, and when she snaps her fingers, the souls from the mobs marked are released from the body. Scythe Evies especially love using these skills as a way to finish off bosses.
- Shiva's Limit Break from Final Fantasy X. She encases her enemy in a solid block of ice, then shatters it by snapping her fingers. Arguably more impressive if you have the shortened summoning animations on as it cuts out everything before the finger snap, which makes it look like Shiva comes in, snaps her fingers and everyone explodes in ice.
- Doctor Doom in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. He can snap his fingers to summon his Cool Chair, or his HIDDEN MISSILES! Both of these can happen on any stage.
- Touhou Soccer gives us Mima and her Twilight Spark, which she fires with a snap of her fingers.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Ghirahim in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword snaps his fingers whenever he uses powerful magic like creating barriers around the Sealed Grounds, bringing a boss to life, or creating a sword to fight Link with.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Spirit Temple features a boss monster that appears as a knight covered in armor. It summons a huge axe from Hammerspace with an audible snap of its fingers.
- The Gerudo Champion Urbosa in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can call down lightning strikes with a snap of her fingers as her signature ability. Link gets the same ability after freeing the Divine Beast Vah Naboris, though the only time he snaps his fingers to do it is during the cutscene where he receives the power.
- In Super Mario RPG, Bowser's magic is triggered by him snapping his fingers.
- Dimentio in Super Paper Mario casts his magic by snapping his fingers. Explosions usually follow.
- Manfred von Karma from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney often snaps his fingers for dramatic emphasis. His finger snaps are so badass that they make a metallic noise.
- Cheria Barnes of Tales of Graces snaps her fingers in her third level mystic arte to end the inverted Colour Coded Time Stop preparation of a Flechette Storm.
- In Devil Survivor 2, the Anguished One's debut scene has him shatter one of the resident Eldritch Abominations' spawned Mooks to pieces by snapping his fingers.
- As long as he is not moving, Dante in Devil May Cry 4 will make a gesture upon changing styles. If he changes to Gunslinger, he will raise both hands and snap his fingers.
- Arius in Devil May Cry 2 likes this gesture. When Dante first meets him he summons Furiataurus to fight Dante with but a single snap of his fingers, and during his own boss battles he accompanies his attacks or summoning more demons to his aid with more finger snap.
- Some additional abilities (like creating clones) in Bayonetta are activated by finger snap.
- Super Robot Wars Z series: Genion GAI creates explosions with this during Nibelung Annihilation, akin to Zeorymer causing explosions.
- Super Smash Bros.:
- Master Hand in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U has one. It's a weak attack by itself, but if you don't guard it on the ground, you will be dazed.
- In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Joker casts his Eiha and Eigaon spells by snapping his fingers with a cool pose. Additionally, Sephiroth casts both Shadow Flare and his Neutral Air Attack with a snap of his fingers.
- Bioshock: Incinerate is cast in this manner: the fact one can do this is actually used as in-game advertisement for the plasmid. Considering Subject Delta in the sequel can use it with a simple wave of his hand, this hints that the trope is actually exploited for Rule of Cool In-Universe.
- A few of Granblue Fantasy's characters will do this for their Charge Attacks or regular attacks. For instance, if the Player Character is equipped with their racing skin, they will call their ride with a finger snap as a Charge Attack; Cagliostro, one of the game's most popular characters, will often accompany her skill casting and regular attacking with an initial finger snap.
- Musse Egret in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III snaps her fingers and ice explodes at the end of her S-Craft, Brilliant Shot.
- Final Fantasy XIV examples:
- The Primal Shiva casts her Diamond Dust spell by snapping her fingers to freeze her enemies and much of the stage in ice. She then stamps her heel down with a loud clack to shatter the ice.
- The Phantom Thief of Many Faces, when out in the open, causes a number of things to happen by snapping his fingers like a showman.
- The Ascian Emet-Selch often works his magic with a simple snap of his fingers. Even as Hades, some of his heavy hitting attacks are cued by the sound of his snapping fingers. This is one of the two biggest hints to the identity of the Ancient that saves your party during the Seat of Sacrifice in 5.3.
- Dragon Quest: In Dragon Quest Monster Battle Road Victory, the Dragonlord from Dragon Quest I receives a decidedly classy glow-up for his humanoid form, of which this is part: he both manifests his throne and unleashes his Sizzle in the form of a tremendous explosion mutually by means of a cocky offhand snap of the fingers.
- Library of Ruina: Pluto, also known by his title as Yesterdays Promise, is a skeletal Distortion who serves as one of Argalias right-hands. His powerful abilities are often accompanied with the snap of his fingers, from summoning his namesake contracts with unconscionable fine print or glowing skeletal hands to assail his foes.
- Destiny 2: With the Solar 3.0 update, the Warlock class gained the Incinerator Snap melee ability that flicks out several firebolts at the snap of a finger.
- In Erfworld there is a variation. A ruler can disband any unit at will, which is yet another reason treachery is almost impossible. But the act requires them to physically clap their hands together.
- Girl Genius: Colette triggers the Death Montage of Cruel and Unusual Deaths of all of the traitor Beausoleil's bodies across all of Paris with a snap of her fingers.
- In Housepets!, this is how Pete warps reality.
- Questionable Content: How Spookybot starts the torture of Corpse Witch, as seen here.
- Naturally, the good folks at Assist Me had some fun with the Doctor Doom example on Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Max: By the way, what's with all the finger-snapping?
Doom: Doom doesn't know how it works, but if Doom wants something, Doom just snaps his fingers. *SNAP* Hundreds of missiles, *SNAP* a comfortable chair, *SNAP* a human-sized blender, *SNAP* a delicious mojito... [which then magically appears]
Max: Hey, can I have one?
Doom: NO! It only works for DOOM! [sip]
- At one point in The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Puss strikes a thief with a headbutt, walks away and then snaps his fingers the moment the dazed thief passes out.
- In an episode of The Amazing World of Gumball, Nicole Watterson does this to stop the chaos in her house after it has been taken over. After a psionic wave passes from the snap, she has everyone's attention and proceeds to give them a scary ultimatum which they all follow without question.
- Beetlejuice sometimes does this before magic happens, but it's optional for him.
- In one episode of CatDog, a gopher did this to order a pack of vicious worms to devour their stolen property.
- This is how genies grant wishes in The Fairly OddParents.
- Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls has been known to use this...with frightening results.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- As part of the Actor Allusion to Q, Discord sometimes snaps his fingers whenever he warps reality. It's worth noting that this is one show where one could count the characters actually having fingers to snap... on the fingers of one handnote . Lauren Faust's notes on him claim that she "cheated" a more expressive arms/legs combination out of the original dragonlike design. Another interesting note is that he can also do this with the fluffy "brush" at the tip of his tail.
- In the Season 4 finale, Lord Tirek — after subjecting the aforementioned Discord to a Mana Drain in order to gain his power — eventually does one to imprison Twilight's friends (and even Discord himself) in magical spheres, likely as a mockery.
- Ahuizotl snaps his fingers to summon his army of cats.
- Rick and Morty's Season 3 episode "The Ricklantis Mix-up" has a villainous one: Evil Morty has just become the new President of the Citadel of Ricks, but the Shadow Council of Ricks makes it clear to him that they intend to be the ones who are truly in charge while he acts as their Puppet King. President Morty just calmly asks all the Ricks who feel this way to raise their hands (and most of them do, with two exceptions)...and then wordlessly snaps his fingers, at which point these Ricks are gunned down by others who are loyal to their new President.
- Teen Titans: Jinx often uses this to activate her bad luck powers.
- Total Drama:
- After being taken to their territory in "A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste", Anne Maria gets surrounded by mutant gophers. Before a fight can break out, their shadowy leader snaps his finger and they retreat, leaving him to deal with Anne Maria.
- Part of the challenge in "Grand Chef Auto" is to acquire one of Chef's prized go-karts. Thing is, Chef is not okay with his go-karts being used for the challenge, so he goes all out protecting them. He introduces his main line of defense with a fingersnap: an army of hostile mutant squirrels.