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Caught the Heart on His Sleeve

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In many an Anime and Manga, The Protagonist (usually male) is left alone in a romantically-charged situation with his Love Interest (usually female). When this happens, an awkward silence usually ensues, followed by the guy suggesting some banal activity to fill the time. He takes a step, only for the girl to grab his shirt sleeve, stopping him in his tracks. Indeed, we will often be treated to a several second pan over the motionless duo. The girl's eyes will likely be hidden as well. This often heralds a plot-significant, romantically related conversation.

The trope name is derived from the phrase, "(wearing a) heart on your/their sleeve," which means to display one's emotions and feelings openly, despite acting contrary to it. An example of this is not being able to tell someone that they like them, even though everybody else could see it already (often including the Love Interest).

This isn't always romantic, and any character desperate for another not to leave may do this.

Related to Please, Don't Leave Me. Don't confuse it with Security Cling. See Possessive Wrist Grab and also Standard Female Grab Area in which a heroine is subdued through a somewhat similar method.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 5 Centimeters per Second has a particularly heartbreaking example. Kanae does this to Takaki with the intention of confessing her feelings to him but ends up unable to do so.
  • Arakawa Under the Bridge: Nino grabs Ric's sleeve and then kisses him under pressure from Star and Ric's secretary.
  • Assassination Classroom: Kayano does this to Nagisa after giving him chocolates for Valentine's Day, and trying to work up the nerve to confess her feelings. When Nagisa gets distracted by a potential opportunity to assassinate Korosensei, Kayano lets him go and decides against telling him, as she doesn't want him to split his focus from the mission and his life goals.
  • B Gata H Kei: In the last episode, Yamada tells Kosuda she wants to fuck him, and then tries to walk away in embarassment, but he grabs her arm.
  • Berserk: During the Griffith rescue operation, Casca grabs Guts's cape and trails behind him when suspense is rising.
  • Betrayal Knows My Name: Ho Yay example; Yuki does this to Zess in episode 3/chapter 3.
  • Black Butler: Occurs in chapter 62 between Ciel and Sebastian.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Yukito grabs Touya arm subconsciously.
  • Case Closed: In one of the few times Conan briefly transformed back into Shinichi, he was about to investigate a crime scene with Heiji, Kogoro and Officer Sato until Ran grabbed him by the sleeve (she had a flashback earlier to the time she last saw Shinichi before his fateful encounter with the Men in Black that transformed him into Conan, causing a Reflexive Response in Ran's part) trying to tell him something. Shinichi was able to convince her to let go, because he told her he knew what she wanted to say, because he wants to tell her the exact same thing.
  • Eureka Seven: Eureka grabs Renton's sleeve at least once.
  • Go For It, Nakamura!: Nakamura and his Love Interest Hirose's time watching the ocean together is interrupted when one of Hirose's friends arrives and beckons him to join the others. As Hirose prepares to leave, Nakamura reaches out and grabs his wrist, asking him not to go. Hirose ultimately decides to stay, giving Nakamura the opportunity to finally ask Hirose if he wants to be friends.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: episode 12, complete with Love Bubbles and an Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Highschool of the Dead: In episode 6, between Takashi and Rei, followed by a "Shut Up" Kiss of sorts.
  • K: when Shiro starts to realize that his memories are fake, he stops Kuroh from leaving this way.
  • Kaguya grabs Shirogane's sleeve in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War when she asks him to run for reelection.
  • Kimi ni Todoke: In episode 17 from Sawako to Kazehaya, followed by an Almost Kiss. It was set up by Pin as a prank. And then in episode 20, from Ryuu to Chizu.
  • Kiss-X-Sis: In episode 6, Keita and his sisters' teacher are discussing his inappropriate relationship with his sisters (while in old military cosplay). When he turns to go, she grabs him by the hand in approximately this manner and... accidentally pulls him down on top of her. Naturally the sisters walk in at this point.
  • Koharu no Hibi Koharu does it to Akira a few times.
  • Lovely Complex: Risa does it to Otani to physically stop him from walking over to talk to his ex-girlfriend.
  • Maid-Sama!: In episode 4, Aoi uses this as part of an attempt to seduce Usui. It doesn't work.
    • Also in episode 26, from Misaki to Usui, of course.
  • Maison Ikkoku: Kyoko does this to Godai. Followed by their first attempt at lovemaking by spending the night in a sex hotel.
  • Mayo Chiki!: As the protagonist escorts the Sweet Polly Oliver through a men's locker room in episode 3. Romantic in the overall context of the show, though non-romantic in that specific case.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Male version. In the side manga Blind Target (whose story is written by series scenario/scriptwriter Akemi Omode) this happens. Relena tells Heero that though she knows he's a strong person, she wishes he'd let her worry for him more and turns to leave. Cue Heero grabbing her sleeve and pulling her in for what is implied to be an offscreen kiss.
  • When Nishimura gets sick in chapter 53 of My Clueless First Friend and receives a visit from her friends, she grabs Takada's sleeve when the group makes to leave, begging him specifically to stay because "[she]'ll be lonely". While the specific incident is not overtly-romantic, it is part of a larger series of interactions in which it becomes clear that Nishimura and Takada's friendship is no longer entirely platonic in nature.
  • Naruto: Happens between Temari and Shikamaru after the latter suggests that she accompany him to test out the honeymoon venue he's planning as a wedding gift for Naruto and Hinata.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Luna/Shiori does this to Negi before he goes off to find out how to stop Fate, so as to help him.
  • Noragami: Occurs between Hiyori and Yato with Hiyori grabbing Yato by the hand and telling him "I want to be together a while longer!" with the two blushing and fireworks in the background.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: Tamaki turns to leave the room until Haruhi grabs the bottom of his shirt after hearing a crash of thunder. She quickly lets go after realizing what she had done.
  • PandoraHearts: Occurs in chapter 4 between Gil and Oz and then again in chapter 74.
  • Ryo tries to leave Sae in Peach Girl who’s madly in love with him and she pulls on his shirt, pleading with him not to leave her alone.
  • Potemayo: In episode 3, Sunao grabs Mikan's hand as she stands to leave the table he and his father are sitting at... and she faints.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Before his fight with Saito, Kaoru grabs Kenshin's gi to prevent him from going on with it.
  • The Secret Agreement: Iori tries to stop Yuuichi from leaving for good but actually fails. It's not because Yuuichi doesn't love him or doesn't care, however, but because he loves him too much to face the consequences of staying.
  • Seraph of the End: Another Ho Yay example can be found in chapter 46 with Yuu and Mika. When Crowley comes to start trouble Mika tries to encourage Yuu to run because he doesn't want Yuu to become livestock again. Yuu says he won't because he'll fight fate this time and last time Mika became a vampire when he abandoned the others. Mika says that was his fault but Yuu disagrees and says it wasn't and says he'll fight together with Mika and they'll both leave with the others. Mika grabs Yuu's sleeve from behind and says Yuu's plan would just end up with the same result as his past one, with Yuu's family killed. Yuu is insistent that Mika gave them a future. He asks for Mika's help and Mika agrees with his plan despite his hesitance.
  • Sgt. Frog: In an early episode, Momoko does this to Fuyuki repeatedly in failed attempts to confess her love to him.
  • Shakugan no Shana: In the second season of the anime, Konoe Fumina does this whenever a situation arises to separate her from Yuji. This bothers Shana and Kazumi quite a bit. Not actually a romantic example, because Konoe is actually The Mole.
  • Spice and Wolf: In season 2 episode 8, Holo grabs Lawrence's sleeve before he leaves her alone so she can sleep off her drunkeness.
  • Suzuka: When Yamato reaches the point where he has had it with Suzuka putting down his efforts at track, and yells at her "Cut it out already! What is it that you don't like about me?!" (Can't you just stop it!! Ever since earlier... What exactly do you feel resentful about me?! in the manga) [1] then decides he doesn't care about her answer and turns to leave, she gets a surprised look on her face like she realizes she crossed the line and rushes after him, grabbing the back of his shirt as she apologizes [2]. Of course, Yamato just accepts her apology and tells her not to worry about it, and so leaves himself open to more of the same abuse.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: In chapter 122/123 of the sequel manga Mutsuki finally catches up to Kaneki at the re: cafe and pleads with him to return to the CCG while pulling on his sleeve. It’s tragic because Mutsuki truly believes all the bad stuff currently going on will be fixed if Kaneki returns but he also wants him to return because he has feelings for his former Sensei; twisted feelings but feelings nonetheless. However, Kaneki is in love with Touka and wants to remain with his ghoul friends so he refuses. This makes Mutsuki snap and attack Kaneki and try to kill Touka.
  • To Love Ru (pictured above) features this in episode three.
  • Toradora!: Taiga to Ryuuji in episode 16.
  • White Album: Two examples in the same episode in the second season done to the same guy.
  • Narue of The World of Narue grabs the fold of Kazuto's shirt (the bulge above his belt), but the expression and intent is the same.

  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya has this in text form.
    I nearly bumped into Nagato who was coming out from the kitchen. In Nagato's hands was a stack of small plates, with chopsticks and a tube of ground mustard on top.
    "I am leaving. Sorry for intruding. See you."
    I was about to walk off, when I sensed a tug as soft as a feather on my arm.
    Nagato was pulling my sleeve with her fingers. The tug was very soft, just like how much force one might use to pick up a newborn baby hamster.
    • The movie adaptation is even more so, as we get to see how she really doesn't want him to go.
    • Invoked by Haruhi in part six of Melancholy [3]. Kyon's lampshading is prompt as always, with the US dub hitting a two for one.
      Well if you're scared just go ahead and grab my arm, why don't ya? I'm sure it'll help get me in the mood.
  • No. 6: Occurs in chapter 17 between Nezumi and Shion.
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!: the characters get Trapped in TV Land in a Dating Sim, and Mahiro has to pick a girlfriend by the ending in order to get back to reality. The entire exercise embarrasses him to no end, and when Nyarko (the one who shows up to confess her feelings) says they have to kiss, Mahiro has enough and starts to storm off. Nyarko catches his arm and says that she really does love him, and this is the moment she's been waiting for since the day they met; this convinces Mahiro to go through with it, and gets everyone back home.
  • Welcome to the NHK: Done to a T, by Misaki to Sato, in front of a fountain.
  • You Like Me, Not My Daughter?!: When Takkun says he'll try to stop liking Ayako, she grabs his sleeve and tearfully begs him not to.

    Live Action TV 

    Visual Novels 
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: At the end of a date with Sachi and Yuuji, she admits that this was probably the happiest day of her life and grabs on to his sleeve since she doesn’t want to go home yet.


    Western Animation 
  • Evangelyne does a variation of this to Sadlygrove in episode 25 of Wakfu, right before they go off to battle. A variation since a), she did it with his Scarf of Asskicking, and b), she nearly choked him while doing so.


    Anime & Manga 
  • And Yet the Town Moves episode 10, Kon to Arashiyama (who was being petulant at the time).
  • Angel Beats!: In episode 5, Angel catches Otonashi by the shirt just as he's leaving an exam to find out what her name is. He ends up introducing himself and getting her name in return.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Early in the manga, Chiyo-chan and Osaka are on the school roof and Osaka makes comments about how you could just jump off and fly away. Chiyo-chan, well aware of Osaka's Cloud Cuckoo Lander tendencies, grabs Osaka's sleeve to stop her doing anything.
    • In the next strip, everyone agrees that the higher up you are, the better lunch tastes. Osaka looks towards the top of the stairwell they came in through... and then realizes Chiyo-chan's grabbed her sleeve again.
  • Claymore: A young Clare does this to Teresa of the Faint Smile. Teresa isn't eager to return her friendliness however...
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Winry grabs Ed's hand as he's about to walk away after finding out that Hughes is dead. While they are Love Interests, this particular example is more that they're in mourning than anything else.
  • Full Moon: Gender Flipped when Izumi grabs Mitsuki's dress when she tries to leave, thinking he needs space. Debatable whether this is romantic or not, since they are not Canon and have their own respective love interests.
  • Godannar: In episode 4, Anna grabs Shizuru's wrist from her hospital bed to keep Shizuru from avoiding answering whether or not she intends to quit.
  • Kimi ni Todoke: Sawako to Kurumi at the beginning of episode 11.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: after Zest and Lutecia rescue Agito. Zest considers his duty fulfilled but Lutecia grabs him by the sleeve and after a long awkward pause, asks if they can take Agito with them, because basically, Agito is the same as herself in that Lutecia lost her mother and Agito, her master.
  • Onani Master Kurosawa: The Shrinking Violet does this to the protagonist.
  • Otome Youkai Zakuro: Susukihotaru to Zakuro in one of episode 6's flashbacks.
  • RideBack: Occurs in episode 11 of the anime, from Shouko to Haruki.
  • Skip Beat!: Kanae is angry that Kyoko won't reveal her past to her, so she begins to angrily walk away from her. A panel shows a hand tenderly gripping Kanae's sleeve to stop her, only for the next page to show that a downcast-looking Kyoko is using her grudge demons to ensnare and pull Kanae back, who looks terrified.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: In the manga, after Ayeka is kidnapped by Yakage, Sasami wants to join the rescue mission, pointing out that Ryoko's going even though she's wounded. Ryoko slaps her, causing Tenchi to step in... but before he can call Ryoko out, Sasami catches his sleeve, giving Ryoko enough time to defuse the situation without making it worse.
  • The World God Only Knows: Elsee to Keima in the first chapter, warning that not fulfilling his contract will mean he'll lose his head, courtesy of an Explosive Leash.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Molly of Denali: In "Little Dog Lost" Molly grabs Tooey's arm and runs with him to Auntie Midge's house.
  • An episode of The Simpsons plays with this. When Moe babysits and bonds with Maggie, it culminates with him saving her from a shootout in a restaurant with two rival mob groups. His shirt sleeve is snagged trying to go in, and he warns Homer not to stop him before realizing it's a tree branch. After he saves Maggie, he awkwardly makes an excuse to leave, only for his shirt to be caught again. He curses the tree before turning around to see Maggie tenderly grabbing on his shirt.
  • Total Drama: In "That's Off the Chain!", Lindsay does everything in her power to make Heather win the challenge as per the stipulations to their alliance. She believes Heather to be her friend and that they both want each other to make it to the finale. Then Chris reveals that Lindsay's facing elimination for crossing the finish line last and only Heather has immunity to give away to save her. She refuses and walks off, prompting a confused, hurt, and desperate Lindsay to grab her by the wrist (Heather's outfit doesn't have sleeves) to talk it over. The ensuing conversation is brutal.

Alternative Title(s): Sleeve Tug