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Distressed Dude

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"Look up there! It's a big, strong man in need of rescue!"


Meet the Spear Counterpart of the Damsel in Distress. He's usually the sidekick to a butt-kicking Action Girl, always getting himself captured for the female lead to save. This may also occur in shows featuring a male protagonist and even when the male protagonist is a total badass, they tend to get captured quite a bit, usually to demonstrate their awesome escape skills.

Sometimes this trope is regarded as a product of twentieth-century feminism, but it's Older Than They Think. When classifying fairy tales according to the ATU Index, one distinguishing mark of several types of tales is that a man (or men) is rescued — generally by the heroine. While he is generally her Love Interest, they are generally her brothers.

Compared to the Damsel in Distress, the Distressed Dude is somewhat more likely to save himself in the end or to be saved by someone of the same sex. If he is saved by a woman, she is likely to use her traditional, feminine strengths rather than a more direct approach. When the Distressed Dude is rescued by an Action Girl, it's not uncommon for him (or for another character) to describe this as an injury to his masculinity. If he's in a relationship with the Action Girl, he may be a Useless Boyfriend. This may be Played for Laughs, though sometimes the Distressed Dude will learn An Aesop instead.


The dude may have picked up the Distress Ball. If he was a badass before getting kidnapped, he may suffer Badass Decay. If he continues to kick ass after being freed, he's a Badass in Distress. Compare Non-Action Guy.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Akame ga Kill!, Tatsumi finds himself captured and imprisoned by one of the most powerful, cruel, and sadistic human beings in existence, Esdeath, a woman with extremely deadly powers who has slaughtered hundreds of thousands without mercy. That's not the problem though. The problem is Esdeath is hopelessly in love with Tatsumi and fully intends to make him hers. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Shokupanman, frequently, in Anpanman. And by frequently, I mean all the time, by everyone. Even though he's also a superhero and one of the Power Trio.
  • Eren from Attack on Titan. Whenever he's separated from Mikasa or Levi, he gets eaten or kidnapped, sometimes both. Justified, as Eren is a MacGuffin Super Person desired by multiple factions.
    • Jean, for all his budding leadership qualities, has shades of this. He's been saved by Connie, Annie, Marco, and thrice by Armin.
  • Furuichi from Beelzebub was kidnapped twice during the manga, both times used as bait to lure Oga into a trap. As the best friend of the main character and being the only one with zero fighting skills, this was bound to happen.
  • Yuki from Betrayal Knows My Name often qualifies. Most of the time, the other characters are protecting or saving him.
  • Ciel of Black Butler is quite the chessmaster, but he's also a scrawny thirteen-year-old with asthma and winds up having to be saved rather a lot, usually by his Battle Butler Sebastian or his fiancée Elizabeth.
  • Rock in Black Lagoon. Revy at one point makes a sarcastic quip when his latest kidnapper turns out to be a Japanese high-school girl.
  • Bleach
    • Used in an Omake to Ichigo and Uryuu when Orihime and Rangiku want them to test a boiling purple thing. Ichigo also seemed to get restrained a lot at the beginning of the series.
    • In the Filler Bount arc, Ishida was whacked with the Distress Ball due to his temporary power drain and ended up this way.
    • In the filler Zanpakutou arc, the shinigami and Ichigo have to come up with a plan to locate and save Captain-Commander Yamamoto who has been captured by the Arc Villain and sealed behind a very powerful kidou barrier from which he cannot escape. Subverted; Yamamoto sealed himself away to escape Muramasa's power. Muramasa led the shinigami to believe he had captured Yamamoto so that Ichigo would use his full power to break the barrier. Muramasa's plan succeeds, allowing him to steal Yamamoto's zanpakutou power.
  • Change 123: Played straight in Chapter 2 where Hibiki eventually rescues Kosukegawa. A variation happens during the "Zero revealing" plot arc where Kosukegawa's kidnapping serves only as bait for HiFuMi to lure them into a trap.
  • Mikagami Tokiya in Flame of Recca, despite being a competent fighter and a ruthlessly efficient The Smart Guy, actually doubles as this. He gets tied up TWICE in the series, both probably as an effect of picking up the Distress Ball, or maybe because Good Is Dumb, since this happens once he lets go of his Revenge tendencies and lessened his ruthlessness. In his defense though, after all that, he goes to beat down the most feared member amongst the enemy ranks.
  • Azusa Mizutani from Gakuen Ouji is this at the beginning of the manga. The female lead had to rescue him twice from being gang-raped by all the crazy, horny girls at their school.
  • Naoyoshi from Gamaran. And rescuing him is actually one of the main plot motive of the series.
  • Mamoru Amami from GaoGaiGar, specifically in its epilogue OVA, FINAL. When trying to make the preparations that would allow 3G to win against the 11 Planetary Lords of Sol, Mamoru created a replicant of himself to use as a decoy so he could get to the G-Crystal without being caught by the Sol Lords, said replicant is...very gut-wrenchingly chained and given mind-altering drugs by Palparepa. It's pretty scary, honestly, and adds more to Mamoru's woobie factor.
  • Arslan from The Heroic Legend of Arslan often needs someone, usually Daryun, to come help him get out of being cornered/attacked by the enemy. Justified in that he is young and inexperienced and while he can hold his own in a fight, he is frequently targeted because he is the prince with a price on his head.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Parodied with North Italy, who often gets in trouble and derails his partners' plans.
    Italy: [over the phone] Germany! Germany! I'm in North Africa right now and I CAN'T TIE MY SHOELACES!
    • This reaches a new level of absurdity when Italy needs rescuing from falling into a pit dug by "that jackass Britain". It wasn't an elaborate or hidden trap, it was just an ordinary hole dug in the ground.
    • His brother South Italy plays it a bit straighter as a child when Turkey kidnaps him. His boss/caretaker Spain goes Papa Wolf on Turkey. In return, Spain falls gravely sick in another strip and the adult South Italy searches for a "cure", even having recourse to The Mafia to try help him.
    • As a child, North Italy's Team Dad Austria played it straight and had to be bailed out by Switzerland. Ironically, the one who "bullied" Austria the most was Hungary... who would become his Ninja Maid, and later his wife.
    • Two recent strips feature England as a parody of this trope, trying to escape from Germany and the Italies and hilariously failing.
    • In Paint It, White! most of the heroes find themselves immobilized after they are turned into Pictonians. Ironically, it's Italy who saves them at that time.
    • In the third Hetalia Fantasia CD Canada is captured and starts to get Brainwashed by "the Black and White Knight of the Dark Night" AKA Prussia. It is a computer game though, so it can be debated how much distress he actually is in.
  • Rohan Kishibe from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure where he falls into a trap by Highway Star and gets held captive until Josuke hunts down and defeats the Stand user.
    • Koichi was earlier taken captive by Keicho Nijimura. Likewise, Josuke also had to rescue him. He also gets kidnapped by Yukako but frees himself after defeating her.
    • Josuke himself needed rescuing when he and Koichi were captured by Terunosuke Miyamoto and his Stand, Enigma. Interestingly enough, the one to do the rescuing was Yuya Fungami - the one who actually held Rohan captive previously.
  • While every single one of the main characters in Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders periodically needs rescuing, Polnareff is the poster boy for this trope. Even during his personal quest to avenge his murdered sister, Advol takes a knife to the back and a bullet the face just to protect Polnareff from being tag-teamed by Hol Horse and J. Geil. Then Kakyoin has to stop him from attacking the two enemy stand users without knowing how their powers work against Advol's wishes.
  • Lantis from Magic Knight Rayearth gets captured by Nova near the end of the second season.
  • Kaito Doumoto of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch should really stop going overseas for surfing tournaments. The first time, he was kidnapped by his long-lost brother Gackto, had his power almost stolen, and got used to blackmail Lucia. The second time, he had his memory wiped by Michel and was used to draw Lucia out of hiding and blackmail her again. Thankfully, though she may be The Ditz, she's smarter than that.
  • While he doesn't get caught every single episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing... well, if there's a boy liable to get captured, that's Duo Maxwell. Flanderized to death by fandom via Wimpification.
  • In My Hero Academia, Bakugo becomes this twice: the first, when he is taken hostage by a sludge villain, and the second when he is kidnapped by the League of Villains.
  • Tragic from Mythic Quest is threatened in exchange for Aramusha's good behavior so often that the one time someone claims to have kidnapped her, he knows they're bluffing, because that's not how things work. Usually this is just an excuse to have Tragic and Aramusha agree not to use their Game-Breaker powers for the duration of a fight, but once John is actually kidnapped and Anaya has to go rescue him.
  • Done a lot to the title character of Natsume's Book of Friends. He gets captured by youkai and the Matoba clan on more than one occasion. Special mention to his first encounter with the head of the Matoba clan. Natsume is abducted and told that if he tries to run, it will be made so that he can't run, and if he tries to yell, it'll be made so that he can't yell. Special mention also goes to Season 4, Episode 6, which plays with the trope before playing it straight: Natsume is trapped in a jar by an ayakashi that wishes to use him as an offering. Initially, the only issue is getting out of the jar since his guardian Nyanko-Sensei protects him, but the ayakashi does eventually make off with Natsume. The episode ends as Natsume's friend runs off trying to save him. Slightly justified in that Natsume isn't necessarily weak — he's actually pretty strong for a non-exorcist human, and the fact that nearly everyone wants him (no, not like that!) leads to him getting kidnapped quite often. That he can scatter ayakashi just by punching them is considered quite impressive. Still doesn't save him from this trope, though.
  • Negi Springfield of Negima! Magister Negi Magi once got held captive by his fellow mages who wanted to turn him into an ermine and deport him to the Magic World for failing to maintain The Masquerade. He managed to get out of his cell, but his True Companions (mostly Action Girls) had to bust into the enemy base to get him out.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Yeah, Shinji's a pretty easy target who cries and whines compared to his two female companions (a Stoic Woobie and Fiery Redhead). Yet he deserves mention for one episode where he takes charge, gets in trouble, and screams for help from the main female characters.
  • One Piece:
    • Portgas D. Ace is definitely this trope; an entire war is done to save him from the Marines. Except that his younger brother Luffy is the one rescuing him, not a girl. Luffy succeeded in freeing him. Unfortunately, it was in vain as soon Ace took a lava punch from Admiral Akainu to save Luffy and actually died.
    • Trafalgar Law goes through this in the Dressrosa arc. He gets knocked out, bound in Seastone chains, and interrogated by the arc's Big Bad. Then Luffy rescues him... but doesn't have a key for the chains, so he has to carry Law all over the island, through multiple battles, until they finally get the key and Law can (somewhat) participate again.
  • Oz from PandoraHearts was being one twice. First when he was captured by the Baskervilles in the Lutwidge Academy, and then he was saved by Elliot. Second was in Yura’s Mansion, and Gil goes to rescue him (Elliot happened to be in the rescue team, too). Oh, and he didn’t show much of a resistance in both incidents, especially the first one.
  • Mytho in Princess Tutu. Extreme Doormat due to his lack of a heart, with Chronic Hero Syndrome thanks to the nature of the story he came from, and a Dark Magical Girlfriend? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Meowth fell under this trope in "Volcanion And The Mechanical Marvel" after he was kidnapped by Alva, leaving his teammates Jessie and James to follow Ash and his friends in order to rescue him.
  • Subverted in Episode 88 of Ranma ½. The Amazon sisters say that they're holding Ranma captive, but it turns out that they simply gave him a meal to keep him busy.
  • Sailor Moon: Mamoru Chiba, a.k.a. Tuxedo Kamen started off as helpful and slightly badass, but after he and Usagi entered into a relationship, the poor guy descended rapidly into Distressed Dude territory. This also had some Worf Effect crossover just because the most common method of the villains to demonstrate their evil was to chuck the powerless guy in the tuxedo across the room and make off with him... or, in at least two cases, reprogram him.
    • The manga tried to reduce this effect by giving him useful powers, and he took care of a few villains by himself, but he'd still get kidnapped/killed/brainwashed whenever the plot needed to kick up the drama a few notches. The Stars manga storyline even started off with Galaxia effortlessly killing the poor kid in front of Usagi.
  • Shun in Saint Seiya. Though he's not completely incapable of fighting, Ikki routinely bails him out of tough battles. Note this becomes routine only in the filler episode of the anime and in non-canon movies where he is subject to Adaptational Wimp.
  • Genjyo Sanzo of Saiyuki gets abducted and restrained by baddies quite often in the anime. Doesn't stop him from being a badass, though. Then again, his original counterpart from Journey to the West got this treatment way more than Saiyuki Sanzo, without being badass the rest of the time to make up for it.
    • Not that that's hard given his original counterpart was pretty much a complete wuss compared to Saiyuki's loud, violent, arrogant, chain-smoking, gambling, foul-mouthed, violent version who on average threatens to kill his companions at least twice a chapter. Oh, and did I mention foul-mouthed and violent?
  • Goto in Samurai Flamenco becomes one near the end to lure Masayoshi into a final confrontation with Haiji. He managed to get out from his cuffs.
  • Kyrie from Sands of Destruction, so many times it's not funny. It's to be noted that he has the potential to defend himself but he never does.
  • Seraph of the End gives this role to Mika and especially Yuu. Both state how they want to rescue/save the other and it's lampshaded by Ferid. Ferid calls Yuu by the Terms of Endangerment "precious princess", "lovely Yuu-chan", and "precious angel". Mika makes it his life goal to save Yuu from the vampires/humans out to use him and carries him in a Bridal Carry a couple times. There's even fanart of Mika dressed as a prince carrying Yuu who's dressed as a princess.
  • Slayers: Gourry gets slapped around enough and used almost to the point of a Plot Coupon due to being both the Team Normal and the wielder of a powerful sword, but it comes to a head when Monster lord Hellmaster Fibrizo kidnaps him in the second season of the anime/eighth light novel in order to be used to provoke Lina. It takes the summoning of the Guardian of the Multiverse to save him (and her other friends, who also get taken).
  • In one arc of the Soul Eater manga, Death the Kidd seems to be playing this role after a Collector of the Strange decides to add him to his collection. He manages to break out by himself, but only after a fight with Black Star which snaps him out of insanity.
  • Lawrence sometimes takes this part in Spice and Wolf. In both arcs of the first season, Holo has to save his butt (or the business deal at hand) by returning to her true form, a giant wolf, and kicking around lots of thugs. The situations in the second season are a bit more complicated, however.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
  • Sideswipe in the Transformers Armada episode "Past II", when he is abducted and chained up in a burning industrial complex by Wheeljack. Hot Shot rescues him.
  • Yuuen from Wild Rock is small, weak, and looks like a girl, and basically helpless against most giant prehistoric animals. Luckily for him, Emba's the opposite.
  • Honoka Takamiya from Witch Craft Works. Interestingly more damsel-er than most.
  • Taki from Yellow gets this a bit, although it happens to Goh at least once.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
  • Astonishingly averted in Yu-Gi-Oh! R, where nobody even considers grabbing Mokuba Kaiba.
  • If soul-stealing counts as kidnapping, Yugi's grandpa qualifies in the Duelist Kingdom arc. So do several characters in Season 4, including Yugi himself.
  • Kuwabara in the Sensui arc of Yu Yu Hakusho where id kidnapped by the Big Bad that want his power of cut dimensional barrier.

  • In the Child Ballad "Tam Lin" (Child #39), Fair Janet rescues Tam Lin from The Fair Folk.
  • In the Child Ballad "The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward", the young lord saves his life by promising to never tell that his servant robbed him; the servant turns him into a servant until the daughter of a local lord figures out how to get the story out of him. (Gender Flip version of the Damsel in Distress in The Goose Girl).
  • In the Child Ballad "Geordie" (Child #209), a woman pleads for her husband Geordie who is condemned to hang, convincing the King to commute the sentence to a fine. In the Scottish version sung by Maddy Prior and June Tabor (as the Silly Sisters), she doesn't merely plead— she brings all the fighting men of Clan Gordon ready for action, to make sure the King listens. In Joan Baez's version, presumably related to others called "The Death of Geordie", her plea fails. See also
  • There are versions of Child Ballad #95, "The Maid Freed from the Gallows", where the condemned is male, ransomed by his female lover.
  • In the Child Ballad Young Beichan, the hero is imprisoned and must be saved by the heroine.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix:
    • Getafix the druid is sometimes captured by the Romans or Goths because they want his Super Serum potion.
    • Cacofonix gets captured by the Romans a few times and gets Bound and Gagged at the end of most stories. In most cases, the kidnappers want to give him back.
  • Batman:
    • Dick Grayson used to get captured and tied up a lot during his old Robin days, in order to play the sidekick in danger and get rescued by Batman. Now, as Nightwing, this has evolved into a tendency to end up bound and stripped down to his underpants by the villain. Not that we're complaining.
    • Lampshaded in The Dark Knight Returns comic when Joker refers to "Robin, the Boy Hostage".
    • Hey, Dick isn't the only one who gets tied up. Even Batman gets it sometimes.
  • A common premise for pre-Crisis stories featuring Black Canary was her saving her love interest (and eventual husband) Larry.
  • Blake and Mortimer: Professor Philip Mortimer usually investigates alone and tends to get captured when he's trapped and outnumbered, leading his best friend, Captain Francis Blake to rescue him. Though there are a few cases when Blake also gets captured and Mortimer is the one who rescues him.
  • Green Lantern has been full of this since the dawn of time, but special mention goes to the New 52 run that, thus far, has been chock full of our two leads getting captured (by the Sinestro Corps, Indigo Tribe...).
  • Rick and Morty (Oni): Both Rick and Morty become this sometimes:
    • Morty is the more common target since Rick's enemies often try to use Morty against him. Most notably, he gets taken hostage at gunpoint in Issues 9 and 39, and is outright kidnapped in Issues 18 and 57.
    • Rick gets captured by Dictator Morty of Dimension 304-X, and by his former employees of his dinosaur park, requiring his grandkids to save him both times.
  • In the climax of one issue of Runaways, Chase is captured and held at knifepoint by Geoffrey Wilder, while trying to see if Nico and Xavin escaped from the burning planetarium. He's rescued by Gertrude. Unfortunately, Geoffrey decides to just kill Gert instead, making it a Heroic Sacrifice on her part.
  • Sami The Samurai Squirrel: In one story, Doug is kidnapped by pirates.
  • Bob Reynolds, the boyfriend of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, spent most of his time having to be rescued by Sheena.
  • Pick an issue of Will Eisner's The Spirit. Any issue.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman's traditional boyfriend the Ace Pilot Steve Trevor tends to get into quite a fair share of trouble. His competence level varies from bumbling idiot, to experienced soldier, to commando superspy badass enough to be part of the Justice League, Depending on the Writer. His tendency to need rescuing, though, is pretty constant.
    • A more recent (Wonder Woman (2006)) boyfriend, Tom Tresser a.k.a. Nemesis, is generally portrayed as more competent, if not outright badass. But he's still not in WW's league, and thus still needs saving on occasion. The first time Diana rescued him he was actually disguised as Steve Trevor.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Ronno the Mer-Boy in the Silver Age comics also qualifies, partly due to him always putting himself in harm's way just to impress Diana, and partly because, being a merman, he is pretty much helpless on land. He is especially ticked when he's rescued by Steve Trevor, despite Steve being an Ace Pilot superspy.
    • In Wonder Woman (1987) Diana had to team up with Ares to save Hermes from Hades after Hades and Poseidon reacted poorly to Athena usurping Zeus' throne and strung up the messenger of the gods in Tartarus.
    • A different version of Steve finds himself in the same old boat in The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016). He was dragged to Themyscira to become a Human Sacrifice for Ares' plot and was injured and essentially helpless and in need of rescue for the duration of his stay.
  • X-Factor: Rictor's first appearance in comics consisted of his being saved from the Right, who'd kidnapped him in order to use his powers to wreak havoc on San Francisco. Since then, in his two stints in X-Factor and his time in X-Force, he's often the go-to guy to be kidnapped.
  • Y: The Last Man: Yorick Brown frequently needs to be rescued by 355. And in the "Safeword" arc, the bondage gets... rather literal. He's also a trained Escape Artist, so he can free himself at least some of the time.

    Comic Strips 
  • Mark Trail: Rusty's designated role, constantly getting kidnapped or trapped.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Between being beaten, nearly being raped, and being bullied all in the same night, Italy sure is this.
  • Mortality Holmes is definitely this. Culverton Smith tortures him with an inch of his LIFE and gloats over him while he's dying. Good thing Watson helps him out. Who knows where he'd be without him. Probably dead by now.
  • A 30-year Running Gag in Blake's 7 fandom states that there are only two types of Avon fanfic; slash and trash. "Trash" being an example of this trope.
  • The Good Omens fandom seems to have a thing for Aziraphale being dragged into Hell for some torture scenes with the option of making Aziraphale Fall. This got parodied in Manchester Lost, where Poor Aziraphale got it so bad we only got to see what was going through his head as Lucifer tore off his wings, which was an incredibly fluffy flashback.
  • The TGWTG fandom has been making the Critic the Distressed Dude long before he got captured canonically. Mostly justified, seeing as how the fics usually also have Ask That Guy in power and that usually means no happy fun times for the Critic. But other times it's just because he's so very pretty when suffering.
  • In the Galaxy Rangers story Chrysalis, Niko was the only one who managed to escape the Supervillain Lair — meaning she had three Distressed Dudes to rescue on a return trip.
  • How much The Lord of the Rings fanfiction has either Aragorn or Legolas in danger, kidnapped, tortured, or out of commission so the other has to rescue him? Answer: lots.
  • Parodied in this adult but fairly cracky Doctor Who fic. The Doctor's tendency to get tied up, handcuffed, etc by the villain of the week means bondage no longer does anything for him.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami has Snyder, an acolyte of the Light that tends to get captured by the forces of good every time he goes on his own. And it's always up to Keeper Mercury to save him somehow.
  • In the Final Fantasy XII fanfic, Touch and Go Balthier gets kidnapped, and almost succeeds in freeing himself.
  • This crops up quite a lot in Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfiction. They tend to fall into one of two camps:
    • The nations are discovered by the public at large or some shady organization and are abducted and imprisoned. This usually leads to some sort of experimentation on them.
    • One or more of the nations kidnaps another or several nations and holds them hostage, usually for some dark and disturbing purposes. This can be used to represent historic events, like an occupation or invasion. Beatrice The Golden (NSFW) has written some of the more graphic ones, including Debt and My Little Chicken.
  • In the original Sonic CD, Sonic rescued Amy from Metal Sonic. In Always Having Juice, though, Rosy is the one who rescues Sonic from his doppelganger.
  • Joey Wheeler in Ultimate Re-Imaginings, though he manages to get himself out of the immediate danger only; any outside forces he's still gotta get saved from. Like dying from smoke inhalation, being beaten up, being beaten up again, being trapped in a dream world, etc...
  • Prince Cor, the deuteragonist of The Fledgling Year, is usually quite capable and as badass as anyone, but when he is kidnapped and Made a Slave, Aravis has to go into Silk Hiding Steel mode and pull The Infiltration to rescue him.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
    • Calvin's father (and mother) in "The Return of Dr. Brainstorm", though they were asleep the whole time.
    • Calvin and Hobbes get stuck in a Bag of Kidnapping in "An MTM Episode".
    • Socrates tends to get kidnapped a lot - he's held for ransom by Dr. Brainstorm twice (though Calvin shows little concern) and the Super Smoke being in "Nocturnals" says that a returning character is after him, to his surprise.
  • In Crowns of the Kingdom, the Disney Villains capture all of the princes except for Charming at one point.
  • Syaoran in Reversal Of Fate by virtue of being the one whose feathers were taken.
  • R!Syaoran in Shatterheart when he is kidnapped and later tortured by Serial Killers during an outing with Fai.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Mega Man is captured for the latter half of Episode 13, and Roll, ProtoMan, and Kalinka set out to rescue him. Tron Bonne also tags along, unbeknownst to the other characters.
  • Fire Emblem Rekka No Ken: A Story Retold: On two occasions, Michaelnote  is captured by the group's enemies and has to be saved by Lyn. After the second incident, he starts taking fighting lessons from Lyn to avoid any future hostage situations.
  • Kid Icarus Uprising 2: Hades Revenge subverts this when Pit dies for the first time. At first, it seems that The Rapers kidnapped him, and are intending to make him Brainwashed and Crazy, but it's later revealed to be Pit2 in disguise.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction West of the Moon, East of the Sun (a loose adaptation of both the famous Norwegian fairytale and the Greek myth Cupid and Psyche) Spike is captured by the Big Bad and held captive in another dimension. Buffy has to go and rescue him.
  • At the moment, Bucky/the Winter Soldier is probably the most popular Distressed Dude in MCU fanworks, but people are also fond of beating up on Tony, Clint, and Loki.
  • In The Lord of the Rings fanfic Pip-napped!, Pippin is kidnapped by a former innkeeper and his accomplice. Since the story is set AFTER the War of the Ring, and his kidnappers are nowhere near as dangerous as Orcs, it takes no time at all for Pippin to free himself and turn the tables on his captors.
  • In Life Ore Death one member of the Injustice League escapes and attempts to redeem himself by taking a 14-year-old boy hostage to get to his father, and half the Team is on hand to help. Joseph still gets his throat cut, but his powers come from Miss Martian's flesh, and he joins the Team.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash has been kidnapped twice, though in both cases he was taken off-guard. The first time, he was attacked while on the road and taken captive by Hunter J, though he manages to (barely) escape from her ship on his own. The second, he was forcibly teleported to the Saffron Gym by Sabrina. He managed to hold his own until his female companions and his recently found half-sister Belladonna managed to get there and get him out.
  • The plot of Coventina's Crown starts when Morain's brother Errol is kidnapped.
  • In Marc Being In A Gang Rights, Nathaniel has been threatened by Marc's gang at knife-point, kidnapped to be helped for ransom, kidnapped by a villain, and is almost mugged, coincidentally by the same gang that kidnapped him.
  • Anthony Darrow (male Ann Darrow) in the King Kong (2005) fanfic More Than a Monster, after being taken by Kong. Jacklyn Drissel (female Jack Driscoll) leads the sailors to rescue him.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • Many jokes are made about Mokuba Kaiba's frequent kidnappings.
      Mokuba was supposed to be there with me, but he had been kidnapped for the fiftieth time that week so his seat was empty.
    • LittleKuriboh even saw fit to put together a montage of a few scenes in which he was kidnapped.
      Kaiba: [thinking] Hmm. Perhaps I should consider keeping him on a leash.

    Films — Animation 
  • Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return has no less than three men who are in need of rescuing by a woman. Who are they? The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion, to be saved by Dorothy Gale.
  • Princess Aurora/Briar Rose is the Distressed Damsel in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, but her boyfriend Prince Phillip does spend a while as a Distressed Dude when Maleficent captures and chains him to keep the guy from giving Aurora the True Love's Kiss required to break her Convenient Coma. The Fairies have to break him out and give him the weapons he needed to win his fight.
  • In Tangled, Rapunzel's interventions did save Flynn on a few occasions, most notably during the Snuggly Duckling scene. That said, he is able to hold his ground against the palace guards, and he kind of repaid the favor by performing a Heroic Sacrifice, thereby freeing Rapunzel from Gothel.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the animated series. He's still a badass, but Rapunzel has also Taken A Level In Badass. Notably there's never any insulting of his masculinity; he usually just swoons and/ or brags about his badass girlfriend before getting back in the action.
  • Thanks in no small part to his injured arm and the arguments of his fellow "captives," Woody is this for most of Toy Story 2.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: At the end of the movie, Vanellope saves Ralph from what would have been a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Ralph Breaks the Internet does it again, with the Disney Princesses teaming up to save Ralph from falling to his doom near the end of the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The A-Team: In what's probably a nod to the original show (see below), Face is captured by bad guys and tied up in tires while wearing nothing but an open bathrobe.
    • Also Hannibal at the very beginning of the movie, getting punched by two corrupt Mexican cops while handcuffed. Unfortunately for their boss, they're dumb enough to leave him alive. This ends badly for them.
  • The last twenty minutes of Audition.
  • Barbarella: Pygar the angel is extremely ill-equipped to deal with the evil and insanity of the city of Sogo, leading to Barbarella having to save him a couple of times; from a group of Sogoites who want to shred his wings and stab him with a scythe, and from the Black Queen who holds him hostage and crucifies him.
  • Moore in Big Game, when he's locked in a refrigerator hanging under a helicopter and about to be carried away for seven days of torture and painful death. Cue Big Damn Heroes from Oskari.
  • This happens to a wounded Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity when he gets captured by vampires.
  • Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away: After falling into the Cirque world, the Aerialist is captured by the Archers and Spearmen from and taken to the Counselor.
  • This happens to the character of Kale in the movie Disturbia, and his Love Interest Ashley rescues him.
  • Clint Eastwood's character has gotten captured and beat up to varying degrees of seriousness in all three Dollars Trilogy films. He's escaped from them in a variety of ways, ranging from his own quick thinking, Deus ex Machina, or Bond Villain Stupidity.
  • The Scaled Up antagonist of Enchanted intends to grab the female lead as a Damsel in Distress, but the male lead makes the mistake of proclaiming that this will happen "over my dead body." The resultant Gender Flip does not go without lampshading.
  • Harrison Ford spent a good chunk of his early career being kidnapped, tied up, and/or tortured:
  • Peeta is taken hostage by the Capitol at the end of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and held prisoner throughout most of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.
  • James Bond seems to get himself captured almost every movie. Hence the title that this trope used to have: James Bondage.
  • "Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead" is exactly this trope. When the character of Bobby is kidnapped by Rusty Nails, his fiance Melissa must save him. Later on, the other male protagonist is kidnapped.
  • In Kick-Ass, Dave and Big Daddy get tortured on streaming video, before Hit Girl arrives to stop the show.
  • The ending of Knight and Day.
  • Las Momias De Guanajuanto involves the kidnapping of Mil Máscaras and The Blue Demon by a mummy named Satan and El Santo is to the rescue!
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Funnily enough, before that, in the first two Iron Man films, both Tony and Rhodey act like this at different points. In Iron Man, Tony is captured at the beginning by the terrorist group The Ten Rings, and forced to make a missile for them; it's this capture, combined with giving him access to a box of scraps, which leads to him building the Iron Man armor in the first place. Later, the villain Obidiah Stane catches Tony by surprise in his home and takes out his Arc Reactor, which Tony now needs to live, putting him into Cardiac Arrest until he can get to his older, less powerful Arc Reactor. In Iron Man 2, Rhodey, now using the War Machine armor, has his armor hacked by Ivan Vanko and is trapped inside the armor as it attacks Tony, putting him in danger until Black Widow can re-hack it and free him.
    • Bucky from Captain America: The First Avenger; being captured is what prompts Steve to act, and defy his orders to launch a rescue mission that saves Bucky, and nearly two-hundred other captured soldiers. Later in the film, Bucky is once more in danger when he jumps in the way of an energy blast to save Steve, causing him to fall out of a train and dangle from the side above a cliff. Unfortunately, Steve doesn't succeed in saving him.
    • In The Avengers, Hawkeye's primary use in the film is to motivate Black Widow, his partner in the field, to rescue him as he's been captured by Loki and used as a Brainwashed and Crazy weapon, leading to her helping to form the Avengers. Due to the nature of how he's been captured, she basically ends up saving him from himself through an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, and once rescued and given time to recover, Hawkeye helps the others in the final fight, which allows them to save the other Distressed Dude, Selvig.
    • Iron Man 3, though Pepper is the one who spends most of the film in danger, and thus is a Distressed Damsel, Tony's pal Rhodey is also briefly captured by AIM, who pry off his armor and use it as part of a plan (though, had it not been for their Extremis powers, they'd have probably had difficulty holding him as see by his brief escape attempt). Said plan, funnily enough, involves capturing the President and executing him live, forcing Tony and Rhodey to work together to save him, making him another example.
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve realizes half-way through the film that the title villain is none other than Bucky, brainwashed and used as a living weapon by HYDRA; and thus, he goes through a similar experience as Widow went through in Avengers.
    • Avengers: Infinity War:
      • Thor when he is beaten by Thanos and left floating in space, injured and unconscious. Just ask Star-Lord:
        Tony Stark: You know Thor?
        Peter Quill: Yeah, tall guy, not that good-looking, needed saving.
      • Doctor Strange gets kidnapped and tortured by Ebony Maw in an attempt to steal the Time Stone from him, and has to be rescued by Iron Man and Spider-Man.
      • After Vision is badly injured, multiple heroes try to save him from being captured and killed by Children of Thanos. In the end, Thanos kills him anyway.
  • In the first Matrix movie, Agent Smith and a few other agents ambushed Morpheus's crew in an old building. The rest of the crew (except for the dearly departed Mouse) escape, but Morpheus was abducted. With him in his custody, Agent Smith attempted to interrogate him into giving them the codes to get into Zion's mainframe. Luckily, Neo and Trinity were on their way to rescue him.
  • Happens at the end of Mission: Impossible III, after Tom Cruise's character electrocutes himself to short out the bomb in his head (yes, really), the Love Interest he just rescued has to revive him, but before doing so has to take out the Big Bad and his mooks all by her lonesome while the hero lies prone and unconscious.
  • One of the scripts that the girl from the South Korean movie My Sassy Girl shows to Gyeon-Woo is of a female action hero traveling back in time to rescue her lover, who has been captured by the enemy.
  • The eponymous Mystery Team has this happen to them a lot.
  • The first three Pirates of the Caribbean films share the In Distress role around a bit between the original 3 leads — Elizabeth gets more time in it than anyone else, true, but the other two get it sometimes, and as they're both male...
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II: Rambo gets captured by the bad guys and has to be rescued by his teammate Co.
  • Steve in the opening to the first Scream is an extreme example.
  • In Alfred Hitchcock film Stage Fright (1950), Jonathan is a fugitive suspected of murder, in desperate need of help. His ex-girlfriend Eve shelters him and sets out to prove his innocence.
  • Ethan in Supergirl finds himself in several dicey situations requiring his rescue by the Maiden of Might.
  • Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie gives double trouble with a damsel & a dude in distress(Kimberly & Jason). Not to mention Bulk & Skull.
  • In Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, Valerie rescues her brother Eagle first from being chained in the town square, and then from being handcuffed in the middle of a river.
  • Wonder Woman: We first meet Steve trapped in his sinking plane, rescued at the last second by Diana. Then she has to save him a second time from her own people. It happens a third time in London when German soldiers try to steal back something he stole on his earlier mission. He's not useless in the slightest, but, yes, he needs a lot of saving.
  • Charles Xavier is put through what could be considered an even worse hell in X-Men: Apocalypse compared to the two previous films in the rebooted series. When Apocalypse manages to connect to him via Cerebro (only because Charles was appealing to Erik and didn't realise he was there) in order to set off the entire world's nuclear missiles, his great awe at Charles's mutant powers instantly turns into kidnapping and near-successful possession of his body in his need to transfer his consciousness to him since Charles's powerful telepathic abilities would enable him to have access to everyone on the planet. Even a fight on the astral plane leaves Charles battered and bloodied due to Apocalypse's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of him, at which point he calls on Jean to unleash the Phoenix Force to disintegrate the god-like mutant.

  • Minwoo from Metal Heart gets kidnapped by Nova in order to use him as bait for Sia.

    Music Videos 
  • The video of the Brandon Flowers song - Crossfire has the guy repeatedly rescued from ninjas by the female leader.
    • In all fairness, most guys would probably be willing to be captured over and over if Charlize Theron is the one rescuing them.
  • My Brightest Diamond's "Inside a Boy" depicts a girl rescuing her boyfriend from a dungeon and slaying monsters along the way.
  • The Presidents Of The USA song "Ladybug", depicts a super-heroine ladybug rescuing her boyfriend from an evil centipede.
  • The music video for Miike Snow's "Genghis Khan" has the hero captured and tied to a table a la James Bond.
  • The music video for Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" puts the entire band in this situation, as they've been captured by the leader of an underground stuffed animal fighting ring (yes, really) and stuck in a dungeon underneath the arena. Alexandra Daddario ends up rescuing them after taking down the leader and his champion.
  • The music video for Bastille's "Laura Palmer" involves the frontman Dan Smith being kidnapped by two masked men and a masked woman riding ATV's. They bind him with duct tape and put a bag over his head, torturing him by shouting into a megaphone right next to his ear, placing a tarantula on his face, and hitting him over the head with a bottle.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Dirt: In what may be the first recorded example of this trope, a central point of Ancient Egyptian religion is the rescue of Osiris by Isis, after he's killed by his brother Set.
  • Classical Mythology: Prometheus, rescued by Hercules — eventually. This has featured in literature from Prometheus Bound (attributed to Aeschylus) to Percy Shelley's Prometheus Unbound.
  • Stavr Godinovich from Russian Mythology, a wealthy merchant and a bard. He offends Prince Vladimir's court when he boasts that his wife is smarter than the Prince and all his nobles combined. Vladimir throws Stavr into a dungeon... and guess what, Stavr's wife soon tricks him back to freedom, outwitting Vladimir and all his nobles.


  • Lucas Miller of The Adventure Zone: Balance spends most of The Crystal Kingdom waiting for the Tres Horny Boys to save him, and bleeds out through most of the arc's final battle.
  • In the Cool Kids Table game Here We Gooooo!, the last hero of the Soda Pop Kingdom gets captured while trying to free the Grape Escape factory, and the party has to free him. When they ask Princess Caramel Seltzer about him, she admits that she's aware of him and that he's actually not that great at being a hero.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • After Paul Heyman lost his job as general manager of WWE Smackdown, he tried to maintain his power in the company by having The Dudley Boys kidnap Paul Bearer, hoping that in doing so they could control The Undertaker, who had just returned to his zombie gimmick.
  • On one edition of TNA Impact, Samoa Joe was jumped by masked men in black while in the parking lot and loaded into a van, which sped away. Kidnapped by ninjas became a meme after the commentators innocuously pointed out Joe wasn't returning anyone's calls in the following weeks.
  • BJ Whitmer was captured and tortured by the CZW roster during the promotion's war against Ring of Honor.
  • Jimmy Jacobs hired many masked men to kidnap Tyler Black in his final effort to continue The Age Of The Fall. This ended up being the end of The Age Of The Fall when Kevin Steen, El Generico, and Delirious came out to stop him.
  • During a most surreal Raw segment, CM Punk ordered his straight edge cohorts Luke Gallows and Serena Deeb out into the audience in order capture Jared Fogal, Subway Sandwich spokesman, to force him into the cult after Fogal politely declined.
  • In their effort to take over TNA, Aces & Eights once loaded Kurt Angle unto the back of a pickup truck, though he got away on his own.
  • James Storm and Seiya Sanada once kidnapped Manik straight from the Impact Zone, then took him to a shed in the backwoods in order to brainwash him.
  • Seth Rollins once put retired wrestler Edge atop cinder blocks on WWE Raw and threatened to kill him unless The Authority were reinstated.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In something of a reaction to the kind of pulp science fiction Rocket Age tries to reconstruct, there are an almost disproportionate number of distressed dudes in the published adventures.

  • The Mrs. Hawking series: In part V: Mrs. Frost, Nathaniel is taken captive by the villain, and an all-female team of heroes works together to save him.

    Video Games 
  • The third game in The Adventures of Lolo trilogy has Lolo having to save Lala for the third time later in the game. But there is a way to change this around completely; if Lolo manages to get to the Hopeless Boss Fight against King Egger, Lolo will be captured instead of Lala. This means that this time around, Lala has to save Lolo.
  • Bad Dudes: The President has been kidnapped by Ninjas. Are you a Bad Dude enough to rescue the president?
  • At the end of Bendy and the Ink Machine Chapter 3, Boris gets Toon-napped by Susie Campbell. Henry's mission in Chapter 4 is to rescue him.
  • Both of Jade's (male) sidekicks in Beyond Good & Evil have the nasty habit of getting themselves into trouble and needing Jade (female) to rescue them. Torture? Poisoning by an evil alien virus? Kidnapping? Death itself (or not)? Even in ordinary combat, not necessitated by the plot, they seem incapable of getting themselves up if pinned by a certain type of enemy.
    • Although Jade is freed from tentacles by Pey'J at the start of the game.
  • Super Joe in the NES version of Bionic Commando and its Enhanced Remake and the Game Boy version and Bionic Commando: Elite Forces. Pretty much the only games in the series in which he wasn't kidnapped are the original arcade game and the next-gen title.
  • When we first meet Shift in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, he’s been falsely locked up in the YouTube city jail, and must be rescued for the plot to continue.
  • Lance in Brain Dead 13, when he is captured by Vivi for use in a painful "makeover".
  • Richter Belmont from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night when, after having rescued Annette in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood/Dracula X, he vanishes suddenly and mysteriously four years later. One year later, Annette's sister Maria sets out to rescue him.
  • Many entries in the Dark Tales series feature your crime-solving partner Dupin as this. Naturally, it falls to the player to rescue him. The player character may also become this, if it's one of the games where they're implied to be male.
  • In Default Dan, you have to save your turtle monster friend from the princess.
  • Subverted in the Destroy All Humans! series. Crypto, the main protagonist, gets captured once in each game. He often then breaks out of his containment himself. Played straight in Destroy All Humans! 2, where Crypto is rescued by his love interest, Natalya.
  • Donkey Kong himself is captured in the second and third iterations of Donkey Kong Country, and Diddy Kong is in the third. Dixie Kong is never captured (at least in the Donkey Kong games, she is in Mario Super Sluggers) making her one of Nintendo's straightest examples of an Action Girl.
  • Dragon Age has at least one in each game:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, one late-game quest can potentially be resolved by the Warden surrendering to enemy forces. If this happens, the PC (who might be male) and Alistair (if you had him along at the time) are stripped down to their undies and left in a cramped prison cell. They may either try to escape on their own or wait in hope that your Ragtag Bunch of Misfits comes to get them out. Who you think is coming to save you is meant to demonstrate how you feel about that someone.
    • In Dragon Age II, during the "Best Served Cold" quest, a party member is taken hostage. This will either be one of your siblings or, if they are both dead, Hawke's love interest. If there is no love interest (or the love interest is the DLC-exclusive companion), or the love interest is in the active party at the time Hawke receives the quest, it will instead be Hawke's closest friend outside of the active party. All in all, there's an equal chance of the hostage being male or female. If it's Anders, he'll quip that he's never thought of himself as a damsel in distress up till now.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, an entire squadron of Inquisition soldiers - male and female - are taken hostage by a hostile Avvar warrior. There are also imprisoned slaves, mostly male, whom the Inquisitor can free in the Emprise du Lion and the Hissing Wastes.
  • Dragon Quest IV: When you meet Princess Alena's party in chapter five, Kyril is desperately ill and Alena is out searching for a cure.
  • For the final route of Duel Savior Destiny Taiga, the main character himself is captured about halfway in and has to be rescued by the Savior Class.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • During the events of Arena, Emperor Uriel Septim VII is imprisoned in Oblivion and usurped by his Imperial Battlemage and Evil Sorcerer classic, Jagar Tharn, who uses magic to impersonate the Emperor. Defeating Tharn and rescuing the Emperor is the impetus for the plot. (In-universe, this event is known as the Imperial Simulacrum.)
    • In spin-off Dungeon Crawler game, Battlespire, a fellow trainee and friend who leaves you clues and supplies through the first part of the game eventually gets captured and has to be saved from Big Bad. Said trainee is the opposite gender of the player character, so if the player character is a female, this trope manifests. Complete with dramatic carrying the rescuee with both hands towards an exit at the end.
  • Elliot and the Musical Journey: Tristan is locked in a cage when you see him.
  • Evil Islands: Zak gets captured twice by the Khadaganians, and must be rescued (first by the Hermit Lizard, later by the Odalisque).
  • The Evil Within, the Spiritual Successor to Resident Evil 4, has multiple dudes in distress:
    • Your detective partner Joseph is the most straight example, essentially taking up Ashley's role from RE4; Badass Bookworm though he may be, if he's in a chapter then you can expect him to be knocked out, shot, overcome with The Corruption, and/or forcibly split up from the badass protagonist. Alternative Character Interpretation suggests that the Big Bad does it on purpose to get an emotional reaction out of Sebastian.
    • The protagonist himself starts off the game tied upside down by his feet and needing to escape from the chainsaw-wielding Sadist, though he manages to free himself with the help of a convenient knife nearby.
    • Leslie, a male mental patient, spends most of the game being hunted down by the Big Bad, and thus requires protection from the protagonist.
  • The first Fairly OddParents game on the Game Boy Advance, Enter the Cleft!, is about Timmy having to rescue the Crimson Chin.
  • Fallout 4 has Nick Valentine, who first appears being held captive by Skinny Malone's gang. He lampshades this if you rescue him as a female player character:
    Nick: While I appreciate the irony of the reverse damsel-in-distress scenario...
  • Final Fantasy:
  • In Final Fight, your character will be shown chained to a chair with a live dynamite in front of him during the Game Over countdown sequence. Final Fight 2 and 3 on the SNES feature similar Game Over sequences, but it adds the possibility of switching one of the male heroes with the token girl (Maki in 2 and Lucia in 3), turning it into a Damsel in Distress situation.
  • There's a lot of these in the Fire Emblem series:
    • The first part of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War has Prince Shanan of Isaac, Ayra's nephew and protegée. However, the second part, which takes place 17 years later, shows him and his best friend Oifey as adults who have taken SEVERAL levels in badass. Said second part also gives us the priest Coirpre, held hostage to force his adoptive father Hannibal to work for the enemy. Once the issue is resolved, they both join the main group.
    • Prince Myrddin of Etruria a.k.a. Elffin the Bard's backstory in The Binding Blade has him catching a HUGE Distress Ball and becoming one of these, after a plot against his life almost works. He's saved by the dancer Larum and manages to go Faking the Dead, becoming the local Quirky Bard and joining Roy's group.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • Nils the Bard and his Distressed Damsel sister Ninian. They do join the fight... but as Quirky Bard types (they're damn useful once you get the hang of their abilities, though).
      • There's also Raven and Lucius' brief stunt as Distressed Dudes. When they appear in either Eliwood's or Hector's path, it's in a cell of Lyn's castle. Raven subverts the trope as he forces the guards to let him go so he can take a chunk out of Hector, becoming an enemy unit that you have to recruit with his sister Priscilla; Lucius, however, stays in the cell until a freshly recruited Raven goes to recruit him.
    • In The Sacred Stones:
      • Subverted when Eirika is convinced that her brother Ephraim is being held captive. He got away off-screen and comes back to rescue her when she comes to rescue him. They proceed to team up and kick the ass of the guy whose idea it was to start those rumors.
      • Played straight when Eirika and her company have to rescue the trapped Prince Innes along with his mercenary team in Carcino. In Ephraim's route, Knoll was imprisoned and scheduled to be executed before Ephraim and his troupe freed him.
    • Path of Radiance features the Heron Prince Reyson held hostage as a pet by a crazy noble. Ike's mercenaries are hired to rescue him. He would be a Quirky Bard if he wasn't, quite frankly, one of the most powerful utility characters in the game. He also essentially rescues himself before Ike's mercenaries arrive.
    • Early on in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light's DS remake, Shadow Dragon, Gordin is bound and gagged in an enemy uniform in the hopes that Marth will mistakenly kill him and be branded a murderous tyrant. You can choose to rescue him. Oh, and the villain behind it even calls him "Gaggles", which is now his Fan Nickname.
    • Leo's son Forrest in Fire Emblem Fates is captured and held hostage by bandits who mistake him for a pretty girl. His paralogue and recruitment center around defeating the enemy and ensuring he survives, he joins the party at the end of the chapter.
  • Fleish & Cherry in Crazy Hotel is an adventure/puzzle game set in an Inkblot Cartoon Style world where Cherry, love interest of cartoon star Fleish the Fox, is the one who has to rescue her boyfriend when he gets kidnapped by his arch-nemesis Mr. Mallow.
  • In Ghostsquad there's a mission where you must rescue the president after he was taken hostage by Indigo Wolves terrorists on Air Force One.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn: Matthew and Amiti are the only male player characters not subject to this trope.
    • Tyrell crashes a borrowed soarwing in the Tanglewood out of his own overconfidence and stupidity. He happens upon a Psynergy Vortex, gets drained, and remains unconscious until the party shows up to save him.
    • Rief nearly repeats Tyrell's mistake involving a nearby Vortex, only for the Tuaparang to come along and some Mooks distract you while he gets kidnapped by the leaders. You later find him Bound and Gagged in a box.
    • Eoleo is arrested for piracy and locked in a suspended cage outside Belinsk Castle to frighten him out of using his powers to get away. He is one of the two sentenced to Cruel and Unusual Death by boiling alive during the full moon festival. Fortunately, it doesn't come to that. Unfortunately, what does happen is much worse.
  • Grand Theft Auto V has a mission, "Fresh Meat" where Michael is kidnapped by The Triads and is hung upside-down in a meat processing plant in an attempt to coerce his former friend Trevor. When that fails (due to Trevor previously discovering that Michael had backstabbed him long ago), Michael is left for dead. Franklin, another of Michael's friends, has to rescue Michael before he gets ground up by the meat processing machines.
  • In Ib, Ib meets Garry when she saves him from a painting who stole his rose and was plucking it to pieces. Later on, if Garry fails to escape the doll room before his time limit is up, Ib has to save him again.
  • For a series with most of it's women Damsels in Distress, a few males in the Kingdom Hearts series wind in in this situation, such as Pinocchio, Santa Claus, Jack Sparrow, Phillip, and even Sora himself.
  • King's Quest has Edgar...who spends most of his first appearance as a Mook of Lolotte's, and his second appearance transmogrified into a troll.
  • During the concluding sequence of Nar Shadda in Knights of the Old Republic 2, the player gets captured and imprisoned by G0-T0 on his orbital yacht, and you get to choose two party members who break in and rescue you.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • There are multiple distressed dudes in Lorelai who have to be rescued by the female protagonist. Her love interest is the most prominent example, who gets knocked unconscious and abducted (along with her baby sister) by her evil stepfather in the second half of the game, leaving Lorelai determined to resurrect in time to stop him from murdering them both. There's also Jimmy, who shares a lot of critical info with Lorelai in the afterlife and then gets captured/imprisoned by the Queen of Maggots, leaving him helpless until Lorelai can find his body in the real world and wake him up.
  • The plot of the Mass Effect 2 expansion "Lair of the Shadow Broker" is kicked off by Liara's efforts to rescue her friend Feron from a ruthless information trader.
  • Sergeant Magnusson in Medal of Honor: Vanguard is captured by the Nazis in 'Behind Enemy Lines' and Keegan and his squad are tasked with rescuing him.
  • In METAGAL, Meta needs to save her creator, Dr. Ray, from General Creeper.
  • Metal Gear games almost always have a scene where the protagonist is captured, tortured, then given the means to escape by a woman (okay, Otacon or Gray Fox in Metal Gear Solid, but they're Snake's Not Love Interests and probably qualify).
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 has Olga free Raiden, with Snake on standby to give him his clothes back later.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3, means to escape are given by The Boss, but you can flirt it out of Johnny instead if you want.
    • Elisa spends most of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops prying Big Boss out of some trap or another, not just during torture.
      • Not to mention, several scientists get kidnapped in the series, mostly male.
  • Mischief Makers had the heroine Marina constantly having to save her perverted mentor. The final time he's kidnapped, he lampshades it when he decides that getting kidnapped is his destiny and doesn't even resist.
  • In the arcade version of Ninja Gaiden, your nameless ninja gets chained on the floor during the Game Over sequence while a buzz saw is descending from the ceiling.
  • 9S in NieR: Automata gets captured by Adam after being separated from 2B. The Japanese game cover even shows 2B holding an unconscious 9S in a Bridal Carry.
  • In Night Trap, Lt. Simms informs you that you have to protect the Damsels in Distress at a sleepover party (Lisa, Cindy, Ashley, Megan, and S.C.A.T. member Kelly Medd) from getting captured and killed by vampiric Augers. However, in the 2017 remaster, it's not just the girls who need saving... it's Lisa's kid brother Danny as well. In one of the Deleted Scenes added for the remaster, it's your job to save him from being drained by the augers in the downstairs hallway, or else it's Game Over.
  • In Opoona, Opoona himself, along with his brother Copoona, get captured at the start of the second half of the game, and become trapped in Paradiso, the supposed paradise of the planet. It's up to their sister Poleena, along with her new gal-pal Chaika, to rescue them.
  • Pikmin 3 has Olimar, who is discovered to be held captive by the Mysterious Life Form/Plasm Wraith at the end of the main campaign.
    • Also, there's Captain Charlie, who spends time in the second area trapped in the belly of the Vehemoth Phosbat.
  • The 'Save Our Seeds' levels in Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time have 'endangered plants' which the player must protect from the zombies in order to complete the level.
  • Happens several times throughout the Ratchet & Clank series, mostly towards Clank. The most heartbreaking case is when the Zoni capture him at the end of Tools of Destruction, and he then spends the next two years in a coma.
    • Ratchet is captured and rendered comatose by Luna in Size Matters, and has to be saved by Clank. And in the sequel, well...
    • Merc and Green get captured at one point in Deadlocked. Of course, Merc is quickly rescued, but it's a few missions before Green is saved.
  • Most gamers expecting to see Damsel in Distress Ashley getting the first bondage scene of Resident Evil 4 were surprised to see a bound and gagged Luis Sera pop out of a closet near the end of Chapter 1.
    • Not to mention at the start of Chapter 2, Leon and Luis are tied to each other as one of the villagers infected with a virus tries to kill them but they escape, that is if the timing is right.
  • The plot of Marl Kingdom really kicks off once the handsome prince Ferdinand is kidnapped and turned to stone (unfortunately, not in that order), leaving the heroine to save him.
    • Similarly, Croix of La Pucelle Tactics spends the last chapter of the game kidnapped and strapped to a sacrificial altar, waiting for the heroine Prier to rescue him.
  • In Secret of Mana, Purim's reason for joining the party is to rescue Dyluck.
  • Tokugawa Ieyasu, as far as Sengoku Basara is concerned. Starting the second installment, this trope practically becomes Ieyasu's gimmick, to the point that the whole purpose of Tadakatsu/Hondam's Story Mode is to have various character race to kidnap Ieyasu, tie him up and get their ass kicked by Tadakatsu, only to have him witness ANOTHER batch of Ninja kidnap Ieyasu in front of him! While in the expansion Ieyasu takes a break from this routine, he goes back to this routine of constantly kidnapped again in the fighting game spinoff Sengoku Basara X, and worse, if you leave him be, it will cause disadvantages for your character (Tadakatsu).
    • This is actually justified because in those times Ieyasu gets kidnapped, his men refer him as "Takechiyo", his child name, whereupon he spent his childhood being a hostage of Imagawa. And we all know Sengoku Basara is the king of Flanderizations, so that moment gets flanderized to the extreme.
  • Shining Resonance begins with its protagonist, Yuma, being rescued from Gaelritz Prison by the knights of Astoria. Once he's safely within their Capitol, he spends the next several chapters under Astoria's protection, with additional aid from the Dragoneers.
  • This happens several times throughout the Sly Cooper games and has happened to the main trio at least twice. There have been two incidents where Sly himself is captured alongside Carmelita Fox; the first time, they are saved by Bentley; the second by Tennessee Kid Cooper.
    • In the second game, Sly and Murray are captured by the Contessa following Neyla's Face–Heel Turn and are held in a prison on Prague. Chapter 4's main quest is for Bentley to save his friends; Sly is rescued early on, while the final mission involves saving Murray, who's been fed race-inducing spices.
    • In the fourth game, Sir Galleth finds himself captured by a robotic dragon built by Penelope, and is saved by Carmelita. He finds this embarrassing to be saved by a woman, and they agree to keep it a secret from the others.
  • In The Smurfs (1994) by Infogrames, a few Smurfs in addition to Smurfette must also be rescued from Gargamel.
  • The leader of the bears gets kidnapped by the Evil Guy in Something Else and it is up to Luigi to save him if Luigi wants to return to the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Tails in the Master System and Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is captured by Eggman and Sonic goes out to save him. Beating the game without all the chaos emeralds results in Tails not being rescued and it is implied, although vaguely, that Tails was killed as a result.
  • Spelunky gives the player the option of turning the Damsel in Distress on each floor into a half-naked, buff guy.
  • Streets of Rage 2 plot is about Mr. X managing to kidnap one of the guys who beat him last time, Adam Hunter, and it's up to his two buddies that also beat Mr. X, Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding, along with two more new friends, Eddie 'Skate' Hunter and Max Thunder, to beat Mr. X again and save Adam. He returns the favor next game not by being playable, but by pulling several Big Damn Heroes and implying of having other business backstage.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Fon Master Ion from Tales of the Abyss manages to get kidnapped a grand total of four times in the course of a single game. Justified as he's both rather sickly and a target of various villains for their plans.
  • Touhou Kenbun Roku: Happens to Bunroku in Chapter 2.
  • Uncommon Time does this to Saki during Movement 2, as he's poisoned in the fight with the behemoth and is bedridden until you can find an antidote.
  • Throughout the course of the first Warriors Orochi, Liu Bei spends his time being held hostage in Orochi's prison and be the focus of the battle for the rest of the Shu characters, whereas other rulers like Nobunaga, Cao Cao, and Sun Jian eventually broke out and join in kicking Orochi's ass. In the sequel, however, Liu Bei is able to return to kick some ass to make up for his Distressed Dude time from the prequel.
    • The first cutscene of Shu's story mode in the first game is Zhao Yun in prison with his hands tied behind his back; then Xing Cai, Yoshihiro Shimazu, and Zuo Ci show up and break him out.
    • In fact, Nobunaga did not need any rescue at all, since he's one of the starting characters for the Sengoku story mode. However, you get to rescue BOTH Sun Jian and his son Sun Quan in one of Wu's battles.
  • Edward in Witches' Legacy is only slightly less likely to find himself in trouble than Lynn — probably because neither Morgana nor Elisabeth seems interested in him as anything other than a way to get to her. But he still manages to find himself in some sort of jam each game. Like being trapped in a dreamstate or turned into a puppet or kidnapped by the sorcerer Mathias.
  • Koltira Deathweaver is showing a disturbing propensity for this in World of Warcraft, despite ostensibly being a badass. The first time we meet him is in the Death Knight starting zone, where he's been abducted and tortured by a Scarlet inquisitor and has to be rescued. One expansion later, in Cataclysm: he gets abducted again, this time by Sylvanas Windrunner, who's implied to be "re-educating" him to be more loyal to her after he intentionally let his enemy counterpart go after a battle, because they were friends. Dude can't catch a break.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, Mokuba is kidnapped near the end of the game and brainwashed.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM, Joey gets captured by the Ghouls early on, forcing you and Yugi to save him. While you're successful in rescuing Joey, Yugi gets arrested by the police immediately after.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright is no slouch in this department. Accused of murder in 1-2 for daring to question the resident Corrupt Corporate Executive, stricken with amnesia in 2-1, then the defendant for Mia to rescue in 3-1. He and Maya share the distress spot in 1-3 when Dee Vasquez nearly rubs them out, Gumshoe arrives just in time to save both their hides.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, this happens twice. Once when Edgeworth is "arrested" for supposedly murdering another passenger on a first class transcontinental flight and once when Edgeworth goes to deliver some ransom money to some kidnappers and gets taken hostage himself. Both times he ends up with his hands either tied or handcuffed behind his back, and he has to talk to other people into setting him free.
    • Poor, poor Sebastian Debeste from Investigations 2. Getting kidnapped (accidentally, at that) was just the icing on the cake to a severely traumatizing day for him. Kay and Edgeworth free him after finding him Bound and Gagged in a small, dark room while looking for another kidnapping victim, and by this point, he's become so emotionally fragile from the experience that the ensuing Logic Chess sequence is the most difficult one in the game.
  • Shane from Asagao Academy Normal Boots Club claims to have been one at one time.
  • In War: 13th Day, Brooks charges after Chase with a spear. He refuses to fight back because she's the best friend of his lover. He ends up pinned down and almost raped until Wildfire rescues him. Or not.


    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Sirithai capture Refan and tie him into the arena where he is to be sacrificed to the monstrous Plushiebunny. Ax ends up saving him and can't help but keep teasing him about it because usually Refan has been the one doing the rescuing.
  • A few That Guy with the Glasses guys have been this. Linkara has been tied up twice, once by Sage to torture him with an Old Shame fanfic and the other time by Mechakara... just to torture him. Paw was tied up in a recent video and covered in blood while The Nostalgia Critic was kidnapped by the Game Heroes and made to promote their stuff at gunpoint.
  • Discussed in The Nostalgia Chick's review of Supergirl: it was an incoherent mess that eventually turned into a Love Triangle over a pathetic schlub, but the one thing that the Chick liked was that the Action Girl/male "damsel" aspect was Played Straight rather than For Laughs.
  • Rakion Kalsa in Chaos Fighters: Chemical Warriors-RAKSA.
  • The Fate of Paul Twister begins with Paul locked up in a prison, until a rather authoritative woman shows up to bail him out. Lampshaded by Paul when he finds out her identity:
    (Narrating) Now, I’m a pretty forward-thinking guy. By some ways of measuring it, it would not be at all inaccurate to call me the most modern man in the entire kingdom. But even so, there’s just something viscerally humiliating, and maybe even a little bit emasculating, about realizing that you’ve just been rescued from a dungeon… by the Princess.
  • Weebl & Bob: The first "Team Laser Explosion" short had Weebl and Bob having to save "the Mayor" from the evil Fire Thunder Squad.

    Western Animation 
  • Tails in at least half of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Justified, since he is 4½ years old and goes on dangerous missions with Sonic.
  • Adventure Time
    • In the Season 5 episode "Vault of Bones", Flame Princess rescues a captive Finn, after authoritatively commanding the dungeon's final boss to release him and do the splits. "DO THE SPLITS! DO THE SPLITS, THOU MILK-LIVERED MAGGOT PIEEEEEEE!"
    • Prince Gumball (Princess Bubblegum's guy counterpart) featured in Ice King's Gender Flip Fanfic is one to Fionna and Cake (Finn and Jake girl counterparts).
  • Disney's Aladdin is one example from being put in the dungeon, to almost drowning to beheading, etc.
  • Two examples from Avatar: The Last Airbender: Sokka, as the show's resident Butt-Monkey, suffers from this the most (he got captured by a hole in the ground!), but Aang often receives the more elaborate setups.
  • In particular, the first Batman cartoons, from 1968, which were heavily patterned after the recent live-action series. Again, Robin was often in need of rescue by Batman; but once, when Robin was tied to a table with a saw poised to divide him up the middle, he managed to rescue himself, and then go save Batman!
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Alistair Krei is constantly having run-ins with supervillains, some of whom he created himself, and Big Hero 6 has to bail him out. He's basically a more bumbling version of Norman Osborn in The Spectacular Spider Man.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: Ty Parsec, a fellow ranger and old Academy friend of Buzz Lightyear, has a very unfortunate streak of getting himself into trouble and needing to be rescued by Buzz. In his introduction, we learn that Buzz has saved him at least 50 times. Needless to say, it annoys Ty greatly.
  • Ma-Ti on Captain Planet and the Planeteers gets captured and Bound and Gagged or nearly killed more often than a Faux Action Girl.
    • Wheeler also gets into trouble more than once, for being Hot-Blooded as well as being a Commander Contrarian.
    • And Captain Planet himself is endangered whenever pollutants and toxins are spilled on him. Usually when this happens, he just gets dispelled and his powers return to the rings, but in the first episode, the Planeteers have to bail him out.
  • In Code Lyoko, the Damsel in Distressed role tends to go to Aelita, who doesn't reach Action Girl status until around Season Three, or Yumi in some sort of random Running Gag. However, there are also many episodes that involve Jérémie being the one in trouble, usually with electrocuting or trying to electrocute him. (And there was that one time where XANA sent one of his specters to clog his airways and suffocate him.) This really makes the most sense, since when you're a computer program, the most dangerous foe is the guy who controls the computer.
  • The Distress Ball was passed around pretty evenly in Galaxy Rangers, as was the rescuer card. It helps that they're a Badass Crew.
  • Goof Troop: Max often finds himself in perilous situations (sometimes his own fault, sometimes not). Over the course of the series, he is threatened by kidnappers, hostile burglars, and The Mafia among other things.
  • He-Man in the She-Ra: Princess of Power movie. Let's have The Nostalgia Chick talk about it, shall we?
    "And for the rest of the movie, we pretty much go in circles of capture. He-Man gets captured, He-Man escapes, He-Man gets captured, He-Man escapes, and our new wacky rebel friends have wacky adventures trying to bust him out."
  • Inspector Gadget is this at least as often as his niece Penny is the Damsel in Distress. The difference between them is that the Inspector doesn't always know he's in danger. Brain, the dog, also qualifies for this trope on occasion.
  • Ron Stoppable in Kim Possible gets this quite a bit as sidekick to the show's hero Kim. She, of course, has her moments of helplessness, but Ron gets himself into trouble even more, occasionally leading to situations when they're both captured and tied up at the same time.
    • One episode centred on Ron learning an Aesop about "becoming a man," and featured one of his teachers pointing out that he can't be very good at being a "real man" — because he keeps getting saved by a girl.
    • In So The Drama, Kim's new boyfriend Eric is taken hostage by Dr. Drakken...or so it seems. It turns out that he's actually a synthodrone created by Dr. Drakken to distract her and ultimately lead her into a trap.
  • In The Legend of Korra (Sequel Series of the above), Bolin is captured by the Equalists in the third episode. Korra and Mako have to team up to rescue him before Amon can take away his bending.
  • Mike Chilton in the two-part season finale of Motorcity. Texas in the episode "Threat Level: Texas!"
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends:
      • In "The Gost of Paradise Estate", Pluma's grandpa Ruff, while a hero in his youth, has been trapped in a cage in Squirk's lair and held hostage to force his granddaughter to serve the villain, and needs to be rescued by her and the heroes.
      • In "Somnambula", the Big Brother Ponies, despite starting out as would-be rescuers themselves, are snared by Somnambula's magic and need to themselves be saved by Kyrie, Spike and the baby ponies.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic"
      • In the Season 2 finale, Shining Armor is held captivated by an evil sorceress posing as his true love. In a nice inversion of the usual fare, his princess bride-to-be saves him (with the Power of Love, natch).
      • Spike also needs to be rescued a few times. Justified, since he's a baby dragon and all.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, the Agent P and Dr. Doofenshmirtz B-Plot parodies the tropes of Spy Fiction, including those put forth by the page image. In every episode, Dr. Doofenshmirtz has a new trap for Perry the Platypus, which gets progressively more absurd as the show goes on. Of course, Perry always escapes, either by his own ingenuity or Doof's incompetence.
    • The title characters occasionally find themselves in this position, but being a pair of relentlessly optimistic kid geniuses, they're more likely to see it as a chance for an adventure than any cause for distress. In cases where things really do get out of control, it often forces Candace into a Cool Big Sis role. Examples include when they and their friends are tricked into a "Freaky Friday" Flip with alien criminals when a black hole has opened in the backyard, or in the Grand Finale when the boys are removed from existence.
  • The Powerpuff Girls' dad, Professor Utonium, sometimes falls into this.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "My Fair Jet", the DSA weather balloon flies off in some nasty weather, and carries Sean along with it. But luckily, Jet saves him with his jetpack.
    • In "Castaway Carrot", Carrot gets stranded on the moon but gets rescued by his family.
  • Played for laughs in one episode of ReBoot, a male character (Enzo) is literally dressed up as a damsel in distress (complete with princess costume and voice changing gizmo), and the female lead dressed as a knight shows up to rescue him.
  • The Spectacular Spider Man: Norman Osborn gets kidnapped by the vulture in the series' debut episode, and naturally Spider-Man needs to save him.
  • Richie from Static Shock spends the first two-and-a-half seasons of the show being this, before hanging around Static causes him to develop his own powers. He gets kidnapped slightly less often after that.
  • Out of the five members of the Sushi Pack, the three male members have been captured more times than the two female members (although only one episode had all three of them captured at the same time). On the other hand, at least one of each has been captured even more often (usually of the "four are captured, one sets them free" variety).
  • Sym-Bionic Titan:
    • The King of Galaluna is in this state throughout the whole show (save flashbacks).
    • This also happens to Lance a few times as well, most notably when kidnapped by Xeexi and later on, G3.
  • The Tale of the Great Bunny: The titular Great Bunny ends up this way, being kidnapped near the beginning of the show by the evil weasels.
  • This happens to Robin from Teen Titans a few times. Once, when his teammates thought he was going crazy, they restrained him to a medical bed.
    • A few times? Try a lot! A lot of villains' favorite plan seems to be "capture Robin and put him out of commission" so the Titans are faced with having to rescue him. Very often, he ends up shackled or strapped to one thing or another.
    • Or, if he isn't restrained with those, he's been paralyzed by magic/superpowers/poisons/whatever. Or stuck into a marionette.
    • Kinda makes sense when you realize that Robin is the leader of the team, so if you take down the leader, the rest of the team is most likely to fall apart. Many villains try to follow this tactic, but usually, it doesn't work that well.
      • In fact, Cyborg and Beast Boy usually gleefully take the opportunity to shout "Titans! GO!" while Robin is out of commission.
  • Downplayed in the Thunder Cats 2011 episode "The Duelist and the Drifter" with the Drifter, an Eccentric Mentor with Not Quite Flight powers that gets himself "snagged" on tall fences three times, each time enlisting the help of The Hero Lion-O to get down, and each time, exploiting the encounter to offer Lion-O pertinent advice or aid while feigning disinterest.
  • Totally Spies!, known mostly for its heroines getting into distress situations, actually features a couple of scenes where the girls' male spy helpers, Blaine and Dean, get captured by the bad guys.
    • The spinoff series The Amazing Spiez will have a scene featuring one or more of the three Clark boys from time to time.
  • Optimus Prime gets this with his love interest Elita One in The Transformers. When arriving to save her from the Decepticons, first Optimus gets captured and watches helplessly as Elita tries to save them both, nearly getting killed for it. For one reason or another, the Decepticons decide not to finish them immediately but to hang Optimus over an acid bath where Elita will have a good view of his demise (and her demise-to-be). Elita One then activates her time powers to save Optimus Prime, which leads to him finally being able to do something to rescue her. It's pretty 50/50 with them.
    • A similar incident occurs with Blurr in "The Face of the Nijika" (minus the whole "save my girlfriend" thing).
  • Sadlygrove, the Idiot Hero from Wakfu, thinks of himself as a Knight in Shining Armor and thus is on the lookout for Distressed Damsels to rescue. This is turned on its head in episode 4, where he's lured in a cursed castle by the four "Ugly Princesses". Naturally, he ends up as the Distressed Dude to be rescued by his friends.
  • The Winx Club fairies' boyfriends, the Specialists, have been kidnapped on at least two occasions. First at the end of season 3, where Valtor captures four of the specialists, letting Helia go to deliver a message to the Winx girls to tell them to meet him on Andros. And near the end of season 4's episode 18, the Specialists are captured by Diana and her warrior fairies, only Nabu being able to avoid capture since he is the only one who has magical powers.
  • As the heroines of a Magical Girl show, the five guardians in W.I.T.C.H. find themselves tied up fairly often, usually due to some form of magic. However, the only person in the series to actually be bound and gagged at the same time is Badass Normal Caleb, in the episode "Ghosts of Elyon". Not to mention, he is the character who gets captured the most across the two seasons. This is probably to be expected since, by the end of the series, he's the only main character without some kind of magical powers.
    • Will's boyfriend Matt, who actually is captured by Nerissa and ends up Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • Caleb's father, Julian, also was a Distressed Dude for a while.
  • Mark Lily from Ugly Americans manages to get himself into all kinds of horrifying and distressful situations.
  • Happened to Scott aka Cyclops quite a bit across the various X-Men cartoons — he gets it worst on Wolverine and the X-Men, mostly just so Jean Grey and Emma Frost would look better. And in X-Men: Evolution, where Mystique abducts him, steals his Power Limiter and leaves him completely blinded and indefense in the desert, as revenge having been the Spanner in the Works for her earlier. Jean saves him that time. In the latter case though, this was explicitly a Badass in Distress moment given he didn't sit around helplessly.
  • All the guys in Young Justice have gone through distressing situations, but the honor has to go to Superboy.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): James Bondage, Dude In Distress


Ryder Gets Stranded On A Cliff

Ryder Gets Stranded On A Cliff And Needs The PAW Patrol To Come Save Him - PAW Patrol

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / DistressedDude

Media sources:

Main / DistressedDude