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Distressed Dude
aka: James Bondage

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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, but if he continues to kick ass after being freed, he's a Badass in Distress. Compare Non-Action Guy.


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  • 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.
    • Bernard Dowd was kidnapped and tied up by villains and needing rescue twice within a short time of becoming Tim's love interest, once in Batman: Urban Legends and again in Tim Drake: Robin. Even before that he was grabbed and menaced by a villain looking for Tim back in the pages of Robin (1993) but he was able to talk his way out of that one with the only real casualty being his car and a few bruises.
  • 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...).
  • Group of 7: A Most Secret Tale: In Issue #3, Frederick Banting is captured by enemy soldiers and taken to a top secret laboratory, where he's to be made to help the Germans perfect their new Super-Soldier formula.
  • 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 


  • 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.
  • Very popular in the Firefly fandom. The amount of fics where Wash, Mal and/or Jayne are captured either by Niska or the Alliance and need to be rescued could probably fill a page of its own.
  • 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, no longer active) has written some of the more graphic ones, including Debt and My Little Chicken.
  • 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.
  • At the moment, Bucky/the Winter Soldier is probably the most popular Distressed Dude in Marvel Cinematic Universe fanworks, but people are also fond of beating up on Tony, Clint, and Loki.
  • Beating up on Luke and Han is popular in StarWars and has been popular long before Disney took over. Add in newer characters like Finn and Poe and the pile gets bigger.
  • 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.
  • Many Cars fanfics involve Lightning Mcqueen being put in some form of danger with either Sally, Mater, someone from the Radiator Springs gang, or even Chick Hicks having to save him. One example is Three Days, where Lightning and the King are kidnapped in the very first chapter and spend a majority of the fic as hostages (although they do try to escape and give their captors a little snark when they can).
  • My Hero Academia has a ton simply by having so many male characters. True they all have superpowers, but writers find ways around it. By virtue of being leads, Midoriya, Bakugo and/or Todoroki are the most common targets, but there are also enough “Aizawa gets captured and Present Mic and/or Hitoshi save him” fics to fill a page. Present Mic and All Might aren’t immune either.

Individual Fics

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers
  • 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.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Calvin and Hobbes

  • Calvin & 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.


  • * The Last Seidr: Someone gets stabbed, someone gets brainwashed, someone gets kidnapped, and all of these people are dudes.


  • In Crowns of the Kingdom, the Disney Villains capture all of the princes except for Charming at one point.

Doctor Who

  • Parodied in this adult but fairly cracky 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.

Godzilla / King Kong / MonsterVerse

Good Omens

Hetalia: Axis Powers

Looney Tunes

  • Space Jam 2 Across The Serververse: Elmer Fudd, in a state of suspended animation, is trapped in a glass box hanging from a ceiling, as part of Al-G’s incentive for the other Tunes to participate in his series of three challenges in Chapter 24.

The Lord of the Rings

  • 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.

Mega Man

  • 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.


  • The Best Laid Plans: Charlie is briefly this when Mark Breshers, who is the real killer of his father, Philip Breshers, tries to steal the vehicle Charlie is in before holding him hostage before Don is able to talk him down.
  • Yield: Happens to Charlie when he is shot at when he and the team are on horseback trying to retrace the victim's shooter's tracks and gets a shot in the arm and a concussion as a result.


  • 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.

Sonic the Hedgehog

  • 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.

Thomas & Friends

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)

  • In Turtle Kittens, August O'Neil is this by virtue of being a version of April O'Neil, being targeted by the Kraang for his DNA.


Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-


  • 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.


  • 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.

    Films — Animation 
  • A Bug's Life: Flik twice during the climax. First about to be squished by Hopper and then almost flown away/kidnapped (again by Hopper). Princess Atta to the rescue on both occasions.
  • 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.
  • While Princess Aurora/Briar Rose is indeed the Distressed Damsel in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, 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 and also save the three monarchs and the whole realm from their slumber, being, of course, Aurora’s parents (King Stefan and Queen Leah) and Phillip’s father (King Hubert). The Fairies have to break him out and give him the weapons he needed to win his fight.
  • Since Luigi from The Super Mario Bros. Movie spends a while in the middle of the movie being captured and imprisoned by Bowser, this is what drives Mario and Peach through the middle of the movie until the beginning of the climax.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • In Turning Red, Ming interrupts 4*Town's concert while they’re attached to harnesses and they spend most of her rampage helplessly dangling in the air as a result.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • In Trials & Trebuchets, the party's mentor Artis frequently finds himself in need of rescue from situations such as being imprisoned in Patter, being stuck in the top of the Spire Nebulosis as it collapses, and even having his soul trapped in a pebble.

    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 to capture Jared Fogal, Subway Sandwich spokesman, to force him into the cult after Fogal politely declined.
  • In their effort to take over TNA, Aces And 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.

    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.

  • Lidusis from Black Haze needs to be rescued and protected by Rood on multiple occasions. It doesn't help that he's targeted by everyone from the school bullies to his own elder brother, or that he's barely even started his magical education at Helios.
  • In Daughter of the Lilies Brent is briefly a distressed dude. Meaning that he's munched on by cannibalistic cave elves. After Thistle saves his life by throwing a big ball of fire at the enemies, everyone is more concerned about Thistle and that she has lost the cloth that covers her face than about Brent.
  • An entire arc is dedicated to rescuing Elliot as a catboy in El Goonish Shive.
  • In Chapter 5 of Eons Ago, Starscream is knocked out, kidnapped and sexually harassed by Steve the Vehicon. Megatron and Soundwave pull a Big Damn Heroes and rescue him.
  • Erfworld: Ansom. Jillian just knows it.
    Jillian: So what if he didn't feel "rescued?"
  • Erika and the Princes in Distress: A voluntary inversion of the Damsel in Distress trope with the titular Princes, who have gone missing, been kidnapped, or otherwise fallen victim to one menace or another. Erika has been tasked with rescuing them in order to prove that she is worthy of the throne.
    • Prince Egg-White went missing while fetching ingredients for his newest recipe, and Erika quickly figures out that he probably got lost inside the Black Forest, which is filled with dangerous and fearsome creatures. Eventually subverted when it turns out he is actually safer in the forest, as the reason he ended up there was to escape an assassin sent by his stepfather.
    • Prince Aurel is initially not in immediate danger, aside from suffering from a curse that could put him into an eternal slumber. After it does happen however, he is kidnapped by Morphine and taken to an active volcano, his captor planning to melt his body into perfume.
  • This is how OTHAR TRYGGVASSEN, Gentleman Adventurer, makes his first appearance in Girl Genius.
    • And apparently it happened once to Bill: Why am I tied to this table? And where are my PANTS?!
    • Tarvek finds that he is very popular with kidnappers due to the political climate following the timeskip. At one point being kidnapped by kidnappers and then kidnapped again from the newest set, then that set chases him down again though Gil rescues him... and Tarvek promptly kidnaps Gil.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Jean is rather embarrassed at having been captured by sasquatches but consoles herself that Bob is probably competent enough to rescue her. On cue, the sasquatches arrive with Bob also tied up, and toss him in next to her.
    Jean: Congratulations. You've just struck a major blow for sexual equality.
    Bob: Oh. ...Good?
  • Jimmy Westeron is first seen in Jenny and the Multiverse when about to be killed by Lord Grallyx, whereupon Laura and Jenny fly to the rescue.
  • You'd think someone as large as Carl the rhinoceros from Kevin & Kell wouldn't find much to be threatened by. But given he's a rhinoceros, he does have to deal with poachers seeking his horn. In addition, he's had a couple non-poacher incidents where he's needed rescue. The one usually to his rescue? His eventual wife, lioness Leona Mangle.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The comic starts with Allison's boyfriend Zaid getting kidnapped, and the Key of Kings getting shoved into her skull. Zaid spends most of the comic being passed between the Demiurges, who think he is the Rising King destined to kill them and inherit Creation. It takes a while for anyone to realize that Allison might be the destined Successor instead. Allison, for her part, admits she doesn't particularly like Zaid (she was just trying to get rid of her virginity as fast as possible), but nobody deserves what he's going through.
  • Last Res0rt hits this right at the start of the second chapter (first if you don't read through the Art Evolution) with Slick Giovanni in a fairly intricate "prison harness", and then later on with Slick attempting to seduce Jigsaw while he's chained to the wall. No wonder he also doubles as The Load.
  • Atticus Brent from Mokepon, due to being physically unfit and having little understanding of the Pokémon world. In the first four chapters alone he's nearly fallen off a cliff, been tied up by Caterpies, and been held at gunpoint by Team Rocket.
  • Happens to every guy in Noblesse on multiple occasions. You can pretty much make a drinking game out of all the times the RK4 or Shin-Wu & Ik-Hwan need to be rescued from a superior enemy.
  • Masuhiro, the Daimyo of the Senshin clan in No Need for Bushido, gets kidnapped by ninjas early on in the story. His status as Distressed Dude isn't for lack of trying on his part, mind you. He's such an incredible badass that he keeps breaking out of captivity time and time again, using increasingly improbable methods, usually killing several mooks in the process or gaining valuable intel. It's just that the party responsible for his captivity is led by female ninjas, and he can't help but be Distracted by the Sexy long enough for them to get the drop on him.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Lampshaded here.
      Elan: Awww man, I didn't know I was gonna be the girl!
      Daigo: Yes, it's a big day for gender equality all around. (glancing at his pregnant wife who has just wiped the floor with a whole squad of ninjas)
    • And here.
      Elan: I wonder if I qualify for some kind of hostage-based prestige class by now.
  • In Penny Blackfeather, The Adventurer is captured by monsters. And chained. And requires Penny's rescuing.
  • In Plume, Vesper seems to consider Corrick to be this after events of Chapter 9, although he himself seems to be dealing with all that happens pretty fine.
  • In Princess Princess, the two princesses come across a prince in distress. He is not in immediate danger, clinging to a tree, and tells them he'd prefer to not be rescued by princesses.
  • In The Red Star Marcus before The Grim Reaper. It's another Psychopomp who stops his blow.
  • In The Senkari, Val is taken captive and must be rescued by his commanding officers.
  • Finn's role in Warrior U. As a would-be bard ("I'm a lover, not a fighter") completely failing his warrior training class, he usually needs the more standard hero Harv to be his bodyguard against the psychotic unicorn that is constantly trying to kill him.
  • A few arcs in Sluggy Freelance involve this. Either Torg or Riff will end up stuck in Another Dimension, or trapped by some Big Bad. Zoe, Gwynn, and Aylee have rescued those inept boys so many times! Though they do pay back the favor.
  • Terinu: It happens fairly often, so far being captured and stripped half-naked to a Wave-Motion Gun, stripped completely and tossed into a cell in a biological testing facility, and now basically being treated as the pampered pet of the Big Bad.
  • In lieu of having any prominent female characters, Weak Hero has Ben's best friend/sidekick Alex often find himself in hot water. Two of the arc villains have beaten him up for the sake of angering Ben, and he has unresolved trauma from Ben Taking the Bullet in their backstory and suffering a long-term injury to protect Alex. Even when he tries to return the favour, such as attacking Naksung for blindsiding an already injured Ben, he ends up being overpowered and in need of rescue. The worst comes in Season 3, when he's cornered and has his arm dislocated by Dongha. The repeated losses have a devastating effect on his self-esteem, while also encouraging him to grow stronger so his friends (especially Ben) don't always need to come to his rescue.

    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 Channel Awesome 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.
  • The Nostalgia Chick: In her review of Supergirl (1984), the Chick liked 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.
  • a good chunk of Wolf Song: The Movie has Alador become this, as he is captured and physically tortured by the Death Alpha and his goons (well, mainly Cobalt), and as such his sister Kara, along with half a dozen other pack members go to the rescue. Partway through, Kara herself becomes momentarily captured, but the secondary characters are able to come to her aid. She then is able to locate and meet back up with her badly injured brother but by that time it’s too late.

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


Mickey Gets Kidnapped

If the player character is Minnie, Mickey is the one who discovers the recently-crashed Lu-Lu, stands on top of her, and then gets unintentionally kidnapped as a result, leaving his girlfriend Minnie to go rescue him.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DistressedDude

Media sources: