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Dog Pile of Doom

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A large number of Mooks jump on the hero, pinning him down.

Usually it's a climactic battle scene. The hero is facing down dozens, no, hundreds, no, THOUSANDS of mooks. At first, the hero's doing well. He's smiting them one after another. But, then he begins to get tired, and first one, then another, then another and another and another leap onto him, dragging the poor guy to the ground.

Often, a bigger villain, such as the Big Bad or The Dragon, stands by and watches.

There are several ways that this scene can turn out:

  1. The hero activates a super mode, has an epiphany, or otherwise becomes more badass. He explodes out of the pile, minions scattering to the four winds, and rises as an epic figure. At this point the fight might continue, or the mooks might run away.

  2. The hero is killed at the bottom of the pile. (This one is pretty rare outside of zombie movies, actually.)

  3. The hero is captured. This can mean assimilation, frozen in stasis, knocked unconscious, or simply dragged off to a prison cell.

  4. A more humorous version, the hero simply gets out of the dogpile. This may involve Offscreen Teleportation, with the hero suddenly appearing to the side somewhere (or even on top of the pile), before the mooks even realize that he's gone and they've just been mobbing each other.

In order to qualify as a Dog Pile of Doom, the hero should be completely covered in mooks. Just a couple of guys jumping on top of the hero is not enough to qualify. Have you ever dropped a piece of food on an anthill? It's something like that.

Differs from the glomp, because the glomp is a sign of affection (even though the victim might not like it). The Dog Pile of Doom is malicious, intended to kill or capture.

Often an Obligatory Joke whenever American football appears in fiction.

Technically, it doesn't have to be the hero at the bottom of the pile. A whole bunch of good guy civilian mooks jumping on the Big Bad would also count as a Dog Pile of Doom.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The page pic is of a rare instance of heroes (or in this case, one hero duplicating himself countless times) pulling this on a villain when Naruto attempts to do this to Zabuza in one episode, using his shadow clones. Unfortunately, Zabuza escapes.
  • Durarara!!: The Saikas tried this on Shizuo, who just lifted them up and tossed them off.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • In the movie The Return of Cooler, both Vegeta and Goku are barely able to destroy one Metal Cooler, when they are overwhelmed by an army of them. After that, they were captured by Cooler.
    • In another Dragon Ball Z movie, Bardock: Father of Goku, Frieza's minions try a unique, mid-air variant on Bardock as he flies out of Planet Vegeta's atmosphere; it fails.
  • Mooks have attempted this trope on Zoro of One Piece...with little success. In fact, Zoro's first display of badass was to block a dogpile of Marines — all armed with swords — with his Santoryu.
    Zoro: The first one who moves... dies.
    Marines: [thinking] He's so scary...
  • A filler episode of Bleach has this happen to Ichigo by a group of Hollows. Humorously, one is picking its teeth until Ichigo sends them flying.
  • Played for drama in Berserk. During the Eclipse, when Guts sees the only other survivor of the massacre, his lover Casca, in the perverse grasp of some demons, he rushes in to save her from the swarm, but gets his arm caught in the jaws of a demon. Then, to make matters more horrifying, his former commander and friend Griffith, who was the one who enabled the Eclipse in order to become a demon lord, is reborn as the fifth member of the Godhand Femto, flies down and starts having his way with Casca. Desperate to save her, Guts resorts to hacking off his own arm with a broken sword in order to escape from the demon's grasp and continues his rampage... only to be telekinetically hurled back by Femto's power and then dogpiled by a mess of demons, mere feet away. And then he was Forced to Watch
  • A common tactic used by the Fang Clan of Fist of the North Star, it often results in both escaping then meeting their doom by either Kenshiro or Rei.
  • Zenigata has attempted this on Lupin III multiple times. Sometimes it even works.
  • In the Transformers Victory episode "Attack! Leozack", Star Saber tries to fight off the Decepticons in his Jet Form, but gets piled on by Leozack, followed by the rest of the Dinoforce. Funny thing though, is that Leozack's the one getting crushed by their intense weight, while Star Saber simply breaks free by transforming.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Simple Samosa episode "Sumo Momo", when Samosa tells the story of how he defeated two Sumo Momos, the accompanying visuals end with an army of Sumo Momos appearing and forming a dog pile on him, followed by Samosa punching his way out of the dog pile.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in Scott Pilgrim, during the fight with Lucas Lee's stunt team.
  • Asterix has this happen a number of times, including twice during the rugby game in Asterix in Britain.
  • When Sal Buscema drew Spectacular Spider-Man in the 90's, he loved having fight scenes with Spider-Man breaking free.
  • Supergirl:
  • Tintin: In "Tintin in America", the titular character is falsely accused of being a bandit, and a group of yokels try to lynch him. After failing to do so repeatedly, they all descend on him in a dogpile, each wanting to be the next one to try. Tintin escapes by crawling out from underneath.
  • We get a big one in The Mighty Thor, in which Thor and Captain America are under assault. Thor is separated from Mjölnir, and as Cap tries to get to it, he's dogpiled by a bunch of Grog's mooks. Unfortunately for said mooks, the Captain just happens to be worthy, resulting in them knocked away, followed shortly by a Curbstomp Battle.
  • Simon Dark: The cultists try to swarm Tom Kirk, but as he's immune to their bullets and most of them are not immune to his it's not working, until they manage to swarm him enough that one of their more powerful members can come up from behind and hit him in the head hard enough to break his neck.
  • In Atomic Robo, at one point Robo is dogpiled by guards while invading a Nazi facility, but he's so strong that he just ends up dragging the entire pile through a couple of rooms. Eventually he gets annoyed and sets off a grenade.
  • In The Great Phantom Peril, half dozen of Phantom Zoners jump on Superman at once, but he slips out among them, circles back and rolls over the group as a human bowling ball.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Knights of the Dinner Table story, Brian comes up with the idea of hiring a gang of ten NPC peasants to follow the party around and dogpile their enemies, exploiting a flaw in the melee-combat rules to give them an easy victory regardless of the foe's strength. (To be fair, this was after BA did the same thing to the party, humiliating them.)

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Monsters, Inc.: George opens his locker and toys Sulley shoved in there earlier fall on him. Charlie calls another "2319" and CDA agents then burst out of the stalls and tackle George.
    Charlie: 2319! We have a 2319!
    George: [groaning] Oh, dear.
    CDA Agents: Get him! [they bowl George over]
  • In the Disney version of Robin Hood, this is how the hero gets captured after his disguise is revealed at the archery tournament.
  • in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: King Julien calls for his subjects to do one of these on Mort, to keep Mort from boarding the plane. King Julien justifies this to everyone by claiming that Mort is carrying items that are banned from carry-on luggage ("...scissors, and uh, hand cream!"). Mort manages to escape with the use of... comically large scissors.
  • In the third Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf movie, when the gang fights an army of the Bitter Gourd King's gourd minions, Wolffy, while he is bashing the heads of two of the minions together, is targeted by a bunch of other minions who form a dog pile on him. He jumps out of the dog pile, using the two minions he was already attacking as weapons to push back the other minions.
  • The Hong Kong animated film Color Old Master Q has this happen with the eponymous protagonist in a martial arts match, when a trio of robbers pile on him and start beating him up... only for the scrawny old man to slip out of the Big Ball of Violence wearing only his underpants and leave the robbers punching his clothes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Matrix: The Smiths do this to Neo in The Matrix Reloaded, until when Neo hurls them all off him.
  • In Mars Attacks!, Byron takes on the Martians hand-to-hand in order to buy time for the others to escape. This appears to be fatal, but he later appears with no explanation as to how he survived. It's notable that in the original script, he did die.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze has a group of mooks do the dog pile on Michelangelo, only for him to climb out and look at the pile of still attacking thugs and mutter, "pitiful." Hilariously, this is the second time Mikey pulls that off. Check the background when Donatello hogties one of the robbers in the introductory battle.
  • Cleon of The Warriors gets dogpiled at the gang conclave. He doesn't make it out alive
  • Strange Psycho Kinetic Strategy has a group of "nuns" attacking Lupin, hitting and kicking him. Lupin seems to easily slip out between their legs, while they're so intent on hitting him that they don't notice he's disappeared.
  • 1966's Batman: The Movie has a scene where the Joker, the Riddler, the Penguin and their accompanying goon squad burst in on Bruce Wayne and Catwoman (disguised as Russian reporter Miss Kitka), with the intent to kidnap them. Bruce initially does pretty well for himself before the numbers become too much and the villains dogpile him, with the Penguin climbing on the very top with an open umbrella because that's how he rolls.
  • The mall cops in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure use this method to apprehend Genghis Khan and Billy the Kid. (Not that any other way would have likely been feasible with those two...)
  • Set up magnificently in Now You See Me during Act II of the Four Horsemen's tour. As part of the act, several volunteer audience members are hypnotized to attack the "Quarterback" when they hear the Trigger Word "Freeze". They return to their seats and the show goes on. However, when the Horsemen conclude their performance by publicly robbing their millionaire patron, Agent Rhodes moves in to apprehend them. Being a law enforcement officer in pursuit of fleeing suspects, he naturally yells, "Freeze!" Cue one dogpiled cop and four escaping Horsemen. Hilariously, The Reveal that Rhodes himself is none other than the The Man Behind The Horsemen implies that he willingly sprung that trap on himself.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Avengers: Infinity War: During the big battle in Wakanda, Thanos's Outriders pile up on the Hulkbuster and bring it to the ground under their number.
    • Avengers: Endgame: Despite the Spider Limbs of his armor in "Instant Kill Mode" skewering them left and right, the Outriders ganging up on Spider-Man carrying the Infinity Gauntlet are soon overwhelming him. At first Peter tries to man up by repeating I'm Okay!, but when he starts disappearing under the many opponents, he cracks and desperately calls for help.
  • Terminator: Dark Fate: A bunch of security guards try this on the Rev-9 Terminator. He impales them by sprouting spikes all over his body.

  • In the prologue of the novelization of Robotech, the Invid are attacking a Zentraedi outpost, where a variation occurs. Dolza, who is at the base at the time, says that the base would undoubtedly be covered completely in Invid mecha "Like a lethal blanket of death."
  • In Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, the eponymous Friday is captured in this way. Later, "Boss" Baldwin says, "You killed two and injured three before they piled enough bodies on you to hold you down by sheer weight."
  • The eponymous character of Brian Jacques' Martin the Warrior is mobbed by mooks when he attempts to help Feldoh's elderly father, who is being badly treated by the vermin overseers (as they are all three slaves at this point). Martin is literally described as having "disappeared" amid the mass, and the result is a him dragged off to worse imprisonment than before.
  • In HIVE, Raven gets taken down this way by ninja robot assassins. No, really. It's really the only acceptable way for a character as badass as she to get taken out.
  • In The Children of Húrin, The Men of the House of Húrin stand as rearguard for the retreating elf army of Gondolin after the defeat of the Elves and their allies in the "Battle of Unnumbered Tears." Húrin and his household stand alone at the last until all his men and his brother Huor lie dead with corpses piled around him. Still Húrin fights on, when his own weapons are lost. His shield is broken. Húrin takes a two handed axe from an Orc-Captain and fights on. Eighty trolls of the guard of the demon-lord Balrog Gothmog fall before Húrin and each time he sings out, in Elvish, "Day shall come again!" The axe melts in his hands and still he fights on. Finally the Orcs dogpile Húrin and overwhelm him because while he can cut off their limbs, too many of their claws and arms remain attached to him and he is overwhelmed and taken captive. This is a classic example of You Shall Not Pass! and Heroic Sacrifice for Húrin and Despair Event Horizon and Start of Darkness for his family and his people.
  • In Hard to Be a God, Earth observer (and proto-Progressor) Rumata is defeated like this. He is a capable combatant when faced with another (or multiple duelists) due to the physical advantages of Noon Universe humans, plus the combat training that is superior to anything on the Dung Ages Arkanar. So what does Don Reba do? He gets 30 of the most beefy, fat guards, armed only with clubs, nets, and shields. They overwhelm him (despite taking several casualties), then capture him, and bring to Don Reba.
  • Warrior Cats has a heroic example — Scourge's deputy Bone is killed by being dog-piled by a bunch of apprentices.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In CSI, "Unfriendly Skies", a victim of the week dies in when he starts acting erratically on a plane and a large number of passengers dogpile him. They thought he was drunk or drugged, but he really had undiagnosed encephalitis, which combined unfavorably with altitude and air pressure changes.
  • Iron Fist (2017). Danny and Davos are dogpiled by all of the mooks fighting them in a hallway and somehow knock them all away.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A common spot in multi-man matches featuring The Giant, The Big Guy, World's Strongest Man or "Monsters". Multiple wrestlers will swarm on the big man, usually leading to the big man will throwing them all off and start kicking ass.
  • This seemed to be the bread and butter for attacks carried out by The Nexus during their reign of terror in WWE during the summer of 2010.

  • American Football. There will often be one guy who gets dogpiled by everyone else because he has the ball.
  • In Rugby, this is called a Maul.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: 3.5th edition splatbook Cityscape introduces rules for rampaging mobs. While your typical mob is composed of ordinary citizens with no class levels, it is way more dangerous than its individual parts. Even high-level characters caught in an angry mob are likely to be grabbed, pinned down, pummeled to death, and trampled. By its very nature, a mob negates most defenses like armor, agility or invisibility, much like a swarm.

    Video Games 
  • In God of War III, enemies will frequently attempt this on Kratos, leading him cutting his way free.
  • Henry Stickmin Series: On the Bounty/Rescue Route in Completing The Mission, one of options for getting past the Right Hand Man is a dogpile. If chosen, Henry and his team will dogpile on the Right Hand Man and then the Right Hand Man's own men become ecstatic and join in on the dogpile in excitement. The choice ends up being a fail though, as the Right Hand Man blows everybody off of him.
    Fail Text: Everyone! Pile on!
  • A cutscene in [PROTOTYPE] has the basic infected do this to Alex and he busts out the Armor and Blade powers. In gameplay, you can do something similar with the Knuckle Shockwave and a decent-sized group of infected.
  • In Sengoku Basara 4, some groups of enemy soldiers will attempt to do this. Since the character you're controlling is always a One-Man Army, this leads to breaking out a moment of button mashing later (assuming you don't just swat them away before they can even land on you).
  • In Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, one of Scorpion's fatalities is to teleport the opponent into Hell and dogpile them with countless doppelgangers of himself.
  • Mario and Goombella pull a slip out of one at the start of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, leaving Lord Crump to be pummeled in their place.
  • Mobs of enemies will often try this on Juliet in Lollipop Chainsaw (which results in breaking free or dying depending on the player's actions), a clear case of Double Entendre considering the type of character she is.
  • The average Mooks can dogpile you in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, prompting you to button-mash your way out, which will immediately defeat them. The funniest one is Kim's, who shrugs as the enemies fly off her as if she had no idea what's going on.
  • The boss battle against Ra's al Ghul in Batman: Arkham City includes sequences where a horde of ninjas leaps at Batman from all directions, with the action slowing down while they are still in mid-air. The player must rapidly press the "counter" button to account for every single ninja before they land; if this is done right, the player is rewarded with the sight of Batman exploding out of the dogpile.
  • One segment of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time's opening has Murray get dogpiled on by several of Le Paradox's Mooks. Considering he has Super Strength, Murray ends up busting out after a brief Quick Time Event.
  • Ann odd variant occurs in NieR: Automata where 2B and 9S are overwhelmed in this fashion, seconds after the dogpile completes everyone is destroyed by the two activating their self-destruct mechanisms just after finishing copying their minds elsewhere to backup bodies.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers: Prime: Optimus and Ratchet are fighting an army of robot zombies, when this happens. Optimus bursts out and saves Ratchet.
  • Danny Phantom: when Danny steals the exo-suit and fights the ghost army in Reign Storm, the ghost skeletons do this to Danny before he breaks out.
  • DuckTales (1987): "Where No Duck Has Gone Before" ends with Major Courage, now demoted to a candy vendor, sinking under a swarm of bratty children all trying to get candy at the same time.
  • DuckTales (2017): When Scrooge seemingly catches Gold Fever, which is making him paranoid that an interdimensional imp had stolen 87 cents from his vault, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Webby, Launchpad, Gyro, Manny the Headless Manhorse, and Gizmoduck all dog-pile him so he wouldn't dive into his pile of gold. Even while he was sick with the common cold, Scrooge overpowers and toss them aside.
  • Looney Tunes: Bugs Bunny is jumped by several large dogs in an alley in the cartoon "A Hare Grows In Manhattan". They attempt to dog-pile him, but in the end, it shows Bugs jumping up and down on top of the pile, leaving the leader of the dogs at the bottom.
    "Dogpile on the rabbit! Dogpile on the rabbit!"
  • In It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, during the Homecoming Game every down where CB's team has the ball ends up in a big pileup, usually with Charlie on the bottom. Including when he attempts to kick the ball, misses because Lucy pulls it away, and then they jump on him. This would be a roughing the kicker penalty at minimum if Charlie weren't such a Butt-Monkey.
  • Superman: The Animated Series:
    • Several mooks try this on a young lady... which leads to the reveal that this young lady, is, in fact, Supergirl in her first appearance.
    • Superman unfortunately gets piled on more often than his cousin, but they always end in them knocked away:
      • Mutated bacteria in "Monkey Fun".
      • Apokolips' demons in "Apokolips...Now, Part 2".
  • There are other TV series and movies where Superman gets dogpiled by:
  • A particularly hilarious example occurs in Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation I.T." Numbuh 362 gets tired of being the supreme commander, and starts up a game of tag where whoever is "it" by noon gets to replace her. Strangely, nobody actually wants this position, so everyone begins to run and try to escape, however, once Numbuh 13 gets tagged, everyone around him immediately dog-piles onto him, screaming, "ANYONE BUT HIM!" because they'd rather tag themselves than let him become their leader.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • On "Lesson Zero", a doll gets turned into an Apple of Discord note . Big Macintosh has it, and he gets dog-piled by nearly every background pony. Big Macintosh literally sends them flying over the horizon after it's taken by the Mayor. In fact, it doesn't even really work in the first place; Big Mac is clearly standing on the bottom half of the dog pile, and the top half can only cover him up to his neck.
    • In episode "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2", Changelings as fake Applejacks pile up on the real Applejack until Twilight Sparkle blasts them away and reels the real one towards her.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "Watermelon Steven", the Steven Melons start doing this when they turn against the Crystal Gems in an overzealous attempt to "defend" Steven. Garnet does the fights them off reaction a few times, but the Steven Melons keep overwhelming her with sheer numbers, while Amethyst gets captured.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • In the episode "Wand to Wand", Ludo picks a brawl fight with all the large rats in the bar. Eventually he gets overpowered by all the rats piling up on him, bashing him continuously until Ludo breaks free with his rage-powered wand.
    • In "Game of Flags", Star gets dog-piled by all the members of her family in a game of Flags. They are blasted away by Star's mother, Moon Butterfly.
  • Ben 10: In the episode "Divided We Stand", Ben as Ditto did a capture Dr. Animo while floating on water. Now how did they not sink from the accumulating weight of the pileup?
  • Ben 10: Alien Force gets more dog piles than its predecessor, though the victim isn't Ben:
    • In "Grounded", Kevin gets pinned down by DNAliens before Ben's father chased them away with his rifle.
    • Kevin gets mobbed again by DNAliens in "Birds of a Feather", and managed to pull a slips before Gwen does a fends them off for him.
    • In "The Final Battle: Part 2", Albedo as Negative Ultimate Humungousaur gets mobbed by Vilgax's army of Bioids as Humungousaurs. He did a fight them off once, but then got overpowered.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, Ben becomes the center of almost all dog piles in this series.
    • In "It Was Them", Ben as Rath gets mobbed by mutant ants but Rook saves him with a by slipping free. Right after the save, he gets mobbed again until he pulls a beats them off by transforming into Crashhopper.
    • In "Ben Again", Eon gets dog piled and pummeled by Ben as Ditto clones, only to pull a slips away by shrinking.
    • In "Charmed, I'm Sure", Ben as Swampfire gets dog piled by Mutant Pumpkins only to miraculously fight them off.
    • In "The Vampire Strikes Back", Ben as Whampire gets massively mobbed by his brainwashed companions and all the townspeople consisting of Frankensteins, ghosts, mummies and werewolves.
  • We Bare Bears: In "Icy Nights", Ice Bear gets dog-piled by a small army of fighting robots. When his beloved Roomba is destroyed, Ice Bear goes into an Unstoppable Rage and throws them all off.
  • An episode of The Fantastic Four (1967) An entire football team try to tackle The Thing during a charity game after he gets the ball. Thing simply picks up the whole team and carries them to the endzone.

    Real Life 
  • This is the method that Japanese Honeybees use to kill Asian Giant Hornets scouts. After luring the hornet towards the nest, a whole bunch of them jump on the hornet and literally cook it to death. (The honeybees survive as they have a higher temperature tolerance than the hornet)
  • A common tactic during the crusades that allowed Saracen warriors to overwhelm the "Christian Walking Towers" a.k.a. fully armored knights.
  • Even Nature occasionally gets in on the comedic potential. check 1:16-1:24. (Yakety Sax version chosen to avert Nightmare Fuel for ophidiophobes.)


Video Example(s):


Bees vs. Hornet (CW: Insects)

Japanese honeybees dog pile on the intruding scout, overheated by the bees' vibrations.

How well does it match the trope?

4.2 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / DogPileOfDoom

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Main / DogPileOfDoom