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Everything's Better with Penguins

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"The second dumbest bird in the world. Can only fly underwater."

Maybe it's because they're birds that, oxymoronically, can't fly. Perhaps it's that they waddle around on two feet and remind people of themselves. Maybe it's because they look like they're wearing little tuxedos. It could be that they have no natural fear of humans, and are relatively easy to work with. Or it may be just because they're cute and their name sounds funny. But whatever the reason, penguins are big, and adding them to a movie or show is almost guaranteed to up the ratings and the take at the box office.

In around 2006–7, penguins experienced a popularity surge due to movies such as March of the Penguins, Happy Feet, Surf's Up, and Madagascar. Opinion is divided as to why, but general consensus is that penguins are big money. Penguins are, in fact, the new monkeys. Sometimes, penguins are depicted as being similar to ducks since most people are more familiar with ducks than penguins.


Because of this trope, animals that eat penguins, like leopard seals and other large seals, sharks, and orcas will often be portrayed as murderous and terrifying.

Lovable penguins may be seen with a Sweet Seal. For another lovable animal that's black and white, Pandaing to the Audience.



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  • On April Fools' Day 2008, the BBC aired a trailer for their iPlayer service, presented as an actual piece of wildlife documentary footage... displaying flying penguins which emigrated to the rain forest during winter!
  • Budweiser's ads for its Bud Ice brand from the mid-1990's starred the "Bud Ice Penguin", a creepy bird who terrorized drinkers in the vein of slasher/horror films in order to get some of their beer. And, in another ad, stole the Stanley Cup. The calling card of the bird was nonchalantly humming the opening bars to "Strangers in the Night". Dooby dooby doo...
  • There was an ad for the Irish Independent a couple of years ago that featured penguins. Playing hurling. To Mexican music. Yes, it was just as cool as it sounds.
  • This brilliant Guinness ad.
  • This Canada Dry ad...
  • From Latin America, there come the penguins of Bon Ice (and there are more ads with them; they just haven't been uploaded).
  • These penguins will take their potato chips... AND EAT THEM!
  • Somewhere around the latest wave of penguinmania, Coca-Cola added penguins to their traditional commercials with the polar bears.
  • An ad for a download movie service featured a video store clerk who was so bored he made a penguin out of gummy bears. It looked a lot like the Madagascar penguins.
  • In the commercials for The General Auto Insurance, the General has a silent penguin sidekick which seems to serve no purpose.
  • Ecoco, a former Japanese power company mascot, was a young girl in a moe penguin costume.
  • 1970s UK ads for Penguin chocolate biscuits. "When you're feeling p-p-p-peckish, p-p-p-pick up a Penguin!"
  • John Lewis' 2014 Christmas ad, featuring Monty the Penguin.
  • A French ad for March of the Penguins parodies the film by replacing the Emperor Penguins with thousands of Emperors Napoleon (the ad is about a man who describes the movie to his interlocutor but refers to the Emperor Penguins as just "Emperors"note ), who struggle through the snows of Antarctica, give each other eggs, and finally have (off-screen) sex. Glorious.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh has Sakaki's famous Dream Sequence, featuring Chiyo's "helper", a clumsy, spacey, and honestly rather unsettling penguin. This scene has been used in many an Animated Music Video with different background audio, including one with the "Ironside" segment from Kill Bill.
    • Let's not forget Chiyo herself donning a penguin suit during the Culture Festival in episode 16. So, so cute!
      • Penguin suit + Chiyo-chan = Awwww! So, so cute! Which is the approximate response of many when they see that suit.
      • That same costume appeared in Kaorin's New Year's dream, which, in the anime, came before that Culture Festival. (In the manga, we didn't see her dream.) Whereas Sakaki, in the black bar below the part of the screen where she and Kaorin are riding away on a horse, knocked down the delinquent versions of Yomi, Osaka, and Tomo, Chiyo was simply put into a penguin suit. One wonders if the show is trying to suggest an origin for that idea.
  • Cahe Detective Club: Emina loves reading penguin picture books or filling the cafe with penguin dolls from Shizuka. One time she requests 5 penguin designs from different species that Shizuka can't tell the subtle differences between them.
  • Penguins show up surprisingly often in Cardcaptor Sakura, and the oft-visited park has a giant penguin slide known as 'King Penguin'. Sakura evidently likes them quite a bit.
  • Penguins were thrown into an episode of Code Geass for no reason other than to show that one of the ruins related to Ragnarok is in Antarctica.
  • D.Gray-Man has the Millennium Earl... sorry, wrong Penguin.
  • The Digimon metaseries has several penguin Mons, although none feature heavily in any of the animes.
    • The one that came closest is Daipenmon, who based on the card game, could have appeared in Digimon Frontier. Daipenmon is the fusion of a snowlem and a yeti, and wields two giant popsicles as swords. Its special attacks are "Strawberry death" and "Blue Hawaiian Death". He finally makes an appearance as a Monster of the Week in Digimon Fusion, where he is not nearly as whimsical as that description makes him sound.
  • The manga The Emperor and I is a Slice of Life about a family who finds an Emperor penguin in their fridge and decide to keep it.
  • Sanami Matoh, of FAKE fame draws herself as a person in a penguin costume. Needless to say, she's a bit of a weirdo.
    • So does Yellow Tanabe (of Kekkaishi) in the manga outtakes.
  • There's a whole penguin motif running through Idolmaster: Xenoglossia, and Yayoi wears a giant penguin suit on more than one occasion.
  • Kemono Friends combines penguins with Idol Singers to bring you PPPnote , whose members include Emperor, Princess (royal penguin), Gen (gentoo), Hululu (Humboldt) and Rocker (rockhopper).
    • This crossed over into the real world with the story of Grape-kun, a penguin in a Japanese zoo who fell in love with a cardboard standee of Hululu and promptly captured the Internet's hearts.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple some of the characters are associated with animals. Miu and Shou Kanou are associated with birds due to their fighting styles, Kisara is such an avid cat lover that she adopts cat like moves in her Tae Kwon Do (aka the "Nya Kwon Do"), Ma Renka acts as free spirited and self centered as a cat, and Tirawat Koukin's association with elephants indicates how hard he hits. When Boris first fought Kenichi, he was surprised that the animal that Kenichi resembled was... a little penguin. This was completely at odds with Kenichi's ability to kick ass in the fight.
    • During a later rematch, Boris comments that Kenichi has grown, and his growth is metaphorically compared to a Pokemon-style evolution from a small, round penguin into a fierce, plumed Macaroni Penguin.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has a comic relief character, a tightass penguin in a sailor suit named Hippo.
  • The animals from Mori no Ando aren't sure whether or not Mr Ando is a penguin. He claims that he is against all evidence.
  • Pen-Pen in Neon Genesis Evangelion is officially an experiment from Misato's old job, whom she rescued from the labs to keep him as a pet and as a sort-of cure for her loneliness, but he's really just there to lighten the mood. When he's Put on a Bus, you know things are headed south (metaphorically speaking, since Antarctica is already gone). Pen-Pen's absence in the Downer Ending of The Movie is quite telling, compared to his brief appearance during the original, relatively upbeat Gainax Ending.
    • As a penguin that apparently likes hot springs, Pen-Pen qualifies as the single least screwed-up character in the entire series. And even he has a tragic backstory. What does that tell you?
    • He has now become Truth in Television thanks to this penguin from Japan!
  • Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan, which stars an emperor penguin chick as he roams around Kyoto.
  • One Piece:
    • The penguins love Zoro.
    • The Ice Hunter filler arc has the Doom Penguins, demonic red-eyed penguins with teeth who follow the orders of the Achino family.
    • Aokiji rides a giant penguin named Camel to Punk Hazard.
  • Penguindrum has penguins that are Invisible to Normals, as well as being generally penguin-themed.
  • Penguin Memories. It's a story about the horrors of The Vietnam War and trying to return to a civilian life while trying to deal with the day-to-day memories of the horrors. And it's starring Mike The Penguin, the 1980's mascot for Suntory Beer. It has to be seen to be believed.
  • The manga/anime series Penguin Musume, for obvious reasons. Then again, the series as a whole has a polar animals thing going on with the naming.
  • Penguin Revolution begins each chapter with a drawing of one of the characters and a real breed of penguin. The first of these, featuring Yukari, has her dressed in a penguin costume.
  • Penpen and Onee-san is a manga about a woman who finds a hurt baby Emperor penguin that can talk (but no one cares about that), named like the Neon Genesis Evangelion penguin. It is essentially this trope made into an entire manga since most of said manga is the titular baby Emperor penguin being extremely cute.
  • The Diamond/Pearl saga of Pokémon gives us Dawn's Piplup, the main Pokémon of The Chick of the saga. Dawn's Pokémon Adventures counterpart, Platinum Berlitz, also owns a Piplup.
  • Princess Tutu has a pianist penguin — although the show's full of anthropomorphized animals, so maybe it doesn't count.
    • Princess Tutu Abridged plays with this by turning the aforementioned penguin into a superhero, dubbed 'Piano Penguin Man'. He saves the day in Episode 4.
  • Nodoka's adorably plump penguin plushie in Saki. It actually turns out to be pretty important.
  • A... thing that looks like the offspring of a penguin's head and a yin-yang symbol occasionally pops up in the background, and once as the head for a background character, in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, and is even given its own credit as "Emperor Penguin" in the opening sequence.
  • School Rumble's Akira Takano sometimes dresses as a Penguin. Once she's wearing it, and she first attracts Sarah, then Yakumo, and finally Tenma, they then all get stuck in the floorboards, Akira then reveals that it was all part of her ingenious plot to get them all in an embarrassing situation so she could take a picture for a christmas card!
  • Shirokuma Cafe has an emperor penguin as one of the three main characters. However, he's the resident Butt-Monkey. Other species of penguins appear in later episodes.
  • There's an episode in Slayers Try where Lina is repeatedly attacked by an army of penguins with guns.
  • In Strawberry Marshmallow, one episode has the girls talking about their "dweams". Matsuri's briefly features a penguin (who sort of looks like a penguin from Paper Mario) delivering a letter.
  • Toriko has an endangered species in Ice Hel known as the Wall Penguin. Its spittle is the final ingredient for Century Soup.
  • Let's not forget Break, from Transformers: Beast Wars Neo. Yes, a Transformer who turns into a penguin.
    • Not very well, though. His toy is the very definition of both "kibble" and "shellformer"...
    • And if those terms need more, well, definition... you don't have a penguin turning into a robot so much as a penguin forming a shell around a robot. The penguin parts just hang off him awkwardly and aren't integrated into a robot mode... it's like a robot wearing random chunks of penguin sticking off every which way. One of the most — if not the most — awkward Transformers in the history of ever.
  • The manga Tuxedo Gin has the lead reincarnated as a penguin and having to win back the girl with whom he'd fallen in love right before his death.
  • An early episode of the Urusei Yatsura anime unleashed a horde of penguins to terrorize the populace in adorably hilarious ways, though it turns out the "penguin" is actually a swallow mutated by eating alien candy. The episode ended with the giant bird building a nest in Tokyo Tower.
  • After her adoption by fans at large with the disappearance into history of the air conditioner she was created to advertise, Watanabe Yoshimoto's character Ecoko apparently acquired from somewhere a pair of penguin companions. Of course, she herself wears penguin themed clothing.
  • You Are Being Summoned, Azazel has Beelzebub the fly demon, who in the human world takes on a form similar to a stuffed toy penguin thanks to Akutabe's magical barrier that prevents demons of using their real forms.
  • Crump from the Virtual World arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! uses a deck based around penguins (and ice). As his original body is gone, he's taken the form of a big tuxedo-wearing penguin, the Nightmare Penguin. His Back Story explains this; he was neglected as a kid and his parents fought a lot. To pass the time he read, and on learning how penguins are excellent parents, he became obsessed with them. His life dream is to build a penguin-themed amusement park, but his employer, Seto Kaiba, refused to fund the project. (Unfortunately, in the original version, he was also a pervert, wanting to steal Anzu's body because the body of a teenage girl was appealing to his sick mind. Naturally, that was left out of the dub version.)

    Card Games 
  • Perplex City had a card about calculating a penguin population.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! the original penguin soldier was a weak monster with a quirky effect. As the metagame developed, it was one of the few early monsters to keep its edge. Eventually an entire series of penguin themed cards was released.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Batman's villain the Penguin (real name: Oswald Cobblepot) is one of the first that started the whole Penguin-palooza. He is also probably the most popular of all the ridiculous supervillains with ridiculous gimmicks that do not look threatening at all.
    • Tim Burton surrounded the Penguin with penguins... Carrying rockets. The Penguin was originally a normal human with a tuxedo, Tim Burton redesigned him to be more avian looking, with a long nose and three fingered hands... which places penguins at a creepy level. Afterwards, the creepy penguin-like human design prevailed.
    • The Batman featured The Penguin on a more frequent basis than most Batman media usually does, portraying him as an Acrofatic.
    • Batman: Arkham City had Cobblepot as a British arms dealer with a monocle. On further inspection, the monocle was actually a broken bottle that had gotten lodged in his face.
    • Gotham focuses heavily on Penguin, and uses the beak-nosed depiction, albeit being much skinnier than most other versions. Here, he has qualities of The Woobie, being rejected by his former boss (crime lord Fish Mooney), and almost murdered, with a penguin-like limp and zero respect from absolutely anyone. He ends up snapping and murdering quite a few people in his desire for revenge. After his murder spree, he becomes Laughably Evil.
  • Justice League Antarctica fought genetically altered killer penguins in their only case ever.
  • DC antihero Lobo, who often had a crazed, and often oddly cute, squad of murderous penguins following him around.
  • Tiny Titans features penguins taking over Robin's place as a running gag.

    Comic Strips 
  • Alex Hallatt's Arctic Circle stars three immigrant penguins and their friends in the Arctic.
  • Opus, the bow-tied, neurotic penguin from Bloom County (and successor comics Outland and Opus). Of course, there are those rumors that he's really an auk... Binkley pointed out that Opus actually looked more like a puffin than a penguin, using a graph to illustrate. Opus responded with a graph that showed how Binkley's head looks like a carrot (it does). Opus originally was a one shot character, Binkley brought him to his dad thinking he was a dog. Penquin Power resulted in Opus pulling a Fonz and becoming the main character.
  • Frobisher was the talking, shape-shifting companion of the Sixth Doctor in Doctor Who Magazine's comic strip for some time. His favorite form was that of a 4-foot-tall penguin. He's also appeared (for want of a better term) in a couple of Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas.
  • Conversed in Elvie: Martin says many open source games are remakes of other games with the protagonist replaced by Tux the penguin.
  • Gary Larson loved to do strips about Penguins in The Far Side
  • German comic Ingo Pien.
  • Noted political cartoonist Pat Oliphant usually has a small penguin named Punk pop up in his works.
  • Petete note  was a cutesy-looking talking penguin created by the Spanish-Argentinian comic-book artist Manuel García Ferrer, and was beloved by Latin-American children during The '70s and The '80s.
  • Since 1925, Alfred the penguin is the pet of French young globetrotters Zig et Puce. In early 1927, a plushy Alfred toy was merchandised: it launched a huge Alfred craze all over France. When aviator Charles Lindbergh achieved his historical transatlantic flight to Paris that year, he was given an Alfred plushy and brought it with him as a mascot in his flight from Paris to Brussels. Yes, penguinmania is Older Than Television.
  • Since 1951, Pingo is Rasmus Klump's friend, having a Species Name and wearing a Cool Bowtie.
  • The Simpsons' comic parody of Death Note features Ned Flanders getting pecked to death by penguins. Here is a link [1]
  • Sparky the Penguin in Tom Tomorrow's strip, This Modern World.
  • Walter Moers:
    • One short story starts with a German "white trash" guy watching TV. Then, someone rings his door, and when he opens, a horde of penguins enters, starts a party. When he demands to know what this is all about, they show him that today's "international penguin's day". He's happy with that and joins the party.
    • In one story by him where nuclear tests in Antarctica create a Godzilla-like penguin who surfs on an ice float to East Germany and starts to wreak havoc. (He's brought down by the Little Arsehole.)
  • What's New? with Phil and Dixie as an example of a "good" item has a Penguin Generator.

    Eastern European Animation 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Stargate Atlantis fandom, particularly the Slash Fic areas around McKay and/or Sheppard, there was a spat of fiction involving penguins, the characters turning into penguins mostly. Seems to have died down but still brings a smile to many a fan within that part of the fandom.
  • There was a penguin trend in Buffy fandom. It mostly involved Alternate Universe stories where the characters had always been penguins. Who slayed leopard seals.
  • In Boy Scouts ½, a Ranma ½ fanfic, the character Matthew Atanian often has guilt-based dreams about the fact that he keeps secret from his unrequited love interest Sarah that he and her best (female) friend "Matty" are one and the same person. These dream often seem to involve him being tormented, for no readily explained reasons, by penguins. In one particularly disturbing case, it was a strange creature that was half penguin, half Cardassian from StarTrekTheNextGeneration.
  • Advice and Trust: In chapter 8 Shinji plays a Strip Chess match against Pen Pen as part of Asuka's plan to get Misato to accept he and Asuka are together (long story). Although Shinji was meant to lose, the penguin pet revealed being pretty good at Chess, beating Shinji without losing its only item of clothing (and apparently he had beaten Misato before). Later Asuka played against Pen Pen to win Shinji and his clothes back. Yes, it is as funny as it sounds.
  • The Child of Love: When Pen-Pen shows up or is mentioned, it is hilarious. In this segment of the introduction to the final chapter:
    Is Pen-pen preparing a super counterattack in order to make Gendo's plans fail?
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Pen Pen's sole presence tends to make scenes hilarious, especially when Asuka — who apparently speaks "penguin" — bickers with him. This is reinforced when the author cut it out from a scene because he wanted it to be a dramatic moment.
  • Higher Learning: Pen Pen not only kept Shinji and Asuka and their family company and almost outlived humanity but also travelled back in time together with Kaoru and helped him to carrry out his plan by watching Shinji and Asuka. So you see, that penguin helped to save the world! According Kaoru, its help was real valuable!
    "I even took Pen-Pen with me." He smiled at Shinji's reaction. "Pen-Pen survived the Impact before, thanks to Misato's planning. The entire family took care of him in later years, and because of his genetic alterations, he aged very slowly. I knew he would allow me to keep an eye on you two when you weren't at school." He explained with a laugh. "He is a very smart penguin. I'm glad he chose to help out. I don't think things would have worked out nearly as well without him."''
  • In The Ikaris, Pen Pen tends to make the scenes way funnier. Examples include Misato arguing with him about a beer can as Shinji mutters Pen Pen is not even talking about it and Asuka Ikari wonders if she is the Only Sane Person in the apartment.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Pen Pen makes many scenes funnier. Some examples:
    • Seeing Misato’s fridge stocked with beer and junk food bothered Shinji so that he threw the junk food away and blamed it on the penguin.
    • In The Stinger the penguin is lounging in a hot spring, surrounded by beautiful ladies, and declares he was behind everything the whole time and it went just as planned.
  • Once More with Feeling: Scenes with Pen-Pen are highly hilarious
    • Shinji, on a whim, reveals the whole bit about "I'm a time traveler who's trying to change the past to atone for my mistakes"... to Pen Pen. The bird's response?
    (PenPen) stared at his back for several long, long seconds before continuing into the kitchen, retrieving a can from Misato's stash, stopping in consideration, retrieving a second, and retreating into his fridge.
    • When a package was delivered to the Katsuragi household while Shinji was at school Pen Pen signed for it. Shinji does not know how Pen Pen did it and he doesn't want to try figuring it out.
    • Misato has somehow turned the bird into an alcoholic and he apparently reads the Wall Street Journal every morning to check stock rates.
  • Role Playing Evangelion: Subverted. Although Pen-Pen's antics are hilarious, Fuyutsuki is not happy to hear repeatedly his role is so utterly irrelevant that he can be played by a penguin.
  • In Thousand Shinji, Pen Pen is in the background for most of the fic. However at the end of the fic he is declared the God Emperor Penguin, holy creature of Chaos Undivided.
  • Walking in the Shadow of Dreams: Asuka seems to think so. In the rewrite, when Shinji told her Misato had brought Pen Pen with her, Asuka asked if he also attended the reunion.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Pen Pen becomes pretty good at helping its humans to not totally screw up their relationship. In chapter 10, Shinji is about to leave Asuka alone when she's sick, but Pen Pen “talks” him into looking for a way to help her instead of running away again.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series features the same penguin-based character listed above, but makes his obsession even more ridiculous (and hilarious. And also kind of creepy.).
    Crump: You just don't understand the beauty of the penguin! They're so aerodynamically perfect. Can't you see it?! The shape... the smell...(lip-licking sound) the taste of penguins. Penguins. PENGUINS!
    Tea: ...Are you done—
    Crump: Penguins.
    Tea: Stop saying "penguins!"
    Crump: I can't help it. I love penguins!
    Tea: Ewww.
    Crump: Platonically.
    Tea: Oh.
    Crump: ...and physically!
    Tea: EWWW!
  • Avatar: The Abridged Series: "Yeah, penguins! Yeah..."
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: One of the cars Chloe, Atticus and Lexi enters is the Plush Penguin Car where cuddly penguins serve ice cream and hold penguin potlucks. Well, all except Nico, who has an obsession with bagels.
  • In the Another Day in Misterland chapter "A Party for Little Miss Fun", a picture of a penguin in a wedding dress sends Miss Giggles into a fit of hysterical laughter.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • It is not possible to make a documentary about Antarctica that does not include cute penguins being cute. The earliest Antarctic documentaries, South (a 1919 film about Ernest Shackleton's expedition, which narrowly escaped disaster) and The Great White Silence (a 1924 film about Robert Scott's expedition, which did not escape disaster as all five men who went to the Pole died), both include long scenes in which penguins waddle around and do penguin stuff for the amusement of the film audience.
  • Although they're not exactly significant to the plot, Alien vs. Predator shows that even Cat Scares are better with penguins.
  • Anna and the Apocalypse: The two students performing "The Fish Wrap" are dressed as penguins. Subverted in their second appearance, when they've been zombified and look pretty creepy.
  • In Batman Returns, the classic supervillain The Penguin (a human) was given a Retool of having been raised by them, complete with an army of penguins with laser eye sights and back mounted rockets. This old Batman panel was probably supposed to be ominous.
    "A penguin never forgets!"
  • The Early Films pioneer Georges Méliès has a rejoicing crowd of cutout penguins wave to our heroes in his 1912 epic The Conquest of the Pole. What these penguins are doing at the North Pole is less than clear...
  • Encounters at the End of the World: Trust Werner Herzog to subvert this trope. He makes a special trip to see a penguin scientist in the wild—and he asks if there are any gay penguins. The scientist says no, but he has seen Three-Way Sex among penguins as well as a prostitution arrangement in which the females copulate with males in return for rocks for their nest. Then Herzog asks if penguins ever go insane. Then we see a penguin toddling off into the depths of Antarctica to die.
  • There was a parody of the March of the Penguins film, Farce of the Penguins, which even has Samuel L. Jackson among the voice cast.
  • Fight Club has the protagonist have his 'power animal' be a penguin. Sliiiiiiiiide!
  • An adorable case in The King's Speech where King George/Bertie tells a story involving a penguin to his two daughters before they go to bed.
  • The penguin popularity can be traced back to the release of March of the Penguins in 2005, which was something of an Ensemble Dark Horse in the documentary world, moving from only a few screens to spreading around the country and eventually snagging the Academy Award for Best Documentary. There was an article about the 2005 summer blockbuster take, and how it was generally disappointing, except for March of the Penguins (it beat out Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith for pure staying power). Commentary in the article suggested that perhaps Hollywood should learn lessons about what movies they should make, perhaps going away from the standard effects-laden summer fare. However, the article then goes on to say that the lesson to be learned for most studio executives would be "We need more penguin movies."
  • The Jim Carrey movie Mr. Popper's Penguins (very loosely based on the book). He inherits the penguins and they make him a better man.
  • The weird German movie Sei zärtlich, Pinguin (Be gentle, penguin)
  • Shackleton, a TV movie about Ernest Shackleton's expedition, both lampshades and subverts this. One of Shackleton's business partners says that penguins are cute and they have to have them in their advertising and film as much as possible. An Argentinian bigwig at a ceremonial dinner for Shackleton releases a penguin, which waddles down the table. Subverted later, when Shackleton and Worley have to decide which glass plate photos to preserve after they have abandoned ship. Shackleton picks up a plate with a penguin photo, groans, chucks it aside and says "No more penguins."
  • The Terror of Tiny Town: There is a live penguin in the barber shop of a tiny settlement in the dusty West. Its presence is never explained, or even commented on.

  • After Man: A Zoology of the Future features two descendants of penguins, one of which is giant filter-feeding species very much like a whale called the Vortex.
  • In Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, this was subverted when Spider kept teleporting around the world to avoid the minions of a bird goddess. When he tried Antarctica, he saw the disturbing sight of thousands of penguins waddling straight at him...
  • H. P. Lovecraft. At the Mountains of Madness. Giant albino mutant penguins. The horror of which is somewhat mitigated by the fact that he earlier, in the same story, refers to plain old regular penguins as "grotesque". Everything is grotesque. Everything you wouldn't normally see in New England, at least.
  • Andrey Kurkov's satirical novel Death and the Penguin, about a morose Ukrainian journalist and his equally morose pet penguin, which he acquired when the cash-strapped zoo was giving animals away to anyone who could look after them.
  • Patina, a goddess of wisdom on the Discworld (and blatantly ersatz counterpart of Pallas Athena) carries a penguin with her — a side effect of an influential statue of her carved by an incompetent sculptor.
  • Halliday and Resnick's Fundamentals of Physics textbook seems to have an odd preoccupation with penguins in the practice problems.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, an AI controlling a mansion takes on the form of a penguin in order to fly through the air with the son of the house, and keeps it despite the objection that penguins can't really fly. It later explains it takes a penguin form regularly as a deliberate pose so humans will understand its motives as best they can. It also uses the form to explain to Phaethon how even a man about to be unjustily exiled can be happy: by following its nature.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford turns into a penguin as a result of the Infinite Improbability Drive. He is told to stop it.
  • Young Brooklyn House student Felix from The Kane Chronicles believes that the solution to every problem should involve penguins.
    • He even manages to use them to defeat an attacking magician who appears to have some form of PTSD from time spent in Antarctica (Antarctica being a punishment assignment for magicians).
  • L'Ile des Pingouins by Anatole France is a satire of French history, as lived by penguins on a faraway island.
  • In The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams, Kate dreams that she's in an attic full of trunks. About one in every ten are full of her memories; the rest contain penguins.
  • One of the main characters in The Magic Pudding is Sam Sawnoff, a badass penguin and adventurer.
  • Michael Chabon discusses this trope in Manhood for Amateurs, and since he is Complaining About Penguins He Doesn't Like (in animated films for children), one is tempted to claim it as an inversion: "Chances are good that the thing featured penguins; for a while, the movies have all been featuring penguins. Naturally, there were the legally required 5.5 incidences of humor-stimulating flatulence per hour of running time."
  • Mary Poppins: In the first book, a singing penguin performs at Mary Poppins' birthday party.
  • Classic children's literature: Mr. Popper's Penguins
  • This book right here The Penguins that went to Santa's Workshop.
  • Tacky the Penguin: The heroes of the series are a small group of penguins.

    Live-Action TV 
  • When The Beatles' movie A Hard Day's Night made its television premiere in 1967, it was on NBC. Since it was in black and white, NBC certainly couldn't use the peacock opening, so they used an animated penguin just standing there flapping its wings.
  • Blackadder the third had King George, the Prince Regent's father. He sums it up nicely:
    King George III: Some people say I'm mad, and say the word "penguin" after each sentence. But I believe that we two can make Britain great, with you as the Prince Regent, and I as King Penguin.
  • Subverted in the French Canadian Le cœur a ses raisons: while wandering through the North Pole, Britany gets excited to see a penguin and rushes to it. Much to the horror of Brett, as it wasn't a penguin, but a nun.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Big Bang" has all of reality becoming extremely warped. One of the background jokes in a museum were the Nile Penguins.
    • And then there's Frobisher, companion to the Sixth Doctor in the comics and Big Finish audio plays. He's a shapeshifter who generally takes the form of a penguin.
  • Subverted, sort of, by Flight of the Conchords.
    Jemaine: Bret, do you remember, back in New Zealand, there would always be penguins? Remember the penguins? I hate penguins. Do you remember how there'd always be penguins?
  • Friends:
    • Chandler is in bed with Janice who likes to cuddle, he thinks to himself: "Look at all this room on her side of the bed. You could fit a giant penguin in there." And then goes on to add a mental remark: "That would be weird, though."
    • Huggsy, Joey's bedtime penguin pal, which appeared in a few episodes.
  • Best exemplified poetically by the Fox Batman-origin-story TV-show Gotham, in which young Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penguin, is arguably the most complex, ingenious and enjoyable character (played to pivotal heights by break-out star Robin Lord Taylor).
  • FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman': This is inverted at first and played straight later on "How to Break the Ice and Also Waddle on It" Ruff says how he never had fun during last year's ARGSHAABPO convention, all because he can't relate to Penguins. He's reluctant to go again for this year's convention, so he turns to his Fetchers for help. He sends Issac to the New England Aquarium to meet some penguins while Brian, Bethany, and Liza learn about the art of improvisation while Sterling and Talia stayed in Studio G for the Half-Time Quiz Show. Heck, Bethany's prize was a toy penguin. Due to their efforts, Ruff was able to have a great time at ARGSHAABPO. In fact, he and the Penguins had so much fun that they didn't want the fun to end! The episode ends with all of the penguins hanging out at Ruff's doghouse and Ruff himself doesn't mind at all! Awwww...
  • One of the titular Hundred Beasts in Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger was GaoPenguin. It served as Mecha Expansion Pack making the larger mecha something called "Ice Sword Arm". It also combined with two other mecha to form a relatively tiny robot. It was number 73, so it wasn't until the concept art was released in a book that anyone ever would have known about it.
  • Inai Inai Baa! has a song called "Penguin Penguin" where the characters sing about various types of penguins. In early versions of this song, U-Tan herself dressed up as a penguin.
  • One of the most fondly remembered games by British audiences from the pan-European game show Jeux Sans Frontièresis the "Penguins on the Iceberg" game from the 1974 heat in Aix-les-Bains. Contestants from six countriesnote  had to collect buckets of water from a waterfall spilling onto a giant turntable while dressed in penguin costumes designed to restrict both their field of vision and their leg movement. Inevitably, the slippery turntable and the increasingly sodden costumes led to the contestants spending more time falling over themselves and each other than collecting water.note  BBC commentator Stuart Hall (and ORTF commentator Guy Lux) could barely speak for laughing for most of the game.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had a few penguin-related sketches.
    • The "Penguin on the Television" routine.
    • The giant penguin with electric tentacles from the "Scott of the Sahara" sketch.
    • The scientific study that posited the fact that if a penguin was enlarged to the height of a human, its brain still wouldn't be as big as a human's but... it would be bigger.
  • The "Penguin Costume" skit from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring The Screaming Skull.
    • And in the Master Ninja II episode, Tom Servo's declares that Bat Masterson — indeed, all 19th-century Western detectives — should have a penguin for a Team Pet. "But there may be a few puffins thrown in, so be sure to ask me about each one."
  • Northern Rescue: The main character, a search and rescue official, and his family take in an African Penguin named Tux, which a lot of characters gush over.
  • Invoked in-story in Our Zoo, where a major turning point in public attitudes to the new zoo comes when the van transporting a bunch of penguins breaks down and they have to be led through the streets on foot. The locals had been strongly against the zoo up to that point, but... awwww, penguins.

  • Both Pororo and Petty from Pororo the Little Penguin. It's not surprising that the franchise has become one of South Korea's most popular.

  • Satan's Penguins, a black metal band. Covers also show penguins.
  • Relient K's first Christmas album, Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand, features a penguin on the cover. The penguin shows up again, randomly, on the cover of a book the band wrote.
  • Luxemborg's entry in the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest featured backup singers in penguin suits.
  • Lyle Lovett has a song entitled "Penguins", in which he states that he prefers penguins over fancy cars, diamond rings and such because "Penguins are so sensitive/To my needs." Furry penguin Fanservice included. You're Welcome.
  • A music project centered around the animated little penguin Pigloo had several Top 20 dance hits in France, complete with music videos.
  • The video clip for Jean-Michel Jarre's 1989 re-release of Oxygène 4 shows nothing but penguins waddling on the Antarctic ice.
  • GWAR has a song called "Penguin Attack", about penguins 'born of atomic steel' that attack.
  • Soul singer Rufus Thomas had a minor hit with "Do The Funky Penguin".
  • Brad Paisley's Christmas album features "Penguin, James Penguin", who helps Santa Claus find out who's been naughty and nice.
  • Fleetwood Mac released an album in 1973 called, you guessed it, Penguin.
  • One segment of the music video for Queen's "I'm Going Slightly Mad" has guitarist Brian May dressed as a penguin while a real one follows him around.
  • Frank Zappa's Penguin In Bondage from Roxy & Elsewhere.
  • Christina Perri's Penguin compares one's soulmate to a penguin.
  • Penguin Cafe Orchestra. The group concept was Based on a Dream that founder Simon Jeffes had in which the titular cafe, with penguin staff, represented escape from a Crapsack World. Accordingly their album covers depicted surreal scenes of penguin-headed humans mixing with actual penguins. After Simon's death, his son Arthur Jeffes began a Spiritual Successor group, Penguin Cafe, which would take things a stage further with the album Handfuls of Night, for which Arthur consulted with a conservation charity to create a concept album about the life of penguins.
  • Nautilus Pompilius: In the song "Penguin's Jealousy", the penguin is waiting for his girlfriend and is jealous of her for others.
  • Brazilian band Paralamas do Sucesso had in their early days, pre-record deal, a song titled "Pinguins", a big slice of Surreal Humor Word Salad Lyrics - the opening lyric is about people going to the beach and wanting to see a penguin, and the next verse states "Penguins I don't see them, they're not on season" and hopes they arrive the next summer, wearing ventilated coats.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Penguins feature heavily in Pacific Mythology, thanks to New Zealand having at least three species waddling around. One, the Fiordland penguin (Tawaki), is a god who disguises itself as a human until it reveals itself by wearing lightning, hence its yellow crest.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show:
    • During a number on with scenery intended to evoke Hawaii, some penguins came along and started singing. Let's just say that the singing moai in the background is possibly not the strangest bit.
    • And there's an amusing little short in which Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker prove that Penguins love to do the Bunny Hop (with fuzzy pink bunny ears no less!), and the Mambo.
    • There's also the theme park attraction Muppet*Vision 3D, which features the penguin as the orchestra, and they even pull out a cannon near the end.
    • Brian Henson said in an interview once that his father figured out early on that "If you can't get out [of a sketch], you either blow something up, or you eat something, or you just throw penguins in the air." Naturally, there were quite a few penguins thrown in the air over the course of The Muppet Show's run, and Sesame Street and subsequent Muppet productions have continued this trend.
    • 5, Rue Sesame, the French Version of Sesame Street, has a penguin character named Georges.
  • The Noddy Shop has a group of singing penguins called the Do-Wop Penguins who occasionally narrate the action going on in the shop, and are prominent in some of the show's musical numbers.

  • Tencent QQ, a Chinese instant messaging software, uses a scarf-wearing penguin as its logo.
  • The Linux kernel's mascot is a penguin named Tux.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Battle Spirits: This describes the Pentan Empire.
  • GURPS Technomancer has intelligent, magic using, socialist penguins with a Hive Mind that rule Antarctica. They were created when an Antarctic nuclear test unleashed a "magic storm."
  • Ikuisuuden Laakso is a Finnish indie RPG, a philosophical game of epic heroism and tragedy... about penguins. Not a gag product, either, and really very good.
  • From the lovable Unhinged joke set of Magic: The Gathering, we bring you the Curse of the Fire Penguin.
  • Spelljammer, because it's not Spelljammer if it isn't crazy, has a Proud Merchant Race of space penguins who ride fying pigs and carry swords on their beaks.
  • A promotional card for Terraforming Mars brings penguins to the planet. It’s maybe borderline in its usefulness, as it can only be played when the planet has lots of ocean, which implies that the game is probably approaching its end, but it is most valuable if the player has several turns to add more penguins.

  • In The Man Who Came to Dinner, Sheridan Whiteside receives four penguins as a present from Admiral Byrd, one of his many famous admirers. They are moved into the library, where they break loose from their crate and one of them bites Miss Preen on the hand.

    Theme Parks 
  • SeaWorld features Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, an entire land centered around penguins; which includes both a ride and a penguin exhibit.

  • The Beanie Babies line has five: Waddle, Slapshot, Snowbank, Tux and Zero (who wears a Santa cap). Also, there's a Beanie version of Pablo the Penguin from The Backyardigans and Skipper from Madagascar (but only Skipper).
  • The new Penbo. She comes with a baby penguin that can be found in an egg in her tummy.

    Video Games 
  • The first Age of Wonders featured the Dire Penguins as the first-tier special unit for the Frostlings, giving the Frostlings a unique (unless the Lizardmen were around) advantage of having an amphibious unit from the get-go. They got red eyes and funny sound effects, and the immense advantage a horde of Dire Penguins (as the portrait hints, it's good for rush) could lend on maps with lots of water.
    • Fan outrage at their absence in Age of Wonders 2 led to... Dire Penguin return in Age of Wonders 2: Shadow Magic as a joke summon. These guys have red eyes, a life-stealing attack and their death animation implies they were possessed by a demon. The campaign also has an enemy going insane and ranting about these creatures, among other things. Notably, if you find some obscure object (I think it was a magic box?) on that map, it spawns a massive amount of Dire Penguins all over the place. One or two of these aren't too bad, but they are nasty in large enough groups.
    • Age of Wonders: Planetfall has penguins return as hostile mobs, though a late-game research breakthrough can allow you to build them. They are also given a comedically high level of threat, with the creation of the variety you fight being treated as one of the Star Union's greatest sins.
  • Animal Crossing has a few penguins at potential residents, but then, you're the only human, so it's not a big shock.
  • One of the early and notable examples in the history of videogaming is Konami's Antarctic Adventure (and its sequel Penguin Adventure), which had a penguin as protagonist.
    • Pentarou the penguin became eventually a sort of mascot for Konami, making various appearances in other games (including the Parodius series and the 1991 Famicom game Yume Penguin Monogatari). The latest appearance is in New International Track & Field for DS.
    • Add to that Konami list Tokimeki Memorial 2 : the resident Tomboy, Homura Akai, loves penguins, so much that she even gets to wear a penguin suit at one point of the game.
    • Also, Mitsumete Knight R : Daibouken Hen. Among the numerous costumes available in this game, the animal-themed exclusive suit for the heroine, Sophia, is a penguin one. What's more, it greatly boosts her affection level towards MacLeod if she wears it, unlike the other girls with their respective animal suits (Hanna = Rabbit suit, no boost ; Raizze = Weasel suit, Leslie = Leopard suit, Linda = Peacock suit, all three greatly damaging affection level).
    • Konami seems to have a love affair with Penguins in general. Parodius features a playable penguin, as well as dozens of penguin enemies. Otomedius also stars several thousand penguins as enemies, Mecha-Mooks called Pengu.
  • Arcana Heart 2 introduces us with Zenia Valov, whose ice-controlling default Arcana is in form of a giant penguin.
    • There's also Kamui Tokinomiya, who's shown to be very fond of penguin plushies and even gets into a confrontation with Zenia over them in the former's ending in 2.
  • In Atlantis Underwater Tycoon, you can place one zoo building that can showcase penguins among other animals. Which is strange, as the fact that the game takes place in an Underwater City meant that they could have included penguins among the free-roaming sea life.
  • Attack of the Mutant Penguins has good penguins aiding the heroes to defend Earth against evil alien penguins.
  • The version of King Louis Philippe in Aviary Attorney is penguin-headed and, appropriately, small and rather penguin-shaped.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts includes penguins running around the main hub town. Running one over can prompt the unfortunate avian to complain: "How could you? Everyone loves penguins! Scientific fact!"
    • Not to mention the robotic ones running around Banjo-Land.
  • One of the playable characters in Battleborn is Toby, a small penguin whose adorableness cost him the ability to be a soldier in the UPR. So he built a personal mecha to get revenge and make sure no one ever calls him cute again.
  • Rodin, the resident Scary Black Man and Satanic Archetype from Bayonetta is implied to be very fond of penguins. In his bar, we get to see an apron with cute little baby penguins with "I LOVE CHICKS" written under it in demonic alphabet. Made even more hilarious in some flavour text from The Wonderful 101 where he is stated to seek any kind of penguin statues, plushies and goodies to add them to his collection.
    • In fact, in the game's artbook, we get to see this gem of a picture. Isn't it adorable?
  • In the Bloody Roar franchise, Chronos is supposed to turn into a phoenix, but sometimes turns into a penguin. Incidentally, the penguin is a lot harder to beat.
  • One of the bosses in Bonesaw: The Game: The Game is a giant penguin. That fires sub-zero blasts. And summons snowstorms with occasional hail. And flies.
  • Club Penguin is Disney's MMORPG for children.
  • A bunch of penguins appear as enemies in the snow-themed levels in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back where they'll do a spin attack before getting quite dizzy and shaking it off. There's also Penta Penguin in Crash Team Racing and its remake, who originally appeared in a manga based on 2.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War features a level set in JC Denton's Antarctic refuge complete with cute little penguins waddling about. In the final level, on Liberty Island, which has frozen over due to The Collapse one can activate a portal to an extradimensional nightclub, complete with penguins on fire!
  • Disgaea: Prinnies, dood! They're ridiculously cute exploding murderers (and all other kinds of sinners, really). They're the souls of the damned, working off their sins as combustible stuffed penguin Butt Monkeys. They even have their own game, dood!
  • Donkey Kong:
  • A perfectly ordinary Penguin can be caught early on in Dragon Island Blue — for some reason. It soon evolves into the crown-wearing Kingpen, complete with tommy-gun attacks... and, somewhat later, into Don Penguini, a penguin dressed like a Roaring Twenties-era gangster, packing the game's most devastating Desperation Attack. So ultimately, an evolution-line based on a combination of a pun and the whole 'they look like they're wearing tuxedos' bit.
  • Drawn to Life has penguin mooks among its enemies.
  • The Dungeon Of Doom counts an Electric Penguin among its monsters. It shoots lightning at you. Naturally.
  • Endless Ocean features Adelies, Emperors, Gentoos, Rockhoppers, African penguins and Little penguins to be discovered. A few penguins even show up on the deck of the boat and hang out with the protagonist when the hidden credits sequence is triggered.
    • They return in the sequel, including two of the legendaries: Snowy the albino, and Big Bobby — a penguin as tall as a human man.
  • Fate/Grand Order has Mysterious Alter Ego Lambda (aka. Meltryllis, having swapped her primary essence from Sarasvati to Leviathan), who wears a penguin-themed hoodie for her first and final ascensions (and is even surrounded by some in artworks for them). She can also summon them to attack her foes and swims with them in her Noble Phantasm animation.
  • In Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, the Little King is followed around by a penguin who often is more snarky than helpful. Still, he's cute.
  • Middle Eastern penguins in Final Fantasy XI, though they also share characteristics of certain cormorants.
  • One of the six playable characters in Fur Fighters is a pengiun, he's the only one that can swim underwater and is a bit slower on land.
  • In Grapple Force Rena, Rena can come across a race of intelligent, talking penguins.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force has an Easter Egg in Capture the Flag mode that replaces the enemy-following, exploding snarks with penguins with grenades strapped to their backs, dood!
  • In Holy Umbrella, for some reason, the cottages in Vegette Town are full of penguin statues.
  • The "Emperor Penguin" series of special moves are inexplicably among the most powerful techniques in Inazuma Eleven. Notable variations include Emperor Penguin No. 1, a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, and Space Penguin, in which the birds wear the most adorable little space suits!
  • The last bonus pet in Insaniquarium is a cute penguin. Which can summon a boxing glove out of its beak to punch pets and fish alike, either making them drop money or triggering their powers.
  • In Just Dance 3, the background for the I don't feel like dancing stage is an Artic-like snowy space with an igloo, and as the dancer performs the choreography a penguin with sunglasses can be seen popping in an out of a fishing hole.
  • There are penguins waddling about the Japanese scenery in Katamari Damacy. (Sure, it doesn't make any sense, but then neither does the rest of the game.)
  • The Iceguin Ace dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], though things aren't better when they're fought as enemies, due to their annoyingly fast movements and having multiple attacks capable of freezing you solid, which can lead to a Cycle of Hurting in the presence of certain other dream eaters.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the Penguin Mafia, introduced in 2004 as a way to get rid of excess meat generated by a bug but who have hung around in some way, shape or form for years.
    • And after the 2008 Crimbo event, the Penguin Mafia took control of Crimbo, thanks to a one-sided deal between Uncle Crimbo and Don Pygoscelis. The 2009 event involved getting control back from the Penguins.
  • King Dedede from the Kirby series appears to be a penguin, although is never explicitly stated to be one.
    Snake: Are you sure he's not a penguin?
  • Riot's newest Autochess-inspired game mode, League of Legends Teamfight Tactics, introduced a bunch of cute critters called Little Legends which serve as the player avatar in gameplay. One of the Little Legend Featherknights is a Pengu, Runeterra's version of penguins. Pengus also often show up in winter themed skin lines.
  • Learn To Fly is all about penguin that tries to prove that penguins can LEARN TO FLY.
  • The Legend of Dark Witch games have penguins wearing goggles that go around by sliding on their bellies while propelled by some rocket-like system. In this case however, everything's not better with penguins, due to them being annoyingly fast and prone to appearing out of nowhere when you least expect it, making No Damage Runs an exercise in frustration.
  • In the frozen Chillydip Cove from The Legendary Starfy live many penguins. Several act as enemies, others like innocent bystanders that make penguin-like snowmen. And they all are really cute. The boss of both the level and the penguins also is a big, very big penguin named King Ping.
  • Both Little Big Adventure games have clockwork toy penguins used as weapons. In the first game, they simply distract enemies, making it easier to kill / avoid them; in the second game, they explode after a few seconds.
  • Mabinogi: Subverted. There are two different penguin pets available. However, they are not very popular due to being fairly unimpressive — only average combat ability, average storage space, and no useful or interesting special abilities.
  • Magical Battle Arena knows the value of penguins. Why else would it have Cardcaptor Sakura's main character use The Create to drop mass Penguin Slides on top of her opponents as one of her Supers?
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 6: Cybeast Gregar and Cybeast Falzar, a penguin from the aquarium escapes and latches on to Mick (who eventually gives in to its cuteness), prompting the visit to that area. One of the sidequests has you find and capture five penguins who escape from the aquarium (and the cry of "Penguin Get" certainly suggests merit in the Inherently Funny Words theory).
  • Miitopia has the Pengu enemy, which is ridiculously cute if not for its spear-like beak and hostile tendancies. It also have a robotic version.
    • Also, the Clerics can wear a robe that make them look like penguins.
  • Scorpion from Mortal Kombat can transform into a penguin as an animality form. The explanation for this was that Scorpion did not appear in the original Mortal Kombat 3 (the game with animalities); hence they gave the scorpion animality to Sheeva. In the Updated Re-release Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (and Mortal Kombat Trilogy), they added him in, and gave him a penguin animality. In Mortal Kombat 4, they rectified their mistake, giving Scorpion the ability to turn into a giant scorpion for a fatality.
  • Muppets Race Mania has penguins as a weapon pickup.
  • The Community Expansion Pack for Neverwinter Nights includes penguins as monsters.
    • The Shadowlords module series had a bit of a One-Scene Wonder in the third chapter, a totally indestructible penguin.
  • Jinpachi Nezu of Ninja Battle Heroes is a penguin in a light blue gi and straw hat. When recruited, he can be summoned to launch an ice stalagmite attack upward and take out enemies above Saizo.
  • Octogeddon gives us the Penguins tentacle — an incredibly goofy looking penguin head which shoots Sizable Snowflakes at enemies to freeze them.
  • Sega in the 1980s made two games starring penguins. One was the Maze Game Pengo; the other was the egg-escorting game Penguin Land.
  • Quoted from Persona 4: "Damn, I though I was gonna find the penguin today." Kanji's words, no less.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: The DLC episode, "Turnabout Reclaimed", has Rifle the Penguin who eats fish and hands out pamphlets for the Swashbuckler Spectacular show. She also has a cute little daughter named Sniper, who resides in Dr. Herman Crab's hair and often plays with it to his annoyance. And did we mention that Dr. Crab has a penguin mask?
  • The Pokémon:
  • The popularity of the Poke the Penguin Flash game can be partly attributed to this. And don't forget "Yeti Sports"!
  • Ribbit King has a blue robotic penguin named Sir Waddlelot as one of its playable characters.
  • Runescape had some penguins for years, had a KGB-parody penguin quest ("cold war") when the penguin fad started, and now has an entire quest series as well as a weekly penguin spy spotting minigame and at least one in the circus weekly minigame. Do the "cold war" quest to know which treacherous human helped penguins build the oversized doomsday mechanical penguin of DOOM!!
  • In The Sims 2: Seasons expansion pack, there's an NPC penguin that will occasionally walk by your house during the winter season. If you have a snowman built on your lawn/yard, it will stop by to talk to it. If you pet it it will pee.
  • WiiWare game Snowpack Park has penguins as its entire reason for being: You go around, befriend penguins, and play penguin-themed games with them (like penguin-bowling, penguin-curling, and penguin-balancing).
  • In Sonic Unleashed (the 360/PS3 version, mind you), Holoska, the continent based upon Antarctica (That, or loosely based on Alaska, hence the name) has penguins standing around looking cute, in both the Day and Night stages. The ones in the Day Stages hang around the goal, and jump around when Sonic clears the stage.
  • Spelling Jungle: Zig-zagged in Spelling Blizzard. They run and swim around at high speed, and can be useful, but other times they're a problem.
    • Positively, they can be used to stop Wali in his tracks when ice-blocking around a level or to block a Trickster's attack from getting to him.
    • Negatively, they can steal fish on land before Wali can pick them up or intercept other animals that Wali needs to be in a certain position.
  • The ice-cave section of Spelunky has penguins waddling around. You can pick them up, but there's nothing much productive you can do with them.
  • Spore has a penguin-like creature called Knot the Grawx.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon has Sgt James Byrd. A flying penguin that fights with shoulder mounted rocket launchers. He is also the only character in the entire franchise to have free roam in two realms.
  • Starbound has penguins as a sapient race (although they're not playable outside of mods). They're tech-savvy and are employed to upgrade your ship, and the second boss, Dreadwing, is a penguin space pirate, complete with his own flying saucer and penguin army. Penguin imagery is also pervasive, particularly their bones.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • Super Mario 64: Penguins inhabit Cool Cool Mountain, and are generally friendly. One of them challenges Mario in a Racing Minigame, while another asks you to bring back her son (who is stranded near the top of the mountain. A penguin is later seen strolling next to a huge snowball's face in Snowman's Land, and is helpful to cross the ice bridge while avoiding the snowman's strong wind blows.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: If the galaxy you go to has a water theme, chances are good that it will have penguins lounging in the sun, swimming under water, or surfing the waves using manta rays.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii introduces the Penguin suit, which allows you to freeze enemies, walk on ice without slipping, slide down slopes and shatter blocks, and swim more efficiently underwater. Given that the other powers only give you one power, and the penguin HAS all the power of the ice flower, it is definite proof that Mario is better when a penguin.
    • Mario Kart 64: Penguins are abound in Sherbet Land (which is also available in Mario Kart Wii as a retro track), though they're more of an obstacle.
    • Mario Party 5: In the minigame Pushy Penguins, the players are standing on a snowy coast, and then a multitude of penguins (including big ones) approaches. The objective is to avoid being dragged into the cold water by the incoming penguins, which becomes increasingly difficult as more of them approach. The last player remaining wins, though more than one can win if they survive after 30 seconds.
    • In the PC version of Mario Is Missing!, if you bother to read the newspaper articles, you will find that they like to run stories on penguins ending up in Michigan or somewhere due to Bowser melting the south pole. It's true.
  • Super Tux Kart includes Tux, Linux mascot, as one of the default racers.
  • Subverted in Syberia 2. Turns out that larger, near-man sized penguins are actually pretty dangerous, as one incensed thief learned to his regret after chucking a penguin egg in anger.
  • TAGAP is a game starring penguins with More Dakka. And they have a disco club and, in the sequel, a church for Saint Tux.
  • Tales of Symphonia has the Penguinist and Penguiner "monsters" which appear to be people in Penguin suits.
  • When Team Fortress 2 was ported to Linux, users who tried it out got a free effigy of Tux (see Real Life, below) that their character could wear strapped to his butt. For players with Pyrovision on, Tux will be credited with assists just like the Balloonicorn.
  • In Terranigma, the far north of restored Earth is inhabited by a colony of apparently sapient, igloo building penguins. "Would you like to buy a flower? Make a girl or a penguin talk!"
  • Thin Ice for the Intellivision was a graphical conversion of the Data East Arcade Game Disco No. 1, with the dancers replaced with penguins. Duncan the Penguin, the player character, was to have been promoted as a mascot character, but these plans fell victim to Executive Meddling.
  • Turbo Pug 3D: You can choose to play as a penguin before beginning a run.
  • Tux Racer. Race a Made of Iron Tux the Penguin down icy slopes.
  • The tactical game Vantage Master 2, where you play a spirit summoner fighting other summoners for artifacts that let you summon new spirits, one particular spirit is Zamilpen, an ancient demon who apparently was trapped in a never-melting shard of ice. He takes the form of a man-sized penguin. With the ability to incapacitate foes by freezing them. Despite his high cost and reduced land speed (as Zamilpen is a water-element spirit, and has half movement on land) usually outweighing his combat value, he is quite popular.
  • Feathers McGraw makes his return in Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo.
  • In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne a hidden section of one mission reveals the King Penguin, an invulnerable creature that gives you a ring of protection + 4.
    • There is a secret squeaky penguin item that can be obtained in the Orc Campaign.
  • Wario Land:
  • The World Ends with You features penguin-type Noise. They're all named after pop music genres.
  • World of Warcraft has mages able to turn people into penguins (Before it was only sheeps, turtles or pigs). That may have something to do with the arctic theme of the second expansion, though.
    • Worth noting is that this is done by equipting a minor glyph (depending on level, a character can have up to 3 minor glyphs) that usually give you a small but useful ability. The penguin glyph has no impact on actual combat, and yet is still one of the most sought after glyphs.
    • Also, there are two new penguin vanity pets (little critters that follow you around and do nothing but look cute).
    • Also worth noting is the (rare) giant penguin known as King Ping.
    • And abundance of flocks of penguins which you can temporarily tame and have a crowd of penguins follow you. Wrath of the Lich King has a lot of penguins.
    • So many, in fact, that an Undercity Champion at the Argent Tournament Grounds in northeastern Icecrown punched one just to get a rise out of a priestess.
  • Zoo Tycoon featured emperor penguins for one of your attractions. Oh, and place an Emperor Penguin in the same pen as a Tyrannosaurus rex, and guess who eats who.

  • Brawl in the Family has King Dedede from the Kirby games, listed in the Video Games section. Notably, his father was a photorealistic Emperor penguin, and his mother fed him the traditional regurgitated chum well into his school years.
  • In this Celestia's Servant Interview comic, Fluttershy learns that wildlife smugglers ditched a cargo of Gallopagos penguins when the authorities were on their tail. Fluttershy is pissed.
  • Comedity, a comic mostly about the personalities inside the author's head, has a penguin personality.
  • Ted the Penguin in Ctrl+Alt+Del is the pet of Scott, who (not at all coincidentally) is the resident Linux guru.
  • The Day it Snowed features truly adorable sentient penguins, and a penguin GOD.
    • They've crossed over to the artist's new comic, Jack Of All Blades — where they've gotten upgraded to ninja penguins.
  • The Adventure arc in Diamond and Dazzle has a segment where Diamond, who has swapped bodies with Dazzle, struggles to keep up in World 4 due to a Balloon Belly slowing her down. In one panel, Diamond waddles with Bumpty, The Mighty Penguinator and Club Penguin following her.
  • Flaky Pastry mentions a thief who was driven insane by a magical trap such that he now only steals penguins. He briefly appears in a later strip, surrounded by penguins he's stolen, and suggesting to Prism that they go to the zoo together.
  • Peki from Furry Fight Chronicles is a penguin Combagal who is a member of Team Executor, the Masato Champions.
  • Housepets! 1X by Stu and Jojo, a Fan Web Comics based on Rick Griffin's ''Housepets!'' features a penguin by the name of Eyesight. Introduced here.
  • In The In Joke we have two examples. here and here.
  • Kakkikomy-kun from Kakikomi Magical Girls is a penguin-looking creature. He's Shiori's Non-Human Sidekick.
  • One of the recurring series at The KAMics is about penguins.
  • Nukees: Linus, a small Adelie who helps Gav escape after Teri the Terapet launched him to Antarctica inside the Giant Robot Ant. Shortly after Gav returns to Berzerkeley, Linus shows up riding the Ant, and since then has saved Gav from virtual-Velociraptor induced death more than once. Fittingly, Danny Hu teaches him kernel programming.
  • Pengcognito: an entire alternate universe of penguins
  • The Peons, being set in Antarctica, is based off of this.
  • Pokey the Penguin follows one, though in the comic the penguin is probably the least bizarre thing.
  • Pip the Penguin in Sequential Art
  • Not in the strip itself, but one of the little notes R.K. Milholland signs off Something*Positive with suggested that if one is ever depressed, just Google image search "baby penguins." It works.
  • Osborne in Wally and Osborne, which lampshades the whole Polar Bears and Penguins trope by teaming him up with a displaced polar bear named Wally.
  • Blackbeak, a pirate penguin resistance member in The Wotch.
  • Yosh! features Pen-Pen (no relation to the one from Neon Genesis Evangelion — we think), a talking, sociopathic penguin with a Jell-O addiction. He may also be well actually, he is some kind of demon. In a world populated by mages, monsters, ninjae and robot girls, people tend to do a double-take on Pen-Pen, sometimes going so far as to exclaim "A talking penguin? That's impossible!"

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • There are many penguins in the Ice Kingdom in Adventure Time. The Ice King is often accompanied by penguins when he leaves The Ice Kingdom. He also has a pet penguin named Gunter in his personal chamber.
    • In one episode, Marceline's Dad (the Ruler of the Nightosphere and Lord of All Evil) was talking to Gunter, calling him the most dangerous and evil being he's ever met. Gunter slapped him in the face.
      • This winds up being at least a little true, as Gunter attempts to take over Ooo once he gets his hands on a Demonic Wishing Eye. Later it is revealed that he is an Eldritch Abomination in disguise.
    • There are also penguins in Finn's Imagination Land in "Rainy Day Daydream."
  • All Grown Up!: The final word Susie gets in a Language Bee is "penguin." She gets it right and wins for her team, but not before wondering aloud, "Why would I ever need to say 'penguin' in [the foreign language]?"
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang and Katara go penguin-sledding after they first meet in the premiere. Or rather, otter-penguin sledding: the penguins have mouths and whiskers rather than beaks, as well as four flippers. They're still pretty cute.
  • Avenger Penguins: A British series about a trio of biker penguins who fight crime.
  • Pablo from The Backyardigans. Heck, he's even the first one to introduce himself at the opening.
  • Lloyd and Eva from Bernard are a couple of penguins.
  • Care Bears has Cozy Heart penguin. He was one of the four cousins to be let off the bus in 2015's Care Bears & Cousins.
  • Walter Lantz's cute little star Chilly Willy was one of the earliest incarnations of this trope.
  • In the episode "A Chorus Crime", Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers went Happy Feet long before Happy Feet was even produced.
  • In The Critic, Jay sends his parents on a vacation, but due to cheap tickets and a strike at the airport, they end up flying Hindenburg Airways. Their pilot is a penguin. All goes well until Franklin realizes, to his horror, "Wait a minute! Penguins can't fly! Penguins can't fly!", whereupon the plane promptly crashes. It probably didn't help that the penguin had been drinking.
    • He truly was a horrible pilot, no matter how many stewardesses he bagged...
  • The Crumpets has pink penguins such as the ones Grownboy rescued from a zoo and the ones caged in his house.
  • An episode of The Deputy Dawg Show featured a penguin who ran away from a carnival and winds up in Deputy Dawg's jurisdiction. It's 32 degrees outside, which is still too warm for the penguin.
  • Edebits features penguin adults and chicks as it is set in Antarctica. There is one episode where Bet keeps a penguin chick in her research base.
  • In Fluffy Gardens, a World of Funny Animals, penguins are pretty much the dominant species of animals that doesn't have any individual with a Day in the Limelight episode. Almost every worker is a penguin.
  • Parodied on Frisky Dingo when Killface is running for president and carries around Baby Lamont, a penguin that he saved, for pure publicity's sake.
  • The Futurama episode "The Bird-Bot of Ice-Catraz" had Bender join a penguin colony after whacking his head and being reset on penguin mode. The penguins were actually a major part of the episode's plot, but Bender's antics were purely for comic relief. Leela even describes the penguins as what would happen if "puppies and kittens had babies" and swoons over them. Then at the end of the episode we find out Bender spent a good deal of his time turning them militant and man-eating, with the closing shot showing them discovering guns.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • Grim and Billy seek a Druid's help to battle a Kite-And-Other-Debris-Eating Tree, and he helps them get in touch with nature so they can do it. During the training, the druid helps them acquire a spirit animal. But rather than get something cool and predatory like a grizzly bear or a Tyrannosaurus rex, Grim's spirit animal turns out to be a penguin. Well, it matches his round, white head and beady black (lack of) eyes, doesn't it? (And it's also very likely a reference to "Fight Club".)
    • There's also the episode where Billy and Irwin see the movie Exploding Penguins Three, which, as the title suggests, is "an action-packed documentary about how penguins exploded"!
  • In an episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy called a group of penguins over to help him defeat the Rodeo Clowns. It turns out they really do like meatballs. A lot.
  • In Johnny Test, this trope applies, unless you tell them that human's ungreen habits are threatening their homeland. Then you'd better watch out.
  • The Jungle Show has Paul the Penguin.
  • An episode of The Simpsons had Lisa see a group of penguins flying, until they saw her and landed while looking shifty.
    • On another episode, Homer accidentally hijacks a nuclear submarine. When he surfaces, he is held at gunpoint by the navies of several nations, including the "S.S. Antarctica" a battleship crewed by penguins.
    • In "Bart's Comet", penguins are shown flying away from the zoo as the comet comes closer.
  • The second season of Kaeloo introduced an emperor penguin named Olaf, who is constantly mistaken for an auk.
  • King Arthur's Disasters, dancing penguins who protect spell books (which King Arthur needs to reverse a body swap).
  • Two Looney Tunes shorts feature Bugs Bunny and a small "pen-goo-in". In "Eight-Ball Bunny", Bugs tries to get the penguin to Antarctica where he belongs. Turns out he's not from Antarctica; he's a performing penguin who was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. ("Hoboken?! Ooh, I'm dyin' again!") In the earlier cartoon, "Frigid Hare", Bugs ends up protecting the penguin from an ill-tempered Eskimo hunter. The same penguin also featured in an episode of Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries and made a small cameo in Space Jam, as a spectator at the climactic basketball game.
    • Notably, this little penguin is pretty much the only character ever to really perturb the usually unflappable Bugs of Chuck Jones' direction — in "Eight-Ball Bunny", Bugs ends up running into the distance laughing hysterically.
    • Tex Avery's "The Penguin Parade" (1938) has lots of great stuff in it, from three penguins stopping in the middle of performing "When My Dreamboat Comes Home" just to make faces at us to the ending after a band ends its torrid performance:
    Band: If you think we're gonna keep this up all night, you're screwy! And we do mean you!
  • As far back as 1929 there is a Mickey Mouse cartoon, Wild Waves, which features penguins dancing on the beach. Does this make the setting South Africa?
  • Muppet Babies (2018) has Summer Penguin, an excitable and energetic girl penguin who loves to paint.
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends had fascist penguins trying to bring about endless winter in the episode "Baby, It's Cold Outside". Fortunately, their evil king had a Heel–Face Turn after accidentally freezing his own son.
  • Martini from Olive, the Other Reindeer fits this trope to a T — in fact, he's kinda badass.
  • The Brazilian cartoon Oswaldo's eponymous star is a penguin who was adopted by humans and now lives in the suburbs of Rio De Janeiro, going on adventures with his friends.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar, which features the penguins of the Madagascar film series. And the three lemurs and two chimps. And an otter. And a kangaroo.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • The Title Theme Tune features Phineas conducting Ferb and some musical penguins to play in an orchestra. Even though such has not happened in the show itself.
    • In "Bowl-O-Rama Drama", Dr. Doofensmirtz's evil plot involved giant robot penguins equipped with freeze rays.
    • Penguins dance along with the gang in the song "Summer All Over the World".
  • Pingu, a Swiss claymation animated series about the eponymous penguin and his family. The characters spoke in an untranslated honking penguin language, which children picked up on and went on to annoy their parents with.
  • Pingwings was an animated series about a penguin family. It was in fact the first Stop Motion series from Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, who later made The Clangers and Bagpuss. Because they had not yet set up their animation studio, the series was shot outdoors, which meant they couldn't control the lighting.
  • The Rankin Bass special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town has Topper the penguin, who got lost on his way to the South Pole when he meets Kris Kringle.
  • The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin is an animated short that tells a pretty standard story of Cinderella — except all the characters are penguins. It's very silly.
  • Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales.
  • The first VeggieTales Christmas episode, The Toy that Saved Christmas, introduced a horde of mute penguins. Since then, they occasionally have cameos, such as a penguin dressed as a parrot in the song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything", or Junior's poor sick penguin in the song "The Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps".
    • More recently, these penguins appeared as the henchmen of Dr. Flurry, the villain in "The League of Incredible Vegetables."
    • Although different from these penguins stylistically, the creators of VeggieTales went on to produce another series by the name of 3-2-1 Penguins! And yes, it did have penguins. In Space!
  • Averted with the Wacky Races (2017) episode where the racers are stopped in their tracks by a pack of ornery penguins.
  • The Season 5 premiere of Wild Kratts features emperor penguins.

    Real Life 
  • Penguins exist in Real Life. The world is a better place for it.
  • In a newspaper article at around the time of March of the Penguins release the columnist put forth the opinion that penguins were proof of the existence of God, since only a divine being with a sense of humour could create such a wonderful animal.
  • The popular PengWIN video of a very lucky penguin outsmarting a killer whale.
  • All hail Brigadier Sir Nils Olav, Colonel-In-Chief of the Norwegian King's Guard!
  • In certain parts of South Africa, penguins will cheerfully go into restaurants... and people's cars.
  • Penguins can wander on beaches on the Falkland Islands that humans cannot because of land mines. (The penguins are too light to set the mines off.)
  • Tux, the mascot of Linux. Linus Torvalds visited a zoo and tried to pet one, but it bit him. He claims that's how he got into penguins in the first place and decided on a penguin mascot for the OS.
  • Meet TOFU.
  • Penguins is a nickname for highschool students in Chile due to their uniform's colors. A protest which was 1 month long and nearly every student in Chile was a part of was called ''The March of the Penguins".
  • Festo has made robotic penguins, some even capable of flight.
  • The National Hockey League team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their name has some Polar Bears and Penguins origin, as it came about because their first arena was in a huge dome nicknamed "The Big Igloo" (which unlike penguins would be in the North Pole).
  • There is a Japanese megastore company called Don Quijote. Its mascot is a blue penguin with the first syllable of his company's name (katakana "DO") emblazoned on his belly and his pink girlfriend has a giant heart on hers.
  • Japan strikes again. Five penguins at a zoo in Shimane Prefecture are wishing visitors a flappy Christmas.
  • Penguin Books
  • Penguin biscuits
  • Little Penguin wine. It's a pretty good wine for the price;and there is an adorable penguin on the label.
  • There is a small island off the coast of Western Australia, near Perth, called Penguin Island. It is home to a large colony of fairy penguins and a small conservation facility. The only reason any one goes there is to see the penguins
  • There is a town in Tasmania called Penguin. It has a large penguin statue (containing asbestos), penguins on the rubbish bins, small penguin statues, shops named after penguins, shops selling penguins and more. Other than that, its pretty dull. Definitely better with penguins.
  • Scottish Beer Maker "Brew Dog" has a beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin it was for a time, at 32% alcohol by volume, the strongest beer in the world. They've since brewed a stronger one.
  • The late Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner and his collaborators were nicknamed "The Penguins" because of Kirchner's birth place in the South of Argentina and his bird-like nose.
  • Chester Zoo now have webcams in their penguin enclosure, as does Edinburgh Zoo, the home of the above-mentioned Sir Nils Olav.
  • From the cast commentary for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:
    Brad "Wormtongue" Douriff: Who wouldn't want to go to New Zealand, they have penguins for Chrissakes!
  • Sometimes Dominican Order uses a penguin as their mascot, due to their traditional black and white habits.
  • Theta Phi Alpha, a women's fraternity (sorority), uses the penguin as its mascot.
  • In New Zealand, there is a brand of chips called "Bluebird". However, there's no bluebirds in sight. Instead, its mascot is a penguin surfing on a chip! Needless to say, it's a popular chippy brand in NZ.
  • Brazilian retail chain Ponto Frio — name originated from translating the Sears' Coldspot refrigerator line they sold — has a penguin as its mascot. In the social age era, the company opted to use it extensively: their url shortener is "", their Twitter is supposedly a Character Blog for the penguin, and their Facebook has albums such as this.
  • Penguins in high energy physics, due to a lost bet.
  • A penguin falls over, resulting in the best reaction ever.
  • Former Major League Baseball player Ron Cey was nicknamed "The Penguin" by his college coach for his "waddling" running gait. In his stints with the Dodgers, Cubs, and Athletics, his home runs were credited to "Penguin Power".
  • Smaller zoos that lack the facilities for large animals often feature penguins among their most heavily-promoted attractions, because they're active, photogenic animals that children love to watch.
  • A Japanese pet penguin goes to buy fish at the local fish store and carries it in a Pingu-shaped backpack.
  • Among the Turkish-speaking part of the internet, penguins have become a memetic shorthand for clumsy attempts at government censorship. This has its roots in two incidents:
  • Though it also features other fiberglass animals like a kangaroo and a giraffe, there is a park in Kansas City, Missouri named after its most iconic feature, Penguin Park.
    • The penguin and many of the other fiberglass features used to be playground equipment ... the penguin, for instance, contained a slide ... but most of that has been removed (probably for liability reasons; the penguin slide was rather steep due to space limitations) and today they're just sculptures.
  • Like all birds, penguins are dinosaurs. That makes penguins a whole lot better.
  • In France, inhabitants of the Manche department sometimes jokingly refer themselves as "Manchots" ("Penguins" in France), due to phonetic proximity with the official demonym ("Manchois").

...'cause penguins are so sensitive to my needs.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Everything Is Better With Penguins, Penguin Mascot


Penguins CAN'T Fly!

When Frank and Eleanor get on a rickety airplane, Frank decides to go into the cockpit to see if the pilot can fly smoother. Upon entering, he discovers the pilot is a penguin...who has been drinking. However, he then realizes outloud that penguins are unable to fly. The moment he says this, the plane nosedives into a crash.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / PuffOfLogic

Media sources: