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Happy Fun Ball

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"Caution: Happy Fun Ball may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds. Happy Fun Ball contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at. ... If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head. ... Happy Fun Ball has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is also being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball."

Sometimes, horrifically dangerous objects are obvious; nasty-looking spikes, painted dark and foreboding colors, covered in Schmuck Bait, and generally like something straight from a 12-year-old's Dungeons & Dragons game. However, sometimes it looks like a cute kitten statue.

Aww... nothing that cute could be dangerous. Until it comes cutely to life and uses its precious widdle claws to rip your face off. Adorably.

A Happy Fun Ball is something extraordinarily dangerous that looks innocent. It might destroy the universe, or it might rip a single person to shreds while looking oh so precious. A living version of a Happy Fun Ball is a Killer Rabbit. Supertrope to My Little Panzer, "toys" that are too dangerous to be toys. May overlap with Hidden Weapons.

Contrast with Nerf Arm, which is only potentially dangerous because of who uses it, and Improbable Weapon User, the one who uses it. Compare with Excalibur in the Rust, which is also about weapons that don't look like much at first (due to looking old and/or broken), and Shoe Phone, gadgets and knickknacks hidden inside innocuous objects. See also Lethal Joke Item for the video game equivalent, Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom, and The Not-So-Harmless Punishment.

Not to be confused with a Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball, though it might well be one.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: The Hougyoku is a simple, tarnished orb when it's first introduced. Aizen even remarks that it's strange that such a simple object could be so powerful.
  • Inuyasha: If it's a simple-looking orb you're looking for, look no further than the Shikon no Tama (Jewel of the Four Souls), which is the size of a large marble. Sealed within it are the souls of a demonic horde and priestess trapped in an eternal battle. Even a tiny shard of it can make give a demon or human a powerful upgrade, and the first time we see it it's represented as a tacky key-chain. It's eventually revealed to be the true villain of the series, manipulating even Naraku.
  • In the Orichalcos arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Joey inherits a card that can fuse with a monster to create never-before-seen equipment cards. During its first use, it creates a winged gold croquet hammer with chibi wings. Turns out it has the power to send all of his opponent's monsters forward in time by a random amount. His opponent is left defenseless, which earns a raw beatdown, and the monsters only come back one by one, allowing the members of the former army to be picked off.
  • Medaka Box: Unzen, an Enfant Terrible Knight Templar high school enforcer, uses actual rubber balls that are Made of Explodium. His sister uses less-fun giant metal balls on chains.
  • The Legendary Orbs from Yaiba may or may not count, but they're still small, simple glass-like balls which holds great elemental powers within. Expecially the Raijin Orb and the Fujin Orb
  • Much of the Lost Technology in Galaxy Angel invokes this trope.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, one of Eriol's plots involves turning Sakura's homemade teddy bear into a booby trap.
    • The Clow cards, themselves, are Happy Fun Balls. They look harmless, but can cause destruction if they're not controlled by a magician.

    Comic Books 
  • The Joker resorts to these all the time, when he's not directly using a clown- or comedy motif. Even then, it's pretty common he'll resort to something that actually is harmless as a fakeout, knowing people will assume the worst anyway.
  • In the comic version of The Tick, one villain incapacitates The Tick with a device called "the Happy Apple".
  • The Superman villain Toyman is basically a professional Happy Fun Ball manufacturer.
    • In the DCAU cartoon, he once used a literal happy fun ball, which totalled an armored car.
  • The Ultimate Nullifier of the Marvel Universe is about the size and shape of a cell phone, curved on three sides and flat on the fourth, with a couple widdly little protrusions. It could destroy the universe if used right, and will likely destroy the user whether used wrong or right. Contrast, say, the Infinity Gauntlet, which looks exactly like the kind of glove you would want for punching gods in the face.
  • Richard Corben wrote a short comic called "Top to Bottom" where a children's toy that looks vaguely like a high-tech 3D labyrinth game proves to be a potential world-wrecking device when used unwisely. Borderline terrifying.
    • Actually Corben only drew the comic; it was written by Jack Butterworth and is a short story in Vampirella #33 (1974).
  • Brainstorm in The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers has an otherwise inconspicuous briefcase that he says contains a "Malevolent Counterintuitive Pathogen." If anyone but him opens the briefcase, the thing that they least expect will suddenly appear and kill them. It turns out that this is all a lie- the briefcase is actually linked a bunch of different briefcases that each contain a single piece of a time machine that's specially constructed so as to be immune to the Grandfather Paradox.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side; A group of gangsters are trying to pry information from a guy who's tied up. The leader says they've tried everything on him except "this little baby we simply call 'Mr. Thingy'."

    Fan Works 
  • In Fallout Equestria: Duck and Cover, protagonist Atom Smasher carries a nerf gun, which is about as dangerous as you'd expect. Until some traders in need of extra security provide her with a clip of reusable darts enchanted to explode on contact. Given that Atom Smasher has no form of empathy whatsoever (she's intended to reflect the typical Fallout protagonist as played by an immature gamer more interested in killing baddies and finding cool stuff than acting like a decent moral being), this means trouble for everybody around her.

    Films — Animated 
  • The "Lok-nar", the evil green sphere in Heavy Metal, had a tendency to melt the flesh from the bones of people who happened to touch it, when it wasn't busy animating corpses. Although it does glow. That should have been a giveaway.
  • In Castle in the Sky, Sheeta's Laputan grandmother taught her the "Spell of Destruction" as a Nursery Rhyme on condition she never use it. Which she inevitably does when duly provoked by the Big Bad.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Child's Play is built around this premise, with a serial killer's soul trapped inside a "My Buddy"-esque doll.
  • Transformers (2007): An innocuous-looking radio proved to be the Decepticon Frenzy. And the movieverse version of Frenzy is even more terrifying. When he's eventually knocked in half, what's left of him is enough to, with a bit of shifting as parts, function as a killer robot and hide as an equally innocent-looking cell phone. More than Meets the Eye, indeed.
  • The Continuum Transfunctioner from Dude, Where's My Car?, a device with the power to destroy the entire universe, spends most of the film disguised as an ordinary Rubik's Cube.
  • The puzzle box from Hellraiser series. Solve it, and eternal pain/pleasure can be yours.
  • The climactic battle scene in Toys is built around this premise.
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie:
    • During the kung-fu spoof, the main character sends a seemingly-innocent toy robot into the room. Most of the bad-guy scientists jump out the windows, screaming. "Toy Robot? Ah! A toy robot!" (This is a reference to Enter the Dragon, where Bruce Lee uses a snake to much the same purpose.) When one of the scientists realizes it's just a toy robot, a machine gun pops out of its torso and riddles him with bullets.
    • The scientist makes the mistake of ridiculing the toy robot. As it shoots him, it says, "Eat lead, sucker" in a growly voice.
  • Men in Black:
    • When J is getting a tour of the office, he sees a small ball floating above a machine. When he touches the ball, it goes careening at high speed through the whole building, smashing windows and knocking people over before K catches it and puts it back, explaining that it had caused the 1977 blackout in New York. The ball was meant for fun, apparently an alien ambassador released it as part of a practical joke likely not realizing it would cause a massive blackout. He thought it was funny as hell.
    • To a lesser extent, the Noisy Cricket is one as well. It looks like a child's toy Ray Gun and is smaller than J's hand ("I feel like I'ma break dis damn thang!"), but it is apparently the most powerful sidearm in the film. According to the powers that be, the Noisy Cricket was originally designed as a concealable weapon, but proved to be easily modified to the magnitude it exhibits in the movie. This was done as a form of hazing for new recruits.
  • In Day Watch, Yegor, a powerful dark magician uses a foil ball as his weapon of choice. Seems harmless, right? Until he uses it to slaughter almost everyone at his birthday party, blind his light equivalent and pretty much destroys all of Moscow.
  • In the Korean horror film The Red Shoes (2005), the titular shoes look like just an ordinary pair of women's high heeled shoes, but the shoes are haunted by a murderous ghost. Whoever touches or wears the shoes is driven to insanity and murder.
  • In The Rock, the opening scene is the hero and a colleague attempting to defuse a child's doll stuffed with C4 and spewing poison gas.
  • In the Tank Girl movie, there is a murder-ball - a harmless little metal ball but if you hold press the hidden button, spikes will come out and impale your hand, pretty much putting you out of the rest of the fight. Also can be activated by the sound of "clapping twice".
  • James Bond's watches, pens, shoes, whatever.
  • In Full Metal Jacket, a Marine picks up a stuffed toy while patrolling a bombed out building in Hue. It's connected to a bomb which blows up, killing him.

  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): In a fairly literal example, Anthony the ant has a ball-shaped pet monster whom he names Crinis. She's affectionate to him, unwaveringly loyal, but lacks self-confidence, to the point of collapsing into a quivering heap whenever he compliments her. And then something threatens him, and the ball unfolds into a furious mass of barbed tentacles made of shadow flesh, which seize surrounding enemies and hurl them into a maw of teeth that can either devour a nigh-infinite number of creatures into a dimensional stomach, or outright disintegrate them. Even though he's become accustomed to slaughtering and eating monsters, Anthony still has to look away when her "ripping barbs" blur into movement and effectively become a chainsaw. And then a later evolution gives her "spirit seeker cilia" on the ends of her tentacles, which she can drive into a creature's brain to push them over the brink of sanity...
    Anthony: Such an innocent looking little ball of endless despair. Who could possibly imagine that this tennis ball sized black orb would contain so much terror?
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    Strange, that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing...
    • Notable in that the other rings of power are more ornate, while the One Ring is just a simple metal band whose only noticeable feature is the glowing inscription that doesn't even appear most of the time.
  • Interstellar Pig has "The Piggy", a small grinning pig statue. Cute and harmless-looking, but it's likely to destroy every planet in the universe except the one it's on when the time is right. Then the Piggy admits it made up that legend and says it only destroys the planet it's on... when it hiccups. Poor piggy, it just wanted friends... At the end of the story, the reader learns that the Piggy is nothing but a recording device that made up the stories to be passed around and record everything. It can't destroy anything — although it can teleport anything touching it away if it becomes bored.
  • In Stephen King's Desperation, a hand-held statuette of a poorly-carved coyote, touched by the Big Bad, has the adverse effect of causing those in contact with it to give into their savage, normally restrained instincts.
    • While turning the savage up a notch, from the account of several characters.
  • The Culling Song in Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby is first found in a book of nursery rhymes.
  • The first Gaunt's Ghosts novel, First And Only, plays with this. In one scene, an enraged Ghost shoots an innocuous but blasphemous Chaos idol to pieces; one of the pieces lodges into another Ghost's skin. A while later, that same Ghost goes insane, starts shooting his comrades, and then mutates into a horrific spawn of Chaos, created by the corruption embedded into the idol's fragments.
  • In the Liaden Universe books, a Bowli ball is a ball with a gyroscopic randomizer that can send it flying off in random directions. It is used as a combination game and exercise for pilots, and has been known to lead to physical injuries.
  • In Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories From Wayside School, Todd brings a sickeningly adorable toy puppy to school for show-n'-tell. The puppy can be manipulated into a terrifying, twisted creature that resembles a werewolf. Joy steals the puppy, not knowing this, and is bitten by it. The puppy toy doesn't let go.
  • Wizard's First Rule mentions a curse that turned all red fruit in the region into deadly poison, "because children like brightly colored things." Richard, who was unaware of this, got (more) death threats from Kahlan by innocently offering her an apple.
  • Life, the Universe and Everything: a harmless-looking cricket ball is a hyperspace bomb that will destroy the entire universe when hit.
  • In Keys to the Kingdom, the most powerful Key is... well, a simple skeleton key, albeit gold-colored & probably glowing impressively.
  • In Soon I Will Be Invincible, the villain Dollface is said to have specialized in innocuous-looking dolls full of powerful miniaturized super technology. Dollface herself is only mentioned, but her work - a gravity manipulating doll to be more precise - is used in Doctor Impossible's doomsday device to move the moon at will, controlling the Earth's orbit and thus the temperature of the Earth.
  • Near the beginning of the second Fablehaven book, the kids get sent on a brief Fetch Quest to steal a little froglike statue from a fancy house. Seth, being the Idiot Hero he is, sees a sign that says "do not feed the frog" and decides to feed it out of impulsive curiosity. Turns out that statue was a demon who'd been Taken for Granite in Sleep-Mode Size, and feeding it brought it to life...
  • Harry Potter:
    • This tends to be the outward appearance of Voldemort's Horcruxes. Despite being chosen for their symbolic value, most of those Horcruxes still look fairly innocuous: a tiara, a locket, a ring, a goblet, an old blank journal, etc.
    • The Elder Wand ostensibly allows its owner to win any duel, but its reputation has led many wizards to steal it by murdering whoever owns it at the time (hey, just because you can win any Wizard Duel doesn't mean someone else can't simply kill you in your sleep or something). Those who go to the trouble of acquiring such a powerful weapon also tend to be the type of wizards who brag about owning it, and as such they have a very short life expectancy.
    • The Resurrection Stone is dangerous because it can't fully bring anyone Back from the Dead, so some users have been Driven to Suicide once they realise they can never truly reunite with their loved ones unless they themselves die too. On the other hand, the Stone has much more positive effects when used by someone who is already about to die and simply wants comfort from loved ones that they'll be seeing soon anyway.
  • In The Magician's Nephew, C. S. Lewis introduces shiny, colourful rings that are used for dimension-jumping and thus can be quite dangerous if you don't know how to use them properly. Later on in their dimension-jumping adventures, the heroes discover a bell with a sign inviting them to either strike the bell or spend the rest of their lives wondering what would've happened if they did. As one might expect, when they do strike the bell, the kids end up releasing Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • The Bands of Mourning are a powerful artifact left by the Lord Ruler, said to bestow all of his powers upon the user. The Lord Ruler was so powerful that he healed from being flayed, impaled, decapitated, and incinerated, and Vin estimates that if he bothered, he could have destroyed La Résistance alone, with his bare hands. The Bands are a set of simple bracers the size of a forearm, until those turn out to be fake. The real "Bands" are a statue's blunt, oversized spearhead that some evil minions don't even bother confiscating from their prisoners.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Autons in the stories "Spearhead from Space", "Terror of the Autons" and "Rose". When you're facing the Nestene Consciousness, any plastic object is fairly likely to be possessed and out to murder you. Shop-window mannequins have guns in their arms, plastic flowers try to suffocate people, and someone gets eaten by an armchair.
    • The Weeping Angels, innocent-looking statues of angels with their hands held up to their face as if they're weeping. But when nobody's watching, they spring to life and start killing indiscriminately. That's why you must never blink. Oh, and you can't ever film, draw or otherwise depict them or else the depiction will become one. Which leads to Fridge Horror when you realise that is exactly what the show itself does. And if you look into one's eyes for too long, your visual memory of it will become one and murder you from inside your brain.
    • "Kerblam!": The villain is planning to use bombs to kill thousands of Kerblam! customers. The bombs come in the form of explosive bubble wrap, the one item common to every package, since it's the one thing no customer will see as dangerous and most people will happily pop out of habit.
    • Some of Strax's weapons sound rather like they'd fit this, but being Noodle Implements, we never find out for sure. Although, to be absolutely frank, we're probably better off NOT knowing precisely how a 'fusion suppository' works.
  • The Firefly episode "War Stories" has Zoe explain why she always cuts her apples up with a knife before eating them by telling a story from the war. They were engaged in trench warfare, and were running low on food. Their lack of food came up while talking with the enemy in the other trenches, and shortly afterwards apples started falling into their trenches. Apples with micro-grenades in them.
  • Power Rangers Zeo had a cute little dog statue that turned out to be the Midas Hound, an artifact that turned things (and people) to gold at random. It was eventually made larger, gilded the good guys' Humongous Mecha, and then became a Transforming Mecha of its own!
  • Reaper had a foam dart gun. The key difference between this gun and any other Nerf gun is that this thing could send anything to Hell. Extra emphasis on the word anything.
  • The Trope Namer comes from the "Happy Fun Ball" sketch on Saturday Night Live. It's a kid's toy with an increasingly long number of bizarre disclaimers, containing warnings such as "May suddenly accelerate to unsafe speeds", "If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, seek shelter and cover head", "Happy Fun Ball is being shipped to Saudi Arabia and is being dropped by our troops on Iraq," and the immortal "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball."
  • In Space Cases, a girl brought on board a cute little teddy bear and gave it to a friend. It turns out that the bear is a trap that has a deadly virus on it.
  • Warehouse 13 gives us the Baylor Dodgeball, a fairly innocuous-looking dodgeball previously used in military training exercises. It bounces under its own power and plays dodgeball with whoever happens to be nearby. Sounds harmless, right? Wrong. First, it "throws" itself only when its victim isn't looking, so there's no chance the person will catch it without a partner. Second, it creates a copy of itself when it connects, and each of those copies acts exactly like the original. That means you'll have dozens of them in no time flat. To stress why this is bad, it bludgeoned five soldiers to death before it was caught. However, all you have to do is catch one of them and it returns to being a single, inert dodgeball.
    • Come to think of it, almost everything in the Warehouse is a happy fun ball. Some... not so much, like the Aztec idol from the first episode.

    Mythology & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons's original name should have been 'Happy Fun Ball: The RPG.' Killer statues, killer walls, killer floors, killer bridges, killer ceilings, killer stalactites, killer cloaks, killer bedsheets, and killer water can be found with a glance through the bestiaries. Particularly notable examples include:
    • A cursed magical item called Scarab of Death has the form of a scarab (Egyptian-style brooch) until sustained proximity to a body warms it up, at which point it becomes the other kind of scarab (a flesh-eating beetle) and eats its way to the host's heart.
    • Ask any veteran player about the Deck of Many Things. Doom of the multiverse, in an innocuous deck of tarot cards.
    • The Necklace of Strangulation is a particularly infamous example, to the point where experienced players won't loot a necklace from a corpse until it's been identified. Indeed, players accustomed to the older editions of the game won't touch any item that radiates magic until they've had it examined by a sage... and even then, using an unfamiliar item for the first time is a moment of some trepidation.
    • There is even a golem type in the Second Edition Monstrous Manual called a "doll golem." It is an enchanted child's toy that can be designed to do various different things. Common roles are either to murder the child in question... or far more amusingly, murder anyone attempting to harm said child.
    • Ravenloft has an entire town of this trope called Odiare, where Evil Pinocchio regularly murders all the adults too old to play with him.
    • There's also the Bag of Devouring - seems to be an ordinary sack, or possibly a Bag of Holding. It's actually the mouth of an extradimensional Extreme Omnivore. Store your magic items in it? You'll be very disappointed when you try to retrieve them. Stick your hand in it? You'd better have a damn good Grapple modifier.
  • Mage: The Ascension's final supplement, Judgment, features a scenario concerning the ultimate fate of the universe. To avert the destruction of the natural flow of reality, the players must discover what sort of catastrophe damaged the world to this degree and the weapon that destroyed the universe once before named the First Tool... which is an obsidian hand axe of the simplest form.note 
  • The card game Munchkin has a card called "Duck of Doom" which immediately drops the affected player by two levels (the point of said game is to reach level 10). The card's caption reads, "You should know better than to pick up a duck in a dungeon".
  • West End Games' TORG had "Conjure The Bouncing Hordes Of Doom", found in the supplement "Pixaud's Practical Grimoire". The material component for the spell was a rubber ball with arcane symbols carved into the surface. When the caster tossed the ball while saying "I invoke you", the ball would split into six armed and armored Munchkins with Speedball's bouncing powers and resistance to kinetic damage, combined with Wolverine's skills with blades AND a gremlin's sheer nastiness.
  • Changeling: The Lost Changeling tokens are concealed by a Mask so as to appear completely innocuous. They're easy for a mortal to activate (accidentally or otherwise). Of course, doing so without paying Glamour means that you're going to invoke its Catch... As an example, the Blood Pennon just looks like a strip of sackcloth tied to a stick. Wave it around, however, and you can give yourself and all your allies an extra boost of combat power. Activate it without paying the Glamour cost, however, and it'll leave you drained afterwards... and it'll alert the Gentry as to your presence.

    Video Games 
  • Square Enix games:
    • The Dragon Quest series gave you the option of using items such as tarot cards or an abacus to attack.
    • The main games of the Final Fantasy franchise are filled with "weapons" that are otherwise harmless objects, with each successive instalment adding more of them. One prominent example is the original Super Ball, which appeared in Final Fantasy VI. In a game where the HP cap is 9999, this item, looking like an innocuous squishy blue ball, does anywhere from 256 to 8192 damage to all enemies when used.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, books are ranged weapons—you read a paragraph or two from them and your target flinches in pain.
  • Dwarf Fortress is FILLED with these. The throwing mechanics are so broken, throwing laundry around will kill all involved, while passing Necromancers will often create an army of walking Fluffy Wambler corpses just to piss you off. And then there are the Giant Sponges - with no nervous system, the only thing they can feel is ANGER.
  • The strategy/RPG Vandal Hearts II has, in addition to swords, spears, et cetera, an entire class of "oddball" weapons like baseball bats, scythes, and so forth. Most of them are genuinely threatening, if weird...until you get the "Evil Doll," which is a simple children's doll. Wearing a dress. Not only is it one of the most powerful weapons in the game (characters attack by holding the doll in front of them by the head; it shakes once and enemies die, complete with huge gouts of blood), but it teaches its holder a spell that sets your entire party on fire, bringing horrible death to allies and enemies alike.
  • In Planescape: Torment, one of the player's past incarnations kept a journal disguised as a pretty, dodecahedron-shaped puzzle box. The puzzle box was loaded with blades that slit a user's wrist, canisters that unleashed the fantasy equivalent of nerve gas, and other delightful traps for the would-be diary snooper. Imagine a Rubik's Dodecahedron that punished you lethally when you made a move that did not get you closer to solving it and had no visual clues to tell you when you were going the right way. Since you play an immortal with massive regenerative abilities, you are the only one who can open it.
  • Parodied in Portal: The Enrichment Center reminds you that the Weighted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak.
    • Given the chance, it seems that everything produced by Aperture Science will try to kill you. Especially if it can be found in The Enrichment Center.
    Cave Johnson: Oh, in case you got covered in that repulsion gel, here's some advice that the lab boys gave me: do not get covered in the repulsion gel. We haven't entirely nailed down what element it is yet, but I'll tell you this: it's a lively one, and it does not like the human skeleton.
  • The Familiar Spell in Ironsword summons a tiny little happy face that flies around and turns enemies into coins. One can only hope that this process is lethal, lest it become a case of And I Must Scream for the unfortunate wildlife.
  • The Flak Cannon from the Unreal series fires giant explosive shells with a friendly looking yellow smiley face on the front.
    • Unreal Tournament 2004 displays the message "Player A played with Player B's happy fun ball..." whenever someone killed another player with the Grenade Launcher.
    • The bouncing, giggling, spherical, smiley-face adorned Proximity Mines in the Chaos UT mod, included with the Game of the Year Edition of the original UT.
  • The Superheros Quake mod had this as a selectable power. It was activated on the player's death, which would be followed by a handful of bouncing yellow happy-face spheres bursting from the body, bouncing and swooping with diabolical laughter, and exploding lethally on all nearby opponents (and sometimes allies.)
  • One of Total Overdose's special attacks is a pinata. When thrown all enemies are lured running to it with giddy excitement. Its confetti-showering explosion is instantly deadly.
  • In Persona 3, there is a weapon called the "Toy Bow", a plastic bow that fires suction-cup toy arrows. During the part of the game where you get it, it's very powerful and, unlike nearly every other bow, is very accurate. However, its usefulness swiftly wanes as the game continues.
  • In Rakugaki Showtime you have the Smiley Ball — a doodly smiley face you throw at people. Throw it at enough people and it gets angrier and angrier looking — until it turns rainbow colored with a look of awe on its face, and becomes the most powerful item in the game.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has Delicious Fruit, whose rationale for crushing you (sometimes even defying gravity to do so) is that they're "more like giant cherries" than apples.
  • Worms has... well, there's the Banana Bomb, which explodes spectacularly; the Super Banana Bomb, which explodes more spectacularly; the Salvation Army, which explodes spectacularly; various animals, which explode spectacularly; and the MB Bomb, a large balloon, which... yeah.
    • Liero, a real-time remake of Worms 1 in which you have lives as opposed to multiple worms, goes Serial Escalation as it allows fan-made weapons to be imported. For obvious reasons the Warhammer 40,000 and Dune mods trump the above, but one particular 'strange weapon collection' has something called the Crazy Cannon which is a bazooka that fires a small slow-moving orb. Just as you finish thinking "That was lame" it flips out and begins bouncing around the screen like Ball Kirby, WHILE rapidly spamming rockets at max charge speed for a FULL MINUTE. 90% of the time, using this clears out all land on the stage and makes everyone die repeatedly. Also will absolutely CRUSH the processor of any computer made before 2001. Thankfully recharge time is so long that it will almost never recharge during a match, so it appears to be meant as a screw you option. If your ninja rope can reach the ceiling however, it's actually possible to survive it with some bullet hell dodging skills. Oh, what I said before? Roll that up to 2003 if you pick one for all 5 weapon slots. Bwuahahahahaha!
  • Shadow Madness had an item that was tricky to find, requiring a couple of minigames to access. When you found this item, Pandora's Cauldron, its only description was "Do not use. EVER!" Actually using the item anyway led to the longest video cutscene in the game and a "Game Over (Insert Coin)" message.
  • Fallout 3 has "rigged baby carriages," which appear to be normal baby carriages from a distance. However, get too close and a distorted lullaby plays, along with the rather creepy sound of a baby crying. Then the carriage explodes spectacularly.
    • The Rock-It-Launcher is a cannon that fires common cluttered junk with enough force for a teddy bear to mutilate super mutants.
    • And the Euclid Finder in Fallout: New Vegas, seemingly a harmless toy gun... which is in fact a target finder for a Kill Sat. If you decide to arm said satellite before retrieving the Finder from its current owner - a small child using it, predictably, as a toy - one of your companions may remark how incredibly lucky you were that the safety was still on.
  • Subverted in World of Warcraft with the Happy Fun Rock. You toss it to other players...and it does nothing. Really. No, really.
  • Guild Wars 2: The Quip and The Dreamer are a pistol and bow that leave pretty rainbow trails and shoot confetti and unicorns, respectively. They'really also Legendary-level weapons for a reason, as their stats and damage levels are ridiculous.
  • NetHack:
    • Dungeons and Dragons Amulet of Strangulation shows up but it doesn't stand out quite as much; this is because you get used to being paranoid about everything in NetHack.
    • There are musical instruments that cause large earthquakes and shoot fire and ice beams (even better than wands that do the same things, though much more rare). Anything can be equipped as a weapon but it won't hurt your opponent unless it performs damage calculations (with the exception of the cream pie: it goes "splat" if you try to hit something with it, blinding things with eyes). There's also the loadstone; small and innocuous, one of four types of grey stone items in the game, back-breakingly heavy and usually cursed if you accidentally pick it up.
    • Tinned food is usually a good choice of sustenance, but the contents can be almost any creature you can encounter in the game, and eating some monsters isn't always advisable. Szechuan-style cockatrice is something you only try once.
  • Guilty Gear features the infamous Bridget. Less famous is the fact that Bridget's weapons included a yo-yo and a teddy bear, both capable of sprouting sawblades or shooting out jets of flames.
  • In Disgaea 3, Princess Sapphire finds a cutesy teddy bear... laced with poison. Almaz grabs it instead.
  • MDK featured the World's Most Interesting Bomb. Toss one out, and every enemy in the vicinity will immediately march over and stare at it while it counts down before exploding, killing all of them.
  • In the backstory of The 7th Guest, villain Stauf is a toymaker who specializes in Happy Fun Balls. His beautiful toys are snapped up by local children, all of whom become mysteriously and fatally he can fulfill his half of a Deal with the Devil and steal their souls.
  • In The Last Express, the Firebird seems to just be a golden jewelled egg with the curious ability to transform into a falcon that can sing when you play a whistle. What you don't know is that, if you do this at night, it becomes a deadly weapon...
  • In Metroid: Other M the Little Birdie is a cute little white bird-looking creature, first seen unsuccessfully and humorously attempting to get on top of a large fruit, but turns out to be the juvenile form of a clone of Ridley, the Space Pirate general who decimated her home planet of K-2L, and had been kept as a pet by oblivious researchers until it dismembered one and escaped. Wow. Although the more perceptive players (and Samus herself) will suspect that it's not as it seems, especially with regard to how it appears to apparate behind Samus before she goes through the door into the Navigation Room, staring at her with its beady little eyes.
  • In the Dadgame, defeating Mecha Death earns you... a cat launcher. Which deals damage. And is the longest range weapon of the game, especially if you charge it up - the cat gets sent flying across the screen.
  • Ogre Battle has Doll Mages / Masters who, while capable of throwing the dangerous Acid spell from the rear of the formation, use a marionette to attack from the front row.
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, the animal summoned with the Call Beast spell changes depending on your Magic Aptitude. If you have 100 then you summon a Vorpal Bunny. It looks like a regular white bunny ... except it's a level 40 creature in a game where the level cap is 50 and it has master level melee skill. When it kills someone they are always dismembered in the process.
  • Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse: The "Toys of Power" are seemingly ordinary toys that grant those with "The Gift" psychic powers. For example, a deck of cards gives users the ability to read minds, while a powerful anti-Eldritch Abomination weapon called the "Cthonic Destroyer" takes the form of a little tin robot.

  • It's Walky! has the Power Booster Rod, which looks like a large tree branch, but could potentially destroy the entire universe.
  • Largo's "Cool Thing" from MegaTokyo looks like a toy ball with lights and buttons.
    • Note that the Cool Thing (TM) has not been established as any sort of universe-destroying artefact of doom, though it does emit alarmingly loud noises when provoked (what Largo does to the Thing can in no way be called "use").
  • The Order of the Stick: "Follow the bouncing ball, children!" Said ball has a Symbol of Insanity inscribed on it.
  • The unimpressive little box from Buck Godot. Also, possibly the Winslow. "Hi!"
  • Girl Genius:
    • Castle Heterodyne houses the "Fun-Sized Mobile Agony and Death Dispensers", bison-sized, murderous cat-like clockworks. When the castle is fully functional, it has complete control of them. When the Castle isn't fully functional, then you'd best hope the Fun-Sized Dispensers are confined to one room and don't know you're around.
    • The Castle also has a "Happy Fun Ball of Death" (yes, that is it's official name) on a week-long rotation - these sorts of names seem to be a running theme for the old Heterodynes.
  • The magic chest in Nina's Magic Chest looks harmless with it being pink and covered in fake gems. The wish cards also look like something a kid would use. But it is addictive and can cause great damage.
  • Hannelore in Questionable Content has a roomba. At first, the most heinous thing it does is threaten the standing of Winslow. Then Marten comforts Hanners. The thing somehow pulls a knife, believing Marten was making a move on "its woman".
  • Planet Zebeth has the "Super Happy fun slide": Enemies slide down into a hidden deep-frier, and are then served as meals in the adjacent bar.
  • Luke Surl managed to turn a shredder into this just by explaining labels on it (see also Alt Text).
    Any attempt to destroy the shredder by aerial bombardment would be futile.
  • In Rusty and Co. Presti combines several apparently harmless items (including a funnel and a Bag of Tricks) together to form a deadly "Badger Launcher".

    Web Original 
  • Gordon Freeman tries to pull this off with a hand grenade in Freeman's Mind. It doesn't work very well.
Gordon: Follow the Happy Ball! What could it be? Let's take a look!
Alien Grunts run after him instead.
Gordon: NO!! You didn't... *starts blasting his mp5 full-auto* YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO FOLLOW THE HAPPY BALL!! BUT YOU DIDN'T!! NOW NOONE'S HAPPY!!
Last of the Alien Grunts lets out a painful moan as he dies.
  • As expected, a lot of the stuff contained by the SCP Foundation, such as SCP-018.
    • All but invoked by SCP-846.
    • Lampshaded in "Things Dr. Bright Is Not Allowed To Do At The Foundation": SCP-018 is not to be taunted!
      • And if it isn't a Happy Fun Ball, SCP-914 can make it into one. One notable example being an enhanced super ball the killed several people, destroyed entire wings of the site, and was last spotted orbiting Mars.
  • At the Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, there's a deviser codenamed Knick-Knack who makes these all the time. We've seen a fake 'Harry Potter' wand which has been turned into a real laser weapon, suspicious snow globes, lava lamps that are now attack devices a la 'Rover' of The Prisoner, and a conch shell with something inside it that you don't want to know about.
    • Jade Sinclair, AKA 'Generator', has a penchant for these sorts of things, like a Hello Kitty compact which contains insanely sharp spinning knives. Then there's Bunny Cormack, or 'Bugs', who makes pastel eggs which explode viciously when they break. Basically, if you're at Whateley, don't mess with anything the devisers come up with.
  • In the Happy Tree Friends episode "A Vicious Cycle" Flippy is killed by a bolt of lightning and his soul inhabits Cub's tricycle which he uses to kill those he was trying to kill before his unexpected death.
  • In campaign 2 of Critical Role the Mighty Nein come across the key to The Folding Halls of Halas, the private demiplane of a powerful archmage from the Age of Arcanum, which they literally call a "happy fun ball." It contains a number of extremely dangerous creatures and traps to defend against intruders. Also time passes differently inside.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of the Earthworm Jim cartoon, a page containing a spell that could destroy the universe was, due to a grievous printer's error, placed in a children's pop-up book that happened to be owned by the protagonist.
    • In another, the most powerful force of destruction in the universe was locked away in a snow globe.
  • In Ben 10, the Omnitrix appears to most to be a regular wristwatch. It's a Clingy MacGuffin that calls up obscenely powerful monster forms for the wearer.
  • In the cartoon version of The Tick:
    • The Tick is incapacitated by "The World's Comfiest Chair". (No one expects a reference to Monty Python's Flying Circus in a children's animated series...)
    • Subverted when the Tick encounters the Infinity Ball (which looks just like an 8-ball), supposedly an "ultimate weapon". It bumped into the Tick and fell.
    "Where I come from, we hit these into pockets with sticks." "GASP!" "And we have higher numbers, too!"
  • DuckTales (1987) had an item that was similar to the Power Rangers Midas Hound, but infinitely worse: a small goose idol that turned things into gold... at first. Then it started a chain reaction that was turning the entire world into gold. The golden goose was held in a magic fountain that neutralized its gold-turning powers. If the goose was taken and kept away from the fountain's water for too long, it will awaken and turn things and people to gold on its own accord. And if allowed to remain awakened for too long, the goose's gold-turning powers escape from its body, leaving it as a normal goose, while the powers proceed to turn the world to gold, referred to as "The Golden Death". The only way to stop this scenario, obviously, is to return the goose to the fountain.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one episode Prof. Frink discusses the possibility of turning a souvenir he found at the airport (a motorized ball with a toy weasel attached) into a weapon. At the end of the episode, the toy rolls onscreen; Frink panics but Homer, convinced it's just a "cute little weasel", goes to pick it up. Cut to a "The End" title card as we hear zapping sounds and Homer screaming in pain.
    • In a slightly more literal example, a Treehouse of Horror segment featured dolphins violently rising up against humans. One of the weapons that they used was a red utility ball. They were surprisingly effective, as Kent Brockman will attest.
  • The Futurama episode "Mother's Day" had a younger Professor Farnsworth invent the adorable children's toy "Q.T. McWhiskers" for Mom's Friendly Robot Company. Mom subsequently turned the toy into a laser-firing death machine for the intergalactic arms market.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • The villain Baby Doll has a variety of deadly weapons disguised as toys, including a doll with a gun inside it and explosive bouncy balls.
    • Joker occasionally uses these as well.
  • An episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius had Jimmy's father working as a toy inventor— between Jimmy "tweaking" his dad's gizmos (such as adding real lasers), and then one of them (a doll/tank hybrid) being weaponized and turned gigantic by Jimmy's renegade Nanobots. Hilarity, and large repair bills, ensue.
  • The Venture Brothers has ...The Nozzle, an innocuous yet fear-inspiring doodad that not even its owners understand the purpose of. Its engagement is accompanied by an unsettling mechanical voice warning the patient; "Do not move while ...The Nozzle is engaging. Moving will interrupt calibration of ...The Nozzle. Please do not look away while ...The Nozzle is calibrating."
  • Quackerjack in Darkwing Duck tends to use these, such as robot chattering teeth -a cute amusement in other people's hands, but he's turned them into attack dogs. Hell, Mr. Banana Brain is the only mundane toy of the lot, and he's still got some pretty distressing ideas. Which become even more distressing when he is possessed by Paddywhack.
  • Perhaps in a direct reference to the SNL sketch, Superman: The Animated Series villain The Toyman uses a happy fun ball on some Mooks that eventually moved so fast, and hits so hard that it dented the armored car it bounced against. And being Toyman, most of his gimmicks are Happy Fun Balls.
    "Uh, maybe you should read the warning? Dopey Dough is a lethal biogenic organism. Contact with the skin can prove fatal. It won't stop growing until it asphyxiates its host. NOT for children under three."
  • In the Grand Finale of Justice League Unlimited, Toyman is surrounded by Parademons. He promptly shoots them with...suction cups from his Nerf gun. One beat later they explode. (No, not the suction cups...)
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force featured the Broodwich, a delicious sandwich (in spite of having no bacon). However, eating it will forever condemn you to a hellish dimension.
  • Robot Chicken featured the Phyllis Diller Spray & Play, a bunch of hoses coming out of a plastic Phyllis Diller head, which quickly killed all the kids playing with it.
  • Transformers: There is a long history of Transformers who turn into seemingly-harmless objects, but the most famous would probably be Soundwave and his minions from the original series, who transform into a tape player and cassettes. The practical upshoot being that Soundwave transforms from something you'd put in your pocket without a second thought to a giant war machine who can deploy his own personal army from his chest. Thankfully, he has a good counterpart, Blaster, who turns into a boombox and has his own cassette army.
  • In the Rocket Monkeys episode "B.A.L.L.", the monkeys are tasked with delivering the eponymous B.A.L.L. (Ballistic and Lethally Loaded), which is an actual ball. They have to refrain from playing with it or it will explode.


    Real Life 
  • Land mines often look dangerously toy-like: they're made of plastic with rubber stokers, to avoid detection, and air-dropped mines have fins to aid dispersal. Both sides in the 1980s Afghan war used air-dropped anti-personnel mines, and each accused the other of making their mines look like toys on purpose.
  • The US Civil War had Coal Torpedos, hollow iron shells stuffed with explosives designed to look like innocuous pieces of coal. The goal of which was to damage the boilers on steam ships and railroads.
  • Bomblets from US cluster bombs are bright-yellow ovals, to maximize visibility. Until November 2001, so were US Humanitarian Daily Rations, also to maximize visibility. Until the 2001 Afghan war, the US had never had occasion to drop cluster bombs and humanitarian rations in the same place; once that war got underway, people noticed the problem (to quote Robin Williams, "Now you're playing Survivor, the real game"), and the Pentagon re-colored the Humanitarian Daily Ration to salmon-pink.
  • From the 213 things Skippy is no longer allowed to do in the U.S. Army, "100. Claymore mines are not filled with yummy candy and it is wrong to tell new soldiers that they are."
  • Booby-trap bombs are intentionally made to look harmless, or attract positive attention. The Nazis had exploding chocolate bars ("flyer's chocolate", quality German chocolate laced with quality German meth, had quite a reputation), and often abandoned stylish helmets with stylish live grenades inside. Another insideous booby trap the Germans used when abandoning a post was to leave a picture hanging off-center on the wall. The idea was that if a British officer entered the room, he'd be too fastideous to leave it alone and would attempt to straighten it, at which point the explosives behind it would go off and kill him. The Japanese booby-trapped bottles of sake, but mostly preferred covered pits with pungi sticks. The Vietcong left their flags flying defiantly in positions they abandoned, with explosives on the flagpoles. Other perennial booby-trap designs include ration packs (especially the enemy's) and envelopes, and reportedly the VC had bombs that looked like bathroom scales.
  • Lawn darts. These foot-long mini-javelins with fins were supposed to be lobbed into the air in an attempt to hit target circles on laid on the ground. This was much like playing horseshoes with throwing knives, since the metal-tipped toys were essentially identical to Irish war darts. After forty or more years on the market, they were finally discontinued in the 1990s because of the obvious safety issues (and a string of hundreds of injuries per year).
    • Older sets are still out there, of course, and other countries might not ban them (of course, many other countries might have had the sense not to make the damn things in the first place). Also, you can buy the parts legally in the U.S. and still assemble them yourself. There are also all-plastic models which can be sold in both countries - still hurt if you throw them at people, but no more likely to cause bleeding than any other weighted plastic toy you can buy legally.
      • Human nature also plays a part. One article also points out that lawn darts are almost completely safe-if you play by the rules. It goes on to point out (needlessly if you know anything about children) that few were the children who were actually liable to do so for long, and it was only a matter of time before some bright spark decided to try catching it with their teeth.
    • "One of your bunnies is impaled by a stray lawn dart during a family outing!"
    • Jeff Foxworthy included lawn darts in his set about dangerous toys that aren't allowed anymore. He also mentioned B.B. guns, wood-burning kits, and chemistry sets.
    Foxworthy: [Lawn darts] didn't come with instructions, they just came in a box of eight! We used to take them out and just throw them straight up in the air! You catch one of those with your head, you're getting coloring books for Christmas the rest of your life.
  • The original Hornby "high voltage" Electric Train Set. 110V of alternating current running through the model track is a bit more than "ouchy" if you put your finger on the rail. The first version even had a rheostatic controller with a switch sweeping across completely unprotected metal contacts. Threats of legal action led Hornby to first redesign the controller to cover up the contacts, and then reduce the voltage to a much safer level.
  • A horrific example: In 1999, 39 people were literally cremated in one of the worst tunnel fires in history in the Mont Blanc tunnel in France. The main fuel for the fire? Ordinary margarine. If you get the stuff to ignite, it burns as hot as diesel fuel; vegetable oil, one of its key ingredients, can actually be mixed in with diesel and run an engine.
    • Not helped by the truck's other cargo, flour, which as mentioned just below, is quite explosive when aerosolized.
    • In 2013, Norway had a major tunnel closed for weeks after 27 tons of caramelized brown goat cheese burned for five days. No injuries were reported. Still trying to get out the burnt cheese and fondue smell.
    • Paper is a major fire hazard, which is both easy to ignite and burns with extreme heat.
  • The Great Molasses Flood in Boston in 1919.
    • In that vein, the London Beer Flood of 1814.
    • The Banbury Custard Explosion of 1981.
      • No, they're not making any of these up, although the "custard explosion" took place at a custard factory and actually involved corn starch. Though thankfully in the custard explosion, no one was killed. The same can't be said for the previous two.
  • In a similar vein, aerosolized flour is a huge explosion hazard.
    • As is aerosolized sugar, as we learned so painfully after the 2008 Georgia sugar refinery explosion.note  Indeed, it's worse than aerosolized flour—flour doesn't melt into a sticky, smoldering mess when you subject it to high heat. It's sometimes said that molten sugar is one of the most dangerous things a cook will handle in their careers. The reason for that is because while boiling water will roll off your skin, boiling sugar will adhere to your skin like glue and continue burning you, which can actually lead to some truly gruesome injuries.
      • Prior to automation - and in places or companies where there is minimal automation - the processing of sugar cane juice into granulated sugar is insanely dangerous for this exact reason. During later reduction boils, when the juice has become more of a molasses-viscosity syrup, steam pops and splatters fling what is essentially sugar napalm. Getting this on the skin is a guaranteed terrible scar. Even immediately dunking the limb (or whatever) into water won't prevent the injury; between the thermal damage and the strength with which the cooled syrup bonds to the skin ensures that there will be a bad and permanent scar left behind.
    • A surprising range of otherwise innocuous substances are fire or explosive hazards when reduced to a fine powder. Coal dust is a major concern for miners for this reason, and powdered aluminum is used in certain explosives.
      • Mythbusters used non-dairy powdered creamer in an attempt to amp up the flour burning cannon design they replicated from a web video. They later confessed that the insane fireball they created made them fear for their lives.
      • Any kind of organically based dust—flour, sugar, coal, powdered wood, starch, etcetera—is highly explosive when suspended in the air. And these kinds of explosions inspired the creation of thermobaric weapons.
      • In 2015, an explosion killed 15 people and injured hundreds more at a 'color festival' in Taiwan, when colored cornstarch powder thrown into a crowd of party-goers ignited.
      • Grain dust is incredibly explosive, and grain handling facilities have strict no smoking policies because of it. However, most grain dust explosions happen because of poorly maintained machinery becoming hot enough from friction to ignite dust.
  • A lot of poisons, sadly. Poisonous plants and mushrooms often don't look as dangerous as they are, or they are fancy coloured and especially children can think they look pretty. The poison itself often hasn't any a taste, so people don't realise when they're eating something poisonous.
    • One of the worst examples is the aptly-named "Destroying Angel". The name refers to several snow-white mushrooms, all of which contain fatal poison and are in fact the main source of mushroom poison-related deaths globally. The symptoms from it are also horrifying.
    • Another example is the death cap mushroom. This mushroom causes a lot of deaths due to the fact that it closely resembles the paddy straw mushroom, which is safe to eat.
  • As can a lot of poisonous animals. Species like the Granular Poison Frog and the Blue Malaysian Coral Snake are deceptively small and beautifully colored, but the former is deadly to the touch and the latter's bite can kill in 15 minutes. Perhaps the worst of all, though is the small and cute blue-ringed octopus... whose neurotoxin-laced-bite is 1200 times stronger than cyanide and currently has no antivenom. Compounding this, they each carry enough venom to kill twenty-plus adult humans, and their bite is often painless — meaning that until respiratory failure kicks in, a victim might not even know they have been harmed, nevermind that they are virtually guaranteed to die within minutes. Their interesting pattern of changing circles is meant as a deterrent for predators, but combined with its small stature (often less than 8 inches tip-to-tip) only seeks to reinforce the cuteness and perceived harmlessness.
  • A company that customizes guns created the Block 19, which is a Glock pistol covered in colorful Lego-style bricks. [1]. The uproar focused on how children would mistake one for a toy; another issue is if one is used by, say, a bank robber, and security guards would also assume it's a toy — until it's too late.
  • Various "recreational" drugs, (such as Ecstasy or LSD), have often been manufactured with pictures of cartoon characters, or other images to make them look like they are aimed at children. These can be very dangerous to the average adult, but even more to children.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball


SNL - The Trope Namer

The Happy Fun Ball seems great until you listen to the side effects.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (41 votes)

Example of:

Main / HappyFunBall

Media sources: