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Instant Ice: Just Add Cold!

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"Brrrr! It's cold! I better keep moving or I else I'll freeze to square!"
Stinkoman, Stinkoman 20X6

You ever notice how, in some fiction, especially cartoons, things or people that are subject to extreme cold not only get frozen, but get frozen into a huge block of ice? Even though there's no water around to freeze? That's this trope. Think of all the times you've seen a character who was shut inside a freezer sliding out in an ice block the exact shape and size of the freezer itself. Where the hell does the ice come from? After all, the miniscule amount of water in air is just barely enough to cover something in a layer so thin it's barely noticeable (not to mention that somehow all that water condensates on the person in question, instead of everything in vicinity).

This may also apply to characters who have fallen into cold water and come out in a block of ice; if the water isn't cold enough to have frozen already, then, once again, where does the ice come from?note note 2  Note also that the block of ice in question has the strange tendency to come out in the shape of a perfect cuboid.

Related to Harmless Freezing, Elemental Baggage. See also Human Popsicle. Sometimes occurs in conjunction with Space Is Cold. Oftentimes, characters will be frozen in perfectly-shaped Ice Crystals.

(Sidenote: Just so we're clear on the distinction, Elemental Baggage is when magic spells and the like have the inexplicable ability to create the element in question [such as ice] from thin air; this trope is when ice appears simply because something is cold. Therefore, only cold/freezing spells that aren't specifically making ice fall under this trope.)

When the environment suddenly gets snow and ice just because it's cold, then the trope is Snow Means Cold.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Swordquest: Fireworld, Torr fights off some fire-demons with magic arrows that instantly freezes and ices over whatever they hit.
  • Iceman of the X-Men has the power to make things cold and to control his temperature and that of things around him. What you see is a man who can create ice, huge quantities, out of nothing. (Officially, he's supposed to be creating ice out of moisture in the air, but considering the amount of ice he can create, the air must be at 500% humidity everywhere.) A very curious example of this from the X-Men's earliest days: In Uncanny X-Men # 2, Iceman freezes a construction worker's glove. This somehow causes the glove to turn into ice cubes.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Angry Birds Movie 2: Zeta's dog eventually breaks free from his ice block only to fall in water and another ice block form around him.
  • Justified in The Incredibles: Frozone uses whatever moisture is in the air, as well as his own body moisture, to make ice. Therefore, his powers are much weaker when most of the moisture in the air has already evaporated.
    Lucius: I can't lay down a layer thick enough! It's evaporating too fast!
    Bob: What's that supposed to mean?
    Lucius: It's hot! And I'm dehydrated, Bob!
    Bob: You can't be out of ice! Don't you just use the moisture in the air?
    Lucius: There IS no moisture in this air!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow posits a brand new Ice Age happening very, very, quickly due to man-made climate change. On several occassions in the movie, such as when RAF helicopters are ordered to Balmoral to airlift the royals to safety, people caught in sudden flash-freezing situations where the air temperature abruptly falls to -140º become, effectively, frost-limed blocks of ice.
  • As per his comic book self, Iceman in the X-Men Film Series movies manages to conjure up his ice implements from nothing, ranging from small roses to an entire wall to block up a corridor.

    Music Videos 
  • In the music video for "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits, one of the movers gets frozen alive from standing next to an open refrigerator for too long.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Muppet Christmas Carol, Rizzo ends up encased in ice after falling into a bucket of water that had a thin crust of ice on top of it.

    Video Games 
  • In the Big Fun in Furbyland minigame In the Clouds, some clouds in the second level can freeze the Furby into a perfect ice cube.
  • One of the many ways to die in Bubble Symphony, but with a hexagonal ice shape instead of an ice block, and the player character dies after the shape shatters shortly after it forms.
  • This happens to enemies hit by the Blue Knight's magic in Castle Crashers.
  • One of the many ways to die in Crash Bandicoot: if Crash falls in cold water, he gets frozen in a block of ice which bobs back to the surface.
  • In Chapter 2 of Deltarune, Noelle's IceShock spell is able to instantly freeze enemies solid in a layer of ice. Likewise, the Weird Route's hidden SnowGrave spell fatally encases the target in a large block of ice, as shown by Berdly's murder.
  • In Epic Battle Fantasy 3 onwards, many Ice-element attacks — including some from the player characters — can inflict the Freeze status. Justified with a particular interaction of status effects in Epic Battle Fantasy 5, where if a combatant is simultaneously afflicted with the Wet and Chilled status effects, they're both removed and turned into Freeze.
  • Ice Age 2: The Meltdown: In one level, Scrat has to traverse a once-frozen river by jumping onto ice floes. If he falls into the water, he'll end up as an ice cube.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Gorons in Majora's Mask get this during the unnaturally long winter.
    • In Majora's Mask, Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, this is what happens to your character whenever you are hit by an Ice Keese, or are blown on by a Freezard or a Mini Freezard. Those Keese are covered in nothing but blue, icy fire; and, if they hit you, you're suddenly encased in a huge block of ice.
  • Ice Man's Ice Slasher ability can do this to enemies in Mega Man Powered Up. When Ice Man himself uses it, enemies are actually frozen into perfect cubes.
  • Metal Slug:
    • Fall into the water in the final stage of Metal Slug 2 and your character comes out dead in an ice block.
    • On a lesser note, getting hit by a yeti's homing ice breath in Metal Slug 3 and Metal Slug 4 instantly encases the character in a snowman!
  • Metroid:
    • The Ice Beam is able to... well, freeze enemies, and it is mainly used in killing the titular Metroids. Frozen enemies are coated in a fine layer of ice until the effect wears off.
    • In Metroid Prime, shooting a wall with the Ice Beam creates a small chunk of ice which shatters in a split-second.
  • Pokémon:
    • Various Ice-type moves in the games invoke this trope, complete with animations or depictions of a block of ice encasing the target Pokemon.
    • In the N64 Pokémon Stadium games, the Freeze status is depicted with a block of ice enveloping the Pokémon afflicted. Later 3D entries depict the status with crystals encrusting the Pokemon instead.
  • Ratchet & Clank: This happens to Ratchet if he falls into instant-death water on an arctic-themed level.
  • Use in Runescape, with the Ancient Magick ice spells. Low-leveled spells briefly cover the target in snow and frost, making them look like a lumpy snowman. The high-level Ice Barrage encases the targets up to 9 square meters worth of ice for players, and much more for a sufficiently powerful NPC.
  • Scribblenauts:
    • The Freeze Ray and Magic do this. It apparently cushions the fall of an asteroid.
    • Also, if you put something into a refrigerator or freezer, it is encased in an ice cube when it is removed.
  • In Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf, falling into water during Slippy-Slidey Ice World levels results in this. Includes Harmless Freezing, where the characters only shiver for a moment after getting out of ice.
  • The Snowboard Kids franchise has a weapon you can shoot at your opponents to temporarily encase them in ice, bringing them to a complete stop for the moment.
  • Getting hit by an Egg Blizzard in Sonic Unleashed has this effect on Sonic. For added fun, when playing the werehog levels Sonic can pick up the Egg Blizzards and use them against other enemies, freezing them in instant ice as well.
  • Spyro the Dragon's temporary ice-breath power in Frozen Alters in Spyro: Year of the Dragon, causes any enemy (or ally, for that matter) to become frozen in a block of ice. It was also used in Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, and standing on a squarely-frozen dragon was actually required for a couple of puzzles.
  • Stinkoman 20X6: If you stand still too long in the Slippy-Slidey Ice World, Stinkoman will "freeze to square" and take some damage in the process.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Paper Mario 64: One of the Crystal King's abilities during the battle is he can freeze Mario for a few turns.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the ice balls thrown by characters with an Ice Flower Power-Up encase enemies in oversized ice cubes, which can either be used as platforms or picked up and thrown as projectiles.
    • Happens to anyone hit by a Freezy in Super Smash Bros., or some of the Ice Climbers' attacks.
    • Similar to Dick Dastardly's above depiction, this happens to anyone who falls into icy water in Mario Kart.
  • Several spells in the Tales Series do this. Absolute summons cold air which instantly freezes into a giant jagged block of ice. Icicle also does this, but to a lesser degree.
  • Cirno of Touhou Project infamy has the power to manipulate cold. Naturally, this mostly translates into summoning icicles and other ice bolts and shooting them at enemies. In one fighting game spinoff she is even able to create an ice block bigger than herself to crush the enemy with, in the space of less than a second!
  • Mages in World of Warcraft can intentionally invoke this with their Ice Block ability, Hunters can inflict this upon others with their Freezing Trap, and it's so common in boss encounters as to be almost a Status Effect.


    Web Original 
  • Invoked with one of the effects Gregory Wilson uses as an application for Ellusionist's "Pure Smoke" rig; you essentially drip water into your hand and it turns into an ice cube, complete with fog.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In "Baby-Sitter Jitters", Robotnik gets zapped by his "Reversible Melt-O/Freeze-O Ray" and becomes trapped in a block of ice.
  • Centaurworld: In "My Tummy, Your Hurts", the coldtaurs' homeland is so cold that ice cubes start to form in their soup before they start eating. Later, Horse falls into water and emerges turned into a block of ice.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In one episode, a snowman falls into arctic water and emerges encased in a block of ice.
  • The Dick Tracy Show: In "Cooked Crooks," Joe Jitsu—disguised as a renowned French chef with a recipe that Stooge Viller and Mumbles are trying to steal—tricks Stooge and Mumbles into a freezer. After Joe turns the freezer up to maximum, they become "crook-sicles."
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "Frigid Hare", Bugs Bunny arrives in Antarctica and (thinking he's in Miami Beach) dives into the water, and the splash instantly freezes. Bugs then meets a little penguin whose tears turn into ice cubes.
    • "Tom Turk and Daffy": Daffy Duck throws a bucket full of water at Porky and the water freezes in mid-air in the exact shape of the bucket. Later, Daffy throws another bucketful of water over a river, creating an instant bridge of ice.
    • In "Odor of the Day", a dog falls into an icy lake and freezes into a block of ice while attempting to take shelter at Pepé Le Pew's house. After he is thawed out, he catches a cold, then Pepé poses as a doctor to cure him so he can drive him out of his home. Then, Pepé, after the dog sprays him with perfume shortly after his cold returns, dives into the lake, thaws himself out in the fireplace and catches the same cold. Both Pepe and the dog decide to live with their illnesses and each other after the fact.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: "Vacation Trip Trap", from where the trope picture comes from has Dastardly on furlough, but while skiing, he is clobbered by one of Klunk's pigeon-catching inventions and falls into a frozen lake. He emerges in a block of ice, as he tells the General he's having "a real cool time."
  • Johnny Bravo winds up living with an Eskimo family in "Shnook of the North". He meets their next-door neighbor and flirts with her. She then takes a bucket of water, throws it on him, and instantly turns him into an ice cube.
  • The Magic School Bus: In the first episode, the class goes through the solar system and ends up on Pluto. In order to get his cousin Janet to come home without proof of having traveled through the solar system, Arnold takes off his helmet and his head instantly ices over.
  • Mixels: "Snow Half-Pipe" plays with the idea. After Flain and Krader fall into the frozen water of the ice half-pipe, they float up entirely encased in ice, shown by their bodies colored entirely blue with stiff expressions. No extra ice cubes, though Flain's fire is also frozen as well.
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends: G'nash the ice orc can shoot icy beams from his hands, which can instantly create large icicles or walls of ice where they hit or encase large targets in blocks of ice.
  • Pantry Panic: Woody Woodpecker ignores warnings of an early winter storm and goes swimming in a pond — the storm blows in mid-dive and he's encased in a rectangular block of ice, breaking out of it when it hits the now-frozen pond.
  • Rupert: Invoked in the Animated Adaptation, where the episode's villain has a Magic Wand with ice powers, so dropping him in the stream while he's holding it magically produces this effect.
  • The Simpsons: In "Rosebud", it happens to Mr. Burns' lost teddy bear Bobo during a flashback.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In one episode, SpongeBob gets dumped into an icy cold lake by Sandy, who jumps in after him; both turn into ice cubes.
    • In another episode, SpongeBob leaves the fridge open overnight. By morning his entire house, and everything in it, is encased in ice. To be fair, he is underwater... which only raises more questions. How is the interior of the fridge not frozen already, then? Not to mention the interior of the entire house, as opposed to just the floors and walls? The better question is why the house doesn't float up to the surface, seeing as ice floats in water.
    • Another has Plankton doe this with a thermostat. It's later implied that he flooded he restaurant ankle-deep prior to freezing it (yes, flooded the underwater restaurant; if you didn't notice by now, the series plays fast and loose with the "underwater" rule).
    • In "Frozen Face-Off" this happens to nearly every character at least once. Twice, in the case of poor Squidward.
  • Tom and Jerry: In "Mice Capades", Jerry and Nibbles turn the kitchen into an ice rink by flooding it and rewiring the refrigerator to freeze everything.
  • Total Drama:
    • One of the challenges in Total drama World Tour involves the cast going to Yukon, and as some characters (like Noah) jump into the water, they get frozen.
    • In "Ice Ice Baby," they play Capture the Flag over an iced over lake, with Sam and Lightning getting frozen into blocks of ice when they fall in.
  • Toy Story Toons: At the end of "Hawaiian Vacation", Barbie and Ken go out in the snow and fall in. After the credits we see them in a block of ice.
  • Wacky Races: In "The Great Cold Rush Race", Dastardly gets submerged in ice cold water when he intended the consequence for the other racers. When Muttley pulls him out, Dastardly is in a block of ice.
  • Wakfu:
    • Whenever Evangelyne uses an ice arrow, lots of ice forms around the point of impact.
    • Nausea encases Rubilax in ice with a magic potion in episode 7.
    • McDeek's freezing ray in episode 9.
    • The classic comic-relief-encased-in-a-square-block-of-ice happens to Sadlygrove (and Rubilax) in episode 17 after falling in a frozen lake. Adamaï melts the ice with his fire breath.

    Real Life 
  • May have to do with the Real Life phenomenon where, as air cools, it loses the capacity to hold its water. Cool it quickly enough to below water's freezing point, and you get a rim of ice on whatever is doing the cooling. Obviously, it is taken to the extreme in this trope — possibly for Rule of Funny reasons.


Video Example(s):


Stinkoman 20X6

If Stinkoman doesn't move in Level 7, the ice level, he'll freeze into a square from the cold and take damage when he thaws.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstantIceJustAddCold

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