Follow TV Tropes


Lover Tug-of-War

Go To
"My arms hurt."

Most guys would give anything to have the girl of his dreams literally want a piece of him.

But it can get painful if more than one girl wants that to happen.

This classic Harem Anime scene consists of each young lady in this tug of war grabbing an extremity (usually an arm) and literally trying to take her man away from her rival(s), in a grotesquely hilarious exaggeration of wish fulfillment. The girls in competition will likely shout this:

"He's mine!"
"No, he's mine!"

The poor guy in question is effectively Made of Iron for the duration of suffering under this trope, especially when the contestants have Super Strength.

This trope is unrelated to Love Hurts, even though it may hurt literally.

This trope also shows the chivalrous side of a guy — he Wouldn't Hit a Girl even to protect himself from this trope. For this reason, a girl is rarely fought over this directly in Distaff Counterpart harems.


See A Lady on Each Arm for the less violent version of this trope. Cock Fight is a rough Spear Counterpart.


    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry had this at least twice, between twin sisters at that. Shion and Mion both tug on Keiichi. This is subverted, however, as Shion doesn't actually like Keiichi. She's just pretending she does to joke around. Shion's completely set on Satoshi.
  • PandoraHearts: To complete their Friend Versus Lover status occasionally Gilbert and Alice will fight over Oz this way with Gilbert declaring Oz as his "master" and Alice calling him her "property".
  • Ranma ½: At one point, Ranma is in a three legged race and ends up with Shampoo tied to one leg and Akane tied to the other. When the path splits they try to go down different paths, with painful results for Ranma. Mousse even gleefully compares it to an old Chinese story where a man was ripped in two by his lovers fighting over him.
  • Seitokai Yakuindomo: Pictured above. Parodied in a Not What It Looks Like moment when Suzu is shocked after walking in to see Aria and Shino tugging on Tsuda's arms and shouting "Mine!". They were actually fighting over which one of them Tsuda would help carry heavy stuff for first.
  • The end of the Zelda II: The Adventure of Link manga adaptation ends with both Zeldas doing this to Link. As seen here.
  • High School D×D: Early in Season 2, Rias and Asia subject Issei to this wearing nothing but panties and socks.
    • A mild example in the opening credits of Akeno vs. Asia with Issei as the prize.
  • Pokémon:
    • Non-human example happens with Axew and a Gothita fighting over Scraggy.
    • A platonic variant plays out when Ash has to choose between finding new Pokémon (Max) or stopping to eat (May).
  • Parodied in the Girls und Panzer spin-off manga Motto Love Love Sakusen, with Darjeeling and Assam pulling on Orange Pekoe. Pekoe, being their tank's loader, is strong enough to pull back and smack them together.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War features a platonic version: In an early chapter, both Kaguya and Fujiwara try to convince Shirogane to join their clubs (archery and tabletop gaming respectively), and end up in one of these situations. The narration declares Shirogane to be "today's winner", since he briefly got to experience what it's like to have a harem fighting over him.
    • This happens again in a later chapter, this time because Kaguya and Fujiwara are trying to teach Shirogane how to perform the Sōran Bushinote . The two girls get into a Technician Versus Performer argument, Fujiwara believing that Shirogane needs to understand the emotions involved while Kaguya argues that all he needs to do is copy the movements precisely. After having his arms tugged on for a while, Shirogane finally understands "the feelings of the net being pulled", and the chapter ends with him having mastered the dance.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets has a brief non-romantic example in Chapter 37. Yotsuba has decided to take Fuutarou on a date during Thanksgiving Day, and they just happen to run into Fuutarou's little sister Raiha (who's hanging out with Itsuki). The two briefly start pulling on Yotsuba's arms, and the manga even lampshades the situation calling it "Uesugi sandwich".
  • Date A Live: Shido Itsuka ends up in a four-way tug-of-war between Origami, Tohka and the Yamai twins.

     Comic Books 

    Fan Works 


     Live-Action TV 
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy," B'elanna Torres and Seven of Nine literally do this to the Doctor in one of his daydreams.

  • The final battle with the evil genie in Tales of the Arabian Nights is basically this, with the genie and the player dueling for a (captive) princess. Successful shots on the player's part pulls her closer to his side, while poor pinball skills will cause the genie to exert more pull instead.

     Theme Parks 

  • Ménage à 3 has used this at least twice, reflecting the artist's fondness for Archie comics:
    • Yuki and Sonya do it to Gary here. And of course, neither of them want to share, as when Gary suggests getting together with both of them, they give him a joint Death Glare.
    • It happens to him again a few hundred strips later, with Senna and Sandra, the minor twist there being that Sandra wants his geeky advice rather than his affections. Note that, in both cases, Gary's inability to resolve the question indicates passivity rather than chivalry.

     Western Animation 
  • In one of the earlier color episodes of Popeye, Popeye and Bluto vie for Olive Oyl's affections by pulling each of her arms in opposite directions. (Since she originated in the age of rubber-hose animation, her arms stretch to a length of about 30 feet.)
  • A disturbing one in Superjail! where the women from the female prison have a ball with the men, the Twins release spanish flies that drive all the women sex crazy. In one case two girls do this to the point they rip the man's arms off and start dry humping themselves with said arms.
  • Steven Universe: A slight variation occurs in "Open Book", when Cloud Connie (wearing a wedding dress) pins Steven into an uncomfortable position to get him to tell the real Connie (who takes up her sword, ready to fight for Steven) how he really feels about the novel:
    Cloud Connie: I know you like her! And I know you want her to like you too.
    Steven: No, don't listen!
    Cloud Connie: That's why you can't tell her the truth, but you ''want'' to! You wanna tell her!
    Steven: No!
    Real Connie: Get off of him!
    Cloud Connie: Tell her, Steven!
    Steven [grunting] : I- unggggh...
    Cloud Connie: Tell her!
    Steven: Mmmmrng... - I liked the ending of the book!
    Real Connie: What?
    Steven: I-I thought it was sweet that Lisa and Archimicarus got together in the end! They were always so thoughtful towards each other, and I was so happy when they found the spell to make him human, and I loved every page about the cake, I wanted to draw a picture of it! I'm-I'm sorry I pretended not to like it, I just didn't want you to think less of me. [Cloud Connie vanishes]
  • Gender Flipped in Monster House in which DJ and Chowder each grab one of Jenny's arms and try to tug her in opposite directions. Of course, they're also trying to get her out of the way of the Monster House's attack, but each one's insistence on pulling her in his direction is more a hindrance than a help.
  • Another Gender Flipped version happened during an Eye Catch on Jem, where the titular character was pulled between her childhood love Rio and fellow rock legend Riot, both pining for the love of the same girl but each with one of her personalities (Jerrica for Rio and Jem for Riot).
    • There's also the "Deception" Music Video in which Jem is Angsting over having lied to Rio about being two different people. In it, Jem and Jerrica tug on his arms from different directions and Rio literally tears in half. what looks like purple confetti comes out too. Subverted in the fact that Jem and Jerrica are the same person. Rio just doesn't know that. He is officially with Jerrica but kisses Jem and occasionally acts like they're together.
  • A non-romantic version happens in the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode Scrambled Ed, the kids do this to poor, sleep-deprived Edd: the other Eds pull at his legs, Kevin pulls at his left arm, and Sarah and Jimmy pull at his right arm.
  • Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart: A non-romantic version happens at the end of "Lonely Kid", after Mao Mao finished telling the tale of his one and only childhood friend. Adorabat and Badgerclops get into such a tug-of-war fighting over who is really his best friend, while Mao Mao is just so happy someone cares about him that much he starts crying Tears of Joy.
  • Another non-romantic version happens in The Grim Adventuresof Billyand Mandy episode "Keeper of the Reaper". When Billy finds out his family is moving away he grabs Grim but Mandy retorts saying Grim belongs to her, Grim suggest they should stop fighting like spoiled children and instead fight like spoiled adults; setting the premise for a Courtroom Episode.

Alternative Title(s): Tug Lover War