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Palm-Fist Tap

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Sometimes when a character has an Idea Bulb moment, they may reflect it by holding one hand (usually the left) out and tapping the palm with the other fist.

Often the action is accompanied by a sound effect: a "bop" or a "bing". The Japanese onomatopoeia for the drum is oberobero. Anime producers often use the sound of a tsuzumi drum hit.

Compare Idea Bulb and Beam of Enlightenment. See also Idiosyncratic Cultural Gesture.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Happens in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, the sound effect having been translated "bam". And apparently the onomatopoeia for the drum is oberobero.
  • The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st Tribute Comics which doubled as advertisements for the four Nanoha manga running at the time of the movie release has Subaru doing this in the Lyrical Almanac section when she was pitching ideas for the StrikerS movie. ("Erio and Caro's Meeting - The First Touch!")
  • Seen every now and then in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. As shown in the picture, Akisame-sensei takes Kenichi's request for a day off and figures that it's been a while since anyone else has had a vacation anyway.
  • Haruhi in the first episode/chapter of Ouran High School Host Club, upon coming up with a word to describe Tamaki: "I got it...Obnoxious!"
  • Naruto occasionally.
  • Tomoki does this in one episode of Heaven's Lost Property. The accompanying sound effect dragged on for a few drum beats instead of just one.
  • Done sometimes in One Piece.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Soun Tendo pops his fist against his hand when Nabiki reveals that there is a Japanese translation of the Chinese marital laws right next to the Chinese language version that he had been unable to read, stating, "And I missed that completely!"
    • Ranma makes the fist against the palm gesture when Akane suggests that they can clear up all of their issues with Tsubasa just by explaining that Ukyo is, in fact, a girl, with a soft, "Oh, yeah." It doesn't actually help anything, though, as Tsubasa already knew Ukyo was a girl, and that was the source of Tsubasa's interest.
    • In the OVA two-parter where the usual cast are fighting the phoenix, the shop keeper keeps doing the fist-against-palm gesture every time he recalls something about the phoenix's development. The last time he does it, it's because the giant Phoenix on Kuno's head resembles the statue outside of his store. Akane chides him for startling her.


    Live-Action Television 

    Video Games 


    Western Animation 
  • Total Drama:
    • At twelve hours into the awake-athon in "The Big Sleep", Owen keeps himself conscious with movement and enthusiasm. While tapping his palm with his fist, he brags it'll be easy to win, then promptly falls asleep.
    • During a confessional in "Broadway, Baby!", Heather wonders what caused Sierra to act the way she did and lose Chris's favor. In a flash of realization, she recalls Alejandro's smile and taps her palm with her fist as she comes to the conclusion that he manipulated Sierra into it.
    • Heather is robbed of the Immunity Idol in "No Egg-spects the Spanish Opposition" and wrongly concludes that it's Chris's doing because he has cameras everywhere. In the confessional, she directly addresses him and vows she won't be the one to leave the island tonight as she taps her palm with her fist.
    • When they're threatened by a crocodile in "This Is the Pits!", Scarlett taps her palm with her fist as she recognizes that this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of Max. It's less that he gets eaten, and more that he gets delayed and will cause the team to lose, upon which he'll be voted off.
    • During a confessional in "Twinning Isn't Everything", Amy calls Samey a Spare Amy and realizes a nickname even more cruel than "Samey" would be "Sparemy". She taps her palm with her fist as she declares that once she gets home, she's going to change the name on her sister's birth certificate.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown Kimiko does this when confident enough to fight Panda Bubba in the episode "The Return of Panda Bubba" when he took over her father's factory.

    Real Life 
  • Western politicians sometimes do this to drive a point home during their debates. (It's questionable whether they're actually realizing something when they do it — more likely they want to signal to the audience that they should be realizing something because of what the politician just told them.)
    • At least one biography claimed Ulysses S. Grant had the palm-fist tap as a signature gesture, doing it repeatedly whenever he was trying to make a point.


Video Example(s):



Haruhi does this gesture when she comes up with the perfect word to describe Tamaki's behavior.

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Main / PalmFistTap

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