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Pose of Supplication

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You put up a front, you put up a fight
And just to show we feel no spite
You can be our acolyte!
But first boy it's time to bow
Hotep and Huy, "Playing with the Big Boys," The Prince of Egypt

When things just get too much, when you're totally defeated, shaken to your core, and at a loss for how to cope, sometimes, there's only one thing you can do.


Drop to your knees. Fall forward with arms outstretched, bow your head, and curse cruel fate. Sometimes called OTL, orz,note  or STO because the shape of the letters approximates this folding of the body.

If things are particularly bad, or the favor is particularly big, the supplicant will touch their forehead to the ground in a full kowtow. If played for laughs this is usually done in a Corner of Woe, Color Failure optional.

If this is towards an antagonist who still won't grant the humble person a favor, it's a good sign that they're a complete Jerkass who will be zapped by Laser-Guided Karma later. And if a hero rejects helping the supplicant, expect them to be chewed out by the rest of the cast. Sub-Trope of Vertical Power Play. See also Cower Power and Ain't Too Proud to Beg.

Note for Anime/Manga fans: This is called "dogeza (土下座)" in Japanese, and is often used in works as a sign of complete humiliation (either humiliation forced upon someone by making them do it, or humiliation received by a character willing to accept it as their just due, or as a price to pay for a failure). However, it is used without this context (as more a sign of respect than humiliation) in various formal ceremonies (religious, political, even sports), as well as when beseeching various favors as a supplicant to someone higher on the social ladder.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Early in Ace of the Diamond, Sawamura does this with Chris, after he learns of the latter's injury that left him unable to play for a whole year, while he tries to apologize for all the harsh things he said to Chris without knowing what he'd gone through, before begging him to teach him how to play baseball.
  • Minoru in AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei did this pose on stage before the audience on one occasion to demonstrate his sincerity in apologising for his lateness for a performance.
  • In Amanchu!, Hikari and Futaba do this in toward Ai, after she threatens to beat them up for using the school's diving equipment without permission.
  • Aquarion EVOL takes this to the extreme by having the Humongous Mecha Aquaria use it as a FINISHING BLOW. This causes the simulation to crash.
  • Played for Laughs in Asteroid in Love. Mira prostrates herself towards the hot springs during Chapter 6 after Mikage discusses the potential origins of them, so as to express her gratitude.
  • Attack on Titan: Eren collapses after he was unable to rescue Hannes from the same titan that killed his mother, laughing with tears in front of Mikasa.
  • Parodied in Azumanga Daioh. During the second vacation, Yukari boasts her English skills, which is treated as a divine miracle (complete with a visual of sea parting away) to the point that Osaka, Tomo, and Kagura begin prostrating before her.
  • Bakemonogatari: During the events of Nekomonogatari (Black), Araragi assumes this position for nearly five straight days, with no breaks, food, or even sleep, as his way of asking Shinobu (who has yet to be given a name at this point) to assist him in dealing with Black Hanekawa.
  • Bleach:
    • The ability of Izuru Kira's zanpakutou, Wabisuke, is to double the weight of whatever it strikes. As a consequence, after some blocked hits, the enemy is unable to even lift their weapons, and often go into a Pose Of Supplication due to said weapon's weight. Kira uses this as a chance to deliver the coup de grace, decapitating the opponent with his zanpakutou. In his words: "A warrior does NOT beg for his life."
    • A straighter example happens when Chad goes to Urahara, after being easily defeated by Yammy and unable to fight against D-Roy, and asks him to train him.
  • Bocchi the Rock!: Bocchi does a dogeza while apologizing to her father for breaking his guitar in episode 12.
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • Hyuga goes into the pose of supplication in front of his ultra-strict Toho coach, begging him to let him play in the finals after having disobeyed his orders and being benched as a result. When the coach refuses, the whole team imitates Hyuga to support him. After a last test to see Hyuga's ability and how serious he is, the coach allows Hyuga to come back.
    • In the manga and old anime series, Hyuga's mentor and the person who unwittingly caused his fall of grace arrives from Okinawa right before the finals... and goes into the pose too in front of Hyuga's actual coach, explaining his part in the whole mess and apologizing for the troubles Hyuga and the team went through. He refuses to get up until the other coach assures him Hyuga will play.
  • More than one culprit in Case Closed has gone into the pose as soon as their crimes have been revealed.
  • Chainsaw Man: After Reze spots her, Kobeni is left too flatfooted to stand up, instead slumping over and begging for her life. True to her claim she'd rather avoid killing people, Reze leaves, and Kobeni continues groveling afterward.
  • Lelouch does this to Suzaku in Code Geass R2, when asking for his help to protect Nunnally, his sister and Suzaku's friend. At this point, Suzaku is so pissed off at Lelouch that he steps on his head and grinds his face into the gravel.
  • Aito of The Comic Artist and his Assistants spends approximately 120% of the time in said pose, the girls occasionally join him.
  • Kaoruko falls into this when she heard that her manga is very poorly received in the first episode of Comic Girls.
  • In the first episode of Demon King Daimao, Junko prostrates herself before Akuto (in combination with a convenient camera angle) after mistaking him for a thief and kicking his face in.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Common way for non-combatants to express their frustration at being unable to join the battle.
    • Tien does this during the original series episode "Tien's Atonement", begging a man he had previously brutally injured for forgiveness and even offering to let him take revenge on him if he wants. The man forgives him and gives him the dragon ball.
  • Excel takes this pose while being lectured by the Great Will of the Macrocosm in the first episode of Excel♡Saga.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Panther becomes convinced (thanks to his friend Watt, a self-proclaimed but usually-mistaken expert on Japanese culture) that dogeza involves dangling from one foot with your arms and legs outstretched. When he gets to Japan, Sena has to show him how it's really done. Later, Panther tries to use dogeza to convince Apollo to let him play for the NASA Aliens, but Apollo doesn't relent until the rest of the team does dogeza as well. In a later episode, the American character Big Bear is shown doing the same posture as Panther initially thought a dogeza was.
  • Fairy Tail has Natsu and Happy get into a dogeza position for Lucy as a sign of appreciation after the latter treats them to a meal. Lucy is utterly embarrassed by the gesture. Natsu goes in this pose again during his fight against Gildarts and admit his defeat.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Miki and then Ryohei does this in episode 14 when they apologized to Hayato for not checking close enough to find the cause of Asurada's understeer (it was caused by a speck of dust on the lens). Kurumada does the same thing in front of Hiroyuki, Kojiro and Gen-san in a flashback after he finds out that his mistake causes his friend's car to crash.
    • Shinjyo does the pose towards Katagiri in episode 32 when he apologizes to Katagiri for mistreating him and his staff.
    • In episode 35, Hayato himself does this in front of Asuka and the rest of the team when he realized that it wasn't Asurada's fault for causing Ohtomo's crash.
  • In Get Backers, Shido does this to Ban, who has always been a bitter rival, to convince him to help save the kidnapped Madoka; Ban initially brusquely refuses, and other characters are astonished ("Don't you know how hard that must have been for him?").
  • Played for Laughs in Gintama. After Hijikata ends up cuffed to Gintoki (in part due to misplacing his own key and because Sougo is a troll), he tries to pursue a terrorist the Shinsengumi has been observing for a month while Gintoki tries to go to the station to have the cuffs removed. Because they're getting nothing done, Hijikata tries to swallow his pride and ask Gintoki to help him, but the latter (and Sougo) insists that he get on his knees and beg for his help. Hijikata decides to do just that: he gets on his knees so hard he pulls Gintoki down and shoves his face onto the ground. Repeatedly.
  • Gravitation: Shuichi spends several hours in this position outside Yuki's front door, only to discover Yuki isn't even home.
  • Principal Uchiyamida does this to his insurance company whenever his Cresta gets destroyed in Great Teacher Onizuka.
  • In Higehiro, Yoshida does this to Sayu's mother, begging her to be a more responsible parent to Sayu, rather than giving her a well-deserved chewing-out for her horrible treatment of her daughter. This spurs Sayu's brother Issa to do the same thing, causing her to have a breakdown.
  • Gon does this in chapters 304 and 305 of Hunter × Hunter upon finding out that Kaito is dead.
  • I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level: Associated strongly enough with Halkara that she is shown doing it in the anime's opening as part of a "roll-call" sequence briefly showing the full cast. When she comes back after trying to find a cure for "gnome mushrooms" that shrank Azusa to child-size, which she ate because of Halkara in the first place, she walks in, smiles, and does an acrobatic flip into an apology pose to report her failure.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Golden Wind: After Giorno tearfully confirms that Narancia is truly dead, Mista falls to the ground and cries for the latter.
    • Steel Ball Run: As Gyro is about to killed by Sugar Mountain's Spring, Johnny believes he's unable to save him and assumes this posture until he decides to hand over the corpse part to one of the Eleven Riders to save Gyro.
  • Kagerou Project: This happens a lot, particularly to Mary — who is nearly always shown doing this pose when Kuroha kills everyone and her Despair Event Horizon triggers her Painful Transformation into the Queen Snake. Konoha is also shown in this pose, cowering behind Kuroha during the Outer Science PV.
  • The extreme gambling manga Kaiji features a rather cruel and nightmarish version of this when the Big Bad demands that his henchman Tonegawa show just how sorry he is for failing him... by bowing on an iron plate heated by burning coals.
  • Near the end of I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up, Hana, the best friend of the protagonist who'd proposed a fake marriage in order to stop Machi's parents from pressuring her to get married, gets drunk while spending time with one of her exes. Said ex then picks up the phone when Machi calls, making it seem as though Hana was doing a one-night stand with her, but Machi refuses to believe it and picks Hana up. Once Hana's sober (although she doesn't remember much apart from Machi coming to get her), she enters this pose when apologizing to Machi.
  • Medaka Box:
    • Zenkichi does this in chapter 115 after Medaka deems him worthless.
    • Medaka herself in chapter 139 after she loses to Zenkichi in the election.
  • In the 'lost' Mobile Suit Gundam episode, the Gundam itself goes down on all fours, which makes Amuro complain that it makes it 'look like a dog'.
  • Molester Man, as someone who Apologizes a Lot, does this almost every chapter, one time to Kansai through his cell phone (though she can't see him) to thank her for inviting him out with the girls.
  • This happens a few times in Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun.
    • In chapter 8, Mikoshiba does this when he loses a bet with Nozaki on whether Sakura has a case of Weakness Turns Her On.
    • Mikoshiba does this again in Chapter 19. After volunteering to model for the school's art club, he looks to his figures for pose ideas. Unfortunately for him, all of his figures are of girls in feminine poses, causing him to assume this stance.
    • Kashima does this in episode 3 when she thinks her (self-proclaimed) status as Hori's favourite kohai is being threatened by Nozaki. She boasts that Hori favours her because he always chases her and gives her lead roles but Sakura argues it's only because she skips club activities and her good acting calls for it — this leads to her in this stance.
  • In Moyashimon, after Professor Itsuki samples Misato and Kawahama's home-made kuchikame sake, he's so impressed by their inquisitive spirit that he does this as he asks them to join his lab team as research assistants.
  • "orz" in lowercase appears in the title of My-Otome episode 6, referring to the pose. It even made it to the English dub title ("Nina Entangled...orz").
  • A rare example of willing and eager supplication occurs in Nana & Kaoru. Tachibana presents herself to Kaoru at the start of a supervised breather to demonstrate her acceptance of him as her temporary master, although both Kaoru and Tachibana are mostly acting. She does so by kneeling before him with her forehead to the floor, her hands clasped behind her, and her hair flowing over her naked shoulders and back to show that she is ready to be bound. Two nights later, Nana presents herself to Kaoru with the same pose, but this time her submission and the emotions behind it are completely real.
  • In Naruto, Hiashi ends his telling Neji the truth about his father's death by entering a Pose Of Supplication and asking for his forgiveness. This is especially significant because Hiashi is head of the clan and Neji is a branch house member forced to serve him, and Neji, overwhelmed, accepts his apology and tells him to raise his head. Later on, Naruto approaches the Raikage and enters this pose to beg him to spare Sasuke, but the Raikage is unimpressed and tells him that the strong rule the ninja world and that begging for one's comrades is not friendship. Naruto then realizes that he must ultimately deal with Sasuke himself.
  • In New Game!, Nene accidentally eats Ko's pudding, not noticing Ko's name written on it until it's too late. When Rin sends a company-wide email asking who ate the pudding, Nene considers confessing, but decides not to, worrying that she'll get Aoba in trouble by association. The anime version of the Imagine Spot has both Aoba and Nene doing this for Ko and Rin, both of whom are still fairly upset over what happened. In reality, Ko's a bit annoyed that Rin's going this far for a 120 yen (barely over a single US dollar) pudding, and it's implied that Rin forgives Nene after she confesses and replaces the pudding.
  • When Nichijou's Yuuko mistakenly buys yakisaba instead of yakisoba and nothing to go with it for Mio one lunch period, the latter starts a very heated "The Reason You Suck" Speech and goads "stupid" Yuuko to "bow deeply." By the time Yuuko has gotten really angry, she mock bows, then proceeds to formally genuflect but continues to get chewed out and it's obvious both times she's not apologetic. In the anime, Mai adds to the farce by balancing a cup of water on Yuuko's back.
  • One Piece:
    • Early on in the Drum Island arc, Vivi assumes this pose after accidentally getting shot while trying to gain entry to Drum Island for Nami's medical treatment, and chastizes Luffy for losing control. Luffy apologizes and follows suit.
    • Zoro enters this pose shortly before the time skip, when begging Mihawk to train him.
    • After Luffy defeats Doflamingo in Dressrosa, Admiral Fujitora does this before the citizens and ex-king Riku, to apologize for the World Government giving Doflamingo Ultimate Job Security with which he used to take over the country. This is considered Serious Business, as everyone sees one of The Government's strongest warriors in its primal militia begging for forgiveness.
    • Sanji does this when saying goodbye to Zeff and the other cooks of the Baratie, thanking them for everything.
  • Tamaki and Haruhi in Ouran High School Hostclub do this often.
  • Used several times in Pani Poni Dash!. Not just the pose, but it sometimes actually has the letters orz or OTL or STO clearly visible.
  • Yukari and Ryo spend nearly two hours straight in the Pose Of Supplication in order to save both of their jobs in Penguin Revolution.
  • In the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney manga "Turnabout Illusions", client Ian Knottworthy does this at the drop of a hat.
  • The Prince of Tennis:
    • After having a nasty fight with Tezuka over his place in the Senbatsu that even included Tezuka losing his temper and slapping him in public, Ryoma has to go into the pose of supplication to apologize and beg Tezuka to let him get in the Senbatsu team.
    • When Ryo Shishido finishes his self-appointed Trainingfrom Hell, he goes into this pose in front of Atobe and the Coach Sakaki to ask them to return to the regulars team. When Sakaki refuses, Shishido cuts his until-then long hair to prove that he's serious, and Atobe intercedes for him.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Genma Saotome tries to pass this off as a martial arts technique: "The Crouch of the Wild Tiger." It is surprisingly effective.
    • And when he's forced to admit that he can no longer defeat his son, Ranma, in combat, he performs the "Carp on the Chopping Board" technique (lying down on your side, hands stretched and joined over your head, feet extended and crossed over one another.) It shocks Ranma to the core when he sees this, as it is a pose that acknowledges absolute defeat and submission.
    • Later on, when Ranma catches a supernatural cold that makes him freeze the very air around him, he kneels and bows deeply before Akane. When she notices he's been in that position for a long time, he replies that he has frozen himself to the floor.
    • Finally, near the end of the manga, Shampoo has Akane at her mercy, and Ranma's hands and feet are bound (the former, by a crystalline substance he can't break; the latter, by a ball-and-chain that Shampoo snapped around his ankles.) She forces him to yield to her with the threat of killing Akane if he doesn't. He goes down on the supplicant position, bowing his head... and uses the momentum to lift his feet off the floor and swing the ball-and-chain at Shampoo.
  • In the Sailor Moon R movie, the four Inner Senshi go into the pose to beg Fiore to spare the life of their beloved Moon, whom he intends to torture to death.
  • Tenma does this in School Rumble when her attempt to get Karasuma under an Umbrella of Togetherness fails.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins Dreyfus does this and throws his sword when he confesses his crimes.
  • Seen a few times in Sgt. Frog. In episode 26, Keroro imagines Natsumi doing this out of gratitude for helping so that her mom can come to the sports festival. In episode 27, Keroro himself does this when he begs Natsumi and Fuyuki to pretend they've been captured so Keroro can impress his visiting father.
  • In SHUFFLE! (the anime), Rin resorts to dogeza to humbly beg Primula for her help. The emotionless girl's pupils change size at Rin's behavior.
  • Aouta of Slam Dunk does this pose when begging his teachers to re-take an exam.
    • Mitsui also does this, while telling Anzai-sensei that even after spending two years away as a delinquent, he loves basketball and wants to come back to the team.
  • Minori of Toradora! does this around the beginning of the story, in a Shout-Out way to the aforementioned Captain Tsubasa scene (she even uses the same pre-scene badass pose of sternly crossing her arms, with her jacket put on her back like a cape dramatically floating in the wind!), when she, in a misunderstanding, believed Taiga and Ryuuji were an item, and begged the latter to take good care of the former.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms anime features a ruler who bans the pose of supplication from his subjects, since she's come to think of it as humiliating. Additionally, the kirin in The Twelve Kingdoms select the rulers for their realm by bowing in front of them. (They're not able to bow in front of anyone else — even if they want to, they're physically incapable of doing so. This causes lots of angst to Taiki, the Naïve Newcomer among them, since he's not sure if he'll be able to do so.)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Many, many Duelists adopt this pose after being defeated in a duel.
  • Yuugai Shitei Doukyuusei: Miyakonojou does a dogeza to beg Yatsuhashi to let her touch her boobs.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke does this after his fight with Toguro during the Dark Tournament arc when he believes that his friend Kuwabara has been killed.
    • Kido does this after the heroes clear all his and his friends' trials in the early Chapter Black arc, after revealing that Genkai told them to do it. Considering that the trials involved Yusuke being kidnapped, Hiei, Kuwabara, and Botan temporarily losing their souls, and Kuwabara being abducted and impersonated, an apology was clearly in order.

    Comic Books 
  • Gravity Falls: Lost Legends: In "Comix-Up", during their journey through the comic book world the Mystery Shack crew finds themselves in a parody of shojo manga. Mabel encounters a bishonen version of Gideon Gleeful but rebuffs his advances, leading him to go into this pose.
  • The Supergirl-Batgirl Plot: Batman is about to attack a crook who is holding Robin hostage when Batmite sneakily influences Batman into falling to his knees and pleading for Robin's life.
  • Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia is a graphic novel dealing with the duty and ritual of supplication. As such, this pose and its meaning is dealt with heavily.
  • The main protagonist Liska does this in Katmandu in front of the Goddess at the very end of The Search of Magic sub-arc as a way to show her respects for her.

    Films — Animation 
  • The "Prince Ali" song in Disney's Aladdin directly refers to this: "Genuflect/Show some respect/Down on one knee". And when Jafar becomes Sorcerer Jafar, one of the first things he does is magically make the Sultan and Princess Jasmine genuflect.
  • The Lion King (1994): Multiple:
    • A lot of the animals do this at the beginning of the film at Simba's presentation.
    • Pumbaa does a quadruped version of this, bending his front legs and bowing his head, after the revelation that Simba's the king. And then he screws up trying to say 'grovel' at your feet' and says 'gravel' instead.
  • In Mulan, first the Emperor of China bows before Mulan, and then the massive Chinese crowd assembled do full bow of supplication before her.

    Fan Works 
  • In Where Talent Goes to Die, the protagonist, Kaori Miura, does this for Shiro Kurogane at the end of Kurogane's Free Time Events. Miura had defeated Kurogane in a shogi match despite never having played before, proving herself to be the Ultimate Beginner's Luck, but humiliating him in the process, and resulting in him holding a grudge against her. In their School Mode ending, Kurogane returns the favor, since he realizes that he's been unfair to Miura over something that doesn't matter anymore.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Black Adam gets into the supplicant pose and begs to be spared when Mordru demands his allegiance and displays enough power and willingness to destroy him if Adam refuses.
    "Spare me!" begged Teth-Adam, who would never have spared a foe himself.
    "Agree to serve me, then," said Mordru, not giving an iota.
    Teth-Adam knelt before his new master, touching his forehead to the floor three times.
  • Tangled Adventures in Arendelle has Elsa get into this pose to beg Rapunzel and Eugene for help around her kingdom on day 9 of their honeymoon. It technically doesn't count as Ain't Too Proud to Beg since Elsa is the one with more power in the situation, but this is also Elsa trying to ask for Rapunzel and Eugene to put aside their anger towards her from the last few days. Elsa's just overwhelmed and guilty about her life situation, and she wants a break from the two. That said, it also shows some good development seeing the girl who used to push everyone away actually get down on her hands and knees to ask for help.
  • Played for Laughs with Germany and Japan in Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità after they realized what touching Italy's curl meant. Played for Drama with Italy after Germany and Japan screamed at Italy for purposely ignoring their feelings. Italy did so because of his insecurities.
  • Feralnette AU: Played for Laughs when Marinette is taking Felix out of class in a headlock. Felix brushes off Alya pointing this out by accusing her of being jealous, only for Adrien to drop into this position as he dramatically admits that he is jealous, and wants to be carried by a strong woman just like that. This spurs the realization that he Has a Type, something Adrien processes with wide-eyed wonder.
  • One for All and Eight for the Ninth: After calling out Sir Nighteye on his selfish attempts to demoralize and tear him down in order to force him to pass One For All to the successor he chose — something that would be a death sentence for Mirio — Izuku leaves his office to give himself some time to calm down. When he returns, he's shocked to find Nighteye in this position; during his absence, Nighteye looked on social media and discovered just how well accepted and admired Izuku already was, having a full Jerkass Realization about his behavior.
  • In This Bites!, after the truth Cross had been hiding about his nature as a self insert character or that the world of One Piece is fictional where he's from, Cross bows on his knees with his head to the deck of Going Merry to beg for the Straw Hat Pirates' forgiveness for lying to them, tearfully pleading that they let him stay with the crew as he's come to love them all genuinely.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Gary Oak knocks on the door of a veteran retired trainer named Casey Snagem, and gets on his knees to beg him for training after he suffered a devastating defeat against Paul. This is notable given that in their previous encounter, Gary had dismissed Snagem's arguments about what meant to be a Pokémon Master, but now he's willing to swallow his pride and acknowledge him as a strong trainer and the person who can help him find what he needs.
  • In Here In My Arms, after receiving a What the Hell, Hero? speech from Kurumu for spurning Tsukune's Love Confession, which drove him to jump off of the cliff and become a vampire in the first place, Moka, realizing that Kurumu is completely right, does this, complete with placing her forehead on the ground, while tearfully begging her for forgiveness.
  • In Harry Potter and the Four Heirs, Dobby does this while profusely apologizing to Queen Elizabeth for a decidedly informal arrival into the royal presence. She's quite forgiving on the matter, since Dobby had not been aware she would be there when he arrived.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pose taken by Leonidas in 300, gathering his strength before the final battle (and simultaneously duping King Xerxes into thinking that he was surrendering).
  • John Preston in Equilibrium, after Mary O'Brien is executed.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, one of the three tests to be worthy to reach the Grail is being a penitent man, who kneels before God, (conveniently putting one's head below the huge buzzsaw blade that lops off the head of those not worthy.)
  • No Time to Die: James Bond is left with no option but to go into this pose and beg for forgiveness when Safin threatens to have his henchmen execute Mathilde, James's daughter, on the spot. However, when Safin is gloating about how he has power over James, James is able to draw a hidden gun and kill Safin's henchmen.
  • In Mister Roberts, the ship's crew, upon noticing that someone has uprooted their tyrannical captain's prized palm tree and thrown it overboard, do this in front of the now-empty planter in an act of mockery.
  • After marrying into the family, Songlian of Raise the Red Lantern is instructed to kowtow to the shine of the Chen ancestors; it's implied that she does not. Those important family customs she disregards will come back to haunt her later.
  • In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar adopts this pose before his human father. An Alpha Ape later adopts it before Caesar, who happens to be using Gunboat Diplomacy at the time.
  • One of the nuns in The Song of Bernadette does this after calling out Bernadette because she believed that suffering was required to meet God, and didn't believe Bernadette had. But when Bernadette revealed the tuberculosis tumor on her leg, the other nun ran into the chapel and fell down in this pose to pray for forgiveness (as is common for nuns in Real Life, see that section below.)
  • In Train Man, the main character does this in a Dream Sequence after losing hope completely.
  • Watchmen:
    • When Dr. Manhattan is working for the government in Vietnam, there is a scene where some Viet Cong surrender to him personally in this pose.
    • Nite Owl adopts this pose when Rorschach is burst into flesh and blood by Dr. Manhattan near the end.
  • A repeated scene in Wayne's World and its sequel has Wayne and Garth kowtowing as they chant, "We're not worthy! We're not worthy! We're scum!" before one of their Heavy-Metal gods; Alice Cooper in the first, Aerosmith in the second.
  • Stargate: When the team discovers a human tribe on the planet Abydos, Dr. Daniel Jackson tries to introduce himself to a tribesman, who sees he's wearing the Ra amulet he got from Catherine Langford and prompts the entire tribe to kneel before them, much to their confusion before realizing they think they're emissaries to Ra.

  • Older Than Feudalism: In Greek epics such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, the gods themselves will occasionally fall to their knees before Zeus and clasp his legs to beg mercy or favors.
    • Supplication is common in the heroic society of the Homeric epics (and, probably, the warrior societies of Dark Age Greece they were composed for), not just among the gods. Most famously in book 7 of the Odyssey, Odysseus supplicates Queen Arete of the Phaeacians in order to plead for aid in getting home to Ithaca. Homeric supplication does not involve pressing one's head against the floor, but rather kneeling and grasping the knees of the one supplicated, and symbolically touching their chin with the hand. The symbolism of this is as an appeal that the one supplicated does not walk away or speak until the request is made. As a position of weakness and vulnerability it is very much a last resort for a heroic character, damaging to his heroic reputation (kleos) and thus not undertaken at all lightly. Given the significant degree of body contact involved in the Homeric hug-the-knees version, it could sometimes cause problems. In Odyssey 6, Odysseus ponders supplicating Arete's teenage daughter, Nausicaa, for aid, but decides not to as he is naked and filthy and the act may be mistaken as one of (perhaps sexual) aggression, (so he resorts to purely verbal pleas and elaborate praise for her from a distance instead).
    • In Hecuba, Odysseus physically recoils from Polyxena to keep her from supplicating him for her life.
  • On the subject of Greeks, Xenophon's Anabasis records that, during the debate of the Ten Thousand (the Greek mercenaries, one of whom was Xenophon himself) after trying to overthrow the Shah in favor of his younger brother (only to have said younger brother killed in the battle, resulting in the murder of their leaders at a Persian banquet), the consensus was that the Ten Thousand were screwed. A single mercenary sneezed. All of the others immediately prostrated themselves—the Greeks considered a sneeze a sign from the gods—and decided right then and there to elect new officers and fight their way, if need be, all the way back to Greece.
  • Subverted in Animorphs, where Marco and Cassie are captured by the Helmacrons, who order them to grovel before them. Being general morons, however, they fall for it when Marco says that Earthlings grovel differently than other races, and proceeds to lounge on the ground while pretending to beg for his life.
  • In the short story "Assumption" (scroll down) by Desmond Warzel, the primitive people of an unexplored world—a literal Cargo Cult—make this gesture before the object of their worship. The narrator is incredulous and makes an explicit comparison to jungle tribes in old movies.
  • City of Bones by Martha Wells:
    • When Khat is arrested by the Heir's forces, he is forced to his knees by security; after that, when he sees her, he drops to his knees without any provocation, seeing nothing to be gained by defiance.
    • Lampshaded later when Khat meets the Elector and collapses from a fever, but he thinks to himself that it's fine because he's probably supposed to be on the floor anyway.
    • One relic collector has his manservant genuflect in a way that's outdated and far beyond what's appropriate for the trader's rank. Elen makes a note of it for possible Blackmail purposes.
  • Parodied in the Discworld novel Interesting Times where incompetent, cowardly, wizard Rincewind muses that not only does it symbolise submission, but it also provides quite a good launching pose to break into a sprint from if the person you are doing it for doesn't accept your submission.
    • Nanny Ogg has a different take in Lords and Ladies. She's of the opinion the route to a happy life is to 'Stand before your God, Bow before your King, and Kneel before your Man.'
  • In the Dresden Files, Lasciel does this in Harry's mind when Harry agrees to work with her.
  • In the sequels to Ender's Game, the nobles of Chinese-esque planet Path are taught so strictly to honor their elders that the sight of her father touching his forehead to the ground for her horrifies Qing-jao.
  • In Galaxy of Fear, people who are experiencing their worst fear cringe and kneel at best, or this at worst.
    Luke Skywalker was on his hands and knees. He seemed to be fighting hard against something. He whispered over and over again: "Ben! Ben!"
  • Mary Renault's The Persian Boy describes the serious controversy over this practice as (historically) espoused by Alexander the Great. He's just conquered Persia and become Great King, so the Persians naturally accord him this respect. The Greeks and especially the Macedonians deplore it as "groveling." Alex wants all the people to adopt it to emphasize equality.
  • Yamani guardsmen bow like this in a flashback in First Test, the first Protector of the Small after Ilane of Mindelan saves the god's swords from Scanran pirates. Keladry also bows to the Yamani princess this way when they meet years later in Tortall, because Yaman is basically Japan.
  • Pretty much once a chapter in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. When the author wants to tell you that it's really serious this time, a character will knock their head on the ground until they bleed.
  • Referred to by name in The Song of Achilles, when Patroclus performs the Greek version (see Older Than Feudalism above) in order to beg King Peleus for Achilles's whereabouts.
    I went to Peleus. I knelt before him on a wool rug, woven bright with purple. He started to speak, but I was too quick for him. One of my hands went to clasp his knees, the other reached upwards, to seize his chin with my hand. The pose of supplication.
  • In the Star Trek Novel 'Verse, the Voth demand this from others as their due, particularly when bestowing their benevolence. As the eldest race in the Delta Quadrant (or at least they assume so), they consider themselves its rightful rulers. In a story from Star Trek: Myriad Universes, when agreeing to spare Fluidic Space from destruction their condition is that the Species 8472 representative bow before them and pledge his loyalty to the Voth Council.
  • Parodied in The Tamuli, by David Eddings: this is the traditional way to greet the Tamul emperor, but only because one of his less-than-bright ancestors mistook an inebriated minister's drunken bumbling for a show of respect.
  • In Temeraire, this becomes a diplomatic hazard: Will Laurence is expected to kowtow before the Chinese Emperor, but to do so would implicitly place his home nation of Great Britain in a subservient position. However, by the time they meet, he's been adopted as the Emperor's son, so he resolves the issue by kowtowing in his capacity as Prince of China rather than as a representative of the British Crown.
  • In The Thrawn Trilogy, some of the Noghri do this to the daughter of their savior; one genuflects when he realizes who she is, and others do so at the end of Dark Force Rising after she's proved to them that their debt has been more than paid. Afterwards, they tend to limit themselves to bowing and sometimes kneeling.
  • In Ascendance of a Bookworm after one of Myne's many mistakes, she instantly leaps into a dogeza pose. However, she's (basically) in medieval Germany and they've never heard of anyone kowtowing when giving an apology. After she explains they sort of get it, but in context it's probably too extreme of a gesture anyway, though they wouldn't know that either.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cluedo: Professor Plum does this, in front of a gloating Jack Peacock, from whom he desperately wants to buy a drug to cure the common cold.
    Jack Peacock: Let's start at fifty thousand.
    Prof. Plum: I can't get my hands on that sort of money.
    Jack Peacock: Too bad, old bean. (Sets fire to the drug)
    Prof. Plum: (in a pose of supplication) Noooooo! I'd have paid, I'd have found the money somehow.
    Jack Peacock: That's better.
  • Kamen Rider Zero-One: In the penultimate episode, Aruto crossing the Despair Event Horizon and becoming the villainous Ark-One is seen as an utter betrayal by the HumaGears (whom Aruto had championed and fought for throughout the entire series), making them threaten to go rogue and follow's commandment to Kill All Humans. Just when it looks like everything is going to boil over, Hiden Intelligence's Vice-President Jun Fukuzoe gets down in dogeza with his head on the ground and begs the HumaGears to give Aruto the same trust that he placed in them. Immediately afterwards, his HumaGear secretary Shesta does the same of her own free will, which helps defuse the situation.
  • In Lexx, officers deliver reports to His Divine Shadow from this position.
  • Merlin: In "Lancelot du Laq", Gwen falls to her knees when brought before Arthur after being caught kissing Lancelot. Arthur orders everyone out, then insists Gwen stand up.
  • On The Office, Dwight surreptitiously tries to unseat Michael and take his place — when Michael angrily tells Dwight he's on to him, Dwight goes into a terrified fit of dog-like submission and drops to the floor as if waiting to be beheaded.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Captain Kirk does this a lot.
  • One of Quark's employees in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does this in front of Liquidator Brunt when he realizes they've been caught forming a union/worker's guild.

  • In the musical The King and I, the titular king bans the pose of supplication from his subjects since he's come to think of it as humiliating.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: In the bad ending, when Ann refuses to trust The Consortium, the ensuring argument ends up causing Ryan to recklessly attack which gets him accidentally killed, causing Ann to fall into this pose in complete shock.
  • Played for full comedy in Chapter 7 of Code:Realize when Impey and Cardia realize that the airship race they've been refitting the group's ship for is that day and not, as they'd believed, the day after, and the work on the ship is not yet complete.
    Impey: This is the ultimate form of apology, created by the finest minds in all of Asia! DO! GE! ZA!
  • In Donkey Kong 64, Chunky Kong does the "We're not worthy!" version of this when confronted by one of the bosses.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Yangus does this when begging his old friend Red to return the horse and cart she stole from them in Dragon Quest VIII.
    • Dragon Quest XI: Prince Faris does this when begging for the heroes' help fighting the Slayer of the Sands.
  • Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter: King Miney does this after realizing he has been deceived by Wilfre.
  • In FIFA, players who score their own goals might do this in a cutscene.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, Snow gets on his hands and knees to apologize for Nora Estheim's death when they have to take shelter in the house of her widower, Bartholomew. Bartholomew instead thanks Snow for protecting their son Hope.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, the "Grovel" emote has your character get down on their knees and lower their head in supplication. During the Leatherworker quests, Geva orders you to supplicate yourself in this way before a customer whose order is running a little late, something that the customer finds excessive.
  • God Hand features a free move available from the start of the game called Grovel, which resets the game's Dynamic Difficulty meter back to Level 1. The animation, of course, sees the main character begging on his knees and his forehead to the ground. Onegaishimasu!
  • In A Hat in Time, if the player leaves Mustache Girl's castle before the final battle, a short joke ending occurs where Hat Kid runs out of the area in tears before she falls to her knees. She then remembers all of her friends and proceeds to return back to the battle.
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity: After Astor betrays the Yiga clan, Master Kohga is shown surrendering to Princess Zelda this way. He means it; the whole clan is switching allegiances to get revenge on Astor.
  • In the older The King of Fighters games, the defeated characters would be shown in the background as the match goes on, sitting or kneeling around sadly after their losses. Their poses were different per character, but several of these were very similar to the traditional Pose Of Supplication. i.e, Athena Asamiya, Benimaru Nikaido, Mai Shiranui, etc.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts, Sora takes this pose on two separate accounts in Hollow Bastion: first when Riku reveals himself as his Keyblade's rightful master and takes it back by force, leaving Sora feeling powerless to do anything as his friends abandon him to follow the key bearer; and again when Riku (now possessed by Ansem) reveals that Kairi's heart had been inside Sora the entire time, partially because of Kairi's heart resonating within him.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora takes this pose before Saix when begging him to bring him to Kairi. Saix refuses contemptuously and pays for it later — with his life.
  • In Little Busters!, Kanata demands that Haruka do this when Haruka beseeches her twin sister to tell her the truth of which girl was the child of a criminal. Haruka immediately falls to the ground and lowers her head, showing that she wants to get to the truth and cast off her hate for Kanata and her family even if it means abandoning her pride. Kanata even mentions "have you no shame" when Haruka is so quick to comply, but Haruka finally being serious and telling the truth is what compels Kanata to finally come clean, and, along with some support from Riki ("I think you want to talk from the bottom of your heart as well"), finally tell the heroes her true feelings: that she's been bullying Haruka to keep her safe from their twisted and evil family because she loves Haruka as her little sister "and nothing can change that".
  • Daisy does this in Mario Tennis when her opponent(s) score a point.
  • In the classic Mega Man series, Dr. Wily does this every time his most powerful war machine is destroyed. In the first game he seems sincere about it, but after that he usually does it to distract Mega Man so he can make his escape. This doesn't always work...
    • In 6, Mega Man cuts to the chase and arrests Wily. This winds up setting up the events of the next game.
    • In 7, Mega Man seriously contemplates blowing Wily's brains out; Wily is saved by dint of collapsing lair and Bass.
    • In 9, Mega Man shows Wily a montage of every prior instance of this trope; Wily manages to find another way to escape.
    • In 10, Mega Man takes Wily to a hospital due to the cold he was suffering from; Wily gets away, but leaves enough Roboenza vaccines behind to sample an effective cure.
    • In 11, after defeating the Wily Capsule boss, Wily announces that he's resorting to his "Plan B", does a dramatic backwards leap in slow motion (complete with Speed Echoes)...and then assumes this pose again. Mega Man, of course, doesn't buy it since he used it so much that he knows Wily is just lying to save himself, but Wily escapes anyway because Light tries to talk him out of villainy to no avail.
    • This has become such a trademark pose for Wily that his trophy in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS depicts him doing it, and knocking out his Assist Character form in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will cause him to do it as well.
  • In Mendel Palace, if you can trick the Vinci dolls into drawing on all of the panels so they can no longer attack you, those that survive will acknowledge their defeat by doing this.
  • The image potholed in the description comes from the doujin soft game, ''OMGWTFOTL''. The option to genuflect pops up almost entirely throughout the game. Every instance leads you to the same bad end.
  • In Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents, if you fail a stage, you often see the person you were trying to help do this pose on the Game Over screen.
  • Pokémon: Two notable Pokemon lines have signature moves that use this pose, both as an I Surrender, Suckers maneuver to let the foe's guard down. Appropriately enough, both Pokemon lines and both moves are Dark-typed.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield: Morgrem and Grimmsnarl play on this trope in a dirty manner via their Secret Art, False Surrender. They are described as performing one of these to look as if they are pleading for forgiveness in order to lure opponents in, then stabbing them with their spear-like hair.
    • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: Bisharp's evolution Kingambit also exploits this trope with its Secret Art Kowtow Cleave. It's a high-power Dark-type move where it performs one of these to let the opponent's guard down, before stabbing them with the giant blade on its head. Its Japanese name also invokes this, having "Dogeza" in it.
  • The temple-guardian Mooks in Prince of Persia 2 all give up fighting and assume the Pose Of Supplication after you get the Flame. Hilariously, if they're at the edge of a platform, they'll fall right into a Bottomless Pit.
  • Leon in Resident Evil 4 does this if Ashley is killed during gameplay, leading to a game over.
  • Most characters in the original Samurai Shodown assume this pose when defeated... unless they were cut in half or had a major blood vessel severed by the opponent's killing blow, in which case the referees carried the remains off in a straw coffin.
  • Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game does this after she's defeated. Lynette also does this on Level 3 (Leo's Place).
  • James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2 does this when he finds out/remembers why Pyramid Head is after him. He also falls into a similar pose during the Dog Ending.
  • Silver Surfer (1990) features the pose on its Game Over screen. This was commented on in its review by The Angry Video Game Nerd, culminating in AVGN assuming the pose himself.
  • In the opening of Sonic Unleashed, Dr. Eggman gets on his knees and begs for forgiveness when Super Sonic confronts him after making short work of his robot army...up until he springs a trap on Sonic that devests him of the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Whoever loses the match in Street Fighter III strikes this pose in the post-match win quote screen.
  • Suikoden:
    • Shu, who is being targeted for recruitment as The Strategist by the player character's army in Suikoden II, asks Apple to assume the Pose of Supplication before he'll consider joining up. One sign he's at least a minor Jerkass is that he admonishes her for throwing away her pride so quickly, then leaves the room.
    • Similarly, in Suikoden V, Raven claims he won't consider joining the Prince's forces unless Oboro begs him to do so. When Oboro complies, Raven gets incredibly upset, partly because he can't tell if he's being serious or not.
  • In Tokyo Xanadu, Rion comically drops to her knees upon hearing Kou state he has zero interest in idols and had never heard any of her group's songs.
  • Tomodachi Life loves this trope. If a Mii is on the receiving end of a Rejected Apology, a refusal to be their sweetheart, or a breakup, they drop to their knees and sulk dramatically while sad music plays.
  • WarioWare: Smooth Moves: After every boss, there's a relaxed "Let's Pose!" scene, where the music fades to some birds chirping, and you're given a silhouette to pose in, if you want. This position is one of them.
  • Yakuza:
    • Yakuza Kiwami: Nishikiyama is, in a very dramatic and tragic scene, forced to prostrate himself before a disrespectful subordinate and beg for his help in raising money for his sister's heart transplant surgery. He is forced into it again when said subordinate's methods draw the ire of his superiors. In many ways, this signals Nishiki's Start of Darkness.
    • In a more light-hearted example, there is Ichiban's performance in the shareholders' meeting minigame in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. It needs to be seen to be believed.

    Web Comics 
  • In El Goonish Shive, Nanase does this when her repeated experiences of death as a fairy doll get too much for her to continue to stand.
  • In Questionable Content, Beeps performs the full "forehead to floor, hands clasped over head" version while begging Roko to not fire her for a less-than-intelligent move. At the time, Beeps is actually Roko's boss and tries to promote her to make the "begging to not be fired" work. Roko does eventually accept promotion, since she's the most competent person in the office.
  • Unsounded: When Duane realizes just how horrifically he's messed things up he apologizes to Lori for Sara's death and the destruction of the shrine which his actions made possible kneeling and lying prostrate before her.

    Western Animation 
  • Bogel and Weerd from The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo in a cave after Zimbulu chastens them for bungling the task of stealing the Demon Chest at the TV studio, they bow to his knees, kissing on his hooves.
  • Amphibia: Marcy caves in when trying to explain the reason she purposely brought Anne and Sasha to Amphibia was so they wouldn't be apart from her, only falling into this position after seeing how badly she betrayed their trust.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's "Party of One", Pinkie Pie, after Spike tells (or rather, repeats back to) her that her friends are avoiding her because they don't like her parties, assumes this pose.
  • Invoked by Mr. Burns in The Simpsons. "Supplicants" who had quit their jobs but now want them back have to go through a small door crawling on their knees. The door leads to a dusty, air-vent type corridor that leads to Mr. Burns' office, from which he's expecting them smugly.
    Mr. Burns: So... come crawling back. Eh?
    Homer: Seems like the classy thing to do would be not to call attention to it.
  • In Steven Universe, Steven does this in "I Am My Mom" when he starts to blame himself for being responsible for his friends getting nearly abducted by Homeworld Gems. When the situation gets worse, he decides to surrender himself to the Diamonds in exchange for letting the others go.

    Real Life 
  • In Islam:
    • According to beliefs, one may bow, even kneel before humans, but never prostrate oneself. Only GOD gets this treatment. It's actually forbidden to touch your forehead to the ground unless it's for Him. And if you aren't practicing, not even then. This does lead to culture clash in some places. In Indonesia for example, which is overwhelmingly Muslim, prostration is still used in some cultures to respect people much higher in social class.
    • Prostration is a major component of salat (ritual praying to God) and is done twice for every rakaat (the amount of times you prostrate from standing up). So for example, the dawn prayer, which has two rakaat, requires four prostrations, while the noon prayer, which has four rakaat, requires eight prostrations. The only time that prostration is forbidden during salat is when you are praying for the dead (salat al-janazah if the corpse is present or salat al-ghaib if it is not present) because of the aforementioned restriction of prostrating to anything other than God. During funeral prayers, the salat is conducted strictly while standing up.
  • The Jewish religion works the same way, except that even bowing to another human is discouraged (because Jews pray standing up, and therefore bow to God rather than make full prostration).
    • Karaite Jews are known to make full prostration in prayer.
    • It was practiced in the Jerusalem temple, but it was discontinued since it was destroyed. Twice.
    • Some Jews do a full prostration, known as the "great Aleinu" (Aleinu being the prayer said during it), but only on Rosh Hashanah.
  • In ancient Iranian culture, there were three ways for people to greet others. The first was a kiss on the lips, done between people of equal standing. The second was a kiss on the cheek, done by a person of slightly (but not much) inferior standing. The third was proskynesis, a type of bowing/prostration done by a person much lower in social standing. It might be a slave to his master, or a commoner to a government official. Naturally, the only person who received proskynesis from everyone in the empire was the shah. The ancient Greeks mistook this as a sign that Persians worshiped their emperors and gleefully attacked it in propaganda during the Greco-Persian Wars.
    • Proskynesis is still used today as the term used to refer to Orthodox Christian genuflection. This was rooted in the Eastern Roman Empire, which adopted the Persian custom to venerate emperors as agents of God. Full prostration before God (bowing so that one's forehead touches the ground) is practiced on certain special occasions. It's particularly associated with Orthodox monks and nuns, but it is not limited to them. Orthodox priests are supposed to perform one prostration while consecrating the Eucharist on Sundays. As in Islam, it is a type of extreme reverence strictly reserved for God.
  • In imperial China, the kow-tow on the ground was considered a standard formal greeting to those of high rank (when you are really in the mood for grovelling, the procedure requires you to hit your forehead on the ground hard enough to make an audible noise). To greet the emperor, the subject performed 9 kow-tows, the empress received 8, and so on.
  • In Russia, there are two verbs for supplication: "poklonit'sya" and "bit' chelom," which mean to bow with the knees and to beat (the ground) with your forehead, respectively. "Chelobitye" was seen as humiliating, as the Muscovite princes had to prostrate themselves before the Khan during the years of the Mongol yoke. The meaning was carried over into the "Chelobitnyy Prikaz," a Muscovite government office to which people sent complaints and petitions meant for the tsar. A letter sent to that Prikaz would begin "Vash kholop byot chelom..." (Your slave prostrates himself...)
  • Catholics generally do not prostrate in prayer, but devotees of Our Lady of Fátima may do so. In addition to experiencing visions of Mary, the children had seen an angel who taught them a prayer addressed directly to Godnote  which included prostration.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Supplication Pose, Orz, Dogeza


You are arrested!

After seeing Mary being executed, Preston collapses in front of the Hall of Justice. Then Brandt comes to arrest him and punches Preston in the face shown from the latter's POV.

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