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Shadow Pin

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When it comes to fighting in some series, it's not enough to just simply land wounds on someone's body and restrain them using conventional means. No, sometimes you need to go one step farther than usual and show off how badass you are, and what better way than to use a non-physical part of someone's body to pin them like a fly on a wall — mainly, their shadow.

Almost always supernatural in nature, a Shadow Pin generally means that you're dealing with a very dangerous person, and it seems to be a common foray of Ninja, probably due to their inherent relationship with shadow and darkness. In some cases it can also be used to form a Mirror Routine between the controller and the controlled, and the entire process is often very humiliating for the one being controlled.

An Exaggerated version of Pinned to the Wall. See also Shadow Walker.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • One episode of the Zorro anime featured a ninja who did this. In the end it turned out to be a hypnosis-related technique.
  • In Accel World, Shadow Cloaker's incarnate technique Shadow Tying lets him immobilise enemies by tossing a shuriken at their shadow. He's skilled enough to use it without emitting enough Overlay for the opponent to notice.
  • Black Clover: Nacht can form a large shadow on the ground that stops his target from moving.
  • In Buster Keel!, one of Dakki's "vessels" is Black, whose power over darkness allows him to paralyze people by standing on their shadows.
  • Descendants of Darkness: Seiichirou Tatsumi's power as a Shinigami is basically this.
  • Tsubasa Andou from Gakuen Alice has this as his power.
  • In Lupin III: Dragon of Doom, Genzai and Kikyo use a technique like this to trap Lupin, Jigen and Goemon when the gang comes to rescue Fujiko.
  • The defeated Big Bad of chapter 3 of Majin Devil is held in place by (his) demonic babies that emerge from his shadow.
  • One of Akira's abilities in My-HiME is to do the same thing, and the manga greatly expands these abilities, including the ability to walk through the shadows to get to her target.
  • The Nara Clan in Naruto has this as their main shtick, and use it mostly to control someone puppet-style. Shikamaru has some other diverse shadow related abilities, including his Shadow Sewing, Shadow Strangulation, and turning his chakra knives into the "pin-the-shadow" ability.
    • The basic technique, "Shadow Imitation" is mentioned to have previously called "Shadow Paralysis", implying it used to just hold them in place.
    • Jiraiya has a similar move where his body becomes flat and merges with someone's shadow, giving him control over them as long as he can hold his breath.
  • Gecko Morria from One Piece has this as one of his Shadow-Shadow fruit powers, called "Shadow Revolution". Merging his shadow with another person's, he can control a person's actions to the point of reshaping their body. He says this is possible because it's a law of nature that the shadow and its caster must always have the same shape.
  • In Puella Magi Tart Magica, Riz's power is manipulation of shadow, of which she can freely use Shadow Pin on any target.
  • In Slayers, the Shadow Snap spell immobilizes someone by pinning their shadow to the ground with a knife.
  • Symphogear: Tsubasa's Shadow Weaving is a technique where she throws a dagger on the opponent's shadow to seal their movements. Interestingly, it turns out to be not one of the Special Attacks of her Symphogear, but a Ninja technique she learned from her manager Ogawa. Ogawa himself has adapted his skills to the times, and is capable of pinning his opponent's shadow even by shooting at it with a gun.
  • In the Tsukihime manga, Ciel's Black Keys are able to do this to Akiha and pin her in place after Ciel tosses up a flare.
  • In Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, among the Barberoi guarding Meier Links' carriage is Benge, who could create tangible shadows and disguise them as other things, as well as emerge from a person's shadow and stab the shadow with his knife, which caused the same injury in the target.
  • Yusuke's wannabe Evil Counterpart Asato Kido in YuYu Hakusho could paralyze people by stepping on their shadows, and managed to hand Yusuke an embarassing defeat by doing just that. He can also control his own shadow independently of the rest of his body.

    Fan Works 
  • In Ashes of the Past, Iwalani's Decidueye learns Spirit Shackle after it evolves and uses this to pin Max's Gallade (Roland) in place. Despite the obvious difficulty, Roland is able to jump in a way that causes his trajectory to curve and allows him to nail the surprised Ghost/Flying Type with a combo. However, Decidueye pulls out of his dive and hits Roland with an attack that's strong enough to knock the Blade Pokémon out. Later on, Decidueye tries the move against Arc but Arc uses Flash which causes Spirit Shackle to fail because the arena is too bright and there's nothing to hold on to.

  • Disney's The Princess and the Frog has Dr. Facilier's shadow act sentient from him. Both the doctor and his shadow can take hold of someone, or affect inanimate objects by touching their shadows. This is turned around on Facilier at the movie's climax when his "friends on the other side" come to collect on his debts.

  • Interesting alternative use: In Carpe Jugulum, in order to free King Verence of Vampyre mind control, the Nac Mac Feegles create a magic flash and then shoot his shadow, which ends up pinned to the wall and then dies, though presumably this is not his real shadow but the influence they put on him given physical form.
  • In A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny, Owen used druidic magic to make Cheeter the squirrel into his familiar, by literally pinning his shadow to a wall. Snuff and Greymalk undo the magic by pulling the seven silver pins loose, then dragging the shadow over the squirrel's body, allowing it to re-bind itself to seven scratches on Cheeter's hide.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's macabre poem "Shadow-Bride" is about a man with no shadow who sits like a statue until a woman passes by. Then he wraps her shadow around them both and forces her to dance with him forever, casting a single shadow...

    Live-action TV 
  • Warehouse 13 "All the Time in the World": The Folsom Prison Ball and Chain artifact attaches to the shadow of an object or person and traps them in one spot.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Princess: The Hopeful has the Grasping At Shadows Caligo, which allows a Darkened to paralyze someone by touching their shadow.

    Video Games 
  • "Shadowbind" is a Ninja ability in Final Fantasy IV and XI, as well as in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
  • A variation from Guilty Gear Xrd: Zato-1 is bound with a shadow-beast named Eddie. For his Instant Kill, he sends Eddie to devour his opponent's shadow. Shadowless, they simply slump to the ground dead.
  • Vamp from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty can immobilize you if he hits your shadow with a knife. You can stop him by shooting the overhead lights. Unlike most abilities in the series, this has no scientific explanation, though Otacon and Snake do offer an alternative explanation for Vamp's shadow-pinning power. They think it's some kind of hypnotism: "The power of suggestion augmented by his speech and movements, coupled with the manipulation of the light reflecting off the blade of his knife". Raiden only thinks he's been immobilized.
  • Pok√©mon:
    • Wobbuffet has an ability called Shadow Tag which prevents opposing Pokemon from fleeing or switching out. Baton Pass can bypass this effect, but the substitute takes the effect in turn. You cannot manually switch out until Wobbuffet is knocked out, and that might take a while. There are also moves that stop a Pokemon from leaving the battlefield as well, but the one that closest matches this trope is Shadow Hold. Since the sixth generation, Shadow Tag doesn't work on Ghost-Type Pokémon anymore.
    • Decidueye's Signature Move Spirit Shackle fires an arrow into the target's shadow, damaging the opponent and preventing it from fleeing or switching out.
  • Trails Series:
    • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, Phantom Thief B can trap his opponents by creating a flash and throwing darts at the new shadows.
    • Kurogane, a ninja of the Ikaruga Jaeger Corps, has a Craft in The Legend of Heroes: Trails through Daybreak called "Kage Shibari"Translation  in which he throws kunai at the targets' shadows. While the effects can be hard to tell in gameplay, a certain cutscene shows that the technique can immobilize the targets' movements.
  • In Triangle Strategy, Hughette's Shadow-stitching Arrow can immobilize enemies.
  • Jack of Wild ARMs can learn the Shadow Bind technique, where he paralyzes enemies by throwing swords at their shadows.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Nasuverse has the Black Keys, holy daggers made by the Catholic Church. While they are effective against zombies, vampires, ghosts, demons and the like, their flashiest skill is to pin somebody's shadow to the ground if the keys hit the shadows. Both Ciel and Kotomine Kirei make use of them, though only Ciel is seen using the latter ability onscreen.

    Web Comics 
  • Maxim of A Modest Destiny learns to control his shadow, and also learns that what his shadow does to another object or person's shadow also happens to that person. Thus, he can use his shadow to pick up another person via their shadow, or throw a stick through the eye of the The Dragon while immobilized.

    Web Original 
  • SCP- 272 is a nail that does this. There's an interesting list of experiments where the foundation tries to figure out what happens when you change the shape of the shadow. It was used in an attempt to kill SCP-682 by combining it with a room full of strobe lights. It was one of the more impressive and effective attempts, but naturally, it didn't work, as 682 spontaneously started glowing, eventually so brightly that it no longer had a shadow to pin.