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The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

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"Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind die Jäger!" note 
Attack on Titan (Opening #1, "Guren no Yumiya")

The hunter is usually the one pursuing the prey, be it a literal example of one hunting animals or the villain relentlessly hunting his victim in a sporting example of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. But in some cases, the hunted gains resolve or the upper hand and turns the tables on his pursuer, turning the hunter into the hunted.

Once the victim pulls this off, the hunter's game falls apart, and he will be forced to recognize his victim as an actual threat to him. The turnaround embodied in this trope usually signifies that the hero will soon defeat the villains and put an end to his twisted game.

This trope has roots as far back as Greek Mythology, where a quite literal hunter, Actaeon, is transformed into a deer by Artemis after a case of Outdoor Bath Peeping and eventually torn apart by his own dogs.

The Hunter of Monsters lives by this trope, since by default monsters are portrayed as predators of human beings, and human beings tend not to like being prey.

Adventure stories and thrillers frequently invert the trope, telling the story from the point of view of the hunted one who becomes the hunter. This is especially the case in stories where the hunter is not a single person, but a conspiracy; here the intended prey has to solve the mystery of who is attacking them and why, and then find out who belongs to the conspiracy and whom they can trust as allies to help bring it down.

Sub-trope of Russian Reversal. See also Egomaniac Hunter, Evil Poacher, Hunter of His Own Kind, Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, and Serial-Killer Killer. Not to be confused with The Killer Becomes the Killed.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In earlier chapters of Air Gear, Sleeping Forest is inferred as this with normal people as prey, other Storm Riders as the hunters, and the team Sleeping Forest is the forest itself who hunts back the hunters, as implied in this poem:
    The trees entangle their arms and stretch upward into the sky.
    The budding leaves devour the light, adding depth to the forest's darkness.
    The hunter does not notice the glare nor the claws of the beast biding in the darkness.
    Tonight is the night when the hunter will be hunted.
    This is the Sleeping Forest.
  • Attack on Titan is about humanity being hunted to the brink of extinction by the eponymous Titans, and the humans fighting back and hunting them in return.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, Team Touden are attacked and defeated by the Red Dragon in Chapter 1. After it eats Falin, their cleric, they head back into the titular dungeon to hunt it down and kill it to get her back. After they finally confront it and their plan goes wrong, it ends up chasing them, but they regroup and finally kill it.
  • One episode of Domo TV features a hungry bear attempting to catch and eat Domo for a meal. However, the tables are turned when Domo gets hungry and then proceeds to pursue the bear to eat him.
  • In the first season of Dragon Ball Z, Gohan was left in the wilderness by Piccolo as part of his Training from Hell. A ferocious T-rex-like dinosaur tries to eat him. As Gohan becomes stronger, the tables get turned. Gohan eventually chases down the dinosaur every day and chops off a piece of its tail for breakfast. By the end, the dinosaur's tail is all but gone and it is terrified of Gohan.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Usually Wolffy hunts the goats, but at the end of episode 173, the goats are under the effect of a certain food and suddenly want to hunt Wolffy.

    Comic Books 
  • Terror Tale in Marvel Tales (1949 series) #133 (April 1953) is about a man captured by vampires who turns into a werewolf and kills them.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Calvin and Hobbes comic has Calvin writing (and possibly illustrating) a story for class in which a group of deer hunt and kill humans (not hunters, just office workers).

    Fan Works 
  • Harry and the Shipgirls has Fenrir Greyback attempting to hunt and turn the relatives of shipgirls as a means of proving himself dominant over these new magical creatures. Then a sting operation was set up to lure him into attempting to hunt young Hanna Hipper, the natural-born and only mostly awoken KMS Lutzow, while some airshipgirls were on standby to provide support. Needless to say, Greyback got a brief taste of what it's like on the other end before he met his demise.
  • Hunter (UnwelcomeStorm): Father Gascoigne shows Taylor how it looks from the other end of the Hunt.
    This was a nightmare, one determined to repeat itself. Any time I left the Dream, he found me. He could smell me, track me through the streets, and every time I fled he ran me down. I screamed, he snarled. I pleaded, begged, cried. He didn't care. It was all just animal noise, to him.
  • A wand for Steven: When Voldemort sends his Death Eaters to invade Hogwarts, the tables are turned immediately when Alexandrite manifests, reducing the number of casualties and turning Voldemort's Badass Army invasion into a Suicide Mission in a Foe-Tossing Charge.
  • Webwork: Jade spends most of eight years in a demon dimension trying to avoid being eaten by all the other inhabitants. Near the end of her stay and the completion of her transformation into a Spider-Demon, she is the one doing the hunting and the others are scared to come near her.
  • In All For Luz the other 2 teams of superpwered teens at the Death Camp target Luz after being promised billions of dollars to kill her... she quickly turns the tables on them with her Power Parasite Quirk, All For One. It ends Luz killing twenty of them in her Roaring Rampage of Revenge saving a Sole Survivor who Luz allowed to successfully pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here after she pleaded to All For One user for mercy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Das Boot is this trope in spades. U-96 is on patrol to intercept Allied ships but winds up being hunted by destroyers left and right.
  • Fair Game: Happens to the trio of Evil Poachers who choose Jessica as their prey when Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. After they rape her, Jessica returns and starts hunting the three of them.
  • The Fugitive: Another example of the inverted trope, with the added complication that most of the hunting is done by the police and FBI, not the people actually responsible for the murder of Mrs. Kimble. However, Dr. Kimble escapes and ultimately manages to turn the tables.
  • Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later: At the end, Laurie turns the tables on Michael Myers and starts hunting him down with an axe.
  • Jaws also provides a perfect example as Brody, Hooper and Quint set out together to hunt down the killer shark... only for the tables to turn when they don't have the means to beat this shark that defies everything they throw at it as it changes the hunt into a quest to survive.
  • In Julia X, The Stranger is a Serial Killer who preys on women he meets on online dating sites. He takes Julia on a date, intending to make her his next victim. However, Julia is one of a pair of Serial-Killer Killer sisters, and The Stranger soon finds the tables turned on him.
  • The trope is a common staple in the films of Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock. Lang, for instance, played the trope straight in M and the Dr. Mabuse films, while in Die Spinnen and Spione he used the inversion, as did Hitchcock e. g. in North By Northwest and To Catch a Thief.
  • The opening scene of Master and Commander has the HMS Surprise ambushed by the Acheron, the French privateer they were sent to sink or capture. Worse, the Acheron is a newer, faster, stronger, and better-armed vessel, commanded by a captain just as determined to sink them.
    Captain Aubrey: If he knew we were looking for him he could have easily stood to sea and passed well clear.
    Maturin: Well perhaps he was looking for us.
  • Memento plays this for dark comedy in one scene where the protagonist Leonard, who has short-term memory loss, finds himself running in parallel with a man who is obviously angry at him. His internal monologue deduces that he must be in the middle of chasing after this guy. Suddenly the man starts charging right for him, and Leonard realizes that the man is chasing him.
  • The Net (1995), in which a lone computer programmer starts out being pursued by a seemingly all-powerful conspiracy but finally hunts down its leader. Angela Bennet's switch from hunted to hunter in the final act is very pronounced.
  • Predator and Predator 2 provide a perfect example, as the consummate trophy hunter/Proud Warrior Race Guy alien stalks and kills dozens of dangerous, deadly men, only for one of his would-be victims to Take a Level in Badass and begin to hunt him in exactly the same fashion.
  • Likewise in another Arnie vehicle, The Running Man. The villain even offers Richards a role as a Stalker, which he promptly refuses.
  • In The Searchers the role of hunter and hunted switch several times between Ethan Edwards and Chief Scar throughout the course of the movie.
  • Tremors 7: Shrieker Island: Bill's group of hunters intend to hunt down the graboids and shriekers on the dark island, but inevitably start being hunted themselves.
  • The Warriors: Invoked by Ajax. Over the course of the film, he repeatedly expresses his displeasure at being forced to run from weaker gangs simply because the crew is Trapped Behind Enemy Lines. This comes to a head when he and Cowboy are trying to run from the Baseball Furies and Cowboy starts to fall behind.
    Cowboy: [panting] I can't make it!
    Ajax: You sure?
    Cowboy: [pant] Yes, I'm sure!
    Ajax: [beat] Good. I'm sick of running from these wimps!
  • Westworld. The tourist being hunted by the gunslinger android eventually turns the tables on him and destroys him.

  • Devolution: Frank speculates that the Sasquatches' ancestors hunted primitive humans, until the latter developed enough intellect to start hunting them back, driving them into hiding in the wilderness; he figures that finding the isolated community in Greenloop while starving triggered an instinct in the troop to start hunting humans again. He also chooses to believe that Katie and Palomino have once again reversed things, and are now hunting the remaining Sasquatches.
  • John Manifold's poem "The Griesly Wife" features a young and seemingly reluctant bride running off into the winter night, barefoot, to get away from her husband. He pursues her...only to realize, too late, that she's a were-dingo.
  • In The Millennium Trilogy this trope applies to... well, anybody who tries to victimize Lisbeth Salander. The earliest example is advocate Nils Bjurman, her legal guardian, who is under impression that Lisbeth is an intellectually disabled, helpless young woman whom he can assault whenever he can. Unfortunately for him, after he rapes her, she returns to his apartment with a taser, chains him to his bed, rapes him back, reveals she has a tape showing his rape on her, gives him a tattoo saying that he is a rapist and a scumbag, and proceeds to use blackmail to keep him in check until the end of his sorry life. Bjurman actually has an Oh, Crap! moment, but it's too late.
  • "The Most Dangerous Game": A big-game hunter falls off a yacht and finds refuge on an island that is home to a Russian aristocrat. This aristocrat is also a highly skilled big-game hunter. So highly skilled that he's hunted just about every animal and quickly became bored with simply hunting them all over again. So he forces the people who get shipwrecked on his island into a "game" in which he hunts them. Knowing the protagonist is a big-game hunter himself, the aristocrat is quite excited at the prospect of hunting an expert hunter. This gets flipped again at the end when the protagonist seems to escape the island, but this turns out to be a trick, and he actually snuck into the aristocrat's home to ambush him.
  • Four Native American friends are hunted down by a spirit known as the Elk Face Woman in The Only Good Indians years after they kill her while hunting deer.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Invoked by the Starter Villain in volume 1. Having learned of Richard Andrews's plan to settle his Stock Shonen Rivalry with Oliver Horn by challenging him and Nanao Hibiya to a canned hunt of kobolds (their feud having gotten tangled up with a parallel conflict around Katie Aalto's activism on behalf of nonhuman races), the villain smuggles a much more dangerous garuda into the arena. To drive the point home, they covertly project the message "See how it feels to be the prey" onto the ceiling when the garuda makes its presence known.
  • In Rogue Male the protagonist goes from being a cool aristocrat stalking his human prey (a European dictator) with a rifle to being a hunted animal, literally driven to earth in a den he had dug as a last refuge.
  • Savage: Trevor Bentley trying to find and kill Jack the Ripper.
  • Seraphina starts shortly after the death of Goreddi Prince Rufus, who is killed after going off on his own during a hunting expedition.
  • One of the stories in Struwwelpeter is about a young man who went out shooting, decides to take a nap, and a hare sneaks up and grabs his gun and spectacles, and tries to shoot him.
  • Warrior Cats: Firestar thinks of this after Brightpaw and Swiftpaw were attacked by a pack of vicious dogs, wondering if that scared feeling is how prey animals feel when he hunts them. Cats are the top predator in their forest, with only threats being badgers and hawks when they're still young. They're not used to feeling so paranoid and cornered.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Played with all the time in seeing as Buffy is always a potential victim, but is, well...a vampire slayer.
    • Spike killed two Slayers prior to the series.
  • Charlie's Angels episode "Angel Hunt". A vengeful man lures the Angels to a deserted island to be hunted, but they start hunting him.
  • In the paranormal documentary Creepy Canada, a team of ghost hunters searches for the ghost of a sailor named Jem Horner who died in the 19th century. During the investigation, they were surrounded by a cold mist and strange noises prompting one of the ghost hunters to say that they have, at that point, become the hunted.
  • Haven: Season one's "Fur" is about hunters who are systematically killed by the animals they hunted and then had stuffed.
  • Heroes: Matt Parkman goes after Emil Danko, a.k.a. The Hunter, who had abducted him and strapped him to a bomb — but only after Danko causes the death of Matt's girlfriend Daphne Millbrook.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has Parado, the leader of the Bugsters, getting sick of humans constantly inflicting pain to game characters to beat the game, and seeks to turn it around by making Kamen Rider Chronicle a game where Bugsters beat humans.
    • Coming from the same writer as above, Kamen Rider Geats has the Jyamato become the hunters to the DGP participants' hunted after the DGP was hijacked by Beroba at the start of the "Lamentation" Arc.
  • The National Geographic Channel Program Hunter Hunted invokes this with its Catchphrase: "Who is the Hunter and Who is the Hunted?"
  • In Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation "Unchain My Heart" 4-parter, Leonardo gets tired of constantly dealing with Simon Bonesteel's constant traps and ambushes, and so decides to learn about hunting himself to turn the tables. "I've been hunting the hunter."
  • The No Soap, Radio sketch "Deer Hunter" plays it literally, with a hunter who's being hunted by a... well, take a guess. A deer.
  • In The Outer Limits (1995) episode "The Hunt", the plot involves an illegal android hunt. The androids are prevented by inhibitor chips from harming humans. That is until they find plans for their bodies in a shack and proceed to remove their inhibitors. They kill several hunters but are ultimately gunned down, except for one who manages to escape.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Obsession". Kirk has the Enterprise pursue the vampire cloud creature. Eventually, the creature gets fed up with this: it turns and attacks the Enterprise.
      Spock: May I suggest that we no longer belabor the question of whether or not we should have gone after the creature. The matter has now been rendered academic. The creature is now after us.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Masks" has a ritual in which the Moon God (Korgano) chases the Sun God (Masaka) out of the sky, and then the roles are reversed, forever.
    • Star Trek: Voyager once has the crew give hologram technology to aliens called the Hirogen, so they can practice their hunting skills without killing people. The Hirogen make the holograms both sentient and capable of learning, so they can adapt and become better prey to hunt. As you've probably deduced, the holograms got sick of this, Turned Against Their Masters and eventually lured several Hirogen to a toxic planet to give them a taste of their own medicine. They also kidnap Voyager's holographic doctor, who is initially sympathetic but changes his mind quite rapidly when it becomes obvious that a Full-Circle Revolution is going down, and the ringleader has started murdering innocent bystanders to boot.
  • Omar Little from The Wire is a "stick-up man", an independent criminal who specializes in robbing drug dealers and other criminals, which he sometimes does by himself, and sometimes as the head of a small but efficient crew of thieves. Omar has been doing this long enough that he has a reputation which scares most criminal organizations out of even attempting to come after him for his robberies in fear of this happening. The few times that criminals and organizations do attempt to resist or go after Omar, they soon come to regret this. Omar and Detective McNulty discuss the trope in the show's first season.
    Omar: Frankly, when you been in it as long as me, you do the thing on your name.
    McNulty: Anybody who's gonna come after Omar, they gonna know that Omar is gonna be coming after him.
    Omar: Oh, indeed.

  • The song "Conquest", written by Corky Robbins and most famously covered by The White Stripes, uses this theme symbolically.
  • The song "The Rabbit" by Jimmie Wayne is about a woman killing her abusive husband. The song's chorus contains the line "Mark my words, it ain't gonna be fun when the rabbit gets the gun." The song end with the line "What's up NOW, Doc?"
  • The song "Razor Hoof", by High On Fire, is about a moose fighting a wolf and winning.
  • The song "Un Lapin" by Chantal Goya, about a rabbit who gets hold of a rifle and kills a hunter.
  • The song "When The Hunter Becomes The Hunted" by Tank is about a photographer who returns to Vietnam after the war.



    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons adventure S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. While the ship's crewmen pursue the escaped intellect devourer, it turns on, pursues, and attacks one of them, eventually killing him.
    One of the hunters soon became the hunted, and the chase eventually led to the tween decks. The crewman blasted the flesh of the body away, but the devourer then did for him.
  • Hunter: The Reckoning and its counterpart Hunter: The Vigil can have this as their premise. In both directions even: the Hunters that are the Player Characters can hunt creatures that would normally hunt humans, but the Hunters in return can become hunted as well.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the story behind Avacyn Restored set is basically this trope - after angel Avacyn is released from Helvault, humanity gains the power to drive back vampires, werewolves, and zombies that were preying on them. Possibly shown best on Revenge of the Hunted card, which can turn an average human into somebody able to slay an average dragon and live.

  • In Euripides's Bacchae, the young king Pentheus is lured into this fate by Dionysus. He hunts down the crazed maenads, seeking to spy on them, but ends up as the hunted when they notice him — Dionysus makes the maenads hallucinate and see him as a lion to be hunted and slain. Interestingly, his fate is foreshadowed by mentions in the play of his cousin, Actaeon, whose own fate is mentioned in the trope description.

    Video Games 
  • In Aka Manto, after spending the entire game being stalked and hunted down by the titular villain, the good ending has you obtain the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi and hunt the Aka Manto down to kill it for good.
  • Basically the point behind Mission 10 in Alien: Isolation. You are even given the mighty flamethrower because "it's an animal, animals are afraid of fire".
  • Occurs in various Assassin's Creed games, such as Black Flag and Odyssey, which have their own specialized enemies who track you down if you cause any trouble. In Black Flag it's Pirate Hunter vessels who often carry lots of metal resources, as well as make great fleet recruits. In Odyssey it's Mercenaries who are often carrying gear that is either better than yours or if not can be broken down for resources or sold for a nice profit. Net result is that if you're going about your business and get wind of one of these nearby, you'll often seek them out intentionally.
  • Baldur's Gate starts with the Big Bad ambushing you (failing), apparently because he already knew you and was specifically looking at you for a murder, and then sending bounty hunters after you while you build up your character. The game ends with you chasing him in his underground base after you exposed him and prevented his evil plans.
    • Similarly, Baldur's Gate II starts with you already in the prison of the Big Bad, who managed to capture you before the game started, and after you escape you spend the rest of the game pursuing him even into the underworld.
    • In Spellhold, Bodhi wants to play "cat and mouse" with you, because she finds it more entertaining to hunt you down in the maze rather than simply killing you on the moment. After you escape and manage to return to Athkatla, your first main task is to catch her in her lair in order to retrieve a powerful artifact she stole. If your character class is a bounty hunter or a stalker, the trope is also directly enacted when she tells you of her plan.
  • In Bloodborne, it happens in every second, especially when Djura or Eileen decided to hunt you.
  • In Darkest Dungeon, this is invoked when you fight the Collector, a nightmarish eldritch thing made up of a pile of severed heads wearing a yellow cloak. It has a chance to appear when your inventory is filled up past a certain point (when the party is battered and stressed from a long dungeon run) and apparently collects the heads of your slain party members to add to itself. However, you can in turn hunt the Collector for valuable gems and trinkets, and the Ancestor will invoke this trope if you kill it.
  • In DEEP FOG, the monster of the first chapter is a graveyard ghoul who attacks the player and Lucy, the dog they're taking care of. After much chasing through the graveyard, the ghoul corners the player and Lucy, and is about to kill the former... cue Lucy revealing that she's an Animalistic Abomination as her head shifts into a huge-mawed horror whose tongues then grab, impale and kill the ghoul, allowing Lucy to get her dinner.
  • Literally the point of Deer Avenger.
  • Diablo III: The Demon Hunter. Usually survivors from demonic invasions themselves, they're recruited by more experienced Hunters and devote their lives to chasing and killing the creatures of the burning hells, using a variety of ranged attacks and traps to accomplish their goals.
  • The entire premise of Dying Light is built upon this trope. The gameplay is divided into two sections depending on the time of the day. During daytime, you face weak shambling herds of zombies. They're slow, cumbersome, clumsy, and not very bright. Easy to lose, easy to bait into traps, easy to dispatch. As such, your character is an absolute badass at hunting the zombies like it's nothing..... until nighttime arrives. At night, the roles reverse, with your character becoming the prey. Since at night, a special breed of super-zombie shows up, its only weakness is UV Light (which explains their absence in the day), these ones have insanely good sight, hearing, speed, strength, and intelligence. Fighting just one of them is completely brutal, but whenever they see you, they'll call a swarm of extra ones on you, and in raw speed, they're faster than you, only via liberal usage of parkour can you stand a chance to put some distance between them. At night, the only option is to hide or to run, fighting will only get you killed. All the time. Not for nothing, the official tagline of the game is "Hunter by day, Prey by night".
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series, Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, has this as part of his modus operandi. Though Hunting the Most Dangerous Game as an Egomaniac Hunter is what his "sphere" is all about, he does not consider it a true hunt unless the prey has a sporting chance to do this. This is best exemplified in Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion, where he serves as the Big Bad and Final Boss of the end game "hunt." After surviving his hunting dogs (read: werewolves) and your fellow competitors in the hunt, you'll face Hircine himself. Because a Daedric Prince at full power would easily crush any mortal, he gives you the choice of one of his three weaker "aspects" to fight to give you a sporting chance. If he defeats you, he wins. If you defeat him, he still wins, because what greater expression of this trope (which is a big part of his sphere as a Daedric Prince) is there than that?
    • Hircine's servants, the Werebeasts, especially his Werewolves, embody the idea of this trope. At night, they are dangerous monsters and hunt mortals while they have the advantage. During the day, however, they revert to their own weaker mortal forms and must flee from the mortals they were just preying on.
    • Skyrim:
      • Any time a dragon crosses the Dragonborn, who was imbued with the soul of a dragon specifically to serve as a natural predator to dragons. Dragons, naturally, see the Dragonborn as a Humanoid Abomination.
      • Hircine returns again to give a quest of this sort, where the player must hunt a Sympathetic Murderer werewolf, who stole a ring from the Daedric Prince and was cursed with random blood rages, and is now trying to isolate himself to avoid any urges to hunt innocent people. The player can continue hunting and eventually kill the werewolf, pleasing Hircine by fulfilling his orders, or you can join forces with the werewolf and turn the tables on a group of werewolf hunters, also pleasing Hircine by invoking this trope.
  • Evolve: The monster has three Evolutionary Levels, the first weaker than the hunters, the second on equal terms, and the last stronger. The monster hence needs to run away during the first stage to eat wildlife and get stronger while the hunters chase it down and try to end it quickly. Once the monster evolves into its third stage, the tables are turned and it can fight the hunters with ease.
  • For Honor: The Halloween 2021 crossover event saw the heroes of Heathmoor transported to the realm of the Entity, where they are forced to face off against the Trapper, a supernaturally enhanced Serial Killer. Except unlike the Entity's normal fare, the heroes of Heathmoor are hardened warriors and still have their weapons, meaning that, while it isn't easy, they can fight against and even defeat the Trapper in straight combat, if only for a moment, at any rate.
  • Metroid:
    • In Metroid Fusion, famed bounty hunter and general badass Samus Aran spends much of the game being hunted down by the SA-X, which has all of her old power-ups and abilities. In particular, the Ice Beam is especially deadly to her because of her infusion with Metroid DNA. Up to the very end, Samus has no choice but to run from any encounter with it.
    • Metroid Dread is built off of this, with the seven EMMI machines that are far more powerful than Samus and will relentlessly hunt her down whenever they're nearby. The only way Samus can defeat them is by absorbing special energy from a specific machine (usually quite hard to get to, and she'll be chased the entire time), which temporarily upgrades her Arm Cannon to be powerful enough to break their armor.
  • In Monster Hunter you hunt down several dangerous creatures who would eat humans for breakfast. Or they hunt down you. It depends on your weapons, armor, and skill.
  • Pac-Man
    • In most of the games in the series, Pac-Man must avoid ghosts that chase after him, typically in groups of four, but sometimes more. However, Pac-Man can eat Power Pellets that allow him to turn the tides and eat the ghosts instead, temporarily removing them from the maze.
    • Pac-Man Vs. allows players to experience the classic Pac-Man dynamic from both sides. While playing as Pac-Man is the same as ever, the players controlling the ghosts have to chase after Pac-Man until he eats a Power Pellet, at which point they all have to run for their lives.
  • In Pikmin, there are many large predators that can gobble up Pikmin like candy. However, a coordinated squad of Pikmin can overwhelm them, drag their corpses to the Onion, and have it feed off of them to produce more Pikmin seeds.
  • Pokémon: The Fairy-type is made to counter Dragon-type Pokemons, by dealing super effective damage against them while being immune to their attacks. However, Dragons with Fairy-resisting types, like Fire, Poison, and Steel, take neutral damage from Fairy-type moves, and excluding Fire, melt most of them. Even when they're not paired with those types, Dragons can still counter Fairies by relying on their solid Hitpoints, Physical and Special Attack, and especially Speed, since most Fairies are slower than Dragons. It helps that Dragons have diverse movepools, some of which can learn Poison-type and/or Steel-type attacks.
  • Splatoon 3 ends with your Smallfry companion (an evolved salmon) fighting against Mr. Grizz (a modified grizzly bear) and winning.
  • Tomb Raider: in the survivor trilogy reboot, Lara might very well end up like this, if the enemy is openly trying to kill her, while she hides and ambushes the mooks sent at her.
  • In the XCOM 2: War of the Chosen expansion, the titular Chosen are alien super-soldiers tasked with hunting down and capturing XCOM's Commander. They possess Resurrective Immortality and will steadily accumulate intelligence about XCOM's activities, until they finally pinpoint the Avenger's location and launch an all-out assault on it. The only way to end their threat is to build rapport with Resistance groups also opposing those Chosen, locate their headquarters, and invade the Chosens' sanctums to kill them permanently. For bonus points, one of said Chosen is nicknamed The Hunter, and treats engagements with XCOM soldiers as Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.

    Web Animation 
  • This animation involves a hungry caveman trying to crack open a large egg to eat. After many painful experiences for the caveman, the egg finally hatches into a baby dinosaur that grows huge and eats the caveman in one gulp.
  • DEATH BATTLE!: In Boba Fett vs. The Predator, a Predator decides to hunt Boba Fett when the latter lands in a jungle. Boba Fett bests the Predator in combat, forcing the Predator to use its self-destruct, and even that doesn't end Fett.

    Web Original 
  • Dream, in almost all Manhunts where he's being hunted by the hunters. He manages to kill the hunters by outsmarting them, in various, creative ways. And most of the time, Dream's outnumbered.
  • In Worm, the Slaughterhouse Nine are a band of superpowered serial killers that travel from city to city, committing mass murder as, essentially, performance art. When they come to Brockton Bay to replace their deceased ninth member with one of the local heroes or villains, they set up a series of challenges wherein the candidates are tested one by one by each member. After the first few rounds, the local supervillains decide that waiting for the Nine to come after them is exactly why the Nine are always able to pick their fights to their best advantage and survive in a world where superheroes don't pull their punches, and instead go on the hunt for the Nine. Three members of the Nine leave the city alive.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Betty Boop / Talkartoons short "A Hunting We Will Go" Koko the Clown tries to hunt a deer, but the deer hides behind cover, starts shooting it's own gun and sends Koko running in the opposite direction.
  • Birdman (1967) episode "Hannibal the Hunter". The title villain lures Birdman to his island and traps him, then tries to have him fed to some lions. Birdman escapes and destroys Hannibal's base, freeing the captive wild animals held in it. While fleeing the animals Hannibal is captured by one of his own traps. Luckily this is a children's show, so Birdman captures Hannibal and saves him from the same fate he was trying to inflict.
  • Oodles Duck was a character who appeared in a couple of Bozo: The World's Most Famous Clown cartoons. In his first appearance, he's being chased by a duck hunter. By the end of the cartoon, Oodles takes out a shotgun of his own and starts firing at the hunter.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "Farmer Hunter, Farmer Hunted", a deer, tired of him and his family being hunted, goes off to hunt man. In this case, Eustace.
  • Danny Phantom: The trope is said almost word-for-word by Danny during his first encounter with Skulker upon learning that his battle suit could be overridden by Tucker's PDA.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the Dial M for Monkey episode "Huntor", the episode's titular villain has hunted down the most fearsome creatures throughout the universe. His favorite prey is superheroes like Monkey and he has weapons that can counter Monkey's powers. Powers or no powers, Monkey still manages to fight back in an homage to Predator, using the resources around him to turn the tables and win. After he escapes, he drops Huntor onto a planet inhabited by giant hillbilly aliens, two of which chase after him with their laser shotguns.
  • Garfield and Friends: In The Fairy Dogmother Odie and some other dogs are cornered by a dogcatcher who loves his job of capturing dogs and taking them to the pound. Odie then has his Fairy Dogmother turn the dogcatcher into a cat. The dogcatcher-turned-cat quickly finds himself being chased away by the very dogs he had spent the episode trying to capture.
  • "Greetings Bait": A worm who has been trying to lure fish on a fisherman's hook has to run for it when a crab who knows about the hook trick tries to eat him.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • At the end of the short "Rabbit Fire", as Bugs and Daffy continue to pull away posters saying "Rabbit Season" and "Duck Season" alternately, each trying to convince Elmer to shoot the other, they finally reach the final poster, which reads "Elmer Season". In the next shot, we see Bugs and Daffy dressed as hunters, carrying rifles and "Hunting for Elmers".
    • Also, there's a short in which Pepe Le Pew gets painted all black and his perennial harassment victim Penelope Pussycat gets a head cold that blocks her sense of smell. Sure enough, she turns the tables and starts pursuing the suddenly terrified "big strong tomcat" Pepe.
    • In "Hyde and Go Tweet", Tweety is turned into a giant, hideous monster after hiding in Dr. Jekyll's potion, and he proceeds to chase and terrify Sylvester.
  • Primal (2019): In "The Night Feeder", the titular monster is an unstoppable killing machine that slaughters anything in its territory during its nocturnal rampages. Spear and Fang nearly end up as its victims, but unwittingly drive it off when Spear strikes fire while flailing around in a panic. Realizing that they've found its weakness, the two of them herd the Night Feeder into a ring of trees which they set on fire, at which point Spear kills it by hurling a flaming javelin into its chest.
  • In Red Hot Riding Hood, the Wolf, while trying to hunt down Red, instead encounters her Granny, who becomes his Abhorrent Admirer at first sight and chases the Wolf through her building.
  • In Star Trek: Lower Decks Boimler foolishly agrees to be hunted through the ship and eventually tries to do this. Unfortunately he does so by giving a speech to the alien hunting him boldly stating this intention, who takes the opportunity to spear him through the shoulder and lampshades that the hunted becoming the hunter always happens, but you can't stand around talking about it. Luckily for Boimler the hunt is "catch and release."
  • Tales From The Cryptkeeper: In "Hunted", a Jerkass hunter is poaching in Africa and runs afoul of a supposedly mythical beast. Determined to catch this beast and make a profit, the hunter pursues it deeper and deeper into the jungle. Just when he thinks he has it, the beast springs its own trap to capture him instead. Turns out, the beast was once a Jerkass hunter himself and had been cursed. Forced to live in the wild, he learned to respect nature and its creatures. He regains his human form and passes the curse onto his captive to start the cycle over again.
  • ThunderCats (1985): In "Safari Joe", the antagonist Safari Joe is an intergalactic hunter of big game who spent the episode hunting down the Thundercats one by one, imprisoning all but Lion-O and Snarf. Lion-O then leads Joe into Cat's Lair where he has the advantage. After being lost in the area for some time, Joe shouts out that "he was supposed to be hunting him, not the other way around". Eventually, Lion-O corners and takes down Safari Joe, Snarf commenting that despite Joe's big ego, he was nothing but a coward.
  • In the Tom and Jerry short "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse", near the end, Tom finally drinks his own power potion which Jerry had been using throughout the short. Instead of growing stronger, however, it backfires, and Tom shrinks until he's as tall to Jerry as Jerry normally is to him. The short ends with Jerry chasing after Tom with a fly swatter.
  • Happens to the titular robots in Transformers more often than they probably like:
    • The Transformers: In "Prime Target", an aristocrat named Lord Chumley steals an experimental jet and kidnaps the Autobots in order to lure Optimus to his island in an attempt to hunt him down. Optimus proves more than capable of handling Chumley's traps, even scoffing at a tied-up woman because his sensors could tell it was a hologram being used to bait a trap.
    • Beast Wars: "Call of the Wild" sees the Predacons sabotaging the Maximals' recharger, leaving them only able to rest while in beast mode. When their beast selves overtake their robot intellects, Megatron and his crew are all too eager to hunt the animalistic heroes down. Fortunately, Tigatron is able to show the others how to integrate their beast and robot sides. Armed now with both robot intellect and animal instincts, the Maximals quickly turn the tide on the Predacons.
  • "The Worm Turns": The Courage Builder potion allows any creature it's used on to become brave and fearsome, allowing flies to turn on spiders, mice to beat up cats, and cats to terrorize dogs.

    Real Life 
  • There are videos of real life incidents where a deer attacks the hunter that was trying to hunt it.
  • There are various species in the animal world that specifically prey on other predators, including close cousins. These would include the portia spider and king snakes.
  • Dragonfly nymphs are ravenous aquatic predators, whose preferred prey items often include tadpoles. Post-metamorphosis, however, the winged adult dragonfly is prey to its former victim: the adult frog.
  • Among insects and fish, if two equally-matched predators fight, who is predator and who is prey can go either way depending on which of the two happens to win the fight.
  • Most mammals during the dinosaur age were tiny, shrew-like creatures living in the shadow of the ruling reptiles. Not Repenomamus, though: a badger-sized carnivorous mammal of the Late Cretaceous whose diet included small dinosaurs.
  • One species of beetle larva tricks frogs into trying to attack and consume it. However, once in the frog's grasp, it then bites the frog, paralyzes it, and then slowly eats it alive.
  • The African cape buffalo is considered to be the second-most dangerous large mammal in Africa (after the hippopotamus) in part for its habit of diving into cover when wounded, then doubling back to ambush its attacker. It's also well-documented that, unlike most prey animals, African buffalo will rush to defend other members of their herd, and even try and take revenge on predators that have killed one of them.
  • Some sorts of social prey animals (primarily small birds, but some mammals, and even fish too) will display a type of anti-predator behaviour known as "mobbing", where they gang up on and intentionally attack a predator preemptively to drive it away from their territory and prevent it from being able to mount an ambush. In the case of passerine birds attacking hawks, they can even tell the difference between a hungry hawk and a full hawk (by how distended its crop is) and will more often attack a hawk that they notice is hungry.
  • A flock of chickens from a school in northwestern France teamed up to kill a fox that had ended up trapped in their coop.

Alternative Title(s): Hunter Prey Inversion


"We're Hunting Elmers"

Best of luck, Elmer.

How well does it match the trope?

4.98 (53 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheHunterBecomesTheHunted

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