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Wheel o' Feet

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Meep, meep!

The realistic animation of running characters on a budget is just too hard. Instead, a vertical upper body is perched on a rotating wheel of blur linesnote  and (occasionally) visible feet, which is animated in a loop. Add a Wraparound Background and some dustclouds, and voila, the character is running! And really fast, too! An alternate title for this trope could be Unicycle Legs, since if the character builds up enough speed they tend to look like they're on a unicycle.

The preferred sound effect is fast bongos, followed by a whistle (or a ricochet gunshot). Sometimes, just to draw out this sound effect (for Rule of Funny, of course), the character will literally run in place for about four seconds before actually taking off. They'll usually manage to get away just before the person chasing them can catch them, but sometimes the trope will be subverted by having their pursuer grab them just before they can dart away. Or take their pursuer with them on a not-so-merry chase.

When running, the character may sound like a race engine.

See also No Knees, Running on the Spot, Human Hummingbird, and Motion Blur (of which it is a Sub-Trope). Big Ball of Violence is the same principle applied to a fight scene. Not to Be Confused with characters whose feet are wheels, which falls under a variant of Rollerblade Good.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bocchi the Rock!: Bocchi's feet do this when she's fleeing down the school hallway in episode 3.
  • Seen twice in the FLCL episode "Marquis de Carabas":
    • The mayor's secretary does this while running away from a horde of paparazzi surrounding Ninamori's house.
    • Haruko briefly goes into this mode when running away from the Monster of the Week. Of course, since the animation is very good in this show, it was instead done for comedic effect.
  • This and Human Hummingbird are defining traits of Sana from Kodocha. It even features prominently in the theme songs.
  • Used in the most ridiculous way possible for a straight usage in Naruto by Pain in the anime. While running across a body of water (which doesn't require speed, but chakra control), Pain speeds up so much that his legs disappear, and his feet spin in a circle, due to the Off-Model animation for that episode.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team La Verite
    • Episode 5
      • After Konoe Tsurugi is taken away by Comiket security, Yashima Sanae spins her feet like wheels while following after her.
      • After Taro is forced to dress as a maid and sell Ikuyo Suzuki's manga, he loses it and runs away with his feet wheeling around.
    • Taro's personal maids (Lemon, Marron and Melon) run their feet in circles while carrying Ryuuka to Taro.
  • Used on occasion in Ojamajo Doremi. Given the more or less limited animation it has...
  • The Evas do this in Rebuild of Evangelion when racing to catch Sahaquiel before he Colony Drops himself on Tokyo 3. Considering that the animation style is usually pretty realistic (giant monsters notwithstanding), this comes of not so much as cartoonish as eldritch, demonstrating that these things are so immensely powerful that they can bend the very laws of physics.
  • In Jack and the Beanstalk (1974), when Jack enrages Tulip near the end and starts chasing him, he briefly morphs into a freight train complete with his feet morphing into the wheels and a smoke stack protruding from his head.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Occasionally happens during some of the more comedic chase scenes.
    • One fighter in the Other World Tournament Arc from the west galaxy named Tapkar has running around like this as his entire gimmick. He quickly tires out before even throwing a punch.
  • In Tamagotchi! Yume Kira Dream episode 7, Tropicatchi tries and fails multiple times to impress her crush, Kujack Jack the peacock. Each time, Jack runs away, and his feet are represented by circular spinning shapes.
  • Used in, of all things, the Higurashi: When They Cry anime: in the 5th episode, Mion runs off in this way after getting flustered. Although it was during the silly, pre-killing part.
  • In Don't Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro, this often appears when Nagatoro or her friends are chasing Senpai.
  • In "Dr. STONE", in chapter 201 when Kohaku is commenting that the ship is similar to her top speed on land.
  • In Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, after Ishigami gives Tsubame a heart-shaped cookie he won at the School Festival (which essentially amounts to a Love Confession), Tsubame takes the cookie and runs off with her legs being shown as a white spiral.
  • In episode 10 of HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, Cure Marine does this while running towards a group of Snackey to fight.

    Asian Animation 
  • There is at least one episode of Happy Heroes where the characters' legs are depicted as spinning swirling shapes when they are running.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Joys of Seasons episode 19, when Wolffy discovers Weslie and Sparky hiding in one of the many piles of junk in Wolf Castle and starts to chase them, all three characters' legs are rendered as spinning spiral shapes.
  • In Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Travel Around the World episode 25, the goats try to get onto a train but don't have tickets. Someone then runs past them, with his legs being represented by a spinning swirl shape, and drops enough tickets for all of the goats to board the train.
  • In the Simple Samosa episode "Sumo Momo", Samosa's legs are represented as spinning circlular shapes at one point when he is trying to run from Sumo Momo.

    Comic Books 
  • Billy Whizz of The Beano usually had his legs shown as a wheel when he was running fast, which was most of the time.
  • Common in Asterix. However, in the Asterix at the Olympic Games book, a Roman athlete runs in a stylish pose, in contrast with Asterix and Obelix.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): Sonic's feet essentially turn into a blurry red wheel whenever he runs.

    Comic Strips 
  • Invoked in one strip of FoxTrot where Jason Fox runs around a soccer field holding a pair of spiral wheels so that he appears to be running fast during gym class. To complete the illusion he straps dry ice to his shoes to leave a steam trail behind him.
    Jason: Play smarter, not harder, I say.
    Eileen: What lunatic sold you dry ice?

    Films — Animation 
  • Asterix:
    • The Twelve Tasks of Asterix: For the first Task, Asterix has to beat a Greek sprinter who's said to be the fastest in the world. Both have wheel-o-feet when running, but Asterix spins his legs effortlessly and faster due to the magic potion (even pausing to gather fruits and flowers and go back in the race like it's nothing), so the Greek runner literally turns into a rocket... and crashes into an apple tree.
    • The Secret of the Magic Potion: When chasing a trio of boars alongside Astérix in the opening sequence, Obelix's feet are animated as a circular blur when he gets his head stuck in a log — simply revving up and continuing the chase log and all.
  • Used in Hercules when Hercules charges up before head butting the centaur Nessus in the stomach to free Megara.
  • Maruti as Hanuman does this before he starts to attack in The Return of Hanuman.
  • Done in the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad when Ichabod grabs Katrina's hanky and leaps over the fence and chases after Brom Bones to take Katrina from him.
  • Tigger and Roo do this in The Tigger Movie when performing the Whoop-de-Dooper Loop-de-Looper Alley-Ooper Bounce, but with the Wheel o' Feet being perpendicular to the body instead of under it, evoking the image of helicopter blades more than the image of wheels.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Asterix at the Olympic Games, much like in the animated films, Obelix and Asterix run this way (since Obelix is always strong and Asterix is magic potion-empowered) when chasing after the Roman Claudius Cornedurus to ask him why he's running in their forest.
  • Kung Fu Hustle, namely the chase scene with the landlady running after the hero. To reinforce how absurd this is, the hero uses two knives buried in his shoulders as rear-view mirrors, and at the end the landlady goes flying and ends up flattened against a billboard (somehow losing her panties, hair rollers and bra upon impact).
  • Wrongfully Accused, where Leslie Nielsen tries to outrun a carnivorous train.
  • The Mask. While in his The Mask form, Stanley Ipkiss's legs spin like wheels while running from the police in Landfill Park. Justified, as the Mask is a Reality Warper trickster and Stanley himself - whose desires are given form by the Mask - is a cartoon lover.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hilariously used in a police identification sketch of the titular character in My Name Is Earl.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In an episode of The Muppet Show, a character has three legs in a wheel arrangement, wildly spinning as a background scrolls behind him and he sings "Windmills of Your Mind" with a constant accelerando. Amusingly, he later appears in another sketch, and he's still equipped with the leg-wheel, no longer spinning.


    Video Games 
  • Psychonauts in the actor stage has the knight's horse have spinning feet on cut-out paper.
  • Road Runner on the NES and SNES depict a wheel of feet.
  • Until he made the jump to 3D Sonic The Hedgehog games, Sonic's running animation was always done like this.
    • The biggest example of this is Sonic CD which introduces the Super Peelout, a move where the blue blur runs on place before taking a sprint and where his feet form a figure-8-shaped Mobius strip. This is kept in one of his taunts in the Super Smash Bros. series: in these same games, while Sonic actually runs, his feet still have a blur effect that evokes the classic wheel as an homage.
    • Sonic Adventure had a strange case with this. In the initial Japanese release, Sonic has a very noticeable wheel-o'-feet effect consisting of distorting his legs/shoes and blurring the motion (similar to how the game handles Tails' tails while running). But the International version reduced it to just the distortion, eliminating the blur, and the DX remake removed the effect altogether.
  • Several of the 3D games worked similar to Super Smash Bros. Brawl in using blur effects in the animation of his normal running as an homage. Usually you wouldn't see this unless he was running the fastest he could possibly go, which generally meant Super Sneakers on a straightaway. The games are usually viewed from behind Sonic, making the effect largely impossible to detect most of the time. However, in Sonic Lost World, it's not only a lot more noticeable, even when you look behind him, the blur now appears as part of Sonic's run animation (in the form of the returning Super Peel-Out, now acting as the running animation in addition to the technique he can perform).
  • The blur effect's applied to Classic Sonic in Sonic Generations when he runs as a throwback, since he plays similarly to the Genesis games.note 
  • Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations after it achieved a similar effect by adding a motion blur effect of all Sonic's motions above a certain speed. While Sonic's entire body is still visible, once he gets up to full speed, his legs will become so blurred from the constant motions that it'll evoke the same effect. Especially noticable in 2D sections where you can see the full range of motion.
  • Simply walking in Wario Land II had this kind of animation where his feet would appear near his front, cycle to his back and sort of roll behind him looking very much like his body is in front of a wheel with feet stuck on them.
    • In Wario Land: Shake It!, you can use a Max Fastosity Dasherator for a speed boost, which would give Wario a wheel of feet.
  • Chloe in Touch Detective does this, usually when put in a tight place by her own words.
  • In Yoshi's Island, the eponymous Yoshi has this when running fast. Yoshi's Woolly World takes it to its logical extreme, as Yoshi's feet actually turn into wheels when he runs.
  • Shy Guys from the Super Mario Bros. series have a unique half-arc running animation.
  • In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, Spyro's feet do this when he's using a Supercharge.
  • Being a walking reference to anything involving old cartoons, Peacock from Skullgirls invokes this trope.
  • Starfy and Starly do this in the Starfy series whenever they run.
  • In the Japanese Game Boy Advance game Tomato Adventure, during one of Demiru and Sofubii's Awesome attacks, Demiru pulls out a piece of chocolate for Sofubii, resulting in a chase between them. while Sofubii's running takes the form of a spinning spiral, Demiru's is more of a circular gradient animation.
  • In Persona 5, Morgana runs this way. This is done for stylistic reasons, likely to showcase the contrast between his cartoonish appearance and the other, completely human party members.
  • Marivel from Wild ARMs 2 also runs this way.
  • Peppino Spaghetti of Pizza Tower runs this way up to a certain speed. It's still present past that speed threshold, just more subdued.
  • Tryrush Deppy is an odd example; the cast are all anthropomorphic vehicles but walk and run upright like humans, with some of them using this trope rather than spinning their wheels like you'd expect a car to do (namely Dukankaberg, Starchild, Harris, Mr. Silkhat, and Deppy himself, as seen here). The only time anyone uses their wheels "properly" is when Deppy is charging up for his Dash Attack.

    Web Animation 

    Web Videos 
  • Scott The Woz discusses this trope when talking about Sonic's design on a can of energy drink in his Game Foods episode.
    "What is going on with Sonic's legs here? Like, yeah, Sonic usually runs so fast his legs are nothing more than a figure-8 or something, but... there's that, and then there's having no legs but just scribbles below you."

    Western Animation 
  • Little Red Riding Hood: Used in the Jetlag Productions version when the wolf charges up to try and grab Little Red while she's swinging on her swing.

    Real Life 
  • This bicycle appears to have been made to mimic this trope.
  • If you make a bicycle lizard run, it will eventually move fast enough to create this effect.note 
  • The Wile E. Coyote-esque mascot of Italian motorcycle tuning company NCR has a wheel of feet in their logo.
  • The flag of the Isle of Man depicts one of these, if three feet are enough to count as a wheel. This insignia has a long history.

Alternative Title(s): Wheel Of Feet


Cure Marine

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