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Wheelchair Woobie

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Awww, the poor kid...

An easy way to instantly mark someone as The Woobie is to put them in a wheelchair. Crutches or other similarly visible impediments are common as well, but wheelchairs are the most common. Often, their Woobie status is tied to how they ended up in the thing in the first place.

This trope is NOT reserved for examples involving wheelchairs; any similar example works.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass: Nunnally Lamperouge/vi Britannia, although in Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally, she regains her ability to walk in the end. The anime also makes reference to her undergoing physical therapy, but we don't see any results within the actual show. By the time she becomes the Empress of Britannia, she has regained her sight - but is still wheelchair-bound.
  • Sylvette Suede of Tegami Bachi. Her mother died in childbirth, and she is eventually separated from the brother who raised her and lives in poverty. And it turns out that Gauche did not actually recover his memory when he comes back, denying her a reunion with him.
  • The pictured example is Kamio Misuzu from Air in the second half of the show. Let's just say that she got sick to the point in which she needed to be on a wheelchair. Unlike some of the other examples, she doesn't get better, but instead worse. Very worse.
  • Helen from Sonic X. Refreshingly, in episode 14, Sonic makes a point to not smother her with pity, but instead spend a day with her treating her as a person, and not making a big deal about her disability, but moreover, making an actual point to accommodate her needs while befriending her, even going so far as to blow off the President to avoid interrupting his time with Helen.
  • In the sequel to Tokyo Ghoul, Tsukiyama has spent nearly three years in a deep depression, uninterested in leaving his room or even eating. The physical toll of it has left him an Ill Boy that requires a wheelchair to get around, once he becomes determined to leave his room.
  • Doubt has Rei Hazama, a famous hypnotist until she was falsely labeled a faker, which ruined the lives of her and her parents, who committed suicide by driving into a pole. With her in the car. She survived, but now has to be in a wheelchair. Despite this, she is nothing but sweet to the other characters. To top it all off, when all the friends are kidnapped and forced to play in the Deadly Game, she’s the first to die. However it’s then brutally subverted when she turns out to be the Big Bad behind it all, having faked her death as part of a revenge plot against the whole world, including her supposed friends.

    Comic Books 
  • Barbara Gordon was confined to a wheelchair for a long time following being shot in the spine by Joker in The Killing Joke. The recent removal of that factor is heavily debated, especially since she had come into her own as Oracle before then.
  • Hunter Zolomon from The Flash is a well known example. His life had never been easy to begin with and when he was introduced, he had to use a cane to support himself due to a Career-Ending Injury back when he was working for the FBI. Later on plays this trope completely straight when Grodd paralyzes him during an attack to Iron Heights Penitary. His transformation from a bitter limp cop to Wheelchair Woobie makes the final straw, makes him extremely angry and bitter, and he begs to then Flash Wally West to undo his crippling via time travel. Wally rejects his request due to fragility of time. Hunter, feeling betrayed by his best friend, attempts to go back in time to fix his life on his own. Unfortunately, since he isn't a speedster, all he manages to do is give himself Time Master powers... which slowly (from his point of view, in reality it's less than a second) drive him so insane that he becomes convinced that it's his destiny to become the next Reverse-Flash and make Wally's life more tragic. Throughout his career as Zoom, he's genuinely unaware that his attempts to help his friend are actually causing him great harm.

    Fan Fic 
  • Chen becomes this in the fanfiction series Gensokyo 20XX, after a vicious attack leaves her left arm and leg paralyzed from nerve damage. From what can be read, she spends most of her time bedridden, as she cannot get out of it, though, apparently, later on, she does use a wheelchair (apparently, the same one Yukari hit Tenshi with). Initially, earlier, she was upset by this, until Yuuka reassured her that, despite her hindrances, she can still live a happy life.
  • The Freedom Planet fanfic, A Dragon Without Wings, has this very much in-mind. The story itself revolves near entirely around the fact Lilac (nicknamed Ground Lilac, as this is the same multiverse as with Freedom Dies With Me) is paralysed from the waist down after being shot in the back by Brevon. Supplemental material, such as this seem to indicate it wears down her spirit; the prologue, disturbingly, starts with her attempting suicide. Don't worry, though, she gets better. A lot better.

    Live Action TV 
  • Stevie from Malcolm in the Middle. However he sometimes subverts it by doing some pretty impressive stuff (like punching Reese into submission twice, the second time with the help of a robot suit). He also has no problem starting trouble just like the other boys, and the show has no problem with karma biting him in the ass for it, either.
  • Chloe Reeves in The Dumping Ground. In a wheelchair after falling out of an upstairs window as a toddler due to neglect by her mother, and may or may not have been pushed by her older brother, the needlessly evil and conniving Ryan Reeves. She then spent years separated from her family, sending endless letters to Ryan that he never opened. And then, after finally being moved into the same kid's home as her brother, she's stuck in an endless cycle of being ignored by him, forgiving him, excusing his terrible deeds, and being manipulated and controlled by him. The poor kid...
  • To a certain extent, John Watson at the beginning of the "A Study in Pink" episode of Sherlock could be considered this.
  • Square One TV: In one Mathnet week, Cate Monday was in a wheelchair. It made her a Damsel in Distress at one point. It's unknown just how she got injured; she said on-screen that it was embarrassing in response to being asked about it.

    Video Games 
  • Gehrman from Bloodborne, once the first Hunter of Yharnam, a selfless person who can withstand a cosmic scale of horror, reducing into a crippled, wheelchair-bound old man trapped in a dream. He wished to be freed from the nightmare and begged his friends to put him out of his misery, but they couldn't. By the time when you halted the source of nightmare, he insisted to offer you a Mercy Kill instead of begging you to kill him, wishing you to be freed. If you reject his offer, he demonstrates quite handily that having a missing leg is not a big handicap for him.
  • The player's brother, Doned, in the opening of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. He spends the rest of the game in a world where he can magically walk and gets upsets with the player for trying to restore their original world. In the end, he's back in his wheelchair, but more accepting of his situation.
  • Mega Man Legends 1 has a little girl named Ira who uses a wheelchair. Despite the hospital's aging equipment stalling her recovery, she remains hopeful that she'll walk again. If you donate enough Zenny so the hospital can buy new equipment, she will.
  • Emi Ibarazaki from Katawa Shoujo, though it's temporary; she has an infection that prevents her from using her prosthetic legs. Bad thing, running with said prosthetic legs kept her Bad Dreams away from her mind, thus her mental/emotional state becomes unstable....

    Web Comics 
  • Tavros Nitram from Homestuck, whose misfortunes are too plentiful to name here, although there's a delightfully comprehensive (and spoileriffic) list in his entry of the character page. Although his woobie-ness is not tied to his disability — he was still the universe's punching bag both before he was paralyzed and after he regained the use of his legs.

    Western Animation 
  • On South Park, Timmy - in a wheelchair, and who can only say his own name - is protective of his status as the Wheelchair Woobie when he meets Jimmy - a boy with an unnamed disease which withered his legs, making him walk with two forearm crutches, but who does inspirational Stand-Up Comedy. Timmy even tries to kill Jimmy.
  • Ray Gillette from Archer was shot through the spine, confining him to a wheelchair. Archer's Jerkass persona lead to many Kick the Dog moments. Subverted when it is revealed that he wasn't actually crippled and just liked the sympathy and attention being in a wheelchair afforded him. He later actually paralyzed and spends the first few episodes of Season Five wallowing in self pity.
  • The Legend of Korra: After a rather brutal series of events (including being badly poisoned, nearly suffocated and falling from not one, but several cliffs), Korra is left confined to a wheelchair for at least two years. And as a bonus, that series of events was designed to make her feel useless in her role as the Avatar (and kill the Avatar spirit forever), with her allies unintentionally adding to that by doing her job while she recovers. She prides herself on her strength and her role so this haunts her. Even when she gets out of the chair, a combination of trace poison in her system and her own doubts and fears leaves her a shadow of her former self for quite a while.


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