Tickle Torture

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Poor Grammi, suffering a feather worse than death!
"This tickle torture isn't funny!"
Luigi being subjected to this, Super Mario Bros Super Show

So, we have a Card-Carrying Villain who is going to inflict a horrible torture on his victims. Cutting off fingers won't work in a G-Rated show, what can be a substitute for that? Of course, tickling! Sometimes lampshaded. Basically, tickling is a G-Rated Cold-Blooded Torture. It's usually led up to by the torturer saying "We Have Ways of Making You Talk".

Usually done with a feather (despite not being the most effective in Real Life) and/or tickle robot. May be played as Romanticized Abuse.

See also Cool and Unusual Punishment and Spank the Cutie.

Can lead to Fridge Horror since, Lighter and Softer depiction aside, it is still a form of torture (and there are cases of people dying of laughter).

Compare Friendly Tickle Torture.

Examples of Tickle Torture include:

Anime and Manga

  • Jiraiya interrogates some Mooks from the Rain Village using this method. When that fails, he threatens them with turning them into frogs.
  • In Digimon Frontier, two of the Digidestined were tortured by Ranamon tickling them with a feather.
  • And in Digimon Xros Wars, Shoutmon gets treated into this because the villains think he has the Code Crown.
  • Used in To LOVE-Ru by a Man-Eating Plant. Since it's To Love Ru, it's purely for Fan Service.
  • Happens to Sasami in the second OVA and an episode of the Pretty Sammy TV series.
  • Goku gets tickled by Caterpy (no, not that Caterpie) in his first round of the Otherworld Tournament.
    • He is not so lucky in Dragon Ball GT when he is tickled out of the ring during the Junoir Division by a nerd. (Thanks in part to a distraction by Vegeta.)
    • He was also tickle tortured by an old hag in hell after she attempted to cook him.
  • The Team Rocket trio, among other things, use a tickling machine on the Safari Zone Warden to try and get him to reveal the location of a Dratini in Pokémon.
    • Ash has his Bulbasaur tickle Misty's Psyduck into submission in the episode Who Gets to Keep Togepi?, and this was long before Tickle became an actual attack.
    • A Chillarmy in episode 13 of Best Wishes uses Tickle no less than three times, tickling Chaobu and Oshawott into submission. Pikachu manages to resist it, however.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Asuna got the tickle treatment in the nude from Fate who could make water turn into a bunch of arms. It's later revealed that the only thing stopping him from ripping her to pieces was Asuna's magic-cancelling ability.
    • Later on, most of class 3-A does this to Chao.
  • Happens in the Ah! My Goddess manga, as part of a contest.
  • Purely for the sake of Fetish Fuel, this shows up a few times in Seikon no Qwaser. Specially between Katja and Hanna.
  • In Nabari no Ou, Raikou and Kouichi do this to some poor Alya Academy student for fun.
  • Te eponymous Squid Girl discovers this in a chapter of the manga (which was adapted into an anime sub-episode), and goes on a tickling spree with everyone she meets. Naturally, she decides to use it to make Chizuru die of laughter. Chizuru being who she is, though, means annihilation ensues. (Presumably, the episodes are not in chronological order, as a couple of earlier episodes show her tickling Eiko both as revenge and to convince her to become her servant, and on the four alien-obsessed scientists to find out why they wanted a strand of Chizuru's hair.)
  • When the Saigoku Three show up and finish their introduction, Nobunaga easily defeats them and ties them up. To find out where the Dismantled MacGuffin is, Hideyoshi does this to each of them. They return the favor later in the episode.
  • In Maburaho, Elizabeth does this to Yuna. You can't see what's happening, though, and she does it in such a dramatic and over-the-top fashion that Kazuki assumes it's actual torture.
  • In Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, Rouge orders this done to Pritz with a dramatic buildup that makes you wonder whether she's a villain or just crazy.
  • In episode 27 of SD Gundam Force, this is how the Zako Soldiers get the Zakurello Gate to change its destination mid-transport. "Do what we say, or you'll get..." "TICKLE TORTURE!"
  • Gingka of Metal Fight Beyblade gets this treatment during a "training course" orchestrated by Merci

Comic Books

  • Asterix: Getafix also suffers from this, only he's actually unaffected and "playing along". Complete with "Torture me instead!"


  • The climax of Raggedy Ann and Andy A Musical Adventure involves this. King Koo Koo is normally short, but inflates when he laughs at the misfortune of others. So he sets a tentacled sea monster on our heroes and many of the supporting characters and orders it to tickle all of them at the same time...
  • Grimmace and Hamburglar become victims of this in the second Ronald McDonald animated movie.


  • Inverted for Gallows Humor in A Song of Ice and Fire, which has a Torture Technician known only as "The Tickler" who "tickles" captured villagers to gather information about Lord Beric Dondarrion's outlaw band.
  • A type of monster known as Night Gaunts in Lovecraft's works are said to torture people by carrying them off into the lower reaches of the Dreamlands and tickling them with their tails and grotesque claws. In the Call of Cthulhu tabletop game, this is described to be a very humiliating experience.
  • Played deadly seriously (literally so) in the short story "The Screaming Laugh" by Cornell Woolrich.

Live Action TV

  • An episode of Monster Squad (the 1976 live-action kids' series, starring Fred Grandy and Henry Polic II) had a villain who used giant feathers in an attempt to tickle Our Heroes to their doom. It was as silly as it sounds.
  • Happens in the first episode of Maid Marian and Her Merry Men.
  • An episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys had a man in Tartarus subjected to an eternity of tickle torture.
  • On The Office, Darryl further educates Michael on the ways of the street by explaining that gangs often duel using a technique called Fluffy Fingers, where members of each gang tickle one another to the point of capitulation.
  • An episode of Life with Derek did this, when Derek had to babysit.

Video Games

  • In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, if you don't give in to Yaridovich's Hostage for McGuffin demands, he tickles the town's mayor mercilessly until you give in. (The more you resist his demands, the number of Flowers you get from him afterward is reduced to merely one. Keep it up long enough, and all you get is a single coin.)
  • In just one of many blatant and slightly creepy attempts at Fan Service in Rumble Roses, one ringside weapon is a long stick with a cartoony hand on one end that is used to tickle an opponent. It doesn't hurt them, but causes their humiliation meter to rapidly shoot up.
  • In Sly 2: Band Of Thieves, THE MURRAY captures General Clawfoot so Bentley can get info on the Contessa's castle from him... With a feather.
  • The Joker briefly does this in an attempt to make Batman give in to the Titan transformation right before the final battle of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
  • A quest in World of Warcraft's Northern Barrens has you interrogating a Quilboar. You can break him pretty much instantly if you either feed or tickle him as opposed to punching or kicking him. You also get a status buff, "Saintly" because you're a nice person for using non-violence.

Haha - <snort> ha - heee! <snort> Haha no stop haha <SNORT> <wheeze> Hee hee! Battlemaster Tortusk never prepared us for this!


Web Original

  • The best example of this is undoubtedly Cor and his huge variety of short stories and vignettes which together explore every variation of this trope possible.

Western Animation

  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears had an actual session of Tickle Torture. Duke Igthorn had tried to get Granny to reveal the recipe for gummy berry juice, but she gave him a false one instead. During the actual torture, she does eventually give him the real recipe.
  • In the Veggie Tales adaptation of the story of Esther, the worst punishment possible was to be banished to the Island of Perpetual Tickling.
  • In the Tale Spin episode "Polly Wants a Treasure", Don Karnage has his flunkies do this to Kit Cloudkicker.
  • Happens in The Chipmunk Adventure with a feather.
  • Used in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by the villain Don Tortelli to try to force people to talk. It's interesting to note that he seemed to prefer tickling male captives, even focusing more on them when he has a female at his mercy as well. This was probably to avoid making him come across as sexual, but that backfired.

"Where do you want it, girlie? The armpit? The soles of your feet?"

  • Bloo and Mac are subjected to this in an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • Used on two separate occasions by Robotnik to attempt to gain information in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • A fox gets tickled as punishment in two scenes in an episode of the Redwall series.
    • While toned down from the actual torture from the book, the animated series still manages to make this disturbing by having the fox dropped to his death when they were done the second time.
  • Olive Oyl gets tickled on two separate occasions in the Popeye cartoon.
  • Played for laughs in the Arthur episode "Buster's Dino Dilemma". Buster had kept the dinosaur fossil (a footprint) he had dug up during a field trip, instead of turning it in so it could be displayed at the museum as the class had been ordered. In a Dream Sequence, he is found out because Arthur was put through this.
  • Something similar to this happened in Bobby's World. He thought he would be able to use his new found Martial Arts skills to bully his classmates.
  • In an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog Muriel is on the receiving end of this trope when Dr. Le Quack interrogates her to tell him where her valuables are while under the ruse of being a psychologist trying to help her get her memory back after a blow to the head gave her amnesia.
  • In an episode of Xiaolin Showdown Jack Spicer has Clay, Kimiko, and Rai strapped down to a large "tickle bot". You can guess what happens from there.
  • The Super Mario Bros Super Show episode where Bowser was a vampire had him perform this on Luigi.
  • In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, Spongebob uses a tickle belt on Man-Ray when he is training him to be good. During training, Man-Ray tends to beat up Patrick, leading Patrick to torture Man-Ray with the belt.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "No Pain No Gain", Rocko gets on a rowing machine at the gym (that has a TV screen), and mistakenly gets the Deliverance scene. On the screen, Rocko runs into hillbillies, one of whom says "Now we gonna make you squeal, piggy!", and produces a pig and proceeds to tickle it with a feather. The pig enjoys it, but Rocko is scared off and abandons the rowing machine.
  • An episode of Blinky Bill has Blinky training a crocodile friend of his to be tough, part of which involves tickling. His rationale is that "tough crocs aren't ticklish".
  • An episode of The Mouse and the Monster has the titular characters Chesbro and Mo (the mouse and monster, respectively) being test subjects for some scientists. Mo is subject to tickling, though the actual torture part is subverted as he actually enjoys it.
  • Happens in an episode of Dragon Hunters.
  • In the Space Goofs episode "Scout's Night Out", Gorgious is subject to this after being captured by boy scouts.
  • In the Muppet Babies episode "The Frog Who Knew Too Much", Kermit is subjected to this by a machine in a fantasy in an attempt to find out what secret he's keeping from the others.
  • In the kiddie show, The Backyardigans episode "International Super Spy", this is Lady in Pink's (played by Uniqua) torture.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Jimmy is tried by the Horn Fairies (Miseryville versions of the Tooth Fairy), he expects this is the worst punishment they will come up with. He's wrong.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, the Monkey King tickle tortures Tohru to make him confess where Jackie and the others went.
  • In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "It's About Time", Spike does this briefly to Twilight Sparkle.
  • Used in The Secret World of Benjamin Bear episode: "A Tickle Too Far"

Real Life

  • Tickling was occasionally used as a form of relatively mild torture during some periods in history. Nowhere near as bad as practically any other torture one can think up, but often proves handy when the tortured individual must not come under any serious physical harm, and/or recover quickly afterwards, which is why its mostly attributed to have been used against Chinese nobility.
  • Some Fridge Horror comes into play if you know that it's actually possible to die from laughing too hard or for too long, but Tickle Torture almost never escalates to that point.
  • This entry on fmylife.com.