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To put it simply, a man carries a woman (usually a Damsel in Distress) in his arms—one arm under her legs and the other supporting her back like a groom carrying his bride. Usually denotes or foreshadows a romantic relationship between the characters or a major difference in their physical strength. Often both.
Variations of this trope are common and include:
- Switching the roles of the carrier and the carry-ee (i.e. the Damsel in Distress carrying The Hero in this fashion). May be an Effortless Amazonian Lift.
- Making the carry-ee just a bit too heavy for the carrier to handle.
- Having the carry-ee complain about the treatment.
- Having the carry-ee bang their head against the doorframe when the couple try this while walking through a door.
When the participants aren't romantically involved, expect fans to cite this as "proof" that they really are.
The Hero must be very careful when treating an Action Girl like this, especially if they're not involved. If asked properly, she may accept if she's indeed too hurt to walk. Other than that, she's likely to refuse. No matter what, The Hero shouldn't force it on her, else he may incur a less than grateful reaction.
(Slinging them over the shoulder in a Fireman Carry will manage to avoid this.)
If a guy carries another guy like this, expect the shippers to go nuts.
If the person being held is injured, dead or dying, it may cross over into Pietà Plagiarism. Usually coexists with rescue tropes like Rescue Romance and Embarrassing Rescue. See also Hold Me and Security Cling. Contrast Over-the-Shoulder Carry.
Not to be confused with Tribal Carry.
Anime and Manga
- Guts in Berserk does this to Casca after her successful taking of a fortress, much to her surprise. She's the only female character who got this treatment from Guts.
- Yoruichi does this to Soifon in the third movie and in the anime, after her fight with Suzumebachi.
- Happens in the manga too, with Shinji and Hiyori. The former saved the latter after Gin had cut her in half. He's carrying her top part, at least.
- Domon Kasshu carries Rain like this at the end of G Gundam. Specifically, right after the Sekiha Love Love Tenkyoken There's also an Official Art or two floating around of the robots doing it [dead link] (not counting the Pietà Plagiarism bit just after the Mid-Season Upgrade).
- Katou carried Iwaki across the threshold in the Boys Love series Haru wo Daiteita, with just a little staggering and sweat on his face.
- In the Boys Love anime Junjou Romantica, after Misaki sprains his ankle while escaping from captivity, Usami carries him away this way, in front of his brother and their servants. Later, he's carrying Misaki piggyback, and Misaki complains it feels silly, prompting Usami to ask "would you rather be carried like a princess?"
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Gamma to Uni at the end of episode 192.
- Black Butler loves to have this happen whenever Sebastian, in all of his demonic butler glory, rescues his young master, Ciel from imminent danger.
- Kyo Kara Maoh
- There are a few times in which Yuri was carried and/or caught from falling a long distance like this. Probably because he's usually a male Damsel in Distress when he's not in Maoh-mode.
- And he gets to carry Wolfram this way one time during that one episode in the snowstorm.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha
- A Les Yay version in the aftermath of Nanoha and Fate's final battle in the first season, with Nanoha carrying the beaten Fate in this manner.
- The light novel version of the first season does it again, only this time, it's a picture of Fate carrying the beaten Nanoha as they gaze into each other's eyes.
- Nanoha does this to Vita in Chapter 19.5 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, as Vita had fallen asleep in the car while Nanoha was driving to Hayate's house for dinner. After waking up, a deeply embarrassed Vita screams "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!" at the top of her lungs, while Nanoha tells her that she tried to wake her up but failed.
- Mahou Sensei Negima
- Setsuna does this all the time with Konoka, including on most promotional artwork.
- The cover of Volume 14 features a magically aged-up Negi carrying Ako like this, but it's a rather tragic subversion, as Ako falls in love with Negi's aged-up form, while Negi is completely unaware that he's inadvertently leading her on. It doesn't end well.
- In chapter 345 Negi does this to Ayaka.
- In Nabari no Ou, Raikou catches and carries Gau like this once, leading to a slew of hilarious fanmade avatars like this one link.
- In the beginning of the third Shippuden movie, Naruto does this to an injured Sai after going back to help him.
- In chapter 498 of the manga we see a young Minato carrying a blushing Kushina like this after rescuing her from being kidnapped.
- We also see Naruto catch Sakura in this manner when he saves her from nearly being killed by Sasuke when she tried to stab him.
- And in chapter 234 Kakashi does this to an injured Naruto at the Valley Of The End.
- Kanou does this to Ayase twice in the Boys Love series Okane ga Nai; once when Ayase is drunk and once when he is drugged. In both cases Kanou takes advantage of the half-unconscious Ayase.
- Ageha has done this to Amamiya a couple of times.
- In the Invasion arc, Kabuto does this to Future!Fredrica.
- Ranma from Ranma ½ carries people in this manner on occasion, most commonly Akane.
- Rurouni Kenshin (a.k.a. Samurai X)
- In the first episode, Kenshin sweeps in to save Kaoru from a fake Battosai, and ends up sweeping her off her feet in this manner.
- Later in the Kyoto Arc, Yumi (Shishio's mistress) objects to being carried by Sano over his shoulder, so he asks sarcastically if she'd prefer to be carried bridal-style, using a straw dummy to demonstrate. (She doesn't.)
- In the first opening to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, it briefly shows Nozomu holding Matoi like this. It means nothing, though.
- Harima from School Rumble does this to Yakumo when he (mistakenly) tries to steal her away from a wedding, which is really a photoshoot.
- Sarutobi Sasuke does this three times in the Sengoku Basara anime: once in his Embarrassing Rescue of Kasuga (who gets so flustered that she ends up falling out of a tree trying to get away), again saving Yukimura from an explosion, and thirdly rescuing Oichi's body from the castle before it's destroyed.
- In Skip Beat!, Ren does this to Kyoko because she sprained her ankle. The villain of the day, Ruri, is quite angry about it. So is Kyoko.
"The turtle who did not go to the hospital."
- Early in the 1st season, Gourry carries Lina to a town after she was injured in a fight. Much to to latter's dismay.
- Later in Slayers Try, Xellos picks up Filia this way to rescue her from a rock slide, only to then drop her directly on top of the villain.
- Sailor Moon
- The number of times Tuxedo Kamen holds Sailor Moon in this fashion (it happens more in the manga) is almost ridiculous.
- Interestingly enough, Sailor Moon herself will invert this trope sometimes, one example being Sailor Moon rescuing Chibiusa in this fashion from an enemy attack in the second season.
- In the final episode of Eureka Seven, Renton carries Eureka this way in space when they kissed each other for the 2nd time. After a year, they officially became husband and wife in the Thurston family register.
- In episode 9 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Big Damn Hero Homura carries Madoka like so.
- In Rozen Maiden, Shinku insists that Jun carry her like this even though he considers him her servant. Turns out he's technically her master.
- In episode 2 of Steel Angel Kurumi 2, Kurumi carries Nako like this on the way to school. And in the last episode as well.
- In Tiger and Bunny, Barnaby has a habit of carrying those he rescues (usually Kotetsu, but others as well) in this fashion. This does not go uncommented upon.
Barnaby: It's been awhile since I carried you like this. Have you gained weight?
- Horribly used in Detective Conan, when Ran, Conan, Sonoko, Sonoko's sister Ayako and Ayako's friends see a mysterious bandaged man carry a kidnapped girl away in his arms, right before the girl's mutilated body is found. It was a stage trick with a doll, piano wire ... and the woman's already decapitated head.
- In Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru, Mizuho does this for Shion after the latter passes out from illness, and carries her to the nurses room.
- Infinite Stratos
- Ichika does this to Houki to help her get into the IS suit. Houki becomes quite happy when he does this for her.
- He does this again with Houki at the end of episode 12, after sharing an Almost Kiss with her, right before being chased by the other four girls in the harem, who are very angry that she's way ahead of them with Ichika.
- Occurs during one of the many Ho Yay moments between Satoshi and Daisuke in D.N.Angel. Daisuke fell ill at school and Satoshi carried him bridal-style to the infirmary. And Dark generally does this to the girls that he rescues.
- Togainu no Chi
- Nano carries an unconscious Akira like this in Episode 10. Akira then carries Keisuke in the same way at the end of the same episode.
- Also happens to Akira on Shiki's route in the game. It's not quite as sweet, though, considering the carrier had just claimed the carried as his property.
- Luka sometimes does this to Yuki in Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru.
- At the end of chapter 47 of part 2 of Rosario + Vampire, Miu Sai-Lung does this to Routier.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: A bonus strip for Christmas has America complimenting Lithuania on his stripping skills and then carrying him bridal style to Poland's house.
- Fanart for Hungary also include a gender reversal: namely her carrying Austria away bridal-style. Sometimes with Austria wearing the dress.
- In Special A, Kei does this to Hikari frequently, referring to it as the "Princess Lift." He quite obviously does it as a sign of affection, which she completely misses. She's also a bit oblivious as to why this flusters her so much (except when she's sick, and she asks for it... completely forgetting that she did so afterwards).
- In Fairy Tail, Natsu carries Erza this way after saving her from the exploding Tower of Heaven. In a later arc, Elfman and Evergreen get gravely injured in a battle, and Elfman bridal carries the unconscious Evergreen back to the camp.
- The first time that Bell has to rescue Hestia from a monster in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, he ends up carrying her this way while running at full speed. Despite the circumstances, this makes her happy.
- In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck 8C: Hearts of the Yukon, Scrooge is about to rescue a fainted Goldie from a burning building... when a chunk of ice from a frozen fire hose knocks him out cold. So Goldie "comes to" and saves him instead.
- Hulkling sometimes carries Wiccan like this in Young Avengers. Not often, since Wiccan can fly, but occasionally.
- Appropriately enough, when Peter Parker and MJ Watson came back from their honeymoon, he carried her across the threshold in one arm while balancing their suitcases in the other. MJ's reaction: "I always dreamed of being carried across the threshold, but one hand? That's class!"
Films -- Animated
- Double subverted in the second Shrek film, where Shrek bashes Fiona into the doorframe, breaking right through the wall.
- Delightfully spoofed via Gender-Inverted Trope in Monsters vs. Aliens. A cheerleader type is trying to seduce an athletic jock in a car when the alien robot crashes nearby, and we have a great shot of the girl running holding her boyfriend in her arms.
- Not exactly "carrying", but Peter Pan catches Wendy a couple of times like this. Later, he does the same with Wendy's daughter Jane in the sequel Return to Neverland.
- There are several examples in Robot Carnival: Starlight Angel has a flying scene with a robot and a girl; Deprive has a cyborg and a girl, etc., etc.
- Monster House manages to combine both funny with heartwarming when Constance Nebbercracker does this to her husband Horace. She was excited about their new house, even though technically speaking the house wasn't finished yet. Constance happens to be a lot stronger (and bigger) than her husband is.
- |Toy Story 3 does this between Spanish Buzz and Jessie. He was saving her from falling trash.
- Let's not forget Minion carrying Megamind into the office threshold style.
Films -- Live-Action
- In the film An Education, David does this to Jenny.
- An Officer and a Gentleman is the Trope Codifier. Cue the Joe Cocker song. "Love lift us up where we belong, where the eagles fly on a mountain high..."
- The Man With Two Brains. Twice. The first time, Dr. Hfuhruhurr waits hours in the pose for the photos to be developed before letting his new bride down, and then, in the finale, had problems carrying her through since, well, Anne had an eating problem when she had her own body. Hilarity Ensues, but it's a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming because Hfuhruhurr doesn't care about her weight.
- Edward likes to carry Bella around like this a lot in Twilight, apparently because he thinks she's incapable of walking without hurting herself.
- In Shallow Hal, Hal tries this with Rosemary, but she's too heavy for him. She carries him instead.
- Willoughby carries Marianne home like this after she sprains her ankle in Sense and Sensibility.
- The Glenn Miller Story: James Stewart and June Allyson's characters do this of the bride & groom variety.
- In the 1998 X-Files movie Fight the Future, Mulder carries Scully towards the exit of the giant spaceship they're on in this way.
- Friday Night Lights had Tim do this with his newly-paralyzed friend Jason, just so Jason could be out of his wheelchair for a little while. Jason comments that maybe he should just have Tim carry him everywhere from then on.
- After Rocky marries Adrian in Rocky II he carries her all the way home from the church like this. When she tells him it's unnecessary he says its good for the arms.
- Batman does this to Rachel in Batman Begins. The scene was also the basis for one of the film posters, in which it was not clear if Rachel was dying or merely unconscious.
- Done (with two guys, obviously) on the poster for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Bonus points for Kevin James wearing a fireman's hat.
- Played for Laughs in the Chris Columbus film Nine Months, wherein Hugh Grant's character very nearly wrecks out his back carrying his very pregnant bride across the threshold.
- Anita Blake is shaken up by doing some "major magic" with a werewolf and drops her machismo long enough to let Jean-Claude carry her this way. Both think it's kind of romantic until Anita notices... something... about Jason's pants....
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Astreus carries Miranda -- "like a bride."
- In Everworld, Christopher does this to his injured Love Interest Etain as they escape from the battle. His narration notes that it must have looked like a scene from a corny romance novel.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, Number One carries Virginia off like this. Number Thirteen rescues her, and knowing no better, carries her in the same manner.
Now that he had won her, what was he to do with her? He was but an adult child, with the brain and brawn of a man, and the ignorance and inexperience of the new-born. And so he acted as a child acts, in imitation of what it has seen others do. The brute had been carrying the lovely creature, therefore that must be the thing for him to do, and so he stooped and gathered Virginia Maxon in his great arms.
- In The Scarlet Pimpernal, Sir Percy carries Marguerite like this to get to the boat.
And his arms, still vigorous in spite of fatigue and suffering, closed round Marguerite's poor, weary body, and lifted her as gently as if she had been a feather.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel carries Buffy like this in "Halloween" (after a spell causes Buffy to act like a Damsel in Distress), while Buffy carries her little sister Dawn to escape Glory in "Spiral". Justified as both characters have Super Strength.
- Benny Hill used it in a sketch. His character marries a girl who gains a lot of weight as soon as they get past the ceremony, and he can barely carry her over the threshold afterward.
- In the episode "The One After Vegas", Monica and Chandler have decided they aren't ready to get married, but keep seeing "signs" that they should. At one point, Monica's hurt her leg, so Chandler gathers her up and carries her into her appartment, before they realise what they're doing.
- Another episode had Ross and Rachel parodying An Officer and a Gentleman: Rachel kept having to go back for stuff, so in the end Ross just dumped her on the couch.
- In "The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS", Chandler carries Monica into the hallway, but bangs her head against the doorframe.
- Played with in an episode of Home Improvement when Jill insists that Tim carry her like this, unaware that he'd pulled a groin muscle earlier. It doesn't end well.
- An episode of Scrubs from Dr Kelso's perspective had two parodies of An Officer and a Gentleman with Kelso's Asian Baby Mama gathering him up in her arms while "Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong" plays in Vietnamese.
- Used in the Prequel season 6 of Kaamelott. Guenièvre insists that Arthur carry her that way after their marriage "because it's romantic." Not just to go through a treshold, mind you, but as long as possible. After some long, agonizing minutes, Arthur finally drops her like a sack of potatoes as he gets exhausted and his back gives up.
- When Anna of Chuck falls over and is in danger of being trampled during a store evacuation, Morgan runs heroically to her and carries her out of the shop in this manner, to cries of "What are you doing, Morgan? Put me down!" He has no answer when a fellow employee asks why he carried her out when she could have just walked.
- Clark does this a lot to people in Smallville.
- In Mock the Week: Unlikely Letters for an Agony Aunt. "Dear Diedre: Can that giant man lift me up like a baby?"
- In the Korean Drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal, when Sun Joon rescues Yoon Hee after she falls into the river.
- A non-romantic Doctor Who example: the Fourth Doctor carried everyone in his arms, since at 6'3 he was almost always bigger than them.
- Dean does this to Jo in Supernatural after she is attacked by a hellhound.
- In The Borgias, Cesare carries a sleeping Lucrezia to her bed after she passes out during her wedding reception. The catch? He's her brother.
- When Elizabeth Weir unexpectedly collapses on Stargate Atlantis, John Sheppard carries her to the infirmary this way. Surprise surprise, they're the series' Official Couple.
- During the Stargate Universe episode where the Destiny is invaded by the Lucian Alliance, Eli has to carry a wounded Chloe this way. He jokes that this kind of exercises could easily get him to lose some weight and that they should do it more often.
- Similar to the Shrek example cited above, one The Far Side comic shows Frankenstein's monster carrying his Bride through the door crossways, her head and feet having knocked holes right through the wall.
- Dave Berg of Mad Magazine once made a strip about this trope. The bride asks the groom whether he'll carry her, and he replies that this is an obsolete custom from the time when men used to steal their brides. The bride thinks about it and then remembers that she actually "stole" him from "some tramp", and the strip ends with her carrying him.
- In Paint Your Wagon, Ben, having married Elizabeth, tries to carry her over the threshold, but proves too drunk to pull it off.
- Assassin's Creed. In the second game, Ezio has to carry Rosa to safety after she finally collapses from an arrow wound to her leg. After running and fighting with an arrow sticking out of her leg for quite a distance, mind you.
- Beat rescues Rhyme in this manner in the opening cinematic of The World Ends With You.
- In the first Dragon Quest, after rescuing the princess, the hero carries her back home in this fashion. The whole way back.
- Final Fantasy
- In The Force Unleashed, Starkiller carries Juno out of The Empirical this way.
- In Kingdom Hearts, Riku carries Kairi during Neverland, as she has become an Empty Shell having lost her heart.
- In Fire Emblem the Blazing Sword, the ending CG for Eliwood and Ninian has him carrying her this way. He does it earlier, too, after saving her from the Black Fang in chapter 7.
- In |Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, a whole level is devoted to Sonic running and carrying the (human) Damsel in Distress in this way.
- Bo does it in one scene of Yo-Jin-Bo. Muneshige and Mon-Mon give piggyback rides.
- Dangerously Chloe had the "daring escape in the air" scene right in the first chapter, where the succubus protagonist carries above the rooftops her sort-of-boyfriend (to his giddy delight). Which covers both "strength" part (aside of being a demon, it was already established that she can use Power of Love in various ways) and "clumsy head-bonking" part.
- South Park: Jimmy carries a prostitute in "Erection Day".
- In the Transformers Generation 1 episode "Auto Berserk", Inferno carries his friend Red Alert out of a burning building in this manner. And holds him like that for the rest of the episode.
- The Simpsons
Homer: I'm going to the back seat of my car with the woman I love, and I won't be back for TEN MINUTES!
- Parodied again in a flashback when he tries to carry a very heavily pregnant Marge over the threshold and does his back in.
- Wakfu: Sadlygrove carries Evangelyne this way thrice: on their very first encounter in episode 2, then in Eva's dream in episode 20, and again for real in episode 24 after he saves her from Desherboss.
- Young Justice: Kid Flash rescues Artemis from firing tanks in "Bereft" and carries her like this. She doesn't seem to mind. Then again, the two of them are suffering from Easy Amnesia at this time. Reset button in 3...2...1...
- Looney Tunes: Pepe Le Pew carries Penelope like this when she faints from exhaustion in "Little Beau Pepe".
- Gender inverted in the Total Drama World Tour episode "Slap Slap Revolution" where Genki Girl Izzy is seen carrying Noah around in this style after accidentally injuring him in a previous scene. True to his Non-Action Snarker status Noah is perfectly fine with being carried and none of the other contestants comment on the two.
- Kick Buttowski: Brad pulls off a literal version of this in "Bwar and Peace", where he's seen carrying his Viking bride around after their wedding.
Brad: Yeah husband!
- Gender inverted in a flashback scene in Hey Arnold! when newlyweds Oskar and Suzie are moving into the boarding house, Suzie is the one carrying Oskar.