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Surprisingly common in anime, shonen especially, is the tendency to run on power lines when racing to get somewhere. While at first doing this seems perfectly reasonable - after all, why run along the ground where you would have to follow the roads when you can just use the power lines and go straight there - there is a slight problem. Power lines may well support crows[1], but almost certainly not the weight of human beings. Things are even worse with high tension power lines; according to the History Channel, even the crews who maintain the things, with all their training and protective gear, occasionally die working on these. So, merely touching a high tension power line and anything connected to the ground (or another line next to it) is as close as one can get to a death sentence. Needless to say, Rule of Cool reigns supreme.

Many a character with electric powers does this, both because their power keeps their not being killed something grounded in (semi-)reality, and because it's conductive to their nature.

A close cousin of Roof Hopping and typically takes Le Parkour Up to Eleven. Not to be confused with the country line-dance of the same name...or the decidedly non-country "Electric Boogie" that inspired it.

a.k.a Power Line Rider, after the Line Rider game.

People who can do this tend to also engage in Roof Hopping and I Have the High Ground.

Unrelated to this Electric Glide.

Examples of Electric Slide include:


Anime & Manga

  • In Bleach Ichigo does this while running to Orihime's apartment to stop the hollow attacking her from killing her. But then, he's in shinigami form at the time, so it makes at least a little sense that the power lines don't break.
  • Fate/stay night: Saber does this during her first fight with Berserker and is only explainable through Rule of Cool. Not only is she wearing a long skirt but she's wearing a suit of metal armor and carrying a sword. But do note that as a Servant, she's considered a spirit, and so cannot be hurt by something as mundane as electricity.
  • Tsukihime: Ciel can do this. Again, Rule of Cool is king. Sensing a pattern here?
  • Ranma ½ has most of the characters do this at one point. Still doesn't explain how a power line is able to support their weight though.
  • In Golden Boy, Kintaro wins a race, on bicycle, against a motorcycle, in part by using a power-line shortcut. It's a combination of Rule of Cool and You Fail Physics Forever.
  • The Catbus performs this trope in My Neighbor Totoro.
  • Hayato does this in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple to get Kenichi back to town in a hurry.
  • Used in Air Gear. It actually lends power to ATs.


Comic Books

  • Not to be outdone, Superman does this in his first appearance in Action Comics until he learns how to fly. However, he did this stunt while carrying a man he was trying to scare into talking with the threat that they both will be electrocuted he steps on a support pole, which would ground them and allow the electricity to flow through them. Sure enough, he has a near miss with a pole which scares his prisoner witless. After some additional leaping, all Superman has to do upon landing is "Wasn't that fun? Let's do it again!.
  • Golden Age hero Air Wave used specially insulated rollerskates to skate along power lines. It's not entirely clear what advantages this has over simply using the skates normally.
  • Spider-Man villain Electro does this as a fast way of getting around. As he is a walking power plant, he doesn't have to worry about being electrocuted. Occasionally, he'll be the electricity in the wires...
  • Barbara Shelley does this in her first appearance as Promethea to save Sophie from falling to her death.


Fanfiction

  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon attempted it with great success. Justified, because he had access to alien technology. His personal assistant remarked that it was interesting, but inferior compared to teleportation.


Film

  • In Tango & Cash the two titular protagonists use the "hanging-down-from-the-wire" variation of this method to escape from prison.


Literature

  • Artemis Fowl does this in The Time Paradox to catch a lemur that has run onto the power lines. Played realistically (for Artemis Fowl, anyway) in that the lines in question are a set of truly massive power conduits across a large valley, he uses the cable trolley system and protective suit that line maintenance crews use, he's an accomplished physicist who has watched a documentary on this very set of electrical towers, and he's still terrified.


Video Games

  • Cole from In Famous is the king of this trope. There's even a trophy you get by grinding along a power cable and taking down an enemy while sniping in precision mode, and another for grinding on 4 separate lines in sequence. Partially justified by an experiment Gone Horribly Right, giving Cole the ability to control electricity (he can even learn to suck the electricity out of the line while grinding to recharge his powers). Still doesn't explain why power cables can support his weight, though.
    • Cole can also use his electrical powers to 'glide' through thin air. His weight is likely a non-issue.
    • On the other hand, it can still support his weight even before he learns to grind his way electrically, instead he just walks normally on the lines.
  • Tony Hawk lets you grind power lines with your skateboard. Please Don't Try This At Home?
    • Most skateboarding games, in fact.
  • Raz grinds on telephone lines in Psychonauts' Milkman Conspiracy. It's the most sensible event on the level. A psychic did it?
  • It's possible to do this in City of Heroes (though there's very little actual reason to), since power lines are treated as simply another solid surface.
  • Ratchet does this from time to time on his Grind Boots. Notably on Planet Boldan (Silver City) in Going Commando.
  • Amped 2 lets snowboarders grind on cable car wires.
  • Jet Set Radio Future requires this to get around several areas like Kibogaoka Hill and Highway Zero.
  • Final Fantasy X lets the entire cast get in on this when they decide to crash Yuna and Seymour's wedding.
    • Although, to be fair those weren't power lines as such, 'just' thick steel cables attatched to huge mechanical grapling hooks.
  • Most of the gameplay in Scaler.
  • In the Xbox reboot of Ninja Gaiden, Ryu rides a high-voltage power line after jumping from a burning zeppelin.


Web Comics


Western Animation

  • Soul Power from Static Shock sort of surfs across power lines with his electric powers, sort of his version of Static's flying disc.
  • Tom and Jerry uses this a few times, each time with Tom balancing on the telephone wires to get to Jerry, who always either tries to shake Tom off or cut the wires.
  • Spider-Man villain Electro can do this. Makes sense what with his power being what it is.
  • In one episode of Darkwing Duck, the villain Megavolt does this, probably as a parody of Spider-Man. See above example for justification.
  • The opening sequence for the Mr. Magoo cartoons showed him driving his car along the power lines.
  • The Looney Tunes "Bee-Deviled Bruin" has Pop doing a tightrope walk along a shutoff power line to get to a beehive. He shouldn't have left his halfwit son sitting at the switch, getting bored and fiddling with it...

Notes

  1. as long as they're only touching one line at a time - if it touches two or more at once, its body acts as a bridge between them, resulting in a fried birdie
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