|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
In real life, 8-15% of all humans are left-handed. Not that you'd know from fiction, where left-handed people are conspicuously absent most of the time. This is probably done not to confuse the (mostly right-handed) audience, but who knows. In CGI and video games, this trope may be present to avoid creating extra animations that would be needed by left-handed characters.
This becomes especially jarring in RPGs where you can customize your character's gender, height, weight, skin and hair color, exact facial features down to millimeter-precise curvatures... but not handedness.
One unusual case of aversion is the Ambidextrous Sprite trope, which arises out of game engine limitations.
Anime and Manga
- Ayu from Kanon is left-handed, which is used for a joke where she's about to run into Yuuichi and he tells her to "move on the direction of the hand you grab chopsticks with!", thinking she'd go right, so he could dodge to the opposite direction. Didn't work well.
- While this has no plot bearing, Nanoha from Lyrical Nanoha is left-handed.
- This is inverted in those translated manga that are also mirrored to fit with the western reading way (example: Akira). Then it becomes Everyone Is Left Handed. Can be jarring once you start paying attention to it.
- Inverted in Lucky Star. Almost everyone in that series is left-handed, except for Konata (ambidextrous) and Patty (the one right-handed character).
- Zoro, Vivi, Shanks (until he lost his left arm), Tom (who can be seen using his left hand to hold chopsticks), Raleigh, and many other characters (especially swordsmen) from One Piece are left-handed.
- Averted in Gundam00. Graham Aker and Hallelujah Haptism are both left-handed (despite Allelujah being right-handed) and Setsuna F. Seiei, Soma Peries and Andrei Smirnov are all ambidextrous.
- In Zeta Gundam, almost everyone is ambidextrous, because the animators didn't want to bother with keeping track of who wields weapons in which hands.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, everyone is right-handed whenever it comes to using a Giga Drill Breaker. Any other time, they're ambidextrous.
- The author of Axis Powers Hetalia has stated that Prussia is left-handed.
- Hellboy is functionally left-handed, as his Right Hand of Doom is not much with the fine motor skills. This would have been inverted for the film to avoid inconveniencing the actor playing him, but fortunately it turned out the actor they wanted was also left-handed.
- It's never brought up, but in Watchmen, Rorschach is left-handed. He's a righty in the movie version, though.
- In The King's Speech, Prince Albert mentions that he is naturally left handed, but was forced to learn with his right hand.
- The Princess Bride: Inigo Montoya would like you to know that -switches sword to the other hand!- he is not left-handed!
- Unfortunately for him, neither was The Dread Pirate Roberts.
- In Die Hard, John McClane is left-handed, but this is never important.
- In Ocean's Twelve, a security guard exposes a Julia Roberts lookalike (play by Julia Roberts) by asking for her autograph and noticing that she uses her right hand to write when Julia Roberts is left-handed.
- The first High School Musical film shows Sharpay writing with her left hand.
- Julia Roberts managed to play Erin Brockovich as a perfect northpaw.
- In Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci novel Charmed Life, protagonist Cat is left-handed, which is a plot point.
- In A Series of Unfortunate Events, it's directly specified that Violet is right-handed, in line with the narrator's odd sense of humor. It's still a plot point.
Live Action TV
- Thirty Rock's Liz Lemon is left-handed. You'll see this if you pay close attention whenever she writes anything and in one episode Jack referred to her "left-handedness". Of course, Tina Fey is left-handed in real life, so this applies to any character played by her. For example, when her character in Date Night writes down a phone number, you can see she uses her left hand.
- Inverted with The Muppets. Most of the puppeteers use their right hands to work the head, leaving their left hands to work the arms, so almost all Muppets are left-handed.
- Heroes works this in a few episodes.
- Nathan Petrelli is right-handed. Sylar is left-handed. When Nathan's mind is placed into Sylar's shapeshifting body, Claire points out that Nathan is writing with his left hand.
- Doubled up in a later episode when Sylar, now rid of Nathan's mind, writes on a chalkboard with his right hand.
- Although his right-handedness a point of notice in the original books, John Watson in Sherlock is left handed, like his actor, Martin Freeman. He holds his gun in his non-dominant hand, though, because empty casings expel to the right side, away from the face of (majority) right-handed shooters.
- Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr beg to differ with this trope.
- Jimi Hendrix was left-handed, and this actually contributed partially to his sound: his most commonly used guitar was the Fender Stratocaster, which has a tilted pickup, making each string have a slightly different sound. When Hendrix flipped the guitar around and restrung it, the order of the strings, and therefore tones, was reversed, giving him a unique sound.
- Kurt Cobain
- Link in is traditionally left-handed. However, Nintendo had to mirror the entire game to change his handedness in the Wii version of The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. The controller that is used to swing Link's sword is typically held with the right hand, and the game developers felt that the handedness of the player and the avatar needed to match. In addition to that, they couldn't have just reversed Link's model because many of the game's bosses, areas and puzzles were already designed for a left-handed link.
- Final Fantasy IV listed each character's dominant hand on their status screen, to the only gameplay effect of equipment screen looking slighty different. There's only two left-handed characters: Palom, to contrast with his nicer twin sister Porom, and Kain, to further foreshadow he betrays you. Twice. The sequel has a lot of characters, but only one new southpaw: Golbez.
- The DS remake of Final Fantasy IV plays the trope nearly straight; there, even Palom and Kain are right-handed (while, oddly, anyone equipped with a bow suddenly becomes left-handed; the animators apparently forgot that archers hold the bow in their off hand.)
- All the Sinistrals from Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals are left-handed on their battle sprites. Sinistra is the latin word for left.
- A bit of Lucky Translation, then, because the original Japanese version calls them "the Four Mad Gods."
- Various Chrono Cross characters are referred to in-game as left handed or ambidextrous.
- In Doom, your character holds his gun in his left hand.
- Quite a few units in Warcraft III are all left-handed, making it an inversion.
- The Hero in the Quest for Glory series was ambidextrous. Unfortunately, he's primarily shown as being right-handed when he's fighting. He could throw with either hand, though. I'm guessing he may not count, but someone is sure to mention it. I also think the game makers didn't want to show him throwing right handed when he was at the left side of the screen, so they just flipped the animation. Kinda lazy, really.
- In Duke Nukem 3D, Duke can kick with either foot. in the first release version, he could kick with both feet at the same time -- whilst walking or running around.
- Most City of Heroes powersets have right-handed animations, but the Katana set's animations are left-handed.
- In a Korean online game called "Thang" the animations for the Kanhoa class's sword and boomerang skills are left hand dominant; however, the animations for the bow are right hand dominant.
- In Counter-Strike: Source, the player can change between left-handed and right-handed when he feels like it. The only difference is what side you see your weapon from. Other people still see you as right-handed.
- Most of the Super Mario Bros. cast are right-handed. However, Luigi appears to be ambidextrous, as he constantly switches what hand he uses. In addition, Bowser Jr. is left-handed.
- Samurai are always right-handed, as left-handedness is considered inappropriate for a slew of reasons. Used as somewhat of a plot point in the Hakuouki games, especially Reimeiroku. Saitou Hajime's unusual left-handedness has caused him to suffer a lot of discrimination from other samurai, but he refuses to change. Kondou Isami's and Hijikata Toshizou's quick and rather nonchalant acceptance of Saitou's southpaw is pretty much the reason why he later joined the Shinsengumi.
- An interesting example comes in the form of Captain Hook from Peter Pan. In the novel and play the hook is on his right hand, making him left-handed by default. When Disney came to do their adaptation, however, they changed this because it was easier for the animators to draw a right-handed character. They even drew attention to it with Wendy's line, "Oh no, John; it [the hook] was the left hand."
- Ned Flanders on the The Simpsons is left-handed and opens a "Leftorium", a shop with items designed for left-handed people. In the DVD Commentary for that episode, it was revealed that about 1 in 3 of Springfieldans are left-handed, as compared to 1 in 9 in Real Life.
- In American Dad, it is revealed that Francine Smith hates left handed people. We discover the reason why is that she was originally left handed but a nun who taught her to write demonized (literally, the nun claimed left handedness was the devil's work) left handedness and forced her to change to be right handed.
- Averted in Rugrats, where an entire episode is dedicated to the discovery that Chuckie is left-handed.
- Tiana from The Princess and the Frog is left-handed at the request of the voice actress, who is also left-handed.
- Mulan appears to be ambidextrous. She writes and uses chopsticks left handed, but uses a sword right handed. Reason: For small things like pens and chopsticks right handed animators may use their own hand as a model. For big things like swords, they use a live model who is likely right handed. Incidentally, archery is based on which eye is stronger rather than which hand is stronger.
- Actually, Mulan could just be left-handed, but taught swordsmanship the right-handed way. She uses her left hand to do pretty much everything else in the movie.
- In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup is left-handed, but because it is frowned upon by Viking society we only see him use his left hand only when he is alone, such as when he is designing the new tail fin for Toothless or drawing a picture in the sand, because of the stigma of the left hand (see the Real Life examples below) that sets him apart from the others in his tribe. During the dragon fighting scenes, he is shown fighting with his right hand, however he clearly works best when he is using his left hand.
- One episode of The Simpsons showcased the difficulties of being left-handed when Homer injured his right hand and had to depend on his left one for a while.
- On Phineas and Ferb, Vanessa is seen writing with her left hand.
- Everyone is ambidextrous, more like. Phineas, Ferb, Perry, Doofenshmirtz... no one is consistent, if you observe.
- It's stated in the video game that Phineas is left-handed.
- Doug learns that the reason he has trouble with baseball is that he's trying to bat right-handed when he's actually left-handed.
- In Free Birds, all musket blunderbusses appeared to be right handed while the sxs double barreled shotgun is ambidextrous because single trigger fires both barrels at the same time.
- Even as late as the twentieth century, it was common in some countries to retrain left-handed children to use the right hand. It only dwindled when detrimental side effects of such practices were discovered.
- Because the majority of the world is right-handed, the default of most things requiring fine motor skills are designed for right-handed comfort and convenience. Examples include cameras, can openers, rulers, computer mouses and leopards, spiral notebooks, fishing reels, handguns, bolt action rifles, school desks, pencil sharpeners, toilet paper dispensers, measuring cups, ice cream scoops, vegetable peelers, watches, scissors, circular saws, manual vehicle gear shifters, bowling balls, video game controllers, sports equipment, and guitars. Locating left-handed items is often troublesome: selections are limited or must be custom-ordered, and they typically cost a good deal extra. Many left-handed people simply learn to do something right-handed to avoid the hassle, or learn how to use something "backwards," such as in the case of a playing a right-handed guitar upside down. Indeed, some left-handed people have improper writing form as a result of trying to mirror a right-handed person when first learning how to hold a pencil instead of adjusting for their natural hand. Other regular difficulties are sitting at a dinner table next to a right-handed person and constantly bumping elbows, and smearing your hand through pencil or ink trying to write in traditional left-to-right printing. These are things right-handed people don't even think about, because handedness is not challenging or annoying to them in common, everyday tasks.
- Thinking about it, maybe reteaching to right hand had its advantages. Or would have if it worked as intended.
- This shows even in the origin, definition, or connotation of the words. The word "left" in many languages also commonly translates to such things as: weak, clumsy, evil, awkward, strange, wrong, liar, back-stabbing, bad, improper, unlucky, and illegal. Such phrases used as insults include having "two left feet" or receiving a "left-handed compliment," or telling someone they are not in their "right mind." Thus, the word "right" commonly translates to the exact opposite: proper, correct, justice, nice, skillful, legitimate, and better. It is common in many cultures for the left to represent something negative while the right portrays the positive, and in certain places, using your left hand for specific things is considered very rude or unsanitary.
- And why is it considered unsanitary? Because in most places where they don't have access to toilet paper nor soap it's customary to wipe yourself with your left hand and eat (or shake hand) with your right hand.
- In some sports, being left-handed (or perhaps left-footed for sports which involve the feet to a large degree) is often an advantage. Right-handed people are used to competing against other right-handed people, so it is tricky when going against someone using completely opposite movements. The strong and weak sides are flipped, making things awkward for a right-handed person and giving a tactical edge to the left-handed person, who is accustomed to going against a righty and thus does not share the handicap. This is particularly notable in fencing, although it is also present in sports such as cricket, baseball, boxing, and tennis.
- Aversions are growing in firearm development, where more and more designers are putting in ambidextrouse controls, and deflectors so ejected brass doesn't hit them in the face (for longarms) and these features are standard on pretty much any country's service rifle, with a few notable exceptions (I'm looking at you, L 86 A 2.)