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The game of tossing an object around in a group to keep it away from someone else.

In one scenario, the heroes are trying to keep the MacGuffin away from the villain or villains. Said villain is so focused on the item that they're not fighting the heroes who don't have it.

The answer is to throw the MacGuffin from hero to hero, with the villain being frustrated as he barely misses it each time. If there's a group of villains, expect multiple "yoink!" moments as the groups intercept it from each other.

In another scenario, the protagonist might be quietly minding his own business on the schoolyard when a group of bullies come up and take something of his, then pass it around to another one whenever he gets close.

If he can make a plausible threat of getting them in trouble, expect them to transparently lie and claim that it was only a game; otherwise, they might just keep the MacGuffin. One way or another, the protagonist will need to find an effective way to deal with the bullies.

Polar opposite of the MacGuffin Delivery Service and Hot Potato.

Examples of Keep-Away include:

Anime and Manga

  • Luffy from One Piece, having extendable rubber arms is able to perform this trope all by himself to keep Usopp from drinking the group's water supply (and even names it as a technique: the "Gomu Gomu no Dame Da"; Dame Da roughly means "No Way" or "Stop That").
    • Around the time the Straw Hats depart Water 7, as part of their plan to recruit an unwilling Franky into the crew, they lure him to where the Sunny is docked by having the Franky Family steal his speedo, and passing it from person to person. Franky only gets it back after he joins.
  • In chapter 166 (the No Dialogue Chapter) of Mahou Sensei Negima, several of Negi's students play keep away with his ring-wand (They're 14/15, he's ten, teasing him is their favorite sport, it seems) until Akira, who was helping him look for it in the first place, brings it to a surprisingly abrupt end.
    • It is also done several chapters later with Negi's unconscious body at a sleep over. Boy's a deep sleeper.
  • There is a Pokémon episode where the heroes and villains fight over the then unhatched Togepi egg while maneuvering through Weezing's smoke. Pikachu ultimately catches it before it could shatter, but Misty's the main mom to it.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Jonouchi/Joey and Honda/Tristan throw around a piece of Yugi's Millennium Puzzle before Joey tosses it into a pool. Later on, when Yugi stands up for the two of them, Joey gives the piece back.
  • In one of the animated adaptations of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Satako and a couple other students do this with one of Rika's books. Cue Rika beating the stuffing out of Satoko with a chair.
  • Ranma ½: In the manga, Ranma, Genma, and Soun toss Happosai between the three of them in order to keep him away from Pantyhose Taro. Ranma even says:

  Keep passing the pervert around!



  • At the end of The Incredibles, the heroes do this with Syndrome's remote control, keeping it away from the Omnidroid it controls.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 has the titular turtles playing keep-away from the Foot with the last canister of mutagenic ooze. It eventually finds its way into Tatsu's hands when one of the defeated Foot lays a staff across the floor, causing Donatello to wipe out.
  • The Great Muppet Caper has loads of fun with this in the heist foil scene; once that diamond starts getting tossed around the muppets start bragging about their throwing skills, the host of The Wide World of Muppet Sports shows up, theme music starts playing...
  • The climax to the second live-action Scooby Doo movie features the gang trying to keep a piece of machinery away from a group of monsters.
  • The Dead Baby Comedy / Body Horror movie Street Trash does this with a homeless guy's severed penis.
  • The bullies in Beethoven do this to Ted with his glasses.
  • Titan A.E. had a scene where some bat-like aliens do this with the protagonist as the "ball" to keep him safe.
  • Mr. Toad and his friends Mole, Water Rat, and Angus Mac Badger actually do this to the deed for Toad Hall at the end of The Wind in the Willows segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in order to get rid of the evil innkeeper Mr. Winkie and his army of weasels, who have taken over the mansion after framing Toad for allegedly stealing a car.
  • Baloo and Bagheera actually do this to Mowgli near the middle of The Jungle Book in order to rescue him from King Louie and the other monkeys. Curiously enough, the animation for this scene was actually taken from the above film.
  • Aladdin: The Return of Jafar ends with Aladdin and his friends attempting to get Jafar's lamp away from Jafar and Abis Mal in order to destroy it, because according to Genie, the only way to kill a genie is to destroy his lamp before his summoner can wish him free (at which the genie becomes invincible afterwards). Jafar finds out about this, and as a result he traps the heroes in a pit of lava, with the lamp just out of reach. Fortunately, Iago the parrot shows up in time, grabs Jafar's lamp, and throws it into the lava. Cue Jafar getting electrocuted, turning into a skeleton, screaming throughout, and exploding violently.
  • The climax of Shrek 2 did this with the Fairy Godmother's magic wand.


Live Action Television

  • The Doctor and Ace with the Bow of Nemesis in the Doctor Who serial Silver Nemesis.
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm has a memorable sequence of yoinks as the Wind and Thunder Rangers fight for the Wind Rangers' mentor, currently a guinea pig in a pet ball-sized force field.
  • Apparently Monk played this version right through College. It becomes useful.
  • Used as a spoof of Rugby in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men. Just to add to the spoof, they're using an actual egg.
  • Kenan and Kel try this with a remote control in "Foul Bull" when they attempt to stop the former's father from seeing that they have something to do with Ron Harper's injury. It ends quickly when Roger grabs on Kel to get the remote.

Web Original

  • In the Gotham Girls web Flash animated series, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy tried to keep their loot from Batgirl in this manner. Unfortunately for the crooks, Batgirl took advantage of Harley's childish gullibility and called to her to throw the item to her. Harley, caught up in the tossing, did so and realized too late that she was suckered while Batgirl made her getaway.

Western Animation

  • Justice League Unlimited does this in the episode "Kid Stuff" to keep the "Amulet of First Magic" away from Mordred.
  • Given the Gotta Catch Them All nature of Jackie Chan Adventures, it's little surprise this often happens. The second season opener subverted it: once the keepaway session (with the Talismans) was completed, Uncle angrily revealed that the heroes had gone after the wrong MacGuffin.
  • Kim Possible does it a few times. In "A Sitch In Time", it's the head of the Tempus Simia idol. In "Adventures In Rufus Sitting", everyone's after the microchip that the token naked mole rat has swallowed. They do the schoolyard version in A Sitch in Time, first The Movie.
  • This is directly used as a spoof of American Football in season 3 of Transformers Generation 1 as Blurr, Wheelie and the others throw Metroplex's conveniently egg-shaped Transformation Cog to one another while running.
    • Indeed, the term "yoink!" in these moments is a sort of inside gag for Transformers fans, as it pops up in a lot of fan works.
    • In the pilot of Transformers Animated, the Autobots do this trying to keep the AllSpark away from Starscream.
  • And the Kids Next Door do this with a football-shaped bomb.
  • The Batman has an episode where he and Batgirl keep getting snatched from them (or dropped) the antidote that will cure the three villains.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, the bullies do this with Bart's "Junior Campers" uniform. Bart actually wanted to quit so he started to walk away, telling them to keep it. Jimbo then tells him that he'd better pretend to want it back, or he'd be sorry. Bart complies.
    • Another episode has a group of girl bullies doing this with Lisa's shoes.
  • In DuckTales, The Beagle Boys and the triplets Huey Dewey and Louie ended up doing this with a bag of form-changing powder, while engaged in a Shapeshifter Showdown on top of that!
  • Near the end of one episode of Cyberchase, the kids toss the Sun-o-sphere back and forth to keep the Hacker from taking it. At the end of another (doubling as a Crowning Moment of Awesome), Matt trusts Slider enough to play Keep-Away with the Ring.
  • In an episode of Recess, the Ashleys steal Gus's harmonica and toss it amongst themselves while getting Gus to jinx himself.
  • In an episode of Storm Hawks, the Hawks annoy Starling because what they claim is a training exercise seems like a game of this-the climax of the episode turns out to be a Final Exam Boss requiring the skills addressed in the assortment of "games" played earlier when they trained, including, yes, a game of keep-away.
  • Roger and his gang play keep-away with Larry the AV nerd's hat at the beginning of an episode of Doug, taunting the poor kid all the while and daring him to jump for it. The episode's plot is kicked off when the hat lands on Doug's pencil, and he holds it up...unfortunately, Larry mistakes Doug as having been playing along with the bullies and snaps, challenging him to a fight.

Real Life

  • The game "Monkey In The Middle" is basically this trope, though all participants are willing and nothing was technically stolen (unless you count the "monkey" taking the item and switching places with the last person to touch the item)
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