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When embarrassed or reluctant, ditzy or shy characters frequently touch their forefingers' tips together in front of them and twiddle them up and down, often accompanied by a "toiktoik" sound.

While this trope is most prominent in animanga-influenced works, it's occasionally found in western works. Western expression of this trope can be thumb twiddling, an entirely different gesture, often used in a situation where the character could be jiggling their foot. Thumb twiddling is accomplished by holding the hands together with fingers of both hands loosely woven together, the action is the the twirling of the thumbs in circles around one another.

Often seen in anime in a Cannot Spit It Out or "please don't embarrass me" situation. Not to be confused with Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive.

Examples of Shy Finger-Twiddling include:

Anime & Manga

  • Usagi from Sailor Moon does this a lot.
  • So does Hinata Hyuuga from Naruto. (That's her, pictured at right.)
    • Naruto himself does this too from time to time, usually when Sakura or Kakashi is scolding him.
    • Jiraiya, also known as Ero-Sennin to Naruto and Sannin to everyone else, did this in the anime, while requesting Naruto to remain in the Oiroke no jutsu state whenever they were together.
  • And Yuzu from Asagiri no Miko.
  • In the first episode of Azumanga Daioh, Kaorin does this after catching a glimpse of a cat logo somewhere on Sakaki's person as Sakaki is changing into her gym shorts.

 Kaorin: I thought I saw something incredibly cute just now...

  • Nozomi in the very first episode of Yes! Precure 5, as she explained her disastrous attempts at joining various clubs.
  • Many characters in the Pretty Sammy series do this, but mostly Sasami.
  • Shinobu from Ninin ga Shinobuden does this a lot in front of her beloved Kaede.
  • Also done by shy characters when speaking to the object of their affection; see Hinata and Aoi for examples.
  • This was actually done by one of the Zentradi -- yes, a hulking male giant -- in Super Dimension Fortress Macross, when he was nervous about interrupting his commander's demonstration (to a female Zentradi) that humans did have some customs worth borrowing -- in this case, kissing.
  • May/Haruka in Pokemon does this once when her rival of the day confronts her about her feelings for Drew.
    • And also when Ash wanted to visit the Petalburg City Gym as shown here.
  • Tamaki does this when talking to Haruhi episode four of Ouran High School Host Club
  • Ranma Saotome of Ranma ½ often does this when placed in a serious, romantic situation with his fiancée, Akane.
  • Various characters in Rosario to Vampire.
  • Celty Sturluson, of all people, does this in Durarara when Shinra's father asks her if she's in love with Shinra.


  • Just in case you didn't think she was already cute as a button, Molly from Runaways does this when she discovers she's the only one who came up with a super-hero costume.

Fan Fiction


  • WALL-E does the robotic equivalent. Which does not involve as much twiddling as the human type.
  • Boxer Santaros does this a lot in Southland Tales, nervously tapping his fingers together in a somewhat odd manner.
  • Oliver Hardy often did this when nervous or embarrassed. That is, when he wasn't fiddling with his necktie.


  • Done by Thompson and Thomson in the Tintin story Red Rackham's Treasure.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle (original book), you could tell that Sophie's sister Martha was lying when she stopped twiddling her thumbs. While not a plot point per se, this information did let Sophie confirm that Michael was talking about the right sister.

Video Games

  • Micky from Makai Kingdom does this. Being a purple, four-armed demon general that's the upper part of a three-bodied monster who is the overlord of its own netherworld, it is a good sign that Micky isn't, by their standards, very good at being an overlord.
  • In Tokimeki Memorial 2, this is Akane Ichimonji's standard sprite pose when she's in Tokimeki State.

Web Animation

  • Ruby Rose from RWBY does this during her first meeting with Weiss Schnee.

Web Comics

Western Animation

Real Life

  • In American Sign Language, pointing your index fingers at each other is the sign for "hurt".
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