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A form of Meet Cute, where two characters who inevitably end up becoming friends/comrades/boyfriend and girlfriend first meet in this very uncordial way. One of the characters, normally through a misunderstanding, ends up taking the other character hostage/kidnapping them. Their interactions are normally played for comedy, with plenty of snarking and arguing. If they're together for a while, it's expected that somewhere along the line, the hostage ends up developing feelings for and grows attached to their kidnapper, seeing signs that the kidnapper is not all bad. Whether or not initially they are on opposing sides depends, but it normally ends with either one of them defecting to the "correct" side.

If it's more on the side of romance instead of plain friendship, expect a point where the kidnapper lets the victim go, only for the victim to decide to stay with the kidnapper. This can occasionally seem forced, especially if, even though the viewers are informed that the kidnapper is actually a good person at heart, they don't really treat the victim all that nicely to justify the sudden loyalty.

Contrast Rescue Romance and Bodyguard Crush.


Anime & Manga

  • Akira has Tetsuo and Kaori, especilly in the manga. Kaori was forced to become Tetsuo's Sex Slave of sorts, but she stays with him even when she could've left and, in return, she becomes one of the few persons he seems to truly care for.
  • This is how Italy and Germany meet in one of the first episodes of Axis Powers Hetalia set during World War I. Germany captures Italy, and Italy, who is shown as a Pasta Eating Surrender Monkey, is perfectly fine with that. Italy gets Stockholm Syndrome. Then, in World War II, he comes back and wants to be on Germany's side this time ...
  • Berserk: Guts and Farnese first meet in this sort of fashion, and their interactions are highly amusing. When they first meet, Farnese was a section leader of the Holy Iron Chain Knights, and she was assigned to capture and kill the Black Swordsman (Guts). Guts ends up temporarily taking her hostage (only to get shot and then captured by Farnese's group). Later, in order to escape, he ends up kidnapping and holding her hostage again, this time with more funny and amusing interactions between the two of them than the previous time (including a moment where he threatens to "burn her ass" if the soldiers don't make way). During this time period, her future infatuation and admiration of him is foreshadowed and hinted at.
  • Black Lagoon: How Rock joined the Lagoon Company.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Al first meets with Greed and his chimera underlings by being kidnapped by them. Granted, he never really becomes friends with Greed, but... Greed (and especially his underlings) are portrayed as being pretty sympathetic and not actually all that evil. And their interactions were hilarious. All in all, they actually treated Al pretty decent for a hostage captive. And in the end, Al definitely bonded with and liked the two underlings Dorochet and Martel. Which made their death all the more tragic.
  • In Gankutsuou, the series is pretty much jump-started by Albert getting kidnapped by Peppo and the gang she's a part of and held hostage for ransom. They later develop a mutual crush on each other while he's in captivity, although Albert's crush ceases when he finds out that "she" is a he. They still stay friends, though.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: At least kidnapping was Hayate's original plan. Having always been a Messiah-esque, wonderful little boy, he ends up getting taken advantage of to the point where he gets fed up with optimistic ideas. He decides to finally "become a devil" and do something evil to get money. So he sets his sights on kidnapping Nagi, the rich little oujo. Only... at every opportunity to do something evil, he ends up going back to his selfless, old habits, and treats hervery nicely. To the point where his declaration that he wants to "run away with her (by kidnapping her)" causes her to misunderstand that he's confessing that he wants to elope with her. And she liked it...
  • In the Manhwa The Kidnapping of Minja Jo's Boyfriend, Park Jun-Sook is the rival female gang leader of Minja Jo. To get even with her, Park Jun-Sook decides to kidnap Minja Jo's boyfriend. However, due to a misunderstanding, she accidentally ends up kidnapping a beautiful delinquent from school, Junghoon Son (who has absolutely nothing to do with the entire thing). Of course, they end up having a bunch of hilarious interactions and misunderstandings, but end up falling in love (even before the misunderstanding is cleared up).
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Natsumi enters into the plot with a naked Kotarou behind her and a few inches from digging his claws into her neck (stop thinking those dirty thoughts), Kotarou was just scared after passing out and waking in a strange room. Anyway, guess who Natsumi later gets a crush on and who Kotarou forms a Pactio with?
  • Battler and Beatrice in Umineko no Naku Koro ni. They start out as bitter enemies set out to torture each other endlessly. They end up Happily Married.
  • Samurai Champloo. It ends badly for Fuu and her captor.
  • This is a major plot point of Ai no Kusabi.
  • The entire basis for the Ulquiorra/Orihime pairing in Bleach. In reality, it's only hinted at: Orihime grows to have pity for Ulquiorra, Ulquiorra grows curious of humans through Orihime, so on... Fans who keep up with Japanese translations got the mini-comic in UNMASKED, a data book, which spawned a thousand questions, but all streamed from one question: "Why the heck is a villain sleeping on the kidnapped damsel's couch?"

Comic Books

Fairy Tales


  • Cannonball Run: Burt Reynolds kidnaps Farrah Fawcett
  • The Chase: Charlie Sheen kidnaps Kristy Swanson
  • Excess Baggage: Alicia Silverstone and Benicio Del Toro, though the kidnapping is accidental.
  • King Kong, or at least the versions where she falls in love with the ape—i.e. all but the original.
  • A Life Less Ordinary, with Ewan McGregor kidnapping Cameron Diaz.
  • Something of this sort happens in National Treasure with Abigail Chase ending up tagging along with Nicholas Cage.
  • As noted by the SpoonyOne, Agent 47's "relationship" with Olga Kurylenko's character in the Hitman movie strongly comes across as this. He drives across Russia while she's stuffed in his car trunk with a dead body, constantly threatens to torture and murder her, and drags her out of a restaurant by her hair. She becomes strangely attracted to him, very overtly tries to seduce him several times, and continues to accompany him when she has several opportunities to make a run for it. Being asexual 47 ignores her sexual advances, but does eventually show some degree of protection for her.
  • Out of Sight: Jennifer Lopez is a cop who gets abducted trying to prevent the escape of a jail inmate played by George Clooney. They get to spend quality time stuck together in the trunk of a car, and mutual attraction ensues.
  • Non-romantic example: in A Perfect World, Kevin Costner plays a jail inmate who escapes and takes a little boy hostage. Gradually they develop a father-child relationship, to the point where the boy voluntarily stays with him.
  • Frank Martin (Jason Statham) and Lai Kwai (Shu Qi) in The Transporter.
  • In the movie The Running Man (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger), right in the beginning, while Richard is a fugitive who escaped from labor camp, he goes to his brother's apartment. There, he finds Amber Mendez, who is the current tenant there. Richard ends up kidnapping her, and was planning to go to Hawaii. Their interactions are played for laughs, though she ends up managing to alert airport security before his plan works. Later, however, she ends up getting captured and forced to participate in the "Running Man" show, where she ends up realizing that Richard isn't a bad guy, and becomes his official love interest.
  • A friendship version of this is found in the film Ruthless People, where the poor, young couple Sandy and Ken kidnap millionaire Danny DeVito's wife (Bette Midler), hoping to hold her hostage for ransom (since DeVito had conned them out of their savings and stole Sandy's fashion ideas). Of course, it turns out that DeVito wants his wife dead, since he has a new flame that he's having an affair with. It turns out that Sandy and Ken are actually insanely nice people, and have the hardest time pretending to be villainous kidnappers. Bette Midler, being the loud-mouthed, violent and bossy woman, ends up being more aggressive and scarier than them. Later, she ends up seeing what gentle and kind people they are, and they end up becoming friends, joining together to bring down her evil husband.
  • It's not a romantic example, but this kind of situation going horribly wrong is the basic plot of the Korean movie Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Deaf guy and his communist girlfriend tries to kidnap boss' daughter to get money to buy his sister a new kidney. The kid is extremely cute and everything seems to go fine... until the kid drowns accidentally, which sets the boss off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. In the end, it's a Kill'Em All ending.
  • Pedro Almodavar's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! could be described as being MADE of this trope. Antonio Banderas kidnaps a depressed and 'uptight' actress and refuses to let her go until she 'loosens up' and 'joyfully' falls in love with him. It's all for her own good, of course. The disturbing thinking behind this concept is what differentiates this trope from the psychological phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome.
  • Elektra and Renard in The World Is Not Enough could be considered a villainous version of this.
  • In the movie Red, Bruce Willis has developed a relationship over the phone with a young telemarketer. Unfortunately he's a retired CIA agent and when he's put on a wet team's hit list, has to kidnap her in order to save her life. As she points out, it wasn't the first date she had in mind. And she thought he'd have hair.
  • A serious example in Three Days of the Condor. The protagonist takes a random woman hostage so he can have a place to hole up that isn't connected to him. She ends up sleeping with him. Though the movie does try to explain her psychological reasons for doing so, one can't help thinking it's more a case of Stockholm Syndrome than anything else.
  • The Pet: Phillip and Mary/GG's relationship has elements of this.


  • This is how Bourne and Marie meet in The Bourne Identity novel. She then attempts to escape to the custody of the men after him, which... doesn't go as she'd planned, and Bourne has to rescue her.
  • This is much of the plot of Stardust: the hero sees a falling a star with the girl he loves, and vows to bring it back for her. However, the star turns out to be a real person...
  • In so much as the book has a plot, The Mathematics of Oz covers this.
  • Non-romantic example from the Belisarius Series. When Kungas met Shakuntala for the first time he was her jailor. Of course this was helped a lot by the fact that the first thing he did before taking her into custody was to carve into tidbits some fellow soldiers who were acting in a somewhat undisciplined manner toward her.
  • Aral and Cordelia in the Vorkosigan Saga.
  • In Jennifer Fallons' Tide Lords Quartet series, the heroine is kidnapped by the prisoner she's escorting. She'd decided to let him loose in order to prove that he was delusional and not the all-powerful god he thought he was. Turned out she was wrong.
  • Opal and Devlen in Ixia and Sitia. The guy possessed the body of her boyfriend and slept with her, kidnapped her, and tortured her. But it's okay, he was an addict at the time!
  • Kinda weird version in the Star Trek novel Final Frontier (not The Final Frontier, but rather the one by Diane Carey): Jim Kirk's father, George, meets and befriends Romulan field-primus t'Cael Zaniidor Kilyle this way. First, the Federation knows nothing about the Romulans at this time, and assumes them to be reptilian. George arranges to meet with the Romulan's commander on a little planet/moon. When he gets there, he sees a "Vulcan" sitting between two helmeted guards, and assumes a hostage situation. So he grabs t'Cael, fends the guards off with his phaser, gets them to cover, and then hands t'Cael a second phaser in case he needs it, ignoring any possible threat from t'Cael (turning his back to watch for the guards) and leaving t'Cael utterly flabbergasted.

 Kidnapped, protected, and now given a weapon?

    • They become teammates and eventually friends after an officer back on the ship disobeys orders and fires on the planet in an attempted assassination.
  • In The Sacred Art of Stealing suave criminal mastermind kidnaps cool cop Angelique De Xavia, and when she accidentally says "I wish you'd been there to tell me that when I got up this morning" he responds, politely, he wishes the same thing.

Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who begins with The Doctor basically kidnapping Barbara and Ian.
    • Most of his companions start as being accidentally whisked away, particularly the ones who accidentally wandered in the TARDIS.
    • The most recent example of this would be Donna Noble, who got teleported inside the TARDIS in the middle of her wedding. In his defense, though, he had no part in that one, and she only became a full companion after she Jumped At the Call the second time.


  • The Taming of the Shrew is pretty much this trope personified; he makes her his prisoner and torments her until she falls in love with him. Though some would say that he makes her his prisoner and uses several techniques that are still used today for "interrogation" (read: torture) and brainwashing until he breaks her spirit.
  • Aida. The story starts with the eponymous heroine being taken as a slave by her eventual lover.

Video Games

  • Disgaea 2 Cursed Memories: No one intended to summon Rozalin, but once they had she was bound to help them find Zenon. Not doing so, or stopping searching for Zenon altogether would kill either Rozalin or Adell respectively. Forced cooperation -> mutual understanding and goal -> love.
  • The videogame Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (and the movie) starts out with the Prince's army taking Farah prisoner, but with their ending up in love.
  • Inverted in Drakengard, where Nowe's first real experience with Manah is taking and holding her captive. In the brief conversation that follows, she turns his entire worldview upside down, and he defects the army to join her rebellion and eventually become her Love Interest immediately after her escape.
  • In Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, the plot revolves around Monkey, who has been fitted with a Slave Collar by hacker girl Trip so they can communicate, and to force him to help her cause. Before the final battle, when Trip takes the Slave Collar off so he can be free, Monkey tells her to put it back on.
  • This is a way to see General Camus and Princess Nyna's Star-Crossed Lovers bond in the Fire Emblem Akaneia games. From Nyna's part, she admits that she first hated him because he was part of the group that killed her family (although not directly responsible) and then during their small time together when she was his country's captive as a political prisoner, she develops very strong romantic feelings for him. From Camus' part, he returned Nyna's feelings and he did put his life and knighthood on the line to take her to an allied realm before she could be executed; this causes him to lose a lot of influence in his kingdom, but he stubbornly refused to abandon his king, even when Nyna begs him to side with the League.


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