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Robert: Is this a habit of yours, falling off of stuff?
A woman literally falls into a man's arms. It's a dramatic and romantic scene, so it's naturally a common setup for Meet Cute.
It's also such an old trope that it has standard subversions and parodies. Played straight, it's almost always a man successfully catching a woman. It can be subverted by having the falling woman squash her would-be hero, or by having her miss him entirely, especially with animation's Amusing Injuries or if the girl was deliberately trying to invoke this trope by pretending to faint or something.
Because Falling Into His Arms is so romantic, it can be easily parodied by having a man fall into a man's arms, for a bit of comedic Ho Yay. That can also be combined with one of the standard subversions. And at times it can be played straight, if the work in question has Homoerotic Subtext going on.
Another old variation is for a man to be the waiting arms beneath the windows of a burning building, when a mom decides that her baby would have a better chance of surviving if she tossed it. More intense drama, no romance (unless the mom survives, is single, and is sufficiently impressed).
The baby Falling Into His Arms has two standard subversions too. One is for the man to miss the catch, and the other is for it to turn out to be something else wrapped up in swaddling clothes, such as an ugly pet. Or an ugly baby, for that matter. Maybe he wouldn't have gone to the trouble to save that face.
A standard parody of the baby toss is for the woman to toss an ever-growing number of increasingly large and heavy objects into her hero's waiting arms, until eventually — wait for it — he gets squashed. Because it's funny!
In all such cases, it's Not the Fall That Kills You.
Examples of Falling Adults
Anime & Manga
- This is how Hitagi Senjougahara meets Koyomi Araragi in Bakemonogatari. It kick-starts the supernatural plot of the show because she only weighs 5 kilos, due to a "heavy crab" stealing her weight and, as he catches her, he realizes this...
- This is how Suzaku meets Euphemia in Code Geass.
- Happens twice to Chick Magnet Van in Gun X Sword . The first time, Van catches Wendy when she faints; the second time, Priscilla tumbles into his arms. Both girls are potential love interests. However, it's subverted in episode 6 when would-be bandit Klatt fails to catch his girlfriend Bunny. Van mocks him for it.
- Subverted in Ouran High School Host Club where during a Zuka club performance where Haruhi jumps off a high stage and into Tamaki's waiting arms... and proceeds to squash him into the ground.
- This is how Kodachi thinks she met Ranma Saotome, although she'd actually met "her" a few hours earlier. Ironically, the reason he had to catch her in the first place was that he'd accidentally beaned her with a kettle, but no matter — she finds it very romantic and falls immediately in love with him, to his vast dismay.
- Subverted with Mari in Rebuild of Evangelion. The scene in question really has to be seen to be believed, but suffice it to say that the fine Eva tradition of poor Shinji being the Butt Monkey of all Creation is firmly upheld.
- At one point in Fairy Tail, Lucy actually throws herself off of a building because she knows Natsu will be there to catch her. And sure enough, he comes running out of nowhere and saves her. Of course, they land completely awkwardly, with her chest smooshed up into his face.
- In Tiger and Bunny, rescuing Kotetsu this way is the first thing Barnaby does prior to his introduction. He then proceeds to do it a second time (while lampshading the situation)...And again just before the end of the last episode.
Barnaby: It's been a while since I carried you like this. Have you gained weight?
- In the X 1999 mix of trailer and music video by CLAMP and X Japan, Kamui Shirou's prospective Love Interest Kotori Monou has what seems to be an hallucination (but it's almost surely a prophetic dream). Once it's over she collapses into Kamui's arms, then holds on him and cries into his chest.
- Subverted in Umi no Yami, Tsuki no Kage. Katsuyuki tells Ruka to do this when her hospital room (on a third floor) is on fire - but as she jumps off the window and towards him, her Flight powers activate.
- Given some pretty mean spins in Tekken: Blood Vengeance. As Xiaoyu arrives to the Kyoto International School to look for Shin, a guy she's forced to track down and capture, she looks up and sees a boy literally falling from the sky - or better said, the nearest rooftop. She uses her martial arts skills to pull a Wall Jump and then a Diving Save to catch him and land safely, but the boy refuses her help and says he just slipped before limping away. It turns out the boy is Shin, and he did NOT slip - he was trying to kill himself.
- Life Is Beautiful, though it was a short fall into hay and she probably would have been fine without him.
- Played straight AND subverted to good effect in the movie Enchanted — in the fairy tale world Prince Edward easily catches Princess Giselle in his arms in a straightforward fashion. Later, in "real world" New York, Princess Giselle falls on Robert and knocks him over. (Which is probably what would really happen if a woman fell on a man.)
- If you've seen the ending of the film, this trope gets inverted! After Robert wakes Giselle with True Love's Kiss, Narissa transforms into a dragon, kidnaps Robert and goes to the top of the Woolworth Building. Later, she falls down to her death, and Giselle, who chased after Narissa, catches Robert and both managed to stay on the roof, away from sure death. To add effect to the scenes, they pulled an Ironic Echo of the "Is this a big habit of yours, falling off stuff?" question.
- Done for laughs in the in the live-action film of Little Women with Winona Ryder. Meg, Jo, Laurie and John Brooke return from an evening at the theater, and as they exit the carriage, Jo raves about the lead actress being "a wonderful swooner."
Jo: If only I were the swooning type! [dramatically falling from the carriage]
Live Action TV
- Variation on Pushing Daisies: Due to Ned being Blessed with Suck, when his love interest trips right in front of him he has to step out of the way to avoid touching her, leaving room for someone else to swoop in and be the hero. He gets the girl anyway, but not before he nurses his inferiority complex for a while.
- In Once Upon a Time, Rumpelstiltskin catches Belle when she falls ripping down curtains. 'Cause they're falling in love.
- In Final Fantasy XII, the main character catches Amalia in just this fashion.
- The dramatic version is also used in FFVIII when the team stages a commando raid on the facility about to freeze Rinoa. Squall smashes the tank and she falls forward into his arms.
- Subverted in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, when Luigi's parachute gives, and the shiny bishounen Prince Peasley holds his arms out to catch him... only to have Luigi knock him aside and the two to hit the ground anyway.
- Scratch invokes this trope in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, when after he dresses to seduce Sonic, he deliberately trips and lands in Sonic's arms.
- In Psychonauts one of Milla's Memory Reels shows this happening with her and Sasha (that's a guy with an arguably Gender Blender Name, for the record).
- Fire Emblem:
- Blazing Blade: Florina the Pegasus Knight with a crippling phobia of men falls out of the sky after almost being shot down by the enemy and lands on Hector, who's coming to the rescue alongside Eliwood. Played for laughs when it is revealed that her Pegasus landed on him also.
- In Radiant Dawn, Lucia is barely rescued by Ike and the Greil Mercenaries from the gallows where she's supposed to be hanged by rebels. Shinon cuts down the noose with his arrows, and as she falls off Ike rushes through the crowds and catches her.
- Three Houses: at the very end of the Silver Snow and Verdant Wind routes, when Lady Rhea alias The Immaculate One returns to her human form, she falls from a big height and all but floats into the Player Character's arms. It tends to overlap with Died in Your Arms Tonight, unless she and Byleth have at least an A support.
- In the cinematic movie for Fire Emblem: Heroes's Sixth Book, the Action Girl Ash literally plummets from the skies - and into the arms of the Summoner. She's adorably embarrassed about it.
- In Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks, as Princess Kitana is released from the Brainwashed and Crazy state that she's been in from the beginning, she collapses to the floor and the player character catches her like this.
- In this strip of Mystic Revolution, a catgirl falls off a cliff into a mighty summoner's arms, complete with a "Hello, beautiful."
- The webcomic College Roomies from Hell... repeatedly. People fall out of that building a lot. Sometimes wearing a bungee jumping cord.
- Well, the page title IS "A webcomic about defenestration," so...probably justified?
- Occurs in Questionable Content here with appropriate Lampshade Hanging.
- Occurs after a biking accident in Wapsi Square here. However, in this case, it is purely comedy, and it is not played for romance in any way.
- Happens a lot in Teen Titans with Robin and Starfire, usually with Starfire getting knocked out the air by something and Robin rushing to catch her.
- This is how Will and Caleb meet on WITCH.
- Well, they're kids, but Phineas and Ferb inverts this in one episode where Phineas is falling to his near-death, gets saved by an impromptu trampoline his love interest Isabella comes up with and bounces off of it into her arms.
- Used in Nine, when 9 rescues 7 from The Seamstress.
- Inverted twice in Avatar: The Last Airbender, where Katara catches Aang. The first time plays the trope more traditionally, as he tumbles into her arms after leaving the Avatar State, opens his eyes to see her face and falls in love.
- Pictured above: In Voltron: Legendary Defender, this is how Princess Allura meets her prospect Love Interest Lance. In this continuity she's been kept in stasis for many years, and when the future Paladins (the aforementioned Lance plus Keith, Shiro, Pidge and Hunk) find her capsule and de-freeze her, she stumbles out and then near passes out, so Lance rushes to catch her. Cue Allura looking up at him, a brief Held Gaze between the two, and Lance comically failing to woo her.
Examples of tossed babies:
Live Action TV
- Parodied (in a skit based on an old joke) on Benny Hill. Benny played a soccer goalie who assures the woman in the burning building that he can easily catch her baby. Which he does. And then, ever the goalie, he follows up by kicking the baby into the crowd.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja once ended an issue with the doctor reflexively catching a baby before knowing about it as part of a Brick Joke.
- Spoofed in the Ren and Stimpy cartoon "Firedogs!", where a fat, middle-aged housewife in a burning building tosses various heavy objects onto Ren, including a comically oversized baby ("Save my baby! Save my horse! Save my walrus! Save my elephant!"), then shrieks "Save me!" as Stimpy sends Ren up the fire truck ladder at high speed.