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When two people meet formally for the first time, it is customary for them to shake hands. The handshake is initiated when the two hands touch, immediately. It is commonly done upon meeting, greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement. In sports or other competitive activities, it is also done as a sign of good sportsmanship. Its purpose is to convey trust, balance, and equality.
This trope is about when, instead of the usual handshake as a greeting gesture, the characters use a variation, each of which has its own connotations. Most of these variations are less formal than a handshake, but some retain the formality. While mostly a Western Media trope, it has found its way into eastern media on occasion.
Handshake substitutes that have their own tropes:
- 1 Forearm Clasp
- 2 Film
- 3 Literature
- 4 Live-Action TV
- 5 Theatre
- 6 Western Animation
- 7 Fist Bump
- 8 Anime and Manga
- 9 Film
- 10 Live-Action TV
- 11 Toys
- 12 Video Games
- 13 Webcomics
- 14 Western Animation
- 15 Real Life
- 16 Dap Greeting
- 17 Anime and Manga
- 18 Film
- 19 Video Games
- 20 Western Animation
- 21 Real Life
- 22 Peace Sign
"You are my equal, sir, and I honor/greet/salute you."
This is the variation closest to an actual handshake, and is quite possibly its precursor. Instead of exchanging handgrips, the two clasp each others' forearms, just below the elbow. It is considered archaic and often 'knightly', the kind of greeting warriors of old gave each other, supposedly to prove they didn't have a knife up their sleeve.
- In Ben-Hur, Ben and Massala exchange grips, which really doesn't help to quench the Ho Yay rumors. But it does look so manly...
- In James Swallow's Warhammer 40000 story "The Returned" when Thryn tells Tarikus that he is completely untainted, he then offers Tarikus his hand. Tarikus shakes it in the old way, palm to wrist.
- Elaine Cunningham's Elfshadow describes this as a traditional greeting exchanged between Harpers in the Forgotten Realms.
- The double-handed Centauri hands of friendship gesture from Babylon 5
- Used in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena all the time.
- The Jaffa sometimes perform this action as a greeting in the Stargate Verse.
- Occasionally used by the Klingons in various Star Trek series.
- The Ventara Riders on Kamen Rider Dragon Knight often use this.
- Often used in Shakespearean plays.
- Seen in Quest for Camelot, when the Knights of the Round Table greet each other during their "Charming Singalong".
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, this Is the Southern Water Tribe standard greeting.
- Often seen in Gargoyles although sometimes the animation made it look like they were grabbing each other's wrists.
"Hey, man, how's it going?" "Pretty cool, bro, pretty cool."
A less excitable version, this substitute is decidedly casual. It's somewhere in between a handshake and a high-five in meaning, combining greeting with familiarity and victory. Two people pump their fists against each other, but like with a too-strong grip in a handshake, bumping too hard is considered rude and needlessly confrontational. Bumping other parts of the arm together instead of the fist is also acceptable, such as in the trope picture.
Colloquially known as the brofist, though this term has a relatively different significance. A brofist is better defined as a light touch of the fists or the knuckles, and it is used more frequently as a commemorative or celebratory gesture
in any situation that appeals to the two bros' sensibilities of one (or both) of them having scored/scoring.
Anime and Manga
- Nanoha and Fate do the reassuring brofist ("sisfist"?) towards the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, just before they go separate ways (Nanoha, after the Cradle and Fate, to Scaglietti's bunker). They do it IN FLIGHT!
- The example pictured above is from Berserk, specifically Owen greeting Laban after he manages to rescue a village full of people.
- Naruto and Sasuke share one of these in the first opening sequence. Notably, these two characters never do so in canon, seldom being on good enough terms with one another.
- Meanwhile, in the actual series, Killer Bee is fond of these.
- Numerous times in Fullmetal Alchemist, but the penultimate chapter's cover spread takes it Up to Eleven.
- Armbumps are the order of the day in Eyeshield 21.
- Black*Star and Soul Eater does this with the back of their fists.
- G Gundam has arguably the most epic brofist in the whole Gundam franchise. LOOK! THE EAST IS BURNING RED!!
- In the fifth Karano Kyoukai movie, Enjou and Kokutou exchange a fistbump before splitting up to go rescue Shiki from Araya.
- In High School DxD, Issei and Kiba do this before separating to go to their separate positions.
- This is how Mao and Harisugawa say their hellos with each other in Harisugawa in Mirror World.
- Jack Sparrow and Gibbs share a form of this (Gibbs' knuckles touch to the underside of Jack's palm) at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
- Samurai Sentai Shinkenger Vs. Engine Sentai Go-onger: Takeru (Shinken Red) and Sosuke (Go-On Red) after becoming friends at the end of the movie.
- Captain Marvelous of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and Retsu Ichijouji, a.k.a. Space Sheriff Gavan, before the big brawl in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan the Movie.
- Fairly ubiquitous in The Wire. In particular, when Avon is in prison, he and Stringer both fist-bump the plexiglass as a substitute.
- Adam Savage used elbow bumps to greet some volunteers involved in a Myth Busters experiment. However, the experiment was to see if he could avoid "infecting" them with his fake cold — normally, he's a hand shaker.
- Gus and Shawn on Psych do this ALL THE TIME. Usually when they solve a case, or agree on some point, or just want to reaffirm their friendship. There's even a three-way fist bump in one episode.
- The Doctor and companion Mickey Smith in Doctor Who. As the Doctor never has a problem hugging anyone in sight, this is presumably because Mickey is too manly to hug.
- Howie Mandel in Deal or No Deal always greeted contestants with a fist-bump. He has misophobia (fear of contamination/germs) and is too uncomfortable to shake hands.
- For the Toa in Bionicle, this is a standard greeting. They may have been doing it before it became popular in Real Life.
- In many of the games that take place after Street Fighter III, if Ryu and Ken are battling each other in a VS. match, they will fist bump each other before the start.
- Playstation Move Heroes features one of the most adorable brofists ever in its ending, between Ratchet and Clank.
- In Psychonauts, Edgar goes to fist bump Raz, and Raz jumps back, thinking he's about to attack. He pauses and then returns the fist bump.
- Roxas and Hayner exchange one of these early on in Kingdom Hearts II
- Super Robot Wars Z 2: Saisei-hen has one between Dancougar and Dancougar Nova at the end of their Combination Attack; fans quickly dubbed it the DanKuu Brofist.
- In Crea Vures, after Bitey helps Pokey to swing over a pit, the pair bump fists.
- An absolutely heartbreaking examples happens in Asura's Wrath Yasha, Asura's rival, dies standing up, mid-punch, and before he Disappears Into Light, Asura does this.
- Penny Arcade shows us how it's done.
- While Jack and Max are fighting, they punch each others fists. Max interprets this as the greatest fist-bump ever.
- Dead Winter features several instances of the girls sharing a bropound.
- Homestuck: Dave Strider gives brofists a few times, usually to Li'l Cal (until the latter started to creep him out too much). Eridan and Feferi also give each other a fistbunp (note spelling) to symbolize their moirallegiance relationship.
- Double K gives us a kinda cool one.
- In Megas XLR, Coop and Jamie combine this with a Dap Greeting and "The Horns" whenever a battle is won.
- Since the ponies in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic don't have hands, they do something like this, which some fans have taken to calling the "brohoof".
- The fist bump in the intro for Adventure Time is probably the most epic part, given the sound effect accompanying it.
- Sealab 2021 gives us Respek Knuckles!!!
- Boxers do it before the match, because their boxing gloves make handshaking practically impossible.
- Obama's "terrorist fist jab" - Barack Obama and his wife Michelle share a fist bump, Fox News host freaks out that it's a sign they support terrorism. Said host is fired, surprising some.
"You know who I am, right?" "Yeah, I know."
A more 'fun' version. Though it can refer to many kinds of greetings involving hand contact, dap is best known as a complicated routine of shakes, slaps, snaps, and other contact that must be known completely by both parties involved. Often includes a Pound Hug.
A Secret Handshake usually takes this form.
Anime and Manga
- In the new Fullmetal Alchemist anime, Major Armstrong and Sieg Curtis perform the most awesome greeting ever, complete with pec flexes and Bishie Sparkle, done while beating up Sloth, while a deep-voiced male chorus sings in the background.
- In the original anime, this is how they befriend each other. Muscles make respect!
- All over the place in Eight Mile.
- Shaun and Milky do this in This Is England after the skinheads drive Shaun home.
- Played for laughs in Undercover Brother, where the password for getting into the BROTHERHOOD headquarters is doing this with a mechanical arm.
- Done between Solid Snake and Otacon in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty.
- Perfect the handshake expression in Fable III and the hero does one of these.
"SLAP SLAP PUNCH"
- In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Call of the Cutie", the two snooty girls Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon do something like this. "Bump, bump, Sugarlump Rump!"
- Twilight Sparkle and Princess Cadance have their own version: "Sunshine! Sunshine! Ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake!" It becomes a plot point when the fake Cadance doesn't recognize it, tipping Twilight off that something is wrong; the real Princess Cadance performs this to prove to Twilight that she's the real one.
- In the French suburbs, the staple teenager salute is a small sideways tap followed by a light fist bump.
- Also common in America, though it's much more common among non-white males than any other group.
- It's also quite prevalent among junior high and high school girls. Often accompanied with a rhyme.
"Hi! Aren't you happy? I'm happy!"
Falling heavily out of favor recently, the Peace Sign is a leftover from the 'hippie days'. It involves making a V with one's index and middle finger while curling the remaining digits, and then holding the hand up near the shoulder. The "V for Victory" variation--in which the hand is held out triumphantly, similar to Giving Someone the Pointer Finger--is far more common in Anime than in western media.