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File:Alice Doll Army.jpg

Alice assembles her doll army for disturbingly cute warfare.

This guy doesn't fight via his own power; he has an army of Perverse Puppets--that he controls via strings, magic, or advanced technology--to do it for him. Particularly sadistic ones can also make People Puppets.

A Sub-Trope of The Beast Master. Compare Puppeteer Parasite. See also Marionette Motion.

May or may-not overlap with Robot Master

Examples of Marionette Master include:

Anime and Manga

  • Kankuro from Naruto is a rare (eventually) heroic example. Ditto Chiyo; Sasori not so much. Typically they all use puppets full of hidden weaponry, including poison.
  • Gein from Rurouni Kenshin hides inside his puppet and basically uses it like a Steampunk Giant Robot.
  • Leonof the Puppetmaster from Trigun.
  • Walter from Hellsing upgrades to using his Razor Floss to making People Puppets.
  • Evangeline from Mahou Sensei Negima makes the list as well, fighting alongside her Perverse Puppet Chachazero when her powers aren't sealed. Though as a powerful Japanese Vampire mage, this is mainly a secondary ability.
    • She is also shown to have quite a few puppet servants and was implied to once have had an army of such puppets.
  • Makubex & co in GetBackers.
  • Castor in 07Ghost
  • The Hollow Numb Chandelier in Bleach has this as her main power, using the virus to make People Puppets out of Orihime's friends.
    • Ditto one of the Bounts, Mabashi, who takes over Rukia's body; Orihime restores Rukia's sanity by hugging and then activating her powers.
    • Also, the Arrancar Zommari.
  • Doflamingo of One Piece is of the People Puppets variety, though he also seems to have the strings themselves as part of his personal arsenal.
  • Friagne, the first villain in Shakugan no Shana, controls hordes of exploding dolls (possibly constructed from torches). His goal is to turn Marianne, the Rinne doll he loves, into an independent existence.
  • Corona of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid is revealed in flashbacks to have doll manipulation as her main talent. After Vivio praised her for it, she trained and refined this skill to the point where she can now manipulate giant Golems in battle.
  • Pandora Hearts - Zwei, or rather her Chain Doldum, is one of those. Poor Gil.
  • One of Yura of the Hair's abilities in Inuyasha. She would use threads of hair to manipulate the bodies of unconscious people from Kaede's village, then force them to attack Inuyasha and the group.
  • Genso from Genzo is a puppet master of amazing skills, and combines this with being Crazy Prepared. Other "puppet masters" in the series are his teacher and father-in-law Seibei and his half-brother Koshiro, who's even more skilled than him.
  • Faust of Saber Marionette J.
  • The Spider Demon Mother from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, was able to summon MANY tiny spiders who'd bind her victims with spiderweb-like threads, letting her control their movements like puppets. Whenever she got angry, she'd use the threads to fatally break their necks.

Comic Books

  • Teen Titans foe the Puppeteer.
  • Superman villain the Toyman usually uses an army of toys to do his fighting for him.
  • Wanted has The Doll-Master.
  • Toybox from Top Ten.
  • The now obscure General Jumbo and his Pocket Army, appearing in The Beano between 1953 to 1974, was another heroic example. Unusually, the forces at his command extended to full air and artillery support as well as a variety of vehicles for several thousand Small Soldiers-style infantry bots, and a lot of the weapons involved were explicitly capable of inflicting lethal harm.


  • Andre Toulon in the Puppet Master series as well as anybody else that the puppets obey.
  • William Stryker was this in the X-Men Origins movie.
  • The Other Mother aka Beldam in Coraline. Her dolls are not primarily made for fighting, however if her victim comes to realise the trap it has fallen into and attempts to fight back, they can become rather deadly.

Live Action Television


Video Games

Real Life

  • The US army began using Reaper drones - and thus had pilots controlling Reaper drones, hence the trope - in Iraq in 2008.

Web Comic

  • Homestuck: Dave's Bro may or may not have been this with his favourite puppet, Lil' Cal. On one hand, he was capable of flashstepping so fast that he could have been making it look like Lil' Cal was moving of his own accord, and initially that's what appears to be happening. On the other hand, there's plenty of evidence and testimony throughout the story that Lil' Cal actually is alive and capable of autonomous movement. We simply can't know for certain, and that makes it all the more terrifying a thought...
    • Confirmed. He has the PUPPETKIND abstratus as Dirk, his Alpha universe counterpart.
  • All over the place in Erfworld. Dollomancy, Croakamancy, and Decryption are all this trope through and through. Even the setting, where soldiers telepathically know their leader's wishes to some extent, counts.