• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Mizuho faces the reality of his situation.

When things just get too much, when you're totally defeated, shaken to your core, and at a loss for how to cope, sometimes, there's only one thing you can do.


Drop to your knees. Fall forward with arms outstretched, bow your head, and curse cruel fate. Sometimes called OTL, orz[1], or STO because the shape of the letters approximates this folding of the body.

This is the anime representation of dogeza, a posture of self-abasement used in formal apologies and to request great favors from persons of higher social status. If things are particularly bad, or the favor is particularly big, the supplicant will touch his forehead to the ground in a full kowtow. If played for laughs this is done in a Corner of Woe, Color Failure optional.

If this is towards an antagonist who still won't grant the humble person a favor, it's a good sign they're a complete Jerkass and they will be backhanded by plot karma later. And if a Hero rejects helping the supplicant, expect him/her to be HARSHLY chewed out by the rest of the cast. Compare Kneel Before Zod, Ain't Too Proud to Beg.

Examples of Pose of Supplication include:

Anime and Manga

  • In the Gravitation manga, Shuichi spends several hours in this position outside Yuki's front door. . . only to discover Yuki isn't even home.
  • Many, many Duelists adopt this pose after being defeated in a duel in Yu-Gi-Oh!.
  • Common way for non-combatants to express their frustration at being unable to join the battle in Dragon Ball.
  • "orz" in lowercase appears in the title of Mai-Otome episode 6, referring to the pose. It even made it to the English dub title ("Nina Entangled...orz").
  • Excel takes this pose while being lectured by the Great Will of the Macrocosm in the first episode of Excel Saga.
  • Tamaki and Haruhi in Ouran High School Host Club do this often.
  • In Ranma ½, Genma Saotome tries to pass this off as a martial arts technique: "The Crouch of the Wild Tiger." It is surprisingly effective.
    • And when he's forced to admit that he can no longer defeat his son, Ranma, in combat, he performs the "Carp on the Chopping Board" technique (lying down on your side, hands stretched and joined over your head, feet extended and crossed over one another.) It shocks Ranma to the core when he sees this, as it is a pose that acknowledges absolute defeat and submission.
    • Later on, when Ranma catches a supernatural cold that makes him freeze the very air around him, he kneels and bows deeply before Akane. When she notices he's been in that position for a long time, he replies that he has frozen himself to the floor.
    • Finally, near the end of the manga, Shampoo has Akane at her mercy, and Ranma's hands and feet are bound (the former, by a crystalline substance he can't break; the latter, by a ball-and-chain that Shampoo snapped around his ankles.) She forces him to yield to her, on the threat of killing Akane if he doesn't. He goes down on the supplicant position, bowing his head... and uses the momentum to lift his feet off the floor, and swing the ball-and-chain at Shampoo.
  • Principal Uchiyamida does this to his insurance company whenever his Cresta gets destroyed in Great Teacher Onizuka.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Panther becomes convinced (thanks to his friend Watt, a self-proclaimed but usually-mistaken expert on Japanese culture) that dogeza involves dangling from one foot with your arms and legs outstretched. When he gets to Japan, Sena has to show him how it's really done. Later, Panther tries to use dogeza to convince Apollo to let him play for the NASA Aliens, but Apollo doesn't relent until the rest of the team does dogeza as well. In a later episode, the American character Big Bear is shown doing the same posture as Panther initially thought a dogeza was.
    • This may be a Shout-Out to a famous scene in Captain Tsubasa, where the arrogant Hyuga goes into the pose of supplication in front of his ultra strict Toho coach, begging him to let him play in the finals. When the coach refuses, the whole team imitates Hyuga to support him. After a last test to see Hyuga's ability and how serious he is, the coach allows Hyuga to come back.
      • In the manga and old anime series, Hyuga's mentor and the person who unwittingly caused his fall of grace arrives from Okinawa right before the finals... and goes into the pose too in front of Hyuga's actual coach, after explaining his part in the whole mess and apologizing for the troubles Hyuga and the team when through. He refuses to get up until the other coach assures him Hyuga will play.
  • In GetBackers, Shido does this to Ban, who has always been a bitter rival, to convince him to help save the kidnapped Madoka; Ban initially brusquely refuses, and other characters are astonished ("Don't you know how hard that must have been for him?").
  • In The Prince of Tennis anime, after having a nasty fight with Tezuka over his place in the Senbatsu that even included Tezuka losing his temper and slapping him in public, Ryoma has to go into the pose of supplication to apologize and beg Tezuka to let him get in the Senbatsu team.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke does this after his fight with Toguro during the Dark Tournament arc when he believes that his friend Kuwabara has been killed.
    • Kido does this after the heroes clear all his and his friends' trials in the early Chapter Black arc, after revealing that Genkai told them to do it.
  • Used several times in Pani Poni Dash!. Not just the pose, but it sometimes actually has the letters orz or OTL or STO clearly visible.
  • Yukari and Ryo spend nearly two hours straight in the Pose of Supplication in order to save both of their jobs in Penguin Revolution.
  • Kaiji features a rather cruel version of this when the Big Bad demands that his henchman shows just how sorry he is for failing him... by bowing on a plate heated by burning coals.
  • In the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney manga "Turnabout Illusions", client Ian Knottworthy does this at the drop of a hat.
  • In the 'lost' Mobile Suit Gundam episode, the Gundam itself goes down on all fours, which makes Amuro complain that it makes it 'look like a dog'. In the series proper, the normally aloof Team Dad Bright Noa does this in shock after his best friend and the local Big Brother Mentor Ryu Jose's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Satirized from a cultural insider's perspective by Ramenz in The Japanese Tradition: Dogeza. It also featured and satirized in an extreme in The Japanese Tradition: Shazai ("Let's put all our hearts into expressing our remorse!")
  • Toyed with in Bleach. The ability of Izuru Kira's zanpakutou, Wabisuke, is to double the weight of whatever it strikes. As a consequence, after some blocked hits, the enemy is unable to even lift their weapons, and often go in Pose of Supplication due to said weapon's weight. Kira uses this as a chance to deliver the coupe de grace, decapitating the opponent with his zanpakutou. In his words: "A warrior does NOT beg for his life"
    • A straighter example happens when Chad goes to Urahara, after being easily defeated by Yammy and unable to fight against D-Roy, and asks him to train him.
  • Tenma does this in School Rumble when her attempt to get Karasuma under a Together Umbrella fails.
  • In Amanchu, Hikari and Futaba do this in toward Ai, after she threatens to beat them up for using the school's diving equipment without permission.
  • Lelouch does this to Suzaku in Code Geass R2. Needless to say, by that time Suzaku is so pissed off at Lelouch (and has been for quite a while) that he grinds his face into the dirt with his foot.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms anime features a ruler who bans the pose of supplication from his subjects, since he's come to think of it as humiliating. Additionally, the kirin in The Twelve Kingdoms select the rulers for their realm by bowing in front of them. (They're not able to bow in front of anyone else — even if they want to, they're physically incapable of doing so. This causes lots of angst to Taiki, the Naive Newcomer among them, since he's not sure if he'll be able to do so.)
    • One of Youko's first decrees as Queen: banning the pose of supplication.
  • Seen a few times in Keroro Gunsou. In episode 26, Keroro imagines Natsumi doing this out of gratitude for helping so that her mom can come to the sports festival. In episode 27, Keroro himself does this when he begs Natsumi and Fuyuki to pretend they've been captured so Keroro can impress his visiting father.
  • Gon does this in chapters 304 and 305 of Hunter X Hunter upon finding out that Kaito is dead.
  • Minori of Toradora! does this around the beginning of the story, in a Shout-Out way to the aforemented Captain Tsubasa scene (she even uses the same pre-scene Badass pose of sternly crossing her arms, with her jacket put on her back like a cape dramatically floating in the wind!), when she, in a misunderstanding, believed Taiga and Ryuuji were an item, and begged the latter to take good care of the former.
  • In Moyashimon, after Professor Itsuki samples Misato and Kawahama's home-made kuchikame sake, he's so impressed by their inquisitive spirit that he does this as he asks them to join his lab team as research assistants.
  • In the Sailor Moon R movie, the four Inner Seishi go into the pose to beg Fiore to spare the life of Moon, whom he intends to torture to death.
  • Fairy Tail has Natsu and Happy get into a dogeza position for Lucy as a sign of appreciation after the latter treats them to a meal. Lucy is utterly embarrassed by the gesture.
  • In the first episode of Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou, Junko prostrates herself before Akuto (in combination with a convenient camera angle) after mistaking him for a thief and kicking his face in.
  • In Naruto, Hiashi ends his telling Neji the truth about his father's death by entering a Pose of Supplication and asking for his forgiveness. This is especially significant because Hiashi is head of the clan and Neji is a branch house member forced to serve him, and Neji, overwhelmed, accepts his apology and tells him to raise his head. Later on, Naruto approaches the Raikage and enters this pose to beg him to spare Sasuke, but the Raikage is unimpressed, and tells him that the strong rule the ninja world and that begging for one's comrades is not friendship. Naruto then realizes that he must ultimately deal with Sasuke himself.
  • Early on in the Drum Island arc of One Piece, Vivi assumes this pose after accidentally getting shot while trying to gain entry to Drum Island for Nami's medical treatment, and chastizes Luffy for losing control. Luffy apologizes and follows suit. Zoro enters this pose shortly before the timeskip, when begging Mihawk to train him.
  • When Yuuko mistakenly buys yakisaba instead of yakisoba and nothing to go with it for Mio one lunch period, the latter starts a very heated "The Reason You Suck" Speech and goads "stupid" Yuuko to "bow deeply." By the time Yuuko has gotten really angry, she mock bows, then proceeds to formally genuflect but continues to get chewed out and it's obvious both times she's not apologetic.
  • Aouta of Slam Dunk does this pose when begging his teachers to re-take an exam.
  • Aquarion Evol takes this to the extreme by having the Humongous Mecha Aquaria use it as a FINISHING BLOW. This causes the simulation to crash.
  • Minoru in AKB 49 Renai Kinshi Jourei did this pose on stage before the audience on one occasion to demonstrate his sincerity in apologising for his lateness for a performance.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Miki and then Ryohei does this in episode 14 when they apologized to Hayato for not checking close enough to find the cause of Asurada's understeer (it was caused by a dust on the lens).
    • In episode 35, Hayato himself does this in front of Asuka and the rest of the team when he realized that it wasn't Asurada's fault for causing Ohtomo's crash.
  • In the first Fruits Basket anime's last episode, Tohru, Shigure, Yuki and Hatori talk to Akito while sitting in the seiza position. When Akito loses it and grabs poor Tohru By the Hair, she ends up like this. In a subversion Tohru isn't being submissive to Akito (which is why he grabbed her), and even when he drags her around like this and she's clearly in pain, she stands her ground.

Comic Books

  • Wonder Woman: Hiketeia is a graphic novel dealing with the duty and ritual of supplication. As such, this pose and its meaning is dealt with heavily.


  • John Preston in Equilibrium, after Mary O'Brien is executed.
  • Pose taken by Leonidas in 300, gathering his strength before the final battle (and simultaneously duping King Xerxes into thinking that he was surrendering). Spoiler for a 2500 year old battle — he dies, as does everyone else of the Spartans.
  • A repeated scene in Wayne's World and its sequel has Wayne and Garth kowtowing as they chant, "We're not worthy! We're not worthy! We're scum!" before one of their Heavy-Metal gods; Alice Cooper in the first, Aerosmith in the second.
  • In Mr. Roberts, the ship's crew, upon noticing that someone has uprooted their tyrannical captain's prized palm tree and thrown it overboard, do this in front of the now-empty planter.
  • After marrying into the family, Songlian of Raise the Red Lantern is instructed to kowtow to the shine of the Chen ancestors; it's implied that she does not. Those important family customs she disregards will come back to haunt her later.
  • In the film adaptation of Watchmen, Nite Owl adopts this pose when Rorschach is burst into flesh and blood by Dr. Manhattan near the end.
  • In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar adopts this pose before his human father. An Alpha Ape later adopts it before Caesar, who happens to be using Gunboat Diplomacy at the time.
  • Pumbaa does a quaduaped version of this in The Lion King, bending his front legs and bowing his head, after the revelation that Simba's the king. And then he screws up trying to say 'grovel' at your feet' and says 'gravel' instead.
    • A lot of the animals do this in the beginning of the film, at Simba's presentation.


  • Older Than Feudalism: In Greek epics such as The Iliad and The Odyssey, the gods themselves will occasionally fall to their knees before Zeus and clasp his legs to beg mercy or favors.
  • On the subject of Greeks, Xenophon's Anabasis records that, during the debate of the Ten Thousand (the Greek mercenaries, one of whom was Xenophon himself) after trying to overthrow the Shah in favor of his younger brother (only to have said younger brother killed in the battle, resulting in the murder of their leaders at a Persian banquet), consensus was that the Ten Thousand were screwed. A single mercenary sneezed. All of the others immediately prostrated themselves--the Greeks considered a sneeze a sign from the gods--and decided right then and there to elect new officers and fight their way, if need be, all the way back to Greece.
  • In The Thrawn Trilogy, some of the Noghri do this to the daughter of their savior; one genuflects when he realizes who she is, others do so at the end of Dark Force Rising after she's proved to them that their debt has been more than paid. Afterwards they tend to limit themselves to bowing and sometimes kneeling.
  • Parodied in the Discworld novel Interesting Times where incompetent, cowardly, wizard Rincewind muses that not only does it symbolise submission, but also provides quite a good launching pose to break into a sprint from if the person you are doing it for doesn't accept your submission.
  • In the sequels to Ender's Game, the nobles of Chinese-esque planet Path are taught so strictly to honor their elders that the sight of her father touching his forehead to the ground for her horrifies Qing-jao.
  • Subverted in Animorphs, where Marco and Cassie are captured by the Helmacrons, who order then to grovel before them. Being general morons, however, they fall for it when Marco says that Earthlings grovel differently than other races, and proceeds to lounge on the ground while pretending to beg for his life.
  • Parodied in The Tamuli, by David Eddings: this is the traditional way to greet the Tamul emperor, but only because one of his less-than-bright ancestors mistook an inebriated minister's drunken bumbling for a show of respect.
  • In the short story "Assumption" (scroll down) by Desmond Warzel, the primitive people of an unexplored world--a literal Cargo Cult--make this gesture before the object of their worship. The narrator is incredulous, and makes an explicit comparison to jungle tribes in old movies.
  • Guardsmen bow like this in a flashback in First Test, after Ilane of Mindelan saves the god's swords from Scanran pirates.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Voth demand this from others as their due, particularly when bestowing their benevolence. As the eldest race in the Delta Quadrant (or at least they assume so), they consider themselves its rightful rulers. In a story from Star Trek: Myriad Universes, when agreeing to spare Fluidic Space from destruction their condition is that the Species 8472 representative bow before them and pledge his loyalty to the Voth Council.
  • In the Dresden Files, Lasciel does this in Harry's mind when Harry agrees to work with her.

Live Action TV

  • In Lexx, officers deliver reports to His Divine Shadow from this position.
  • Captain Kirk does this a lot.
  • One of Quark's employees in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does this in front of Liquidator Brunt when he realizes they've been caught forming a union/worker's guild.
  • On The Office, Dwight surreptitiously tries to unseat Michael and take his place - when Michael angrily tells Dwight he's on to him, Dwight goes into a terrified fit of dog-like submission and drops to the floor as if waiting to be beheaded.


  • As mentioned above, for The Twelve Kingdoms, in the musical The King and I, the titular king bans the pose of supplication from his subjects, since he's come to think of it as humiliating.

Video Games

  • In Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents, if you fail a stage, you often see the person you were trying to help do the Pose of Supplication on the "game over" screen.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora takes this pose before Saix when begging him to bring him to Kairi. Saix refuses contemptuously, and pays for it later — with his life.
    • In the first game, Sora takes the pose in Hollow Bastion when Riku possessed by Ansem (or should we say, Xehanort's Heartless) reveals to him that Kairi's heart had been inside of him the entire time. He's briefly incapacitated by the revelation, as well as Kairi's heart resonating within him, prompting Rikunort to attempt a deathblow (so that he can release Kairi's heart and complete the Final Keyhole), but Kairi's voice rouses Sora to action, giving him the strength to fight back. Cue boss battle.
  • In Mega Man, Dr. Wily does this every time his most powerful war machine is destroyed. In the first game he seems sincere about it, but after that he usually does it to distract Mega Man so he can make his escape.
  • Whoever loses the match in Street Fighter III strikes this pose in the post-match win quote screen.
    • It also happens in Street Fighter IV, as the continue counter gets to zero. ie., Ryu falls on all fours while Fei Long does it on one knee and punching the ground.
  • God Hand features a free move available from the start of the game called Grovel, which resets the game's Dynamic Difficulty meter back to Level 1. The animation, of course, sees the main character begging on his knees and his forehead to the ground. Onegaishimasu!
  • The Silver Surfer NES game features the pose on its Game Over screen. This was commented on in its review by The Angry Video Game Nerd, culminating in AVGN assuming the pose himself.
  • James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2 does this when he finds out/remembers why Pyramid Head is after him. Also counts as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • In the older The King of Fighters games, your defeated characters would be shown in the background as you play with the others, sitting or kneeling around sadly after their losses. Their poses were different per character, but several of these were very similar to the traditional Pose of Supplication.
  • The temple-guardian Mooks in Prince of Persia 2 all give up fighting and assume the Pose of Supplication after you get the Flame. Hilariously, if they're at the edge of a platform, they'll fall right into a Bottomless Pit.
  • Shu, who is being targeted for recruitment as The Strategist by the player character's army in Suikoden II, asks Apple to assume the Pose of Supplication before he'll consider joining up. One sign he's at least a minor Jerkass is that he admonishes her for throwing away her pride so quickly, then leaves the room.
  • Yangus does this when begging his old friend Red to return the horse and cart she stole from them in Dragon Quest VIII.
  • The image potholed in the description comes from the doujin soft visual novel, OMGWTFOTL. The option to genuflect pops up almost entirely throughout the game. Every instance leads you to the same bad end.
  • Daisy does this in Mario Tennis when her opponent(s) score a point.
  • Envy Adams from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game does this after you beat her and Lynette on level 3 (Leo's Place).
  • After every boss in Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, there's a relaxed "Let's Pose!" scene, where the music fades to some birds chirping, and you're given a silhouette to pose in, if you want. This position is one of them.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, if you choose Prince Ephraim's path, Seth the paladin tells him that Ephraim's sister Princess Eirika got down on her knees and beseeched him and the rest of her party to accompany him into Grado, the main source of the conflict.

Western Animation

  • The "Prince Ali" song in Disney's Aladdin directly refers to this: "Genuflect/Show some respect/Down on one knee". And when Jafar becomes Sorcerer Jafar, one of the first things he does is magically make the Sultan and Princess Jasmine genuflect.

Real Life

  • According to Muslim practice, one may bow, even kneel before humans, but never prostrate oneself. Only GOD gets this treatment. It's actually forbidden to touch your forehead to the ground unless it's for Him. And if you aren't practicing, not even then. Might be a problem in Japan...
    • Also in imperial China, where banging your head on the ground is considered standard formal greeting to those of high rank (when you are in a really grovelling mood, the procedure requires you to hit your forehead on the ground hard enough to make an audible noise). Remember, the emperor gets nine head-meet-grounds, miss one, and you have about 4 minutes to write your will (not that you will have anything to will away once the government gets its cut).
    • Presumably, most sane clerics would be understanding of what is considered appropriate in certain cultures.
    • The Jewish religion works the same way, except that even bowing to another human is discouraged (because Jews pray standing up, and therefore bow to God rather than make full prostration).
      • Karaite Jews are known to make full prostration in prayer.
      • It was practice in the Jerusalem temple, but it was discontinued, since it was destroyed. Twice.
  • In Russia, there are two verbs for supplication: "poklonit'sya" and "bit' chelom," which mean to bow with the knees and to beat (the ground) with your forehead, respectively. "Chelobitye" was seen as humiliating, as the Muscovite princes had to prostrate themselves before the Khan during the years of the Mongol yoke. The meaning was carried over into the "Chelobitnyy Prikaz," a Tsarist Russia government office to which people sent complaints and petitions meant for the tsar. A letter sent to that Prikaz would begin "Vash kholop byot chelom..." (Your slave prostrates himself...)
  1. * no relation to the Orz