Created By: Prime32July 24, 2012 Last Edited By: ParadisesnakeMarch 21, 2015

Instant Reaction Reveal

A \'normal\' person is revealed as Badass when they display incredible reflexes or awareness.

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Trope
A subtrope of Revealing Skill and Super Reflexes. A seemingly normal character is revealed to be Badass when they react nigh-instantly to catch, dodge or deflect an object thrown (or in extreme cases, fired) at them from behind or while they weren't looking. Sometimes it's explained that they sensed the attacker's Killing Intent. Or in a more mundane version, they could just catch a dropped coffee cup before it hits the floor.

Sometimes a character who suspects someone of Badassery (most often an Old Master) will attempt to invoke this trope by attacking them in this manner, but this use is frequently parodied. Either the target will fail to dodge despite normally being capable of it (either to maintain their cover or just because they were off-guard), they will move just as the attack is made (leaving it ambiguous whether or not they noticed it), they will fly into a rage against the attacker, or they simply weren't as Badass as expected. In the worst case scenario the attack knocks out or kills its target just before they were needed most.

May involve Arrow Catch or Bullet Catch. See also Badass Back and Crouching Moron Hidden Badass. Contrast with Spot The Impostor.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Dragonball Z - Goku wants to see Old Kai's no-doubt impressive reflexes, so he fires the weakest ki blast he can manage. It ends up nearly killing him.
  • In the Pokemon episode To Master the Onixpected!, Brock has an Imagine Spot where he pictures Bruno of the Elite Four doing this, but when he tries hitting him with a stick he's nearly knocked out. Bruno is still Badass, he just doesn't keep his guard up all the time.
  • Naruto - A variant, where Naruto expects veteran ninja Kakashi to dodge a chalk-duster falling on his head as he opens the door. He doesn't.
  • In an early episode of Code Geass, Kallen (a rebel Ace Pilot pretending to be an Ill Girl) deflects a flying champagne cork with her hand before anyone even registers that it left the bottle. However, she manages to avoid exposure, and the viewers knew of her skill already.

Comic Books
  • The Flash first realized he had Super Speed powers when he instinctively caught a tray of dropped food before it hit the ground.

Film
  • In Ronin, the Badass qualities of Larry (the computer guy) are demonstrated when a coffee cup gets knocked his desk and he catches it before it hits the floor.
  • In Mr And Mrs Smith John drops a bottle of wine to test his wife. She catches it instinctively, then immediately drops it, confirming his suspicions that she is an assassin.
  • The Spider Man movies adore this. In the first Tobey Maguire film, he catches an entire lunch tray of spilled food. In the new one with Andrew Garfield, he limits himself to catching a cup of coffee poured him by Dr. Connors. And a basketball. And a football. Really, he catches stuff.
  • In the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie, Merrick proves to Buffy that she is the Chosen One by throwing a knife at her head. She catches it without thinking about it.

Literature
  • The Discworld novel The Fifth Elephant plays it differently: when Vimes throws an orange at Skimmer, it hits him. This proves to him that he's skilled enough to identify the object as harmless in midflight, as the average person would have at least flinched.

Live-Action TV
  • Happy Days: Fonzie's cousin Angie and the Magilla Book of World Records people are both in town. Angie has no self confidence because he's a klutz, but then he casually snatches a fly out of the air. They realize he has very fast reflexes, and he tries to get into the book by catching quarters flipped off his elbow.
  • The titular Angel does this with a coffee cup in his pilot, showing off his not-quite-human status.

Unsorted

  • I've seen an example somewhere where the target dodges the attack, then moves back into the way so fast that only the attacker could see (deliberately tipping him off to his skill without alerting anyone else). Anyone remember where this was?
Community Feedback Replies: 43
  • July 24, 2012
    foxley
    • In the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie, Merrick proves to Buffy that she is the Chosen One by throwing a knife at her head. She catches it without thinking about it.
    • In Ronin, the Badass qualities of Larry (the computer guy) are demonstrated when a coffee cup gets knocked his desk and he catches it before it hits the floor.
  • July 24, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Happy Days: Fonzie's cousin Angie and the Magilla Book of World Records people are both in town. Angie has no self confidence because he's a klutz, but then he casually snatches a fly out of the air. They realize he has very fast reflexes, and he tries to get into the book by catching quarters flipped off his elbow.
  • July 25, 2012
    bpkiwi
    In Mr and Mrs Smith John drops a bottle of wine to test his wife. She catches it instinctively, then immediately drops it, confirming his suspicions that she is an assassin.
  • July 25, 2012
    Koveras
    Also a subtrope of Super Reflexes, I think.

    • Not a reveal but in an early episode of Code Geass, Kallen (a rebel Ace Pilot pretending to be an Ill Girl) deflects a flying champagne cork with her hand before anyone even registers that it left the bottle. However, she manages to avoid exposure, and the viewers knew of her secret identity, anyway.
  • July 25, 2012
    surgoshan
    • The Spider Man movies adore this. In the first Tobey Maguire film, he catches an entire lunch tray of spilled food. In the new one with Andrew Garfield, he limits himself to catching a cup of coffee poured him by Dr. Connors. And a basketball. And a football. Really, he catches stuff.
    • The titular Angel does this with a coffee cup in his pilot, showing off his not-quite-human status.
  • July 25, 2012
    randomsurfer
    The Flash first realized he had Super Speed powers when he instinctively caught a tray of dropped food before it hit the ground.
  • July 25, 2012
    Koveras
    Since this is not about just catches anymore, how about Reflexes Giveaway for a title?
  • July 25, 2012
    Prime32
  • July 25, 2012
    FalconPain
    The Discworld novel The Fifth Elephant plays it differently: when Vimes throws an orange at Skimmer, it hits him. This proves to him that he's skilled enough to identify the object as harmless in midflight, as the average person would have at least flinched.
  • July 25, 2012
    isk2837
    An early episode of Smallville has a football player throw a football at Chloe, only for Clark to catch it before it hits her.
  • July 25, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Peter Parker first learns he has caught spider powers from a radioactive spider when he dodges out of the way of a speeding car and finds himself crawling up the side of a building.
  • July 26, 2012
    nitrokitty
    • In The Avengers movie, Loki catches one of Hawkeye's arrows just before it hits him. But Hawkeye was one step ahead, having fired an explosive arrow.
  • July 27, 2012
    polarbear2217
    In the second The Underland Chronicles book, "The Prophecy of Bane", Gregor learns that he is a rager when he successfully hits all of the bloodballs in training.
  • July 27, 2012
    Godnat
  • July 27, 2012
    abk0100
    Closely related to Offhand Backhand

    • Seven Samurai: When a potential new member is on his way to meet the group, they try invoke this trope to show off his skills. One of them waits beside the doorway with a stick, knowing that, since the person coming is a trained Samurai, he'll sense danger and easily dodge the attack. He doesn't, since he's actually drunk and out-of-practice.
  • July 27, 2012
    dalek955
    [[never mind, bad example]]
  • August 22, 2012
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • May 18, 2013
    Koveras
    Bumping for great justice.
  • May 19, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Predator. During the commando team's helicopter trip to the drop zone Hawkins is reading something. Ramirez throws a roll of tape at him and Hawkins effortlessly catches it without even looking. Watch it here.
  • May 19, 2013
    Arivne
    We have a very similar proposal called Reflex Check also on YKTTW.
  • May 19, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Real Life

    President George W Bush ducking and managing to dodge a shoe that was thrown hard and fast at him by an angry journalist during a press conference in Iraq, indicated that he had some superb athletic reflexes.
  • May 19, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Tech tip: Do not use double-quotes in your YKTTW laconic or it will break the laconic.
  • March 26, 2014
    DAN004
    So which one to keep?
  • March 26, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced the examples + sorted them by media.
  • March 26, 2014
    KingZeal
    • Inverted in Seven Samurai, when Shimura is looking for fellow samurai to undertake his mission, he instructs the farmers to who hired him to lure promising samurai into their hideout while his assistant waits with a club just inside the door. When the samurai enters, the assistant tries to strike, but since samurai are trained to be ready to react instantly to any threat, and to always be on-guard, they always block the strike before any harm is done. The only one that fails turns out to not be a real samurai.
  • March 26, 2014
    DAN004
    Title should be Reveal By Reflex.
  • March 26, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ that. current can be read as "instantly revealing one's reaction".
  • March 26, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Killing Intent has been launched already, so I redirected the link to YKTTW to the actual trope page.
  • March 26, 2014
    AP
    • In one of the first scenes in Big Trouble In Little China, Jack catches a bottle that had been hit by a sword, inches away from his face. This is zigzagged in that for the rest of the movie, he is out of his depth but his quick reflexes come in handy as a Chekhovs Skill in the climax.
  • January 5, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump, maybe

  • January 5, 2015
    DAN004
    Dunno if this counts
    • In Kung Fu Hustle, when The Beast is taken into the Axe Gang's lair, the gang leader isn't sure that he's badass enough to defeat the Landlord and Landlady (The Beast is an ugly old man in a tanktop, shorts and slippers, and is slightly insane). Then he grabbed a mook's gun, then aims it to himself and fires... and then he does a Bullet Catch. The gang leader is now impressed.
  • January 5, 2015
    partner555
    Does this one count:

    In Avatar The Last Airbender, the King of Omashu proves Aang is the Avatar when he throws some food at him and Aang reflexively air bends it to catch it.
  • January 7, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi has a knack for this. While in the Mos Eisley cantina in Star Wars A New Hope, Doctor Evazan and Ponda Baba throw Luke Skywalker aside and set upon Kenobi. Kenobi deftly disarms both assailants with his lightsaber. A younger Kenobi waits at the bar in Attack Of The Clones while his padawan goes looking for the shapeshifting assassin that almost killed Senator Amidala. The assassin furtively approaches a seemingly unaware Kenobi from behind, only to be deftly disarmed by the force-sensitive Jedi master. In both cases, the other patrons pointedly leave the Badass Kenobi alone.
  • January 7, 2015
    KyleJacobs
    Needs to explain that the difference between this and Cover Blowing Superpower is that that trope is an Internal Reveal and this trope is an External Reveal.

    • Trigun: While there's little doubt in the audience's mind that Vash is good at what he does, most of the skills he demonstrates early in the series come off more as his being unbelievably lucky and don't explain how this donut loving buffoon could possibly be the most feared gunslinger on the planet. He doesn't even fire his weapon until episode five... but when he does, he lets off a single five round burst that completely shuts down his opponent's ability to fight back, proving beyond a doubt that he is the same legendary outlaw that everyone's so terrified of.
  • January 7, 2015
    DAN004
    Compare Reflex Check.

    Btw who's managing this? Would somebody wanna grab this?
  • January 7, 2015
    randomsurfer
    • Averted in Ultimate Spider Man, where Peter Parker thinks to himself that he could dodge Flash's punch, but purposely decides not to in order to keep up The Masquerade.
    • In Superman II Lois Lane proves that Clark Kent is Superman by flinging herself off Niagara Falls, trusting that he'll be able and willing to save her.
  • January 7, 2015
    KyleJacobs
    Ok, more and more of the examples being added have convinced me that this needs serious help. If you want it to be about the moment when a character is revealed as a badass to the audience, that's fine... but then you need to go through this with a fine-toothed comb, because otherwise it's just a duplicate of Revealing Skill and Cover Blowing Superpower.
  • January 7, 2015
    Chabal2
    Parasyte: After the alien living on his hand goes dormant, the protagonist reveals he still benefits from the Super Reflexes by catching severeal mosquitoes out of the air.
  • January 7, 2015
    SolipSchism
  • January 7, 2015
    Pastykake
    Real Life: I don't remember who it was, but there was a baseball player doing an interview on the field and he quickly turned and caught a ball headed right for the reporter's head at speed.

    The unsorted example is Sarugaki Hiyori attacking Urahara Kisuke in a flashback arc in Bleach. The Naruto example is a subversion, not a variant. Whom does the ki blast almost kill in Dragon Ball Z? If it's Old Kai, that's also a subversion.
  • January 7, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ What exactly does that baseball example reveal? That just sounds like Super Reflexes, not this trope.
  • January 7, 2015
    DAN004
    Who's managing this?
  • March 21, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump, taking this over

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable