Instant Reaction Reveal YKTTW Discussion

Instant Reaction Reveal
A 'normal' person is revealed as Badass when they display incredible reflexes or awareness.
Description Needs Help Description Needs Help Already have?
(permanent link) added: 2012-07-24 15:09:21 sponsor: Prime32 edited by: Paradisesnake (last reply: 2015-03-21 22:49:00)

Add Tag:
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.


Anime and Manga
  • Dragon Ball 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 Pokémon 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.

  • 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. & 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.

  • 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.


  • 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?
Replies: 43