Faster Than They Look YKTTW Discussion

Faster Than They Look
You expect this character to be slow. They actually can move very fast.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-09-15 18:03:09 sponsor: WaxingName edited by: Arivne (last reply: 2015-02-04 22:30:54)

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DAN 004 wuz here takin over ur druft

Tyrion: Does he frighten you so much?
Bronn: I'd be a bloody fool if he didn't frighten me. He's freakish big and freakish strong. And faster than you'd think for a man of that size.
—Tyrion and Bronn discuss the prospect of fighting Gregor Clegane in Game of Thrones

So you meet this character. He looks slow somehow. Maybe he's so big, maybe he's so heavily armored, maybe he wields a big weapon, maybe his legs are too small, or he looks sickly and lethargic (or even a zombie), whatever. You'd expect to easily outrun this guy.

But then said so-called "slow" guy suddenly runs really fast! Bonus points if he specifically goes after you.

Despite the above, this can apply to vehicles or animals as well.

Supertrope to Acro Fatic and Impossibly Graceful Giant, as well as Speedy Snail for animals. Contrast Glacier Waif, who's slower than they look.

Anime and Manga
  • Pokémon plays this for laughs in an episode showcasing Slowpoke and Shellder. When Team Rocket tries to force their newly caught Shellder to clamp onto Slowpoke's tail and forcefully evolve it into Slowbro, Slowpoke is not a fan of this idea and is promptly chased around by Shellder, much to Team Rocket's frustration.
    Jessie: I thought you were a Slowpoke! (...)
  • One Piece.
    • In the Thriller Bark arc, Nami, Chopper and Usopp are being chased by zombies. When the three start running and think the zombies can't chase them, suddenly the zombies start sprinting at them. But not long after, the zombies have to catch their breath as they lacked the stamina.
    • There's the gigantic zombie Oars, who despite his size can move and react quickly to Straw Hats' attacks. Probably justified in that he has Luffy's shadow powering him courtesy of Moria's powers.
    • Bartholomew Kuma is a 10-feet tall cyborg with a big upper body who nonetheless is able to Flash Step around. He cheats; his Paw-Paw Fruit power helps him (by "pushing" himself so fast, at that).
  • In Black Lagoon Revy comments that Torch is faster than he looks "for a fat fucker".
  • Sloth in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. He's huge and true to his namesake he hates moving fast. But once properly motivated he Turns Red and starts fighting by slamming into opponents at high speed.
  • The Armored Titan of Attack on Titan looks like a Mighty Glacier because of the weight and reach of its armor, but once it sheds the armor at the back of its knees it suddenly becomes a Lightning Bruiser.

Comic Books
  • People often make this observation about The Incredible Hulk (for example The Wasp in the first issue of The Avengers). While they assume being a massive slab of angry green muscle would slow him down, his Super Strength also allows him to move his mass with ease.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane is perhaps the largest man in all of Westeros, an almost eight foot tall tower of muscle. He is also one of the better swordsmen, in part because, as Bronn notes, while he isn't exactly fast by normal standards he's certainly quicker than you'd expect a man his size to be.
    • Gregor's younger brother Sandor isn't quite as big, being a "mere" 6'6 and also thickly muscled, but Master Swordsman Jaime Lannister considers him one of the most dangerous opponents one could face because Sandor is much, much faster than his size and build would indicate and a vicious fighter as well.

Live-Action TV
  • Lampshaded in a 2007 episode of Saturday Night Live, when Seth Myers remarks of Barbara Birmingham (Kenan Thompson) being, "Way faster than she looks", after she attempts to assault him in the blink of an eye.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Love & Monsters" the absorboloph looks like it's so slow it wouldn't win a race with a snail. Then it jumps up and starts chasing Elton...

Video Games
  • A quest in Uldum in World of Warcraft features Harrison Jones (an Indiana Jones Expy) in a fistfight with a large burly man, in reference to the famous propeller scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He says to the player:
    "My dad always said the big guys hit hard, but they're slow...I don't think my dad ever fought this guy!"

Visual Novels
  • In Rewrite, Kotarou encounters a giant dinosaur familiar. Since it's so big, he expects it to be lumbering and slow and for the human agents fighting it to speed around it like in games, but the dinosaur actually catches up to them and crushes easily them in two huge steps.

Web Original
  • Schlock Mercenary has Sergeant Schlock. Despite basically being a huge blob of wet clay, he quite often has shocked enemies tell him "You're faster than you look."
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged
    • At the end of the first season, Goku figures that now Vegeta's transformed from a roughly 5 foot tall humanoid into a skyscraper-sized ape, he'll be stronger but a lot slower-ohgodhe'sjustasfast!!!
    • In the second season, Gohan assumes that he and Krillin will easily be able to outfly The Brute/Fat Bastard Dodoria after getting in a couple of sucker punches on Dodoria and fleeing. He's just as wrong as his father was about Vegeta.
      Krillin: Not gonna lie Gohan, that was not your smartest move.
      Gohan: Oh come on Krillin, we have a ten mile lead on him. Factoring in our speed and velocity and his mass, there's no way he should be able to catch up. [Dodoria shows up right behind them throwing Ki Attacks at them both]
      Krillin: Well, look who's wrong!
      Gohan: There's always room for error!

Western Animation
  • In an episode of Spider-Man, Kingpin reveals that he's actually really fast despite his size.
  • Done In-Universe when The Simpsons go on an African safari. Marge looks through her binoculars at a far away cheetah lying under a tree. "He doesn't look so fast to me." During the time between her looking through the binoculars and putting them down the cheetah runs up and sticks its head in her face.
  • Total Drama
    • Owen appears to be a unathletic, sluggish, fat boy, and in most cases this is true. However if you present food to him a distance away, he can outrun anyone in between him and said meal.
    • This trope is also lampshaded in "Wawanakwa Gone Wild" where Gwen tries to catch a duck, but when she gets close, it suddenly runs off at an incredible speed in Road Runner fashion, leading her to say: "Last time I checked, ducks waddled".
  • Droopy. A slow and melancholic basset hound who nevertheless manages to travel hundreds of miles/kilometers in a matter of seconds, always there when the villain doesn't expect him to be so.

Truth in Television
  • Hippos and elephants are both much faster than one would suspect from their bulk.
  • Many Real Life ships are surprisingly fast, due to the fact that a very big ship can fit a very big engine. HMS Dreadnought, launched in 1906, displaced 20,000 tons, was as long as one and a half football fields, and could make 21 knots under full speed. A heavily armed fortress that could travel 24 miles in an hour. USS Iowa, launched in 1943, displaced 45,000 tons, was as long as two and a half football fields, and could make 33 knots, able to cover nearly 40 miles in an hour. The modern day Nimitz class nuclear carriers weigh in at 100,000 tons, are longer than three football fields, and can make better than 30 knots without ever needing to stop to refuel.
  • Many animals, such as penguins, turtles and seals, look very sluggish as they waddle along on land. Once they get in the water they are surprisingly quick by comparison.

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