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[[quoteright:250:[[Series/{{Batman}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/BatmanHitFlashes1_1217.jpg]]]]

A moment of violence is replaced with a flash of light, a cloud of dust, or some other momentary obstruction. Lasts a second or two. Used to cover up the actual action while still revealing cause and effect. Can be used to good effect in a FightUnscene, may be present with a SecondPersonAttack, or when a character is hit by something that will immobilize them.

See also BigBallOfViolence, FlashOfPain, HitStop, BattleDiscretionShot, BlackScreenOfDeath, SecondPersonAttack. Sometimes combined with a WrittenSoundEffect, as the trope image shows.

Looks like [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8LcKev4k1Q this]], in case the trope description wasn't clear enough.



* The first two seasons of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', when it was dubbed, was one of the worst offenders of this. Creator/FUNimation took special care to delete every frame where a hit connected and replace it with a sloppily-drawn star on a black background. (And in a show where the main draw are the big fights, it's not hard to understand why this was so horrible.)
** A white fog-like effect was also sometimes used to cover direct hits to the face.
** In ''Anime/DragonBallKai'', ''many'' hits are replaced with this and barrages of punches or blasts are completely removed.
* The ''Anime/RurouniKenshin'' {{OVA}}s combine it with the DiagonalCut every time someone lands a sword cut, with gruesome results afterwards.
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' did this most times it had a MegatonPunch, and it even included SuperDeformed versions of characters faces.
* While the first seasons of ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' merely relied on cuts for censoring of physical violence, ''Anime/DigimonSavers''' dub used an insultingly childish impact screen to censor a GroinAttack, and was rightly derided for it.
** The first example in ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'' came in episode 4, where Gabumon gets punched in the face by Red Vegiemon. A white flash is put in its place, and also is inserted from time to time during Veemon's NoHoldsBarredBeatdown by Red Vegiemon.
* Lampshaded in ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries,'' where one of the running gag catchphrases is "it is implied that you are punching me!".
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' uses this quite a lot, considering the amount of violence in the battles, though a large number of hits are still shown. Mostly they're just flashes, but like the ''Digimon Savers'' episode above, ''A Johto Photo Finish'' used a very cartoonish hit flash just to disguise Charizard getting punched in the face by Harrison's Blaziken. While the aftermath is still shown (Charizard's cheek has a sort of dent in it from the blow), the attack itself isn't all that violent. Episodes like ''Pasta La Vista'' and ''A Shroomish Skirmish'' pretty much disregarded the hit flash entirely during their climactic fights.
** The English dub will add additional hit flashes for TV airing, but will remove them for DVD and online releases.
** Sometimes the hit flash is actually two moves exploding and creating a field of dust; this is plot-relevant-ish and used to create suspense as we wonder which of the Pokémon survived the explosion.
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' is desperately in love with these, and they often last for about or more than a solid second.
%%* Happens sometimes in ''Anime/SailorMoon''.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Occurs twice in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'': First when Po crashes into the exhibition/ceremony, and later when the Furious Five battle [[BigBad Tai Lung]] on the bridge.
* In the edited version of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker'', flashes were added to all the fight scenes. They were removed for the later PG-13 version.
* Used in ''WesternAnimation/MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers'', when [[VillainWithGoodPublicity Pete]] knocks Mickey out.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Occurs at least twice in Ryuhei Kitamura's film ''Film/{{Versus}}''. The most noticeable example is that of a crook who goes into hysterics and is becalmed by a pistol-whip from his partner.
* The Christian-themed, possibly-fake, and terminally-Canadian movie ''Film/TheRev'' had a habit of slowing the scene to a freeze, fading to black, and jumping to the next action with no fade-in. It's as if they sat around and asked "What is the most noticeable way we can think of to avoid showing violence?"
* Happened in ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk''. When Blonsky hit Spars in the face with a chair, the POV was hers and there was a split second of blinding white.
* Used during Wez's fatal headbutt attack in ''Film/TheRoadWarrior''. Not exactly censoring anything, since it shows the limp body being thrown over the wall immediately afterwards.
* Used in an unusual scene in the Lou Ferrigno film ''Film/{{Hercules 1983}}'', where the title character fights a bear. When Hercules punches the bear from the POV of the animal, his fist flies towards the camera repeatedly, and each time, strange strobe lights flash and lasers sound, due to the cheap FX used in the low-budget film. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqMfxmzVd28]]
* In the [[Creator/AlfredHitchcock Hitchcock]] film ''Film/{{Spellbound}}'', [[spoiler: a character commits suicide. Filmed from his point-of-view, the gun is pointed at the camera, and a bright red flash is seen in the otherwise black & white film. Some copies don't bother preserving this...]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The 1960's ''Series/{{Batman}}'' TV series would often cover the impacts of blows ([[FightSceneFailure and ineptitude of fight sequences]][[note]]This wasn't due to the incompetence of the actors or stunt team but a side effect of the brutal schedule the show was shot under leaving little time for rehearsing fight scenes.[[/note]]) with a full-frame color card splashed with descriptive words like "POW!" or "BAM!" or "WHAMMO!". Initially, the cards were not used for concealment, but for economy. In the early first season episodes, the comic-book sound effects were optically superimposed on top of the fight scene footage, often with animation (spinning into frame, changing size, etc.). However, this was expensive, so the cheaper method of cutting the full-frame card into the shot ''a la'' silent film captions was used in later episodes, and found to look even better.
** Due to the show's popularity and use of visible words during the flashes, children of the 1960's-1980's often had the show cited in English classes as an example of onomatopoeia that they could easily identify with.
** Parodied in an episode of ''Series/TheAvengers'', "The Winged Avenger", where the villain is clobbered with large-scale comic book panels splayed with such words. Additionally, the background music [[MusicalPastiche parodies]] Batman's TitleThemeTune.
* The 2010 remaster of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' adds these in where previously they didn't exist; apparently, [[MediaWatchdog Standards And Practices]] was less strict in 1994...
%%* ''Series/NinjaSentaiKakuranger'' also uses this.
* ''Series/{{Beetleborgs}}'' adds these effects during the fight scenes. This trope does make sense here, as both the villains and superhero identities of the borgs themselves are comic book characters made real through a magical spell.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Some ProfessionalWrestling shows (at least in the UK and Canada) do this, but only when one of the combatants is hit with a foreign object. Depending on the show it will either (a) freeze-frame just before impact but play the sound of the chair/ladder/battleship hitting the guy or (b) momentarily cut to some stock footage of a crowd. The transmission will then cut to the victim writhing in pain on the ground. It should be noted that this is mostly due to ExecutiveMeddling on the part of the networks; the same footage generally airs unaltered in the US.
** More important to note that the ExecutiveMeddling comes from the US who seem to think that those outside the US shouldn't be able to see violence. The main culprit is the {{Wrestling/WWE}} who used to edit their [=PPVs=] before sending them to Creator/Channel4.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Graphic adventure game ''VideoGame/DejaVu'' used intertitle cards that covered the entire first-person view window, like the ones in the 1960s ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series, when you fired a gun ("BLAM") or punched someone ("SOCKO").
** ''VideoGame/{{Shadowgate}}'' used it as well when you hit something, giving you a view-covering "POW!"
* In ''VideoGame/TheSims'', a cat killing mice gets the same "censor pixels" as a nude Sim. Sims fighting or dying in fires invoke no censor pixels, however.
* Then there's ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'', which uses the flash of either white light when saving a Little Sister - and a red one when harvesting them.
* In every ''StreetFighter'' game where you can play as Akuma, when you do the Shun Goku Satsu and it connects, the screen flashes with these before cutting back to the famous "Shoushi!" pose.
* ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones Sacred Stones]]'' use this for the Assassin's instant-kill critical. Additionally ''Blazing Sword'' uses it in the cutscene where [[spoiler:Eliwood kills Ninian with Durandal]].

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Sometimes used in ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' (like in ''[[http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail101.html car]]'') and sometimes not (like in ''[[http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail46.html your friends]]'').
* Used in the ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' on-line animations, which made good use of "stylized" LimitedAnimation.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Parodied in WebVideo/FiveSecondFilms' [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP3J-iTKiyY "Collectors Issue".]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Parodied in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', in the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kguIY09YjUc "campy Seventies version"]] of [[CaptainErsatz Radioactive Man]], complete with even more nonsensical descriptive words like "MINT!", "POOO!" and "NEWT!"
* Batman [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8LcKev4k1Q punches a plant clone in the shape of old woman]] in ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman''. It's a simple white flash done to swap models between the woman and plant creature.
* Used and abused in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'' - Mostly just when it was funny.
* Most of the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse, unless a character himself (such as Superman or Batman's cape) obstructs the impact shot. [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries Batman]] animators were also fond of using silhouettes, which arguably worked with his shadowy image.
** This is absent in a number of fights after ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' went HeroesUnlimited. Such as the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' episode "Panic in the Sky", when Galatea fought Supergirl while taunting her, making the fight seem especially gruesome. [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kerai/1120528745739.gif Click here]] for a clip. In the movie ''Starcrossed'', the hitflash is actually an incredibly brightened frame of Hawkgirl ''crying out in pain'' from the hit she took.
* Parodied in a ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' cutaway gag that also parodies the '60s Batman TV show.
* When Frankie punches out her date on ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends''.
** Used in another episode when Bloo gets punched in the face by a young girl for taking some toy glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth. The punch is shown from the POV of Bloo, and the girl's fist flies towards the camera before the split-second Hit Flash.
* Exception: ''GIJoe'' -- [[ATeamFiring No one ever got shot]], but the moment of impact was always visible.
* Often subverted in ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'', which has exaggerated, SlowMotion impact shots, with green goo and teeth flying everywhere.
** It will however use it at other times, sometimes with hidden bonuses, such as the episode "Los Dos Mojos", where a hit flash from Bubbles is actually the words "Mojo" rapidly cycled.
* Used quite often on ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes''.
** In one WesternAnimation/BugsBunny short, Bugs hits a dog over the head with a club. You see Bugs raise the club, then a flash, and then the dog has a [[CranialEruption huge bump on his head]], while Bugs is holding a broken club. The swing of the club is never seen, ironically making the action appear all the more violent.
** In ''Bugs Bunny Rides Again'': Chased by Yosemite Sam, Bugs goes through a tunnel and then covers the exit with a brick wall. As Sam enters the tunnel, the screen goes dark - and suddenly we see him silhouetted against the wall for a brief instant.
*** The versions cited above have suffered editing due to concerned parties afraid of what they called "imitatible violence." Since race issues were also treated differently, they likewise suffered this sort of editing.
*** It's worth noting the Golden Collection DVD sets have the unedited versions of the cartoons.
** And finally, the outro of ''The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour,'' in which Bugs is driving a small car on the open road and the Coyote, with part of another contraption in tow, goes flying straight into him. Beep beep!
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' isn't shy about showing violence, but they had a creative variation on this trope in an episode in which time was skipping ahead at random intervals. After Fry delivers a pickup line to Leela, there's a short timejump, and we see Fry with a black eye saying "Oww..."
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' used these particularly well, normally showing [[SecondPersonAttack punches to the face from the point of view of the victim]]. Just as the incoming fist is filling the screen, HitFlash in white and sometimes red, and change to a shot of the punchee getting knocked back.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' would often have [[SecondPersonAttack a shot of someone's fist rushing at the camera]], a brief HitFlash, then a shot of the target of that punch being knocked backwards.
** Got a little odd in "Aftershock Part 2," though, when at one point they had two characters talking, had the HitFlash and shot of one character getting knocked back, but never even showed the windup to the punch. Was either a goof, or to convey the blow coming so quickly/unexpectedly.
* The 2003 ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' series uses a variant - whenever a sword is used, the screen quickly cuts to black and the movement of the slash is shown. Even if it is {{Bowdlerization}}, it looks [[RuleOfCool pretty cool]].
* Completely averted with ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'', which had virtually every blow delivered on screen.
* Used occasionally in the ''WesternAnimation/DonkeyKongCountry'' animated series, most notably when DK punched King K. Rool or another Kremling.
* Done once on ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' (which is known for its often graphic and brutal on screen violence) in the episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride" when one of the the kids while playing football headbutts Pip who was not wearing a helmet.
* WesternAnimation/DragonBooster used this whenever a character was hit and captured.
* The ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' episode "Pizza Delivery" has this when Squidward throws the pizza at a {{jerkass}} customer.
** This also happens in "The Two Faces of Squidward" when [=SpongeBob=] repeatedly hits Squidward with a door.
** "Mermaidman and Barnacleboy 2", like the Simpsons example above, parodies the 1960s Batman variation. The titular elderly superheroes knock over obvious cutouts of villains with "PROP!", "CARDBOARD!" and "LAME" flashed in starbursts onscreen (''after'' the cardboard visibly buckles, no less).
* ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' had such an example, of colorful stars rapidly flying on a black background that originated in the pilot episode, and [[StockFootage was recycled numerous times]] throughout the series and even in ''the movie''.
* The ending to the ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' episode "Who Let the Ed In?" has this happen to Ed when Eddy hits him with an imaginary potato. "Don't blink."
* Done in both of the Bat-Bat episodes of Bakshi's ''WesternAnimation/MightyMouse'' reboot ("Ralph!" "Love!" "Bakshi!")
* Parodied in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' which combines it with CensoredForComedy. Nicole fights some guards and is confused when they show up beaten right after the flash.
* Similar to the ''Family Guy'' one above, ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhostCoastToCoast'' parodied this in an episode that also parodied Batman, where Space Ghost would "get a word" every time he shot something with his powerbands.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' sometimes uses these during fight sequences, where instead of directly showing the hits, the screen will go black for a second whilst the movement is shown in a light colour.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Happened in "The Cart Before the Ponies," when three carts collided at the center of the track and demolished the remaining carts in the process. Stars and all.

[[folder:Truth In Television]]
* There is a principle in fluid dynamics called 'cavitation'. When impacts occur at extremely high speed underwater, a flash of light as well as sound and heat can be produced, as seen [[http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/77 here]], in the 'Strike at 20,000 fps' section. It's 11 minutes in. A cooler example would be the pistol shrimp shown [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeFUO2F7Gvw here]], which uses the same principles of cavitation just mentioned, but can do it naturally.
* The phenomenon of "seeing stars" is caused by the fluid in the eyes moving faster than the eyes themselves and slamming into the retina. This likely causes the victim to see a flash, as well as the aftermath, and probably explains the last part of the above comment.
* When animating pretty much anything (especially an explosion or other...fiery event) one blank frame followed by the aftermath of the strike is a whole lot easier - and is a whole lot more visually appealing - than drawing it manually. Collisions look the best either a frame after contact or a frame before.
* Some astronauts have reported seeing spurious flashes of nonexistent light while in orbit. One explanation put forth is that this is a visual expression of damage occurring to the retina due to cosmic radiation. Their eyes get hit with radiation, but all they see is a flash.