These girls know the routine.
J.D., be sensitive. Don't act like you're at a ping pong match between a ninja and Bigfoot... Dr. Kelso: [Gives Elliot an odd look] Elliot:
I know that made no sense, but he's totally there now in his head. [J.D.'s eyes dart back and forth] Dr. Kelso:
Would you look at that...
A brief cut to a Fantasy Sequence
and back, usually no more than a few seconds long, and commonly bookended
by a Fade to White
yells at Bob, "What am
I, your maid?!". Cut to Alice cleaning the house in a French Maid Outfit
. Cut to Bob's face — he's clearly just imagined the role, and Alice has just slapped him
to snap him out of his imagination trance.
A very popular trope with commercials, so much so that it could almost be considered an advertising trope as much as it is a comedy trope, with the idea being to either convey how much one's life would be better with the product/service or how easily obtainable it is.
Contrast Daydream Surprise
(and its subtrope Indulgent Fantasy Segue
), where it's not
clear from the start that this is only happening in a character's imagination. When other characters can see someone's Imagine Spot, that's Imagine Spotting
. For other kinds of imagined sequences — ie., if it's not just a brief, clearly marked cut — see Fantasy Sequence
. And when it turns out not to be imagined, it's a Gilligan Cut
open/close all folders
- One commercial features an Imagine Spot with a middle-aged managerial type daydreaming about becoming president after he discovered the joys of microwaved "gourmet" pasta. It turns out that even in his fantasy, he's not the president.
- The "switching to GEICO" ads, assuming the cutaway gags count as fantasy within the "reality" of the framing scenarios. With, of course, the exception of the "happy folks" spots, where the guitarists are actually in the fantasies.
- An early Vat19 ad for a tabletop Frogger LCD game features a man halucinating that his boss is in a frog suit and is able to control him with the frogger game.
Anime & Manga
- Azumanga Daioh uses several imagine spots throughout the course of the series, many of which involve (unsurprisingly) Cloudcuckoolander Osaka.
- In Bleach, Chad tries to remember what Ichigo's little sister Karin looks like. We end up with Squick as he sees Ichigo with a black wig, Karin's red hat, and lipstick.
- Ouran High School Host Club has "Tamaki's Inner Mind Theatre", usually with Tamaki fantasizing about Haruhi.
- Star Driver has Wako doing almost exactly the same thing, complete with Ouran-style captions. Yaoi style!
- Minami-ke's Hosaka gets really caught up in his fantasies, usually starring Haruka, to the point of acting them out. Everyone else thinks he's weird and a little sick in the head.
- Meowth of Team Rocket has done this about Once an Episode since Hoenn, thinking about what Giovanni would do with the Pokémon of the day. More often than not, the imagery is pretty weird. Everything from said Boss spontaneously performing a Super-Deformed Gene Kelly dance routine, to said Boss stripping to a Loin Cloth for almost no friggin' reason. It helps that said Boss is The Comically Serious, and the occasions with Meowth's accented voice filling in for what he imagines would be what Giovanni would say help even more. What makes it even more imaginative is that the three were probably the most pathetic excuses for Team Rocket members ever seen on the show, at least until they Took a Level in Badass in Unova, and that Giovanni mostly despises them.
- Who's an even more Comically Serious than Giovanni? Why, Cyrus, of course. But that only serves to make this scene◊ more hilarious, as the Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure heroes ponder where he could have gone after the Spear Pillar.
- There's Connoiseusse Burgundy, who has one involving Cilan mocking her and her Oshawott in a particularly cruel manner while Pansage just cackles viciously. Considering what Cilan's really like, plus her evaluation of Ash's Pokemon in a negative light, it just shows how wacked out she really is.
- Piplup in "Piplup, Up, and Away!" kept imagining Dawn praising him and himself being a total badass.
- In Digimon Tamers, Takato has one when he can't find his partner Guilmon, imagining Guilmon being shot to death by police.
- Takato gets a few lighthearted ones in a row when he first meets Culumon. Thinking Culumon would be safer with a human Tamer, he imagines how various of his acquaintances would go about taking care of Culumon; none of them work out very well.
- Misaki in Wagaya No Oinari Sama is prone to sudden and overthought fantasy sequences about Noboru, her crush. Usually these fantasy sequences involve Kuugen or Kou, his family's resident Pretty Freeloaders.
- In the Ai Yori Aoshi manga, Mayu fantasizes about being an uh-MAZING cook so that Kaoru falls for her unconditionally. In reality, the complete opposite is true.
- Used in a Code Geass sound episode where Shirley is imagining all kinds of insane things that could go wrong if she asks Lelouch out to a concert. It starts with him just saying that he will take his sister to the entire student council admitting their undying love for him, even Arthur. That's almost JD level weirdness.
- Also used in the Picture Drama in which Sayoko first meets Suzaku when he comes over for tea with Lelouch and Nunally. She happens to overhear part of a conversation between Suzaku and Lelouch at the end and somehow interprets it to mean they are secretly in love... and her imagination runs away on her a little.
- Unavoidable Lucky Star example: Hiyori would often falls into fantasies about portraying her classmates Yutaka and Minami as Schoolgirl Lesbians, but immediate cut short by chastising herself about thinking her friends that way. Said friends are clueless as to what she's freaking out over.
- Onsokumaru of Ninin Ga Shinobuden does these a lot, usually involving Fanservice images of Kaede and Shinobu, or of himself surrounded by women or doing something awesome.
- Used several times in a row in an episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, when Nanami is trying to embarrass Anthy (and win Miki's affection) by planting weird stuff in her room. She envisions each ploy going off without a hitch, only to have them fail because Anthy is already keeping weird stuff in her room. And Miki finds it cute.
- Saitou Hajime of Rurouni Kenshin: Memetic Badass, Inspector Javert, The Comically Serious... and master of the Imagine Spot. He makes the "If Kaoru → Tanuki and Megumi → Fox, then Misao → Weasel" in one and images a broom shooing away a rooster when Chou and Sanosuke get into an argument.
- Often used in Paradise Kiss. In one instance, Yukari pictures a Love Triangle as a Duel to the Death between Tokumori as a samurai and Arashi as a Lupin III pastiche, for the love of Miwako as a schoolgirl in Sailor Fuku. She notes it's only natural Arashi won, after all, he had a gun.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has quite a few, as well as a few Imagine Sketches from Haruna (or Nodoka's magic diary). In one notable instance, after Nodoka confesses to him, Negi imagines himself marrying her... without losing the Blank White Eyes he got from the revelation.
- In Strawberry Marshmallow (the manga), while Nobue is filling out a job application for one of the "zillions of 7-Elevens" in the area, the other girls contemplate what sorts of jobs they would want to get. The question is posed to Matsuri, and Miu imagines Matsuri in a few different kinds of jobs, coming up with the conclusion that Matsuri is not employable. When they consider the job of handing out promotional tissues, Miu remarks that "Matsuri wasn't able to do it at all just now," and imagines herself in the position, sneaking them into people's pockets and bags even if they refuse, and offering entire boxes at once.
- This also happens in the corresponding anime sequence, except with Miu imagining a single job for Matsuri and Ana (Matsuri as a sweet potato woman (like an ice cream woman, but with sweet potatoes) and Ana as a ball girl at a tennis court.) As for tissue pack marketing, Miu and Chika acted it out in real life with the same level of success as Matsuri.
- In Macross Frontier, Luca's brain goes to town in not entirely worksafe ways◊ when Sheryl casually declares Alto her slave. Makes you wonder what else goes on in his head, considering Sheryl obviously meant slave in the menial labor-drone sense.
- Pretty much every character in Ranma 1/2 indulges in this regularly. If there are any other people in the room, they usually comment on the scene.
- In Nightmare Inspector, Kairi spends a lot of his time fantasizing and daydreaming. We get to see a few of said fantasies, which are... strange, to say the least.
- The characters in Eyeshield 21 do this sometimes. Usually they imagine themselves pulling of a spectacular play (in Monta's case, it's always followed with Mamori fussing happily over him).
- In the second episode of Paranoia Agent, Yuichi has these more frequently (and they become more indulgent/fantastical) as things continually get worse for him.
- Played with and played straight in the second episode of the Ah! My Goddess TV series — when Keiichi mulls over what wish of his Belldandy should grant, he first imagines life as a wealthy man, then Belldandy, who's reading his mind the entire time, says she would gladly "give him more money than he could hope to spend in his lifetime". Then Belldandy says she could also grant the wish of wanting to destroy the entire world, "although [she] would prefer to not do business with that type of client." Cue Keiichi imagining a giant explosion levelling a city, with him off to the side, laughing evilly, in a monocle, a wiry mustache, and what suspiciously looks like a Schutzstaffel uniform.
- May Chang in Fullmetal Alchemist is prone to daydreaming about the Elrics (first Ed, then upon finding him insufficiently tall, Al) with copious Bishie Sparkle. Already funny, it becomes downright Hilarious in Hindsight when Monica Rial was cast as her English voice actress, leading to many Ouran High School Host Club jokes among fans.
- Isaac and Miria of Baccano!! have a joint one (fitting, considering their ditzy duo status) complete with Art Shift when they speculate with horror on Jacuzzi's fate at the hands of the mythical Rail Tracer. Which, by the way, they visualize as a giant green worm with fangs.
- Early on in the anime, Naruto fantasizes about becoming Hokage and beating Sasuke. There's more than that:
- In the "what's under Kakashi's mask?" episode, Sasuke, thanks to Naruto's goading, imagines an unmasked Kakashi with big red lips, and then big buck teeth; he quickly agrees to help Naruto and Sakura try to see Kakashi's face.
- In that same episode, our trio treat Kakashi to lunch at Ramen Ichiraku as part of their first attempt. Kakashi is suspicious and has three imagine spots in a row: first, getting buried under a big pile of snow (ironically, after he says "I wouldn't be surprised if it snowed on me,"), then, his order of ramen exploding in his face, and finally, him getting bopped by a giant Extendo Boxing Glove and Squashed Flat against a wall. At the end of each one, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura triumphantly flash the peace sign and declare, "He fell for it!!"
- Ayanes High Kick: We get to see one of these from Ayane when Kunimitsu makes a pitch to get her to join his dojo, declaring that she can become a champion. She sees herself in the middle of a ring with a pro-wrestling world title belt and a cheering crowd, unaware that Kunimitsu is actually referring to her becoming a champion kick-boxer.
- Used so heavily in Brigadoon: Marin and Melan that it's a bit confusing at first. Marin's imagination usually involves violent death.
- In Soul Eater Not!, new student Tsugumi imagines herself surrounded by pretty boys at the academy, but she snaps out of her thoughts once she sees Black Star punching a guy in the face. She also imagines the aforementioned pretty boys all clamoring to be her partner, but instead finds herself being fought over by two female classmates.
- Plica has several, though some of the other characters also get in on it.
- Masamune of Gate 7 get lose in his own Imagine Spot of Cat Girl Hana at the middle of a battle.
- Switzerland in Axis Powers Hetalia is a surly, gun-toting miser, but Japan imagines him as a befrocked, beribboned Heidi who engages in song and dance.
- Sangatsu no Lion has a rather grim example of this trope in its first chapter. Rei imagines himself beating his adoptive father to death while Rei's paralleling beating his father in a professional shogi match to a news story of a man murdering his father with blunt force. Yikes.
- In Is This a Zombie?, Ayumu constantly imagines Eucliwood talking to him, usually praising him and acting sexy. In each imagine spot, she is voiced by a different actress.
- Wakaba Kumura of Otasuke Miko Miko-chan has these frequently.
- One Piece employs this often enough, usually for romance/perverse fantasies (Sanji and Boa Hancock being two favorites). Oddly Nico Robin gets a few quite whimsical ones.
- Manabe from Kotoura-san is so perverted so he often has perverted Imagine Spots about her girlfriend Haruka. Haruka, however, is a telepath, so this and the Dirty Mind-Reading that always ensues becomes a Running Gag.
- The main character from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular~, Tomoko, being the anime and Dating Sim-obsessed introvert that she is, has plenty of these, mostly about how the newest tactic she has is going to make her popular. Naturally, none of these work out the way she hoped.
- This is occasionally used in Fairy Tail, most often when the Yandere Juvia imagines Gray falling in love with her.
- We see Haruka's fantasies fairly often in Sakura Trick.
- Imagine Spots are incredibly common in Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?, with at least one instance per episode as the characters start imagining things in response to something another said.
- A couple happen in the first episode, such as when Cocoa thought Rabbit House was literally a place to play with rabbits, and Rize imagining herself wearing a Playboy Bunny outfit.
- Rize does this again in episode 3, imagining herself in a Playboy Bunny costume, except this time with a floppy-eared headband like the one worn by Sharo. She decides that it works equally well.
- In Koe No Katachi, Shouko has one of the Tear Jerker variety. When she sees her grade school classroom, she starts imagining what those days would have been like if she not only had friends, but also if her entire family was together. This includes her grandma still being alive, her mother being more caring and less stressed, and her father actually being present in her life.
- Great Teacher Onizuka anime constantly switch between real world and the titular Onizuka's "fantasy".
- B Gata H Kei makes frequent use of these, most commonly by main character Yamada, whose random, erotically-oriented fantasies approach Scrubs levels of frequency and, much like JD, are frequently followed by in-character outbursts that sometimes get her in trouble.
- Give Me Liberty has a few imagine spots that display the main character as a panther and the villain as a hunter.
- One of the few almost totally lighthearted moments in Sin City happens when Dwight McCarthy imagines the recently deceased Jack Rafferty talking to him as a Deadpan Snarker. Emphasis on the dead part.
- In The Pulse, when Jessica Jones, Ben Urich and Kat Ferrell are trying to figure out who murdered a Daily Bugle staffer and dropped her body in the water from hundreds of feet in the air, their mental images range from the highly unlikely(Iron Man, Hulk) to the probably not(Vulture) to the downright ludicrous(Stilt-Man).
- In Kyon Big Damn Hero, after Kyon phoned Yuki in chapter 13 he imagines her in her apartment, kneeling by the phone, her cheeks pink-tinged as she daydreamed about him... But he dismissed that thought. This was Yuki, after all. As much as he might wish that...
- In Progress, Princess Luna has increasingly bizarre daydreams about the various awkward situations in which she finds herself.
- Turnabout Storm: Before the trial starts, Phoenix wonders what would his Friendly Rival Edgeworth do if he was the one stuck in Equestria instead. The result is... a little less than useless.
This is just like that one episode of the Steel Samurai
where he meets the Pink Princess! WHEEEEEE!!! Phoenix: (Doctor, I'd like the part of my brain responsible for that image lobotomized please...)
- In With Strings Attached, during the New Zork chapter, Beagle John tells Ringo that the government is looking for the first “A-plus Plus” (i.e., someone with more than one magical Ability) and such a man will be milked for his sperm so all the women can be artificially inseminated. Ringo, who easily qualifies, pictures “himself hooked up to a sperm-pumping machine, surrounded by thousands of big-nosed, blue-eyed telekinetic kids.”
- Calvin has a few in Calvin At Camp. Since it's directly based on Calvin and Hobbes, this is to be expected.
- Happens to Saga and Luna in Under The Northern Lights.
- Rolling in Beaches: When Spike and Wavedancer wander off together, Rarity has one of these where Wavedancer turns into a cartoony, over-the-top villain who tries to harm Spike, only for Rarity to show up and save him.
Films — Animation
- In Up, Carl just found out that Russell snuck aboard his house before liftoff and notices that they're passing over some skyscrapers. Cue him trying to lower the kid down onto a building using an improvised towel-rope, and the kid slips and falls... Then the mental image ends with Carl deciding "Well, that's not gonna work."
Films — Live-Action
- Michael, the narrator of The Republic of Trees is established as a notorious daydreamer in the first chapter. His visions in the book get quite bizarre (such as Liberty from Delacroix' "Liberty leading the People" giving him a handjob).
- Calvin and Hobbes often combines these with Reality Ensues. One instance: Calvin actually gets an A on a paper for once. The (large) center panel is a huge, mid-city celebration, with confetti, cheering spectators, a gigantic Calvin statue and Calvin himself riding in a limo with the key to the city. Unfortunately, back in reality, Ms. Wormwood just moves along to more classwork, much to a deflated Calvin's chagrin.
- The music video to "Voices" by Disturbed has the subject imagining doing hostile or even violent things to the people who piss him off, with the voices trying to convince him that this is a good idea.
- In the music video to "Gonna Get Over You," Sara Bareilles is a leather jacket-clad badass who literally dances into a Mexican supermarket, transforming various shoppers into her outfit-clone backup dancers. At the end of the video, she's revealed to actually be an Adorkable nerdgirl rocking out to a song inside her head, and scaring the other customers.
- In Allegro, the Greek Chorus interrupts the awkward hoofing of a college dance to introduce a fantastic Dream Ballet which shows how the students feel they are dancing; this eventually ends and the dance continues as before. In a later montage sequence, the professor's voice droning through their lectures fade away as Joe sees Jenny dancing through his imagination; Joe's buddy Charlie gets his own Imagine Spot showing two girls starting to strip as a professor reads from The Eve of St. Agnes.
- Ryo has a few of these in Brass Restoration, to amusing effect.
- Kareha in SHUFFLE! has a tendency to go into these whenever thrilled about something possibly romantic. It unnerves the rest of the class, who refer to them as hallucinations. We never get to see what she is actually thinking at these times, perhaps for the best.
- Fate/stay night: In the Unlimited Blade Works Scenario, Saber argues about sleeping with Shirou in his room due to his having been brainwashed by Caster to go to her base the night before. Shirou stops himself from countering with his belief that Caster won't try it again after he imagines Saber berating him for being such a Wide-Eyed Idealist.
- In Fate/hollow ataraxia, Shirou and Rin discuss Saber's dragon-affinity, and wonder if she has a genkirin, a part on her body that, if touched, will cause Saber to lash out. Shirou has an imagine spot of Lancer bumping into Saber, which causes her to run him down on a lion-shaped go-kart.
- In Kanon, there's a rather... unique scene at lunch where Yuuichi is trying to imagine how Sayuri and Mai spend time together. Naturally, with the vastly different behavior and personality between them he finds it hard and eventually comes up with the idea that they're schoolgirl lesbians who then invite him to a threesome. Believe it or not, this is one of the times where Yuuichi refrains from speaking his mind.
- Happens in Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai a couple of times, such as when a joke choice involving Miyako is chosen.
- Dan Shive of El Goonish Shive occasionally delves into this (and cites Scrubs as a good example of how to do it) and his comic occasionally features one.
- For example.
- Another strip also references Scrubs, but this time without the scene showing. However, it's possible to make a link between the original statement and the after-comment.
- Subverted again for humor. Both girls spend a Beat Panel clearly imagining something, but we don't see it. However, from the context and their reluctance to talk about it, the nature of their fantasy can be inferred.
- Used liberally throughout Misfile,
- An occasionally used gag in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Fan Webcomic A's/StrikerS Nano. As they're employed on characters portrayed as having Unresolved Sexual Tension, the spots tend to be very heavily censored. Here's one example involving Fate◊ (Caution: May still be NSFW).
- Everyday Heroes: "To the Mighty-Mobile!"
- The Order of the Stick: "To the Ninjamobile!"
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Jean imagines the consequences of unveiling Molly to the scientific community.
- What happens when you mix tea and coffee in Questionable Content.
- A rather amusing one in Wapsi Square involves seasonally inept Vikings.
- Squid Row Of course a squirt gun will make you a Space Opera hero!
- In The Dreadful, Liz fantasizes about a Boom, Headshot in response to a Hurricane of Puns from Kit and Boozloaf.
- Mac Hall: "My spleen!"
- This is seen periodically in Bittersweet Candy Bowl, but special mention goes to Chapter 59, with Paulo daydreaming about what would have happened if he had slept with Lucy.
- Lazarus gets one in page 58 of Underling.
- Dominic Deegan has a small, yet hilarious one here, where he imagines the Axe Crazy Infernomancer as... well. Out of Character is putting it mildly.
- A few are sprinkled out throughout Commander Kitty, but none are quite as extreme as Fluffy's Pool Cue Space Princess fantasy...
- In Faux Pas, Myrtle locked in her room imagines herself as Maid Myrtle, wondering where Robin Hood is when she needs rescue.
- TwoKinds has "Red" freaking out here do to (spoilers) this revelation.
- Homestuck features Doc Scratch, who narrates the story for a brief while. We find out partway into his arc, though, that a good chunk of his story is merely a doomed timeline that is being told, and as time passes, with an increasing amount of speculation.
- "Do not think about pink elephants."
- At times a blessing or a curse for those who are "visual learners". Visualizing things can be reflex and incredibly hard to filter out - a predictably exploitable trait.