Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
A character who can stroll into the middle of a firefight and emerge unscathed. Guns Are Worthless against them. They aren't Immune to Bullets, but they're so fast they might as well be. If you shoot at them from any farther than point blank range, they'll jump out of the way, or use some impressively small object to deflect the bullet, Improbable Aiming Skills be damned.
Considering the speed at which bullets and some other projectiles travel, these kind of reflexes are blatantly unrealistic, the domain of superhumans and Super Speedsters. Most guns fire at the speed of sound or faster, so by the time you hear the shot, it will have either hit you or missed you, and even if you could see the shot and react the human body is too slow to do much to get out of the way. Writers who want a Badass Normal to dodge bullets will maintain a modicum of realism by saying the character is simply predicting where the gunman is going to fire and making sure they're not there when the trigger is pulled.
This accomplishes the same goal as Stormtrooper Marksmanship, but in the opposite way: The hero wins despite being outgunned, not because his enemies are terrible shots, but because he's just that good. Oddly, despite being able to dodge bullets, when the fight turns to fisticuffs the hero usually becomes much less able to dodge the much slower punches.
Coincidentally, if the enemies did have standard mook accuracy, this dodging probably wouldn't work, as mooks tend to hit everything except where they're aiming (The Hero), so the only way to actually get shot is not have the gun pointed at you.
Sometimes this skill is imparted by a background in Gun Fu, Gun Katanote dodging lines of fire before the shot, Implausible Fencing Powers, or Super Reflexes. Maybe the enemy was Point Defenseless? For maximum coolness, show off the dodging in Bullet Time. See also Could Have Been Messy. More Dakka may be employed to attempt to overcome this. Compare Bullet Catch, which is even cooler, and Catch and Return, which takes this to its logical extreme. Contrast Bullet Dodges You. When you upgrade from bullets to missiles, High-Speed Missile Dodge is the result.
Vash from Trigun did this a couple of times. It was lampshaded in the first instance where he explains that the enemy is 'just a bad shot'. He is one of the more amusing examples because of how he dodges the bullets in the first half of the anime. Eventually, we are shown that he is fast enough to change the paths of bullets in mid-air... by throwing rocks at them.
Notably, he is using the "predict where the marksman is going to fire, then dodge before they shoot" method. (Though this is justified; he has the incredible analytical skills and reflexes that would be needed to pull this off because he isn't human) He also does get turned into swiss cheese repeatedly once Cerebus Syndrome gets into full swing because of this.
Grenadier takes this to a whole different level. Yajiro can deflect bullets with his sword without much problem, and Rushuna can't be shot even from point blank range!
Let's put it in perspective. A villain with a galdo and an army of marksmen (who just wiped out a troop of samurai) with rifles and automatic weapons, can't hit Rushuna when she's standing in a courtyard surrounded by them. She has one six-gun. She wipes them out.
The eponymous girls from the "Girls with Guns Trilogy" (Noir, Madlax, El Cazador de la Bruja) do this all the time, starting with the opening of the shows. Madlax is a particularly ridiculous example, as half the time she manages to dodge so fast that we don't even see her move (although this could qualify as Immune to Bullets), and the rest of the time she is dancing around the bullets.
Many of the Mobile suits from Mobile Suit Gundam are often seen doing this on a larger scale (dodging cannon fire rather than bullets). And it doesn't seem limited to New Types. It seems that any MS piloted by a named character can zip past enemy fire. If it's a mobile suit/weapon going up against a conventional weapon or vehicle, then even a nameless mook will suddenly develop bullet dodging enabling precognition.
An early demonstration of Star Platinum's powers in the third part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is when Jotaro points a gun at his head and pulls the trigger. Star Platinum catches the bullet before it gets close to Jotaro's head.
Hanyuu stopped time to make herself dodge a bullet in the finale of Higurashi's second season due to her god powers. Except in the canal drying chapter, where she dies. Again. She also did this to Keiichi with multiplebullets in the Matsuri only arc, Miotsukushi-hen.
In Cowboy Bebop the Red Eye Serum not only sends user into potential bloody rampages, but vastly increases their speed and perception, allowing even small-time mooks to dodge bullets (there are also subtle hints that Big Bad Vicious uses it as well, which is why he can successfully use a katana against gun wielders).
In Black Cat ex-assassin and gunman Train Heartnet blocks bullets with his gun, Hades, made of a special, ultra-strong metal called orichalcum. Train's supernatural speed is never directly discussed, but it's implied it comes from his previous life as an uber-assassin. Almost all the other characters, as well, block or dodge bullets. Some with supernatural help, others simply with speed.
For Rurouni Kenshin, gifted in the art of god-like-speed, dodging bullets (as long as he can see the line of fire) is child's play. Granted, these are old timey rifles, but it still looked cool; he later just barely manages to outrun an early-model Gatling gun long enough for the guy using it to run out of bullets.
This is kept in the Live-Action Adaptation, but taken Up to Eleven. During Kenshin's battle with Gein (first battle he has to expend effort at all in the movie) he uses his sword to block the bullets that Gein shot at him...while disoriented and upside down. He does it so well, that when he's back on his feet, Gein's still shooting and almost out of bullets. But Kenshin just. Keeps. Blocking.
Probably one of the earliest anime and manga examples, Goemon of Lupin III regularly blocks bullets by cutting them with his sword. In his first appearance, the bullets are even shown splitting apart after hitting the ground. Lupin's tricks make him seem similarly fast, as he's managed to leap out of a full-body Latex Perfection disguise fast enough for the disguise to be shot instead of him.
It's been explicitly stated in Mahou Sensei Negima! that Shinmeiryuu swordsman aren't affected by bullets because of the ability to swat them out of midair with their swords. These tend to be roughly 2-metre-long Nodachi swords.
Fuhrer King Bradley is the ultimate bullet timer in Fullmetal Alchemist. The guy, despite admittedly being near 60 years old not only weaves through gunfire, but casually deflects automatic gunfire with his sword! You wonder why people even try to shoot him...?
In One Piece Mihawk changes the course of two bullets fired at him with his BFS. Zoro claims that it is because his sword is so gentle. Later on we see Zoro dodging a gun shot at point-blank range fired by a World Noble.
Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess seems to be able to avoid harm, without trying, even in cases where everyone else gets injured, once she walked through a hail of rubber bands without getting hit once, and was completely unaffected by a massive lighting strike that destroyed the temple and left everyone else in a blackened heap. Well, y'know — goddess.
Thing is, so are the others, Belldandy on the other hand seems to either be super lucky or have unconscious probability control
Done in Detective ConanThe Movie 13, The Raven Chaser. Ran Mouri dodges a bullet fired by Irish when he's standing right in front of her.
Similar to the page quote, the Big Bad of Parasyte isn't fast enough to dodge the actual bullets. He is fast enough, however, to be able to see where the police point their guns, and be able to move out of the way.
As does Cassandra Cain, the former Batgirl (pictured). Born to be the ultimate assassin/bodyguard, her father raised her in a bunker under special conditions that deprived her of any form of spoken or written language so she could learn to read body language and movement like a book. Using this ability, Cass can see where the gunman would point the gun and when they'd pull the trigger so she could step out of the way before they fire. Or in several cases, step out of the way after they've fired. To the point of drawing the bullets hanging in the air as she steps around them.
A particularly egregious example in the animated series, when Bruce is doused with anti-fear gas, he stands at near point blank range dodging bullets as they're fired just to show off. Though Robin is right to think Batman is pushing his luck, he comes out unscathed somehow.
Wonder Woman regularly deflects bullets and any kind of energy weapon with her bracelets. The bracelets are Immune to Bullets, but moving her arms to block the bullets definitely counts as dodging. Justified by literally possessing the speed of Hermes.
Superman sometimes inverts this: he's fast enough to deliberately place his own invulnerable body in the path of bullets, to protect whatever's behind him.
Spider-Man can dodge bullets due to his spider-sense. According to Marvel's published data, Spider-Man's reflexes are fast enough to dodge single-shot gunfire, he only needs his spider-sense to dodge full-auto weapons fire.
Blade does this quite often, even though bullets are a minor annoyance he can quickly heal from. Justified since his vampiric powers give him Super Reflexes. Though when he's in the mood to dodge, he doesn't get hit.
In fact in a situation very similar to the trope picture of Cassandra Cain, Blade pulls the exact same maneuver as she did. However its taken a step further: As Deadpool fires at him, Blade gradually moves forward, dodging the bullets until he is close enough to punch Deadpool in the head.
Subverted in Garth Ennis' The Punisher series: at one point he follows a criminal who muses how he once killed four federal agents then dodged a bullet fired by the fifth and killed him too. Frank's solution? The criminal may have dodged one, but he cannot dodge thirty.
Wesley Gibson and his father from Wanted. In the opening scene Gibson Sr. dodges sniper fire. Wesley is not usually seen being shot at, and it's possible he simply kills opponents before they can fire. In one exception, he deflects the bullet with a knife. Even then, Wesley was surprised that the deflection actually worked.
Amadeus Cho, from The Incredible Hercules (no, really). He's a badass normal in that he is so smart he has the ability to figure out where the bullets are going to be and not be there. Despite being physically normal.
Captain America can do this pretty well, although he prefers blocking them with his Immune to Bullets shield. Since the shield isn't that big, it still takes amazing reflexes for it to protect him as well as it does.
John Doe of Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja , thanks to a lifetime of Ninja training. In the first issue of his comic, he dodges a bullet fired at him from point-blank range; later, he dodges a sniper's bullets while running uphill towards the gunman.
Sin City plays around with this. Miho and Wallace generally dance around gunfire. Dwight avoids it most of the time but has been pinned down by enemy fire more than once with nowhere to go. Marv avoids gunfire more often than not but is known to get clipped every now and then (not that it stops him). Hartigan was clipped in every gun battle he was involved in, although considering he was an old man suffering from a heart condition, this is quite impressive.
Films — Animated
Mulan: Part of the training for the new recruits is to learn to run through a hail of burning arrows without being hit. This is almost an inversion in that in the beginning when they are no good at it they do some actual dodging, but once he's got the hang of it, Yao runs through without being hit without making any visible effort to dodge.
Films — Live-Action
Star Wars: Jedi knights dodge and deflect Frickin' Laser Beams (often straight back at the shooter) so often that one wonders why individual mooks even try to shoot them. (As we find out in the prequel trilogy, the Jedi aren't all as good as the main characters, particularly against an army. Moreover, individual lightsaber styles or "forms" may or may not emphasize deflection and defense.) Justified in that blasters are actually particle weapons that fire bolts moving slightly slower than bullets, and the Jedi use their limited precognition to anticipate attacks and defend against them before they even happen. This can be defeated with lots and lots of guns, and lots and lots of firing, in a rapid succession. aka: More Dakka. In one of their very first scenes, C3PO and R2-D2 strolled right through the middle of a firefight without getting so much as scorched.
When the time comes, he does it almost as well as the Agents. Shortly afterward, he lives up to Morpheus's claim: first by coming back to life after being shot, then by stopping bullets in mid-air. The bullets actually still graze his skin, and do some damage to him, just not actual gunshot wound damage.
Daredevil was able to dodge Bullseye's projectiles in The Movie. At one point, he back-flips his way through a window's worth of flying glass shards. His senses make him aware of the whole 3D environment around him, and he's able to tell from an opponent's stance which way they're about to shoot (or throw). A bit like Vamp from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (see video game section below).
Drake from Blade: Trinity can not only dodge bullets fired from near-point blank ranges, but also change his form at the same time. Justified because he is the friggin' Dracula.
The Big Bad of the first film, Frost, can also do this. Though no other vampire besides Dracula has ever done this, and it was never mentioned again.
Boris The Bullet Dodger from Snatch seems to have a talent for making bullets miss him. In Boris' death scene, Tony has to use every bullet from a Desert Eagle clip before he manages to hit Boris, and that only works because he aims very carefully with the last shot. The .50AE Desert Eagle's absolutely hellacious recoil probably wasn't doing Tony's marksmanship any favours though.
Cris Johnson in Next can see two minutes into the future and play out various scenarios in order to pick the best outcome. At one point in the movie, he finds himself up against a terrorist with a fully loaded gun. From our perspective, we get to see him split off in various directions in an attempt to dodge all the bullets complete with each false choice getting shot and disappearing until only one is left standing, the one outcome where he successfully dodged all the bullets.
Jet Li's character in Lethal Weapon 4 does not seem to fear guns and in one scene dodges a bullet fired at him in the back unawares.
Also Jet Li's character, Yulaw from The One has superhuman physical abilities and is once shown dodging a bullet.
Remo Williams The Adventure Begins features a man being trained to do this, complete with comments about which muscles to watch for twitching and why you shouldn't cheat by remembering how many bullets are meant to be in the gun.
Lampshaded in UHF. George fantasizes about raiding a heavily guarded prison camp to rescue Stanley. At one point, George stands inches away from a soldier firing a gun at him, but he keeps missing. Later in the fantasy, George catches a bullet in his teeth, chews it, and then fires the pieces out of his mouth back at the shooter like a machine gun.
During the WWI sequence in Sucker Punch, as Baby Doll is closing in on the German courier, she uses her katana to parry the bullets he fires at her.
Some of the other girls tilt, twist, and leap out of the way of bullets.
In Bulletproof Monk, the titular character appears to be able to do this as well, although he still gets shot by the Big Bad at the beginning after dealing with all the other Nazis firing submachineguns. One of the scenes (which, naturally, made it into the trailer) shows a Mook firing at the Monk with the bullet-time effect showing us the bullet moving past the Monk's nose, with the Monk following the bullet with his gaze. However, the bullet had already missed by that time (the Monk didn't even move aside), and we simply see that the Monk can react fast enough to see a moving bullet.
The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) in The Great Race is inexplicably the sole clean soul in the midst of a chaotic food fight in a bakery, perhaps part of his Man in White status. He does get hit with a pie (by someone on "his side", accidentally) at the very end of the fight. $18,000 (in 1965 dollars) worth of pies were used for the scene, which lasts over four minutes and took several days to shoot (necessitating the careful reconstruction each morning of the characters' appearance at the end of the previous day of shooting).
Almost the same thing occurs with the canteen food fight in Blazing Saddles, where ultimate 'black hat' Hedley Lamarr ducks out unstained, only to apparently get nailed with a pie by some malicious party lurking in the washroom.
In Edge of Tomorrow, Cage's ability to reset the day with full knowledge of the day's events gives him quite the edge in dodging anything and everything, eventually resulting in him giving Rita Vrataski a pace-by-pace, second-by-second rundown on how to dodge every single blow she faces in any given scenario.
The Destroyer paperback series of novels and the movie based on them, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, states that Masters of the martial art of Sinanju are able to dodge bullets, among their many other abilities.
Further explored in later novels in the series, Remo discovers that a Sinanju master can 'punch' Civil War era muzzloader projectiles away. Master Chiun demonstrates this while kicking Remo in the chest simultaneously because why not?
Averted somewhat in The Ganymede Takeover by Philip K Dick and Ray Nelson, in that the person being shot at is telepathic, and therefore knows when the shooter is about to pull the trigger.
The engineereds in Duumvirate dodge single aimed bullets easily, but have a harder time with things such as poorly-aimed A Ks and shotguns.
Grandpa Smedry of Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians and sequels presents an interesting twist, as part of his SmedryTalent: his Talent is being late; when somebody shoots a gun at him, he always arrives late for the bullets to hit him.
In the Warhammer 40,000Blood Angels novel Deus Sanguinius, the daemon Malfallax dodges the rounds fired at him by the Space Marines. As a princeling of Tzeentch, Chaos god of fate, he has an ability that allows him to see where the rounds go and move appropriately; when the body part enabling this is damaged, he fares considerably worse at avoiding.
In Discworld, in Men at Arms, Sergeant Colon enters the Tower of Art, having just heard somebody, and reasons, seeing nobody in the tower, that they are behind him. He dives right as the Gonne is fired. Afterwards he swears that he felt the shot pass over him. Discworld is based on Steampunk era technology, and the Gonne would not be as fast-firing as modern guns. Also, Sergeant Colon can spout a lot of shit sometimes.
In John D. MacDonald's The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything, the hero activates his magic pocket watch just as his adversary pulls the trigger. Not only can he easily get out of the bullet's way, he uses a ruler and his knowledge of the gun's normal-speed muzzle velocity to calculate just how much the pocket watch is slowing down time.
In Theirs Not To Reason Why Ia parries not just bullets but lasers with her sword. Justified by her precognitive powers; she knows beforehand where the projectile is going to be, so she can put her sword in the way.
MacGyver does this at times. He dives between lines of bullets shot by a helicopter in the early season intros. He's blocked a crossbow bolt with a 2x2 board. Practically nobody who shoots at him can hit him—if they do, they graze him (and cause amnesia). It's played off as luck, though, rather than skill, and he has a healthy respect for people pointing guns at him.
Ziva does this in an episode of NCIS, though what actually happens is she hears the gun being cocked and reacts to that.
Averted and busted by the MythBusters. While it is theoretically possible to dodge a .338 Lapua round in as close as 500 yards, it is not practical nor likely to happen with military grade rounds in a combat scenario. You can't see the muzzle flash from that far away, and the bullet will reach you before the sound of the shot.
Hicks from Alphas is able use his Super Reflexes to get out of the way of a bullet. He realizes that the shooter is about to fire and drops to the ground before the trigger is squeezed. He follows this up with a feat of acrobatics right out of The Matrix which confuses the shooter and causes the second shot to miss as well.
Parodied in The Office (US). Michael Scott's amateur film features his character dodging bullets from point blank range using some awkward and poorly choreographed poses.
Fudge Fu, for Fudge, allows people to deflect lasers. This is with lasers that actually travel at the speed of light. And all they need is a little mirror, or even something along the lines of a very shiny spoon. Although it is intended to mimic crazy kung-fu movie action, and has more than a few other things which are just as ridiculous. Such as being able to walk across rapidly moving water.
In GURPS the ability of characters to dodge bullets is justified by the assumption that you're staying away from where the shooter is aimed. You usually need exotic or cinematic powers to raise it above 10 (50% chance) so it's best not to rely on it against guns. With the right advantages and the high skill levels you can deflect weapons that move faster than the speed of light because... you know.
Hero System has "Combat Luck" — Armor defined as "it just missed me, good thing I dodged" instead of the usual "it bounced off my skin/bulletproof vest/powered armor".
In Shadowrun, the firing character uses a dice pool that can't really go higher than around 15 (agility max. 6 plus firearms skill max. 6 plus aptitude 1 plus specialization 2) while the defender uses reaction (max. 6) plus dodge (max. 6) plus aptitude (1) for a dice pool of 13, which gives an almost even chance of dodging any shot. (you successfully dodge if you roll more 5's or 6's on your 13 dice than the other person does on his 15) That is for a single shot (and we should mention that with stat-boosting cyberware, bioware and magic the shooter's pool could actually be up around 18). Start using burst fire and your chance of hitting can be a lot better...
The Old World of Darkness has a Dodge skill that allows you to dodge bullets. The difficulty of the dodge depends on your available cover. If you've got good cover, it can be a 6, which is a standard difficulty. If there is no cover, you can still drop to the floor to avoid the bullets, which is difficulty 8, pretty challenging.
Mage: The Awakening has a shield system that allows you to do it, combined with the dodging action, a few different ways depending on the type of magic. For instance, Space causes the area around you to warp so the bullet lightly deflects as you move out of the way, Death 'steals the energy' from the bullet, slowing it down, and Fate just makes you so improbably lucky you dodge out of the way by tripping over a dog or whatever.
Older Than Steam: In Ben Jonson's 1598 play Every Man in His Humour a character claims to be able to teach another to deflect bullets with his sword. "Unless it be grapeshot, and spread."
Vamp can predict a bullet's trajectory by watching his opponents' muscles, and dodge out of the way.
Mantis can do the same, but by reading minds instead of muscles. There's also the possibility that the Mantis you're shooting at is just a mental illusion, and the real one has simply stopped your brain from seeing him.
Grey Fox also has a form of this in his ability to deflect bullets with his sword, thanks to impossibly-fast reflexes.
Fortune doesn't even dodge. She just stands there and the bullets miss her. In other words, her power is to causeStormtrooper Marksmanship. this is mostly thanks to a device the Patriots secretly gave her, capable of deflecting bullets and making explosives inert. However, when a salvo of missiles is fired against her and the heroes, she makes the missiles steer away with no apparent reason, before dying from a previous wound.
Nathan Frost from Project Snowblind has a reflex augmentation which lets him "dance through the enemy's bullets". He still gets hit a fair amount if you try, though. He also has an augmentation which allows him to become Immune to Bullets (and rockets, and grenades, and lasers...)
Albert Wesker in Resident Evil has superhuman senses, strength, and reflexes thanks to his Only Mostly DeadGambit Roulette from the first game, but it's jacked up to ridiculous levels in RE5 when he sidesteps bullets so fast that you can't even see him moving. He even dodges rocket-propelled grenades in the first part of your fight with him, and a major part of that Boss Battle is figuring out a way to slow him enough down to hit him. Even then, you can never score a direct strike, he catches the RPG out of midair and you're forced to blow it up in his hands. It is possible to actually hit Wesker with bullets. You just have to kill the lights, wait for him to lose sight of you, and shoot him while his back is turned. But after the first couple of hits he'll start dodging again.
Viewtiful Joe can do this too whenever he uses the Slow VFX power, but Joe can also punch bullets andtank shells and send them right back at the person that fired them.
Besides of Jedi deflecting shots with a lightsaber, Jedi Academy features characters actually dodging energy blasts. Justified, more or less, in that they're relatively slow ones and almost everyone uses a burst of Force Speed to accomplish it. Jedi, Cultists and Reborn can do this, and it's also an almost undiscoverable power for the player character. Activating it takes something like standing still facing an enemy whose shots you can't block, which just doesn't seem like such a great idea. Of course, it's also within the realm of possibility to dodge blasts through the player's own reflexes. Boba Fett also dodges blaster shots, but not as reliably.
In the Final Fantasy VII OVA Last Order, Zack is shown easily dodging machine gun fire from multiple shooters and causing the shooters to hit each other.
In Team Fortress 2, the Scout can use Bonk! radioactive energy drink to dodge bullets, rocket explosions, and strangely, flamethrower fire, for a few seconds. Even though he doesn't take damage, sentry gun fire still knocks him back, and he can still have Huntsman arrows embedded in him. "Didn't hurt!"
In City of Heroes, Scrappers and Stalkers have an optional secondary ability called 'Super Reflexes'. Once gained, many of these powers are automatically on and cost no endurance.
Project Mirage(player-character): "I'm not bulletproof. And I'm not invincible. I don't need to be."
Several higher-level mooks and bosses will dodge your bullets in Red Steel II if you randomly fire at them. No such luck for you, though...
Most Super Robot Wars depict units dodging bullets by moving like this. The "Alert" seishin allows you to have 100% chance to dodge anything from Macross Missile Massacre to Wave Motion Gun. Even without Alert, gigantic units like battleships can still dodge salvos of bullets with ease as long as the odd's right.
Akihiko does this at the beginning of his story in Persona 4 Arena. His Internal Monologue uses the old "watch the arm then jump out of the way before trigger is pulled" hand wave and even then, he admits that this is only possible because the would-be shooter is slow and clumsy, causing him to telegraph his shots well in advance of actually pulling the trigger.
In the roof-top level of The Matrix Path Of Neo you actually learn how to dodge bullets. It's even a critical part of the mission because you have to distract the Agent until you can get rid of it.
Happens all the time in Madness Combat. The main characters are rarely, if ever, hit, and even then, it's usually because an enemy has sneaked up on them.
This happens a fair bit in Survival of the Fittest although considering that it is a roleplay and handlers are reluctant to allow their characters to die, it is only to be expected. The most ridiculous example happened with Clive Maxwell. He was shot at with an MP5 (a weapon which, mark you, fires around 13 rounds per second) and not only managed to push his 'friend' Liam Black aside but avoid getting hit at all by running around the shooter in a circle.
Contessa of Worm can dodge and parry bullets at point blank range thanks to her Combat Clairvoyance; she's not particularly fast, but she knows how to move to avoid the bullets before they're even fired.
There used to be an old naval trick of steering into the splashes made by a salvo knowing that when the enemy gunnery officer corrected the next salvo would land elsewhere. He might know the trick too... Matt Helm (in the novels by Donald Hamilton) has done this a couple times in speedboats to avoid snipers.
If you're sufficiently far away from the shooter, it is possible to dodge an airborne paintball. The fact they're large, brightly colored and relatively slow moving (compared to actual bullets) makes it possible - although still very hard.
Nerf darts travel VERY slowly compared to actual bullets, paintballs, or airsoft pellets. If you're paying attention to your shooter, you really can't get hit by a Nerf dart at any sort of range.
Sufficiently lower powered airsoft guns (especially those firing light plastic pellets) can often be slow enough to both be seen and dodged.
In his memoir a Russian artillery officer described how he managed to dodge a shot from a Panther tank's main gun. He was observing it through his observation telescope at the time and it fired from half a mile away. He saw the puff of smoke and hurled himself and his assistant into the bottom of the trench. He later calculated that he had just half a second between seeing it fired and the shell arriving.