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Excuse Me While I Multitask
Bangladesh: Look at me while I'm trying to kill you!

Two guys are fighting. One of them decides to show his superior fighting skill by:

  1. Assuming a bored expression, not bothering to even look at the opponent while he fights.
  2. Performing mundane tasks while effortlessly parrying his opponent's blows.

Sub-Trope of Just Toying with Them. Super Trope to Combat Uninterruptus. Compare With My Hands Tied, Ignored Enemy, Badass Back, This Is No Time for Knitting, Epic Battle Boredom, The Snack Is More Interesting.

Can overlap with Flynning or even Coitus Uninterruptus. May involve Nonchalant Dodging. Can also be a relative of Offhand Backhand.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruto
    • The most well-known of Kakashi's character traits is to fight with one hand while reading dirty novels with the other. In Shippuden, after Naruto and Sakura have improved, Kakashi expresses his disappointment that he can no longer do this.
    • There's also Shikamaru, who tends to look bored and complains during any fight before the time skip. This is more just his personality, although he is shown to be one of the best strategists in the series, and is multitasking by planning the next few hundred moves while the opponent falls for the first couple. His capturing of Kakuzu shows this, by positioning himself, a Shadow Possession jutsu, and two projectile (Shuriken) Shadow Possessions to trap in midair, all so that he could get him somewhere that there was a waiting trap.
    • Later on, Killer Bee was writing up rhymes to his rap-tunes, while fighting Sasuke and Team Hawk. It's then subverted when Kisame comes to attack, and it looks like he's going to write down something the man he's trying to learn Enka from just said... but he was actually just pretending to, so he could catch his opponent off-guard and throw his vibration-enhanced pencil at him.
  • Izumi from Fullmetal Alchemist is shown fending off the Elric brothers during their training with her while reading from her notes (encoded in a cookbook) as she lectures.
  • Happens frequently in Ranma ˝.
    • Ranma is seen once doing some Juggle Fu with a fishbowl (with a live eel inside) while fending off Ryôga's attacks. He's also sometimes fighting with his hands in his pockets, either against very weak opponents or while sparring with Akane to rile her up.
      • There's also the couple of times he was reading manga while sparring one-handed with Akane.
    • There is also the start of the "Martial Arts Delivery Contest" from the manga. In the Nekohanten, Cologne throws a volley of knives at Shampoo behind her back to demonstrate her great-granddaughter's skill. Shampoo deflects all of them without looking with her tray while still doing the service before the buggy-eyed patrons, never spilling any food. And the daggers end up pinning the two men Cologne was doing the demonstration for in a Knife Outline.
  • Part of what makes Sebastian of Black Butler Crazy Awesome is his ability to do this. For example, he's standing in front of a window when the maid, carrying a bunch of plates, trips — just as an assassin tries to shoot him. He dodges the bullet (merely to save his clothes), catches the maid as she falls, and then catches all the plates, without breaking a single one.
  • Yuuno from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha holds off Vita while trying to break a barrier and preparing a teleport. Note that Vita had just trashed Nanoha handily. And that lacking a device, Yuuno has to work out all the complex mathematics of his spells in his head.
  • Mephisto Pheles does this in Blue Exorcistmiddle panel. Keep in mind that the boy Mephisto is dragging is Rin Okumura, who wields what is explicitly described as Satan's power. Rin is going berserk. Mephisto is restraining him well enough to effortlessly sheath the kid's Koumaken sword. While engaged in semi-polite conversation. Multi-tasking, indeed.
  • Puella Magi Oriko Magica: Kirika's first fight scene features her having a conversation with Oriko about how she wants her tea and arguing about being treated like a child.
  • Stein of Soul Eater starts things off by fighting both Maka and Soul and Black Star and Tsubaki, without getting up from his chair or using his arms. In a later episode, he takes on Maka, Soul and Black Star, as well as Ox Ford and Harvar, without ever leaving his chair.

    Comic Books 
  • An issue of Spider-Man involves a rather sweet little scene where Spidey, up in the mountains and fighting an awful lot of goons, remembers that he was going to call his Aunt May and gets on a payphone to talk to her. He'd webbed most of the goons up before he picked it up, and proceeded to beat them up as they got free, still on the phone the whole time, reassuring her that he was taking care of himself.
    • This is part of Doctor Octopus' classic schtick. Since he does all his fighting with his robotic tentacles, he'll often be seen using his human appendages to do more mundane things like file his nails or eat a sandwich.
  • The Revenant in PS238 often manages to give Tyler detailed advice over a cell phone while fighting up to five other people.
  • Fables. Prince Charming in flashback sequences. He's simply so good at fencing he doesn't have to pay that much attention to his student, Snow White. He doesn't even bother with protection because she's simply not skilled enough to hit him.
  • Done for intimidation reason in Sin City. Dwight is interrogating two mobsters while Miho is kicking the crap out of an enforcer with the standard bored look on her face. The two mobsters decide that they'll kill Dwight and shoot Miho while her back is turned. Miho reveals that not only was she hearing the entire conversation, she casually tosses a single shuriken, slicing a mobster's cigarette in half before resuming her battle.

    Comic Strips 
  • One comic in Pyramid magazine's Murphy's Rules feature showed two swordsmen, one swinging away like mad while the other merely stood still, blocking every blow and idly glancing at his fingernails and thinking "Oh, parry, parry, parry, parry, *yawn* parry, parry, parry, parry..." The comic was depicting a Dungeons & Dragons rule that said any attempt to parry is automatically successful....note 
  • A non-combat version, that seems nevertheless like the Trope Namer: when Dilbert goes to confront the literal monkey that had been hired as a programmer, he is incensed by the monkey continuing to author software behind its back, using its prehensile tail, while talking to him.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda, during training combat between master Shifu and Po, Shifu eats dumblings.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the final fight scene of the first Matrix movie, Neo becomes all-powerful after he realizes that he is The Chosen One, allowing him to see and influence the code of the Matrix. He blocks all of Agent Smith's attack moves first with both hands, then half-turns away with a far-away look on his face and continues to block with merely one hand while contemplating the Matrix and not even paying attention to Smith, as if the Agent has become utterly irrelevant.
  • The final duel between Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone in The Court Jester. Danny, hypnotized into believing he's the most skilled swordsman on the planet, shows his contempt for Basil's fencing technique by pouring himself a drink and quenching his thirst while parrying his enemy's attacks without even looking.
  • Jackie Chan's uncle in Battle Creek makes a cup of tea and beats him with a cane while sitting. Later, he serves his uncle tea while besting him.
  • Also briefly seen in Jackie Chan's The Legend of Drunken Master. Wong Fei-hung is engaged in a match against a merchant, but his step-mother calls him away. The merchant is still trying to fight him when Fei-hung shouts to his mother, gathers his things, and thanks the merchant for the match.
  • Another Wong Fei-Hung example, this time from Jet Li's Last Hero in China: Master Wong is setting up in a new temple, and is invited to go take tea with the local authorities. While there, a dangerous Boxer "escapes", and Wong Fei-Hung beats him down while both his hands are occupied holding his tea.
  • Bulletproof Monk: The title monk shows off to his Odd Couple partner by fighting him while eating cereal and not spilling anything.
  • A 1986/88 Russian adaptation of Treasure Island had Dr. Livesey admiring the scenery and smelling flowers while effortlessly fighting three pirates at once.
  • Jen beating up Iron Arm with one hand at the beginning of the teahouse fight in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon while drinking her tea and looking the other way.
  • From Robin Hood: Men in Tights:
    Blinkin: (hands Robin a drink) Bit of refreshment Sir?
    Robin: Thank you Blinkin! (takes a long drink while effortlessly parrying his foe's attacks)
    Blinkin: Sounds like we're winning, Sir!
  • Used in Shoot 'em Up. Smith and DQ are interrupted by Mooks while having sex, and Smith manages to make it apparently multi-orgasmic for her as he shoots up an entire tac team.
  • Parodied in A Night in Casablanca. Harpo eats grapes with one hand while fending off a German fencing master with the other. Later, Harpo decides to go ahead and take a little nap while still flawlessly defending himself.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: "You may now kiss the—" (turns and chops up an opponent) "You may now kiss—" (interrupted by another enemy) "You may now kiss—" (and again) "Just kiss!"
  • Played for laughs in Remo Williams The Adventure Begins. Remo's first assassination target is Master Chi'un himself, who just goes about his daily routines as Remo repeatedly tries to kill him, the goal being to show Remo how little he really knows.
  • Dragonheart: When Prince Einon is training, Bowen sits down, pours himself a drink, and doesn't bother looking at him, while he kicks his ass (literally at one point) and recites the old code to him. Given what Einon does later, maybe Bowen should have been paying more attention.
  • One of the sisters played by Lindsay Lohan does this in The Parent Trap. The twins haven't even met each other yet, but are fencing (with face-obscuring masks in place, of course). One leans against a tree and yawns while she parries the attacks.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • At one point in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Giles and Wesley are fencing (probably for practice). Wesley is earnest and forthright. Giles is reading and sounds quite bored. It's later learned on Angel that Wesley's issue wasn't lack of skill (of which he has a tremendous amount), it was lack of self-confidence (due to an abusive father).
  • There was a parody of the trope in a French kid show, during a Conan the Barbarian pastiche. The Conan character is seen absentmindedly fending off the swords of half a dozen (off-screen) attackers while doing mundane things, like eating a banana, reading a comic or lounging and watching TV.
  • The Professionals. In "The Female Factor", Bodie fights a drunk in a pub while holding a pint in one hand. Without spilling a drop.
  • In Kaamelott episode "Le Paladin", the Witch Hunter attacks Kadoc with a greatsword, and the latter lazily parries while eating a loaf of bread, once while not even looking. Not much a show of skill, since Kadoc is basically a mental retard; on the other hand, the Répurgateur never lifted a sword in his life and thinks that "God is doing all the work."
  • Doctor Who
    • In "Day of the Daleks", the Third Doctor is suddenly attacked by a terrorist. The Doctor throws him to the ground, finishes his glass of wine, strolls over to the table to put it down and straightens up in time to intercept the man's next attack.
    • In The Sea Devils, the Third Doctor takes time out of a swordfight with the Master to eat a sandwich; the Master's sandwich.
  • Averted on Grey's Anatomy to illustrate how lame Christina's new workplace is: When she walks into an OR to ask a question, everyone respectfully puts down their scalpels to listen to her, claiming "We find that multi-tasking leads to errors in hearing and errors in healing."

    Theater 
  • In Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano composes a ballad while engaged in a swordfight. Each stanza iends with the line, "Ŕ la fin de l'envoi, je touche !" ("And then, as I end the refrain, thrust home!") Which he does at the end of the ballad. This also contains a French pun; the French "toucher" (conjugated "touche") can refer to a fatal blow struck during a fight, but also to the more direct cognate "touch". At the actual end of the fight, he grievously insults his opponent by maneuvering him into a position where he could kill him, and instead simply poking him on the nose with his finger.

    Video Games 
  • The battle against Yuugi in the Touhou game, Subterranean Animism, which she infamously participated in without bothering to put down her cup of sake. This was even pointed out by Patchouli after Marisa won and boasted about Yuugi not being all that strong. Patchouli had noticed that Yuugi spent the entire battle simultaneously fighting and drinking, and yet she managed to not spill even one drop of sake while doing so. This resulted in the meme "Her sake not even drop."
    • Much like Yuugi, Suika (from one of the fighting games) also drinks during combat, during her guarding animations. She even lies prone during a low guard. Coincidentally, both Yuugi and Suika are very powerful oni.
  • In various games of the Naruto franchise, while idle, Kakashi will do what he does in the manga, as mentioned above: take out a book and start reading. It is extremely frustrating.
  • In The World Ends with You, the player character wears headphones and listens to music all the time. When idle for more than a second during a fight, he'll close his eyes and start tapping his foot to the rhythm of his music.
  • A lot of online games force the player to do this at times, especially co-op games. World of Warcraft in particular has created gamers with the ability to eat buffalo wings with one hand in the half-second lulls between cooldowns.
  • In a Hopeless Boss Fight near the beginning of Jedi Outcast, Desann purposefully makes Kyle Katarn feel infuriatingly powerless by mostly just standing there and deflecting his attacks effortlessly. The trick is that Kyle has given up his lightsaber and Force powers, while Desann is a full-fletched Dark Jedi against whom guns and explosives are nearly useless. It's no coincidence that Kyle goes out reacquire his Jedi abilities in the next level.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Journeyman of the Whateley Universe does a good line in this, organising the purchase of a utility belt from Ayla over the phone, whilst beating up the Tong of the Black Madonna goons attacking Molly's parents' house.
  • In Worm, Skitter of the Undersiders does this when a gang of thugs attack her territory, mauling them with swarms of insects while simultaneously sitting in her lair and sipping tea. In fact, Skitter's power makes her especially good at this-she can process and assign individual orders to each insect in her (massive) range simultaneously, making her quite possibly the most efficient parallel processor alive.
  • JonTron does this in his Star Wars Kinect video as a Take That to the motion control gameplay doing most of the playing for him.

    Western Animation 
  • Jackie Chan in Jackie Chan Adventures is sometimes seen fighting while talking on his cell phone. Invoked by Uncle in one episode when he calls Jackie's cell while the heroes are in the middle of a fight.
    Uncle: Jackie! Did you get the curry powder?
    Jackie: I'm busy trying not to get killed!
    Uncle: Learn to multitask!
  • Parodied in the Looney Tunes short Bunny Hugged. In a wrestling match, Bugs Bunny's hulking opponent plays Solitaire and Jacks while Bugs is attempting a leg lock.
  • Peter Parker on The Spectacular Spider-Man tends to do this when Aunt May calls.
  • Chase Young in his first fight against Omi in Xiaolin Showdown. He sips tea. Afterwards, he usually has the decency not to do this, but because he effortlessly parrys Omi's blows with one hand anyway, it's clear he could be multitasking if he wanted to. He even has a casual conversation with Omi on his martial arts skills while blocking each and every hit and sipping his tea.
  • In Code Lyoko episode "Franz Hopper", the heroes have their powers boosted by Hopper but in fact it's a specter controlled by XANA, and fight a bunch of Creepers with no effort at all. Yumi is seen casually blocking laser beams with her fan in one hand while checking her nails.
  • At the start of Kim Possible: So the Drama, Kim is fighting off Drakken's mooks while chatting on her cell-phone with Monique.
  • The Creeper in Batman: The Animated Series episode "Beware the Creeper" is trying to hit on Harley all while beating up the Joker's mooks without every breaking eye contact with her. Made even funnier when he pulls a Offhand Backhand on Batman.


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