An eyecatch, or commercial bumper, is a short blurb displayed when a series goes to or comes back from commercial. Anime eyecatches tend to be either humorous, with a little musical sting played over them, or simple representative pictures with the series' name; they are often an opportunity for gratuitous Fanservice
. Series that run for more than one quarter
frequently will have several eyecatch styles over their run, sometimes with a small set of choices that rotate from episode to episode.
Saturday morning cartoons in North America frequently had one generic set of "we'll be back after these messages" Ad Bumpers
, played at breaks for all of the series running on that network. Generally in the west, the term "bumper" applies more to this kind of EC, and bumpers are usually done by the broadcaster, rather than as part of the show itself. In the days of syndication, some syndicated cartoons would come with their own eyecatches, but these were typically rather generic (a still from the theme sequence and a voice saying, "We'll be right back" was usually the extent of it).
a subtrope of Eye Scream
, though a poorly done eyecatch may make you want
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- Most British broadcasters use a static caption with the show's title and sometimes a superimposed channel logo, sometimes accompanied by a snatch of the theme tune, at the start and end of each break. In the past there were a few shows that used animated bumpers, notably The Prisoner with an animated pennyfarthing bike disassembling before the break and reassembling afterward. (These are not included in the main body of the remastered DVD episodes, but appear as extras.)
As The BBC doesn't carry any adverts, this can cause issues when BBC programmes are repeated on commercial channels such as UK Gold, which do. Early on it was common to have eyecatches specific to the programme (usually a screencap with the programme title and channel logo) but more recently they tend to use generic eyecatches which just have the channel logo.
- Live-action shows with network content warnings sometimes have additional content warnings in place of where an eyecatch would go. Not really an eyecatch, but they can "catch your eye" if you're fast forwarding through the commercials.
- Syndicated Reruns of programs will occasionally feature eyecatches with an announcer, usually one of the cast, saying that "(Show) will be right back." Then during the final commercial break, there will generally be another one, this time announcing that "(Show) is brought to you by the following sponsors."
- Andromeda uses them as well.
- Fringe uses X-ray pictures that form a code when put together.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000
- The eyecatch usually displays the show's trademark "spaghetti ball" spinning for a few seconds before commercials, with an instrumental snippet of the Theme Tune.
- Seasons 2 through the Joel episodes of season 5 would also have eyecatches featuring close-up shots of Gizmonic Institute.
- Starting with Mike episodes of 5 and running through the end of the show's Comedy Central run, some of the eyecatches would be shots of various experiments in Deep 13.
- The Sci-Fi Channel used to have interesting eyecatches used on most shows they played. Normally they depicted something absurd or nonsensical, and then the Sci-Fi logo would fade out partially, leading the word "IF" behind.
- Starting around the 2nd season or so, NCIS lets its viewers know when a commercial break is starting or ending with a grayscaled half-second snippet overlaid with a soft thump. It can also serve as a sneak peek and even potential (yet minor) spoiler, as 99.9% of the time, the eyecatch from the start of a segment will be a quick view of the end of that same segment (which will also serve as an eyecatch). Partially subverted in that these also happen right before the end credits.
- The spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles is a bit more frenetic with its version of this, with several connected grayscaled snapshots of past and/or future events, with the sound of a camera taking a photograph.
- Dirty Jobs uses eyecatches based on the opening credits, with bugs, unidentified gooey stuff and squishy noises present.
- Good Eats uses a rejoin eyecatch (the title card and a quick snippet of the theme) starting with the third-season episodes.
- The Australian series Spellbinder used the "Logo in the corner" version for both entering and exiting the break—quite unusual on Aussie TV of the time. Usually, kids' shows would simply go to commercial, sometimes with an eyecatch that may have simply been a freeze-frame of the title card, and then they came out, the network would superimpose a card across the bottom of the screen showing the network logo, the name of the show, and the rating.
- The different Star Trek series will sometimes have the logo shown with a background of empty space (TNG), the station (Deep Space Nine), space with nebulas, solar flares, etc. (Voyager), or the Cool Ship (Enterprise) while a snatch of the theme music plays. The remastered Star Trek: The Original Series got ones with various scenes from the show.
- MythBusters shows their title as letters welded on a rusted steel plate (or sometimes cut out of one) with some action occuring either to or near it (like being shot with a BB gun or moved through their building, M5, on the front of a forklift), usually before and after each commercial break. They use one that reads "Warning: Science Content" sometimes, too. This all fits in with their theme, since they use similar plates reading "Busted," "Plausible," and "Confirmed" at the conclusion of each myth.
- Beakmans World had the famous catch with the robotic-voiced bumpers. BKN infamously overlaid them with their own Ad Bumpers when they ran the series in 2000. And the Netflix version also leaves them off, what with no commercials to be cutting to.
- Of course it's not just anime in Japan what uses eyecatches. Super Sentai has them too, and the one for Gekisou Sentai Carranger was kept in the later episodes of Power Rangers Turbo — the Power Rangers one, of course, removed the Carranger name.
- Averted with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, and Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger, which don't have them — it's just the animated logo popping up at a corner of the screen. Episode 29 of Gokaiger, which had cameos from Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger characters, did an exception with a proper eyecatch of the "what will happen after the commercial break? Stay tuned!" kind, as a nod to Abaranger's ones. Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger uses a different eyecatch every episode.
- Showa Era Kamen Rider shows have this too. The Heisei ones don't have any, just cutting to Ad breaks.
- The Japanese Spider-Man series has eyecatches too, used as page images on the article.
- On Michael Moore's series TV Nation, commercial breaks were preceded by the results of humorous opinion polls. (The polling, done by the firm of Widgery and Associates, was legitimate, though the questions were preposterous.)
- The Wild Wild West had a unique method of doing this. The last frame of the sequence before the commercial (usually a cliffhanger) was transformed into a comics-style illustration (in the pilot and from sometime during season two onwards) or alternatively a black and white (in season one)/tinted colour (in the first several season two episodes) and placed into one of five panels that resembled a comic strip, with each sequence being placed in a different panel.
- Some Victorious and Big Time Rush episodes have Customized Eyecatches featuring their recent songs, but that depends if they're using their customized Credits Pushback ending credits.
- 24 has its signature ticking clock both immediately before, and right after any commercial break.
- Better Off Ted has a fake ad for Veridian Dynamics (the show's fictional company) before the first commercial break. May be something of an inversion, as it looks so much like an authentic commercial for a generic faceless corporation that it's very easy to tune out (or skip over if you're watching via DVR.)
- The French "shortcom" (short sitcom) format has episodes around 3-5 minutes long. Since they are so short, at least two are usually broadcasted, one just after the other. Even though there's usually no commercial break, the equivalent of eyecatches are used between the episodes.
- Caméra café features playing around with the coffee machine and a coffee goblet sporting the series' title. The goblet can fill normally, it can topple, it can fall after the coffee, or something absurd can happen, like the goblet filling with concrete instead of coffee.
- Early seasons of Kaamelott have short gags or scenes from the pilot episodes, showing the knights Power Walking or fleeing, or Merlin misfiring a Fireball. One was original, though: King Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone and stumbling into a pond as a result.
- Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice has more stages per "episode" than its predecessors. In keeping with the spirit of the series, this was Lampshaded by running eyecatches about halfway through the plot of each episode, using the battle close-ups of the cast. Instead of running fake commercials, they led into a brief skit featuring "Today's 10 Gents", a.k.a. the Diez Gentlemen.
- Atelier Iris 2 had something similar to this when transitioning between Felt and Viese.
- Being what it was, Tech Romancer had eyecatches for each Mecha's Story Mode between the dialogue and fight in each stage.
- Asura's Wrath does this intenionally, with the Eyecathes being just like anime ones, and is episodic like a real anime.
- Rusty has a different splash screen at the end of each level showing the game's title and Fanservice of the heroine.
- The Pokémon remakes (FireRed, LeafGreen, HeartGold, and SoulSilver) featured eyecatches that would be displayed when the player entered certain locations, usually caves, forests, and special buildings. HeartGold and SoulSilver actually featured four different eyecatches for each area, which were displayed depending on the time of day.
- Star Parodier has a humorous splash screen at the end of each Scene, accompanied by a Title Scream.
- The now-defunct Life Of Riley used to do this in a webcomic! This was one way they handled filler strips.
- Being a Web Video, and thus not having scheduled advertising, France Five doesn't need eyecatches. It is, however, also a parody of Sentai, and since Toku shows usually feature one, so does this amateur series.
- Episodes 2-4 have the camera turning around the Cel Shaded heroes in a "Super Sentai" Stance. In the "return" eyecatch, though, they screw it up and fall in a heap, save for Red Fromage who facepalms.
- Episodes 5 and 6 have a very Animesque still frame of Zakaral confronting the France Five.