When shocked or surprised, often by an absurdity or non sequitur, the listener may fall over onto his face, his limbs in a twisted mass above him. In its typical form, the character in question has just heard someone else say something so incredibly stupid that it, quite literally, floors them
. A device usually limited to humorous anime, this may have been imported from a similar trope in early American comic strips
called the 'flip-take'. A variation used mainly in films (as falling on one's own face in real life tends to be dangerous) has the characters briefly faint backwards, as opposed to forwards. Often includes, and is confused with, Wild Takes
Frequently, this action is depicted using a single, pronounced frame transition.
Usually, no one is harmed by taking a flying dive face-first into the ground. A less expressive equivalent would be Face Palm
; a more
expressive one would be a Headdesk
Only a handful of comedians can successfully
pull off a full-fledged Face Fault in live action performance; notable examples include Jim Carrey
, Steve Martin
, Dick Van Dyke
, and Chevy Chase. Live action performers are more likely to do The Pratfall
instead, which is a similar comedic trick but leaves the character on his rump.
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Anime & Manga
Pretty much all of 'em, but if you want some specific examples...
- Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie has this when the old owl is explaining that he physically traveled all the way to Sonic's residence to tell him something that could have been much more easily communicated by phone.
- The second season of Ranma ˝ opens every episode with a brief "blurb" describing the premise, that ends with the entire Tendō family face faulting upon witnessing Ranma's transformation. Face faults are also common sight gags in both the manga and the anime. Rumiko Takahashi does it with the characters' hands usually extended, middle and ring (and index?) fingers folded while the pinkie/index and thumb stick out.
- The hand-sign is basically the familiar "horns", and is used in Japan to deflect evil eye.
- Played with in an episode of Zoids: New Century. At the very beginning of a Humongous Mecha tournament, the judges refer to the Tigers team as the Fuzzy Pandas team (a Running Gag first started by the main character), which causes their zoids to face fault. This freezes their combat system, and thus disqualifies them from the tournament.
- During moments when he seems Too Dumb to Live, Judai of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX frequently elicits this response from his friends, teachers, strangers, and even inanimate objects like a road sign (see episode 66 for the last one).
- Kagome's command of "Osuwari!" ("Sit, boy!") causes Inu-Yasha to do an automatic Face Fault, though that's more of a mystical means of keeping Inu-Yasha under control than a reaction to stupidity.
- Although most of the time, it is because Inu-Yasha has done something extraordinarily stupid.
- Also, on occasion she has used this command in rapid-fire succession, even going so far in the first movie as to literally drive him into the ground! (But at least he saved the ramen!)
- Dragon Ball sometimes had scenes such as this, but there were two notable ones during the Afterlife Tournament filler arc. First, a rather easy foe that Goku is fighting suddenly wraps himself in a cocoon, his trainer bragging that he'll eventually come out stronger than before. Unfortunately, he also says the metamorphosis will complete in 1200 years, causing Goku and the referees to face fault (Dragon Ball Z episode 196). Afterwards, Goku wins by default; then, two minor characters, Torbie and Tapikar face off. The latter shows off his blinding speed just before the match, intimidating the former; when the fight begins, Tapikar charges at Torbie, but stops, exhausted, and forfeits. Aside from Tapikar, the only ones who remain standing are West Kai, who states that the ring is biased against short people, and North Kai, who accuses him of being a sore loser. Everyone else in the arena face faults. Including the audience. Who face faults in waves. (Dragon Ball Z episode 197)
- The Dark Tournament arc of YuYu Hakusho featured this several times (most memorably when a contestant abruptly left the ring in the middle of his power-up to go vomit), but it was usually reserved for the comic relief characters of Koenma and Jorge. The dub hangs a lampshade on this when Koenma yells at Jorge to get up because "surprise time's over".
- Earlier in the Fourth episode Kuwabara and his gang are pressured to pass their next test and if they don't they will all get kicked out of school. The group talks and explains they need to study to get their grades up. When they ask Kuwabara what he got on his last test he sheepishly responds a Seven. Cue Face Fault.
- Ken Akamatsu seems to be fond of these. Mahou Sensei Negima! tends to have many overly exaggerated face faults that send characters flying around as if standing next to an explosion of some sort. Especially Asuna.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has one of these in the first episode when Nanoha is trying to persuade her family to let her take care of a "ferret" - cough, cough - that she found injured in the woods. Her father asks what a ferret is, and Nanoha face faults...though at a much lesser extreme than expected from this trope.
- One episode of Pokémon (The Mandarin Island Miss Match, episode 99) has the Team Rocket trio face fault out of their balloon while it was in the air after they suggested
Prima Lorelei to record her lectures on tape and sell them and she told them the price ($18.95, if you're interested). To be fair, Ash, Misty, and Tracey face faulted immediately beforehand.
- The series did this a bit more in early Kanto episodes. When Ash is your standard Idiot Hero when it comes to love, it's either time for a facepalm or one of these.
- While Ash is the Idiot Hero people do this at if it comes to love, he tends to do them himself whenever he gets ignored for something else, especially whenever Professor Oak ignores him in favor of a Pokémon.
- Brock does this in the premiere of Pokémon: The Johto Journeys when Ash asks him if he's got any cash in case Johto League registration costs a fee.
- This happens quite often on Cardcaptor Sakura.
- Watanuki Kimihiro of Xxx Ho Lic does this quite often.
- School Rumble: Everybody, all the damn time.
- Sgt. Frog is a living magnet of these. Of special note: the Third Movie, which features the new Dark Keroro, whose design practically screams Evil Twin. And what's Keroro's first assumption? It's his long-lost twin brother. His remaining platoonmates nearly flip. Cue the soap-opera parody.
- The title sequence for season 6 shows Keroro getting this reaction from an entire Keronian battalion.
- There are a lot more of these in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood than in the 2003 anime version. Fitting, as it follows the manga's art (and story) much more closely. There are a lot of face faults in the manga.
- CLANNAD After Story:
Akio: Sanae has huge boobs, you know?
(Tomoya face faults in front of Nagisa)
Nagisa: (drunk) Tomoya-kun, why are you panicking like that?
- Also one great scene in 23rd (extra) episode of CLANNAD when Tomoya is having an absurd conversation with Nagisa:
Nagisa: (offering him her bread) Would you like a bite?
Tomoya: Not really.
Nagisa: That's a problem.
Tomoya: You need me to say, "Yes, I want a bite."?
Nagisa: You want a bite?
Tomoya: (faking) Yeah, I'd really like a bite of it!
Nagisa: (cheerfully) You do? (looks away) But I won't let you.
(Tomoya face faults off the bench)
- Fuko goes on the loudspeaker system. ("Those are starfish" * whole school face faults* )
- Kyou at one point face faults so hard she knocks a door down in the process.
- Occasionally seen in the Sailor Moon anime; a particular example that comes to mind is the Sailor Moon S episode with Usagi's birthday, where the girls do this twice in the same scene: first when Usagi admits that she never told Mamoru about her birthday, and then when it turns out she doesn't know when his is either.
- On one occasion the girls were admiring a modern art statue with the Starlights and when Yaten announces its enormous price, Rei faceplants straight onto it, almost knocking it over.
- In episode five of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou Tenma has this reaction when Akane expresses concern over the possibility of Yorihisa commiting seppuku after she fell into a river because of him; although Tenma then comments that, this being Yorihisa, such outcome is possible...
- In episode 18 of the D.Gray-Man anime, the entire science team of the Black order and Lavi does a collective face fault when Allen pulls the giant octopus off his head, to show a smaller one underneath.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Leeron makes a comment that manages to elicit this response from the aircraft-carrier-sized Dai-Gurren.
- Occurs in the 12th episode of Ookami Kakushi when one girl's grandfather who just put on quite a badass display, asks someone to call an ambulance because he strained his hip.
- Happens to Mikan in Gakuen Alice with an almost sadistic frequency.
- Infinite Stratos does this when Ichika is about to do something, only for him to declare that, that's it. Cue everyone in the class face-faulting.
- Commonly done early on in Rosario + Vampire, most often by Tsukune. A particularly nice one can be found here.
- In Hidamari Sketch, when the tenants of the apartments are in Miyako's room, trying to come up with reasons why the rent on it is so much cheaper than theirs, Hiro brings up some old nicknames for the apartments: "Chidamari" (bloody) and "Odamari" (be quiet). This latter name is followed by an overhead view of Sae's, Miyako's, and Yuno's legs as they've suddenly lain down in reaction to it.
- Yoshinoya-sensei also elicits one from those involved in the Cinderella play. After they'd finished, she burst through the curtains, crying. You might think, as they probably did, that she'd been overcome by the emotion of the moment, but no, she started complaining that the principal wouldn't let her hold a concert for the festival.
- In Blue Exorcist, someone's mobile phone goes off during the sports lesson. Bon does a Face Fault when the teacher of all people answers his phone.
- Shin Chan, usually thanks to something stupid Shin has said or done:
Shin: You guys fall down a lot when I talk.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin politely refuses a lady's offer to stay at her inn. In the manga she says he must be flat broke, while in the anime she calls him a cheapskate, and in both cases he faceplants right away. Then in the anime version another lady appears, and the first tells her to forget about him since he's a cheapskate before he can even stand up, so this time he flip-takes to end on his back!
- In Ultimate Teacher Ganbachi and Karima do this when they're charging against each other and get interrupted by Hinako.
- Yuuta Togashi pulled an epic one in the first episode of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! that trashes the entire room.
- One Piece has a moment of this in a filler arc (the Foxy's Return arc) where Luffy's failure to see through a Paper-Thin Disguise floors everyone in the room. Including the one who was trying to fool him with it.
- In Episode 452, Luffy is on a hijacked Marine ship sailing to Marine Headquarters to rescue Ace from execution, and is talking to a member of the Marines. He assures them that he's going to rescue ace, and they should "wash your potatoes and wait." Most of those on the ship fall down as a result (for those unaware, the phrase "wash your neck and wait" was traditionally spoken to prisoners before their executions).
- Comes up now and then in SD Gundam Force. In the first Clip Show, Shute and Zero pull this when Bakunetsumaru realizes that the 'reporters' they've been talking to are Zako Soldiers in a Paper-Thin Disguise...after the Zakos reveal themselves. Then at the very end, Zapper Zaku reveals that his singing janitor routine was just an act, and announces that he's ready to do bad again. Cut to him being surrounded by a small army with their blades pointing at him. Zapper panics and does his routine- pan over to his allies, who have face-faulted.
- After driving to Mesa Verdede in search of the Patch Tribe, only to find that it's full of tourists, Yoh and company from Shaman King take this trope one step further and face fault an entire van.
- Haruka of Sakura Trick often does this when experiencing a fit of Yuri Fan and/or Yuu Fan madness.
- In a Chilean comic strip called Condorito, the punch line would almost inevitably end with the victim of the punch line falling on his/her ass with a loud ˇPLOP!
- Occurs after every punchline in the newspaper comic Jerry on the Job,.
- Often parodied in Tom the Dancing Bug every time the cartoonist does "Super Fun Pack Comix", which pretty much tackles every single cliches found in daily newspaper comics.
- Happens a few times in Thimble Theater. In one strip, Lubry Kent Oyl is showing his family his rare pet, the whiffle hen Bernice;
Castor Oyl:Bernice, a she, eh?
Lubry: Certainly, a female. In fact, there are no male whiffle hens.
Castor: You don't mean that, uncle- You don't mean that!
Lubry: Sure I do- The males are whiffle roosters!
(Oyl family faults)
- Characters in The Katzenjammer Kids (or The Captain and The Kids) would do this, often after being pranked by the titular kids.
- Frequently used in the French comic strip Pif.
Films — Live Action
- Abruptly cornered by his vindictive boss at a bad moment, whom he earlier insulted and then managed to escape several times throughout the film, Fletcher Reede in Liar Liar squawks "HOLY HELL!" and pulls off the rare live-action Face Fault as only Jim Carrey can.
- In a very early incarnation of this, The Three Stooges do one in "Men in Black," reacting to a goofy nurse's absurd definition of a pippin.
Nurse: "A pippin is an apple with its skin on the outside."
Moe: "Did you ever see an apple with it's skin on the inside?"
Nurse: "Oh, sure I did!"
Larry: "You did? Where?"
Nurse: "In homemade apple pie."
- Likely inspired by the the Three Stooges, the Philippines had this as a staplemark in their comedy films during the 80s and 90s, mostly pioneered by (who some can say is the Filipino equivalent of the Stooges) comedy trio Tito, Vic & Joey.
- Psyche-outs in BASEketball often had this effect on their victims.
- In Dirty Dancing, Johnny face faults after Baby teases him while they're dancing to "Love is Strange"
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, this happens twice during the trial of Miles Edgeworth. The first time is when Phoenix nitpicks Lotta Hart's testimony, trying to find a valid contradiction in her saying the gunshot went off on Christmas Eve, when it happened shortly after midnight and thus actually happened on Christmas Day. Everyone, including Lotta and Edgeworth face fault at that. The second happens when the boat rental man testifies that he saw Edgeworth on the night of the crime, "fluttering" by saying "I can't believe [Robert Hammond] is dead!" Edgeworth objects to this on the grounds that he never said that, and "Moreover... I don't flutter to that extent!" Cue the the entire courtroom face faulting.
Live Action TV
- Kamen Rider Den-O, essentially a live-action Anime, absolutely adores the face fault, but it happened best in episode 15. When Airi learns that her brother is being held hostage, she's totally nonchalant until pressed, at which point she declares her intent to make him some "special hostage snacks", eliciting a Face Fault out of the coffee shop's entire patronage.
- Happens at least once on Family Feud. One question from Fast Money: "Name something people take with them to the bathroom besides soap and a towel." Her answer? A duck. The number of people who agreed with her? 11. Dawson seems to faint upon seeing the number.
- One of the bloopers in Whose Line Is It Anyway? consists of Brad Sherwood starting off a Hoedown with: "I was feeling frisky; I went for a drive./I took all my handguns and shot myself alive...I..." and Brad then slowly face faulted at his own failure to make sense.
- Used multiple times in The Conditions of Great Detectives. After Tenkaichi sets up a dramatic scene in the police station he asks to go to the bathroom, shocking everybody and causing some of them to fall of their chairs onto their face.
- In Kamen Rider Wizard the donut shop manager and his assistant do this whenever they fail to coax Haruto, their frequent customer, into trying out any kind of donut they make other than "plain sugar".
- Frequently occurs in the Bert-and-Ernie sketches on Sesame Street.
- In Toon, Boggling is one of the two standard ways of messing with other characters (the other is making them run out of hit points and Fall Down).
- Mario and his friends do a lot of face faulting in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
- Peach causes everyone (everyone being Mario, Luigi, Wario, Yoshi, and DK) to do this during the intro to Mario Party 2.
- Jack Brothers, one of the possible Combination Attacks in Persona 3, involves Jack Frost and Pyro Jack performing a terrible comedy routine. This causes all affected enemies to Face Fault, opening themselves up to a follow-up attack.
- In Ed Eddn Eddy The Mis Edventures, Edd explains the Tower of Eddy maneuver. After a beat, Ed exclaims, "HUH?!" causing Eddy to face fault.
- Anything that startles ANYONE in Ace Attorney becomes this.
- In the early Microsoft computer game Olympic Decathlon, it was possible to face fault in the long jump and high jump events.
FACE FAULT: YOU FELL FLAT ON YOUR FACE.
- Lampshaded in the second episode of Girlchan in Paradise!!. The roof was kinda slippery.
- Happens from time to time in Super Mario Bros. Z. One notable time is when E Gadd concedes that it would make more sense to make another emerald radar rather than a radar radar, but that he just didn't think of it.