Frame Break

A Painting the Medium and Medium Awareness trope, where characters interact with the confines of the scene. For example, interacting with borders around comic strip panels by crashing through the side or falling out the bottom. In live action media, it might be implied that two characters are in two completely different locations, only to subvert this by having one of them reach into the other scene.

A Sub-Trope of Odd-Shaped Panel and Ninja Prop.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In an early Dragon Ball chapter, Goku hits Yamcha so hard he flies into the top frame of the page and cracks it.
  • Obligatory Mahou Sensei Negima! example: Negi, Blue with Shock, holds on to the frame in a "Kilroy was here" pose when he contemplates what Evangeline's going to do to him for losing the ring she gave him.
  • When a character is formally introduced in One Piece, they often stand outside the panel, overlapping it.

    Comic Books 
  • She-Hulk did it once or twice in her Genre Savvy days. One issue of She-Hulk has her ripping through two pages of ads to go after a villain.
  • Ambush Bug once jumped back several pages to rescue Cheeks.
  • X-Men: Kitty Pryde, in some comics, can phase through panels.
  • An issue of Superboy has Doomsday (actually a clone of him) smash through the entire bottom half of a page in attacking Superboy, destroying the frames in the process.
  • Has been used in The Beano a number of times and in the Beano Video as well.
  • In part 10 of the Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide crossover, Duo does this when he flies off to fight the Chaos Devil.

    Comic Strips 
  • "Little Sammy Sneeze" by Winsor McCay used this as early as the 1900's.
  • Little Nemo used this on occasion. In one strip, Flip tears off the bottom frame of a panel and uses it to knock down letters from the comic's logo.
  • Pearls Before Swine:
    • Done fairly often; sometimes the characters sit on the top of the panels, sometimes the panels are tilted, causing issues in-strip, as well as "Panel Walking" into other comics.
    • Pearls occasionally has jokes that work best if the comics page happens to be laid out just right:
      • The Family Circus has Billy denying that he was spilling sunflower seeds in the kitchen. The Pearls strip that day has Rat throwing sunflower seeds down and out of the panel. When positioned directly above The Family Circus, Rat's abuse of the long-running comic became apparent.
      • Another has Rat comment about being able to see up Blondie's skirt. Obviously the joke worked best when Pearls was immediately beneath Blondie.
  • Every so often a character in Pogo would literally lean on the fourth wall this way (or at least against the frame border); on occasion Albert would use it to strike a match for his trademark cigars.
  • Liberty Meadows occasionally featured things like Ralph trying to hold onto the panel borders while Brandy drags him off to therapy. *SNAP* "Stupid cheap panel borders!"

    Fan Works 

    Live-Action TV 
  • One Monty Python's Flying Circus animation had a Comic Book superhero bouncing off the walls of his panel in an attempt to escape.
  • Quiz show University Challenge always shows the two teams in split-screen, one above the other (in reality they're sitting at desks next to each other). This was parodied on The Young Ones when its characters appeared on the show, and Vyvyan kicked through the "floor" to attack the opposing team.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Fairly Oddparents, when Timmy magically goes into the Crimson Chin comic book, he's able to jump from frame to frame (and time travel by doing so).
  • In the intro of The Beano Video we see numerous instances of this, including Teacher being used by the Bash Street Kids as a battering ram.

Alternative Title(s):

Panel Break