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Ignored Enemy
Black Mage: (to Red Mage) Okay, let me see if I've got this.
Muffin: Excuse us.
Black Mage: You shut the goddamn hell up, super monsters.
8-Bit Theater, episode #1117 "Kind of a Raw Deal"

Two allies who are jointly combating a single, more-powerful opponent get into an argument as they fight. The argument escalates into a shouting/screaming match, and they forget their opponent as they focus on each other.

This usually leaves the enemy confused and/or amused. When he tries to interrupt the argument, often with the goal of restarting the original fight, both allies will bellow "Butt out!" or something similar at him.

Frightened by their vehemence, the enemy may even slink away quietly.

About half the time, this is a ruse on the part of the heroes, as a distraction or delay until they can find an opening against the villains — though it's usually based on real team tension and may get more serious than intended.

Cousin trope of Long Speech Tea Time. Compare Divided We Fall.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece
    • In an episode, Luffy and Zoro end up defeating the real enemies (Mr. 5 and Ms. Valentine, two agents of Baroque Works) during such a fight.
    • Similarly, Sanji and Zoro get into arguments near constantly, and have been known to ignore their enemies for a while before kicking their ass just so they could concentrate on their bickering. Though, it tends to be less "kick ass" and more "curb stomp from hell".
  • Tower of God - Anak simply ignoring Ren mid-sentence when she realizes he is not the Bull.
  • Cowboy Bebop plays a variant of this trope in "Cowboy Funk". Spike and his Foil one-shot rival Andy get into a fight during their joint run-ins, while the villain (the Teddybear Bomber) who ends up caught in the verbal crossfire attempts to kill them both for the indignity of ignoring him. Twice. And the second time, Andy is late and Spike tells the mad bomber to his face that he didn't even come for him.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!
    • In the manga, Negi and Kotar˘ briefly get into an argument over who would be better off facing their current opponent, a rather powerful demon, alone (specifically because Negi is inexperienced and Kotar˘ is weakened)... nearly getting into a fight to figure it out.
    • They do it again much later during a tournament in the Magic World; they totally ignore their opponents to discuss training and strategy, prompting their opponents to get pissed and charge at them. Cue a one-hit KO from Kotar˘ and Negi.
  • This type of thing happens rather a lot in Bleach.
    • When Ichigo rescues Rukia from execution, he gives her a nonchalant "Hey" while blocking a weapon capable of completely wiping a soul from existence with one hand.
    • In a fight with Ishida Uryu, Rukia, Ichigo, and Kon start arguing with each other. Uryu's attempt to get them to listen to him, however, does end up working.
    • Against the strongest Espada, Byakuya and Kenpachi start arguing about who is the stronger and better captain. When Yammy tries to attack them, they tell him he's in the way and attack him together. The remainder of the fight occurs offscreen.
    • When the enemy makes their initial appearance in the last arc, Chad and Ishida ignore him in favor of eating some strange bread. Ichigo just wants the weirdo to get off his bed.
  • Played with in a Digimon V-Tamer 01 special. Attacked by Vikemon, Taichi and Ryo start fighting over who gets to fight Vikemon, yet Vikemon somehow proves to be weak to their sheer stubbornness and gets defeated by this anyway.
  • Played straight in an early episode of Futari wa Pretty Cure.
  • Moreso in Suite Precure, where the girls in question are Vitriolic Best Buds and tend to do this a lot.
  • In one chapter of the Keroro Gunsou manga, a Viper bursts in to attack the Platoon while they're distracted by Kururu's latest plot. Mainly, the fact that he brainwashed their human friends, dressed them up in maid costumes (Yes, even Fuyuki), and set them on the others. The Viper is immediately dealt a multiple Offhand Backhand and paid no further mind.
  • Baccano!: Graham Spectre gets subject to this when Claire Stanfield decides that he'd rather ask Chane out than deal with a wrench-wielding Talkative Loon, to the point that he's sent into the Corner of Woe. He finally gets their attention by literally destroying the scenery.
  • In iD_Entity, the main character ignores The Dragon to pick a fight with the Mighty Glacier. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Occurs in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann with Simon, Viral and a beastman in prison, after the timeskip. The beastman picks a fight with Simon until Viral interrupts him. Viral then starts fighting Simon himself, and every time the beastman tries to butt in he gets hammered by both of them.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Bakura (and Marik's good side) are dueling Dark Marik. Partway through the duel, Bakura and Marik's good side get into an argument. When Dark Marik interrupts to try and get them to focus on the duel, Bakura and Marik turn to glare at him, and Bakura tells him something along the lines of "I'm aware of that. Go ahead and make your move while you still can." That argument does stop soon after, but Bakura and Marik don't get along very well for the rest of the duel.
  • Ranma Ż
    • In the OAV "The One to Carry On," Ranma and Akane do this twice. Both times, Ranma has just shoved Akane out of the way from the enemy attack, ending up injured. Akane immediately yells at her for "getting in the way" and claims she can finish the battle on her own; Ranma gets indignant and gets back at Akane. Their foes simply take the chance to attack them both again with a combo attack —which knocks them out of commission the first time, and they barely dodge the second time.
    • In the Non-Serial Movie Nihao My Concubine, Ry˘ga charges into the scene intent on rescuing Akane... but finds Uky˘, instead. He's about to leave when she gets indignant and they both start arguing about the merits of saving her. Meanwhile, her captor, monkey-man Sarutoru, tries desperately to put a word in the conversation but eventually has to raise his hand and ask for permission to say something.
  • Saiyuki plays this beautifully straight with Sanzo and Gojyo. During the one occasion that the two of them have to go on a mission together by themselves, they argue and exchange death threats near-constantly during fights. It actually bites them in the ass at one point when the enemy they're ignoring manages to tackle Sanzo off a cliff; fortunately Gojyo has good reflexes and an infinitely extendable chain.
  • One episode of the last season of Sailor Moon featured far too many people, including most of the Sailor Senshi, the Starlights, and the Monster of the Week all showing up at Sailor Moon's house. Sailor Star Maker attempts to use her attack on the monster, and Hilarity Ensues as three Inner Senshi holds Maker down so she does not wreck the house with her attack, the other two Starlights attempt to pull them away, and the monster is completely ignored. The monster even taps Star Fighter on the shoulder, saying "excuse me", and is punched and told to "shut up".
  • Naruto: When Sasori and Deidara are waiting for Naruto and his team to show up to fight them, they get into an argument about art, while Naruto's team stand around waiting for them to pay attention.
    • Deidara gets bonus points because he was seated on Naruto's dead friend while Naruto yelled death threats at him, and he didn't even acknowledge that he was there.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Son Goku was distracted by a Big Bad in one of the movies. The big bads henchman ran up to Son Goku and punched him right in the face. Son Goku continued talking, not even noticing the hit.
    • When Goku arrives on Namek during the Ginyu Force fight, the first thing he does is calmly talk to his beaten-up friends and hand out healing items. The members of the Ginyu force there just stand around wondering what's happening, and why this mysterious person isn't paying them any attention.
  • In a 4koma based on one of the Super Robot Wars games, Kouji is busy arguing with Tetsuya over their actions when one of the Mikene Empire villains tries to get their attention. They both tell him to "Shut up!" and double Rocket Punch the villain! Axel is shocked at how synchronized they are while Sayaka says its an embarrassment.
  • A more heroic example happened in Tenchi Muyo!. When Ryoko and Ayeka find out that Sasami will grow up to look like the goddess Tsunami, the two girls get insanely jealous, then start trying to one up each other. When Tsunami tries to get their attention, the two girls tell her to shut up, causing her to gawk in surprise.
  • Happens in an episode of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, when at one point, the Anarchy sisters are too busy arguing to pay any attention to the Monster of the Week.

    Comics — Books 
  • In one issue of Dawn, Ahura Mazda and Lucifer — who look like identical twin brothers — get into a face to face argument (a resumption of their lover's quarrel; the author has an interesting take on theology). Darrian Ashoka finally breaks in with, "When was the last time you guys looked in a mirror?" and they turn on him and chorus angrily, "When was the last time you looked at your soul?"
  • In the Marvel vs. DC crossover, Superman comes across The Incredible Hulk fighting Metallo. Superman stops to thank him, but as they're talking Metallo charges... only to get a double Offhand Backhand for the trouble.
  • Inverted in one issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Venom, Anti-Venom, and Spider-Man are in a three-way fight when Spider-Man manages to simultaneously piss off both Venom and Anti-Venom. They proceed to hit him with the same attack at the same time, then briefly forget that they are enemies and brag about how far away they sent him to each other. Following a Beat Panel, they resume fighting.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Feigning this appears to be a standard tactic of the two leads.
  • The Incredibles
    • This happens when Mr. Incredible and Buddy begin squabbling about Buddy's desire to become "Incrediboy" while they ignore Bomb Voyage, who has just blown up a vault. However, the villain does manage to use the situation to his advantage, planting a bomb on Buddy while he is distracted.
    • Earlier, Mr. Incredible and Elasti-Girl have a similar discussion over who deserves credit for taking down a thief. The thief interjects, giving Elasti-Girl the credit.
      • And then Elasti-Girl promptly punches him out for interrupting their argument. She did not need his help, thank you very much.
  • The Road to El Dorado: Tulio and Miguel not only do this intentionally, they do it twice, first near the beginning of the film to escape some gamblers they've conned, then again near the end of the film to get the drop on Evil Chancellor Tzekel-Kan. However, the second example shows some heavy subtext between the protagonists, and hints that the argument may only be semi-intentional.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is a favorite tactic of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith's characters in the first Bad Boys movie. They do a variant of it at least three times.
  • Done intentionally in the film Galaxy Quest, as a ploy to distract the bad guys. However, Alexander (Alan Rickman) briefly "forgets" the nature of the ruse, and neglects to pull his punches.
  • An earlier example of the ruse is used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade by Indy and his Dad. Indy's using the argument as a distraction, but his dad doesn't realize it until Indy kills the Nazis threatening them.
  • Done by Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson in Money Train, when a group of three muggers have guns pointed at them. It starts out as a Mexican Standoff, until the two of them start arguing so much that they turn their guns on each other while arguing angrily. The three thugs eventually leave, apparently having decided that they're too crazy to rob.
  • Inverted in National Treasure 2. Ben and Abigail get into a loud argument in Buckingham Palace because they want to get captured, as that is the best way to get into the secured areas of the palace.

    Literature 
  • This is how the Discworld wizards at the UU inadvertently deal with their problems. They start arguing about how to defeat said problem, which quickly falls into namecalling and totally unrelated arguments, then after being ignored and shot down for several hours straight, the evil monster/threat slinks away because "even danger has its pride". Alternatively, they keep arguing and ignoring the threat until the solution (e.g. "run away" or "pelt it with fireballs") becomes obvious even to the slowest thinkers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mash: Frank Burns' birthday gift from Hawkeye and B.J. comes to mind.
  • In the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Hundred Dollar Baby", the gang gets mugged and engage in a screaming match while the mugger unsuccessfully tries to butt in and threaten them. A common joke throughout the show is that the gang is more interested in arguing with each other than acknowledging the person they're supposed to be talking to.
  • In the fourth season of Angel, Angel stops fighting his evil alter ego to have a heartfelt conversation with Faith. Angelus proceeds to punch Angel anyway.
  • In the White Collar episode "Withdrawal" Neal and Peter resume a long-standing argument while a bank robber holds them at gunpoint. When she loses her temper and interrupts, both of them yell "Hold on!" in unison.
  • A comedic version in the Farscape episode "We're So Screwed, Part II: Hot to Katratzi." The good guys have to travel to a heavily armed Scarran outpost to free Scorpius/prevent him from telling the Scarrans about wormholes. When they finally get to him and are ready to make their escape, John and Aeryn start arguing over who will kill him, complete with Scorpius asking "May I speak?" and Aeryn and Crichton both saying "No!" It turns out that they're just using the threat of death to get the truth from him and have no intention of killing him at all.
  • Firefly: Mal and Wash, strapped into torture devices and being periodically shocked with high voltage, carry on a conversation about Zoe (Wash's wife) being hot and whether or not Wash thinks Mal ever had sex with her. Mal was carrying on the conversation to distract Wash from the fact that they were being tortured.
  • On Leverage Sophie and Nate do this quite frequently as a distraction to draw attention and stall for time. It is contrasted with [[ Fake-Out Make-Out Hardison and Parker's approach]]

    Video Games 
  • This can actually happen in multiplayer games, sometimes. Usually the opponents can't hear the other side, though.
  • In Disgaea 2, Adell and Rozalin get into another lovers' quarrel during their first encounter with Beauty Queen Etna, who is not amused with being ignored. Cue Hopeless Boss Fight.
  • In one route of Fate/stay night, Shirou and Rin encounter Lancer, and immediately fall to bickering because they both want to be the one to hold him off while the other flees. They don't notice he's still there until several minutes later. He doesn't seem to mind. He's not there to attack them anyway, but to offer an alliance.
    Lancer: Oh, you're done? I'm in no hurry, so finish it off. It's good to let out everything you have.
  • World of Warcraft
    • Played straight to a relieving degree in The Arcatraz: the two demons Dalliah the Doomsayer and Wrath-Scryer Soccothrates are too busy bickering to attack your party together. You choose to target one, and the argument apparently has gone so far as to have the one that you didn't attack HOPE for their ally to die. This, unfortunately, means bad news for them after you finish the first member of the group. And from their arguing, they're locked in Unholy Matrimony. Soccothrates, when killed, actually expresses relief at being freed from Dalliah.
    • The Alliance airship Skybreaker and the Horde war zeppelin Orgrim's Hammer duke it out over Northrend, while the real enemy, the Scourge, is right below them. Representatives from neutral factions on both ships can be heard complaining how ridiculous this is. Even worse that both ships pack enough firepower to carpet-bomb the shit out of the Scourge in Icecrown. This reaches its (il)logical extreme when, during the final assault on Icecrown Citadel, the gunship of the opposite faction overtakes yours and the two factions have a full-on battle...right on the enemy's doorstep!
      • At one point when the Alliance attacked the Scourge in Icecrown (in what would later be called the Broken Front), the Horde saw this as a wonderful opportunity to attack them, and after they finish killing each other, the Scourge gains a fair number of (not so) fresh recruits. Even Garrosh was disgusted by this.
    • While it can kinda-sorta be traced back to a series of misunderstandings and a setup by the Twilight's Hammer, Garrosh Hellscream seems perfectly willing to ignore the world blowing up around him in order to attack the Alliance while they worry about the things doing the said blowing up.
    • And then this war spills out into Pandaria when Ol' Deathy dies. Wrathion is pretty concerned about the enemy that is being ignored, whoever or whatever it may be, although as part of his plan involves one side getting a decisive advantage, some of his quests involve fighting against the opposing faction.
    • In various zones, enemy monsters will often fight each other as well as the player. For example, in Tol Barad Peninsula, one quest involves you dealing with the souls of fallen Horde and Alliance soldiers, locked in one-on-one combat; often, the survivor only turns on you after you kill his opponent.
  • In Touhou fangame Mystical Chain, stage 2 bosses Kaguya and Mokou are so hell-bent on destroying each other that they completely ignore the protagonists altogether. Not that this makes them any easier to defeat, as they're fighting with danmaku, and there's no spot on the screen where one won't get caught in the crossfire.
  • In Final Fantasy VI Edgar and Locke get into an extended scene with Terra if she uses magic on the enemy. Said enemy will politely wait for the overexcited revolutionaries to stop bouncing around the screen before resuming the fight.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], Riku runs in on Beat and Rhyme fighting the Spellican. As soon as he arrives, they lower their weapons, look away from the Dream Eater, and have a conversation for about two minutes about small insults, jokes, and general introductions until the Spellican becomes fed up, screeches, and flies away after another summoning of Dream Eaters.

    Web Animation 
  • The Madness Combat series has Sanford and Deimos doing a silent version, picking out new clothes for themselves in an inexplicable department store as a squad of mooks prepares their forced entry outside. Bonus points for Sanford taking time to remove and discard his novelty T-shirt in the middle of a firefight.
    • In the 6th Episode, while Hank, the protagonist, fights off Tricky's mooks inside a building, Tricky the Monster Clown walks outside to take a break, and without a care in the world, buys a hot dog from a nearby vendor.

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater
    • Black Mage is listening to Red Mage explain how he survived being stabbed in the head, being set on fire, and being worn as a hat by becoming one with the universe. In the middle of the discussion, one of the Four Fiends, who have been standing right next to them the whole time, tries to interrupt, as they have the apocalyptic battle at the end of the universe to fight, only for Black Mage to shout them down in annoyance.
    • This is, incidentally, how the Light Warriors handle most threats. The enemy/boss will appear, be threatening, and the Light Warriors will mostly ignore it in favor of bickering among themselves and various other side discussions. Somehow, this generally works. Considering their enemies are generally stupid or too powerful to defeat, there doesn't seem to be much point in fighting. Also the White Mage seems to have been leading a group of real heroes that clean up after the Light Warriors and defeat enemies off screen, like Chaos, while the Light Warriors move on and claim they defeated it.
  • In the online comic strip Antihero For Hire, Shadehawk and Crossroad have been captured, and they start arguing as a ruse to catch the enemies off guard.
  • The Order of the Stick presents us with an example of a two villains version of this, though they weren't exactly on the same side to begin with.
    Ninja: HEY! You got your hatred of all that's good and pure in my contract killing!
    Huecuva: Well, you got your contract killing in my hatred of all that's good and pure!
    Ninja: You wanna fight? There's only one ninja left, that means I'm death incarnate!
    Huecuva: Bring It on, little boy blue!
    Hinjo: Gentlemen, Gentlemen! As the only neutral party who doesn't care which of you gets the kill, I think I have a fair compromise. I call it giant dwarf with hammer. *WHAM*
  • In Roommates the cast briefly ignored the villain here until James reminds them not to.
  • In Heartcore, Emerald does not take kindly to Ame ignoring her in favor of Ryo.
  • A Running Gag in the comic Girls Of The Wild is for Big Bad Wannabe Hwang Jae Oh to rant and threaten for whole pages at the main characters, about how he will tear down and destroy their school, only for it to cut away to whoever he's talking to not even having noticed he was there, either having already walked or just outright been to distracted to hear. It's so bad, the characters don't even know who he is yet, despite having met him many times.

    Web Original 
  • AH.com: The Series: Done by Zer Germans in "Don't Mention The Porn"; this uses the version where after using the fake argument as a ruse, they then get too caught up in it and continue after they've captured the enemies they were luring in.

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers: Beast Wars does this at least once. The ever-bickering Dinobot and Rattrap argue in front of the ignored (and recently unconscious) villain Tarantulas, and when he wakes up and threatens the two of them with his gun, they both punch him out (leading to the two of them dragging him around by his feet as they continue to argue again).
    Tarantulus: DIEEEEEEEEE MAXIMALS!!!
    Dinobot and Rattrap: SHUT UP! (Both puch Tarantulas in unison.)
  • Lockdown and Prowl do this while fighting over who gets to capture Starscream in Transformers Animated. Slightly averted, as Starscream was stasis cuffed not that it lasted.
  • Kim Possible: During the Grand Finale Ron Stoppable discussed his fears of graduation and life after high school with the Big Bad Scary Dogmatic Alien instead of fighting him, being more worried about Kim leaving him behind than the Alien Invasion. The alien was not pleased.
  • In the Tex Avery cartoon What's Buzzin' Buzzard?, two vultures argue over a jackrabbit they both caught. Before long the rabbit joins in the argument, and they shoo him away with a "You stay out of this!" The rabbit is long gone by the time the vultures realize they've just let their dinner go.


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