Hayate: Stop hitting me!A fourth wall-breaking gag in which one character is inexplicably able to see another character's Imagine Spot or other Fantasy Sequence, taking the perspective of the audience and reacting to specific details that they shouldn't be able to guess. Telepaths are cheaters, so they don't count. Medium Awareness helps. See also Did I Just Say That Out Loud?, Strange Minds Think Alike, Dirty Mind-Reading.
Ayana: Then stop projecting your stupid fantasies where everyone can see!
Ayana: Then stop projecting your stupid fantasies where everyone can see!
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Anime & Manga
- In the Kodomo no Jikan manga, Houin examines the Double Standard of Shirai slapping Aoki by imagining◊ a genderflipped retake. Oyajima, whom she had been talking to, demands to know why he had been genderflipped, as well.
- Elsee spots Keima's grandiose imaginings in The World God Only Knows all the time.
- Hayate the Combat Butler, which pulls off Fourth Wall gags all the time, does this.
- In the first episode of Excel Saga, Excel is in an ambulance after being hit by a truck. We see scenes from her life, and one of the EMTs in the ambulance says something like, "Uh oh. Her life is flashing before her eyes. That's a bad sign." The Japanese dub was something along the lines of "You've got so much more to live for, like love- oh wait, you've already done that. Never mind." after he notices the flashback.
- In the Fruits Basket manga, Haru wonders aloud what Yuki would look like dressed in a girl's uniform. We see Haru's Imagine Spot and Yuki tells him to stop picturing it. Although it could be justified as a lucky guess.
- Please Twins! — "Miss Mina, that fantasy of yours is getting awfully close to breaching Love Alliance rule #1."
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- At one point in the manga, Konoka has a brief thought of how bishonen Negi will be when he's 18. Negi looks up and is shocked, asking who that is.
- Happens again when Yue and Nodoka request instruction in magic. The image is of how they would look as mages, with an alternative possibility supplied on the next page in the manga. The funny thing is that during the Magic World arc, when they both start becoming legitimate mages, it turns out that their imaginations were spot on.
- A frequent gag of the Ranma ˝ manga. "You actually have the gall to picture yourself like THAT?" "Leave me OUT of your sick fantasies!"
- In an early chapter of Sgt. Frog, Fuyuki realizes that their mother, who doesn't like animals, is probably going to be angry about Keroro's presence, and imagines her as EVA-01. The next panel has Natsumi glancing back at the last panel and saying "That visual might have been a bit exaggerated, but..."
- Done a number of times on Eyeshield 21.
Sena: Why am I always the one throwing confetti?
- Occasionally occurs in Ouran High School Host Club, usually with characters commenting on Tamaki's day-dreams about Haruhi.
Kyouya: I have no idea what you're talking about, but it's evident that your fantasies are completely incoherent.
- Star Driver: "Wako! That fantasy◊ was tres bien!"
- This happens to Ken from Seitokai no Ichizon, who follows the same rules in life that he does in an H-game. At one point he visualises a conversation with Kurimu as a selection of options, and wonders how each will effect the "ending" he gets. Kurimu not only cuts it short by taking out a floppy disk, but pulls it off the screen, and wonders how it has any relation to reality.
- In Hayate × Blade; Ayana has a tendency to see Hayate's imagine spots; and tends to hit her for them.
- Muteki Kanban Musume, being a Deconstructive Parody of the Shōnen Fighting Series, has a subversion at "Want to wipe the tears from that kid": Akihiko, an Otaku of the Sentai Star Rangers series, is a Day Dream Believer who Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality, thinks of himself as the Red Ranger when he is fighting against an Angry Guard Dog to protect a child. In that moment, Idiot Hero Kankuro sees him as Akihiko thinks of himself, and acts very surprised:
Kankuro: Eh, what happened? For just a moment, I saw Akihiko as Star Ranger, nya!
- One Piece:
- During the Thriller Bark arc, after Franky's second call for the crew to do Tactics 15, Robin angrily declared that she would never do such a thing, and Sanji agreed with her, until he imagined what she would look like in the combo attack (hint: it involved her being held upside-down while she wore her miniskirt). Robin saw inside and gave him an icy glare of death.
- During the Punk Hazard arc, it was Robin's Imagine Spot and Usopp doing the spotting, where Luffy, Zoro, Usopp, and Robin were debating how to get across a lake, with Luffy and Robin unable to swim, Robin imagined Usopp and Zoro bearing them across the lake, and Usopp calling her out on it.
- Crayon Shin-chan had an episode where the titular Shin's babysitter kept launching into bizarre/perverted fantasy spots about destroying the annoying toddler or hooking up with her boyfriend, immediately followed by an inner narration about how glad she is nobody could see or hear her thoughts. Of course, her boyfriend happens to be secretly psychic and can hear and see exactly what she keeps imagining (including how embarrassed she would be if anyone could read her thoughts).
- Early in Martian Successor Nadesico, Yurika remarks that when they were kids, Akito was always chasing her around. This is followed by an imagine spot of Yurika chasing Akito around, which Akito physically points to and says "That's how I remember it."
- In Love Lab, Riko often gets annoyed by Maki's imagine spots, as they tend to be ridiculous and share Maki's art-style.
- Ryuko spots her friend Mako's Imagine Spot of Ryuko's father when he was revealed to be the founder of Nudist Beach in Kill la Kill.
- In Fairy Tail, Juvia often pictures a Love Dodecahedron in her Imagine Spot, and characters around her comment on the absurdness of her thoughts.
- Chapter 8 of The Familiar of Zero has several girls looking up at the Imagine Spot depicting Saito's sexy dream of Louise. In the next panel Louise frantically waves her arms to dissipate it.
- Kimihito from Daily Life with Monster Girl remarks about Miia's fantasy with him. An earlier scene they had together is reinterpreted by Miia with her crush being more badass than it actually was.
- In Pokémon, Croagunk performs his usual stint of attacking Brock while flirting with a girl, except the flirting occurred in Brock's daydream. A downplayed example, where Brock could have just been saying things out loud, but still.
Imagination is against the law?!
- When Meowth used to fantasize about their Boss Giovanni in weird and crazy situations with the Monster of the Week, the rest of Team Rocket can sometimes be fully aware of all the things that happened in the aforementioned fantasy.
- I Feel Sick: Tenna takes exception to Devi's imaginary portrayal of herself. "That's BULLSHIT! And why the fuck am I wearing a bear suit?!!"
Films — Live-Action
- In Finding Neverland, most of the Imagine Spots seem to be only in James' head, but the final one of Neverland is shared with the boys, Sylvia, Emma, and the actors putting on Peter Pan.
- In Upstream Color, the Sampler can observe his subjects remotely through the use of a parasite that connects minds to each other. While he's doing so, we see him walking around his subject and observing them. In the end, Kris figures out what he's doing. During his Imagine Spot, she abruptly turns to face him and delivers a Death Glare.
- Richmond did this in his introductory ep of The IT Crowd. He even points things out as if he's actually showing them.
- In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger Gai's plea to join the team includes him remarking on how he'd make it better. This leads to an Imagine Spot where the team acts like a Lighter and Softer Sentai team, telling the kiddies to brush their teeth and such. Marvelous, Joe, and Luka are put off, Ahim remarks that she didn't change all that much, and Don complains about the fact that Gai didn't even include him in it.
- In Kamen Rider Den-O, Ryotaro states outright that he likes Climax Form even though it's strenuous for his body, and for some reason imagines it as a dancing sensation. The Taros all stare at him in disbelief, before saying these lines:
Momotaros: Ryotaro... your sense...
Kintaros: ...it makes me cry!
- In Scrubs some characters can accurately guess what someone, usually J.D., is thinking about. Such as this.
- Shotaro, half of Kamen Rider Double, has a series of web-episodes called "Hardboiled Delusion Diary". In the last episode, Philip, Akiko and Ryuu all notice Shotaro's been having delusions, so they try having one of their own: "What If Everyone Was Hardboiled?" This consists of the three of them doing Shotaro impressions.
- Done a couple of times in 30 Rock with Liz and Jack. In one, Liz has a flashback scene in which she has blonde hair, and Jack remarks "You're blonde in your fantasies, I knew it." The show also did a live episode, which required different actors to be used for Imagine Spots. Liz is played by Julia Louise Dreyfus, and Jack notices and observes that Liz is more attractive in her own head.
- It appears to be the norm on That '70s Show; even though this show has no other forms of Breaking the Fourth Wall, other characters will still comment on someone else's Imagine Spot fantasy, or make one of their own with modifications, talking as if they are seeing the same Imagine Spot that we the viewers saw. (This seems to be a feature of their times hanging out in the circle; maybe it's an effect of smoking weed?)
- In the iCarly episode "iFind Lewbert's Lost Love", Carly and Freddie imagine what would happen if they brought Lewbert back to his long-lost wife, daydreaming a happy sequence where Lewbert is happy instead of being an irate doorman and they dance around in a shower of balloons. After the sequence ends, Sam remarks "I really doubt balloons would rain down."
- Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: there is a power quite early along the Reality Syndrome arc that allows you to let people see your day-dreams, or whatever Experience you choose for the Arc.
- Tom Stoppard's play Travesties is presented to the audience through the recollections of an Unreliable Narrator, Henry Carr. In one scene, as his Hot Librarian love interest gives a long lecture on politics, she accuses him of tuning out and imagining her naked. He denies this, but as she continues lecturing the lighting changes, music plays, and she starts performing a striptease. A minute later, Carr sheepishly asks the audience if they "noticed anything" in that last scene...
- The Order of the Stick
- In the early strip "Plot, Ahoy!", Elan uses the spell Summon Plot Exposition to produce this effect.
- Used and lampshaded in a Fourth-Wall Mail Slot comic. Though with Belkar's low spot check, he fails to see the ninja panel.
- Later, Haley forgets how to use thought bubbles, producing a similar effect.
- Goes somewhat farther than usual in a strip from xkcd.
- Taken to extremes in the US Acres shorts on Garfield and Friends: Orson's literature-inspired fantasies feature himself and the other cast members as characters... except that everyone is experiencing it as vividly as he is. It may or may not be really happening.
- The Simpsons
- In the episode where Homer is telling the kids about when Maggie was born, at one point Bart takes over and claims that Homer got so scared his head exploded. After Homer gets back to telling the story himself, Marge notices that he was imagining himself without a head and that he should have weighed a few more pounds.
- In another episode, Lisa says, "I feel like I'm in a think tank," leading Homer into a surprisingly accurate vision of policy discussion. When he comes out of the reverie, the other Simpsons are staring at him and he says, "What, I can't get one right?"
- And again, Bart imagines having a "Moon Party in Outer Space", complete with a theme song. After he comes out of the daydream, Homer walks into the room and starts singing the song.
- Subverted in one episode (the episode where Gil mooches off the family for months and months). Marge starts a flashback sequence during a conversation with Homer but when she finishes, Homer is clueless to what she was thinking, meaning she was only thinking it and not explaining it.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Her Wacky Highness", Babs is daydreaming about being a queen and Plucky gets annoyed with her thought bubble and pops it.
- Hilariously Lampshaded by Grumpy Bear in Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot after Wonderheart does a song number in her head in which she imagines using her belly badge power. "Even had a fantasy sequence and everything."
- Arthur adores this trope — it is not at all unusual for characters to have a good idea of what happened in a character's fantasy sequence or imagine spot, even though there surely wasn't enough time for the character to have described it in that much detail. In one example, when Arthur isn't getting enough sleep because D.W. keeps crying and screaming at night, he fantasizes a show called Temper Tantrum 911 and Binky walks by and comments how cool such a show would be.
- In the Littlest Pet Shop episode "Bad Hair Day", a not-amused-by-having-paint-splashed-on-her Blythe makes Minka's art exhibit fantasy disappear with a snap of her fingers.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man and Deadpool engage in a fourth-wall breaking Imagine Spot duel.
- During Olaf's song "In Summer" in Frozen, there's a brief moment when Anna, Kristoff, and Sven are present in his fantasy. Anna and Kristoff both look a little disconcerted to be there. It's not clear if they're actually perceiving Olaf's fantasy (and weirded out by being in it), or if their off-kilter looks are just how Olaf imagines them.
- In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Cheer Up, Star", Marco is having a flash-back to how he got Star and himself into the mess they're in. When it gets to the part where Star meets Oskar Greason and starts crushing on him, the flashback suddenly turns into a wacky romantic fantasy. Marco then admonishes Star with "Can you please keep your fantasies out of my flashback?"
- Mickey Mouse (2013): In "Duck the Halls", Mickey triggers a flashback about spending Christmas with his family, which fascinates Donald into wanting to stay for Christmas instead of going south. Daisy gives an "Ahem" to Mickey to alert him he's tempting Donald, so he pops the thought bubble the flashback is in, causing everything in it, including the house and snow, to drop on the floor.
- Exploited in one episode of CatDog, where, upon seeing that Dog has a completely different Imagine Spot from him, Cat pushes his own Imagine Spot into Dog's to convince Dog to go alone with his Zany Scheme.