"No... It can't be... [Beat] Ahahahahah! Is that what you wanted me to say? Hahahaha! All is proceeding as planned! Muahahahaha!"A subversion of Oh, Crap!, where two characters are having some form of confrontation, and one of them pretends to lose his cool or be scared, giving a false feeling of victory to his opponent, only to immediately reveal he actually is fine. Maybe that character wasn't using his full power until now; maybe the damage he just took isn't that important, or he can just heal easily. Maybe he anticipated what his opponent would do and prepared in consequence. Either way, he wasn't actually worried, and his opponent just didn't take the advantage. Unlike I Surrender, Suckers, Briar Patching or Wounded Gazelle Gambit, there usually isn't any practical reason to do this; the character is just doing it to mess with his opponent. A Smug Super will frequently love to make use of this trope, as a way to show how much better he is than everybody else. Expect the character to deliver "Just kidding!" while revealing he is fine. When this trope applies to villains, it often ends up being the subversion for a Villainous Breakdown. When a hero does it, on the other hand, it can frequently be a way to deliver an effective Shut Up, Hannibal!. From the reader's point of view, this can be used to invoke a Hope Spot, giving a false impression a fight finally is coming to its end.
— Foundation Man, Armored Core: Verdict Day
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Dragon Ball:
- Cell from Dragon Ball Z; after getting hit by Vegeta's Final Flash, he starts apparently panicking and cowering over his wounds. Vegeta laughs at him... and then Cell reminds him he has a Healing Factor.
- Frieza does this in Dragon Ball Super, when one of Sidra's goons uses Sidra's God of Destruction power to seal him. It fails horribly, Frieza says "just kidding" and quickly turns the tables.
- Jojos Bizarre Adventure:
- A weird and rather disturbing variation in Part 2: when Joseph manages to cut off and destroy Esidisi's arm, he expects him to go into a Villainous Breakdown with Unstoppable Rage. Instead, Esidisi starts crying like a baby, before almost instantly regaining his composure. He then explains this is his method of relieving stress. Joseph is suitably creeped out.
- Part 4 has a more classic example during the fight between Josuke and Red Hot Chilli Pepper. At one point, Josuke manages to trap Chilli Pepper in a tire, blocking his Shock and Awe powers. Chilli Pepper's user immediately starts panicking like he was losing power... then immediately admits he was just kidding and just pierces through the tire, revealing it was too thin to actually contain his power. This, however, backfires: Josuke actually knew he could pierce the tire and was expecting him to do so. By piercing it, Chilli Pepper is propelled into the water by the pressure. The water promptly shorts Chilli Pepper out.
- Edward does this against Father Cornello in Fullmetal Alchemist. He screams when one of Cornello's chimerae bites his leg — then, when Cornello starts to gloat, we see the lion-thing's teeth falling out and Edward triumphantly shows off his automail leg.
- In an early moment of the fight between Renji and Szayelaporro Granz in Bleach, Granz briefly pretends to be overwhelmed by Renji's attacks, only to flatly deadpan "Just kidding", and easily counter them.
Szayelaporro: But I crushed all of your organs and tendons! So why?!? Why won't you die?!!
- Later in the fight, Mayuri joins in, and what does he do? He stands and watches, only for Szayelaporro to use his power to crush Mayuri's organs and tendons... or so it seems. Mayuri gets up as if nothing happened, decides to belittle everyone present, before informing everyone that he replaced all his organs and tendons with dummies.
- When the Gotei 13 Captains and the Visored all team up to fight Aizen, their combined abilities seem to be overwhelming him. This culminates with Shinji reversing Aizen's perceptions of front and back, allowing Hitsugaya to slip past his defenses and impale him. The normally-unflappable villain reacts with a look of shock...but then it's revealed that Aizen had used his powers of illusion to covertly switch places with poor Momo, who was the actual victim of the heroes' attack.
- Kill la Kill:
- During a fight between Ryuko and Nui Harime, Ryuko manages to grab Nui and stab her in the chest. Nui starts agonizingly coughing blood... then returns to smiling with a "just kidding!". Cue her ripping her own heart out to reveal she is, like Ryuko, a Life Fiber-human hybrid.
- Later subverted when Ryuko cuts Nui's arms off. Nui fakes shock, before revealing her Healing Factor will cause her arms to grow back... only to find out Ryuko managed to nullify said Healing Factor when the arms just die, and watch in horror as she steps on the severed arms and absorbs them into Senketsu. Cue a very genuine Villainous Breakdown.
- One Piece: Ivankov makes a habit of doing this during fight. Most notably, his Establishing Character Moment involves someone coming and pointing a bazooka at him, causing him to fake panic then promptly reveal he is in no danger and literally stop the shot with a wink.
- Downplayed version in Night Watch where, when fighting an equally skilled (and much younger) opponent, Vimes glances behind the other guy and tries to stop his face going into "oh crap" mode. The other guy uses the opening to close for the victory and then gets clobbered by Vimes who was completely faking the reaction.
- In The Vampire Diaries, when being first confronted with Katherine, Bonnie tries to defend herself with the Mind attack she typically uses to keep Damon in check. Katherine initially pretends to be affected, only to quickly reveal she is old enough, and as such powerful enough to resist it.
- In Van Helsing, Dracula screams when Van Helsing exposed him to a cross as it causes burns... on the cross. Then he nonchalantly calms himself.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man, when Spider-Man faces a criminal for the first time, the thug freaks out and tries to scare him away with a knife. Spider-Man cowers, saying small knifes are his one weakness... then promptly and effortlessly webs the thug to the wall.
- In Kung Fu Panda 3, Kai pretends to succumb to the Wuxi Finger Hold to screw with Po, before pointing out that it only works on mortals.
- Demon Knight. When The Collector is stabbed in the eyes (which kills demons), he screams in horror, then chuckles sadly at his broken sunglasses, "Damn, and I liked those, too."
- When the Ghost Rider attempts to use the Penance Stare on Blackheart, Blackheart starts to scream only to chuckle instead. As The Soulless, the Penance Stare is useless on him.
- Batman. Vicki Vale tosses a pitcher of ice water at The Joker, who starts screaming in pain, even tossing an I'm melting! in - but then turns around and says, "BOO!" and laughs.
- In Dawn of War II: Retribution's Chaos campaign, Eliphas and his band are ambushed by Blood Raven scouts. Eliphas pretends to be worried as he slaughters the Loyalists with ease.
- In one ending, the boss fight with Photoshop Flowey has them undergoing a Villainous Breakdown when you've seemingly defeated them, then suddenly reloading to an earlier save, mocking the protagonist for falling for it. Unfortunately for them, the souls he's enslaved rally against him shortly afterwards, and he has a genuine Oh, Crap! moment and breakdown.
- Another ending has the same character feign shock at the amount of people rallied to defeat them, then subduing them all with ease.
- Daizee Haze became notorious for this tactic in Chikara, after she realized most the roster was uncomfortable with wrestling, much less hitting, a woman.
- Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque : La Série Abrégée. Shaka does this when receiving Ikki's attack.
Shaka: Oh nooo! Aaaaaaaaaah! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!Ikki: My god, your screams of terror really are pathetic!Shaka: Aaaaaaah (his scream suddenly turns into a laugh), yeah, just kidding. (sends Ikki's attack back at him)
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Gohan uses a Kamehame Hadoken to pin down Frieza, who lampshades the irony of such a powerful villain being defeated by a mere child. Then he chuckles and adds "Just kidding," deflecting the beam away without harm.
Cell: "You think this is funny? (Vegeta laughs) YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY?" (Vegeta laughs louder.) "IT'S NOT AS FUNNY... as your face." (heals himself.)
- And of course, during Team Four Star's reenactement of the scene mentioned above, Cell (after getting hit by Vegeta's Final Flash) can't resist to troll the Prince a little before using his Healing Factor.
- In the Nostalgia Critic parody of the Darth Vader scene from Rogue One, the last rebel from the team Vader just slaughtered drops his blaster and tries to take on Vader bare-handed, only for Vader to react with this trope.
Vader: "Oh, I'm so scared! Darth Vader's gonna die from your pussy fists! Oh, wait. I forgot. I can choke a bitch." (Force-chokes the rebel)
- In the Batman/Superman crossover episode "World's Finest", The Joker pulls a trap to attract Superman to him and expose him to Kryptonite, only for Superman to expect this and bring his Kryptonite-Proof Suit. When realizing this, Joker appears shocked and seemingly just surrenders, expressing surprise about how the plan he had so well prepared failed... then reveals he did expect this and had brought acid to pierce through the suit.
- This is often used by Bugs Bunny. A good example is "Hold The Lion, Please", where he does a hilariously over-the-top display of fear after meeting a rather goofy lion. Also seen, albeit briefly, in "Operation: Rabbit", when Wile E. Coyote makes his intention to eat him quite clear and Bugs dons a faux-terror expression before going back to being unimpressed.
- In The Rescuers Down Under, McLeach has Cody cornered at the edge of a crocodile infected lake. Cody warns that his mom will call the Rangers if he goes missing, and McLeach pretends to be scared for a moment before tossing Cody's backpack to the crocodiles so that it seems as if Cody was eaten by them.
- In Gravity Falls, after Bill Cipher managed to enter our world and initiate Weirdmageddon, Time Baby arrives to confront him about it and delivers him an ultimatum. Bill sarcastically pretends to be worried about it, before using his newfound power to obliterate Time Baby in one hit.