Anime and Manga (Illustrated media of Japanese origin, huh?)
This occurs often in many anime and manga. A particularly tongue-in-cheek example from an episode of Black Cat:
Sven: It must be... Nanotechnology.
Kyōji Kōriyama from Noein practically defines this trope. It seems like over half his dialogue is just repeating back what his partner Ryōko Uchida says to him.
Bowdlerized anime dubs seem fond of this to really pound the point home that the thing that looks a whole lot like a gun and is being held a lot like you'd hold a gun isn't actually a gun. For example, the duel in Yu-Gi-Oh! between Yugi and Arkana. Try and count how many times they repeat "If that dark duel disk touches me, it will send my mind to the shadow realm!" I dare you.
In the Mega Man Star Force anime, Geo does this every time Omega-Xis uses a new term. Or describes the situation. Or yawns. Particularly funny is his habit of parroting whole sentences at a time: "Cygnus is creating a dimensional portal to the Twilight Zone!" "He's creating a dimensional portal to the Twilight Zone?"
Slayers frequently uses Gourry Gabriev as a Dumb Blonde or even an outright Idiot Hero in order to use this trope to manage info dumps about mystical stuff (powerful spells, monster society, magical items, etc) that the other characters (all being powerful, well-studied magic-users) would know, but the audience doesn't.
Countless Ranma ˝ stories begin this way. The first panel will have Ranma (or whoever) repeating something which was said just before the story began, usually the name of a new martial arts technique or MacGuffin which will drive the plot. The exposition character (Soun or Genma at first; in later stories it's usually Happosai) will then explain things for everyone's benefit.
A lot of humor manga use this variation on the trope to get stories moving quickly, and Takahashi herself popularized it in her earlier series Urusei Yatsura (though it wasn't used nearly as much as it is in Ranma.) Even her more serious works will use it on occasion.
Speaking of Takahashi, she modifies the above approach for InuYasha, which likes to pick itself up from cliffhangers this way. A chapter will end with a character delivering a shock revelation ("Kikyo's alive!") Then the next chapter will start with everyone else parroting it back ("What? Kikyo's Alive?!") which handily puts the reader back in the moment and brings them up to speed. Then the character who dropped the bombshell will proceed to explain the details.
Many plot-heavy manga love to use this variation, though again, Takahashi seems to be one of its biggest fans.
Many times, this is used at the start of a new chapter to remind everyone what happened in the last chapter, because manga is published chapter-by-chapter weekly or monthly in serialised magazines. When it's been a month since you last read it, it's handy, but when the chapters are collected into one volume, it results in this trope, overlapping with Viewers Are Goldfish and the Department of Redundancy Department.
The manga version of Magic Knight Rayearth stretches a little longer than the anime in places, primarily thanks to the girls' tendency to break every sentence spoken to them down to its component nouns and then repeat them as questions ("You have to get to the Fountain of Power to create your magic weapons." "Fountain of Power?" "Magic weapons?").
One particular example the fandom absolutely adores:
Saga: I've received a report saying that the Silver Saints have been shamefully defeated by five Bronze Saints.
Milo: What!? The Silver Saints have been defeated by only five Bronze Saints!?
Saga: Yes. Only five Bronze Saints.
Milo: There must be a mistake here. I never heard about a Silver Saint being defeated by a Bronze Saint.
Transformers anime do this. A LOT. Headmasters and Masterforce are worst case offenders, where characters also feel the need to narrate whatever they do, as well. In the latter, its almost a Running Gag where one character will say something and another will repeat it in a shocked or awed tone.
Devil Z: It is a powerup for Super Ginrai.
Giga: A powerup for Super Ginrai?
In Sword Art Online, in the Novel, Kirigaya Kazuto an Kikuoka Senjirou, a government worker in charge of the Virtual Division, met and this exchange occurred:
Kazuto: Given such common occurrences, it isn't such a mystery for some idiot to have brought back that practice into reality. I, too, feel the need for some sort of counter-measures to be put in place, although the law would be nearly useless in such a case.
Pokémon usually has this, with a character, usually Ash, repeating a move or Pokemon's name, in order for someone else to explain the move/Pokemon for the sake of the audience. Comes across as Viewers Are Morons and Captain Obvious sometimes, as this usually happens more than once per episode, with Pokemon and moves that we've seen many times before.
Fan Works (Unofficial tributes to popular franchises, huh?)
Naturally, this can carry over into Metal Gear Solid fanfiction, although certainly not as often. One memorable example from a tongue-in-cheek Snake/Otacon Slash Fic, in which Otacon, more from being a nerd than a pervert, films the 'action' using the Metal Gear MkII and its new "accessory."
Snake: Otacon, what's that? Otacon: It's a microphone boom, Snake. Snake: A microphone boom?
Done several times by Phoenix in Turnabout Storm, mostly out of sheer disbelief at the stuff he gets told in Equestria. For example, when he asks where he is and who he's talking to after recovering a little from the shock of being greeted by a talking purple unicorn:
Twilight: My name is Twilight Sparkle. I'm a disciple of Princess Celestia, the monarch of this land. I'm chronicling in the magic of friendship for her, and you're in the town of Ponyville. Phoenix: Celestia? Magic of friendship? Ponyville?... Wait a minute, are you saying there's more talking ponies!?
99% of all Harry Potter fanfics that has a new character (a Muggle, a new wizard, or a crossover character) is introduced to the wizarding world will include a variation of this dialogue exchange, itself inspired by Hagrid and Harry's exchange in canon:
Wizard: ...you/he/she/they/whoever are Muggles. Non-wizard/new wizard: Muggles? Wizard: What we call non-magic people.
Films — Animated (Motion pictures made from sequences of drawn images, huh?)
Qui-Gon Jinn: Midichlorians are a microscopic life form that resides within all living cells
Anakin: They live inside me?
Qui-Gon Jinn: Inside your cells, yes. And we are symbiont with them.
In Anakin's defense, the first line sounded like an expression of disbelief, with the second line being more like asking "What is symbiont?"
Since nobody in the audience can understand what Chewbacca can say, almost all his conversations involve someone repeating what he's (assumingly) just roared, as if to clarify. One imagines this must be annoying for him.
C-3PO: Captain Solo, this time you have gone too far! Chewbacca: *roars* C-3PO: No, I will not be quiet, Chewbacca! Why doesn't anyone listen to me?!
An exception occurs when Chewie simply roars, and Han replies, "You said it, Chewie." Listening to the original tape reveals that he said "That old man's mad!" Han's next line however, is "Where did you dig up that old fossil," so Chewbacca's line can be reasonably guessed.
Galaxy Questlampshades this, given that Gwen's job is to repeat the computer voice - it's stupid, but it's her only job, so she's doing it anyway.
Hauk: You go in, find the President and bring him out in 24 hours, and you're a free man.
Snake: 24 hours, huh?
In this Snake's case, it seems that he's planning to cheat Hauk. This is before, of course, the bomb capsules are implanted.
This is a common tool in old Film Serials; the most obvious manifestation would be the Previously On text recap of the last chapter's Cliff Hanger, but it also shows up a lot in dialogue as the characters remind each othernote and the audience what their goals and plans are ("Here we are, finally ready to assemble our Neutron Bomb with which we can blow the Earth out of its orbit, so that our planet Mars may take its place").
Literature (Books, huh?)
In 1Q84, pretty much half of Tengo's spoken dialogue is parrot exposition, often word-for-word. It's why the book is a thousand pages long.
"It's why the book is a thousand pages long," said Tengo.
A writer to Roger Ebert's Questions For The Movie Answer Man took note of this Trope in action.
Notably, he's most likely to do this during scenes where it is revealed he's important. Or, to put it more simply, he has a hard time believing he's special. He is, after all "Just Harry".
Michael Crichton in Sphere has a character use Parrot Exposition on purpose as a psychological trick (the character in question is a psychologist, and wants to get more info without putting much in). The other person catches on soon enough.
In Crichton's novel Timeline, we have Robert Doniger, an antisocial jerkass, who owns and runs the company ITC. The vice president of Doniger's company, Diane Kramer, often uses this trope to help Doniger sort out his thoughts while he's ranting towards her.
Used quite often in Deep Storm, usually by Dr. Crane. One example:
Dr. Asher: Also, we'll need to get you chipped.
Dr. Crane: Chipped?
Dr. Asher: Tag you with an RFID chip.
Dr. Crane: Radio frequency identification? Is that necessary?
Live-Action TV (Productions for television involving actors, huh?)
Doctor Who episode Midnight had this where an alien possessed one of the passengers and repeated everything the others and the Doctor said. It lasted the entire episode.
House, for obvious reasons, has this every time a disease or treatment is mentioned. After the other parrots him, he lampshades it. Made a littlemore believable by (a) the frequent occurrence of extremely rare diseases it's possible they wouldn't all be familiar with, and (b) House's general condescension and near-compulsive habit of using layman's-terms analogies, which other characters have expressed annoyance at.
Done often in the mytharc episodes of The X-Files, especially as the show progressed. (No, Mr. Carter, just because you make every last one of your poor actors stop and summarize the alien conspiracy storyline at least twice per episode doesn't mean it's actually going to make sense this time...) In the two-part episode at the beginning of the fifth season. The first half of the episode consisted of nothing but voice-overs summarizing the plot. The entire episode could have been condensed down to three and a half minutes. The name of that episode? "Redux".
Bones, dealing as it does with forensics, but it's only used when Agent Booth is in the room. If, for instance, Zach and Cam are alone in the lab dealing with X-rays, the average viewer will have no clue what they're talking about. And Bones tends to reciprocate when they're in the field, leading to her Catch Phrase; "I don't know what that means."
In an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex animates the figures in various famous paintings (and apparently the Mona Lisa,Blue Boy and The Scream are all located in New Yorknote the first of those is in the Louvre in Paris, the second is in the Huntington Library near Pasadena, and there are four versions of the third, three in galleries in Oslo and one in a private collection) and can't get them to go back to their paintings. She calls her brother who repeats exactly what she's saying until she tells him 'Stop repeating everything I'm saying.' Which he repeats, then figures out that she's talking about magic and he's standing around a non-wizard.
In Emmerdale when Val is revealed to have cataracts everybody who witnesses it repeats the word (about a total of five times) and then...
Used to disastrous consequences in Malcolm in the Middle. A therapist tells Lois and Hal to try repeating what their children say in their own words, which culminates in Lois parroting Malcolm ad nauseum instead of helping him through his problem.
Malcolm: Stop repeating what I say!
Lois: [Clearly perturbed by her inability to stop] You say something... I say it back...
Metal Gear(Metal Gear!?)Solid has its protagonist, Solid Snake, repeating everything that whoever is telling him about something, or going "huh?". Used less in Snake Eater (although when the name "Metal Gear" is mentioned for the first and only time, of course Naked Snake has to say it), but still pretty abundant. Snake's voice actor, David Hayter, made fun of this tendency in a podcast, in which he joked that most of his dialogue was "repeating whatever everyone else says but with a question mark on the end." This happens less often in Metal Gear Solid 4, though it's less because Snake understands what people are saying and more because he just doesn't care. So, rather than saying "So it'll make me smarter, huh?", he'd say, "Okay, so... what now?". This was lampshaded in Metal Gear AC!D2, when an amnesiac Snake accesses a terminal and comes across data on the eponymous machine.
"Metal Gear?!" "Huh? You're familiar with it?" "...No. Just... had to blurt it out."
The sheer amount of use this trope gets in the games is the reason why this page used to be titled Metal Gearing.
Hunter: Snake! Be careful. Those cars are actually transgenants that use cars as a kind of shell. They're metal crabs. All 6 Snakes: METAL GEAR?! Hunter: What? No! No one said anything about a metal gear! Snake: Metal Ge- Hunter: Shut up Snake. They're transgenants, just shoot them.
Another parody in Hiimdaisy's Let's Destroy The Shagohod. When encountering Granin who suggests his awesome idea of Metal Gear...
Naked Snake: METAL GEEEEEEEAAAAARRRR!!... What the heck is a Metal Gear?
Jody: Mr. President, the information management department received an email that might interest you
Michael: An email?
All the time in Star Ocean: The Second Story, at least when Claude's the main character. Although he's justified as he's pretty much a stranger to place he just landed in while Rena's lived there her whole life.
When Claude's the main character? Christ. Every other freaking line of his dialogue in the first four hours is Parrot Exposition.
In its sequel, Fayt cannot stop using this trope. Once the player reaches Elicoor II, literal hours are devoted to Fayt and Cliff answering Nel's questions with questions or back and forth rounds of "Yes?" "Yes." with other Non Player Characters.
Final Fantasy V Advance (this version is noted for its very tongue in cheek translation) lampshaded this tendency when the sage Ghido described the twelve legendary weapons.
Bartz: "Twelve legendary weapons?"
Ghido: "Sometimes I wonder if you say things like this to spite me.... Yes, the twelve legendary weapons. They are weapons. They are legendary. There are even twelve of them."
There's plenty of this in the Shadow Hearts series, but it's most common (and annoying) in Covenant.
Combined with Heroic Mime in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Time/Darkness/Sky. The hero's thoughts are related via Inner Monologue, but rather than give them actual lines the game simply has their partner or other characters paraphrase and summarize whatever the hero just told them.
Of course, the hero does speak normally at the end of the game, while he/she is fading from existence.
The main character of Sigma Star Saga descends into this when and only when he's being told what to do next. Typically, the original speaker was perfectly clear about what was going on, and he uses almost the same words when repeating back, so this is probably a tie-in with Viewers Are Goldfish.
It could also be a case of military protocol. When you give someone complex instructions, you typically want to hear them recite said instructions back to you, to avoid any Poor Communication Kills. Granted, most of the instructions aren't terribly complex, but still.
Knights of the Old Republic, both games: Whenever T3-M4 says anything, somebody will repeat what it said back to him so the player can understand. (Oddly, all the various incomprehensible alien languages get subtitles...but T3's subtitles are just transliterations of his beeps.)
The incomprehensible alien languages were Hand Waved by explaining that the player character has an understanding of dozens on top of dozens of alien languages. It helps to be an extremely powerful Force-sensitive former Jedi and Sith Lord.
Lampshaded in the second game, during the Exile's first conversation with the HK-50 unit on Peragus.
HK-50: Objection: Master! To commit such an act would be in violation of the ethics programming most droids are believed to possess. I am afraid there is nothing that can be done. The Exile: Believed to possess? HK-50: Irritated Statement: Master, if you insist on echoing everything I say, this already tedious conversation is in danger of becoming even longer.
Though this is actually a plot point, as the parts you repeat are suspiciously specifically worded. It's an indication of the HK-50s' true nature - since droids are incapable of lying, the HK-50s are specifically programmed to circumvent this by omitting crucial details, wording sentences in a way that they appear to mean the opposite of what they actually mean, abusing hypothetical clause when stating facts that are outright false, or when acting as translators, intentionally abusing semantics to get the least intended outcomes.
Basically every RPG ever allows you to do this. Some of it is to make sure the player understands what they have to do next.
Zero does this quite often in Mega Man Zero, along with gratuitous use of ellipses. In his defense, after a Cryonics Failure before the first game and a year in exile after that, he probably is very out of it.
Dead Rising: Fe tends to repeat things too, usually out of disbelief.
This happens quite often when Ryo asks someone about something in Shenmue; he will often bring up the subject of the conversation, and someone will ask about it ("Did you see a black car go by?" "A black car?"). This was parodied in the Electronic Gaming Monthly review of Shenmue II, which mentioned the awkward dialogue between the characters.
Xenosaga is perhaps one of the most constant users of this trope, with one of the most common things you'll hear in the cutscenes is one character expositing, and another repeating a keyword with a questioning inflection. And this happens at least once in every. Single. Cutscene.
GLaDOS:Well, this is the part where he kills us. Wheatley: Hello! This is the part where I kill you. Chapter 9: The Part Where He Kills You Achievement Earned: The Part Where He Kills You (This is that part.)
Keep in the mind that with all of these and more, the Avatar really ought to know who any and all of these things are beforehand. After all, he encountered all of them in the previous games, in some cases several times. Some of them were critical to the plots of past games, and the Avatar's best friend and loyal companion through most of them was a Paladin.
You can even choose Paladin as your character class right at the start of the game!
SSgt. Griggs falls into this during a chase scene in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, though admittedly he has reasons for it (as under Real Life this is standard procedure in the Army, plus it's a pretty hectic chase with a target that they absolutely cannot afford to lose track of).
Jacob: An earwig. It's like a rotten potato that two people flip. *beat* Seriously, we could use it.
Western Animation (Cartoons, huh?)
If we had a leg of meat for every time this happened in the more recent episodes of Sponge Bob Square Pants, we'd be able to feed most of the hungry children in this world. The eponymous sponge even managed to do this with the long and rather clumsy S.D.E.A.S.E. ("Snail Disease Expert and Snail Expert") - no fumbling over it or anything, he just did it.
Used in Freakazoid! in a classic exchange between Freakazoid and Roddy McStew.
Roddy McStew: From what ya tell me, it sounds like you can only use your telekinetic powers when you're really angry!
Freakazoid: Then I'll only use them when I'm really angry!
Roddy McStew: THAT'S WHAT I JUST SAID!! CAN YOU HEAR ME OR IS THERE A WEE GOBLIN IN YOUR HEAD EATING MY WORDS!?
Freakazoid: I... don't think there's a goblin in there...
Chowder uses this a lot with Schnitzel. Occasionally lampshaded when he gives exposition and needs to tell Chowder to stop repeating everything he says.
Of course, Murphy's Law of Combat states it they'll be misinterpreted anyway.
Ditto for civilian pilots. Partly because this is what happens if they don't.
Practically done by everyone when they order their food at a restaurant and by the people taking the order. Getting one detail wrong in the order will result in unhappy customers and it can be lethal at other times if the screwed up order contains an ingredient that the patron is allergic to. While it may be annoying for people to repeat what they want or the waiter/server repeats what the customer ordered, it is a necessity in order to minimize on mistakes.
Also recommended when talking to toddlers and small children who are learning to speak; not only does it give the kid a chance to clarify if he or she wasn't understood, but it gives the adult a chance to demonstrate the proper way to say it.
Also a technique some use to help remember names. When you first meet someone, you try to say their name three times (in conversation) within a minute or so. Some say it works. Some say it makes you sound like a massive tool. Some say both.
It's also used sometimes to help oneself remember instructions.
Also a helpful technique for doctors and nurses to get patients to clarify their problems. Example:
Patient: My stomach hurts. Nurse: Your stomach hurts? Patient: Yes, it feels like someone is stabbing a knife down here. *points*
In particular, Rogerian psychotherapy is largely based on this, at least in parodies such as Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA and this one from the Journal of Irreproducible Results:
Patient: Why are you parroting me? Therapist: You seem concerned about my parroting you.
Also useful to call center operators, especially with details like numbers, dates, or unusual spellings of names. Making sure you understand the caller correctly allows you to not waste time solving the wrong problem, which makes the number-crunchers who might decide you're taking too long on calls for them to continue to employ you feel a little better.
This is how most memes are used. The majority of comments on YouTube simply repeat what was said in the video.
Teachers often repeat their instructions to the class in different wording to ensure that the class understands what the teacher wants them to do.
Echolalia, the unconscious, automatic repetition of another person's words, is a verbal tic common among young children and people suffering from various mental disorders.