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Preemptive Apology
Seraph: I can take you to [the Oracle]. But first, I must apologize.
Neo: Apologize for what?
Seraph: For this. * attacks Neo*

One of the Stock Phrases. Character A apologizes in some way. Character B is confused, as A hasn't done anything worth apologizing for, and usually asks "For what?" or just gives a rousing "Huh?" Then Character A does whatever it is he was apologizing for - usually attacking the other character and knocking them out. Sometimes this precedes a Heroic Sacrifice, but not always.

See also Pre-emptive Declaration and Apologetic Attacker.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari would probably have been much better off without this tick, as it is what pisses Asuka off the most. Other than this personality difference, their backgrounds and current status would probably have resulted in some sorta relationship.
  • There's also a slight variation in Dragon Ball Z, where Vegeta gives a little speech about taking care of the family and then apologizes, right before knocking out both his kid and Goten and then doing a Heroic Sacrifice in an attempt to take out Buu.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: After behaving particularly recklessly, the adults entrusted with the care of Edward Elric call him out on it.
    Fullmetal Alchemist, Sir! We apologize in advance for this! (Slap!) You behaved like a spoiled child!
    • The adults in question, of course, are a Sergeant and a 2nd Lieutenant serving as the Elrics' escort, while as a State Alchemist Ed holds the rank of Major. Hence the apology, followed by acknowledgment that Ed was well within his rights to formally reprimand them for this insubordination.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, Mai gives Jounouchi one before she slaps him to get him to stop agonizing about being possessed by Marik.

ComicBooks
  • Y: The Last Man has an interesting variation, where the apology is not over anything violent... Yorick apologizes to a girl for the two times he kissed her. Then he interrupts her confusedly asking when the second time was, with a kiss.
  • In Superman Family #173, Jimmy realizes that Superman is infected with the virus that is wreaking havoc through Kandor. He mentally says "Sorry for what I'm about to do, pal" before knocking him out.

Comedy
  • A show by Dara O Briain includes a part about a midwife he and his wife were visiting during his wife's pregnancy. When he comes to a part about childbirth, he runs over to two boys in the front row he talked to earlier, to explain what's going to happen when he tells this story, and the whole situation becomes more and more hilarious as he's constantly apologizing to the women in the audience about the joke he's going to make.

Film
  • The example above, from The Matrix Reloaded.
  • From The Cowboys, Jebediah Nightlinger is about to be killed by Asa Watts. Knowing that the Big Damn Heroes are on their way, he asks for a moment to make peace with God, then he prays aloud:
    Jebediah Nightlinger: I regret trifling with married women. I'm thoroughly ashamed at cheating at cards. I deplore my occasional departures from the truth. Forgive me for taking your name in vain, my Saturday drunkenness, my Sunday sloth. Above all, forgive me for the men I've killed in anger... [looks directly at Asa Watts] ...and those I am about to.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hermione apologises to Neville before putting the full body-bind curse on him.
  • Dean in The Iron Giant: "Excuse me! I'd like to apologize to everyone in advance for this!" He lets a squirrel out of his pants and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Phoebus does this to Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame when she has him pinned to a pillar with his own sword at his throat, before kicking her and taking back his sword.

Literature
  • In the last Artemis Fowl book, Artemis apologizes to Holly before sacrificing himself to save the human race from Opal Koboi.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The Sorrowful Men are a league of assassins who always apologize to their victims.
  • In Interesting Times, Rincewind gets a fortune cookie that reads "Many Apologies". He just has time to wonder what it means before the Red Army knocks him out.
  • In one of the Night Huntress books, Bones says "I'm sorry" before knocking Cat out. Lampshaded later, when he says it again in reference to the situation in general, and she caustically inquires if that means he's about to knock her unconscious.

Live-Action TV
  • Shane says this to Otis, before shooting him and leaving him for the walkers.
  • When Casey does this on Chuck, Chuck assumes it's for one of the many things Casey has already done—nope, it's for being about to handcuff Chuck to a table.
  • Used by the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who at least once with his catchphrase "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," just before he wipes Donna's memory of their time together to keep her alive in "Journey's End".
    • Also every other time Ten uses that phrase. Generally he's saying it to the Villain of the Week just before killing them.
    • Also done to Martha before the kiss "genetic transfer", though she doesn't have time to be confused about the apology.
    • Also used by the 11th doctor in the episode "The Eleventh hour" as he apologized to Rory for the phone bill for calling the Atraxi.
    • The Eleventh Doctor also apologizes just before doing something incredibly reckless.
    Doctor: You know how I sometimes have really brilliant ideas?
    Amy: Yes...
    Doctor: Sorry.
    Doctor: [runs from cover and shouts] Look at me, I'm a target!
  • In the LOST episode "He's Our You," Sawyer walks into Sayid's cell, apologizes, and then head-butts him.
    • And before that...
    Michael: "I'm sorry."
    Ana Lucia: "For what?"
    (Michael shoots Ana Lucia)
    • And in 'The Man From Tallahassee' Locke apologizes to a confused Jack seconds before the submarine explodes.
    • This happens so often on Lost that the characters really should have learned to take cover whenever they were offered a seemingly unwarranted apology
  • Near the end of season 2 of Leverage, as Nate sets into motion a plan to find evidence linking a corrupt mayor to the gunrunner, Kadjic:
    Nate hands Kadjic a bag full of cash
    'Kadjic: What is this for?
    Nate: Ah, it's an apology.
    Kadjic: What for?
    Nate: For what's about to happen.
    • The first episode of season 3 also features Nate apologizing to someone, then stabbing them.
    • Leverage loves this trope. In the second episode of season 4, Elliot goes up to a murder suspect, and out of the blue says, "I'm not gonna lie to you, man, this is gonna hurt for a second." The suspect justifiably acts confused, and Elliot explains: he knocks his head against the table, hard.
  • From Angel, when the titular character is being arrested for a brutal murder.
    Angel: "I'm sorry."
    Kate: "Save it for the judge."
    Angel: "No, I didn't do that. I'm sorry for this." *hits her, breaks free, and escapes*
  • An episode of Human Target, in which Chance pretends to be a "cleaner" taking part in a jewel heist:
    Chance: *knocks out his "partner"*
    Receptionist: "What the hell is going on?"
    Chance: "Well, it's a little complicated. I know it doesn't seem like it, but I'm actually one of the good guys. Sorry."
    Receptionist: "Sorry about what?"
    Chance: *knocks out everyone else in the room*
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Worf tells Morn "I will apologize for this at a later time," before shoving him off his barstool.
  • In an episode of The A-Team, Murdock said the line, "Bless me father, for I am about to sin," before punching out a priest.

Video Games
  • Rikku pulls this before knocking Tidus out early in Final Fantasy X, though it means even less than usual since she does it in Al Bhed.

Web Comics
  • Taken to the extreme in Sluggy Freelance, Bunbun once apologized to Torg for taking him off life support and letting him die. This has yet to happen. (Torg was on life support for awhile in 2000, but Bunbun was busy.)
  • This strip of The Order of the Stick:
    Hilgya: Sorry about this. I really do like you.
    Durkon: Sorry 'bout what?
    Hilgya: This.
    (Sabine drains his energy.)
  • In Girl Genius, Mr. Rovainen stabs Dr. Vg to death after (or while) apologizing for it.

Web Original
  • Subverted in the Murdoch Mysteries webseries The Murdoch Effect. Just before the Cowboy Cop 21st century version of George punches Murdoch, he snarls "I would say I'm sorry for this, but I'm not!"

Western Animation
  • Transformers: Beast Wars plays with this in one episode, when Silverbolt apologizes to Cheetor before knocking him out. When Cheetor doesn't go down, Silverbolt helps him back up, makes sure he's okay, then does it again, this time knocking him out.
  • The Legion of Super Heroes cartoon has a creepy example; at the end of "Message In A Bottle" Brainiac 5 apologizes to Superman before wiping his memory, after Superman learns too much about his future.
  • In the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donatello is trying to evacuate a power plant that is about to explode but is confronted by a worker.
    Donatello: We don't have time for this! Please accept my apology.
    Worker: For what?
    Donatello: For this. (hits the worker with his bo.)


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