The Japanese and Chinese equivalent of "burning ears". If you sneeze once, it means someone is talking or thinking about you; sneeze twice, it means someone is talking or thinking bad things about you. After a discussion describing a particular person or group of people, there will be momentary fast cut to that person or a member of the group (who is currently uninvolved in the action) suddenly sneezing and looking confused, followed by a fast cut back to the original discussion. Often, an observing character will show Genre Blindness and suggest that the sneezer is coming down with a cold. This can also be used as a segue without the cut back to the original scene. This is often an equivalent to the Ironic Echo Cut in western works.
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Anime and Manga
- In Anatolia Story, Yuri catches a peasant woman impersonating her to ruin her reputation. Instead of ordering the woman to be harshly punished, she offers her a second chance with a job as her maid. Kail points out that it's a pretty soft punishment considering how much trouble the woman caused, and Yuri reminds him that her three other maids tried to kill her because of a misunderstanding, but now are very faithful to her. When she makes this point, there's a small panel of the three maids sneezing.
- Happens several times in Beelzebub when Oga is being talked about, complete with the "I must be getting a cold" line.
- Kisuke Urahara in Bleach mentions this trope in the anime at least once.
- Used in Cardcaptor Sakura when Sakura's brother Toya is being talked about.
- Another amusing one: Meilin storms out angry at Syaoran to which she says "Syaoran you idiot." Cut to Syaoran sneezes.
- Also at one time when Tomoyo's mother was talking to Sakura about her father.
- Happens to Allen three times in one episode in D.Gray-Man. By the end of the episode, he decides it must be a cold.
- This happens in Descendants of Darkness more often than you would expect.
- This happens to Kogoro Mouri more than once in Detective Conan, amongst others.
- Happens at least once in Digimon Tamers, to Terriermon, when another character talks about digimon being treated like dolls.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- When someone mentioned their best hope for defeating the Saiyans, it cuts to Goku on Snake Way, who sneezes for no apparent reason.
- Yamcha, during Future Trunk's first arrival, telling why Bulma and Yamcha are never together.
- Mr. Satan, in the anime version.
- Chi Chi, at least in the anime. During the cell games, an elderly couple who seem to know Chi Chi comment on how irresponsible it is for her to let her husband go out fighting like that. Cut to Chi Chi sneezing.
- In a chapter of Dragon Ball SD taking place at the beginning of Dragon Ball, Bulma tells Goku that when she gets all the Dragon Balls, she plans to wish for her Prince Charming. Cut to Vegeta, on a spaceship out somewhere in space, sneezing.
- An example occurs in the Dragon Ball first series where Bulma describes Roshi as a perverted, irresponsible man. Cut to Roshi fishing off his island breaking into a sneezing fit, which he suspects is due to a cute lady talking about him in admiration.
- In Dramacon, when several characters plot to pair up Bethany and Raj, there's a fast cut to the two of them simultaneously sneezing and getting chills up their spines.
- The opening scene of a later episode of El Cazador de la Bruja has L.A. seething about Nadie, having just realized that she's his main rival for Ellis' affection, and then cuts to Nadie sneezing. Amusingly, after being asked by Ellis if she has a cold, Nadie Genre Savvily explains this trope, before launching into a rather funny speech about how someone must surely be talking about her beauty and prowess as a bounty hunter.
- In Fairy Tail, when Evergreen talks about how Celestial Wizards are weak and defenseless, which is why they rely on spirits. This causes Lucy to sneeze.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, after Edward puts on a performance with his alchemy, and spreading his name throughout the city in order to draw out Scar. Cut to him sneezing, proving that his plan worked, and practically everyone in Central is talking about him right now.
- Happens a few times in Fushigi Yuugi - for example, when a drunk Tasuki is making a face like Nuriko's.
- In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, Namiko is out sick, and it's making the other main characters lonely, so Tomokane draws her, and Noda adds a punning tsukkomi line. Kisaragi gets a text from Namiko, reporting that she sneezed three times in a row, and saying to slap Tomokane or Noda as a precaution.
- When Noda is tasked with carrying three cardboard boxes that sort of resemble Namiko, she wears them on her head. As she goes, Sasamoto and Homura say things to her in passing that indicate they think she's Chikako. Not having met her, she wonders who they think she is. In the first panel of the next strip, Chikako sneezes, although she attributes it to dust from cleaning.
- When Homura is telling the art club about how he's fallen for Noda, he remembers her name. Cut to Noda, turning her head and sneezing on her classmate Tomokane. (Namiko notices that the air conditioner hits directly on that spot, and Noda mentions getting a little sweaty running around.) The Noda who sneezed was Noda Miki, the main character, but the Noda whom Homura fell for is her big sister.
- There is an episode of Ghost Hunt in which this is the only thing that Lin does.
- Hayate the Combat Butler:
- Episode 13, when one character starts thinking of another and mentions her name, she sneezes.
- Episode 15, two characters are discussing a ridiculously good student and we cut to a particular character sneezing.
- In Hidamari Sketch, Yoshinoya-sensei is occasionally the one seen sneezing in a cut from the main characters talking about her.
- Episode 3 of Ikkitousen: Great Guardians uses this with Hakufu's mother. She remarks that either the young man at the coffee shop or the convenience store must be talking about her, but it's actually her daughter insulting her.
- In an extra stage OVA of Initial D, this happens when Mako is talking about Iketani.
- Shippo and Inuyasha are both seen to sneeze when others are talking about them. In Inuyasha's case, he's quick to gripe about how "someone's talking shit about me!"
- Inuyasha's rant about the trouble two warring brothers are causing derails when he spots everyone's disbelief. He defensively claims his problem with Sesshoumaru is nothing like this, causing Sango to wonder if Sesshoumaru's sneezing. The scene cuts to...Jaken sneezing on Sesshoumaru's behalf.
- This happens to the title character of Irresponsible Captain Tylor in one episode, after which he comments, "Either someone's talking about me, or I'm coming down with a cold."
- The reverse version happens to Touko in Kara no Kyoukai, though she's alone and therefore doesn't get the obligatory comment about a cold.
- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple:
- Happens early while the Ryozanpaku masters are discussing about having Kenichi move in with them.
- In one instance, Sakaki is gloating that he can help Kenichi out without "That meddling mustache" interfering, upon which we cut to Akisame sneezing, and he knows Sakaki is talking about him. Later on, Kenichi is fighting a Brainwashed and Crazy Miu and tries to snap her out of her trance with the Ma-style Memory Recovery Technique. Cut to Ma Kensei sneezing, upon which he wonders how the kids are doing.
- Kimi wa Midara na Boku no Joou chapter 5.5 (Bangaihen) page 9 has this in the 4th (2nd last) panel, when Subaru is muttering about something she wants Akira to do to her, and he sneezes and he immediately thinks of her as a result.
- This is how Hajime Kindaichi was introduced in his very first appearance in The Kindaichi Case Files manga, when childhood friend Miyuki was jokingly speculated by her friends to have feelings for him.
- In Legend of Galactic Heroes, after Yang Wen-li foiled the Imperial attack on Iserlohn Fortress by destroying the mobile Geiersburg Fortress, Wolfgang Mittermeyer, one of the top-ranking admirals in the Empire, imagined Yang to be busy dancing with women in a victory celebration. The next scene cuts directly to Yang sneezing in his bed and it is revealed that he had actually caught a cold.
- Late in the series when Paul von Oberstein, Fritz Joseph Bittenfeld and Neidhart Müller were dispatched to restore order in the planet Heinessen, Bittenfeld loudly expressed his displeasure in working with Oberstein, who was within earshot. The scene then cut to Oberstein who remained in his usual laconic composure but Bittenfeld could be heard sneezing twice in the background!
- In Episode 8 of Log Horizon, Shiroe reacts to Henrietta referring to his nickname "The Villian in Glasses".
- In a second season episode of Magic Knight Rayearth, this happens to Tarta when princess Aska talks about the invaders from Chizeta. Her sister Tatra comments on this; when Tarta sneezes for the second time, Tatra mentions that somebody is saying bad things about them, which is, again, exactly what Aska is doing.
- Chapter 1 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT ends with a Sneeze Cut to Nanoha when the Dark Materials notice that Levi the Slasher has her eyes set on the eponymous character.
- In the second episode of Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~, Sakura sneezes when the headmistress of Garderobe, Una Shamrock, mentions "that brat from the Sun Kingdom".
- Happens several times in Maison Ikkoku; for example, Godai in chapter 127.
- Manabi Straight!, the school principal sneezes when one student mentions that she wasn't punished for some antics due to "super-regulatory measures".
- Happens once in the manga version of Naru Taru. "She's a dangerous woman, that Aki Sato..."
- Nagasarete Airantou combines this gag with a nosebleed in this panel.
- Tsunade in Naruto does this when Chiyo talks about her dislike of that slug-princess.
- Naruto himself has this happen fairly early, though when someone else tells him about this trope, he states that he doesn't believe it.
- In Episode 6 of New Game!, Aoba and Nene are in a theater to watch a Magical Girl movie. Aoba mentions that another co-worker might be into this kind of thing. A little while later, Hajime, who's in the same theater, sneezes after Aoba remarks about her some more.
- The anime version of One Piece has one such moment: at one point in the Fishman Island arc, King Neptune, who mistakenly believes Luffy has kidnapped his daughter (long story), wonders how he could have snuck such a huge young girl out of the castle. He figures that he must have hid her in the mouth of her pet shark so that they could leave undetected, but the guards laugh at how ridiculous an idea it is. Cut to Luffy sneezing and wondering why, leaving him and Shirahoshi (Who did escape by hiding her inside of her pet shark, mind out) confused.
- Happens during the Hot Springs Episode of Outlaw Star (#23, the one that didn't show on American television). Jim notices Gene is missing and figures he's up to no good. Cut to Gene sneezing far from the springs and wondering if he's caught a cold.
- In Please Twins!, the main character of the previous series, Please Teacher!, is seen to sneeze when someone discusses the matter of a teacher being married to a student at the school.
- At the end of the Pokémon episode "If the Scarf Fits, Wear It!", the owners of the Daycare Center tell their daughter Angie (yet another girl to crush on Ash) that she and Ash should get married and look after the daycare, at which point Ash, who was just several feet away, sneezes. Nobody comments about it (the episode ends right there), though he does get strange looks from Dawn and Brock.
- Also happens to Ash's Corphish that is helping Brock pull off a distraction, after May and Max make a comment about it shown here.
- In a Special episode of the Sun and Moon anime while Ash and Pikachu are taking a day off on a pokemon-filled island, A Cutiefly lands on Pikachu's face and tickles his nose. During which, Ash wishes that Rotom was there to tell him what it is since he hasn't seen Cutiefly yet, causing his Rotom Pokedex to emit an explosive sneeze. Doubles as funny since once he sneezes, not only does Pikachu sneeze as well, but Professor Kukui and Ash's other Pokemon are all startled by Rotom's reaction. Rotom even throws a lampshade on it.
Professor Kukui: I didn't know you could sneeze.
RotomDex: Someone is talking about me?
- Seen several times in Ranma ½.
- In the eighth episode of Rockman.EXE AXESS, due to a trap that prevents the use of Battle Chips and confuses him, Rockman (Megaman) asks Netto (Lan) who is his rival. The real one declares Enzan (Chaud), the fake one declares Higure (Higsby), then we are treated to a cut to the chip enthusiast sneezing.
- Also frequent in Rurouni Kenshin, including at least one instance where the sneeze nearly alerts guards to the person's presence. One sequence has multiple characters announce one after the other how much they dislike Saito, followed by a cut to him in a restaurant sneezing repeatedly as someone nearby comments on this. He acknowledges this as a sign of being disliked, but seems almost proud of it.
- Happens to Ishihara in Samurai Flamenco due to Konno trying to ask her out...again.
- The first episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei - "Is it allergies?"
- The Severing Crime Edge: In chapter 10, when some of Kiri's classmates wonder if Kiri tried to confess to the class president, Kashiko, the scene changes to Kashiko sneezing.
- This happens to Ayeka on episode 2 of the Tenchi Muyo! OAV.
- To Love-Ru Zastin had one by Saki Tenjouin due to her complaining of the security in the house.
- During episode 12 of the 1982 anime adaptation of Tokimeki Tonight, Santa Claus is sitting in his boxers (having lent his suit to Ranze Eto) and sneezes, lamenting that someone must be talking about him. It then switches to Ranze's rival talking about how there isn't any Santa, proving the trope.
- Characters in Tonari no Kashiwagi-san frequently sneeze when they're talked about, and it's usually lampshaded.
- A small panel in Tokyo Mew Mew a la Mode shows Kisshu on his planet sneezing when the Mews mention the aliens.
- Wild and Horned Hermit chapter 9: Reimu declares she's going to start exterminating all non-humans for simply being non-human. Sneeze Cut to Kasen. Among the increasing number of unsubtle hints that Kasen is an oni.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Kuwabara is talking about Yukina, whom he adores, in front of a large crowd of unsympathetic spectators at a tournament. Shortly, the scene cuts to the females, who are lost in the woods, and Yukina sneezes. Botan takes the Genre Savvy route and outs with a short, rather cheesy rhyme (English Dub: "sneezy, sneezy- achoo! Someone special's talkin' about you~!"). Shizuru calls her a freak, but Yukina smiles about it.
- In the manga-only finale, cute demon girls Koto, Juri, and Ruka are being interviewed for a TV Show (at this point, human-demon relations are starting to thaw out), and they each go all gushy when the talk goes to boyfriends. A panel or two later, Touya, Jin, and Suzuka (the respective boyfriends) all sneeze on cue.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Episode 84 has a scene where Yugo made a promise to sun that he would win the duel on Rin and Yuzu's (whom he thought died in a crash) sake. Then the scene cut immediately to Yuzu who was obviously alive sneezing wondering if it was because of a bug.
- In Beast Boy and the X-Men by JP-Rider, when Beast Boy has a good portion of the X-Men females vying for his attention, Bruce Banner jokes "Just what this school needs, its own Tony Stark". Cut to Wolverine telling Stark to cover his nose.
- Used for multiple character cameos in A Wild Badfic Appeared! Commentaries whenever a party member references a non-party character or their games. Often, said cameos being other Smashers.
- Luffy's Renewed Adventure: In Chapter 73, after Luffy tells Vivi the story of how he ate his Devil Fruit, she comes to the conclusion that he and Shanks have to be the biggest idiots on the seas. Cut to somewhere in the New World, with Shanks sneezing and then asking, “Who’s an idiot?”
- Tomorrow's Romance Dawn: Upon hearing Runo's epithet, both Sanji and Nami comment on how lame it is, the latter asking who came up with it and that they should get slapped for it. The scene quickly cuts to Spandam sneezing. This could count as Foreshadowing, because Spandam does indeed get the bitch-slap from hell from Robin later down the line.
- ''Lelouch of the Rebellion RX: Demonic Knights has this happen in the ninth chapter when Jeremiah, a new member of the Black Knights brings up how Euphemia is going to be treated and how it's better than what the current Viceroy of Area Eleven has to deal with. The scene then immediately cuts to Nunnally sneezing while in her office and her assistant Alice asking her if she's alright.
- This happens in the 10th chapter of Kage: the scene with the Guardians ends with Cornelia talking lowly about Jade, followed immediately by Jade sneezing. She lampshades this trope by thinking that someone is talking about her, like Uncle would always say when he sneezes.
- In the 12th chapter, this happens with Jackie's Alternate Self.
- Son Of The Seven Kingdoms has a variation. When Margaery Tyrell is flirting with and attempting to seduce William, Arya — hundreds of miles away — is shown to have the sudden urge to kill someone.
- Oversaturated World Group Precipitation - Taking A Strange Turn:
Pinkie chose now to give her own input. "Ooooh! I know! Maybe Doctor Turner is some kind wibbly-wobby timey-wimey aspected person, and the blue hourglass he always carries around is like a magic wand, ONLY A TIME MACHINE!"...Somewhere, on a spaceship being invaded by giant salt shakers, a time-traveling hourglass would've sneezed if it could.
- Mater Familias uses this trope once in a while, but the most excellent is the triple cut in chapter 3, when Goku, in a telepatic conversation with Chichi and Gohan from Yardrat, says "Hopefully, when I get back, there'll be no distractions for us.":
In a hidden lab dug out of a mountain, Dr Gero, as he worked on a delicate bit of circuitry, sneezed. He looked at the mucus covering the circuits, and snarled, "FUCK!"
And several years into the future, a lavender-haired youth, trying to sneak up on his quarry, sneezed loudly and suddenly. And as the dark-haired young man and blonde woman with similar features and eerie pale blue eyes whipped around suddenly, Trunks murmured, "Aw, crapbaskets!"
And in an incubator tank, a bubble suddenly snorted out of an orifice in a bizarre, grotesque foetus that could very well have been a sneeze in the nutrient-rich liquid…
- Kakashi ends up doing this to himself in I Am NOT Going Through Puberty Again! with his claims of never playing favorites with his students.
(In an estranged timeline roughly twenty-five hears ahead of this one, the Sixth Hogake sneezed.)
- Happens at the end of Sarah Girl 1998's "Lumpy's Crossover Adventures" fanfic, "Something to Sneezite." After King Dedede is defeated by SpongeBob with the Sneezite he used on him and his friends, Dedede goes on a rant on how he'll get back at SpongeBob for what he did to him. Cut to SpongeBob sneezing and thinking someone was talking about him just now.
- In The Power of the Potters Harry receives a Gringotts letter from the Australian cadet branch of his family and worries that it might be a trap.
If it were a ploy from Voldemort, I would be dead already, he told himself with conviction.
In an opulent manor many miles away, a certain Dark Lord sneezed suddenly and promptly crucioed anyone who witnessed his spontaneous bout of weakness.
- In Violence Inherent in the System Hermione, nervous about co-teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, asks Sailor Moon's Disguise Pen to turn her into a "tomb raider" and ends up dressed like Lara Croft.
"Tomb raider?" Harry's brow scrunched up in concentration. "Where have I heard that term before?"
Thousands of kilometers away, deep in the Amazonian rain forest, a British woman wearing the same outfit Hermione had on (down to the exact same caliber of pistol she carried) sneezed. This was bad.
Live Action TV
- Kamen Rider Fourze: while on the Class Trip to Kyoto, Kamen Rider Club President Yuki expresses her joy at finally getting the freedom to do what she wants, without the nosy club "chairwoman" Miu breathing down her neck. Miu (on the Club's Home Base on the moon) reacts appropriately.
- Four episodes later, Shun Daimonji starts sneezing when Kengo and Tomoko reveal their football retrieving robot named Daimonji—three times in fact.
- Much, much earlier, in #5, this is actually Foreshadowing: Ohsugi is looking through the newspaper for his daily horoscope, which is Scorpio. Sonoda briefly sneezes, a hint to her identity as the Scorpio Zodiarts.
- Ultraman Mebius: While bonding with her friends and hiding from the Monster Mukadender, Marina tells them about her time with GUYS and of her thoughts on her comrades and captain, prompting Ryu, Teppei, George, and Konomi to react accordingly, while Sakomizu only stutters for a brief moment before catching himself. Surprisingly though, when Marina mentions Mirai (a.k.a. Ultraman Mebius's human form,) he gets no reaction at all.
- Happens in Star Ocean with Milly being discussed by Roddick's group, then we cut to Milly who sneezes. This scene was excised for the PSP remake.
- In the Ghost in the Shell video game for the PlayStation, someone mentions Aramaki in one FMV, and the scene cuts to Aramaki at a meeting, sneezing and saying "Someone's talking about me."
- During the mission "Salt Road" in Blaze Union, the second half of the battlefield opens with Garlot interrogating a corrupt noble as to why he's raising salt taxes and giving all the extra money to Pandra; of course, he winds up rattling off a string of insults towards Pandra while doing so. Pandra himself, who has just arrived onscene, sneezes and deduces that clearly, pretty girls are spreading rumors about him because he's such a ~handsome devil~.
- During the third act of Wild ARMs 3, Virginia is looking for a gem, and somehow thinks about Maya...Cue a change of scene with Maya sneezing.
- Persona 4 subtly slips this in, with tragic implications. After hearing a news story about an interview with an anonymous grade-school girl, your little cousin Nanako sneezes...and she ends up being the next kidnapping/murder victim.
- Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star has this as the closest Doctor Shuu has to encountering or acknowledging Nishikikouji Tohri.
- Referenced as a gag in Dragon Quest III. An NPC complains that her neighbor sneezes too much. The reason he's sneezing is because she's talking about how much he sneezes.
- In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, after the first Star Sage runs away in an area of Bowser's body that currently inaccessible to the bros, Starlow mentions that they have no other choice but to wait until Bowser does something or finds another Star Cure. Cut to Bowser sneezing, wondering if someone just now was talking about him.
- Happens as a plot-point in Danganronpa Another Episode: Absolute Despair Girls when Komaru says Touko's name after the two are seperated, and her sneezing triggers her transformation into her Serial Killer Split Personality.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged: During his fight with Cell, Goku comments that he's learned a lot about endurance in the past week. Cut to his wife Chi-Chi sneezing, and her father asking what exactly she did to Goku.
Chi-Chi: What didn't I do to him?
- Hitherby Dragons, The Gesundeit Strategem: If you talk about someone in the right part, you can send them a message in Morse Code!
- Vaguely Recalling JoJo: When Jotaro mentions Iggy while playing against Telence, Iggy sneezes and Polnareff looks concerned for Iggy.
- El Goonish Shive:
- Galgarion in RPG World pretends this is happening only for one of his henchmen to say he just heard his name on the magic mirror. He admits he just Always Wanted to Say That.
- Misfile uses this one on one occasion.
- Happens in this strip of 8-Bit Theater.
- Reginald purposely does it to Beartato in this particular Nedroid.