Split-Screen Reaction


The villain of the day has dropped a bombshell revelation. To show the reaction shots of all the protagonists at once, the screen is split into sections, with a reaction shot in each section. The reactions may show up one at a time and accompanied by a clang sound effect.

Alternatively, the split screen may show the faces of all of the protagonists as they act in unison. This is especially popular in shows with Combining Mecha, Colors or Powers. Just about every Shōnen series does this when a particularly harsh blow lands. To be fair, most anime where there is any sort of competition will show something like this.

A typical Split Screen is just two people and a thin vertical divide between the two halves. The Split-Screen Reaction often has stylized divisions at strange angles. It may not even be a true "split", but a series of picture-in-picture bubbles that pop up. (Also see Odd-Shaped Panel and Hexagonal Speech Balloon.)

Characters with Medium Awareness may be able to use the split to interact with the other characters where it wouldn't usually be possible.

When parodied, it's usually part of an overdose of Anime Effects, resulting in Mundane Made Awesome.

Compare Multi-Part Picture.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Used a lot in Mons shows like Pokémon, where an offscreen character will yell commands or encouragement to the onscreen characters as they act.
  • Bleach tends to use this effect a lot. The first few frames of this epic spoof are an example.
  • Ditto for Naruto; well at least during the Chuunin arc.
  • Happens in the first episode of The Law of Ueki, when Ueki's tree appears from the river.
  • Happens occasionally in Outlaw Star.
  • Happens several times an episode in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!.
  • Seen in the AKIRA manga. Plenty of characters, plenty of shocking events to make them react.
  • In Corsair this happens over dinner when Ayace suddenly announces his relationship with Canale. Everyone at the table gets a reaction panel, with expressions ranging from awkwardness to surprise to confusion.
  • The Fairy Tail anime has split-screen constantly, with a lightning bolt-like separation. Most of the time the screen is split just in two, though there are a few multiple splits too.
  • Given that Saint Beast has six protagonists and gets a lot of mileage out of Shōnen tropes, it was destined to happen.
  • Similarly, One Piece has several protagonists with a strong tendency to overreact (with the exception of Robin), so this trope is a given.
  • Constantly used in Girls und Panzer, showing reactions amongst team-mates sitting in different positions or even different vehicles.

    Films — Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games:
    • We get one near the climax including each of the Humane Five when they feel their magic coming back.
    • And another when they look with hope as Sunset Shimmer transforms to fight the newly created Midnight Sparkle.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community (of course) during their anime moment in the Foosball episode. A cat is added to the mix for good measure.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon uses this quite a bit.
  • The first Super Smash Bros. Brawl trailer had all the present smashers react in shock this way to seeing Wario about to do a Wario Waft.
  • Used in both Persona 3 and Persona 4 as the start to an "All out attack" when all surviving party members gang-rush downed enemies in battle.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Another live-action example, Noob can indulge into this for shocking revelations.

    Western Animation