I laugh in the face of your Dakka!
One of the Stock Superpowers
; a person with Super Reflexes can react to situations faster than normal. This is typically used to allow him to dodge or cancel threats that would otherwise blindside a regular character.
, there is normally no psychic component to this ability — rather, the character with Super Reflexes
acquired the skill through training
, Applied Phlebotinum
, technological enhancement
, or just dumb luck. An implied limitation is that a character with Super Reflexes must first notice
the danger before he can (quickly) react to it, so some element of Super Senses
. Whether or not this is enforced depends on the quality of the work.
Super Reflexes is often a Required Secondary Power
for Super Speed
, but the two are not
equivalent; just because a character can dodge a flurry of fists doesn't mean he can run halfway across a field in the blink of an eye. Expect this power to be revoked the moment it becomes inconvenient for the plot; witness The Flash
being able to clean an entire house in a tenth of a second one page and slam into a villain's outstretched arm
on the next.
In non-superhero settings, Super Reflexes may be called other names like "Combat Reflexes" or "Heightened Response".
is a visual effect often used to depict this trope.
Compare and contrast with Super Speed
. May overlap with Dodge the Bullet
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- One of the benefits of being a ninja in Naruto is a general boost in one's physical abilities, and they can be specifically conditioned to be even better. One of the powers the Sharingan grants is super reflexes due to move prediction. It can read any movement the enemy makes, even those at high speeds and the user can avoid an attack-although this isn't an exact science. Rock Lee rightfully said that even if you can see an attack, if you can't move fast enough to counter, it won't matter. As Sasuke learned the hard way.
- The 4th Raikage can use lightning to boost his reflexes so much that even the Sharingan has difficulty keeping up with him, while the 4th Hokage apparently had comparable reaction time naturally.
- This was also Minato's most famous ability along with his teleportation techniques. To put it in prospective even the fastest ninja in the world (The 4th Raikage) considers himself slower than Minato, even whiled juiced on lightning empowered reflexes and synapses. Ay even compares Naruto to his father in Bijuu Mode.
- Tsunade and Sakura's style also revolves around having super reflexes and move prediction to make up for their lack of speed.
- Sloth from Fullmetal Alchemist is a notable subversion of the Super Speed / Super Reflexes combination — super-fast, super-strong, and as nimble as an 18-wheeler.
- Kallen from Code Geass, being a combat mech pilot, has incredible reflexes, which tend to act up even when she is playing an Ill Girl in school, e.g. in one episode, when Rivalz accidentally sends a champagne bottle cork right into her face, she notices it even before he does and deflects it with her hand.
- Suzaku Kururugi from the same show is shown to be able to dodge bullets from machine guns.
- This is one of the effects of the Psycho Serum, Bloody Eye in Cowboy Bebop, with both the minor villain, Asimov Solensan and the Big Bad, Vicious being notable users.
- A common power for various enhanced humans in Humongous Mecha shows, seeing as how something as complex as a giant humanoid fighting machine would probably be nearly impossible to control without them in Real Life. Notable examples include Newtypes, Co-ordinators and Headdliners.
- One of the "Plus" Abnormals in Medaka Box has Super Reflexes as his Abnormality, which he calls "Automatic". He discovered that his reflexes were an Abnormality in a truly disturbing way. When he was a child he and his entire family were caught in a car wreck so horrific that his entire family was crushed to death. He, on the other hand, was (physically) completely unharmed thanks to his Super Reflexes. Being covered by bits and pieces of his dead family for hours while waiting for rescue did a number on his psyche though.
- Taken to insane heights in Bleach, with one of Mayuri's inventions including a Super Serum that was made for this purpose but is far, far, far too strong: he mentions that if you dilute the sample he had (stored inside of Nemu, who is assumably immune) to one part per 250,000, one drop would be enough to be significantly increase your fighting ability. If you take the whole thing (which Szayel does by accident) it will make every second seem like a century, roughly 3 billion times normal speed, and thus make co-ordination of movement utterly impossible.
- Kenpachi displayed impressive reflexes during his battle with Tousen. Deprived of every sense except touch, he was still able to dodge Tousen's attacks. He was able to do this by feeling the sword begin to cut his body and immediately dodging the blow, before following with an increasingly accurate counterattack. It's entirely possible he could have won the fight that way, but he found it too boring and decided to speed things up.
- Vivio in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid gains this when she's using Sacred Heart, letting her react, dodge, and deflect attacks that move too fast for her to see.
- In Haruhi Suzumiya, Nagato can react fast enough to block lasers. It's implied she had to teleport a short distance to do so, and couldn't react fast enough to deflect all the damage to herself.
- Spell Crests in Taboo-Tattoo can grant super reflexes, among other abilities.
- Kirito is known for this in Sword Art Online. In fact, the SAO system considered Kirito to have the fastest natural reflexes of every player there; prompting Kirito earning the "Dual Swords" skill and making him the only SAO player capable of Dual Wielding. Even after the finally getting out of that game, his reflexes serve him well in Alfheim Online and Gun Gale Online. Using his incredible reflexes, Kirito can dual wield without an in-game skill in ALO and deflect bullets in GGO.
- Everyone who matters in One Piece. The Strawhats have been dodging bullets since like the third major arc and it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous, evidenced by Admiral Kizaru, a light logia, who isn't even the fastest character in the series.
- Pretty much all the powerful characters in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children must have these to have the kind of fight scenes they do — most obviously, Cloud has no problem parrying bullets aimed at him with a giant sword.
- Lupin III: Crisis in Tokyo: His quick reading of the screen allows Goemon to open the vault when Jigen can't operate the Password Slot Machine safecracking mechanism. And later nets him a small fortune at the slot machines.
- In Attack on Titan, in the time it took for the Female Titan to turn around and swipe at him, Levi already dodged the attack and spun fast enough to become a human buzzsaw to slice up the exposed arm.
- As mentioned in the description, most Comic Book superheroes with Super Speed will also have Super Reflexes as a Required Secondary Power. Character with Super Speed but without Super Reflexes are rare, and tend to acquire it as part of their training.
- Wonder Woman is renowned for using her Super Reflexes to deflect bullets with her bracers. Even by the standards of superspeed characters they're impressive.
- Batman has reflexes fast enough to almost qualify as a Charles Atlas Superpower version of this.
- Same thing with Cassandra Cain as Batgirl, minus the "almost." In one issue, while being fired upon, she jumps between the bullets because it's more fun that way.
- Captain America doesn't dodge bullets, he blocks them with his mighty shield. Yet somehow, even when surrounded on all sides by gun-wielding Mooks, the shield always seems to be in the right place. This even applies when he is mindcontrolled chemically, an early story set in World War II had him under the influence of such a chemical by the Red Skull, but when he is taken before Adolf Hitler and the Fuehrer takes a swing at him, Cap reflexively blocks it with his shield, a body function that the Red Skull can't suppress.
- Deathstroke the Terminator
- Daredevil: a result of Super Senses and hardcore training
- Elektra can react fast enough to block machine gun fire with her sai.
- Spider-Man's Super Reflexes are linked to his Spider-Sense. So basically if he sense something he instinctively and immediately takes action to avoid danger and is the reason why he can make quips and jokes while dodging bullets, since his Spider-Sense is doing everything for him. Unfortunately, this is very much Depending on the Writer, as most have just written it off as some alarm system that can detect danger.
- One of the limitations of his reflexes/Spider-Sense combo is that if Peter isn't actively paying attention he can "miss" the cues he needs to use his reflexes in time, or if he's focusing on something else his reflexes won't kick in fast enough. Unfortunately, since he tends to not fight very seriously, this tends happens to him a lot.
- Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O'Hara, has enhanced perceptions that happen to tune in more quickly to what's pertinent, although "what's pertinent" could be anything from an immediate danger or a more general plot point. Unlike Spider-Sense, it's limited by what his attention is focused on, and he could still be caught flat-footed.
- Thor has blocked plenty of bullets and energy attacks over the years, even those fired at point blank range. In Journey Into Mystery #100, Thor deflected two bullets fired simultaneously with one swing of Mjollnir.
- Squirrel Girl has Squirrel Agility — the proportionate speed and reflexes of a squirrel.
- Shatterstar is often shown to use his Super Reflexes to augment his swordfighting skills.
- In the Transformers Generation 1 comic books, Headmasters are Transformers who have mentally fused with a human (or Nebulan) partner. The combined minds work in tandem, usually giving Headmasters faster reflexes and/or better tactical assessment skills. They are usually depicted as a single entity, though sometimes the two personalities will discuss and argue with each other as the story requires.
- One issue of Marvel's G.I. Joe comic book featured the Star Viper, a Cobra pilot who could connect himself to a computer and gain augmented speed and reflexes.
- V for Vendetta's V obtains these along with enhanced strength, endurance and intelligence after the experiments in the concentration camps.
- John Doe of Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja , thanks to a lifetime of Ninja training. In the first issue of his comic, he dodges a bullet fired at him from point-blank range; later, he dodges a sniper's bullets while running uphill towards the gunman.
- The Sub-Mariner has superhuman reflexes, though how that works while he's submerged is unclear.
- Superman can do this, he just tends to prefer to take the attack because its the safest place for the attack to connect most of the time. But its sometimes shown that even when he lets the bullets bounce off his chest to intimidate the crooks, he's quickly catching the ricochets to prevent casualties and collateral damage.
- Wesley Gibson from Wanted once swatted a bullet out of the air with a knife. He himself couldn't believe that actually worked.
Live Action TV
- Dillon of Power Rangers RPM has enhanced reflexes as part of the entire half-machine package. First demonstrated when he instantly catches Colonel Truman's falling mug while being interrogated.
- A lack of them is used in No Ordinary Family to keep a lid on Stephanie's Story-Breaker Power of superspeed. While she's not at a risk of crashing into things if she goes too fast, when she's not using her power she has normal reflexes, allowing people to take her out before she can react.
- People of the 22nd century in Time Trax can learn to control their own minds, including an ability to temporarily boost their brain's processing power, effectively granting them superhuman reflexes (this is called "time stalling"). This is often used by the protagonist (a cop from the future) to best his opponents. One episode involved a boxing match between the protagonist and a 22nd-century boxer, both of whom use this ability.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer has enhanced reflexes as part of the slayer package. Naturally, the vampires and some of the demons on it and Angel do as well.
- Forever Knight vampires also have them.
- A non-superhero example from JAG. In first season episode "High Ground", Gunnery Sergeant Crockett, a hardened master sniper, catches a fly by its wings. Harm does the same at the end of the episode.
- Panther of The Protomen, who once caught a Megabuster being tossed directly at his head from stage right.
- In superhero RPGs a character has this if they have a high enough Dexterity/Agility ability score.
- Found in Mutants & Masterminds as a combination of Quickness and Improved Initiative.
- In GURPS, the Advantage called Enhanced Time Sense is an "always on" version of Super Reflexes.
- In Shadowrun, Street Samurai with cybernetic boosted reflexes see the world this way when the reflexes are turned on. Presumably anyone with magically boosted reflexes (whether from spells or physical adept abilities) gains the same perspective.
- Naturally Cyberpunk 2020, being a cyberpunk-based RPG, has this and in two flavors: the Kerenzikov (always ON) and the Sandevistan (only when it's required).
- In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, the monk has a class ability that more or less makes sure that they are never really surprised by an attack.
- The Pathfinder RPG (based on D&D 3.5) goes one further with the Divination specialist Wizard. Even if they didn't notice an ambush, they can act in the Surprise Round along with the attackers. And with the bonuses they get to Initiative, there's a better-than-normal chance that they'll even be able to act before the ninjas hiding in the bushes. This plays out as a quick-duration Cassandra sometimes, because the game mechanics prevent your fellow party members from gaining any benefit. Shouting a warning won't do anything.
- Some characters in Rifts have a special combat action called and auto dodge, which works like a regular dodge, except that it doesn't take up any actions. Some (like Juicers) can even auto dodge sneak attacks from behind, making the ability verge on Spider-Sense.
- Eclipse Phase: several augmentations give characters these. The Neurachem biomod speeds up the activity of character's neural systems, literally making them think and react faster when it is active. The Reflex Booster cyberware implant replaces a morph's spinal column with superconducting materials, enhancing their speed and reflexes. And the Mental Speed nanoware system accelerates the character's subjective perception of time, allowing them do things like perceive the individual frames of analog video, follow the path of bullets in flight, and generally get a lot of thinking and planning done in a fraction of a second.
- The Kanohi Calix, Mask of Fate in BIONICLE. It pushes the wearer's physical capabilities to their limits.
- One of the Power Sets for Scrappers, Brutes, Tanks, and Stalkers in City of Heroes is explicitly called this.
- The Superspeed movement set in DC Universe Online gets this as a skill.
- Force users show this in Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy. Deflecting shots with a lightsaber is a given, and if you get shot by an enemy sniper, you'll automatically dodge it like Neo, especially if you have Force Speed activated. Naturally, this is subject to The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. You will auto-dodge some of the time depending on your force meter and how highly-leveled your abilities are. Enemy force-users are nigh impossible to hit with any sort of weapon, enforcing lightsaber combat. Especially the sniper rifle. Even the weakest Mook Reborn will have no problem dodging it, no matter how rapidly you fire it even though its shots seem to travel instantaneously. Computer-controlled Force-using characters also show super-fast reaction times in deflecting shots with heavier weapons using Force Push — they'll always deflect concussion rifle blasts, something that's difficult for the player even under level 3 Force Speed, which functionally gives the player super reflexes by slowing the game down.
- In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard's combat-related classes each have a variation of this, which is represented in-game by Bullet Time. The Soldier can use this effect on-demand with Adrenaline Rush (with an additional damage bonus), while the Vanguard gets it after a sufficiently-evolved Charge attack, and the Infiltrator gets it for a few seconds when zooming with a sniper rifle.
- Albert Wesker from Resident Evil 5 has this ability, being able to perceive incoming attacks much faster than normal and dodging accordingly.
- The Pointman (player protagonist) in First Encounter Assault Recon has this ability coupled with Super Speed, depicted as Bullet Time. Later on Michael Beckett, Foxtrot-813, the unnamed FEAR Sergeant, and the Nightcrawler Elites have this ability, and in the third game Paxton Fettel is able to take advantage of the Point Man's powers whenever he activates them due to their psychic connection.
- Shin Kuroi from Morenatsu
- Any character with a high Moxie in Kingdom of Loathing. The higher it is, the less likely it is that the monster will hit you; there's a point where only a critical hit can touch you.
- Final Fantasy VII: A common trait for the various bio-enhanced Super Soldiers in the series. Examples include Sephiroth, Cloud, Zack, Vincent, and Weiss, just to name a few. This allows for copious displays of Implausible Fencing Powers, Improbable Aiming Skills, bullet-dodging, and melee combat on speeding motorcycles.
- In Interviewing Leather, the title supervillainess is noted as having Super Reflexes.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, everyone who has Super Speed also has Super Reflexes.
- This is the primary superpower of the villain Whiteout (he's an albino assassin). His reflexes are fast enough to dodge bullets (and pretty much anything else) if he knows they're coming. He doesn't move with Super Speed, though.
- Arachne, being a Captain Ersatz of Spider-Man, can do this by way of a danger sense.
- In the Whateley Universe, Exemplars like Stormwolf get the superstrength and toughness, but they also get enhanced reflexes. And then there's Chaka, who uses her ki for this: she can use her ki to sense your ki and dodge any punch you throw at her.
- Cricket, white supremacist supercriminal from Worm, has super reflexes in addition to her martial arts skills and other powers.
- When the Fight or Flight reflex is initiated, like temporary super strength, people react to things much faster than normal.
- Trained athletes and fighters can react faster than the average person to certain stimuli. The debatable issue is whether this represents a superhuman ability or an undiscovered range of natural ability.
- More recent evidence have suggested that the sensation of time slowing down in times of duress occurs because the natural built in limitations designed to prevent us from killing ourselves are overridden in the interest of long term safety. This is similar to how people under duress can exhibit extra strength that they always have but can't access since using it all the time would tear the body apart. That said, the reason trained anybodies can take advantage of it isn't because of any conscious thought - it's actually the training itself that's taking over and their conscious mind is basically along for the ride.
- As people age, the brain processes get slightly slower. This results in a corresponding change in the perception of time.
- A common variety of Mysterious Animal Senses. Ever wonder why it's so hard to swat a fly?
"As soon as the fly sees the swatter falling towards it, it doesn't just jump into the air. It actually rather coolly, over the next hundred-thousandths of a second, moves its legs and reorients its body in preparation for the jump. [...] Then, at the last possible second, it jumps in the opposite direction to the swatter."
- Dromaeosaurid dinosaurs, the raptors of pop culture, seem to have focused more on this than in Super Speed.