He'll be there before you know it, and gone before you see him.
"Keystone City has become a utopia— a protectorate relentlessly patrolled by a gale force once human. No one sees him... no one hears him. He runs a lonely race... but all who live here have felt his presence. He is everywhere at once... a guardian angel who rights even the most harmless of wrongs with lightning speed. He lives between the ticks of a second. He is The Flash."
When it's not incorporated with Flight, it's at least the next best thing. Super speed means superspeed. Super speedsters are not just faster than your average human (otherwise, they might as well be cheetahs). They're faster than a speeding bullet.
Whether it's permanent or only for a single TV episode or comic book issue, whether it's from being struck by a lightning bolt, defying forces like gravity and air resistance, or using Super Serum, "speed" usually only manifests through running. However, several teen and kid heroes have used it to quickly clean up after a wild house party or to finish in five minutes all that homework that had to be put off to defeat the Monster of the Week.
Speculative Fiction writers love to apply this trope to the Theory of Relativity, The Theme Park Version of which says, "If you go fast enough, you'll alter the flow of time, and you can Time Travel to the future or the past." Characters who can't travel through time get the opposite effect: They can speed up so fast, it's as if time stops for the rest of the world. (Unfortunately, the speed factor is usually forgotten, and time is treated as if it really did just stop.) A (slightly) less egregious option is simply to have the speedster move so fast that he appears to duplicate himself - appearing in two places with so little real time passing in between that the brains/sensory equipment of any observers see him in two places at once. Extremely skillful speeders are capable of creating multiple "light clones" in this fashion.
No matter the character, there's only one Super Speed: Really Fast. Any race between such heroes will probably end evasively. It's less common than flight, which makes it neater, but still ends up being tacked on to a few Flying Bricks.
Curiously, characters with Super Speed tend to also have super acceleration and deceleration: they usually reach their regular running speed instantly and are able to stop on a dime without harm. You only see them "speeding up" if they're trying to reach some extreme level of speed they usually aren't accustomed to. They also probably need some sort of Hand Wave as to why they (and anyone/anything on their person) don't catch on fire from the atmospheric friction.
Characters with Super Speed almost always have Super Reflexes as a Required Secondary Power. The two are not the same; while someone with Super Reflexes may have the same perception of slowness as Super Speed, the user does not actually move any faster than normal, just react faster.
May show up as a Hand Wave or Justification for Martial Arts Do Not Work That Way — after all, a "highly telegraphed" roundhouse is a lot less easy to counter when your opponent's foot meets your face in the time it takes for you to blink.
Also see Super Speed's younger sibling, the Flash Step. A Sub Trope of Art Major Physics.
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Anime & Manga
The passive ability of Ichigo's released sword in Bleach. Strangely enough, although Ichigo releases his Bankai many, many times in the anime, he rarely if ever shows this ability again, probably due to his enemies suddenly being as fast as or faster than he is. This makes him unique in that his Bankai is useless against any post-Soul Society-arc foe. The depicted move is just him showing off, all show and no go as it were. This, combined with his enemies rivaling or surpassing his speed, means that he can't afford to be showing off like he did with Byakuya. And also, squeezing that much speed is really hard on his body, even if he's undamaged. And lately, that speed has been coming back into play.
Super Speed is a staple in Naruto, having been used by several characters.
The main character has speed that resembles the speed of a series teleporter. This is a recent development, as for most of the series he had merely average speed (for a ninja). The first time he used this new ability, literal Lightning Bruiser Killer Bee mistook it for the Flying Thunder God Jutsu, the teleportation technique used by Naruto's late father.
Joe Shimamura a.k.a. Cyborg 009 of, well, Cyborg 009 has the power to accelerate to freeze time (or greatly slow it down, from his subjective view), therefore allowing him to move at the blink of an eye. One episode actually had his power malfunction for the whole episode.
He's not the only one, either. Jet aka 002 also had it (though it's not his main skill), and IIRC several enemies had that same skill too (Magnificent Bastard Vog Bogoot and Blood Knight Cain among them)
Lampshaded, by showing what happens to things when they face sudden acceleration. Paper burns, for example...
J Soldat, the cyborg in GaoGaiGar that's a shout out to Cyborg 002, also possesses the super speed and flight present.
Vampires in Hellsing are all faster than humans. The fastest thus far was minor antagonist Luke Valentine, who was complimented on it by none else than super-vampire and series Sociopathic Hero Alucard.
Much of the fight scenes in Dragon Ball Z feature sequences of "colliding blurs" where characters fight at Super Speed. Sometimes it is taken to the level where all we can see are random shockwaves in midair as the camera jerks around to track them.
Straight Cougar from S-Cry-Ed. His alter power (named "Radical Good Speed") enables him to transform objects (including his own body) to reach their fullest speed capacity. He also both drives and talks very quickly. ("I love it! Two more seconds to live...")
Yuki Nagato of Suzumiya Haruhi. How fast is she? Well, remember the Mikuru Beam? Turns out, thanks to a certain Reality Warper, she really was firing laser beams. And these were not the usual slow laser beams. These were actual, fast-as-light laser beams. Still, in a blink of an eye (Mikuru's, specifically), Yuki moved from her position two meters away to block the laser headed for Kyon with her palm, then continued blocking every other laser heading for him until she was able to nullify the Mikuru Beam.
Essentially all of the top-tier fighters in Mahou Sensei Negima! can use this at least since they entered Mundus Magicus, to the point of some battles resembling the fights in Dragon Ball in its prime.
As far as normal humans are considered, Ookochi Akira is able to use this with no apparent training whatsoever. She was able to catch the above mentioned Misora, while using said artifact, with next to no effort and did it so fast and completely unprecedented that even her three strongest classmates were greatly surprised.
In the Pokémon anime, Ash's Pikachu, Cyndaquil, and Turtwig were trained to take advantage of their speed in battle. Turtwig subverts it however when it evolves into Grotle and has to adjust to a Mighty Glacier battle style. In the games, Speed is the most important stat. Ninjask and Jolteon would be pretty useless without that blinding speed to Baton Pass.
This is the secondary power of Wrath/Bradley from the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. The combination of bullet-dodging speed with his primary power of the Ultimate Eye, which lets him always see the best move to make in combat makes him a terror to behold. Most fights he enters end up being horribly one-sided.
It's also the primary power of Sloth. Somewhat subverted, however, because he does not have Super Reflexes as well.
Played with in the second season of Darker Than Black. A Contractor who briefly appears has Super Speed, yes, but he lacks nearly all the Required Secondary Powers. He complains that his muscles will be sore the next day when he has to Flash Steptwice, he can't change direction fast enough to avoid crashing face-first into a tree, and it turns out that when you're moving fast enough to dodge bullets, everything else is moving towards you just as fast. So when April makes it rain...
In Ranma ˝, as with Super Strength, anyone who practices the right style of martial arts gets this ability. Ranma Saotome himself, in the first volume/second episode, manages to jab at Kunō's forehead fast enough to leave bruises in the pattern of insulting kanji without this being seen or even being felt by Kunō. Later on, he kicks Kunō about a dozen times so fast that, to an observer, he seems to just be sweeping his leg up in front of him. A subsequent story has Ranma hitting Mikado Sanzen'in five hundred-plus times in the span of a few seconds. And he does all of these feats before undergoing the Kachu Tenshin Amagurikentraining.
The training above makes him even more ungodly fast, to the point where he has been known to punch water at villains with enough force to cause serious hurt. Whereas before he was kicking Kunō a dozen times in the blink of the eye, he later learned to punch HUNDREDS of times fast enough so that no-one (Including Ryōga, who was being punched), noticed more than one blow.
In Claymore, Clare first develops this power during the fight against Rigardo by applying her demonic transformation to just her legs instead of her whole body; before then, any sort of controlled "awakening", as it is referred to in the series, was unheard of.
Sena of Eyeshield 21 to a "human degree" from time to time. While never running at "super speed," he's able to run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds, when the average players runs at 5 seconds or so (which is a huge difference). He's still shown in the manga zipping around people, and the Devil Bat Ghost allows him to run through people by changing the pace of his footsteps but keeping the same speed, leaving the foe unable to predict where he will turn.
Sena also parodies this in non-football situation. During a football (soccer) kick-off match, due to his inability to kick, he instead ran around the ball at high speeds to confuse the goalie... but he got tired, had to catch his breath, and the goal didn't make it in. In another chapter, during a sumo match against Monta, he rushed around the ring, but lost when his foot just barely stepped out of the ring.
In Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin himself is trained in battou-jutsu (i.e., quick draw with a blade, effectively) techniques, and his speed is called "God-Speed" In-Universe. Unfortunately for him, he meets an opponent who's even faster: Soujirou—The Dragon in the Kyoto Arc—who can move faster than the human eye can even see and is capable of Le Parkour to the point of being able to run on ceilings, and whose Dissonant Serenity makes it difficult for Kenshin to read his body language.
In Kiddy Grade, main character Éclair has this ability, as does minor character Foxy Fox.
In Heroman, Joey has this, to compliment Heroman's huge strength but lack of speed.
In the Doraemon: Nobita's Little Star Wars movie, Doraemon has a gadget that makes a person capable of Super Speed fast enough to become invisible as long you have the stamina.
Nobita and the Birth of Japan movie has a tether like rope that he makes the gang hold on to, which makes them capable of running like a train.
Black Star from Soul Eater has a "Speed Star" technique that temporarily emulates super speed. Friction with the ground is actually a problem for him; the first time he uses it on-screen, the fresh mud he was running through caused him to slip during a sharp turn.
In Samurai Deeper KyoBikara of the Twelve's insane speed combined with his considerable strength was enough to reach a draw with Kyo in his prime after fighting for a day.
Loz in Final Fantasy VIIAdvent Children is capable of short bursts of speed that take him from one place to another almost instantly. It doesn't make so much difference when everyone has Super Reflexes anyway, but it does enable him to take out Tifa in an instant after nearly losing to her before using the speed.
In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Jotaro's Stand Star Platinum and Dio's Stand The World are both incredibly fast. This is actually the basis for Dio's and eventually Jotaro's ability to freeze time. The World and Star Platinum are so fast that time can't keep up.
One application of the Rise power from Psyren is this. Two characters in particular are so fast that another character, after teleporting to a point maybe thirty feet above the battlefield and falling at normal speed, feels trapped in mid-air while the other two fight it out below. They finish the fight before he hits the ground.
The comic book examples are The Flash(es) — a.k.a. "The Fastest Man Alive". They break every single law of physics, and have fun doing it. Their standard cruising velocity has ranged from the speed of light (Pre-Crisis) to the speed of sound (Post-Crisis).
Deconstructed in the song "The Ballad of Barry Allen", where the narrator (Barry Allen) laments about the inability to slow down his perception, at one point noting that the world is boring because when things happen in an instant, they're almost fast enough for him.
Which indicates a lack of knowledge about Barry beyond "Is really fast".
Such is their speed that Flash-type speedsters (those who draw their power from the Speed Force) are the fastest living beings in their universe once they get going; yes, even faster than gods. At least one of the Flashes (Wally West) was able to outrun the Black Flash who is the representation of Death for speedsters.
The Flash's Captain Ersatz in the Squadron Supreme is the Whizzer, who's fast enough to deflect a hail of incoming bullets while in free-fall. Unlike the Flash, however, he needs to sleep a comparable number of hours that he's awake and using his Super Speed.
It's been revealed that Barry, at least, goes through 300 sleep cycles in a 24 hour period. Pretty sure this applies to the other Flashes.
Wally West was originally depicted as being slower than Barry, not even being able to break the sound barrier. This was revealed to be a mental block that Wally subconsciously placed on himself because he was afraid of surpassing his hero. Once he got over it he truly became The Fastest Man Alive.
Superman. Most versions show him as just slightly slower than the Flash, usually because running is much more strenuous for him than flying. However, when the Flash's top speed changes, Superman's top speed has changed as well, usually preceding or following by months or years. This is probably because their races are a classic battle. It took a while for The Powers That Be to decide to stop the Evasive Fight Thread Episode tradition and truly decide that the Flash was indeed the fastest man alive. It went from "Neck and neck then something interrupts the race" to "Supes is just slower, but his running speed is slower than his flying speed" to the Post Crisis status of Superman being nowhere near capable of even approaching the Flash's top speed. (Immediately-Post-Crisis Superman got quite a power-down from the godlike levels of the Silver Age, as the writers realized that he isn't diminished by not being omnipotent and he's also a lot easier to write for if he has some limits. Power Creep, Power Seep has made him ultra-powerful again.)
It has been shown (in Flash Rebirth #3) that the Flash is still much faster. As Barry puts it "Those races were for charity, Clark." He then leaves Supes completely in the dust.
Most fans agree that The Flash is the fastest being in the DCU, since, his only power being super speed, he should be the one who does it best. While Superman is the swiss army knife of the DCU, Flash would be compared to a scalpel: not as versatile, but MUCH more effective in its intended use.
One very important practical distinction is that Supes cannot think or perform complex actions at super-speed (although he does have superfast-but-much-slower-than-Flash reflexes).
Smallville's Clark Kent probably uses it most frequently, not having mastered the gift of Flight yet. When he's moving and seeing things in super-speed, Impulse is still little more than a red streak.
Which just goes to show how obscenely fast Flash/Impulse is, considering that Smallville Clark has proven to be FASTER THAN BLOODY LIGHT.
Gets a lampshade moment in Warrior when a superhero with Super Speed wonders why there is no sonic boom.
Pre Crisis, at least, Superman's speed matched or was a notch below the Flash's; this was the era during which most of the classic Flash-Superman races took place. (One race featured the two forced to race to the edge of the galaxy and back, with Flash surviving in space via a means rigged up by the Guardians of Oa.) While not involving running, Superman also was shown pre-Crisis (and in a few post-Crisis stories, despite the canonical powering-down) as able to fly through interstellar space (without being gone from Earth for months/years). Finally, like the Flash, Superman in the Silver Age and Bronze Age could travel through time via use of his super-speed, which also came up in a Superman/Flash race, this one through the timestream. (The ability to time-travel under his own power was also how Superboy could be a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.) Even pre-Crisis, however, what sets Flash's speed apart from Superman's was Flash possessing finite control over his body's molecules, allowing him to do various stunts Superman couldn't do...vibrate through walls being the most famous one.
Captain Marvel is canonically faster than Superman, having been bless with the speed of Mercury, and while he also cannot outrun Flash, he is fast enough to sneak up and grab him if Flash were at rest.
Quicksilver from the Marvel Universe can "only" go about 700 MPH. He's explained to a psychologist the reason he's quick-tempered, irritable, and impatient — imagine a world where everyone is that annoying person who doesn't know how to work an ATM and you're behind them in line. *
Writer Peter David said he based this on how he actually feels sometimes.
Though amusingly this attitude was once reversed during the Marvel vs DC crossover. Quicksilver fought the Flash and found himself just as annoyed to find someone who was faster than him.
616 Quicksilver's speed has always been a tad inconsistent, but ever since M Day he has been depicted as much faster then 700mph.
He had some limiters that were removed after a feverish dream which somehow restored his original powers. (Before that, he'd use the Terrigen Mists that powered the Inhumans to try and restore his powers. That didn't work well for most mutants who tried it, but for him, it gave him altered powers: while he could no longer run fast, he could vibrate his molecules at faster than light speeds, allowing him to time travel at will.)
Ultimate Quicksilver is much faster. He once gave an enemy speedster an object lesson in what real speed is by taking hold of her and running so fast her skin was stripped off and then she burst into flame.
Tommy, AKA Speed, from Marvel's Young Avengers, who not only has superspeed, but can accelerate matter of objects to the point that they explode. He's the reincarnated nephew of Quicksilver, and has proven to be much faster than Quicksilver.
An example of Speed's speed, he ran from New York to Genosha (off the coast of Africa IIRC) before Wiccan could teleport there. He also searched the entire place in the time he spent waiting for Wiccan's near instantaneous teleport. As Wiccan put it "Um, Tommy, how fast are you exactly?"
While always inconsistent as mentioned above, Quicksilver and Speed are both tiptoeing much closer to the "Flash" end of the Speedster scale lately.
Aurora and Northstar, from the Marvel Comics super-team Alpha Flight, have both super-speed and flight, making them ridiculously maneuverable. Unusually, they don't have superhuman reactions or reflexes.
Marvel comics has a character from Power Pack and Loners named Julie, nicknamed Light Speed. She can move fast, react fast and heals fast. However, despite being called "Lightspeed", in one comic, upon breaking the sound barrier, she claimed she was at her limit.
Marvel also partially subverts this trope, however, by providing characters with a range of speeds to their name. You have the top speedsters, Quicksilver and the Beaubier twins, who can easily break the speed of sound. Then you have Iron Man and other tech heroes; most of these can fly and at least keep up with jets. Further down the scale come the various superstrong types like Hulk and Hercules, who don't get instant acceleration but can run several hundred miles an hour once they get a good buildup (thanks to their Super Strength). Next up come characters whose powers are super-everything: Warpath and Monet are two examples, being much stronger, faster, and with better senses than most. Warpath can run at around a hundred miles an hour while Monet is likely more around thirty to forty MPH depending (her strength seems to fluctuate). Even Spider-Man has a shadow of Super Speed, able to run at around 65 MPH for about two miles before getting too tired from the exertion (assuming no other factors are involved).
DC Comics' Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew featured as a team member Fastback, a turtle with super speed powers. The "Just'a Lotta Animals" from Earth-C-Minus also featured the Flash's counterpart, the Crash (a turtle with super speed and Flash's costume). And to top it all off, Fastback's uncle was DC's Golden Age funny animal superhero (and speedster) the Terrific Whatzit (yet another turtle wearing a version of the Golden Age Flash's costume).
Marvel Comics once saluted the Flash, and in so doing showed that it does not have "all speedsters have one speed", during a 'race to the moon' on an artificial bridge made by The Runner. Only running speed was allowed (thus the Beaubier twins were not competing), and by the end of the race, some speedsters either fell out because they didn't have the endurance, or simply weren't as fast. Makkari the Eternal was in the lead and perhaps a mile from the moon, when "Buried Alien", in the tatters of a red costume, appeared on Earth. He just RAN, reaching the moon just before Makkari did. Since Makkari's running speed is 3,000 miles per hour, this means he achieved a speed of roughly 900 miles per second, or about less than half a percent of the speed of light. A slow jog for the Flash...
The Mighty Thor is so fast, he catches artillery shells in mid flight, swings his hammer at twice the speed of light, and is described as "faster than the lightning he commands."
The Silver Surfer (thanks to his Power Cosmic) is so insanely fast that he can travel LIGHTYEARS in SECONDS!◊. Just to elaborate: 1 Light year = Approximately 9,460,730,472,580.8 Kilometers. In order to travel just one light year in sixty seconds his minimum speed is about 525,960 Times the speed of Light.
For someone who neither possesses super speed as his hat, nor is supposed to possess superhuman abilities of any sort beyond "photographic reflexes", Taskmaster is hideously, terrifyingly fast, being capable of casually snatching bullets out of the air with his hands and bisecting, with a katana, 5 men spread out over an area of roughly 30 feet in less than a second.
Taskmaster's is more or less just jacked-up Super Reflexes. By watching things on fast-forward, his photographic reflexes let him duplicate it at the same speed. This trick is hard on his body.
Likewise, Taskie's drinking buddy Deadpool, who has been seen outrunning thrown swords, striking symbiote tentacles, a jetliner about to take off from the runway and high-velocity sniper bullets.
The Beano's Billy Whizz, a long-running strip about the "world's fastest boy". His speed and reactions are so fast they even allow him to stay dry in a rainstorm by dodging between raindrops.
To put it into perspective, a "slow jog" for Billy is about 100mph or so. He can easily outrun sound - he once went supersonic at school to prevent a teacher from hearing an insulting remark his friend had just made about the teacher. His greatest moment to date though was when his father wanted to change the TV channel to watch some boring football match, and Billy outran the signal from the remote control in order to negate the channel-change command. Yes, he went consideraly faster than light across the living-room and back!
In All Fall Down, Pronto had this before his accident. Later, so does the Modern Prometheus.
Films — Animation
Dash from The Incredibles is another example of a speedster. He initially uses this power to pull pranks on his teacher and annoy his sister, but in time he learns to use this power effectively in battle, managing such feats as outrunning attack pods, delivering Rapid Fire Fisticuffs, and even running on water.
Films — Live-Action
The watch in Clockstoppers speeds up the molecules of the wearer so that time appears to be standing still.
In Kung Fu Hustle, The Beast catches a bullet fired at very close range and attacks quickly even when the world is shown in slow-mo.
In the third X-Men movie, Callisto was shown as being an unusual mutant in that she had two distinct powers: she could sense the power level of other mutants and move at super-speed. Apparently, the writers wanted Quicksilver and Caliban in the movie but only had one Dragon slot, so we got a Composite Character (inexplicably named for yet another character, Callisto.)
The Matrix movies show increased reaction time and movement speed as being common abilities for those who know the Matrix is an illusion... but Neo can move at such speed that his slipstream drags along cars behind him.
In Blazing Saddles the Waco Kid is such a fast gunslinger you don't even see him move when he draws his gun!
In The Chronicles of Riddick the Lord Marshal can astrally project his soul, which almost instantly decides the future location of his body, his body 'snapping' to the soul's location like a stretched rubber band. During the final battle, could run circles around Riddick, who failed to get a single hit in and was brutally beaten.
Sky High has a villainous example, with one of the students.
In Shinobi Heart Under Blade, Gennosuke has a technique that lets him move at such speed that his opponents seem to be slowed, to the point of barely moving at all. When we finally see it from an outside perspective, he just looks like a blur that takes out a few dozen Ninja in seconds.
Jeremy from Slick is a professional pickpocket who uses this to pick pockets by moving too fast for anyone to realize. He also pulls off several Tied Together Shoelace Trips with this as a way to keep people from catching up to him. Slick lampshades the latter ability at one point while he and Jeremy interrogate Judge Janelle.
Slick: Have you ever seen Jeremy tie people's shoelaces together? It's freaky!
Both the protagonist and the antagonist of The One (both played by Jet Li) get enhanced strength, enhanced reflexes, and enhanced speed due to the Conservation of Ninjutsu, thanks to the Big Bad killing all their doubles in parallel worlds. In his first appearance, the Big Bad Yulaw is able to dodge bullets and beat up a SWAT team in the space of a few seconds. The final battle between the two characters has both of them speeding up at various points, until a large part of the fight takes place at superspeed (we see it from their perspective, while sparks from broken machinery slowly fall around them). And to think that the original plan was to have The Rock do the film.
According to Vergil, the Thracian Harpalyce (daughter of Harpalycus, king of the Amymnei) was capable of outrunning horses, the river Hebrus and the East Wind. Thus this power is Older Than Feudalism.
The 1901H. G. Wells short story "The New Accelerator" was about a man who had invented a serum that would accelerate a human to time-stop speeds.
The Shrike from the book Hyperion, who can move at... 70-ish trillion times lightspeed. Yes, trillion.
What's worse, he has time manipulating powers meaning there was no good reason to make him so ridiculously fast in the first place.
In Heretics of Dune, Miles Teg gets this power as a result of a botched interrogation — implied to be a result of the unique mechanics of the interrogation device unlocking a latent genetic talent. His speed also includes accelerated reflexes, slowed time perception, a form of Super Senses (explained as an amplification of his Mentat training), and massive boosts to his metabolic rate and the oxygen storage capacity of his blood to handle the increased energy demands. The effect also turns him into a Big Eater, which is played for both drama and laughs. Fortunately, he can turn the ability on or off at will.
John D. MacDonald, who normally writes mainstream detective fiction starring Travis Mc Gee, once wrote a novel titled The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything, which featured a watch that could slow time down to near-timestop levels. The inertia that ordinary objects would have at such superaccelerated perceptual speeds played a key role in the story.
Shown to great effect in the first chapters of Interview With A Vampire. Louis stands in a darkened room with his human interviewer and tells him, very calmly and very thoroughly, that he is going to step across the room and turn on the light. The man is baffled, wondering what the big deal is. When Louis moves, at a speed he later assures the man is nowhere near his top speed and in turn nowhere near the speeds of many other vampires, it appears to human perception that Louis' arm grew to incredible lengths to reach the light switch and turn it on, while to Louis, he very deliberately reached out his arm, walked across the room, turned on the switch, and walked back to where he had been standing.
As do the vampires in The Saga Of Darren Shan. All vampires (whether they're still part-human or "fully-blooded") can move so quickly over short distances that it seems instantaneous to humans. Mr Crepsley uses this to fake Mind Over Matter, snatching things out of people's hands so quickly they don't see him take them. Full-blood vampires can cover much greater distances via "flitting".
The Runelords have super speed if they take endowments of speed from their Dedicates. It averts Art Major Physics, though, in a section that explicitly spells out (and demonstrates) a speedster leaning into turns, being careful not to break his legs, and arcing through the air after cresting a hill.
Akane Akiyama of the web-novel Domina has this power.
In Codex Alera, talented Windcrafters can draw on their Fury's power to move really damn fast. But, if they don't have metalcrafting, they can damage themselves pretty badly in the process.
In The Vu Sabella Hall can move at incredible speeds which increase her reaction times and allow her to perceive the world as if in a time dilation.
In the Angel spinoff episode, "Somnambulist", there was a vampire sired long ago by Angel's evil side, Angelus, who could move at super high speeds.
Angel himself could move like that. They never show the movement on-camera, but occasionally a camera jump shows he's moved 60 feet in about a quarter of a second. Notable in "That Vision Thing" right after he kills Kal Penn's character.
One episode of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids the TV Series has Wayne Szalinski building a device to accelerate him to Super Speed because he was over-committed one day. Mr. Jennings finds the other unit. The device malfunctions and he and Mr. Jennings gets stuck moving at the speed of light until he ends up in a cold location to slow him back down.
Six of Kamen Rider Kabuto's eight heroes (and nearly all of their enemies) have an ability called Clock Up, enabling them to move at nearly light speed. The titular character later gets Hyper Kabuto form, whose Hyper Clock Up makes characters who are in normal Clock Up appear to stand still. By exceeding the speed of light, Hyper Clock Up can even allow him time travel or hop dimensions. However, Clock Up is hardly ever important to the plot, but used only to allow for fierce battles with surrounding civilians standing in place or debris falling at a microscopic rate to make the fight prettier.
Before Kabuto, Kamen Rider Faiz had Accel Form, which enabled him to move at the speed of sound for ten seconds. When the eponymous Kamen Rider Decade squared off against a Kabuto character, he uses Accel Form to match his opponent's Clock Up. The same arc used it as a plot point, wherein Tendou's AU counterpart is stuck in permanent Clock Up and can't revert to human form.
A requirement for Kamen Rider Double riders seems to be that they are abnormally fast. Double is running and brawling speed, Skull is shooting, And Accel becomes a living motorcycle on top of high speed sword fighting. Accel's Trialform takes it Up to Eleven.
In Season 3 of Heroes, Hiro meets Daphne, a girl who can go so fast that when he stops time she is just brought down to normal speed.
Edgar from Season 4 has the same power. In one scene, Peter copies it and they have a super-speed battle.
True Blood. Vampires can move at super speeds, and apparently without harming the human they're currently carrying. They can even do this while wearing high heels and a dress.
Hyde, from BBC's Jekyll, has been shown to be able to get up from a chair and to the door of a room in the time it takes the woman who had been facing him to turn to the door, among other examples.
The X-Files episode "Rush" has teens that gain temporary bouts of super-speed, but is slowly killing them, as the human body simply isn't build to go at superhuman speeds.
Smallville unsurprisingly features this, as it has it's own versions of Superman and The Flash, see the comics section. Unlike the comics version, though, Clark uses his Super Speed running as his main method of travel, rather than Flight.
It's also probably Clark's most commonly used power. Clark and Impulse have the obligatory "Who Has Faster Super Speed Powers?" race, though that trope is quickly subverted when Impulse just speeds up and leaves Clark in his dust.
"They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink."
An episode of Eureka has a group of scientists who try to beat another group at a project in order to impress their boss. In order to cheat, they injest a serum that temporarily allows them to move much faster than normal. However, it ends up turning fatal when one of them forgets to Look Both Ways and hits an SUV.
Cole/Dagon from Tracker (as well as all the members of his species) can enter "hyperspeed" at will, although he can only do it for a short while and it drains him. He can usually only do it once a day. We always see it from Cole's perspective, so Time Stands Still. In one episode, the Big Bad invents a device that allow anyone to do the same, and it recharges in 20 minutes. In another episode, Cole uses this trick to get a mobster to think he shot him. He is kneeling on a dock. The bad guy shoots. Cole enters hyperspeed and moves his head out of the way. The bullet slowly makes its way past him. Cole then puts his head back in the same place and "resumes" normal time. Cole falls in the water. The bad guy leaves, satisfied.
Several episodes of The Flash TV series involves bad guys trying to duplicate this ability. One rich guy builds himself a power suit that does this (it's unclear how he overcomes the side effects, such as friction and lack of Super Reflexes), but Flash pulls an Are These Wires Important? on him. Another scientist tries to replicate superspeed, but all his subjects end up burning out (literally) from friction and the inability to stop. So he ends up getting a sample of Barry's blood and cloning him. The clone ends up immature, accidentally kills his creator, and runs away. At the end, though, he ends up taking a bullet for Barry (even though either one could've easily caught it).
In another episode, the pilot's Big Bad Pike tries to kill the Flash with a nuclear missile. Somehow, a nuclear explosion boosts Barry's superspeed to Time Travel levels, and Barry ends up 10 years in the Bad Future, where Pike runs the town. Barry and his Love Interest overload a nuclear reactor to return him to his own time.
In yet another episode, a drug dealer gives him a whiff of some new exotic drug, that causes Barry's molecules to vibrate to such an extent that he passes through a brick wall.
Though not so well known today, Iris, the Nymph of the Rainbow, is swifter even than Hermes; he is the god of messengers, but she is the messengers of the gods. Daughter of sea and sky, kin to earth and the underworld, she can go anywhere and be welcomed.
Dungeons & Dragons wizards have the happy opportunity to cast the "Haste" spell, which grants a small dose of super speed to the party. In 2nd Edition, this boost came at the cost of a year of the targets' lifetimes, as their metabolism kicked into overdrive. 3rd Edition removed this drawback, and also added magical weapons that move fast enough to grant extra attacks per round.
The partially martial arts-inspired 3rd Edition supplement The Book of Nine Swords draws on the super speed concept with the "Diamond Mind" school, whose practitioners are described as acting in moments others aren't aware of. The ultimate Diamond Mind technique is namedTime Stands Still, which lets the user take two full attacks in one round. To actually receive a Time Stop effect, you have to take a Diamond-mind focused prestige class.
Vampire The Masquerade has the vampiric Discipline of Celerity which accelerates a vampire to superhuman speeds, often becoming quite a Game Breaker in combat-oriented campaigns. In fact, using Celerity above level one in front of Muggles is an instant breach of The Masquerade.
Oddly Celerity is only a partial example. While effect is Super Speed, what's actually happening is the vampire is moving at normal speed, but has speeded up time for just themselves. Most vampires don't know they are doing this, which is probably for the best. Those that did know made a mess.
Vampire: The Requiem manages to tone down the brokenness, seeing as multiple actions are no longer a huge part of the game system. However, the Discipline still does allow a vampire to outrace a car, jump up the initiative roster, and apply their Defense against firearms attacks.
In GURPS, you can get either Enhanced Move which lets you accelerate to high running speeds. However Altered Time rate is a more traditional speedster power, allowing you live at double speed (or tripe, quadruple etc).
The game also suggests that you to take Resistant To Acceleration, if you don't the character is liable to blackout if he tries to start too fast.
Mutants & Masterminds has a Super-Speed power, but it essentially deconstructs into a combination of the Speed (run faster) and Quickness (perform skill checks in a shorter duration) along with an array of alternate powers (things like being able to use your super-speed to run up a wall, spin and deflect projectiles, dodge oncoming attacks, etc). The core game does not allow multiple attacks per turn, so the only use of super-speed to attack allowed is in the form of descriptors on alternate powers.
DC Heroes has a Superspeed power. Power values in this game system were described by a single number; in the case of Superspeed it described your running speed, could be used in place of your Dexterity for dodging attacks/rolling attacks/causing damage (imagine punching someone at the speed of sound, or punching him several times per second), and defined how much "faster" you could perform a lengthy action such as disarming a bomb. An optional rule allowed you to roll dice to see how many extra "simple actions" you could perform on your turn.
Exalted has a number of speed-altering Charms. The most consistently impressive has to be the "Wind-Born Stride" Adorjani charmset from Infernals, which is based largely around ways to improve your running, including making sprinting as restful as sleep, running on water, and running so fast you set off a small-scale shockwave like a quiet sonic boom. This led to this rpg.net thread, which came up with a build capable of breaking the sound barrier on foot, and outracing the Concorde in a scout warstrider. (Lunars have an even more impressive Charm that allows them to chase and catch this one, but that one requires you to be specifically chasing them.)
Warhammer Fantasy Battle has the Lore of Light spells Speed of Light and Birona's Timewarp. The first turbocharges a unit's Weapon Skill and Initiative, allowing them to go before most enemies and hit far more accurately. The second doubles movement speed, gives bonus attacks, and bestows Always Strikes First upon the unit. Both are fairly popular with the Lizardmen, whose frontline combat units are generally Mighty Glaciers.
As was also the case in CD. Canonically, Metal is faster than Sonic (at worst, Metal's speed matches Sonic's), but the increased speed comes with poorer traction (see: Sonic Adventure 2) and the risk of overheating as a trade-off.
Tribes has this as its hat. 200 km/h? No problem! Tribes: Ascend lists itself as the fastest shooter on the market.
In City of Heroes, Super Speed is one of the four "travel" power pools (the others being Flight, Leaping, and Teleportation). It consists of Super Speed, the "run really fast" power, Flurry, "punch fast", Whirlwind, the "spin around and make a tornado" trick, and Hasten, which makes it so that you can use your other powers more often.
The Kinetics power Siphon Speed allows you to drain the speed from an enemy and become fast yourself. The same powerset also has Speed Boost, a much-loved buff that bestows Super Speed on other players.
Spiritual SuccessorChampions Online has Super Speed as a travel power as well, except in this case it does leave some major marks into the ground you run on, due to the friction.
The Time Bangle of Devil May Cryfroze mooks in place, but bosses were unaffected. The Chrono Heart in DMC2 and Quicksilver in DMC3 only slow things down... but vitally work against bosses. Some Fan Fic writers also hold that all demons are naturally much faster than humans and the games are depicting a slowed-down "version" that we players can come to grips with - which would elevate a resident Badass Normal to Charles Atlas Superpower.
Many Nasuverse characters are superhumanly fast. Generally, they have to be actually beyond human, but there are some exceptions.
Most vampires can keep up with a sprinting human at walking pace. Somehow.
Arcueid, even while most of the nerves in her body aren't even connected, can still achieve this. Who knows how fast she really is.
The Servants of Fate/stay night, being real superhumans, can move and fight faster than the protagonists can actually see. The most extreme example would be Saber going Mach 13, headfirst-leaping four kilometers in a second (she had help). Lancer, the fastest Servant, is so fast his movements were a blur even to another Servant, and a single back 'step' moved him about fifty metres.
A good example is Fate/Zero's Berserker VS Archer. Archer fires two weapons out like rockets. In an instant, theres an explosion, and Waver wonders just what happened. Rider asks Waver if he couldn't follow, and explains what happened as the scene replays itself but is slowed down, and we see Berseker easily dodge the first incoming sword, grab it, and use it to destroy the next spear. Next, Archer fires over a dozen weapons, with Berserker effortlessly discarding/grabbing new ones and deflecting the onslaught. All of it happened in a brief instant, and only the viewers/Servants could actually see what is happening.
Araya Souren can dodge a bullet after it's been fired. Ryougi Shiki can move faster than Araya's eyes can track, cut apart Araya's one-word instant spell with a sword attack clearly begun after Araya had spoken it, and remove his arm via said sword attack before he realized he was cut.
Shiki, from Tsukihime, is apparently quite a speed demon. Running up walls seems pretty easy for him. Take this quote from the game for instance: "I was so fast that I disappeared from Akiha's vision in an instant." Talk about DBZ teleportation speed, and he wasn't even fully pumped up nor was he in his other self. Though it was probably more of a Flash Step.
Even the slowest Servant speed rank is ten times better than what a human can ever achieve. Note that Nasuverse humans include the above Araya and both Shikis.
Wild ARMs 4 depicts any user of Accelerator, such as Jude and Hauser, as being able to move at this speed.
One of the recurring powerups in Metroid games is the Speed Booster, which allows Samus to run at supersonic speeds. While moving at super speed she can run through certain walls (as well as any enemies unfortunate enough to be on the way), but stopping, turning or bumping into something makes her lose the speed. She can however temporarily store the energy generated by running and release it to fly very fast in a straight line, or run again if there is a slope she can run on. Many puzzles depend on clever utilization of this ability.
In Metroid Fusion, there is the Serris, a Sea Monster that can move faster than sound. Samus recieves a version of the Speed Booster by absorbing its X.
In the Suikoden series, the possessors of the True Holy Rune (which is a mistranslation and not actually a true run, and in later games is correctly translated as the Godspeed Rune) tend to have the ability to run at super high speeds (in addition to other nifty powers, such as double world map speed and a 100% escape rate from battles). One such character, Stallion from S1 and 2, was able to outrun a village-destroying explosion. While carrying another character.
Suikoden Tactics, being the only game in the series where combat is movement-based, presents a vague idea of just how fast the Godspeed Rune makes a character. There's one mission where, in order to recruit the bearer of the Godspeed Rune, you have to catch him. It's ridiculously hard, even with you being able to send characters in opposite directions of a circular map in an attempt to surround him; a single error and you lose, and without one you might still lose.
Lechku, a boss from Ōkami, has this power. It seems to need its twin to activate it, though.
The Dark Forces Saga features it extensively. What's more, Jedi Academy also has a Force power called "Dark Rage", which stacks up another speed bonus on top of Force Speed. Once you max out Speed and Rage powers and learn the Fast Lightsaber Style, you can kill most enemies before their even switch their lightsabers on.
In Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight 2, using a custom script to display player's speed in a custom level, running with maxed Force Speed is 107 km/h or 67 mph(compared to 47 km/h or 29 mph without it), achieving this speed from a standstill in about 1 second and also can make the sharpest turns ever at this speed, and hitting a wall at this speed results in slight health loss. When using a cheat code to fly, top speed with maxed Force Speed is 323 km/h or 201 mph (compared to 143 km/h or 89 mph without it), but reaching this speed from 0 km/h will take much longer (at least 5 seconds but don't remember exactly), and turning at this speed requires lots of space, and hitting a wall head on at this speed will kill you.
Knights of the Old Republic had Force Speed (or whatever it was called) as a fairly basic spell increasing your movement rate and the number of attacks per round.
In the latter portion of Dead Space, you face off against Twitchers. Originally soldiers with time-manipulating gear similar to Isaac's, when reanimated it allows them to move crazy fast.
Super Speed is a powerup in many games in the Backyard Sports series. Several characters allegedly have this naturally, like Pete Wheeler and Luanne Lui.
The Bunny Hood of Super Smash Bros Melee and Brawl gives the characters super speed.
Wario also gains super speed when he transforms into Wario-Man with his Final Smash. This stacks with the aforementioned Bunny Hood.
From Touhou, Youmu can reach an appreciable fraction of the speed of light when she slashes something. Aya's even faster.
Kabal from Mortal Kombat has a move where he runs at the opponent at Super Speed to make them dizzy. Lampshaded in Mortal Kombat vs.DC Universe, where Kano states that the Flash would give Kabal (who doesn't appear in the game) a run for his money.
Much like the Metroid series it is inspired by, Shadow Complex also features a speed booster ability. The difference here is in the lack of ability to store the energy and boost off in a direction, but made up for by being able to run across the lake (there's an achievement for it too!), be able to jump and keep running, and being able to run along walls and ceilings.
In FEAR, whenever the Point Man or another character triggers Slow-Mo, they are actually speeding up and moving incredibly fast. The trailers show this most clearly, including one where the Point Man goes from kneeling on the floor with three men pointing guns at him to killing all of them before they can react.
Terraria has the Hermes Boots, which let you run super-fast, but interestingly don't give you super-acceleration; you'll need a long run-up to get up to speed, though you can get around this by grappling towards the ground while in midair and releasing the hook before it attaches you to the ground.
Sky Fish in Aria of Sorrow. It's so darn fast that even before you will react, it will get away. The key to get its soul is to use Chronomage soul, which stops time, but it has unique effect on Sky Fish - it reduces its speed to reasonable (but still faster than most enemies in game) speed, at which you can kill it. Due to how hard it is to kill it, it has highest EXP per HP ratio in the entire game, with 30 EXP per one hit point. It's also tied for highest EXP yield out of all non-bosses.
ADOM has a speed rating for all creatures that determines how quickly they can act in relaton to each other. It also has quicklings, which to start with tend to be so much faster than the player character that they can step next to you, attack, and step back out of reach before you get another turn. The ordinary ones might not qualify for super speed, but their tougher versions get faster and faster. It's also possible for the player character to gain a pretty ridiculously high speed rating later in the game, especially by eating lots of quicklings.
Mass Effect 2 allows Shepard to take the Soldier class, which gives him/her the unique power of Adrenaline Rush, which dilates time to let him/her line up shots. It also lets Shepard run and strafe at normal speed, and the evolved version Heightened Adrenaline Rush lets Shepard move so fast that his/her enemies are virtually standing still.
Oko San of Hatoful Boyfriend is a fantail dove. He can outrun a healthy human teenager, and match her for endurance (humans evolved for endurance running). He can run faster than he flies. Or across water. This is eventually somewhat justified; the local Mad Doctor has been slipping him steroids as an experiment pertaining to his grand scheme.
Freedom Force has Bullet, a clear Expy of The Flash. In his backstory clip, we find out that Dwight Arrow was an Air Force pilot nicknamed "The Fastest Man in the Air" whose fighter was hit by Energy X above North Vietnam. His superspeed immediately manifests itself when he dodges Vietcong bullets and manages to run all the way to the States on the ocean. He can use his ability to create small hurricanes and Flash Step. Despite the presence of flying characters, he is still faster than them at his normal running speed.
A creature known as Bitey of the Brackenwood continuity by Adam Philips has the ability to hop great distances in an instant, or sustain a galloping pace at ridiculously fast speeds; so much so that in the video, the Yuyu, it is heavily implied he encircles the small world of Brackenwood in roughly 30 seconds.
Saiko of Saiko and Lavender has superspeed to such a degree that is also grants multipresence.
Sluggy Freelance has a couple cases of this. Hyperactive ferret Kiki enters a Caffeine Bullet Time state whenever she eats candy (to the extent that she can circle the globe several times before anyone can react). Santa Claus, meanwhile, can move at tremendous speeds by harnessing the same power that lets him deliver presents all over the world in a single night. After acquiring the position of Easter Bunny, Bun-Bun can do the same thing using his egg hiding abilities. When the two fight, the rest of the world appears to be frozen in time.
In Everyday Heroes, Dot Dash is the speedster on the S.A.V.E.U.S. team. Her top speed hasn't been clocked; one treadmill got up to 400 mph before blowing up.
The Sonoda ladies in MegaTokyo appear to have super speed as a primary ability. It certainly helps with their inclination toward thievery. Yuki has been seen to leave to type on her computer and return to the dinner table without being missed (except by the other speedster), as well as steal things between sentences.
There are lots of speedsters in the Whateley Universe. However, the Whateley world has much lower power levels than the DCU, so top speed for these speedsters typically ranges between 80 and 250 mph, depending on the individual. The Super Hero School Whateley Academy currently has more speedsters than any entire country except the U.S. and maybe China.
Tachyon, a member of the Global Guardians is just the most prominant example in that setting. He's not even the fastest... that honor goes to the supervillainess Quick, who has no idea yet just how fast she can move.
Several characters in the ASH universe. Lightfoot is notable because he makes anything he's touching faster. This includes motorcycles, cars, spacecraft and his own body.
The girls get into the relativity scenario while racing home from school, and travel 50 years into the future, during which time Him conquered the city of Townsville.
Bubbles ran a race against a superhero who could circle the earth in about 6 seconds. And won. Bubbles started after E-Mail, and ran at his side to talk for a few seconds, and then got to the finish line so fast, E-Mail didn't know what happened.
All of the clerics have this in the new series, and they are not all cheetahs, implying this is a mystical or trained ability, rather than a racial one.
Kim Possible receives a pair of shoes that allow her to move at "hyper speed" to combat the Beebees who have developed the ability since their first appearance. After Kim uses them to help manage her hectic schedule, the shoes speed up to "the rest of the world looks like it's standing still" speed, despite the viewers' ability to see the obvious passage of time.
Blurr, from Transformers Generation 1, is the fastest land-based Transformer on any side, faster than some jet-based members of his species. He moves fast, talks fast, shoots fast, and annoys you only a hair slower than Wheelie.
His Transformers Animated incarnation is admitted to be the fastest thing on wheels even by the immodest Bumblebee.
Also from Animated is the human villain Nanosec. However, if he uses his speed too often, he will suffer from Rapid Aging. He later teams up with and starts dating the villain Slo-Mo, who can use her time manipulation abilities to make him young again whenever she chooses.
One of Bravestarr's animal-based powers is "speed of the puma".
As seen when Jade used it to run from California to Florida in a few minutes.
In one episode of Jonny Quest The Real Adventures, while traveling in Japan, Jonny wears an experimental device on his ankle that grants him super speed. At his fastest, he's able to chase down a jet airplane as it's taking off. The downside is it hyperaccelerates his metabolism; any scene in which he's not running he's eating a sizable amount of ramen.
Hunter from Road Rovers, who even leaves a trail of fire behind him.
Obviously The Flash in the DCAU. Less so Superman, in keeping with the show's producers generally keeping Supes a little more powered-down than his comic equivalent. (They did still have one of their traditional races for charity in Superman The Animated Series, but Flash was far faster when he became a main character in Justice League.)
Temporarily happened to Fry on Futurama, after he spent his entire $300 tax refund on coffee.
Rainbow Dash of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an absurdly fast flier, as she demonstrated on her Establishing Character Moment by zooming through the skies to clear it of clouds in "ten seconds flat". To emphasize, at a normal pace she can go mach 5. When she engages the Sonic Rainboom, she can reach mach 10 (over 7000 miles per hour). Even if you don't believe that these calculations by a fan reflect what the creators intended, it's clearly stated that the Sonic Rainboom is a sonic boom, so at the very least her top speed exceeds the speed of sound.
Whizzer from the original My Little Pony cartoon was also quite the speedster.
Also from Friendship Is Magic, Pinkie Pie can move on land even faster than Rainbow Dash flying, usually in a rather cartoony way. Fluttershy can also catch up to Rainbow if given the proper incentive.
Lightning Dust is a super speedster as well, perhaps on par with Rainbow Dash.
Ben 10 has five, it may be worth noting that this means there are at least five entire planets full of these:
An episode of Jimmy Neutron has our boy genius spraying his shoes with a special chemical that will let him run incredibly fast. He uses it to try to beat Cindy in a rematch to a race that he lost, and then continues to use them to move so fast that he appears invisible, letting him play pranks on people. This backfires when he starts running so fast that he can't slow himself down or stop.
Sheen also gains this power (and low bladder control) when he becomes "Vibrating Lad" in "The N-Men".
In the Family Guy non-canon Viewer Mail episode segment "Super Griffins", the family gets superpowers when a truck of toxic waste crashes on their lawn. Brian gets Super Speed and twice does the comedic version where he disappears briefly, then returns wearing the hat of the nation he just visited; he also uses it to steal drinks at a bar.
In Young Justice, Kid Flash (Wally West) is a member of the team in the first season, though he's since retired to focus on college. Interestingly, he's depicted as being slower than the Flash (Barry Allen) and Flash's future grandson Impulse (Bart Allen). The latter two can easily lap Wally, and when they speak to each other with Super Speed Wally can't follow it. It's also demonstrated throughout the series that while Barry, Bart, and even 97-year-old Jay Garrick can stop on a dime, Wally has to accelerate and decelerate, and is subject to inertia when Barry and Bart have to drag him along at one point.
Teen Titans also uses Kid Flash, who can vibrate his molecules fast enough to move through solid objects, but still slips and falls on a puddle of water if you move the yellow caution sign.
Más y Menos have this power, but only when they're touching.