Talking Is a Free Action
But plenty of time to talk about it.

Ilaney: [Wolverine] says much during one leap, no?
Doctor Bong: Excellent observation, Ilaney... I believe lengthy speeches in mid-leap are a form of mutant power.
Deadpool number 27

Time in comics is flexible. Each panel shows a single event, which is usually accompanied by a length of dialog, which must take some time to say. This disparity is usually accepted if it isn't taken to extremes.

But often, characters will exposit when it's most needed: at the story's climax, when both the intricacies of the plot and the intensity of action hit their highest.

While the Heroes Outrun the Fireball, Mr. Exposition might explain why the Evil Overlord's death caused the explosion. The Action Girl can deliver impressive lectures on why the monster's Achilles' Heel will work, while still engaging in Waif-Fu. The Superhero can quip to his heart's content and explain his abilities while dueling one insignificant mobster, or deliver a Kirk Summation during the course of a single Finishing Move. Sometimes, even mere mortals can give a lecture on what is happening when it would be a much better idea to simply run like hell.

Without stopping to breathe, apparently.

This trope is mostly found in comics and similar visual media: Comic Books, Newspaper Comics, Manga, and Web Comics. It's become less common in the era of Decompressed Comics, possibly because it was taken to silly degrees at times, but it has never really gone away.

If a comic is translated into a medium where time is a factor, the trope can become obvious. This is particularly common with anime adaptations of manga, where the action — or even time itself — might stop in the middle of the action just so that the hero can deliver a speech of some sort.

Another variant can occur in roleplaying video games, where battle can stop for dialogue scenes, either for Character Development or rules description. Enemies will often be present, but they'll hold off on attacking for this purpose.

The Trope Namer is Dungeons & Dragons, in which certain actions (most notably talking) are designated "free actions" and can be taken in addition to any other actions within the normal limit of a turn. Talking does not distract the player from any other actions, and there is no word count limit on how much the player can say. This is a case of Rule of Fun; spouting a Bond One-Liner during combat is awesome, but no one would do it when it would impair combat performance.

Compare Inaction Sequence, Comic-Book Time, Webcomic Time, Expolabel, Wall of Text, Changing Clothes Is a Free Action, and Transformation Is a Free Action. Talk to the Fist is this trope's feared enemy, Killed Mid-Sentence is its biggest subversion, and Exposition Beam can bypass it. Contrast Distracting Disambiguation, where there is some amount of cooperation on the enemies' part that enables this, and Holding the Floor, where a character talks to deliberately buy time. See also Year Inside, Hour Outside, Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me, Plot Time, Acoustic License, and Magic Countdown.


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  • An ad for Red Bull subverts this for laughs. Two people are falling from a plane, and one is giving exposition to the other on how Red Bull could save them (by giving them wings, of course). But he takes so long that by the time he's finished, they've already crashed into the ground, prompting the other to say, "Too late." They survive anyway due to Toon Physics.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Cutey Honey does this Once per Episode when Honey transforms, usually with a speech that follows the same formula. At least one villain tried to take advantage of this to escape, prompting her to yell, "Hey! It's not polite to run off when the hero is talking!"
  • Abused in Transformers: Super-God Masterforce when Ranger is introduced; Ginrai is able to give him a tutorial on transformation while Ranger is falling from a cliff.
  • Frequent in Naruto; most characters can spout off exposition in the middle of a fight. Lee in particular has a habit of kicking his opponent into the air, jumping after him, and expositing for 30 seconds before finishing him off. Specifically:
    • Zabuza tries to defy this trope early in the series when he tries to interrupt Naruto's explanation of how he broke Kakashi out of his water prison; Kakashi blocks his sword with his kunai, and they all remain still while Naruto finishes his exposition.
    • Sasori, when fighting Sakura, injects herself with an antidote that will protect her from poison for three minutes. They then spend the next five minutes talking, but this apparently doesn't count against this limit.
    • The fight between Kisame, Killer Bee, and Sabu sees a lot of banter and exposition of this sort between the fighters, including characters expositing on attacks being thrown at them less than two feet away. What's amazing is that they're doing this underwater.
    • Itachi or rather his underling-clone-thing stays completely still while Kakashi and Chiyo have a long discussion of how to defeat him. He was sort of counting on this, as he only needed to delay them.
    • Characters have been known to get in perfect position for a surprise attack — and then exposit for several seconds about how awesome the attack will be before actually launching it. The victim could presumably hear them (and thus easily turn around and avoid the attack), but this never happens, so such attacks always work anyway. In particular, Pain does this to Jiraiya, and Danzo to Sasuke.
    • The Fourth Shinobi War deconstructs this to an extent; the enemies are Came Back Wrong ninja whose bodies are being manipulated but whose mouths are not. Since they're often acquainted with the ninja on the other side of the war, this leads to a lot of friendly or emotional conversations in the middle of the fight. All sorts of Explaining Your Power to the Enemy, almost-surprise attacks, and even a lampshade from Kabuto when he allows (and sarcastically thanks his opponents for) discussing strategy on how to beat him right in front of him.
    • Naruto himself, despite being an Idiot Hero, exploits this trope in chapter 642 when he devises a strategy to defeat his opponent while he's in the middle of a Hannibal Lecture.
    • Parodied in Naruto The Abridged Series, where attacking someone mid-sentence or mid-flashback is considered rude or dishonorable.
    Hokage: He attacked during a flashback! He's not going to become hokage that way! He's just fine as a genin.
    Naruto: Damn you, old man!
  • Hellsing:
    • In Volume 7, a vampire manages to explain how he can tell the difference between bloodtypes by taste — all the while a shell from Harkonen II floats ominously over his shoulder before impact in the next panel.
    • Father Anderson reels off whole Bible passages before he actually starts fighting his opponent. Said opponent usually waits patiently for him to walk over and engage them.
  • The final volume of Death Note features an entire chapter of infodumping which supposedly takes less than 30 seconds. It's even more blatant in the anime, in which the monologuing takes a good nine minutes of screentime to deliver, but it's still portrayed to be confined to a less than 30-second timeframe. In one case, time even appears to stop while said infodump takes place.
  • Happens all the time in Kinnikuman and Ultimate Muscle. One of the most blatant examples is the match between the newly-returned Ramenman and Motorman in the Throne arc. Although one of the shorter fights in the arc, it still goes on for a solid nine or so minutes during the anime — even though they clearly state in the next episode that the fight only lasted 37 seconds.
  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The manga is full of lengthy situational analyses, often spoken out loud, and often delivered in the time it takes for a bullet to travel less than a dozen feet. But the anime takes the ridiculousness even further:
    • Jojo, Dio, and Zepelli manage to have a full conversation while two of them are hanging in midair.
    • Although Dio's time-freezing ability explicitly only lasts nine seconds, it can easily turn into nearly a minute of gloating. The 2015 'adaptation of Stardust Crusaders does the same, even when the limit is reduced to five seconds.
    • Rohan Kishibe, a supporting character in Part 4, has an internal monologue to weigh his options as an attack is speeding toward his head. An onscreen stopwatch determines that Rohan analyzes his foe, estimates his success rate, and decides to act within .002 seconds.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam saga just loves doing this, especially during epic battles. It does vary series to series; some will have more pragmatic fighters than others. But Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack takes the cake with its shameless use of this type of exposition.
    Akihiro: (With a confused look complete with sweatdrop) I'm allowed to shoot, right?
    Mikazuki: Of course.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, tennis players can not just call their attacks, but also fully describe their moves or deliver other exposition, during a single shot. Inui in particular is fond of this, especially when he rattles off the percentage chance of any particular event happening during the game.
  • Gantz. To excess. Then again, everything in Gantz is a free action, and nothing happens unless directly caused by such a free action, in what can only be described as the anime equivalent of event-driven programming. It's probably the only show where even sex is a free action. This is necessary, as the show's protagonists are perhaps the single most hesitant gaggle of mooks in all of anime. The aliens OR ARE THEY? seem to be getting about as tired of this as us, with Inaba being stomped to paste after his triumphant return and the Hiroshima team member having an arm and part of his head taken off mid-conversation.
  • The Law of Ueki does this quite often, both with the standard talking and occasional flashbacks. Apparently, it takes less time to revisit all your motivations for becoming a fighter (taking five minutes of screen time) than it does for a fist to cross a foot or two. At one point, Ueki pole vaults onto someone, and they manage a four-line dialogue explaining his move before he even gets close to landing. On the other hand, in one episode, Ueki defeats an opponent in one blow in the middle of his adversary's explanation about his powers, perhaps because it was just that boring.
  • Hunter × Hunter has fun with this trope. In one chapter, a character thinks several paragraphs' worth of stuff, then realizes that he's thought entirely too much in so short a timeframe. He then realizes that the reason this is happening is because one's perception of time slows greatly in the seconds before death. Zoom out to reveal the guy he's fighting, all set to beat the shit out of him.
  • Mocked in Real Bout High School. After Ryoko effortlessly takes out a powerful hood, his friends get angry. The leader is calmed by his Dragon, who wishes to test his sword skills against hers. Or at least that's the sentiment he was trying to express — he got as far as "She's good. I'll g-" before she smashed his face in with her wooden sword.
  • Happens all the time in Eyeshield 21. Football players and spectators can have entire conversations in the middle of plays that last five seconds. The pinnacle is the Deimon-Shinryuji game, where Agon demeans Sena during every block, and Sena has roughly five flashbacks in the course of scoring a single touchdown.
  • Poked fun at in Kotaro Makari Tooru: During a martial arts tournament, one of the contenders launches a mid-air attack, whereupon the surprised announcer proceeds to exclaim his shock, admiration, expectations, exposition of the move, and prediction in the same panel. A little pop-up head in the corner of the panel quips, "How much time does he have to say this much anyway?"
  • Subverted throughout Full Metal Panic!, where not only do people not have time to talk in the heat of a big Humongous Mecha battle, but they also lose more time searching for radio frequencies that they keep losing. In the final episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Tsubaki's pre-battle speech is so long that Sousuke has time to calmly find his bag, take out his gun, load it with rubber bullets, aim carefully for his head, and shoot him.
  • A Certain Magical Index frequently had minutes-long conversations in improbable timeframes, including one in the span of a character running across a room no more than twenty feet wide. The light novel (but not the anime) explains the room as being much larger than it seemed thanks to a magical optical illusion.
  • Bleach:
    • During Ichigo's second fight with Grimmjow, his hollow mask stays active for around eleven seconds, but it lasts the whole fight. The dialogue alone during the fight would take much longer than eleven seconds; the fight as a whole easily lasts a few minutes, even taking into account the characters' superhuman speed.
    • During Ichigo's final fight with Byakuya, he proves to be much too fast for Byakuya — and he uses this advantage to taunt him rather than just stab him in the back. Fortunately, Byakuya is too stunned to react until he's finished taunting.
    • D-Roy tries to subvert this by attacking Rukia in the middle of her introductory speech, but he waited five minutes before doing even that, and it gave him no advantage anyway.
    • Kido uses spells with obscenely long incantations, even for basic things like fireballs. More advanced users can get away without them, but the resulting spell is much less powerful. The only way to truly master this art is to be a Motor Mouth.
    • The first half of the Soifon-Vega fight started out well, but eventually lapsed into this trope — as the fighters lampshade the trope and spend all their time talking about how they don't do this.
    • Some fighters have been known to defy this trope and attack their opponents in the middle of their exposition. Ichigo did this to Ishida on two separate occasions, and Love did this to his only ally Visored Rose to get him to shut up and focus on the battle. The Big Bad of the Soul Society arc is impervious to this, though; he just No Sells the attempt and continues talking.
  • During the climax of One Piece's Arabasta arc, the Straw Hats are able to call out to each other and execute an improvised plan in the course of less than a minute (three in the anime), in spite of the dialogue taking much longer. It's not like they're not aware of this, though; Luffy had taken advantage of it earlier in the arc when he attacked Crocodile mid-sentence:
    Crocodile: No matter how hard you try, you will never def—pppppp
    Luffy: "Defp"? Just what the hell are you trying to say?
  • Parasyte! uses this to highlight an increase in the main character's reaction time. We see a punch fly at his head, he pauses to muse on the source of his new found strength for a couple of paragraphs, and then parries the attack without difficulty.
  • Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z abuse this trope frequently; every villain has an urgent need to exposit or otherwise yammer at the heroes.
    • Piccolo, Gohan, and Krillin openly discuss how to attack Nappa — only a few feet away from him. Vegeta even overhears some of it and sarcastically wishes them luck.
    • Frieza destroys Namek's core during the fight with Goku and gives the planet five minutes before it blows up. Infamously, it took ten episodes, about 300 hours of screentime, and over 300 lines of dialogue for those "five minutes" to happen. This made Dragon Ball Z a by-word for the Inaction Sequence. Dragon Ball Z Abridged mocks this by having Goku ask Frieza if he's even sure what a minute is.
    • In spite of its reputation, though, Dragon Ball has more than its share of Genre Savvy fighters who will take advantage of this tendency:
      • Goku attacks Jeice mid-sentence during the Namek arc. Dragon Ball Z Abridged parodies this by having him get hit like this eight times in a single conversation.
      • In Goku's fight with Piccolo Jr., he takes advantage of Piccolo's monologuing to rest up for the next phase of the fight.
      • Piccolo lets Cell yammer on about himself, where he came from, and his end goal, while he buys time to recover his strength (with the added bonus of learning everything there is to know about Cell).
      • In Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, all the talking between Goku and the Big Bad actually lasts long enough to run out the time limit on the Super Saiyan God transformation.
      • Super Buu gets sick of Gotenks' conversations with Piccolo and responds by blowing stuff up.
  • Pokémon:
    • Flashing your Pokédex at an unknown Pokémon causes all other activities to cease. Even if said Pokémon is hellbent on the protagonist's destruction, it will politely wait until said protagonists know exactly what they're up against.
    • Trainers have been known to give their Pokémon complex battle instructions. One even gave some very detailed maneuvers, complete with degree measurements, all in the heat of battle.
    • The Team Rocket motto, which happens Once per Episode, is usually a free action; the Rockets will drop everything to introduce themselves, and the heroes will usually wait for them to finish (occasionally even being visibly bored waiting for that to happen). Some don't, though, especially Barry, who has never actually heard the entire motto for this reason. The biggest lampshades are when the heroes take the opportunity to rescue Pokémon or people during this time.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler has been known to poke fun at this trope:
    • During the Hakuou Gakuin marathon, Nagi is getting cold feet, so Hayate gives her a Dare to Be Badass speech to encourage her — only for the starter to interrupt them to tell them that the race had started in the interim.
    • A flashback chapter showing Nagi and Tama's first meeting has Nagi saving the then-baby Tama from a group of wild animals in the African jungle. She makes a dramatic resolution to protect Tama, only to see that the animals had closed in on them while she was doing so.
  • Code Geass often does this in a Gundam-like manner, especially with pilots talking during Knightmare battles — Urabe's sacrifice is probably the best example. Lelouch also has a habit of making dramatic remarks even when his opponents are standing there pointing guns at him, as they never take the opportunity to just shoot him.
  • Especially evident in the Rain Guardian battle in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, where the fight stops every minute for Combat Commentator Reborn to explain what Yamamoto just did.
  • Lampshaded early in Elemental Gelade. The Eden Raids transform and can be commanded to perform various actions only after singing short songs. Coud goes into an extended piece to unlock Ren's power against a foe, when the enemy moves to attack him in mid-song. Cisqa keeps the enemy back with a warning shot, saying, "When someone sings, listening until the end is good manners."
  • Happens twice in Great Teacher Onizuka when Onizuka accidentally knocks people off the top of high buildings. Somehow, there's enough time in midair for several paragraphs of internal monologue, lots of screaming from astonished bystanders, and for him to finally reach a decision and run down the side of the wall to catch them.
  • Used fairly frequently in Genesis of Aquarion. Basically, any time the focus is in the Vector cockpit, you can rest assured that the Monster of the Week will wait patiently for the pilots to finish whatever strategic discussion, Character Development, or general exposition may be going on.
  • One episode of Air Gear had several people carry on a full length conversation (including a character's arrival) in the time it took the main character to fall down two floors.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The action in any fight will typically pause so that the bad guy can listen to whatever Kamina has to say. For example, episode 4 has him delivering a speech on the true nature of combining, while individual mecha from the 16-part combiner just orbit Gurren Lagann rather than dare interrupting such a suspiciously homoerotic speech.
  • Somewhere between this and Changing Clothes Is a Free Action is Luke from The Sacred Blacksmith and his magical sword forging. The first time he does it, he tells Cecily to hold off the giant crystal spider that's attacking them, and she instead watches him. The spider is happy to wait.
  • Lampshaded in Busou Renkin, when during a kendo sparring session between Muto and Shusui, four people comment on Shusui's reverse-dou strike between the time he starts swinging and the time it connects.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: During Saitou's fight with Usui, they jump and meet each other in midair. Saitou tries to use a stab, but Usui deflects it with his shield. In between deflection and counterattack, while still midair, Usui gets off a couple lines about how round his shield is.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Apparently, there isn't enough time for Rei to dodge the sixteenth Angel's attack in the incredible fast and agile EVA-00 during the 23rd episode, but there's certainly enough time for Hyuga to point that out.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, talking is explicitly not a free action; Negi has to speak in order to use magic, and he has to plan his spellcasting so as not to be cut off in the middle of it. In his first fight with Evangeline, he was very easily dealt with when Chachamaru punched him in the face every time he started to recite a spell. That said, he has at least once been able to teleport to an opponent to gain a surprise advantage — only to negate that advantage by spouting a two-sentence declaration before attacking.
  • This occurs quite a bit in Claymore. The characters will face off against enemies that can bring them to their knees within seconds (and they do). Instead of killing them, though, their opponent will politely wait while they discuss how they were beaten and how they might be able to turn the fight around.
  • Since a lot of the card game in Yu-Gi-Oh! and its sequels involves somebody attacking and the other guy making a miraculous recovery, giant blasts of raw holographic energy must understandably be paused while the card is activated and its effects are explained. This gets especially obvious when the shot is drawn so that the attack is in view, like when Red Daemon's Dragon/Red Dragon Archfiend patiently waits with a glowing fist so that it can punch into the oddly named Scrum Force.
  • Played with in one scene of Inazuma Eleven with Megane talking to Shuuyou Meito, a team of Otaku. As he's kicking the ball down the field, Megane starts with an annoyed lecture about Shuuyou Meito's reliance on dirty tactics. One of the opponents tries to steal the ball mid-speech; Megane's response directly mentions this trope:
    Megane: How dare you attack in the middle of a stirring lecture or a fusion! As a robot otaku, you fail!
  • Subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • During the Curb-Stomp Battle between Roy Mustang and Envy, Roy almost never lets Envy finish a complete sentence.
    • In the 2003 anime, Basque Grand is killed by Scar in the middle of his speech explaining just how outmatched the latter is against him.
  • Battle Angel Alita, especially in the Last Order sequel. Characters can exchange threats or discuss each other's every move while fighting at supersonic speed (which makes you wonder how they can hear each other).
    • The two Combat Commentators of the television network are an odd example. On the one hand, they frequently have to resort to slow-motion replays, as the actual attacks were way too fast for them to even see. But on the other hand, they watch and comment those replays while the combat is still going on. Presumably, the characters take a minute's break between each series of blows to allow the commentators to catch up.
  • While Digimon V-Tamer 01 at one point lambasts the "Calling Your Attacks" trope, and while it explicitly states the digivice 01 was created specifically for non-verbal communication, the characters are still able to hold conversations in situations where they logically shouldn't be able to understand one another (e.g. while submerged) or even be able to vocalize (e.g. with their mouths full of energy attacks).
  • In Digimon Tamers, when Beelzemon shoots his bullets on Takato and Megidramon, the others, who try to warn Takato, suddenly talk in slow-motion, as do the flying bullets. During this time, Takato and the de-volved Guilmon have apparently an extremely fast talk which takes about two minutes of screen-time.
  • Exaggerated in an episode of Digimon Xros Wars: Zamielmon can Flash Step, but after doing so he freezes for a split second. When Taiki realises this after he does so for the last time, it takes him a good ten seconds to explain it to the audience before Shoutmon DX actually gets in there and kills him, but Zamielmon is still frozen.
  • Played with in Scrapped Princess. In an early episode, Raquel fights an enemy spellcaster, who never gets to complete his lengthy invocation because her own invocation is much shorter and the spell interrupts him. He even protests that there shouldn't be any spells that quick.
  • Lampshaded and Played for Laughs in the chapter 107 bloopers omake of Kuroko no Basuke, where Kuroko misses the ball he's trying to pass because of the speech he's making. But it's otherwise used frequently in the anime, especially during the last few seconds of a quarter in a basketball game, when players commentate on their own plays or make a lengthy explanation. (Admittedly, the last minute of real basketball games can be interminably long because of all the timeouts.)
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Motoko Kusanagi exploits this trope in order to take down an assassin. The assassin is hired to kill a low-profile billionaire. She walks up to his bed and points her gun at him, thinking that she's all alone in the room, and decides to monologue about the problems with capitalism. Motoko uses this time to sneak up and arrest her.
    Motoko: A smarter hitman would have shot first.
  • This trope is invoked in episode 4 of Infinite Stratos. While fighting a rogue IS that interrupted their match, Rin and Ichika realize that it stops attacking every time they talk to each other. It's almost as if it's curious about their conversation. The fact that it is, is a pretty big clue to its creator's identity.
  • Subverted in Berserk. Then again, if a person is spouting a speech about how good his troops are, or how screwed his enemy is, or whatever, this marks him as important right in front of our protagonist, nicknamed the Hundred Man Slayer — he probably deserves to be cut off in mid-sentence.
  • In InuYasha, characters often explain what's going on during a Fight Scene or speak defiant lines to their opponent in the middle of the action. The most extreme example is in the Final Battle, when Sesshoumaru is in one panel about to get a faceful of Combat Tentacles, he speaks a whole sentence about what's going on, and then effortlessly destroys the attacking tendrils before they hit.
  • Muteki Kanban Musume, being a deconstruction of the Fighting Series Played for Laughs, plays this trope so straight it could be a parody in episode 2B. Kankuro and Miki are less than ten meters apart before their fight. Kankuro begins to run towards Miki to attack her, and he manages to imitate the sound of a local train. Miki stays immobile while she begins to imitate the sound of a bullet train and adopts an Ass Kicking Pose. Then she begins to run towards Kankuro. Akihiko desperately cries to Kankuro to stop. Kankuro manages to answer that he will increase the power. Miki and Kankuro take one minute and ten seconds running into themselves a distance of less than ten meters. And it’s epic.
  • The subversion is a plot point in Blazing Transfer Student. The delinquent villain wins every fight because he can call his attack, "Insect Punch", faster than his opponents (who have elaborate names for their attacks) thus allowing him to get in his strike first. You're apparently not allowed to actually do the attack before you say it. He is defeated in the end when the Love Interest convinces him to adopt an extremely long-named attack, allowing the protagonist enough time to pronounce his own attack and do it.
  • In Attack on Titan, the characters use grappling devices to swing rapidly between buildings or trees, and must retract and re-launch their cables every few seconds as they fly past each grapple point. They can also blast themselves along, jetpack-style, but only for very short periods. When they need to have a lengthy in-flight conversation, though, all these rules go out the window, and they can levitate through the air horizontally at a constant speed, seemingly on cables that are thousands of feet long.
  • In Slam Dunk, characters sometimes manage to have long conversations in the time it takes to sprint from one end of the court to the other. Sakuragi and Rukawa once had a heated argument while attacking on a fast break, both insulting the other all the way down the apparently very lengthy basketball court.
  • Happens all the time in YuYu Hakusho. Particularly egregious examples include:
    • When the super-fast flier Jin is flying at Yusuke with his Tornado Fist, Hiei and the Masked Fighter take several seconds to explain what will happen if Yusuke fires his Spirit Gun point blank into the tornado fist. Then Yusuke has time to say, "Let's see who can take a bigger ass-kicking" and call out his attack.
    • Toguro is running at Yusuke to punch him, Yusuke prepares to catch it, and Kuwabara has time to say "Are you crazy?! There's no way in heck you can block his straight-on punch!"
  • Episode 3 of Ginga Densetsu Weed has a especially ridiculous example. Weed and the other dogs blabber on and on, and Kaibutsu even has time to turn around and prepare to attack, while Weed is in mid-air. He was not near far enough away before he jumped for them to have done and said all that. He had to have just floated there or something, despite the action lines that seem to indicate he's moving very quickly through the air.
  • Exaggerated in Noragami, wherein Yato manages to carry out a very extended conversation with a potential customer, going as far as to exchange business cards, as they both plummet from a skyscraper. This does not go unnoticed by his Shinki, Yukine.
    Yukine: Is it just me, or is this a really long fall?
  • Invoked inconsistently in Date A Live anime. The protagonist's date occasions are often steered by dialogues with both his partner and his prompter (via discreet headset). Sometimes he gets called out on being distracted, other times things go quite smoothly.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • While its source material's panel blocking is ambiguous, Act 1 of Sailor Moon Crystal has Tuxedo Mask fully introducing himself and assuring Sailor Moon he'll remember her in mid jump, while looking over his shoulder at her, almost suggesting full power of Flight.
    • Averted for laughs in Sailor Moon Super S, when Cere Cere summons a Monster of the Week named Toge Toge Jo. While Toge Toge Jo is arguing with Cere Cere, Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon then attack Toge Toge Jo and defeat her. The "defeated monster" screen then shows, with Toge Toge Jo saying, "I haven't even done anything!"
  • In Captain Tsubasa's adaptations, especially the original 1994 anime, characters spend so much time monologuing the field seems twice as long as it should be. The newer adaptations use slow motions and abridged matches, which causes another problem where everybody is capable of thinking illogically fast.
  • Fairy Tail has been known to subvert the trope:
  • In one episode of Futari wa Pretty Cure, the girls' post-transformation-sequence demand that the creature of evil return to the darkness from whence it came ends — to the revelation that the creature of evil has run off while they were talking.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man has a reputation for panels mostly dedicated to the protagonist talking. Sometimes it's done artistically — Spidey will be drawn in several places in the same panel to showcase his agility, so presumably he has more time to say all that. Other times it's really an Inner Monologue. But one way or another, that's a lot of talking. Fortunately, it works for the character; Spiderman is known for using witty banter to annoy the hell out of his enemies (and hide his own insecurities) during battle. In fact, he came off as more "emo" in the movies because it's hard to work this battle tactic into a live-action fight scene.
  • Spoofed in an issue of Keith Giffen's Justice League, where General Glory is falling from a great height and spends several paragraphs describing the improbable maneuver he is performing as he performs it. It prompts one of the other characters to ponder how he can say so much so quickly.
  • Lampshaded in the DC Comics mini-series DC One Million: A Badass Normal hero from the far future delivers, in the space of a single flying kick, an implausibly large infodump about the fact that he's delivering an implausibly large infodump in the space of a single flying kick:
    "You see... this is a martial arts move developed by a telepathic octopus species inhabiting the oceans of Durla; the attack's telepathic as well as physical, and by the time you realize this sentence seems way too long..."
    "'ll all be over."
  • Parodied in an issue of Deadpool. Wolverine gives a long speech during a single leap, making Deadpool's friend Ilaney wonder how that's even possible. Former supervillain (and current therapist) Doctor Bong then posits that lengthy mid-air speeches are some kind of mutant power.
  • X-Men member Banshee has to scream constantly in order to fly. This often manifests itself as talking to himself or others while flying.
  • Justified in The Authority with a clever plot device: the main characters communicate via telepathy in combat, not speech. And opponents who think Midnighter's lengthy Badass Boast leaves him open to attack are in for a serious disappointment: he paralyzes them, then finishes his speech, then kills them.
  • Watchmen:
    • During the climactic fight, Ozymandias manages to get in an entire Just Between You and Me Monologue revealing all the twists and turns of the mystery plot, while dodging attacks by Rorschach and Nite Owl — without even interrupting his dinner.
    • Any scene where Rorschach's journal is read while the "camera" zooms in and out comes off like this. It's made more obvious in the Motion Comic, which is made up of animated panels of the book, where the zoom-out is done rather slowly, even though barely half of the dialog in that scene is shown.
  • Parodied in Radioactive Man:
    • A character is standing next to a huge mainframe when it topples toward him. His reaction: "No time to leap out of the way! Only time to talk about it!"
    • Humorously subverted in a scene in the first issue where Radioactive Man is punching out a Communist sympathizer:
    Radioactive Man: Talk, you Commie rat!
    Crook: If you want me to talk, why are you knocking me into unconsciousn-
  • In a 1960s The Flash comic, Flash and a villain have a badass conversation, even though the Flash is apparently travelling faster than the speed of light.
  • Pointedly averted by Max Allan Collins; he never has people talk during fight scenes. In an interview in Amazing Heroes #119, Collins notes that he finds this an annoying cliche, and DC editors would describe his scripts as lean just because he never had people talk during fight scenes.
  • In the climax of the Batman storyline A Death in the Family, The Joker releases a deadly gas at a UN meeting. Superman saves everybody by inhaling the gas and then, with his mouth securely shut to prevent any gas from escaping his lungs, shouts some instructions to Batman before flying off.
  • Lampshaded in the Image comics miniseries Meltdown, when Caliente (a.k.a. "The Flare") monologues how, unlike in comic books, in real fights you're too busy trying not to die to engage in witty banter.
  • Daredevil: An old man who can beat up ninjas and talk while doing a flip, as seen here
  • At one point in the second issue of the original Cyberforce, Ripclaw says enough to fill five speech bubbles in the time it takes him to pounce on Velocity from a tree. And somehow this was simultaneously enough time for him to say all this and not enough time for Velocity, whose power is super-speed, to avoid his attack.
  • Averted in the Tintin story The Crab With The Golden Claws — Tintin needs a cab to follow a car, but first needs to convince another man to get out of the cab. The short conversation allows the car to get away, so there's nothing left to follow.
  • The Dark Tower: At the end of Treachery, in the small fraction of a second during which Roland turns, aims and fires, he has enough time to utter a 21-syllable Badass Creed. But not enough time to realize he's shooting his mother.
  • Subverted in Loki: Agent of Asgard: After a Princess Bride reference by Sigurd, Loki begins to say they've seen the movie as well — and is kicked out the window by Sigurd, taking advantage of their distraction.
  • Action Comics #367 has this nonsensical exchange:
    Supergirl: Superman, STOP! If you break through this force shield, Stanhope College instantly blows up!
    Superman: (inches away) TOO LATE! One power I don't have is to stop on a dime when I'm flying at such terrific velocity!

  • Averted in Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover, and its sequel /SovereignGFC/Origins. Characters often lampshade that this trope is not in effect, as battles that started while they were talking have kept going, or them talking actually takes them away from something they need to be doing.
  • The Tainted Grimoire:
    • Played straight when Crow takes time out of a duel with Luso to explain how a certain spell was possible.
    • Averted/subverted:
    Luso: I still can't believe you blew up our wagon.
    Adelle: Well... I'd like to think of it more as... saving a life.
  • In The Service takes Lyrical Nanoha's tendency to talk a lot and subverts it; usually, if somebody is talking or allowing their opponent to talk, they're doing it to buy time for more serious firepower to arrive.
  • Generally averted in Game Theory (Fan Fic), another Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha fanfic. People trying to hold a conversation in the middle of a fight are likely to get smacked in the face.
  • Often played straight in The Wizard in the Shadows, usually by Harry. Since he's a Motor Mouth in the Spider-Man range, this isn't entirely surprising.
  • Played straight, reconstructed, and averted in A New Order. Sailor Moon occasionally indulges in her In the Name of the Moon speeches, but she's been attacked in the middle of a few of them, and consequently sometimes skips the speech, or uses it to stall and distract. A youma also attacks Tuxedo Kamen in the middle of speech and begins mocking him for talking, only for Moon to cut it off mid-sentence with an attack of her own.
  • Kyoshi Rising: during most fights, both combatants have enough time to say a few things, but they usually keep it simple. Averted when Kyoshi gets into a fight with a Fake Ultimate Hero, who stops fighting briefly to try and make a Badass Boast. Unfortunately, Kyoshi keeps attacking him, wearing him down until she is able to knock him out.
  • Averted in the Golden Age series. The highblood captain repeatedly attacks Queen Jane as she offers his crew asylum. Of course, since she showed up as a hologram, his attacks weren't exactly doing anything.
  • In Opening Dangerous Gates, Lucy, Natsu, and their friends often end up getting into arguments, leaving their opponents staring at them confused. A few do attack them while they are arguing.
  • Soul Eater: Troubled Souls:
    • The Brother and Sister of the Gemini just stand there and watch as Maka, Soul, Caius, and Claudia settle on using Chain Resonance. It’s somewhat mitigated by the fact that the Brother said it’s better to counter their attack and kill them in the ensuing chaos, but still.
    • Happens again with they confront Project Omega in Venice. The thing just stops advancing and decides to listen to everything like it’s watching a soap opera. This is lessened by the fact Project Omega was just a prototype, but realistically, it had them dead to rights.

    Films — Animated 
  • Subverted in The Incredibles. During the initial encounter between Mr. Incredible and Syndrome, Mr. Incredible attempts to catch Syndrome off guard by attacking him while he's explaining the source of his powers.
    Syndrome: You sly dog, you caught me monologuing!
  • Averted in Mulan. Just as Yao is on the verge of saving Mulan and Shang from getting knocked off the cliff by the avalanche by firing a rope-tied arrow to them, he takes the time before grabbing the rope to say out loud that he should grab it, causing him to just miss it.
  • Played straight in The Legend of the Titanic. The female lead finds out she can communicate with dolphins, who jump out of the water to the level of the ship's deck to speak with her. They can apparently fly, because whenever the dolphins jump they conveniently pause in mid-air for several seconds while they say what they wanted to, sometimes getting out multiple sentences at a time.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the climax of Point Break (1991), Keanu Reeves's and Patrick Swayze's characters fall out of an airplane at four thousand feet and have a ninety-second shouting match which, as MythBusters demonstrated, is about three times as long as it would take to actually fall that distance. And that's not getting into the problems with being able to hear someone in free fall.
  • Crank has a character fall out of a helicopter (at what looked like a relatively low altitude), have a fight to the death, and still have time to pull out his phone, connect to an answering machine, listen to a whole message, leave one of his own, and hang up.
  • In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, narrating is a free action for Ferris, and none of the other characters are aware that he's doing it.
  • Subverted in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. A bounty hunter who tried unsuccessfully to kill Tuco at the beginning of the movie locates him again much later, in the bath, naked. He's clearly got the jump on him, but can't resist going into a speech about how glad he is to have finally cornered him. Tuco immediately whips out the revolver around his neck and kills him, saying to the corpse, "If you have to shoot, shoot! Don't talk!" A memorable case of Throw It In.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: When Will and Elizabeth ask Barbossa to marry them during the final battle, Barbossa is constantly interrupted by Davy Jones's crew. He finally has enough and yells, "Just kiss!" Funnily enough, Will and Elizabeth kiss for several seconds, and no one tries to kill them during that time.
  • In 2012, John Cusack's character is given a pretty short Exact Time to Failure before going to unjam some machinery — but the time he takes to speak to his family doesn't count.
  • In Armageddon, Bruce Willis knows that he has only a few minutes to press the detonator that will destroy the giant asteroid and kill him in the process. So naturally, he finds a camera and spends several of those minutes giving a tearful goodbye to his daughter, still managing to press the button at the last second.
  • In Run, Lola, Run, anachronic editing makes it look like Lola drops a bag full of money, then walks over to her dying boyfriend, remembers a lengthy flashback, and shares a few words with the boyfriend, all before the bag hits the ground.
  • At the end of Fight Club, when Tyler who is really the narrator is holding the narrator at gunpoint and there are only sixty seconds before the all the buildings explode, Tyler starts monologuing for at least five minutes. In fact, nothing happens until the narrator gives the Space Monkeys orders, has a touching scene with Marla Singer, and shoots himself in the head to remove the delusions of Tyler.. But since that whole sequence was just part of his imagination, all the narrator really had to do was shoot himself, which would only take a few seconds.
  • The final battle in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare suffered from this.
  • In The Backup Plan, the main character goes into labor, but miraculously stops having contractions to have some important dialogue with the male lead.
  • Spoofed in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:
    • Ramona has enough time to tell Scott about Roxy's Achilles' Heel while Roxy is throwing a kick at his face. The lines are slightly slowed down, which mostly just makes them sound drunk.
    • In the final battle with Gideon well, its first attempt, Scott manages to tell both Ramona and Knives that he cheated on both of them. Only for Gideon to sneak up on Scott and stab him from behind, killing him. However, Scott did get better, thanks to the 1-Up.
  • The Avengers:
    • When Coulson confronts Loki, he talks about how the gun he's holding is a Super Prototype, but is cut off by Loki stabbing him. He still manages to monologue about Loki's eventual downfall while dying, however.
    • Loki does this himself later, in Large Ham fashion, before The Hulk... well, smashes.
  • Exploited in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which uploaded!Zola only keeps talking to allow a missile to hit his position and prevent Cap and Natasha from escaping.
  • Averted in The Dark Knight Rises: Talia's Evil Gloating over a wounded Batman allows Gordon time to attach a jammer to the fusion bomb, preventing her from triggering it remotely.
  • In the opening scene of Galaxy Quest, in an episode of the original show, the ship is under attack and the core is about to explode, but the crew still finds time to debate on their best course of action with no interruption by further bombardment or alarm signals.
  • Played with in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). When clinging onto a structure falling from a 54-story building, Raphael makes a long-winded speech to his brothers about how he loves them despite being hard on them — while the structure and accompanying debris falls in slow motion. Right as he's caught up in the speech, however, he discovers that they have made it safely to the ground in the time that he's taken to make the speech.
  • Nearly every Star Wars film shows the characters exchanging dialogue during fight scenes, especially lightsaber duels. Often, the fighting will cease entirely just so the villain can taunt the heroes about his allegedly superior skills or the success of his Evil Plan. This sometimes backfires when the hero either is unaffected or it spurs him to defeat the villain.
    • The Phantom Menace is notable because of the absence of this trope. There is no dialogue whatsoever during the lengthy duel between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul. This wound up with the opposite problem, as it was hard to remember why they were fighting to begin with.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Dooku tries to intimidate Obi-Wan with threats and Force lightning, but Obi-Wan disregards it. He also tries to intimidate Yoda with his Force powers, but Yoda just responds by blocking all of his attacks.
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Dooku taunts Anakin, which just angers him and drives him to defeat Dooku particularly brutally. General Grievous tries verbal intimidation on Obi-Wan during their duel, but it doesn't work. Obi-Wan and Anakin exchange words during their duel with Obi-Wan trying to reason with Anakin, but it doesn't work in that case either.
    • In A New Hope, Vader taunts Obi-Wan during their duel, but Obi-Wan calmly dismisses him.
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, Vader tries psychological warfare on Luke, which Luke resists at first. But then the famed I Am Your Father speech leads Luke into a Heroic B.S.O.D.
    • In Return of the Jedi, Luke turns this trope around by trying to convince Vader to return to the Light Side, while Vader tries to do the opposite to him. Ultimately, Luke is successful.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy:
    • Rocket, standing on Groot's shoulders in the open, has enough time to cock a machine gun dramatically and exclaim "Oh... yeah." This despite hovering drones blasting at Groot with automatic weapons mere inches away from his feet.
    • Wonderfully averted later when Nebula, confronting Gamora for her betrayal, begins to deliver a scathing insult only for Drax to blow her across the room with a rocket launcher before she can finish.

  • The Eye of Argon:
    "All that you hear is less than I hear! I heard footsteps coming towards us. Silence yourself that we may find out whom we are being brought into contact with. I doubt that any would have thought as yet of searching this passage for us. The advantage of surprise will be upon our side." Grignr warned.
  • In Orson Scott Card's novel Empire the main characters, while fighting for their lives during surprise attacks from never-before-seen Humongous Mecha, basically have a full conversation, complete with sarcastic political commentary.
  • In the Japanese play Chusingura, Kanpei commits seppuku. Before his death, his companions arrive with news. Kanpei proceeds to have several pages worth of dialogue before he finally succumbs.
  • Discworld:
    • Maskerade parodies the use of Singing is a Free Action common in opera, when the villain with a stage sword between his arm and chest takes five minutes to die, while repeatedly jumping up and delivering yet another Info Dump each time.
    "You know what really gets me down is the way everyone takes such a long!!!!! time!!!!! ... to!!!!! ... argh ... argh ... argh ..."
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Chamber of Secrets, Harry fails to stop Lockhart from wiping his brain with a Memory Charm, in spite of the fact that he has a wand in his hand and Lockhart has been gloating for four lines. He lucks out that Ron's busted wand backfired on him.
    • In Half-Blood Prince, we see a different problem; in a duel between Harry and Malfoy, Malfoy gets his "Crucio" out first, except that Harry can yell "Sectumsempra!" faster than Malfoy can say the last syllable.
  • The Iliad:
    • Lampshaded, which is not what you'd expect from the Iliad. Then again, Patroclos stops to give the lampshade in the middle of battle.
    Patroclos: My good man, why do you bandy words like this? You are wasting time. Taunts and jibes will not drive the Trojans away from that dead body. Many a man will fall before that! Words are potent in debate, deeds in war decide your fate. Then don't go on piling up the words, but fight!
    • Also, just before Hector is killed, king Priam sees Achilles charging toward Hector as fast as he can. In the time it takes the two of them to meet, Priam gets out a 45-line speech about what he would do to save his son, how much he hates Achilles, how great his wife is, and why it's going to suck when he dies of old age rather than in a fight.
  • Subverted in Confessor, when Snakeface, as Richard is approaching him with a sword, launches into a speech about how he's been looking forward to the throw down. Or tries to. Five words in, he loses his head, and Richard barely breaks his stride. Apparently, he thought he was the good guy.
  • In A Wizard in Rhyme, magic is controlled by spoken verse. Although rhyming couplets will usually work, longer (and older) poetry tends to work the best, which leads characters to spouting long passages in the middle of battle. Despite this, talking is not always a free action in this verse, as people have been known to stop spellcasters through physical force — or even just a faster poem.
  • The sundry supernatural menaces of the Ghost Finders series seem remarkably polite about waiting for the trio of heroes to speculate, plan, or snark off to one another before actually attacking them. Sometimes justified by said menaces merely toying with the heroes, but even mindless entities seem to do the same.
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's Finest, in an "editor's" footnote on the main account from the protagonist's journal:
    "I suspect a little exaggeration may be creeping in here, as close combat against a creature as formidable as a purestrain genestealer is hardly likely to leave enough time for defiant speeches."
  • In the Warrior Cats novel The Last Hope, Graystripe is overjoyed to see Whitestorm again when the StarClan shows up for the Final Battle, but Whitestorm cuts him off, saying, "This is a battle, not a reunion." Then, on the next page, a random Dark Forest mook offs Mousefur when she stops fighting to talk with Longtail. However, when Tigerstar shows up, he stands around talking with Firestar for a few pages before they actually fight.
  • One of the characters in Mistborn: The Alloy of Law has the ability to create bubbles of slowed-down time; it's repeatedly used to create moments where the characters can have a quick chat in the middle of combat.
  • In Mary Janice Davidson's Queen Betsy series, the eponymous character frequently has internal monologues and musings, only to find she's completely checked out and missed something important. It's possibly a commentary on Betsy's questionable state of mind.
  • Averted in How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: The Pollyanna April has a moment of enlightenment and starts philosophizing, while Duff and Lucas yell at her to shut up and help them fight off the zombie horde.
  • Averted in Distortionverse Chapter 5 - Rumori di Fondo. When the Big Bad kills Akima, Michelle starts speaking with her, completely neglecting the Eldritch Abomination which is going to devour her as well. When Michelle exits her Heroic B.S.O.D., she realizes she's still alive only thanks to François's intervention. Obviously, François yells at her in anger:
    François: Welcome back, miss. If you haven't realized it yet, we are in serious troubles. Now, what do you think about stopping crying for the dead ones and helping the living ones? Perhaps, they need it the most, don't they?

    Live Action TV 
  • Mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000: Whenever an egregious example appears, the characters riff, "Oh, he got away," or "Oh, he's dead now," when the hero or villain monologues for too long.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor often lapses into long, mocking speeches during battle; he usually gets away with it because his enemies are stunned by his sheer audacity. It doesn't always go as you'd expect, though:
    • In "The Idiot's Lantern", the Doctor starts: "Hold on a minute! There are three important, brilliant, and complicated reasons why you should listen to me. One—" and is promptly KO'd with a punch to the face.
    • The Daleks usually take time to shout "Exterminate!" before actually shooting at the Doctor, which gives him time to get away. Or not, as the case may be.
    • In "The Parting of the Ways", a group of Daleks get in a shootout with a robot that's designed to spout a catchphrase before firing.
    • In "The Vampires of Venice", the Doctor attempts to stall the pursuing vampires by yelling, "Tell me the whole plan!" They don't even pause, causing him to turn and run, saying "One day, that will work..."
    • In "The Satan Pit", the Ood pursuing the crew through the ventilation shafts stops several feet out of range of killing the security chief, apparently for no other reason than to let the captain and the chief of security finish their goodbyes.
    • In "Partners in Crime", the Series 4 opener, the Doctor and Donna spy on Ms. Foster detailing her plan to a captive reporter, spot each other from their vantage points, and begin to mouth at each other. Foster goes conspicuously silent as they prattle on, and when Donna eventually looks at her again, she's just standing, hands on hips, waiting for them to finish.
      Ms. Foster: Interrupting you?
    • In "Heaven Sent", it's revealed that the Doctor has the power to accelerate his consciousness, experiencing hours or days mentally in a second or less. It's the secret source of his ability to always come up with a plan or idea in a pinch.
  • Power Rangers and Super Sentai all have lengthy morphing, zord summoning, and weapon invocation scenes. The giant monsters never seem able to step on the Rangers in the minute or so it takes them to summon and assemble their Megazord.
  • In Charmed whenever using the Power of Three, the demons always remain motionless or nearly so, awaiting their destruction for no obvious reason, during sometimes-long rhymes. There's some evidence to suggest that the spell can affect the demon while it is being said (only blowing the demon up at the end), and when they first defeated the Source, the heroes needed a destruction chant so long that they needed to find a way to hold it down while they said it.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon:
    • Ami invokes her first transformation into Sailor Mercury during a 20-foot fall — and she does it by reciting a trigger phrase that takes about three or four times longer to say than she should have taken to fall.
    • Usagi, Rei, and Ami have to defeat a monster that can split into three parts, all of which must be destroyed at the same time. To accomplish this, they try to sync their attacks to the beat of a pop song. They don't get it right the first (or second, or third) try, but the monster just stands there and taunts them until they get it right. It probably didn't think they could pull it off.
    • Averted at other points in the series; one episode's Monster of the Week hits Rei in the stomach while she's trying to utter her transformation phrase.
  • Inverted in the Season 7 opener of NCIS, where Tony babbles on for several minutes to the terrorist villain, even stopping him from shooting McGee, so he could explain his plan for escaping (borrowed from True Lies). The point of his monologue was to Hold the Line for Gibbs to show up in a sniper's nest and shoot the terrorist through the window.
  • Subverted in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Zeppo" where Xander starts making a speech and the other guy runs off. "I wasn't finished!"
  • Played so straight it wraps around to being a hilarious aversion on Saved by the Bell, where Zack Morris could literally freeze time while he talked to the audience.
  • Kamen Rider Decade: Tsukasa loves making big speeches and people love standing around to listen to them. Pulling out cards, swiping them, and using the K-Touch, however, is blatant off-the-clock action.
    • Subverted twice in episode 14 of Kamen Rider Drive. Kamen Rider Mach gets attacked by the monster of the week while doing his pose-tastic pre-asskicking routine ("Come on, man, at least let me finish!"). Then he fights back and subdues the monster long enough just to go back and do the speech again, which is uninterrupted this time, but Mach realizes the enemy just used the opportunity to run the hell away and is long gone. The next time Mach transforms, he starts doing his catchphrase then just goes "eh, you know the rest" to cut straight to the point and avoid losing the enemy again.
  • Averted in Scrubs; sometimes J.D. will come out of his Inner Monologue or fantasy sequence to realize he's missed something and now has no idea what's going on. On other occasions, people complain about J.D. always staring off into space while they're talking to him.
  • In the season 3 mid-season finale of Once Upon a Time, there's a terrible curse about to descend on the town, with clouds billowing through the streets to indicate its arrival — and our heroes are still perfectly fine taking 20 minutes or so to discuss how they can stop it, what the result of stopping it will be, and anything else they feel like talking about. This curse pops up again several times over the course of the series, and the same thing happens, leading one to suspect that it only takes effect when the characters have finished their conversations.
  • Throughout Star Trek, the famous Captain's Log is often recorded in the middle of a dramatic incident (or at least in the present tense). This even in situations where the Captain has no time or equipment to actually record a log. The real reason for this is to bring viewers up to speed on events after a commercial break. Specifically:
    • In "By Any Other Name", as the Enterprise approaches the Energy Barrier, Kirk records a log detailing a plan to defeat the Kelvans — while the Kelvans are on the Bridge with him.
    • In the Next Generation episode "Encounter at Farpoint", Q makes his first appearance before a commercial break. Returning from the break, Picard somehow manages to record a log summing up the current situation and wondering whether to oppose Q, while Q is stood right in front of him.

  • In the "Motorcycle Song," Arlo Guthrie accidentally goes off the road on his motorcycle, 500 feet up a mountain. As he starts falling, has a great idea for a song, so he gets out paper and a pen to write it down. Still falling, he finds out the pen is dry, so he replaces the ink cartridge.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Beetle Bailey: "That's it, Beetle! Now roll with the punch!" Given as actual advice during a fight. Enough said.
  • In a Peanuts Sunday comic (October 1956), Snoopy gets a scrap of hot dog. He has an entire monologue between the throw and the catch about the little scrap, while the scrap flies as in slow motion between panels. Then Snoopy lampshades this by remarking "Its funny how much can pass through your mind between the toss and the gulp..."

    Professional Wrestling 
  • At the 2002 Royal Rumble, Maven pulls off a huge upset by eliminating The Undertaker from the ring when 'Taker has his head turned. Ordinarily, the match would continue with new entrants coming out every 90 seconds or so, but this time, the match stops dead for several minutes just so 'Taker can dish out some Disproportionate Retribution (which culminates in them leaving the ring, Maven getting slammed into a concession stand on the arena concourse, and 'Taker stealing some of the popcorn lying around). Only then does the TV camera cut back to the actual ring, where the next scheduled entrant is only starting to make his way toward the ring. It's almost as if it were scripted for TV.
  • WWE frequently uses commercial breaks as a free action. Sometimes, a wrestler will start posing or spouting his catchphrase at they cut away and be shown doing the same thing when the show resumes, leaving the TV audience wondering if they have just been standing there doing the same thing for several minutes. In reality, the audience at the live shows tends to get some smack talk, promos, or the kiss cam to keep them entertained. You're pretty much guaranteed that nothing interesting will happen during a match, nor will it end, during a commercial break.

    With the development of second screen technology, however, this trope is averted. Action can and does continue during the commercial break, and people watching on the second screen through the WWE App (now the WWE Network) can see it all. This leads to a different manner of confusion for the TV audience, where a wrestler who was dominating the match before it went to commercial can suddenly end up being the one dominated when it comes back from commercial. Fortunately, the TV Broadcast usually shows an instant replay of the major events that took place during the break so the TV Audience is brought up to speed on how the other wrestler took control.

  • Critical Hit, a real play Dungeons & Dragons podcast, follows the Trope Namer as per the game rules. The characters do not usually abuse it in combat and restrict themselves to a few short sentences. The players, however, are another matter, with quips, pop-culture references, and tactics discussions spanning the majority of combat time.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The trope namer is Dungeons & Dragons. Most talking is a "free action", which can be performed freely within the normal limit of a turn. Requests to "stop talking and get fighting" aren't necessary — in the game world. But in the real world, players debating each move can slow combat to a crawl. The rules have also shifted in this regard; early editions had combat rounds of up to a minute, whereas these days they're only around six seconds long. Some books suggested additional caveats, such as only talking during one's own turn, or no talking if you're caught flat-footed. House Rules might restrict this even further.
  • Villains & Vigilantes, though, was the first to actually have this mechanic, explicitly calling talking a "free action" in the early 1980s. It was then popularized by Champions, the original superhero roleplaying game, and its generic outgrowth HERO System after that.
  • Mutants & Masterminds has a mechanic called "Monologuing" in which you trick the villain into talking on and on for several rounds, thereby giving your characters a chance to escape. Beyond using this trick, however, the villain can monologue as much as he wants as, talking is a free action, and Monologuing is a full round action.
  • Talking is technically not a free action in GURPS (with its one-second combat rounds), but the Basic Set points out that unless you're going for hyper-realism, it's usually best to use this trope.
  • The Mayfair Exponential Game System allows one or two free Bond One Liners per phase of combat; however, if the dialog takes more than four or five seconds to deliver, it costs the player an Action.
  • Shadowrun recommends the Game Master limit players to somewhere around 25 words in a round (though, as Nale demonstrates, that can be a bit restrictive) and no more than one gesture as a free action.
  • In Rogue Trader, you can even play an Astropath and have "mindtalk" as a free action. Only War, though, specifically says that the GM should place limits on how much one can say without it being a Half-Action or Full Action.
  • The rules for the Swedish game Drakar och Demoner are explicit that during battle, each five-second interval can only be used for one action, where speaking is one possible action. Short interjections like "Attack!" are free actions though.
  • Ironclaw states that while talking is a free action on your turn, you need to wait for another's response until their turn. "Talking may be free, but a conversation is not."
  • Unintentionally subverted in the Western RPG Aces & Eights; combat time is tracked in tenths of a second, so in the time it takes to yell "Stop!" the typical gunfighter has already opened fire.
  • Averted in FATAL; you have stats for both average talking speed and maximum talking speed (and, being FATAL, it's entirely possible for your maximum to be less than your average).


    Video Games 
  • Advance Wars plays this straight, although given that its a turn-based strategy game (the in-game turns are called days; battles can take weeks) the player has as much time as they need.
    • Spoofed in Days Of Ruin, despite the rapidly dropping altitude of the plane the scene is set on no one except an unnamed IDS agent (who is panicking at her oncoming doom, and even asks if anyone else cares) cares, every other character is casually talking to the Big Bad's Tyke Bomb convincing her to Heel–Face Turn and allowing them to make it out alive.
    • Played straight in the separately translated EU version Dark Conflict, where the IDS agent does nothing but read the altitude.
  • During the "four minutes before death" in Ghost Trick, time only pauses when you're in the ghost world—or when dialogue is taking place. Only justified for between-ghost dialogue, which seems to take place instantaneously via telepathy.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2's codec conversations, even if they are purely an act of thought on the part of Raiden (at least when they need to be), are pretty unbelievable. Particularly infamous is the three-minute argument over weapon naming conventions with the AI construct the Patriots built to rule the world that occurs during the final boss battle. And this is just after a twelve-minute long Infodump from the same guys, while Solidus Snake just stands there, waiting to deliver his shocking revelation. Don't worry, he'll wait.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a time limit on the final boss battle of ten minutes - when those ten minutes are up, MiG-21's will arrive and bomb the field you're in, killing you both. You can defeat the boss with only one minute to spare, at which point another multi-minute-long cutscene happens, with no MiGs in sight until you're attempting to escape another 5+ minutes later. There is, however, a jokey version of this featured in the Secret Theater short "Metal Gear S", wherein Snake manages to defeat the final boss (after having Sigint steal every other significant accomplishment in the game from him), only to be left behind in the escape and subsequently bombed into oblivion.
  • In many, many Fighting Games with "super" special attacks, when a character executes such a technique, the battle will freeze for a split-second while they give a battle cry.
  • Fire Emblem sometimes has dialogue or monologue delivered before attacking particularly important characters.
    • It also has Support conversations, in which two compatible characters can start gabbing in the middle of battle to raise their stats using The Power of Friendship...but this eats a turn, at least in some of the games.
      • Not just gabbing but such activities as: painting (Forde); showing off (Ewan to Amelia); getting intimate (Gerik and Tethys).
    • Mechanically averted in Seisen no Keifu. Mounted units are able to move after attacking but if they talk their turn immediately ends.
  • For the sake of flavour, virtually all of the Super Robot Wars games have the characters, whether hero or villain, delivering a couple of lines of dialogue (well, actually monologue) with every attack. This is especially amusing in the case of unmanned drone enemies, who actually go "beep beep beep" in place of their dialogue. Sometimes the characters will chat before they attack, and then they get the "combat chatter" on top of that.
    • Using the actual Talk command, however, uses that units' turn.
    • And in the case of important dialogue, the villain really is stopping to chat with the protagonist. Throwaway chatter is along the lines of "Villain X! What you've done can't be forgiven! Let's go!", and as for attack animations... it wouldn't be Super Robot without liberal Calling Your Attacks and Invocation.
  • Sakura Wars displays a similar behavior to Super Robot Wars. In Sakura Taisen 4, there are even occasions where several minute long cut scenes occur between turns.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, story fights are often interrupted with dialogue — sometimes including extraordinarily long and detailed monologues. Most ridiculous is if one of the dialogue's participants is a Dragoon, and has been set to do a Jump attack. Said character will fall back to the ground just to deliver his line, before vaulting into the stratosphere again to await his turn to finish the attack.
    • In fact, several Final Fantasy games have dialogue scenes for character development or rules description during battle screens, with enemies present, but refusing to attack.
    • And in another Square product, Chrono Cross, the enemies are refusing to attack since they're the ones giving the rules and game information; apparently the heroes just stand there and listen.
    • Sometimes averted Final Fantasy X: some battles have "Special Commands" available, including "Talk" — which use up a turn.
    • Both averted — in the same way as above — and played straight in Final Fantasy Tactics A2; Sometimes main characters go into lengthy monologues mid-battle, and other times you have to use your turn to talk. It seems mostly dependent on if you're talking to yourself or not.
    • Perhaps played most notably straight in Final Fantasy VI, in which the first time you have Terra use magic in battle with Locke and Edgar in the party, the Active Time Battle(!) system will pause for a looooooong conversation in which they freak out, break off to the side to whisper among themselves, FAINT, recover, and finally get back to fighting. Naturally, the enemies (usually a pair of Magitek Armors) wait patiently throughout this entire exchange.
    • Averted in one hair-pulling instance in Final Fantasy IX. In order to get the Infinity+1 Sword you have to make it to a certain area near the end of the game before someone else does. If they reach it first, all you find is a note about the sword. The time limit for reaching it? 12 hours. Seems normal, right? Except that it's 12 hours of play time, the area is near the END of the game, and the timer starts from the moment you hit New Game, including every single conversation, battle, and yes, cutscene you've ever seen. You have to pull a Speed Run to get the sword. This can be mitigated by the fact that FMVs are skipped if you open the console's disc cover, but this is impossible if playing a digital version of the game, such as the one available for download on the PS3. The only saving grace is that you can pause at pretty much any time except when an FMV is running and, unlike some Final Fantasy titles, pausing the game will stop the clock. On the other hand, you can take almost all of the challenge out of it with the mobile/Steam release, which not only allows you to skip FMVs, but also to stat-boost your characters to max-levels and speed-play the game without affecting the internal clock.
  • In the same vein, Disgaea 2 has a truly remarkable example of this; the party bursts into the middle of a fight, where the brother of one of the main characters is in the middle of a suicidal assault on the Big Bad's bodyguard. Apparently, however, Mook Chivalry prevents them from attacking while brother and sister share a lengthy retrospect, debate the value of life, make plans for the future, and learn new super-moves from their combined powers. Of course, it IS a turn-based game, and the characters are almost universally Genre Savvy, so maybe they were just aware that the enemy couldn't move until someone hit the "End Turn" button...
    • Then again, the trope is subverted in Disgaea, in which Etna takes out two out of three Power Ranger knockoffs in the middle of their intro speech, before all their colors combine. This does earn her a stern lecture, though. Later, Laharl gets a scolding from Flonne too when he suggests that they should attack while The Rival is busy monologuing
    • It's also subverted by the prinnies at the beginning of Disgaea 2, where they're A-OK with scoring a cheap critical hit while Rozalin is busy with an Internal Monologue.
      • It's also lampshaded in the tutorial, where Etna notices that the monsters apparently have the courtesy to wait for their asses to be beat.
    • Gets lampshaded by Almaz in Disgaea 3, after the savvy side of Mao waits for Raspberyl and her friends to complete their impromptu graduation ceremony before he attacks.
  • Assassination targets in Assassin's Creed have the uncanny ability to freeze gameplay in order to deliver cryptic, rambling speeches about their motives and how you are Not So Different. This despite their having been stabbed through the neck immediately prior. These speeches take place in the Animus White Void Room, implying that the scene in reality may not have played out exactly as it did in the game.
  • Body Harvest actually says that when you get blurbs from the girl in your lander, your receiver injects a drug into you that speeds up your perception hundredsfold for a fraction of a second, gives you the transmission, and then dispenses another drug to bring you back down to normal speed.
  • In Achaea, talking is one of the few actions that doesn't require balance (which is lost when most actions are used, and takes a few seconds to come back). Even emoting requires balance, which can result in the rather odd circumstance of the character apparently having the composure to recite entire paragraphs, but not being able to blink. Talking is also instant, although this effect is limited by the time the player spends typing it out.
  • In Call of Juarez, characters you've just duelled with get last words, despite having just been shot in the head at extremely short range.
  • Gawn, from Wild ARMs 4, having already defied physics to shoot down 11 missiles in mid-air and punching the last one with his bare hands, decides to twist up the flow of time too. In the one second or less it takes for the last missile that he had just punched to explode, Gawn manages to give the protagonists an entire speech on reaching for the future. Of course, everyone else has to move in slow motion while it happens. You don't believe me, do you? There is proof.
  • The Tales Series of RPGs loves this; typically there will be cutscene exposition before a plot-important fight and then the characters will banter during it, apparently not even needing to breathe.
    • Tales of Vesperia takes a jab at this trope when Yuri and Flynn work together to defend a village of refugees from monsters. Yuri can't concentrate if he isn't talking and Flynn can't concentrate when someone is talking.
      • And then they fight each other and trash-talk each other while they're kicking each other's ass.
    • Played in full force by Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World where there is some quite lengthy dialogue between the party and some bosses, while running round shouting out arte names and casting spells that require incantations.
      • Played for Laughs when the party is running from Alice and Decus in the Ice Temple. When they try to hold a conversation in a skit like they always do, Tenebrae reminds them that they're supposed to be running like hell and declares a ban on speaking. It doesn't take long for the party to turn this on him and prevent him from speaking as well.
  • In Dragon Quest VII, you can talk to your party members before each round of combat by just choosing 'Talk' instead of picking everyone's next actions. However, if you try talking three times, the enemy stops waiting and gets a free round of hits. (Surprisingly, Maribel does not chew you out if you choose to start the next round by 'Talk'ing again...)
  • Neverwinter Nights averts this by not letting you enter conversations in combat and immediately stopping conversations if one of the participants is attacked. Neverwinter Nights 2 keeps the first part, but cinematic conversations pause the rest of the game while they are occurring, so it both averts and plays this trope straight.
    • In Neverwinter Nights 2's expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, the player character becomes a spirit-eater and has to replenish their energy by devouring spirits or die, because you constantly lose it as the time passes. Fortunately, the energy meter freezes when you engage in a conversation.
  • In Fallout 3, if you manage to Mezmerize an enemy during combat, you can run right up and talk to them, pick their pockets, take their weapons, and slap a slave collar on, all while their allies patiently wait for your conversation to end.
    • That's just the start of it... While under enemy fire, you can run up to a computer terminal and access it, then spend as long as you want patiently figuring out the password - as long as you don't quit or use up your four tries - and then browse the terminal's contents at a leisurely pace. When you finally exit, you'll still be in the thick of the firefight - unless one of your free actions was to shut down the turret connected to the terminal!
    • At the end of Operation Anchorage, after you open the fortress door, you can waste as much time as you like talking to General Jingwei despite all the fighting happening around you.
  • All The Elder Scrolls games will pause indefinitely whenever the Player Character enters dialogue, even in combat. This leads to such oddities as a soldier filling you in on the next stage of an attack plan while a fireball sent from the walls is patiently hovering mid-air not far from his head.
    • Not to mention the spot where they lampshade it in Oblivion: when you return to Weynon Priory and find it under attack, you are informed by an NPC after a reasonably long conversation that he's fairly sure a Mythic Dawn agent is right behind him. Sure enough, when you finish the dialogue, there he is.
    • Averted rather annoyingly in The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, where opening dialogue with an NPC leaves you open to attack from any nearby enemies.
    • Averted in Skyrim, where one of the selling points is that NPC's continue what they're doing while talking to you, and time doesn't stop during conversations. Can have serious downsides, like a Courier deciding to initiate a conversation with you while in the middle of fleeing from a giant, resulting in both of your deaths. Another -kind of- hilarious situation can happen when you stealth-kill an enemy, as the animation does not override the dialogue so they still wonder who's in there even when their throat is being cut.
  • Diablo II: In the cinematic between Act II and Act III, Tyrael somehow finds the time to deliver a ten-second monologue to Marius while ostensibly in battle with two Prime Evils.
    • The background clearly shows that time has stopped while he does this. Also, he's an angel. And furthermore, the moment his time-stop ends, Baal catches him off-guard and disarms him. Triple justified.
  • Averted in River City Ransom: The player can attack bosses while they're still talking. In the GBA remake, doing this has one of the greatest effects on your character's invisible Karma Meter, and the bosses will lament the interruption with lines like, "You can't do that!"
  • Deus Ex features some intricate dialogue with friendly characters -that can thankfully be fastforwarded- while enemies are either advancing on the player or waiting to attack. Notable instances: Paul blabbing away to JC in his room at the 'Ton Hotel while a gaggle of Men In Black and UNATCO troopers are converging on their location, and Illuminati contact Stanton Dowd briefing JC on his next assignment in the middle of a street patrolled by mooks and bots, while a thug visibly hovers behind his back.
  • In World of Warcraft many NPCs have prolonged conversations with other NPCs before a fight where they are not viable targets (even killing them with you totally incapable of stopping them), chat arrogantly while you fight them, and give speeches of varying lengths when they die. You can't do that because it would mean you have to stop clicking on the battle keys to talk back.
    • Played especially straight in the original Kael'thas boss fight in Tempest Keep, where he delivered a several minutes-long speech every time you initiated the fight, with you being forced to stand and listen to it.
    • Particularly bad are times when an NPC or mob will say something and die before they're apparently done talking. One of the most blatant examples of this would be the captured blood elf on Bloodmyst Island, who, as he's being taken back to his cell, commits Suicide by Cop by mocking one of the stronger draenei's dead friends. In this case, his mocking is a long speech, which he's scripted to be killed by in the middle of, at which point the bubble containing his text hovers over his corpse for a good twenty seconds afterward, making it look like his dead body is still talking.
  • The game pauses whenever there is dialog in Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils.
  • Bosses in Mega Man Zero (after the first one) always take the opportunity to chat up the hero just before exploding. Even if they've just been visibly bisected down the middle.
  • Talking tends to be a free action in Battle for Wesnoth - no matter what the interlocutors are doing (even if they're engaged in a fight to the death), if someone has a message for them, they'll stop to have word. Not to mention the time they'll spend parleying with the enemy general(s) at the beginning of a battle. It's worth noting that all messages can reach any character at any point, and the people don't even have to move, even when they're in opposing fortresses, or over the other side of the battlefield.
  • BioShock: In the first two games, the important plot-essential monologues will continue no matter what you do, but you can interrupt random lines of dialogue with various actions.
  • Though in-game events are (obviously) not frozen should someone talk, Armageddon MUD nevertheless plays this one straight where it comes to talking not interrupting any other actions at all. Telepathic communication still takes time and effort, though; only speech can be done indefinitely regardless of any action the player is performing at that time.
  • The final boss of Dragon Age: Origins will sit there on the brink of death, politely waiting while you and Alistair (or Loghain) discuss which of you should be the one to finish it off.
    • In the sequel, however, Meredith only monologues during an attack that temporarily stuns everyone in your party—except Aveline who, if she has the Indomitable ability, is immune and can continue whaling away on her.
  • Averted in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, where the game doesn't pause when you talk to someone, making it very easy to be attacked while you read the dialogue. This also applies to using your PDA, and looking in your inventory. Better to find somewhere quiet, than risk getting your face chewed off.
  • In Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, Chris battles with Alexia despite the countdown of the base's self-destruct system (A franchise staple). No matter how quickly you beat her, Chris barely outruns the countdown and escapes. However, the Updated Re-release adds in a lengthy conversation/fight scene with Wesker after you defeat Alexia, but does not change the countdown timer.
  • In Sonny, the majority of dialogue in both games takes place during battle scenarios rather than traditional cutscenes (though they've got a few of those too). Veradux, Roald, and Felicity all join your party in a battle scene (Veradux appeals to you for help when ZPCI soldiers chase him down after he takes an experimental armor from them, Roald joins you after he and his ally lower their weapons once they realize that you're not like the other zombies, and Felicity meets up with your party in Hew (complete with Sonny warning Veradux to cover his face)).
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, you only have a limited amount of time on any given cycle to do things. Any cutscene or dialogue pauses the timer until it's over. This is only really visible during the last 6 "hours" of the game. This is probably best demonstrated in the good ending to the Anju/Kafei sidequest: Kafei's entrance stops the timer at 1:27, only allowing it to continue when they tell you they'll greet the morning together. Probably a good thing, as the moon would likely crash into Termina while they were talking, otherwise.
    • On the other hand, listening to an old lady ramble on and on and on (and falling asleep in the middle of it) is a great way to skip ahead in time.
  • Soundly averted in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. In Chapter 2, Crump snags the Crystal Star, starts the timer on a time bomb, and leaves. Neither battle nor dialogue stop the timer, so if you took longer than you really should have, you'd better mash to get through Crump's confrontation with the elder. (Thankfully, he shuts off the timer before actual battle, as he doesn't want to be blown up himself.)
  • Played with in Metroid Prime, where scanning is a free action. With your scanner, you can get information about bosses and enemies. While this happens in real time, the game basically pauses so you can read the scan.
    • Averted for one specific mechanic of Metroid Prime 2. Safe zones in Dark Aether slowly replenish your health, and if you are standing in one when a cutscene starts, you will continue replenishing health for its duration.
  • Inverted in Getter Love!!, where you can only perform one action each time you arrive somewhere, including talking to someone (but not counting your interaction with a pop-up character if you happen to be the first person there; that's a free action). Yet, if someone arrives at the same place after you, they can still talk to you anyway. So, if you had a date with, say, Natsuki, at the Panda Department Store, whether or not you can spend some time gift-shopping first depends on who gets there first. (Unrealistic, in exactly the opposite way of this page's trope, but considering that this was meant to resemble a board game, there you go.)
  • Averted in all online games, obviously, since they take place in real-time. There are often text-chat tools you can use, but the battle will continue to rage around and, quite often, at you while you're fumbling around with it. A good reason to invest in a headset mic. Some games offer a limited range of in-character "voice commands", but if the menu is complicated enough, it could run into this issue as well.
  • One of the few Acceptable Breaks from Reality used in Pathologic. And you will be grateful for it, given the extremely constrictive In-Universe Game Clock, the plot-heavy nature of the game, and the Walls of Text in most conversations.
  • In American McGee's Alice, the action pauses and enemies disappear whenever dialogue comes up, reappearing and causing the action to start where it left off when the dialogue ends.
  • A variant of this trope is used in Alpha Protocol: when talking to his handler over his earpiece, Mike speaks at normal conversational volume, even while in hiding. Every patrol is apparently deaf to it.
  • Averted in Bushido Blade - while the enemy is introducing themselves, you are free to walk up and stab them. However, this is blatantly dishonorable, and a quick way to disqualify yourself from seeing the ending.
  • Subverted several times in Mass Effect. While certain conversations are in designated cutscenes and therefore enemies will not attack during them, there's a number of times when squadmates make comments or talk to one another without going into a cutscene. If you then enter combat or do anything else, it will interrupt the conversation abruptly.
    • Mass Effect 2 has a notable scene with a krogan who goes on a rant that lasts several minutes until the player gets tired of waiting and hits the interrupt key. "You talk too much."
    • The Extended Cut of Mass Effect 3 contains a very noticeable example of this. During the desperate charge against Harbinger, your squad mates are injured. The Normandy flies down, picks up your squadmate (complete with a heartwarming goodbye), and then flies away, all without Harbinger firing a single shot. As soon as the Normandy is gone, the charge resumes as though nothing happened.
      • The same DLC allows you to have a very long conversation with the Catalyst while spaceships are battling with the Reapers outside. Some of them protect the Crucible, which, if you don't take any of the ending options after the conversation for a couple of minutes or so, will be destroyed, resulting in a Non-Standard Game Over. The Catalyst will even lampshade this at certain points, pointing out how they're short on time, and sometimes even refusing to elaborate on its answers. Before the Extended Cut was released, there was much less dialogue with the Catalyst - kinda more logical, considering the circumstances, but providing much less closure and answers.
  • Played around with in Asura's Wrath, at certain points during certain deity fights, you can shut them up by punching them in the face. You even get a few trophies for it.
  • Talking is a free action for characters in Eternal Sonata when they deliver their lines prior to delivering a charged-up special attack. Which is good, because some of these lines seem to take longer to deliver than all of the time on the Action Gauge. "When the plants die, the earth does not tremble. When the hills crack, the flowers are bright. Morning Frost! Shadow Beam!" (Well, good for your own characters anyway, but the human villains get their own lines and are granted the same sort of immunity.)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog seems to like this trope a bit. Whenever he has a conversation with someone while running, he suddenly goes in a straight line and doesn't need to look where he's going. The most prominent example of this is in his team's intro in Sonic Heroes. While running through a rather rocky and cactus-heavy desert, Tails shows up in the X-Tornado and hands him a letter from Eggman, which Sonic reads while running backwards. Tails himself seems to have forgotten to pilot the plane during this, and him and Knuckles eventually just ditch it and run after Sonic.
  • Averted in both Knights of the Old Republic games, where occasionally you'll be dragged into dialogue while your party members and possibly even your character will still be fighting. Gameplay doesn't stop at all during dialogue, which makes it a good way to pass time while your Mana regenerates.
  • Averted in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Dialog often occurs while Pit is in combat and sometimes may be silenced by certain actions (almost always triggering another piece of dialog). Usually played straight in cutscenes. Subverted once when Phosphora attacks Pit during his In the Name of the Moon speech in the cutscene before battle.
  • Parodied in Endless Frontier: at one point, the appearance of a boss causes your party members to have a whole conversation among themselves until it politely coughs to remind them of its presence.
  • Averted/inverted in Dishonored. Because of it's sandbox-y type gameplay, time-stopping dialogue would be impractical. Conversely, the developers created a lot of fluff/non-critical dialogue to ensure that characters and the world would seem alive while the player was wandering around. They intentionally made any plot-critical dialogue very very short and succinct since the player could conceivably kill the character at any time.
  • One of Joseph's moves in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is a counter taunt that, if triggered, has him stop everything to guess what his opponent is going to say. In a amusingly odd way, the target only gasps in surprise after fully saying their (sometimes rather long) expected catchphrase.
  • Frequently occurs in Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and the other Infinity Engine game. Depending on the circumstances, it's even possible to have lengthy dialogs with some of the villains while arrows and fireballs are hovering in midair, politely waiting for the conversation to end before they explode.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne and Shin Megami Tensei IV avert this: a Press Turn will be consumed if you try Talking to a demon (unless you can't). How many Press Turns are taken up depends on whether you're successful or not.
    • Other MegaTen games with demon dialogue also suggest an aversion if not outright declaring it - in many games, if you try to talk to a demon that's hostile or unable to talk, or anger it in dialogue, the demon gets a free attack because it's implied you left yourself open or just wasted too much time trying to talk to something that would rather gnaw off your face.
  • Played with in The Wonderful 101 by Wonder Blue, who gets slightly worried by Wonder Red's long winded final attack name. It is fair to note that they are currently staring down an Earth Destroying Laser.
    Wonder Red: Final Ultimate Legendary Earth Power Super Max Justice Future Miracle Dream Beautiful Galaxy Big Bang Little Bang Sunrise Starlight Infinite Fabulous Totally Final Wonderful Arrow...Fire!
  • At the climax of Chapter 2 of MARDEK, when Deugan declares he has to make a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the dracelon from attacking their escape pod when they flee the self-destructing saucer, Vehrn spoils the drama by wondering why the dracelon is just standing there while they have this conversation. The self-destruct timer seems to have stopped as well.
  • You have to do a lot of talking in Nexus Clash before it uses up any actions, even if you just delivered a filibuster in the middle of a battle.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Played with a bit in Red vs. Blue, where characters will frequently talk to each other while fighting an enemy (or each other)
    • Averted with the fact that fighting is still evident, usualy through stray shots crossing the camera or striking visible scenery.
    • Lampshaded by Wash in season 6.
Wash: Don't you people ever do anything besides stand around and talk?
Church [shouts] No! It's part of our charm, stop fucking it up!
  • Occurs sometimes in Greek Ninja.
  • Parodied in this I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC episode, in which Lex and Gobby are able to have a discussion over whether Ang Lee's version of Incredible Hulk is superior to the 2008 version while the Hulk is shaking the car they're in.
  • Subverted Trope for this Braveheart parody animation "Weakheart". William Wallace suffers a Hollywood Heart Attack, and his second-in-command is dubious about fighting. Some of his troops tell him it's his duty to lead the charge and he decides to do it... but then an arrow goes through his throat from behind as he's still trying to finish saying they're going to start the charge.
  • The Global Guardians PBEM Universe is based on the Champions roleplaying game. One of the basic rules is that soliloquies are a zero-phase action that take no time at all; technically, a character could recite the entire text of Wikipedia as a Free Action.
  • One particularly terrible Mangafox roleplay of Battle Royale had the GM's player have his collar activated in the classroom after the rules were explained and set to detonate after 60 seconds. He and several other players responded with a number of monologues directed at the teacher who activated his collar (the majority of which reacted with very little other than annoyance at the fact that someone was about to splatter gore all over them). While the collar was deactivated before the time was up, the number of monologues took well over a minute to finish.
  • From Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG:
    1335. I cannot filibuster in the middle of my dying speech to buy the cleric more time.
    2033. Even if the rules allow it, I can't conduct a television interview and maintain a choke hold at the same time.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, Finn can leap at an enemy & have the time to yell "Get ready for an uppercut, you dog!" or "I'm a cat! I'm an agile cat!" before reaching them.
  • The Beast Warriors sometimes abused this, giving speeches to each other before an ambush, then transforming and fighting. Somewhat subverted in the final episode:
    Megatron: "Well, come on, let's have it. The usual 'destiny and honor' speech."
    Optimus Primal: "Speech this!"
    Then Megatron is punched square in the face by Optimus Primal.
  • In Danny Phantom, in the midst of heated battle, foes often seem to just stop and let Danny finish his superheroic, corny jokes. A subversion of this appears as well. Danny apparently has no qualms about attacking Technus during his usual lengthy monologues.
  • Niko And The Sword Of Light - Combined with the fact that Niko tends to call his attacks and makes use of Large Ham a lot, this is bound to happen.
  • Occasionally subverted in The Penguins of Madagascar for gags where Kowalski tries to explain what he is about to do to help the situation only to be interrupted before he gets the chance.
    (The Penguins are being chased by the rats)
    Kowalski: Rico, rat cannon!
    (Rico spits up a cannon)
    Kowalski: (Stopping to take aim) Fortunately, I devised an anti-rat missile for this exact occai- (Is tackled by the rats and the cannon misfires)
  • The Simpsons
    • This occurs whenever the family is watching a Coincidental Broadcast: They all briefly stop to have a conversation regarding the report, spew pop culture reference jokes, bring up past adventures related to it, etc. then when they finally get back to watching, the report is exactly where they left off, almost as if the world stopped just for their conversation. Naturally, its been lampshaded a few times.
    • Also directly parodied during Homer's insanity pepper-fuelled hallucination: "An oncoming train! And so little time to get out of the way! ... Now less! ... Now NONE!!"
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man, though a very talky series by nature, has a notable subversion. When a net is launched at Spider-Man from behind, he takes the time to say "Woah! My Spider-Sense is tingli—!" only to be caught in the net before he can finish. Afterwards, his sense is shown, but never announced again.
  • The all-time winner of this trope is The Marvel Super Heroes cartoon from 1966. These barely-animated six-minute gems were often directly adapted from '60s Marvel Comics scripts — in their full-blown long-winded Stan Lee glory. It often included such moments as Captain America giving an inspiring speech as he leaps across the screen — with the leap dragged out to fill the full length of the speech. Watch a few of these, and you'll see just how damned silly this trope can get in a medium where time actually, you know, happens.
  • Superfriends is just as bad with exclamations like "I've only got a fraction of a second to avoid that car!". One episode even had Superman moving at a normal speed, but monologuing about how his super speed could help him rescue Lois Lane. Apparently, when Superman talks, everything becomes a free action.
  • Some episodes of Dora the Explorer may be contenders for the crown, though: when Baby Gorilla falls out of a tree, Dora has time to ask the viewer for help. "Will you help us catch baby gorilla? <2 second pause> Great! We have to hold out our hands like this! Can you hold out your hands?". The gorilla takes about 20 seconds to fall 3 meters.
  • On and off in Kim Possible, but the episode "The Twin Factor" has plenty of examples of characters visibly hanging about waiting for others to finish their lines instead of taking advantage of the moment.
  • Deconstructed in the Futurama episode "Mars University". Gunther the super-intelligent monkey is sitting on a log attached to a vine which is breaking. He is suspended over a waterfall, and begins to debate with himself whether to climb up the vine or not. After listing reasons why he shouldn't bother, he says "On the other hand-" and the vine snaps. He survives, though.
  • Played Straight in The Fairly OddParents: School's Out! - The Musical. When Cosmo and Wanda are fleeing Fairy World, there is a rapidly approaching wave of Pixie Magic just behind them and the bridge to Earth is rapidly dwindling. However, Cosmo and Wanda can still discuss the situation for two minutes.
  • Talking most definitely seems to be a free action for WordGirl when she stops in the middle of a pitched battle to define a word.
  • People in Huntik: Secrets & Seekers can hold incredibly long conversations before releasing their titans... all while an enemy titan is rushing toward them.
  • Team Umizoomi may be even worse than Dora in this regard. During almost every chase sequence in the show, the team will be stopped dead by some sort of puzzle for several minutes. But no matter what, even if it takes five minutes to get past the obstacles, whatever they're chasing will apparently also stop just out of frame and wait for them to catch up before continuing the chase.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Subverted when Rainbow Dash lets her reputation as a hero go to her head. She insists on making grandiose speeches before she actually does anything to save ponies in danger, until they ask her to just save them already. Ironically, the request to stop screwing around took far longer than the remainder of her catchphrase.
    • In Twilights Kingdom Part 2, after Twilight surrenders her alicorn magic to Tirek, Tirek immediately grows to monstrous proportions and should be able to easily squash the heroes...yet Discord has plenty of time to explain his sincerity in giving the medallion to Twilight as a sign of their friendship.
  • Parodied in American Dad!, where Roger (disguised as a Russian exchange student) is wrestling Barry and gets pinned. The referee starts doing a 3-count and Stan tells him to use is super leg strength to get free, but it's apparently opposite day. The two go back and forth until Stan tells Roger to quit screwing around before the ref stops politely waiting for them to finish the conversation and says "3".