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Battle Discretion Shot

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Any wonder why we're not seeing the carnage?

"And then, at the absolute climactic height of the action sequence, everything went dark."
Fangs of Endearment: A Vampire Novel by Dave Barry

Or: A Non-View to a Kill.

It's finally arrived; the climactic moment where good meets evil, where right fights wrong, where... someone will get their ass kicked! But then, suddenly, the camera decides not to focus on the great battle, but rather on something a little more insignificant, like the pool or some other innocent area, with only the sound of the battle heard (perhaps somewhat muffled) and perhaps the occasional Screen Shake, especially in animated media. Focusing on the faces of observing characters gives a good gauge of the brutality of the fight without showing the fight itself; zooming out farther without reducing the battle noise is a less common variant, but still not too rare in comedies. It stays this way for the entire fight, only showing the aftermath.

There are a variety of reasons for this. The first is money: the producers might not have had enough money to actually film an epic battle, resulting in a Fight Unscene. This might lead to an Offscreen Moment of Awesome. On the other hand, if they care enough, they could combine this with the second reason: artistic quality. A big fight scene might not be that interesting or original — but deliberately not showing the fight, instead focusing on something mundane, that could be considered art. But beware: this could lead to Faux Symbolism. There's also a third reason: perhaps the director did want a really violent and/or bloody battle, but the Moral Guardians objected too much. Or, if it's a cartoon, it could be due to the Rule of Funny. Often, these are shown either through a Big Ball of Violence or zooming outside a building and showing it bounce and tumble around from the force of the battle.

Related to Fight Unscene, Gory Discretion Shot, Abuse Discretion Shot, Big Ball of Violence and Sound-Only Death. Compare and contrast with Charge-into-Combat Cut, Offscreen Moment of Awesome, Relax-o-Vision, and Great Offscreen War. Most of the time, the viewer will have to Take Our Word for It.

As this trope can occur during important plot points, beware of unmarked spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Lagoon:
    • The majority of the gun battle between Revy and Roberta was done like this.
    • Revy and Roberta later settle their grudge with a fistfight, and most of it is only heard, as other characters watching them discuss the fight.
  • In Bleach, the fight between Espnada #0 Yammy Rialgo and the team of Rukia, Chad, and Renji takes place mainly off-panel. We see the opening blows of the fight and then them preparing to get serious...and then we switch to the Real World for a few months to cover the fights there. By the time we catch up in Hueco Mundo, much of the battle has already taken place, with Rukia the last one standing.
    • Yammy again, this time he's fighting Kenpachi and Byakuya after getting knocked around by them and having finally gone all out, then we switch to Ichigo and Unohana on their way to Fake Karakura Town. Then after it's all over we see Yammy defeated.
  • Cells at Work and Friends!: While fights with viruses break out fairly regularly, almost all of the actual fighting occurs offscreen (and what little is shown tends to be fairly mild). Justified in that this is a character-driven comedy and not an action manga.
  • Doki Doki! PreCure: Alice defeating three bullies as a child in Episode 4note  is not shown, only the beginning where she shouts at them and the ending where the bullies are on the ground.
  • Done twice in the Dragon Ball manga, though the anime adaptation shows the fights in full:
    • In the chapter that shows Future Trunks' backstory, Trunks says he's confident that he's powerful enough to beat the Androids and he flies off to fight them. It then immediately cuts to him in a hospital bed five days later.
    • When Trunks and Goten fuse into Gotenks, he is extremely arrogant and confident that he can defeat Majin Buu, and flies off the lookout. It then cuts to him flying back to it extremely beaten up.
    Gotenks: I didn't do so good...
  • Doraemon: Occurs in "Soap Bubbles". We don't get to see Big G punch Sneech, but we hear Sneech and see his scream written out on-screen.
  • Used for humorous effect in Excel♡Saga when Excel is killing the creator of the original manga, Koshi Rikdo, random shots of flowers and butterflies are seen in place of the supposedly gory action.
  • In Fairy Tail, Erza Scarlet vs. Erza Knightwalker Round One was this. Erza manages to defeat Knightwalker and steal her getup to masquerade as her to help the heroes get out of a tight spot. Their climatic fight, however, is shown in its full glory.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch managed to have one minor example, being an anime that focuses on magical girls who fight their opponents by singing. In one scene, Rina encounters a group of boys who want to give her a ride and seem to be thinking naughty thoughts. The scene then switches to a calm scene on the beach. Cut back to the car scene to see the boys knocked out with Rina dusting off her hands.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid parodies this: During the war between Sun and Lunar's fan clubs, Nagasumi's "epic fight scene" is animated entirely with incredibly half-assed stick figures. The other characters treat it as if it's mindblowingly awesome.
  • In Nabari no Ou, the Raimei/Raikou vs. Kouichi/Shijima fight is mostly off-panel for a practical reason: the fight lasts for several hours. On top of that, Kouichi and Shijima are immortal, so it's a Foregone Conclusion that Raimei and Raikou are going to lose.
  • One Piece, Chapter "0:" the fight between Admiral Sengoku and Vice-Admiral Garp versus Gold Lion Shiki that ended with the latter's defeat and half of Marineford in ruins. Somehow, a full-sized ship got lodged into it.
  • Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase has this problem in the televised version, as the fight between Hazuki and Count Kinkel took place almost entirely off-screen. The DVD version fixed the issue.
  • The end of the first arc of The Twelve Kingdoms. It's spent something like twelve episodes building up to Youko rescuing Keiki and claiming the throne- then skips over the entire civil war in about 5 minutes. Sure, the series is meant to focus more on character interactions, but still.

    Comic Books 
  • In 52, there's a beautiful example of this. Lex Luthor has been provoking Steel for months — at the moment, Steel's niece is his hostage — and has often crossed the Moral Event Horizon for reasons related to his "Everyman" project, which has culminated in Luthor gaining Superman's powers. Steel's armor has been destroyed, which leads to several pages of No-Holds-Barred Beatdown — and Steel still gets back up, every single time. Fortunately, Natasha (the niece) uses Luthor's paranoia and her own ingenuity against him, ultimately shutting down Luthor's powers. Luthor has an Oh, Crap! moment, and then the next panel is a wide shot of the building, and the sounds of smackdown echoing across Metropolis. The creator commentary included in the trade paperback reveals that, originally, we were supposed to actually see the end of the fight, but the writers realized that nothing they could draw could possibly look as amazing as what the readers' own minds would fill in.
  • In the "Grand Theft America" arc of The Ultimates, Hawkeye has been captured and tortured in order to provide defensive codes allowing the Masters to attack New York City. After hours of torture he tears off his own fingernails and kills several guards by flicking them into their throats before threatening a scientist to let him go. After he's released a battalion charges in with him about to pick up an assault rifle. We cut to guards watching the carnage on security cameras before cutting back to reveal Hawkeye standing over a dozen dead soldiers holding two smoking rifles. His response to the security cameras? "Run."
  • In Street Fighter, one issue ends with Ryu accepting a challenge from "the greatest Kushti wrestler in all of India." We don't see the fight, but one can only imagine how it ended.
  • In The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurf Menace", Hefty gets into a fight with three Grey Smurfs who have stolen food from the Smurfs, and while only the two Smurfs following Hefty get to see the fight that we don't, we do get to see Hefty shaking his fist at the badly-wounded Grey Smurfs running back to their village.
    • "Salad Smurfs" teases us with this, as in one panel Papa Smurf sees a cloudy skull wearing a Smurf-style chef's hat, indicating that the Smurfs were ganging up on and beating Chef Smurf to a pulp, protesting Chef's recent spell of bad cooking, but when Papa Smurf enters the kitchen, Chef Smurf looks like the only thing that was harmed was his pride.
  • During Chris Claremont's run on the Fantastic Four, Sue Richards has to protect her time-displaced future daughter Valeria from Absorbing Man, Titania and a brainwashed Thing and She-Hulk. We don't actually see the battle, just the reactions of Reed, Johnny, Valeria and Spider-Man (who happened to be in the neighborhood). Reed comments on Sue's "excellent synthesis of training and talent", Valeria gleefully shouts, "That's my mom!", Johnny cringes, "Oh, I can't look!" and Spider-Man murmers, "Never, never, never get this lady mad at me!" By the next page, Sue's the only one still standing.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Calvin and Hobbes strip had Calvin sledding down a particularly treacherous hill. Instead of seeing him crash, we see Hobbes standing at the top of the hill, watching and reacting (at one point he looks up).

    Fan Works 
  • The climactic battle in the warehouse in With Strings Attached consists of nothing but a paragraph of the sound effects of the battle. This is partially because the real struggle was for John and Ringo to get into the damn warehouse in the first place, so the final battle was deliberately anticlimactic (especially given how much the four outclassed their opponents), and partially because the author finds fight scenes really boring and wanted to do something different and short.
  • Doing It Right This Time describes the battle against the Third Angel mostly through Misato's worried but still kind of impressed reactions as Rei (who is, for various reasons, under a great deal of stress at the time) indulges in a bit of Percussive Therapy.
  • In Shadowchasers: Ascension, Dante pulls a sting at a bar with the help of two tieflings - Debbie and Shaylene - catching the bartender in the act of selling a controlled substance. When the bartender sends two thugs after Dante, there's this dialogue between Dante's accomplices to the sound of a violent fight:
    Dante: Don't those two goons know that Dante has a black belt in Karate?
    Shaylene: I guess not...
  • In This Bites!, whatever the hell happened to Spandam when Robin and Franky finally got their hands on him is never outright stated. Apparently Spandam's ribs somehow ended up where his eyes are (or should be).
  • In A Family Thing, Maddie gives Vlad or rather a duplicate of him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown as Jack and the others watch, with Jack providing commentary.
  • Scootertrix the Abridged:
  • In Juxtapose, Shouto and Katsuki start quarreling after the Sports Festival. Gran Torino, their new mentor goes out to discipline them. When Izuku and Toshinori poke their heads out to check on them, the two unconscious boys are being dragged away.
  • The boxing match between Harley Quinn and Tatsu Yamashiro in Eight Count isn't shown, though the lead-up is.
  • When the Brush hits the Canvas: While Link is hiding from the Cult of Masks chasing him in Thieves' Town, the Cult soon runs into the Moblins patrolling the place. Link doesn't see what following because he's hiding in a chicken pen, but he can hear the screams. After a while, a lone Cultist finds him, offering to help him, and every other Cultist and monster are nowhere to be seen.

    Films — Animated 
  • Pixar loves this trope, usually involving a vehicle of some kind.
    • Monsters, Inc.: When Randall is thrown by Sulley into the human world, he ends up inside the trailer from A Bug's Life. The resident family quickly beats him up as seen from the windows.
    • The Incredibles: Just before escaping Syndrome's base in a rocket, Mr. Incredible confronts a van full of Mooks. Cue an outside shot of the van rocking and shaking as he takes them out.
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010): Happens in the last dragon training exercise. Despite Hiccup's willingness to let Astrid win the exercise, by the time Astrid comes around to make her move, Hiccup has already incapacitated the dragon (and by his expression, probably by accident). Also used during the first time the Vikings try to take the dragons' nest.
  • Ironically, in the Rankin-Bass animated The Return of the King, even during epic battles, all violence is hidden: a human will fall out-of-frame to the left, and then an orc will enter the frame, and swing his axe in the direction of the (hidden) human.
  • It also happens in the Rankin-Bass version of The Hobbit some examples include when Gandalf kills The Great Goblin you see him swing the sword and it cuts to the Great Goblin grabbing at his throat and falling into a tunnel, when Bilbo stabs the spiders you see closeups of their spinning faces, and during The Battle of Five Armies the only impacts shown are when an enemy is hit with a shield other than that they swing their weapons and it cuts to the enemy falling, and from a distance you see dots throwing spears and arrows at each other.
  • A few big battles in the animated Asterix movies use the Big Ball of Violence to hide the brutality, filling the screen with dust and armor flying out (also odder things like false teeth and boxer shorts). During Asterix in Britain, when Obelix is imprisoned in the "Tower of Londinium", we see him leave his cell in the fashion you'd expect of Obelix, then we cut to outside the Tower, hearing the sounds of Obelix knocking the guards about (and occasionally one flying out the window) as he goes down. Once he's down, however, Asterix goes in the front, thinking Obelix is still in there, and it happens again, only this time, going up. They both then realize where the other is, and it happens again until they meet in the middle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Vietnam War film 84 Charlie MoPic is shot from the point of view of a cameraman attached to a army squad. (The title is his callsign.) At one point the squad calls down unseen artillery on unseen Vietcong, as the film didn't have the budget to show either of them.
  • A City of Sadness: The infamous "February 28 incident", a 1947 massacre in which at least 18,000 Taiwanese were massacred by the KMT authorities, is not shown. Characters talk about it afterwards and KMT governor Chen Yi makes ominous statements on the radio.
  • Parodied in Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra. At the start of the climactic battle, Obelix is seen charging at a group of Roman legionnaires. When the actual fight is about to start, the narrator intervenes, telling the audience that, instead of watching a violent battle, they instead should watch an educational documentary about crayfish, followed by actually showing a bit of said documentary. When the documentary ends, the battle isn't over, and the next shot features Romans being sent flying across the building.
  • The naval battle in the 2016 adaptation of Ben-Hur takes place entirely from the restricted point-of-view of the protagonist who's chained up below deck as an oarsman.
  • Fahrenheit 911 didn't show any footage of the September 11th attacks, but instead showed a black screen while audio clips of the events were played, followed by reactions of people who saw it happen caught on (muted) video.
  • Fight Club: The fight between the Narrator and Blondie. According to the director's commentary, the original version was more directly graphic, but the censors boohooed it. The result that made it into the cinematic version fit this trope. The change, arguably, led to a scene more horrible because it used this trope.
  • An interesting take on this trope in Ghost in the Shell (2017). A hit team is shown sneaking up behind Batou, who smiles and readies his weapon. Cut to Togusa who is ambushed by a similar hit team in a noodle bar, but he has a mirror positioned to see anyone sneaking up behind him and so quickly dispatches the assassins. We then cut back to Batou driving away from his apartment, completely unharmed.
  • Large chunks of the battles between Godzilla and the MUTOs in Godzilla (2014) take place just off-camera, with the shot following the humans caught in the middle.
  • Used in Gremlins 2: The New Batch when Gizmo encounters Mohawk, the reincarnation of Stripe the Big Bad from the first film, we see his hand poke Gizmo in the back then he grabs him and drags him into a room where we then hear sounds of him beating the crap out of him while he cries out in pain while the camera shakes.
  • In The Army Now has a scene where the heroes are a part of a convoy. The front of the convoy is ambushed but the heroes don't get a closer look because they are in the rear.
  • Part of the climax for Let the Right One In: Oskar is about to be drowned by the brother of the bully he beat up, his head held underwater. We only see it from under the pool, so we don't know what's happening at first, but it becomes apparent soon enough that Eli is killing the bullies when a severed head falls into the pool, followed swiftly by an arm.
  • Predator 2: King Willy, voodoo drug lord of L.A., squares off against the titular Predator. He draws his Cane Sword as the cloaked Predator approaches, becoming more and more visible with every step... and then it cuts to the Predator carrying his severed head.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: While his stunt doubles kick the ever-loving crap out of Scott, Lucas Lee steps away from the fight to grab some coffee and check his text messages, which are apparently hilarious. Before he can sip his coffee, though...
    Scott: Mr. Lee! *camera pans back to Scott on his feet, all his stunt doubles defeated* You're needed back on set!
  • Spy Kids
  • The Warriors: Near the end of the movie, Swan and Luther engage in a duel, which simply ends with Luther being stabbed in the hand with Swan's knife, dropping the gun. Then the Riffs show up, tell the Warriors they're off the hook, and surround Luther and The Rogues. An intense asskicking ensues, but the audience is not allowed to see it, as the camera instead pans to The Warriors walking along the beach...
  • A short film named Woodshed is nothing but this: a static shot of a woodshed and the noises of a huge scuffle.

  • Rackety Tam has a small group of robbers occupying a family of farming voles' home. Then, The Lancer (and The Big Guy) and the Lightning Bruiser come along and decide to infiltrate the home as "hostages". In an offscreen battle inside the home, from the POV of the vole family who have evacuated their children outside to keep them away from the fighting, the two protagonists manage to kill all the three or four robbers. According to the sounds inside, they fight them with kitchen utensils and their own weapons. In the end, the last of the robbers trundles out, gargles violently and dies as well.
  • The Battle of the Whispering Wood in A Song of Ice and Fire is told entirely from Catelyn Stark's perspective. She is somewhere close to the battle where she can hear it, but it was too dark for her to see.
  • C. S. Lewis was fond of this. The climactic battle in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which the filmmakers took as an excuse to do the epic thing, is recounted second hand in the book, and the duel between Peter and Miraz in Prince Caspian is told by being described by a spectator to a short-sighted companion.
  • In The Book of Three, Taran is briefly involved in the initial part of the final battle before being knocked out by trying to draw the magic sword Dyrnwyn. The rest of the battle is recounted to him by his companions after he wakes up in the high king's castle. Definitely used for Character Development in the next five books as he becomes more and more centrally involved in the conflict.
  • In Twilight, Bella passes out from her injuries before the Cullens arrive to rescue her from James. She drifts back into consciousness enough to hear, but not see, Edward's arrival and James' death.
  • Appears in The Hobbit, when Bilbo faints during the Battle of the Five Armies.
  • A lot of the historical events in Time Cat are known to have ended less than peaceably, and the protagonists conveniently skip out of time for a lot of them.
  • In MYTH Inc. Link, Tananda, determined to complete an assignment herself, forbids Chumley from coming into a bar where she's trying to get information. Chumley shrugs, stays outside, and entertains himself by analyzing the sounds of the subsequent Bar Brawl:
    That was a table going over... Another chair... A mirror (wonder how she missed the glasses?)...
  • Dune: Great battles take place but for the most part they are only alluded to in dialogue.
  • Wylder's Hand: When Stanley Lake fights a duel, the narrative jumps from him agreeing to meet his opponent, to him being brought back to Brandon Hall, seriously injured.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The first episode of American Gods has Shadow rescued from a lynching from Technical Boy's minions, shown entirely through gratuitous showers of blood and body parts. A later episode shows it from the attacker's point of view.
  • Babylon 5:
    • "Believers" has Ivanova and a Mauve Shirt go out in Starfuries to escort a damaged passenger liner to the station. Ivanova pursues and destroys a Raider ship, then cue Oh, Crap! as dozens more appear on her sensors, and ... cut back to the episode's main plot on the station. At the end of the episode she and the liner turn up at the station with enough damage to her fighter to put it in the shop for a week, and she basically laughs it off.
    • In another episode, Marcus threatens an entire bar with an ass-whooping unless someone tells him what he wants to know. It then cuts to commercial and, on return, we see Marcus knocking out the last guy standing, before lamenting that he now has to wait for one of his opponents to regain consciousness for questioning.
  • A more mild example from Battlestar Galactica (2003) when Starbuck's fighter malfunctions right before the first big battle and she listens to the first half of it over the radio before she can finish repairs and launch.
  • Better Call Saul: In "Talk", the Cousins storm a rival gang's headquarters on the spur of the moment, and the two of them easily mow down the dozens of people inside . Most of the massacre is left to the audience's imagination though, as the scene is shown from Nacho's perspective, who stays outside the building, with only the sounds of shouting, gunfire, and fiery explosions letting the viewers know they're missing a truly awesome gunfight.
  • The Brittas Empire: Occurs in "High Noon". We see Brittas run into a room being pursued by a truck driver that he has annoyed. The truck driver can be seen cracking his knuckles and then entering the room. When the camera next cuts to Brittas, he's seen leaving the room with a dumbbell stuffed up his back.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • We never see how Glory kills the knights trying to kill Dawn in Season 5.
    • Buffy's first fight against the Trio in Season 6, as they're all invisible.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Reign of Terror", the Doctor convinces the leader of the press gang he's in that they're digging up gold coins. While the man scrabbles on the floor, back turned to the Doctor, the Doctor slowly takes a shovel from another of the gang members and readies it. We cut to the face of the man whose shovel the Doctor took as he looks on in confusion, before suddenly wincing in sympathetic agony. This was probably done because having the Doctor kill someone with a spade on screen would not be possible to Play For Laughs - he's allowed to kill people on screen at dramatic moments, though.
    • In "The Nightmare of Eden", the Doctor being attacked by the Mandrels after he lures them back into their pocket universe is represented by comedy offscreen sound effects and branches shaking. The sequence remains a major bone of contention among fans who think that Season Seventeen in general was too comical.
  • In Fargo, Lorne Malvo machine-guns the entire Fargo mob, but all we see of it is one man being thrown through a window to the sidewalk below. The rest is simply the camera moving up and over the side of the building from the door Malvo enters, following the shots and screams past rows of mirrored windows.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Played for Laughs when the Battle of the Green Fork is skipped. Tyrion gives a pre-battle speech to his mountain clansmen, then gets promptly knocked unconscious when they charge right over him. He wakes up after the battle and receives a summary from Bronn.
    • Season 2 ends with the Night's Watch being confronted with an army of the dead. The next season shows that the Watch barely escaped but the battle was never seen.
    • Given the immense size of the wildling army, the battle against them in "The Children" counts as one.
  • Heroes has season one's big showdown between Future Peter and Sylar - colorful lights busting through the door Mohinder's holding shut.
    • Also season three's big showdown had the Petrelli brothers facing off against Sylar at his absolute strongest. All we saw was colorful lights and Claire's eye peaking through the door. The fandom was a bit less forgiving this time.
  • Married... with Children has this in the episode "Just a Little Off The Top." After Al is given a circumcision by mistake, he issues a warning that anyone who asks "What's up?" goes down. Bud, who had fallen into the basement and didn't hear the warning, asks Al "What's up?" when he comes back upstairs. The camera cuts to Peg and Kelly flinching as a loud "SMACK" is heard, and then back to Al, with Bud's leg sticking out from behind the couch. Jefferson enters later and asks the same question, with similar results.
  • In Orphan Black, Donnie and Helena (disguised as Donnie's wife Alison) have a nasty confrontation with some gangsters. Helena pushes him out of the building and slams the door, then emerges a few minutes later soaked in the gangsters' blood.
  • A running gag on Person of Interest is of them abbreviating a fight scene to only the part where the villain goes flying out of a window.
  • During the first fight of Power Rangers RPM (between Dillon and some Mooks), the camera stays focused on a lone flower, which Dillon had watered just beforehand and is probably the only thing still living in the wastes.
  • There's a very similar example as a rare moment of comic relief in the otherwise wrenching second season finale of Robin of Sherwood. When the soldiers arrest Little John, the struggling men go into a building, and we then have a pan along the side of the building with comedy fight sound effects until they all burst out of the back door.
  • Done repeatedly in Rome. The series includes several major battles of the early Roman Empire, but only once (Phillipi) actually showed huge groups of soldiers fighting each other. For example, Caesar's campaign against Magnus is represented with a few screaming soldiers and a Roman standard falling into a puddle. That's about five years of warfare, right there.
    • How Vorenus and Pullo massacre Erasmus Fulmen's henchmen is also never shown.
  • Done when the Borg Curb Stomp Admiral Hanson's fleet in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds: Part II". Thanks to lack of budget, the big battle scene turned into the Enterprise flying through the post-facto debris field. However the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Emissary", revisited the battle as a flashback.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Upgrades", O'Neill, Carter, and Daniel get into a Bar Brawl while wearing the Atoniek armbands (which make them way faster and stronger, among other things). After O'Neill opens the fight by flipping a guy upside down one-handed, the camera cuts to the bar's exterior whereupon you hear a series of loud smacks, thuds, and shattering glass.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:
    • The big battle between the FBI and Cromartie at the end of Season 1 to the tune of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around." Cromartie slaughters everybody except Agent Ellison, but we only see things from underwater, as bodies come crashing down in the pool one by one. And a voice spoke and said, "Come and see," and I saw. And behold, a flaming horse, and him that was on it was Awesome, and Sweet followed after him.
    • Subverted in the Season 2 episode "Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today". Cromartie's fight with the Mexican police is initially experienced through sound only through Sarah's point of view, as she's locked in the trunk of his car, but then in Cromartie's own POV section we see it in full.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): In "Screaming Javelins", Tom (Rick Springfield!) is saved from certain death as Wonder Woman leaps through the window of the third story apartment and deflects the bullets meant for him. She then disappears into the hallway, and we only see the attempted murderers fly across the doorway entrance. Wonder Woman does reappear to get something to tie up the bad guys.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A common backstage element in Wrestling Promotions is for a wrestler to be backstage, either looking for someone or just walking around, and will enter a room or round a corner out of the camera's sight. The camera will stop following, or the scene will cut away for a while, but when the camera cuts back or follows after the sound of a struggle is heard, the camera will get there just in time to find a badly beaten wrestler laying on the ground, but no immediate sign of who applied the beating.

    Video Games 
  • The above mentioned Professional Wrestling element is used in WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role, particularly when "Unknown Wrestlers" (which unlock custom character parts when defeated) make an appearance.
  • The Team Fortress 2 video Meet the Sandvich takes place entirely inside a refrigerator with the camera pointing at the eponymous Sandvich. The beauty is in the sounds of the battle - first the Heavy chows down on his sandvich with an almost-adorable "OM NOM NOM" noise, then come some sickening cracks and the Scout's screams of "MY BLOOD! HE PUNCHED OUT ALL MY BLOOD!" Hilarity ensued.
  • In Mega Man X, right before the rematch with Vile, Zero goes in first, and the player merely hears battle noises for a few moments before they regain control of X.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns starts off with a bang using one of these. After the two-minute intro cutscene, the first level begins with you vigorously shaking the Wii Remote to make DK pound on Kalimba, which is shown from outside the (very bouncy) hut.note 
  • Used a couple times in the Monkey Island series; once in the governor's mansion in The Secret of Monkey Island and then in Club 41 in the first episode of Tales of Monkey Island. The latter is one of those "creators didn't have the resources" versions; in a game commentary they explain that showing the inside of Club 41 would have put them over the Wii's file size limit.
  • Played for laughs in Samara's loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2. In the nightclub VIP room, a slightly drunk turian won't take no for an answer from an asari stripper. If Shepard tells him to lay off, the turian will pick a fight with him/her. Shepard and the turian move off-camera so only the asari is visible, whereupon there's a string of blows-landing sounds with accompanying winces from the asari, then the turian goes flying past the camera. Bonus points if it's FemShep wearing the Little Black Dress from Kasumi's loyalty mission. Especially given the dialogue for the scene if you're playing Female Shepard. (Watch it here.)
    Female Shepard: The lady asked you to step away.
    Drunken Turian: You want in on this transaction? I don't care if it's you or this bitch — I just like good times!
    [Drunken Turian moves in on Shepard and gets his ass royally kicked]
    Female Shepard: Good times are over.
  • Star Trek Online, episode "Wasteland", mission "A Fistful of Gorn". Old Romulan named Law challenges a Gorn pirate gunning for the Player Character's head to a Showdown at High Noon. They square off, and the camera cuts to the town sign as they draw and fire. Next camera has Law walk up to you and shrug.
  • Played for Laughs atop the Temple of Light in Sands of Destruction. Morte beats and berates Kyrie for deciding to die so that the world - and, more importantly to him, she - couldn't be destroyed, but the camera just cuts to a Reaction Shot from the rest of the team. They consider him lucky that she didn't pull her BFS.

    Web Animation 
  • Bidoof's Big Stand of Pokémon has its titular Bidoof suffering one of these as it fights a Staraptor in a tournament for about ten seconds interspersed with Bidoof getting knocked back into the view of the screen a few times. Her trainer is forced to duck under a Hyper Beam fired from the Staraptor and the trainer's eyes constrict with horror as she puts an arm up to block her face while a loud explosion can be heard at one point while watching it. Fortunately for Bidoof, after this, the rest of the fight gets to be on-screen thereafter to show her winning it.
  • While Club Penguin Shutdown normally doesn't shy away from showing shootouts and other kinds of battles or fights, the showdown Lil_Jeffy's group (including the several Purple Republic members who do a Heel–Face Turn) has against the the Tuba Gang Leader, his loyal Purple Republic members and the Strangers in Season 1's "The Fall" largely happens off-screen, instead being displayed from the Floppy Green Penguin preparing itself, the muffled death screams, the blood-splattered first floor after the fight that happened there, the Strangers' corpses falling from the third floor, and the members outside of the Puffle Hotel talking about what's happening. Considering the relatively large scale of this showdown compared to the others in the series' first season, which wouldn't be returned to until Season 2's "The Gathering" and "The Race", this is arguably enforced, as the animators had less experience in the first season and likely wouldn't have known how to display the battle in all its vigor (whereas the aforementioned Season 2 showdown is properly shown).
  • Minilife TV: In "1-800-MINIDIAL", Chris and Ian beat up a troll harassing them on their hotline off-camera, but because Chris doesn't condone violence, he dubs over all his cries of pain with a laugh track in post.
    Chris: See, folks, we're just tickling him.
  • RWBY: Volume 5 builds up to the confrontation between the heroes and villains over the fate of Haven Academy and the Relic of Knowledge. However, the fight itself is rarely the focus of scenes. It occurs mostly off-screen, or in the background while something unrelated occurs in the foreground. Instead, the primary focus of the climax is on Jaune confronting Cinder about what she did at Beacon and the awakening of his Semblance, Cinder's battle with the Spring Maiden over the fate of the magic, Yang's confrontation with her mother over the the fate of the Relic, and Blake standing up to Adam for the first time instead of running from him. For the core battle itself, the part that's most focused on is Hazel's hatred of Ozpin driving him to try and kill Oscar.


    Web Original 
  • In the Chimney Chickens episode "Comeback King", after Bruz Kuromi grabs Rob McLaury's neck for crashing through the wall into him, the camera cuts to Slick the ninja looking through the hole in the wall. The screen shaking, feathers flying through the hole in the wall, and the sound effects imply Bruz's retaliatory clobbering, before Rob is thrown back through the wall hole and into a trash can.
  • Stampy's Lovely World: Justified. In Episode 670, "Hacked", where Stampy, who provides the viewpoint, stays out of the battle of the episode due to him trying to defy being The Load, having lost his permissions and being physically unable to fight in-game.
  • Played for Laughs as a Casting Gag in Le Visiteur du Futur where a character played by a former porn actress fights against a minor character in a trailer. We don't get to see the fight, and half the comedy comes from the fact that we get treated to the trailer rocking back and forth during the fight.
  • Happens occasionally in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series whenever a conflict breaks out between the characters. As the 4Kids dub of the show would often cut scenes involving physical violence out most episodes, this often regards in some comical plot points in the episode.
    Joey: [offscreen to Tristan] It is implied that I am punching you.
    Teá: Gasp.
    Tristan: [on the ground] Hey, no fair! You can't punch me while I'm not onscreen!

    Western Animation 
  • Happens a lot in cartoons to get around the Moral Guardians. You'll see stars and planets shooting into frame from offscreen and you get to see the onlookers' wincing reactions.
  • In the Tom and Jerry short "Mouse Trouble", Tom pounces on Jerry while the latter is backed into a corner, on the advice from his new mouse-catching guide that "A cornered mouse never fights". There's sounds of a violent scuffle, then a battered and bruised Tom sticks his head out and says, in an ominous voice, "Don't you believe it!"
  • Lampshaded in the Animaniacs episode "Bully for Skippy." After being warned to tone down the level of violence in her cartoons by the US government, Slappy Squirrel spends the rest of the episode building a strange machine while Skippy deals with a school bully. Once the machine is finished, and Duke the bully is violently reformed, Slappy feeds the senator and Skippy's guidance counselor into the machine, explaining that this machine helps eliminate the viewing of violence on screen, by allowing all the violence to happen OFF screen.
  • In the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command episode "Root of Evil", the episode opens with Buzz and his team being called to a house where mutant produce have been attacking an innocent family. When the wife mentions that a mutant eggplant is still in their fridge's crisper drawer, Buzz and his team breach the kitchen to take down the mutated vegetable. We only get to see camera shaking accompanying shots of the kitchen entrance with flashes beaming through the doorway, and the horrified family witnessing the carnage. Mid-way through the fight, the chaos is broken up when XR comes out and politely borrows a dining room chair before going back into the kitchen and attacking the eggplant with said chair like a Professional Wrestler with a folding chair.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "A Mom Cartoon", Dexter's mom finds the last pair of latex gloves at the market, but another woman competes with her to get them. They fight, and close to the end, the episode cuts to an extended shot of the box of gloves on the floor while Mom and the other woman can be heard fighting.
  • The Yakuza/Springfield Mafia fight in The Simpsons takes place mostly from the view of the Kitchen. Homer is then rather bummed out that he's missing out on all the good action. Especially since "The Little Guy hasn't done anything yet, and you know when he does, it's going to be good."
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, "Here There Be Dwarves": As an epic showdown between mushroom-mining dwarfs and cookie-baking elves is about to take place, R. Lee Ermey himself pops up on screen, telling viewers that the fight "is inappropriate for our younger viewers." We are then treated to around 45 seconds of a baby koala licking a eucalyptus leaf before Ermey brings us back with his signature "Carry on!"
  • South Park: "My god! This battle is epic! This is even more epic than the final battle in The Lord of the Rings movie, this is like ten times more epic than that battle!"
  • Freakazoid! went a step or two further with Relax-o-Vision. Can't have the kiddies see you beating up Ben Stein? Relax-o-Vision!
  • Used as a Running Gag in Road Rovers, where Muzzle is unleashed on the villains and we cut to the others' reactions to the carnage.
  • In Hercules: The Animated Series, this tends to happen whenever Hades ticks off another of the Olympian gods. He'll try — vainly — to apologize to his angry contemporary, then the screen shifts to the main cast, watching — with horror, amusement, or a combination of the two — a rather violent offscreen fight that was clearly one-sided against Hades.
  • Looney Tunes: Happens near the climatic end of the Bugs Bunny short "Knights Must Fall".
  • The Loud House: In "Tricked!", Lincoln and Clyde sneak into Hank and Hawk's treehouse to find the missing candy while the latter two are asleep, only to wake the two bullies and all hell breaks loose, which is comically censored out with a picture of a pretzel. Cue in the next shot where Lincoln and Clyde are beaten up in a dumpster.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Pinkie Pie's attempt to persuade the dragon in "Dragonshy".
    Pinkie Pie: [enters dragon cave in a silly outfit] Sharing a laugh is a surefire way to get someone on your side. [to dragon while offscreen] Hi!
    [cue sounds of offscreen beating]
    Pinkie Pie: [exits dragon cave in a busted silly outfit] Apparently, he doesn't like laughing. Or sharing...
  • Happens a lot in cartoons made by Xilam, such as Oggy and the Cockroaches and Space Goofs, where characters are beaten senseless off-screen, either when the camera pans away, or switches to somewhere way outside the place the beating takes place so that only its side effects can be seen (the whole house gets lift up the ground because of a very painful punch, for example). Although we do get to see the results.
  • Transformers: Rescue Bots features one of these when the titular Bots finally manage to confront the MorBot in combat at the end of "The Reign of Morocco". It may double as a robotic form of Gory Discretion Shot, as the resulting rain of robot parts implies that what they did was rather brutal.
    Chase: MorBot decommissioned.
  • In the Earthworm Jim episode "The Eggbeater" Jim and Peter Puppy are about to engage Queen Slugforabutt's army of undefeatable Zergs, when suddenly a female news anchor announces that as a result of skyrocketing costs they are cutting the budget for action sequences in cartoons and are going for a cheap substitute, we then cut to Jim putting away his laser gun saying what a spectacular battle it was and that they barely escaped with their lives.
  • Happens a lot in Codename: Kids Next Door, especially when one of the heroes beats up several adult enemies, something that is hard to show realistically. One good example is the end credits which occur right after the end of "Operation: F.L.U.S.H.", right after the team closes in on the Toilenator; the viewers see the Treehouse and hear a violent fight from within, until finally, there's a loud flushing noise and the badly bruised villain is dumped out a drainpipe.
  • Happened off-scene at the end of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode The Feud, when Sheen realizes he forgot to mention that Sam had Hugh's lawn lopper the whole time, which started the titular feud in the first place. Disgusted, both the Neutrons and Wheezers get ready to beat him up before it irises out.
  • On Roger Ramjet, Roger will take a proton pill (giving him the strength of twenty atom bombs for twenty seconds) and deliver a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on his enemies, which is covered up by sound effects title cards.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars normally didn't shy away from showing violence, but used this trope to make General Grievous's fight with Palpatine's clone guards worse by implication. We see several shots of Grievous utterly pummeling some of the guards in the office, then the three Jedi grab Palpatine and flee into the hallway. The camera stays in the hallway, and the sounds of continued carnage from Palpatine's office are loud and clear, while the Jedi and Palpatine wait for the elevator to take them away.
  • In the Recess episode "Gus' Last Stand" when Gus has finally had enough of Gelman's bullying he decides to challenge him to a fight, he puts on boxing gear and charges him, we then hear sounds of Gus getting beat up and screaming in pain while the other kids react in horror, we then see a battered and bruised Gus getting thrown against a fence before T.J. tells them to break it up.
  • Tex Avery MGM Cartoons
  • The Fairly Oddparents episode Mr Right ends with this trope. We see Francis get his revenge on Timmy and the episode ends with Timmy getting viciously beaten off screen. However it’s a very common trope in the show.
  • Spongebob Squarepants happens very frequently with the Camping Episode being the best example.
  • Kick Buttowski the ending of the episode Locked Out ends with a discretion shot of a large robot punishing Kick Buttowski as we hear his screams of pain in the background.
  • Gravity Falls:
    Soos: This sure is an impressive fight scene. Glad I'm facing towards it.
  • The Owl House: In the episode "Enchanting Grom Fright," Amity says that if Hooty talks to her again, she will destroy "it." When he butts into her business one too many times, it cuts to the outside of the house, where Hooty's neck is seen frantically wiggling around as Amity can be heard beating him up. In the very next scene, Hooty is seen completely covered and bruises and bandages.


Video Example(s):


Aunt Dirt's Rival

Aunt Dirt is tagging along to New Fork is because she wants to get revenge on her former friend Hilda, who stole her story about finding a basketball in the woods in perfect condition and she keeps copying Dirt as a way to always one up her.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheRival

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