The moment when a character realizes that something awful has happened, or notices that something awful is about to happen, and screams "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" It can also be used when a character angrily refuses to do something.
If the character is rushing to prevent the something-awful from happening, a slow-motion effect can be employed to draw out the tension of the moment, sometimes to the point of drawing out the "No" into a comical bass growl. This trope is very susceptible to becoming Narm, but does raise the question of exactly how a character should handle a crisis without coming off as a psychotic (by going catatonic), a monster (by cracking a grim joke), or a potty-mouth (by swearing one's head off).
Used both seriously and for comic effect. Very common on sitcoms. Sometimes the Big "NO!" ends the episode with a Cliffhanger.
Nearing the point of becoming Narm and a Discredited Trope, though a good actor can still pull it off. Some variants still have credibility, including a shorter but still intense "No", and a panicked "No no no no no!" Or you can just go for the simpler Skyward Scream. Occasionally the character will shout something other than "No!" — usually shouting the name of the character that something bad is about to happen or has just happened to. This is slightly less discredited. On the whole, however, this trope is usually a reliable indicator of Ham and Cheese.
Language matters a lot. For example, Big "NO!" is commonly played straight in Japanese media, due to the equivalent iya's higher screamability.note But not very common in Russian, due to the equivalent nyet's very low screamability.
The thing that makes this trope so effective is the fact that most people identify the word "no" with something going wrong. So when we hear a character screaming with a very loud "nooooooooo!", it really gets to us. People with different psychologies are not as affected by this and may view the scene as comical instead of as the emotional moment it may be intended as. When this is combined with a shot of a character exclaiming negatively while in slow motion, the scene may be even more dramatic (although this is usually a sign that the character is dying).
Not to be confused with a certain mecha series with a similar-sounding title.
See here for a huge compilation of this trope.
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TV Tropes Has Already Ruined My Life? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!