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Blade Reflection

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If a character regularly uses a sword of some sort, then the show's opening credits or Stock Footage will almost always include a shot of that character's face reflected in the highly-polished steel of the blade. Another common usage is to have the character's opponent(s) reflected in the blade as a reaction shot.

The characters in those scenes are facing each other, but unlike the Mirrored Confrontation Shot that shows them from a side, this shot allows us to see both characters' front faces. Without the reflection, we would have to see one of them from behind.

Remember that Tropes Are Flexible. This trope is usually done with swords, but any object that may show a reflection can be used as well. Sometimes even objects that are not very reflective.

See also Reflective Eyes.


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Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yamcha in Dragon Ball's intro.
  • Hakuouki Record of Jade Blood features a shot of Hijikata reflected in the blade of Sanan's sword as Sanan draws it against him.
  • In the manga of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Shigure Kousaka turns the blade reflection to practical use, using it to see what is behind her. Her only blind spot is the part of the blade reflecting her face.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam doesn't actually do this with its hero Domon, rather, the sword blade reflects the faces of his eventual companions.
  • The manga of Naruto uses this during a moment between Naruto and Gaara: in the aftermath of a fight, the two are facing each other across a giant frog's knife planted in the ground. We see a shot of each of them with half their face visible behind the sword and the other half of their opponent's face reflected in the blade.
  • Variant: The opening theme of Princess Resurrection features Hiro's reflection in the side of a chainsaw.
  • In Princess Tutu, when Fakir and Mytho get into a sword fight, Mytho sees his reflection in Fakir's sword, leading him to realize what he's become.
  • Utena, Touga and Saionji in Revolutionary Girl Utena.
  • While not in the opening credits, Juliet in Romeo X Juliet has a shot of her looking at her reflection off the sword, in the rain during a thunderstorm.
  • Sakura in the TV series version of Sakura Wars.
  • Pictured above is Shana from Shakugan no Shana. Although that's not Shana being reflected.
  • Soul Eater: When the human-weapon hybrid Soul is in his weapon form and needs to comment on something to his wielder, his face will occasionally be shown as a reflection on his blade.
    • Most of the other weapons in soul eater do the same.
    • There's also a neat effect in the anime, where the reflection on the blade turns from that of Stein grinning, to an image of the Weapon Spirit also grinning.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms: Youko's reflection in her sword moves the plot at several points. The sword does not seem to be bound by the laws of specular reflection.

    Comic Books 
  • Inadvertently used by Blade to defeat Ghost Rider when the Spirits of Vengeance fight the Nightstalkers.
  • The famous cover of Hulk #340 (1988) has Wolverine with his claws popped and Joe Fixit being reflected in them as he's about to unleash the Smash.
    • This image (along with a number of other covers relating to one or both of these characters) is replicated in the animated Hulk Vs Wolverine.
    • Wolverine also uses his claws to reflect The Gorgon's stone gaze back on him. You'd think a guy who calls himself The Gorgon would've read the legend of Perseus.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimatum: Issue #5 starts with Wolverine ready to attack, and Magneto's face is reflected on his claws.
    • Ultimate Spider-Man
      • In the start of issue 7, both Spider-Man and the Green Goblin are reflected in the eyes of each other.
      • The cover of issue #13 shows Spider-Man's mask in Peter's hand, reflecting Mary Jane's shocked face in the eyes.
    • The Ultimates: The man in the lobby is seen in Hawkeye's glasses.
    • Spider-Men II: The cover of issue #2 shows both Spider-Men reflected on the Taskmaster's sword.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana uses the reflection on her gauntlets and sword to see Medusa during their first fight.
    • Wonder Woman: Black and Gold: When Circe reveals herself in "What Doesn't Kill You" and Diana mocks her and tells her she won't be driven to kill the witch even after having her prior turns to deadly violence thrown in her face Circe's glowing eyes dripping ichor are reflected in Diana's blade.
  • X-Force: From the (first) list of The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings, example #14 has Shatterstar gripping his sword and looking forward, but the reflection in his sword only makes sense if Cannonball is attacking from his right or if the blade is warped in some impossible way.
  • The cover of Y: The Last Man Book 5: Ring of Truth has Yorick and his pet monkey reflected in the blade of Toyota's katana.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Dragons: Fire & Ice during a duel with the two protagonists, there is a moment when it appears that one stabbed the other while on the ground. The next shot inverts the trope by showing the sword's reflection in the victim's opening eye.
  • In Disney's Mulan, Mulan's face is reflected as she unsheathes a sword before she gives herself an Important Haircut.
    • The cover art has the blade reflecting Mulan's male disguise, while paradoxically she's standing in her original costume behind it.
  • In Mulan II, when she is mourning over Shang's death, she is looking at a sword and when lightning flashes, she sees his face reflected in it before she drives the sword into the ground.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Blade: Trinity, when Hannibal King is explaining the origins of Drake/Dracula to Blade, we're treated to a shot of both Drake's human and monster face reflected in the blade shot that's in the creepy stock footage/bloodbath/Fetish Fuel moment.
  • In Cast Away, Chuck uses the blade of an ice skate both as a knife and as a mirror.
  • In the game-based film DOA: Dead or Alive, Helena dual-wields katanas, using one as a mirror to look behind her at the surrounding Mooks.
  • Expanded upon in Kill Bill 1, when the Bride uses her mirror-polished blade to inspect all angles of a Mook formation.
  • In the classic film Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence uses his dagger blade as an impromptu mirror to check out how he looks in his snazzy new white robes; it was a Throw It In moment from actor Peter O'Toole.
  • The Kill Bill example above is taken from one of its main inspirations, the Lone Wolf and Cub film series, in which Ogami Itto uses his sword to look behind him without alerting a pair of ninjas sneaking up on him. He kills them.

    Literature 
  • The Heroes of Olympus: Piper Mclean uses her dagger Katoptris as a mirror like its previous wielder, Helen of Troy.

    Live Action TV  
  • Heroes does it this late in the first season when Kaito Nakamura instructs Hiro in the use of the Sword of Kensei

    Music 

    Video Games 
  • In Devil May Cry 4, this trope provides the only proof that Nero's Devil Trigger doesn't quite take the form of Nelo Angelo, as many fans speculate. For those dedicated enough to fully clear the game, the game-clear art for Hell or Hell difficulty shows it reflected on Yamato's surface in full color - color that is mostly red, the reflection being Dante's DT form.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 does this when a character changes into the warrior class.
  • Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core's new intro gives a moment of Blade Reflection to Ky Kiske, who is facing Sol Badguy at the time.
  • In the Kakera Asobi version of the opening to Higurashi: When They Cry: Matsuri, the last shot is of the reflection of a dying cicada in a sword, followed by a glint on the sword and a reflection of someone who looks like Rika. It's actually Ouka, Hanyuu's daughter.
  • Neopets: The Darkest Faerie has the Big Bad's face reflected in the hero's sword on the box art.
  • On the Quest for Glory V boxart, our hero reflects the title dragon on his blade.
  • Suikoden III gives this trope a small shuffle, as well: in its opening video, the sword of the main character Geddoe reflects—look closely!—The Chick in his unit, known only as Queen.
    • A similar scene appears in the opening for Suikoden V, with Miakis.
  • In the Super Robot Wars video game series, whenever Sangar Zombolt uses his BFS Zankantou's ultimate attack, the target of the attack will be reflected on the blade as the camera pans up on it. This only applies to the Zankantou used by the Grungust Type-3 and the DyGenGuard.

    Web Animation 
  • A popular recurring theme in fan-comics and animations for Undertale, specifically those featuring the Genocide route. In this case, it is usually an ominous sign of The Fallen Child confronting their next victim. Because of the crushing difficulty of his boss fight and thanks to Memetic Mutation from a popular Filk Song comic, Sans is usually the one shown in such a reflection. Best exemplified by this spoilery fan-animation.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: In "Welcome to Wakanda", Iron Man and the Wasp are reflected in the Grim Reaper's scythe as they advance on him in the mine.
  • In the Gargoyles episode "A Long Way Till Morning", Demona is briefly seen reflected in Hudson's sword as he uses it to deflect a laser blast.
    • In "Enter Macbeth", the title character is reflected in his wall-mounted sword rack as he chooses a weapon. (When the series' producer looked back on the episodes one by one, he counted this as a "sweet effect" in an episode where serious production issues had delayed everything.)
  • In the Freaky Friday episode of Pirates of Dark Water, Bloth and Ren switched bodies, but their true selves could be seen in reflections. So when Ren-in-Bloth was attacked by another good guy, getting him to look into the reflection in his sword during a Blade Lock convinced him that Ren-in-Bloth wasn't evil.
  • Samurai Jack tried to use his blade's reflection to blind his opponents at least once. His sword's mirror polish became a plot point in the Enemy Without episode.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In "Heart of Evil," Donnie becomes fixated on killing Don Vizioso, who had previously captured and tried to dissect him in "Mutant Gangland." During the climax, he has Vizioso dead to rights, and is about to spear him with his bo-staff... and then he sees his crazed reflection in the naginata blade. It's this, and realizing how close he was to crossing the line, that finally snaps him out of his Revenge Before Reason.
  • In ThunderCats (2011) this is the mechanism of the Sword of Omens' "Sight Beyond Sight," in which protagonist Lion-O sees a frightening Mirror Monster vision of Big Bad Mumm-Ra.


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