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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 character's 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.


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Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Pictured above is Shana from Shakugan no Shana. Although that's not Shana being reflected.
  • Utena, Touga and Saionji in Revolutionary Girl Utena
  • Sakura in the TV series version of Sakura Wars.
  • 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 Not So Different 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.
  • Yamcha in Dragon Ball's intro.
  • Variant: The opening theme of Princess Resurrection features Hiro's reflection in the side of a chainsaw.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hakuouki Record of Jade Blood features a shot of Hijikata reflected in the blade of Sanan's sword as Sanan draws it against him.

     Comic Books  

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Inadvertently used by Blade to defeat Ghost Rider when the Spirits of Vengeance fight the Nightstalkers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana uses the reflection on her gauntlets and sword to see Medusa during their first fight.

    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 
  • Expanded upon in Kill Bill 1, when the Bride uses her mirror-polished blade to inspect all angles of a Mook formation.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • In Cast Away, Chuck uses the blade of an ice skate both as a knife and as a mirror.

     Literature 
  • The Heroes of Olympus: Piper Mclean uses her dagger Katoptris as a mirrior 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

     Video Games  

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Final Fantasy X-2 does this when a character changes into the warrior class.
  • 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.
  • On the Quest for Glory V boxart, our hero reflects the titular dragon on his blade.
  • Neopets: The Darkest Faerie has the Big Bad's face reflected in the hero's sword on the box art.
  • 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.
  • 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.

     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 


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