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Freeze-Frame Introduction

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So, the movie is playing and you're watching and having a good time. Suddenly, a new character you haven't seen before shows up. Before you can ask "who's this," the frame stops on them for a few seconds, and maybe some super-imposed text or a voice-over ensues, to say who the new guy is. Then, the scene continues.

Often in these shots, the character will be isolated from the background, may then be color-modified, zoomed, etc. for added effect. A minimalistic variation plays a short clip of the character turning around or raising their head to look towards the camera, at which point the shot freezes and their name is displayed.

A frequently cited variant includes a Record Needle Scratch, followed by the character explaining in voiceover, "You're probably wondering How We Got Here...".

May coincide with Boss Subtitles, when the freeze frame lists a boss name right before the fight commences. May also be used during a Mook Debut Cutscene, Framed Face Opening, Introductory Opening Credits, Video Credits, or Theme Tune Roll Call. Cool Shades and Badass Cape are commonly used in such moments to show how badass the character is, as well as the character's signature weapon.


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  • Agent Ali introduces almost every new character in the series this way. The background blurs and darkens while a colored outline surrounds the introduced character. The name appears in the same color with a font befitting its futuristic sci-fi theme.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Nearly every character with a speaking role in Kill la Kill gets introduced with their name and their description in large red characters that practically fill the whole screen.
  • Starting from halfway through season 2, every episode of the My Hero Academia anime introduces every single character appearing in that episode with on-screen subtitles giving the character's name, hero/villain description, and Quirk. This applies only to the original broadcast (and simulcast) airing: the Blu-ray version of the series (which is also used for the foreign dubs) removes the subtitles, mainly because in a format where the viewer is allowed to watch multiple episodes one after the other reintroducing the exact same characters over and over every 25 or so minutes would feel kinda redundant.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Bad Guys does this twice across its runtime. The first time is in the opening sequence when Mr. Wolf introduces each member of the gang, freezing on a frame of them with their name. The second is in the movie's third act, when Diane is introduced as the Crimson Paw.
  • BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui: Each of the Matorans are introduced with a pause and their name pop-up.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: Almost every major character, including returning ones from the first Puss in Boots film, receives a Freeze-Frame Introduction with their own "Wanted!" Poster to give us their name. Fittingly, only characters who are outlaws have this standard introduction, with Perrito, a friendly dog who most characters initially find annoying, getting an Unwanted Poster. The only one who gets no poster is the Wolf, as you can't put a bounty on The Grim Reaper, much less a version that's barely seen by the rest of the cast.note 
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: Shank, the Action Girl and Badass Driver, is introduced with a freeze frame that shows her name in large letters and a list of her properties (superhuman speed, style for miles, favorite weapon: smarts).
  • Ratatouille: In both the teaser trailer and the movie, Remy is introduced running for his life, the film freezing as he jumps toward the camera; then, in voice-over, he begins narrating "This is me..."
  • Turning Red: When Mei first enters her school at the beginning and her three friends are introduced, each one of them gets an appropriate freeze-frame showing their name and various symbols relating to their respective personalities.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Asylum uses this tactic for a few movies of theirs, including Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and Mega Piranha, where all the main characters are introduced with a still frame with their name and job description.
  • Blow starts with an Opening Monologue in which the hero and his best bud are introduced via a still frame.
  • Birds of Prey (2020): Whenever one of Harley Quinn's old enemies shows up, there's a freeze frame of the antagonist with their name and why they hate her.
  • As each of the major characters of The Death of Stalin is introduced, the scene goes into slow motion for a moment as a caption appears giving the character's name and position. Mostly played for laughs — Khrushchev gets his moment in the middle of a drunken Wimp Fight with Beria, and Bulganin is speaking when he goes into slow-mo, causing his voice to stretch and deepen — although General Zhukov gets a reasonably dramatic (if rather hammy) moment.
  • The name cards in Dude, Where's My Car? are simple, but often Played for Laughs, such as the alien's One-Winged Angel form being named 'Super Hot Giant Alien'.
  • Played for Laughs in Feast. Each character is introduced by their nickname (more often nickname), with a Fun Fact, and a Life Expectancy (almost always subverted). For instance, when a Badass ass-kicker arrives just ahead of the monsters, he's given the freeze-frame title card stating his name is Hero, Occupation is Kick Ass, Save Day, and Life Expectancy is "pretty damn good." He's killed off less than a minute later. Then his girlfriend shows up, and is given a card showing her name as "Heroine," Occupation "Tote Shotgun, Wear Tank Top, Save Day," and Life Expectancy "Hopefully better than the last hero."
  • All the title characters of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly are introduced this way. The Ugly gets this introduction at the very beginning. Later, The Bad appears but gets his introduction only a scene later. Finally, we have The Good, whose introduction is even more scenes later, at around half an hour into the movie.
  • Hot Fuzz: Nicholas Angel is introduced stomping up to the camera from a long way away, only to hold up his police badge into the camera for a few moments which displays his exact glowering face, as a voice-over narration states his name and backstory.
  • In Inglorious Basterds, Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz not only gets a freeze frame intro, he also gets his name covering up the screen and not one but two electric guitar riffs.
  • In the introduction of It's a Wonderful Life, God is assigning a guardian angel named Clarence to protect a man named George Bailey. After God shows Clarence some scenes from George Bailey's childhood, God skips ahead to when George Bailey is an adult. When George Bailey turns his face to the camera, God stops time, says to Clarence (and by extension the audience) "I want you to take a good long look at that face," and introduces George Bailey as an adult.
  • Jackass Forever opens with one of these for each cast member, usually freezing on them getting injured somehow.
  • Kung Fury introduces many characters with a freeze frame, such as Kung Führer, Hackerman, Barbarianna, and the title character himself.
  • The Producers (1968) utilizes a freeze frame intro in the opening Video Credits, complete with a Wild Take by Zero Mostel.
  • Each member of the main cast in The Three Musketeers (2011) gets introduced with a freeze frame and a title card of the character's name.
  • Transformers: The Last Knight has a freeze-frame intro for each Decepticon requested out of human custody by Megatron.
  • In Who Am I (2014), as the hero is introduced to the other hackers Stephan and Paul, we get a freeze-frame for both, followed by a photo/video montage of their childhood memories combined with an expository voiceover.
  • Zoolander: Derek Zoolander, Hansel, and Mugatu all get freeze-frames with their names overlaid when they arrive at the fashion award show at the beginning of the film. Much later, David Bowie gets a similar treatment for his One-Scene Wonder appearance as the walk-off judge.

    Live-Action TV 
  • After an Opening Narration, the four members of The A-Team are shown doing what they do best, with a freeze frame that displays their names in order: Colonel "Hannibal" Smith, The Leader; Captain "Faceman" Peck, The Lancer; Lieutenant "Mad" Murdock, The Smart Guy; and Sergeant B. A. Baracus, The Big Guy. It helps to know who the Good Guys are since the A-Team often breaks the rules and tends to play rough.
  • The intro to Brooklyn Nine-Nine combines this with Introductory Opening Credits for the main cast, displaying each actor's name with each character's freeze frame as they are isolated from the rest of the frame.
  • Burn Notice goes into freeze frame every time a new character is introduced, complete with an amusing caption explaining their role.
  • One episode of Chuck featured the members of Casey's former unit, introducing them with a caption with their name and skills. Near the end, Morgan gets a similar listing. His skills are listed as "None".
  • All main characters from Community episode "A Fistful of Paintballs" are introduced with freeze frames and their playing card nickname, like Annie (Ace of Hearts) here.
  • Gladiators (2024): Each Gladiator's first appearance in a particular episode normally has a freeze-frame highlighting them as they take the stage, then cuts to their profile screen for a couple of seconds while the commentator introduces them.
  • Jane the Virgin's first episode introduced the major characters by pausing the frame, with the chyrons typing out something about them. For young Jane, for example, the chyrons typed out say:
    Passions include, in no particular order:
    her family
    grilled cheese sandwiches
  • A freeze-frame intro shows up in basically every Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series when a new suit is introduced, whether it's a new character or an existing one getting an upgrade. Gotta show off all the pretties (so the audience knows to buy the action figure) before the new character kicks some ass!

  • The badass cops in Beastie Boys' music video for "Sabotage" are introduced with a still frame and their character name.

    Video Games 
  • The Borderlands series introduces every plot-relevant character with a card, starting from the Vault Hunters at the intro movie, concluding with the Final Boss, and every minor and major character worthy of relevance in between. Most of the time, it also displays a subtitle related with them.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, the character selection screen plays a short clip of the party member when they are selected, which then freezes in monochrome when the character faces the camera, as their stats are displayed.
  • Each form of Ogmo in Jumper Three is introduced in a freeze-frame complete with super-imposed text, a fanfare, and the screen focusing on them.
  • In every Like a Dragon game, whenever a major character or an important yakuza-affiliated character is introduced to the story, the cutscene fades out, turns monochrome, freezes and displays their full name and title, and if applicable, their yakuza family's mon.
  • When a new important character is first seen in Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, the camera freezes on their face momentarily to introduce them using Boss Subtitles.
  • When a major character debuts in Paper Mario: Color Splash (Mario, Huey, Peach, Bowser, and the Koopalings), the screen freezes with a music sting (Mario gets an arrangement of the Super Mario Bros. ground theme, the Koopalings get a guitar sting, etc.) The character's pose at the time is given a close-up (Larry riding a train, Mario jumping) as their name appears beside them.
  • Persona 5 Strikers does this when they introduce the Phantom Thieves in the anime intro.
  • Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse: For every returning character, they get their own freeze frame that shares trivia about the prior seasons or little details meant for a quick gag.
    • Sam & Max themselves are both introduced in two different manners: Sam's listing his likes/dislikes and being one half of the freelance police, while Max's... a little more straight to the point.
    • Sybil's particular freeze frame intro lists all her previous job titles. The list runs so long that it goes past the borders of the screen.
  • Serious Sam 4: All the named major characters, with the exception of bosses and enemies, are introduced with a freeze frame showing them doing something, plus a subtitle. The only exception is General Brand in the main game.
  • Shank: In their respective first appearances, the titular Shank and most of the bosses are given this introduction with a red-tinted screen and a white text stating their name.
  • The arcade version of Soul Calibur 3 features this in attract mode. We see a fight between two characters. Halfway through the fight, one of the characters gets a profile and the other gets a profile after winning the fight. Both profiles list their names, origins, weapons, and weapon names.
  • In Strider (2014), bosses get frozen in the middle of their animation and then their names and Boss Subtitles are shown.
  • Bayonetta: Happens every time a new enemy makes an appearance, whether they be from Paradiso or Inferno. Usually takes the form of a page from a book with the character's portrait, name, and rank appearing.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl does a freeze frame intro to every character note in "The Subspace Emissary" complete with a nameplate to tell us who they are.
  • Until Dawn freezes the camera for every major character, listing their name, their 3 strongest personality traits, as well as their connection to the rest of the group.
  • The Wonderful 101 provides specialized freeze-frames for every major character, recruited Wonderful One, and enemy type introduced.
  • In the World of Warcraft Expansion Pack Warlords of Draenor, all of the eponymous Orcish warlords except Durotan (who's on the side of the good guys from the get-go, unlike the others) are introduced this way in the expansion's prologue quest chain.

    Visual Novels 
  • Whenever a new character is introduced in Danganronpa, a frame freezes with the character's name and talent flashes behind them.

    Web Animation 
  • In Anguirus' Vacation, Godzilla, Anguirus, Mothra, Titanosaurus and King Ghidorah are all given freeze-frame introductions when they first appear, showing their names and their mottos.

    Web Videos 
  • Used in SomeCallMeJohnny's Johnny Vs. reviews. Whenever a guest reviewer shows up for the first time, they get the same freeze-frame used in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Parodied when Antdude gets a rather awkward freeze-frame, and then gets a better one once Johnny exits the room.
    Johnny: Everybody gets one!
  • In TitansGrave: The Ashes of Valkana, the introduction video shows all the player characters, accompanied by short clips of their respective players turning towards the camera, ending in a freeze frame.

    Web Original 
  • CollegeHumor's episode "Font Fight" has a freeze-frame intro of its protagonists. Each of their names is, of course, displayed in the appropriate font.

    Western Animation 
  • When a new character first appears in Carmen Sandiego, the scene pauses with a freeze-frame and label with their codename.
  • Rick and Morty:
    • "Amortycan Grickfitti" introduces one-off character Bruce Chutback with a still frame and the title card "New Kid".
    • "Rickamurai Jack" introduces one-off character Pussifier with a freeze-frame and character name.
    • "Full Meta Jackrick" introduces each member of the "Self-Referential Six" with a freeze frame and a Title Card with their name.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated used this in its opening titles. They even used it when Daphne was replaced with Velma's classmate (and Mr. E minion) Marcie "Hot Dog Water" Fleach for an episode. Marcie's freeze frame image was even used in Daphne's stead.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Exaggerated. Every time Khan is appearing, his Leitmotif is playing, which ends with big KHAN. His Establishing Character Moment is a freeze-frame and all above.
  • Most characters in the first season of Turbo F.A.S.T. are introduced with one of these, generally a quick splash screen showing 3 random stats, but occasionally a different kind suiting the theme of the episode. Even the main characters get this treatment in the first episode.
    Speed: 10/10
    Optimism: 10/10
    Experience: 2/10
  • We Bare Bears: Near the end of the episode "Poppy Rangers", a freeze-frame intro is done for all of the ranger scouts, Ranger Tabes and Grizzly, as each character flies out towards the exit of the cave in which they were just trapped, with future self details listed.
  • Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner are introduced with a freeze frame in most episodes, with their name and a fake scientific name appearing next to them.


Video Example(s):


Carmen Sandiego - Introduction

Throughout the entire series, various characters, typically members of the organization V.I.L.E, are presented with a brief moment of their identities.

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Example of:

Main / FreezeFrameIntroduction

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