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"Could you slow down? I wasn't this lost when I read Heretics of Dune!"
Yorick, Y: The Last Man

Infodumping is a type of Exposition that is particularly long or wordy. As Indiana Jones proves, it can be done in a way that is unintrusive or entertaining, characterize the participants, and have some wonderful music to back it all up. And, there may just be situations involving Acceptable Breaks from Reality due to there being no other way to more naturally explain the plot point over the course of the story before it becomes critically important without bloating/slowing down the pacing.

Most of the time, however, infodumps are obvious, intrusive, patronizing, and sometimes downright boring because they don't advance the plot at all, especially if they have no visual aids. And, if the premise of your story is laughably ridiculous, an infodump will call attention to the fact. The absolute worst is the gratuitous infodump, which painfully restates that which has already been adequately shown, just to make the audience suffer. For these reasons, 'infodump' is often used as a pejorative term. Even worse, one character may be saying it to another who is fully aware of it already (which may be called out) for no good reason besides filling in the audience. Having one character be The Watson is a common workaround to this, as their presence creates the need for other characters to exposit.

Intensive infodumping about the world itself (called Expospeak) is most commonly used in Speculative Fiction, where the reader cannot necessarily make assumptions about the way the fictional universe works. Some Speculative Fiction writers, such as Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, make a virtue of their infodumping (which can sometimes go on for pages) by making it funny and therefore pleasurable to read. Writers of less comedic works must work hard to avoid heavy infodumping unless they are sure that they can make it entertaining. Many choose to avoid intensive infodumping altogether through the use of supplemental material. If the character does it repeatedly, then he or she is Mr. Exposition.

In a video game, infodumps can often be in the form of a long, boring lecture from one of the characters babbling on and on, giving you pages and pages of trivial information that may or may not be useful to the player. This is a problem because video games normally involve player participation, which cannot happen in an infodump unless it's part of the level design. It's at its worst in games that only use text boxes, especially older games that can only display a few words in the box at a time. May include Shall I Repeat That?.

Specific Sub-Tropes that are always Infodumps:


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Cop: An unnamed narrator explains the situation engulfing the first episode and briefly explains the unshown conclusion at the end of the last episode as well.
  • Dragon Ball Super:
    • Because the manga only has so many pages to convey information over a month, any plot details are often dumped into long dialog boxes between characters. Character development gets sidelined in favor of plot infomation, with the characters sometimes repeating themselves or the same info being said in a different way by another character.
    • Whereas the mystery of Goku Black is slowly unveiled through several episodes and twists in the anime, the Super manga dumps all the information about Black into one chapter.
  • Granblue Fantasy: The extra episode "Another Sky" begins with Lyria's recap of the twelve episodes' plotline, but with Djeeta replacing Gran as the protagonist.
  • Haruhi-chan: Parodied. When Yuki was describing a particularly nasty Sealed Evil in a Can, everyone else promptly announced that the explanation was too long and they couldn't understand it.
  • Key the Metal Idol: Episode 14 spends the bulk of its 90 minutes on exposition for what's been going on the entire time.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: At the beginning of the film, Nausicaä delivers a monologue about the world of the series in Expospeak.
  • Shamanic Princess: The In Medias Res storytelling makes info dumping difficult to avoid. It mainly takes the form of Japolo telling an indignant Tiara things she already knows.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie: Robotnik’s speech to Sonic at the White House basically serves as a lengthy introduction to the setting before getting into the meat of the plot.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Episode 36 pauses in the middle of a duel to fill the audience in on exactly what the deal is with the various dimensions and the war between them. Lampshaded in the dub:
    Yuya: Look, you're throwing a lot of crazy information my way.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS: Episode 43 fills the audience in on exactly what the deal is with the Lost Incident and the reveal of Revolver's true identity. Episode 71 deals with the tension between the Ignis and humanity and is the start of the Ignis warfare.

    Comic Books 
  • All-New Wolverine: Much of issue 13 is spent recapping events of X-23: Innocence Lost and Target: X, establishing who Kimura, Megan, and Debbie are, and the nature of the trigger scent.
  • Ant-Man (2022): Issue #4 has a "Marvl Narrative Infodump! (TM)" to explain just who Zayn is.
  • Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire: Each volume of The Gallimaufry starts with an Encyclopedia Exposita article. Lou's infodump on why there's a Velvet Fist on the Gallimaufry gets lampshaded by Oort.
  • The Clone Saga: Glenn Greenberg was permitted to pen a one-off issue, The Osborn Journal, to tie up all of Norman's loose ends and explain why he'd been hiding in Europe all these years and masterminded the whole Saga.
  • Earth X: It's not an exaggeration to say that about a third of the book is Aaron Stack asking Uatu for exposition on the Marvel Universe and the backstory behind current events.
  • From Hell: An early chapter is Gull traveling around town with his sidekick lecturing him on the secret Masonic/pagan symbolism of London landmarks.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Comic: The first issue spends a significant amount of time explaining how the Bubbulat-R works. Lampshaded slightly by Synthia.
    Synthia: (in thought balloon) Why did I design this part of the process to be so tedious?
  • Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Unite: The first five issues have lengthy exposition dumps about the plot, characters, and what's going on.
  • Weapon X (1991): The Professor takes the time at one point to explain some of Logan's military history and his nature as a mutant.
  • Y: The Last Man: During the "Motherland" arc, someone dumps a huge amount of info on Dr. Mann and Yorick. The latter responds "Could you slow down? I wasn't this confused when I read Heretics of Dune!"

    Fan Works 
  • The Equestrian Wind Mage: The story opens with a journal entry of Vaati's covering the major events of the Time Skip.
  • Forged Destiny:
    • In the epilogue of Book 5, Ozpin and Cinder are forced to lay out the entire plot of the Magnis Arc, due to more attention being given to Jaune's personal struggles in the story. YMMV on how much sense any of it makes.
    • Most of the first few chapters of Book 7 consist of exposition, where the whole local and geo-political situation of the war's aftermath and Jaune's Class change has to be laid out in order to set up the story.
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga: Rising unto the Stars: Occasionally, there will be a narrative infodump to explain the backstory of various Precure characters, for the benefit of readers that aren't familiar with the source material.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Odyssey of Dreams: Typically, whenever a location's history or a character's backstory needs to be revealed, a character will give a long-winded explanation of it to the party. Occasionally, this can even happen in the middle of a battle.
  • Lord of Thrones: A Game of Rings: Chapter 10 is an interlude that serves as exposition for how the religions of Westeros evolved from worship of Eru, the Valar, and Morgoth.
  • The Loud House: Revamped: In the later chapters, whenever a character or sometimes even an element is introduced, expect a copy-paste from a fan wiki or Wikipedia.
  • Pokemon: The Origin of Species: To Blue's annoyance, Red is prone to explaining things in greater detail than he'd like, such as when Red explains behaviour theory and how it applies to Pokémon.
  • Requiem Universus: The main purpose of the Omakes is to provide exposition. The first set is on the background info of SaintInfernalNeos's Omniverse and Yhmos's Homeworld. The second set covers The Star Hunters. The third set is a holy book heavily implied to have been written by Argo after the events of the story that summarizes future events that will take place in the story.
  • Chapter Seven of [[Sixes and Sevens Shadow of the Eagle has one at the beginning. Justified in-universe since most of the team on Fidonisi have no idea what each other are capable of beyond some sly remarks until the ambush in the previous chapter, so when they have a chance to catch their breath they basically ask each other what the hell everyone is. Michael explains how he became Union Jack, Mark how he was bonded to a Spirit of Vengeance, Emily's suspicions that she herself is something more than human. Anthea explains to everyone that Roger is an Inhuman, while she is a siren who once masqueraded as a goddess.
  • A Thing of Vikings:
    • Info dumps are sparingly used, with perhaps the most egregious examples being a high-level overview of the current rulers and kingdoms of Europe (which was still missing significant regions, such as Spain, Venice, and Hungary) in Chapter 15, and a similar overview of Ireland's society and politics in Chapter 42, with both of these framed as one character (a herald in the first, a spy trained in local politics for the second) explaining things.
    • Some chapter epigraphs give a lot of background info vital to explaining the context of the story without getting in the way of the story's pacing. One example is the epigraph explaining Eire's caste system which is important to understanding Eire's society and how Berk tries to interact with them in their attempt to slowly dismantle any slavery institution.
  • To Rule Them All: A Lord of the Rings ISOT: Around half of Chapter 3 (Instruments of the Great Music) is a massive exposition dump that details the historical background of most of the European cast.

  • All About Eve: In the opening narration of the film, Addison explains who each of the primary characters are and what their situation is.
  • Apollo 13 manages to avoid ham-fisted use of this trope despite the relatively technical nature of the whole plot which needs to be conveyed to an audience that won't necessarily know what a "free return trajectory" is or how a normal Apollo mission is supposed to go. The film achieves this by keeping explanations relatively short and dispersing them throughout the story, oftentimes with NASA personnel giving talks to laymen like visiting politicians or Lovell to his young son, with some use of As You Know when the scene is among NASA personnel (though still brief to avoid drawing too much attention).
  • Bewitched (1981): The opening and closing of the film deliver a Wall of Text narrating the backstory of South East Asian voodoo.
  • Dune (1984): The film opens with Irulan explaining the basic setup of the Dune universe directly to the audience, then the credits roll, then we're privy to "a secret report within the Guild" which details the four planets important to the story and there's a plot that might conflict with their interests, then this leads to a scene where a Guild navigator visits the Emperor to get the details on this plot, so the Emperor can explain to the Guild (and the audience) the political intrigues around which the story is based, then we pick up Paul studying the history of his Houses' feud with House Harkonnen and and the nature of Arrakis, which he'll soon be moving to. The first fifteen minutes are essentially an extended series of infodumps, bombarding the audience with exposition they have no context for yet.
  • Fantastic Four (2015): Much of the movie is based upon exposition explaining how the science works.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: In Scene Two, Bill Weasley introduces himself, his injury from Grayback and his impending wedding, as well as Tonks and Lupin already being married.
  • Interstellar: Professor Brand explains past warfare, NASA's classification, the blight, Earth's eventual demise, and the Lazarus and Endurance mission details in a single scene.
  • Jurassic Park: The "Mr. DNA" animated sequence explains to both the characters and the audience how InGen was able to de-extinct dinosaurs in a fast and simplified manner.
  • Psycho: The original film features a long info dump in the penultimate scene, filling in one or two things that weren't made entirely clear earlier, but otherwise just telling the audience stuff they already know.
  • Star Trek: First Contact: The film gets out all the information the non-Trek fans need in a few lines after the Enterprise travels back in time, including explaining an up-to-now entirely unseen time period (Earth in the 2060s).
  • The Wicker Man (1973): Lord Summerisle explains to Howie how the island converted to paganism, but it is written in a way that reveals a lot about who he is, and introduces some important themes into the story.

  • The Divine Comedy:
    • Dante and Virgil stop their descent through Hell in Canto 11 to get used to a new stench and, from the Doylist perspective, so that Virgil has time to explain the structure of Hell. Here, it's made clear that the reason lust, greed, gluttony, and anger are higher up in Hell is because the sinners who commit them are incontinent, or lack self-restraint. All the circles below the City of Dis punishes sins of malice because they involve a more deliberate and voluntary turn from the Highest Love. These crimes of malice include heresy, violence, fraud, and betrayal.
    • Nighttime falls just before Dante can enter the fourth terrace of Purgatory, forcing him and Virgil to pass the time by discussing the structure of Purgatory. In this dialogue between the seventeenth and eighteenth cantos, the Seven Deadly Sins are described as corrupt form of loves. The bottom terraces purge love for evil things (which happens in pride, envy, and wrath), the fourth terrace purges a lack of love (sloth), and the final three purge love that is too extreme or exclusive (greed, gluttony, and lust).
    • After encountering some anorexic ghosts, Statius gives a long exposition on how the immaterial souls of Hell and Purgatory appear to have bodies that can be hurt and starved.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Chapter 37 of Lightbringer is dedicated to a conversation between Eliana and the Prophet. For the most part, it's just the Prophet explaining their plan to Eliana and, by extension, the audience: why they had Simon pretend to be loyal to Corien and his Empire, why they let Eliana be tortured for months on end by Corien, what they want Eliana to do now and how Simon figures into it, etc.
  • Gift From The Princess Who Brought Sleep: In addition to detailing Margarita's story, the novel also takes several sections to provide historical information on Calgaround, Toragay, Merrigod Plateau, The Flower of the Plateau, and the Original Sin series, as well as various other details of how Evillious is progressing at that point in time.
  • Monster Hunter International: When Owen gets a whole mess of memories dumped on him by Sam Haven in the other world the hotel was moved to, the narrative describes it as "quite literally an infodump".
  • Parasite Eve: Sena wants you to know every last aspect of the history and process of organ transplantation.
  • A Pocket Full of Rye: Inspector Neele's interview with Miss Griffith at the office sketches out the members of the Fortescue family. Then his interview with Mary Dove fills in some detail, like how Percy is stingy and Adele is a Gold Digger.
  • Ready Player One: The incredible glut of '80s culture referenced and experienced in this story is laid in great detail.
  • Ripley's Bureau of Investigation: In "Danger Underground", Kate lectures Jack (through a video link on an R-Phone) about mythological examples of multiheaded snakes as a way to help him. Jack doesn't find the infodump useful at all, but doesn't tell her, only politely thanking her.
  • Transformers: Exodus: The first chapter takes information that could definitely be introduced later and throws it all into the intro. We don't need to know what the city looks like, when Orion Pax is sitting at a desk, and he's not even looking out a window — or even thinking about the city at all.
  • The Unknown Sea (1898): After three continuous chapters devoted to Christian's and Diadyomene's first meeting, there's a time skip of a few hours in Chapter IV to the moment Christian arrives back home. His mother questions him and his reticence pushes her to detail the circumstances of his adoption fifteen years ago, which takes up roughly a third of the chapter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Band of Brothers: Toye informs the viewer of the gear a paratrooper carries by bitching about the quantity and weight of what he has to carry.
    Joe Toye: Three day supply of K-rations, chocolate bars, Charms candy, powdered coffee, sugar, matches, compass, bayonet, entrenching tool, ammunition, gas mask, musette bag with ammo, my weapon, my .45, canteen, two cartons of smokes, Hawkins mine, two grenades, smoke grenade, Gammon grenade, TNT, THIS bullshit,note  and a pair of nasty skivvies!
    Frank Perconte: What's your point?
    Joe Toye: This stuff weighs as much as I do! I still got my 'chute, my reserve 'chute, my Mae West, my M1.
    Frank Perconte: Where are you keeping the brass knuckles?
    Joe Toye: [thoughtfully] I could use some brass knuckles...
  • Batwoman (2019): The first three episodes, particularly the pilot, contain a lot of exposition.
  • Conan: A recurring element in the "Clueless Gamer" sketches is that Aaron delves into the backstory of the game, and Conan looks bored.
  • Series/Detectorists:
    • Two infodumps occur in quick succession in the final episode of the first series; firstly, Lance explains to Andy the many events that have happened that morning (culminating in the news that Larry's invisible dogs have disappeared) which is swiftly followed by Becky off-handedly pinpointing the likely burial site in a matter of seconds.
    • Varde's one and only speaking contribution in the whole series is an infodump about the myth of Nazi gold, disguised as an irrelevant aside.
  • Emergency!: A lot of technical stuff gets thrown around during the series, but the biggest dose occurs during the pilot movie when Gage first arrives at Station 51 and takes a look at the squad's new equipment for the first time. We get a rundown on the stuff they'll be using for the rest of the series: the various first aid kits, the portable EKG and defibrillator, and the orange Biophone.
  • Garth Marenghis Darkplace: Played for comedy in "The Apes of Wrath", where the plot was so badly written that by the end of the show Garth has to talk non-stop for nearly a minute in order to explain what the hell has been happening. Made even more hilarious when it becomes obvious that this scene was never filmed, as we hear Garth delivering a voiceover at breakneck speed whilst the screen displays stills of inanimate objects from Thornton's office.
  • His Dark Materials:
    • The show's first episode starts with a text introduction, explaining the nature of dæmons, alternate universes, and vaguely what Dust is, and was included to clearly explain the explicit fantasy elements of the series while trying to keep As You Know exposition to a minimum. In "The Lost Boy" Kaisa narrates the opening to speak of the prophecy regarding Lyra and Will.
    • The fourth episode of series 2 opens with a backstory for the knife, done in voiceover by Xaphania. As the knife was going to be introduced in more detail in the cut Asriel episode, it's possible that this was done to cover for that lost information.
    • The first episode of the third season likewise opens with a short narration by Xaphania about the Authority.
  • Lost in Oz: Selina tends to explain the plot or backstory at times, as does Bellaridere.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Season 11 begins with some Gizmonic Institute employees expositing about Jonah's mission, his exceptional prowess as a Gizmonic employee, and Bunny-Ears Lawyer tendencies. After the initial info dump transitions into Jonah's kidnapping and the the theme song, Jonah then tells the audience about the modifications he's made to the bots and Kinga shares her capitalistic motivations to turn her family's newly resurrected experiment into a billion dollar brand she can sell off to Disney.
    • Max's narration during the bumpers often info dumps bits of world building information, such as the invention exchange being a traditional greeting at the Gizmonic Institute.
      Max: The Satellite of Love is where Jonah and the bots reside. It also houses the Mystery Science Theater. Yep! This whole time, that was the name of the actual theater!
  • New Tricks: Brian often gives exposition about the background of a case, or sometimes the whole area of crime involved (such as cybercrime in "Body of Evidence").
  • The Soup: Blue Bloods has been mocked a few times for scenes in which characters gather together and deliver mountains of exposition about things they already know for the audience's benefit.

    Video Games 
  • In Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis the story is told between levels in comic book fashion, leading to every instance of exposition being told at once.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: Most of the background information about the current state of the world you learn as Gunvolt narrates the Time Skip between the opening level and the rest of the game.
  • Broken Sword: The Angel of Death: George reads the history of The Knights Templar and The Ark of the Covenant on his PDA after hacking André's historical database.
  • Dynasty Warriors Online: Given that there isn't much story when you go in-fight, most narrative is delivered via exposition.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: Lab Discovera immediately starts with a massive info dump on the purpose of the laboratory, which is justified in-universe by it doubling as a tourist attraction. This is followed by a shorter spiel from Leongar, who explains what the Beast Pack has been trying to accomplish.
  • La-Mulana: Acquire the Ocarina and the four Sages (Philosophers) will tell you pretty much everything about the ruins and their history. Acquire the Diary and elder Xelpud will also fill in a lot of details — in either case, it's a lot more text than you'll get from any other NPC in the game.
  • Marathon: Throughout the trilogy there are quite a few terminals that are quite wordier than others.
  • Mega Man Star Force: The first game goes through a lot of text during the opening sequence trying to lay out basic worldbuilding and mechanical explanation.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers: Late in the game is a series of cutscenes that explain most of the plot in one go. It's so long, you're asked if you want to save your game halfway through it, and it even flashes back to the scenes immediately prior.

    Web Animation 
  • Babushka: the Movie: Rae helpfully fills in both other players/characters and the audience on the significance of her and Sykkuno using the term "babushka". It's absolutely perfect for story-telling purposes, as otherwise non-fans wouldn't know why the word "babushka" has any meaning for them, but it actually happened exactly that way because Rae and Sykkuno had only cooked it up in the previous round of play.
  • Dusk's Dawn:
    • In the beginning, Breeze Rider and one of the De Noirs inform the audience that the family's only son hasn't been outside for a long time, he owns the land, and that his father is missing.
    • The Villain Song states that the father assembled the castle with dark powers, and a doppelganger is formed from them.
    • Donut has the longest infodump in the story, admitting that he's not a royal guard, he was recently instructed about the Elements of Harmony, he filed a report to Celestia and that the villain is in Ponyville.
  • Extra Credits: The earlier science fiction stories in the first science fiction magazines, before Campbell revolutionized the genre, thought it was important to always use the medium to teach the reader about how the marvelous devices within worked. Unfortunately, this didn't exactly make for riveting fiction.
  • Terrible Writing Advice: Infodump is rather commonly discussed trope that comes up in the series multiple times. "Exposition" episode touches infodumps in more detail. J.P. Beaubien recommends to dump a lot of the info during the intro, during lectures and use smart characters to deliver exposition. All in the most boring way possible and with no regard to whether that information is relevant later.

    Web Video 
  • Conlang Critic:
    • The segment on Sambahsa's verbs opens with a giant conjugation table, then devolves into a montage of overlapping passages from the language's densely written reference grammar.
    • Most of the Lingwa de Planeta episode is dedicated to informing new viewers, subscribed from non-linguistics videos on the jan Misali channel, on the basics of linguistics and conlanging that the show deals with. Although there were explanations of some concepts before that episode, the show and the basic segments had no formal introduction until that episode four years in, on the assumption that its Target Audience was already familiar with the subject matter.
  • Real-Time Fandub:
    • Played for laughs at the end of Resident Evil 2 when a random truck driver very quickly provides a last minute explanation for how Sherry could leave the mindscape:
      Driver: The-reason-Sherry-was-able-to-escape-is-because-childhood-innocence-is-a-universal-concept-and-so-she-was-able-to-exist-outside-of-our-world FUCK YOU, LEON!
    • Dr. Hill provides exposition a couple of times in Until Dawn: Part 2, explaining the true nature of Rude Mountain as a natural disposal site of bad vibes, how Josh's interference has disrupted the natural order of the mountain and how he is rewriting the timeline to try and repair the damage.
  • Vampire Reviews: Infodumps are stated to be the Fatal Flaw of Vampire Academy film, despite being so loyal to the book. The book has a lot of lore too, but cleverly and interestingly weaves it into the plot. The film... doesn't.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Exposition Bomb, Exposition Dump, Expo Dump, Plot Dump, Too Much Exposition


A CDO is three-day-old fish

...packaged to look like a new dish -- uh --we mean, diversified portfolio, as Anthony Bourdain explains

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / Infodump

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