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I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before

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"Whoa! This place looks just like... it reminds me of.. this is just like that time I... hm. I don't think anything like this has ever happened to me before..."
Jan Jansen after seeing Hell, Baldur's Gate II

If one of the people questioned during the investigation of a Monster of the Week is a policeman or a marine or a scientist or some other person who was on the job when they saw the thing or event, there's a good bet they'll say some variation on this Stock Phrase: "I've been a biologist for thirty-four years, and I've never seen anything like this before", "You see some strange things on this job, but I've never seen anything like this before", etc; much of the time the line is spoken in such a way as to suggest that the speaker will be haunted and traumatized by what they saw to the end of their days. The message is clear: if it's got the professionals spooked, you must be onto something.

It can also be used as a form of As You Know, or more accurately, "As You Didn't Know." In a setting where everything is unfamiliar to the viewer, special mention needs to be made of things that are unfamiliar to the characters in the setting.

See also Readings Are Off the Scale. Compare A Rare Sentence, where nobody has ever heard or said anything like that before. Contrast Seen It All.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: Any time that a fighter — hero or villain — attains a new level of strength. "I've never felt a power anything like this!!"
  • In My Hero Academia, when Izuku tells All Might about his dream, where he saw the memories of All For One and the first holder of One For All arguing over what the former is doing, followed by the latter suddenly talking to Izuku, All Might can only remark that his late mentor Nana Shimura never mentioned anything like it to him, and that he never experienced any such thing himself, but he does promise Izuku that the two of them will look into it together.
  • Expressed constantly by the various sources of technobabble (mainly Ritsuko and the Bridge Bunnies) in Neon Genesis Evangelion. A promo for the show's brief stint on Toonami actually contained this exact line.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in The Far Side. Two Eskimoes see two creatures coming out of a spaceship; creatures that look exactly like the Theme Park Version of a tall cactus, with arms and legs added on. One of them exclaims, "They're like nothing I've ever seen!"

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this MonsterVerse fanfiction, Godzilla, despite his literally primeval age and experiences fighting other, hostile monsters, thinks that the cry of the Many's Dracolich form is unlike anything he's heard before.
  • In Luna's Hubby Luna's mother asks Algernon Croaker about one of Voldemort's Horcruxes.
    Mrs. Lovegood: I've never seen anything like that, and I thought I'd seen just about every genre of magic there is.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin it turns out that Harry's childhood abuse was due to an unknown something which provokes irrational hatred and fear in most if not all Muggles.
    Snape: The only reason I never pursued a Mastery in Dark Arts Defense is that doing so would require me to reveal to the Ministry how many illegal curses and hexes I know, as well as how many I have invented that are not publicly known. And I... have never heard of anything remotely like this.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Freeza keeps track of every Badass Boast and tallies every line of Heroic Speech he hears. He's heard everything, and we do mean everything, at least ten times, until he meets Goku, who finally manages to surprise him.
    Goku: Imma deck ya in the schnozz!
  • In the Star Trek parody Fan Film Sev Trek: Puss in Boots, Counselor Tryhard is amazed at the sight of a shapeshifting alien.
    Counselor Tryhard: I've never seen anything like it!
    Commander Piker: That's 'cause Deep Sev Nine got all the morphing effects!

    Films — Animation 
  • Used half-seriously in The Transformers: The Movie, where the old Autobot warrior Kup had continuously been playing The Münchausen, comparing current situations to things that happened in his old war days. But when he sees Unicron attacking Cybertron, he's left speechless:
    Hot Rod: Doesn't this remind you of anything, Kup?
    Kup: Nope. Never seen anything like this before.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Burning: On Cropsy's burns, the nurse at the hospital explains to the new doctor that "I've been working here ten years, and I'm telling you, I ain't never seen anything like this."
  • The Day After Tomorrow: One of the astronauts on the I.S.S. says this when observing the formation of the hemisphere-covering blizzard system that fuels the movie's Apocalypse Wow.
  • In Doctor Dolittle Richard Attenborough, playing a circus owner, sings "I've Never Seen Anything Like It" in which he enthuses over the rarity of Rex Harrison's Pushmi-Pullyu.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), New York's police commissioner claims "to have seen every form of combustion known to man", but the destruction of the containment unit (and the firehouse with it) "beats the hell out of [him]".
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): The monster-studying organization Monarch's scientist Dr. Rick Stanton says as much about Ghidorah's head-regenerating rapid Healing Factor, which he says goes against every law of nature even In-Universe.
  • The Jeweler in Help! says the trope name after breaking all his tools trying to remove Ringo's ring.
    "Jeweler, you've failed!"
  • Kong: Skull Island: Listen closely when the choppers unexpectedly encounter Kong for the first time, and you can hear this phrase being shouted among the helicopters' frantic radio chatter.
  • Invoked, then subverted, in Quarantine (2008). Later played straight (or possibly double-subverted) when the virus turns out to be a form of rabies that he's never seen before.
    Angela: So, you've never seen anything like this before?
    Lawrence: No, I have never seen anything like this before... mostly because I'm a vet.
  • Inverted in the movie Tremors, in regards to a giant burrowing worm-monster:
    Earl: Hey, Rhonda, you ever hear of anything like this before?
    Valentine: [sarcastic] Oh, sure, Earl, everybody knows about 'em, we just didn't tell you!
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Played Serious in X-Men. When they are examining Wolverine's x-rays and Jean is telling everyone about his adamantium covered skeleton, Xavier ominously says, "Experimentation on mutants isn't unheard of, but I've never seen anything like this before..."
    • Likewise played serious in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Especially horrifying is that it's coming from Wolverine, whose Bad Future self would be 191 years old and and has seen more fucked up shit in his life than most normal people could possibly imagine.
      Wolverine: I've been in a lot of wars... but I've never seen anything like this...
    • Played serious again in X-Men: Apocalypse when Charles Xavier is being possessed by Apocalypse:
      "I've never felt power like this before..."

  • Harry Harrison's "The Fourth Law of Robotics": Despite his decades of experience, Dr Donovan has never seen a robot commit a crime like bank-robbing before. He and Director Calvin want to do whatever they can to keep this information away from the authorities. He later has the same reaction to seeing a printed circuit board.
  • In the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization, this is zoological expert Mark Russell's reaction to hearing Mechagodzilla's mechanical roar.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Bones has the sentiment without the ominous undertones. Fisher is despondent (as usual) that he can't identify cause of death on a body because it doesn't match up with any of the usual suspects (stabbing, slicing, blunt force, etc.), but Brennan tells him that the uncertainty itself is telling. She's been ID'ing remains, including victims of genocide, for years, and has seen just about everything. If it doesn't line up with something she knows, it eliminates quite a bit.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    Anya: Yes, 'cause it seems like we're always dealing with creatures from outer space. Except that we don't ever do that.
  • Used oddly straight, albeit without the stock phrase, in an early episode of CSI: the coroner enthusiastically describes the condition of a corpse as "Weird. Like I may use her in a lecture weird." Turns out the body had been frozen, which doesn't really seem strange enough to justify the reaction.
  • Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor quotes this trope in "The Shakespeare Code" while examining a man who apparently drowned on dry land. He's telling the truth to a point, although a previous incarnation of his had seen an identical death in "The Mind of Evil". note 
  • Parodied in Get Smart. When confronted with something like an arrow the size of a rocket, Max would say "That's the second largest (arrow) I've ever seen!"
  • In one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a criminal couple is exploiting spousal privilege to keep their victims from testifying against them. One of the detectives asks Cabot if there isn't a loophole for a situation like this.
    Cabot: I checked the case law. There has never been a situation like this.
  • On My Cat from Hell, this is host Jackson Galaxy's basic reaction in "Feral Shop Cat" from Season 9 in which he encounters a couple with a cat they named after him for whom they actually moved to a new home in order to have a second floor to keep him on because he couldn't be with their other cats that he kept attacking.
  • On NCIS, this is basically the reaction of an agent in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, when he learns that one of his colleagues (whom he'd already described as a "creepy son of a bitch") shipped a pair of women's eyeballs to a transvestite sailor who then killed himself.
    "And here I thought I'd Seen It All."
  • Twice in Primeval, and both times it's relayed by the same character:
    • In Episode 6, Connor says the Home Office's science lab said this when they identified a blood sample from the Monster of the Week as possessing extremely-scrambled bat-like DNA.
    • Connor himself reacts this way to the neural clamp technology in Series 2, Episode 6.
  • The good people of Star Trek were constantly invoking this trope even when the thing in question was very similar to things they had already come across.
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Spock's Brain", Scotty uses this trope in response to seeing an ion drive engine; unfortunately a case of Technology Marches On, as they are currently being used in real life to drive spacecraft.
    • This is Played for Laughs in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Cloud". When the crew encounters an unusual nebula, Harry Kim comments "I've never seen anything like it" and Tuvok comms him to say that statements like that make the junior officers nervous. Later, when Janeway asks Tuvok for his opinion regarding a barrier, Tuvok says that he's unable to identify it and Kim comms "Kim to Tuvok. In other words, you've never seen anything like it. Oh, I promise not to tell the junior officers."
  • Parodied in Whose Line Is It Anyway?, in which Colin makes a Running Gag of saying this at the start of every single Newsflash game.
    • Also comes up once as "The good news is, we're naming a disease after you!"
  • Given the premise of the show, this line comes up at least once an episode in The X-Files.
  • The TV show The Zack Files had a character who kept trying to scientifically explain and document the weird paranormal stuff that constantly happened around Zack Greenberg. His catch phrase, upon seeing whatever freaky event was transpiring, was "It's like nothing I've seen before!"

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    Video Games 
  • Anyone who tries to read the protagonist's fortune in the Baldur's Gate series gets spooked. Apparently, none of them had ever seen a demigod before.
    • And to put the page quote in context, Jan Jansen is the resident Cloudcuckoolander Munchausen with a tangentially related story for every occasion. Him being stumped produces a rash of comments from the other party members that the end must be nigh.
  • Eternal Darkness:
    • Used straight at the beginning of the indescribably scary game, when the police detective describes what's happened to the female protagonist's grandfather...
      Alex Roivas: Yes, it's him... He's wearing our family ring. [sobs] I don't understand! Why are you showing me this?! Can't you check dental records or something? What is wrong with you?!
      Inspector Legrasse: In my 30 years on the force, I've never seen anything like this... and no, we can't check dental records! There's... there's no head.
    • Also used when a player-controlled medical doctor autopsies the various monsters he encounters.
    • Subverted when Peter Jacob brings the Essence he found to the mansion; Edward Roivas has seen something like it before (the one Edwin Lindsey brought him 2 years earlier), and says so.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Agarth the Fateweaver questions whether you actually exist or are just an alcohol-induced hallucination when he is unable to see your Fate in his cards. As far as he knows, no one should be able to exist outside of the Weave of Fate. A bit later in the game after you save Agarth from the Ettin destined to kill him, changing his fate forever, Agarth exclaims "What are you!?" in bewilderment and fear.
  • Bill of Left 4 Dead says the trope name when examining zombie corpses in the intro. He takes it as proof that "they're changing".
  • Quoted in Persona 3 by Mitsuru, the team's leader and current Mission Control, who gives a subdued "I have never seen anything like this" as they start their battle with the Priestess, one of the Arcana Shadows. This is used to reveal to both the newer members of SEES and to the player that, although the group's been fighting the Shadows for ten years, this is something entirely new to them.
  • In Sword of the Stars, when you encounter a Silicoid Queen in combat, your ship personnel may say something to this effect. It gets silly when they say it again in subsequent encounters.
  • Variants of this are used at least twice in Half-Life.
    • The first time is early in the game:
      Scientist: I never thought I'd see a Resonance Cascade, let alone create one.
    • Then later, when you encounter the Ichthyosaur:
      Scientist: Did you see it? They said it was hauled from the Challenger Deep, but I'm positive that beast never swam in terrestrial waters until a week ago.
  • Dawn of War: One of the "morale broken" lines the Kasrkin (whose hat is basically being tougher, deadlier, and more experienced than the average Guardsman) can give is "I've never seen them do that before!".

  • One wizard (or such) comments this when seeing the Monster in the Darkness (then without darkness, but invisible for the reader) in the prequel "Start of Darkness" of Order of the Stick.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has a version of this, after the meeting with Coyote and Ysengrin, about the latter's new Green Thumb (and arm, and bipedalism, and who knows what else) Especially significant since the person saying this is as old as the Earth itself.:
    Jones: The way he has distorted his body... I've seen similar, but nothing quite like that.
    Headmaster: Coming from you that disturbs me greatly.
  • Sluggy Freelance: I've never seen a universe so ... deliberate."
  • Hero In Training has a variation, when a character who outlives universes said that he only has seen the current situation three times in his life.
  • Averting this is a running gag in The Pigs Ear, with resident Deadpan Snarker Cyril T. Wizard having "this is the third strangest/worst/whatever X I've ever seen" as his catchphrase. The first time we hear him say this is when an Eldritch Abomination sticks a tentacle through a dimensional rift in the eponymous bar's men's room, prompting Cyril to remark, "That is the third strangest thing I've ever seen in a pub toilet." It's probably best not to speculate upon what the first two might have been.

    Web Original 
  • In Awesome Games Done Quick , it's somewhat of a Running Gag that a runner will come up against some brand new glitch or just problem and comment "that's never happened before..." Examples include the game crashing or softlocking, new glitches, or just the Random Number God feeling particularly spiteful.

    Web Videos 
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on Twitch and YouTube. This is his basic reaction to the events of this video. Throughout his many scambaits, he's both put scammers through a number of ridiculous scenarios and seen some pretty weird stuff in return. Nevertheless, he can barely believe it in this video when a pair of scammers waste over three hours with him and he manages to get their bank account info to shut down, all while he's running a parody version of Windows called "Windows RG" ("Really Good" edition.) As he points out himself, Windows RG is not simply fake, but insanely fake, so much so that it insults the user and when you try to shut it down using the menu warns that "there is a high chance of your processor overheating." He normally only uses it when he isn't trying to actively scambait and just wants to have a bit of fun. Yet the scammer never seems to catch on to what's going on, even though, as Kitboga himself shows several times, the supposed web browser that's a part of it doesn't work, leading to the logic bomb that if it doesn't work, how could he have navigated to the Internet in the first place to get the scammer connected with his PC?

    Western Animation 
  • Used in Avatar: The Last Airbender when Aang has his fortune read by Aunt Wu. It blows up the bone she was heating like she dropped a grenade in the fire. Dumbfounded, she says, "I've never seen anything like this before! Your destiny—this is incredible—you will be involved in an epic battle that will determine the fate of the entire world!" Aang, well aware that he's The Chosen One, is not impressed and says, "Yeah, yeah; I know that already. But does it say anything about a girl?"
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Ex Mach Tina", everyone is weirded out when Jimmy Jr. starts making out with the remote-controlled robot Tina's been using to go to school while her sprained ankle heals. Linda tells Tina she'd like to reassure her that she's been through similar boy troubles, but admits this is probably the first time this has happened to anybody.
  • Final Space: In "Until the Sky Falls", Kevin van Newton comments that the worldwide earthquakes are unlike any geological activity he's ever seen and it's almost as if the planet itself is really pissed off.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Scary-oke", this is Agent Powers's reaction to Dipper accidentally summoning a horde of zombies.
    Powers: Kid, we've been chasing the paranormal for years, but we've never seen anything like this before!
  • In the The Lion Guard episode "The Ukumbusho Tradition", this is Kion's reaction to seeing his friends being painted by Makini to look like lions.
    Bunga: Do we look great? Or really great?
    Kion: I've definitely never seen anything like it.
  • On The Octonauts, this is Captain Barnacles's reaction to the jellyfish bloom in "Jellyfish Bloom."
  • Regular Show: Skips is incredibly old and has seen just about everything...but for some reason he can only hazard a guess at how to deal with a problem so mundane as getting rid of skunk stink(granted it was a wereskunk).
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied when a meteorologist tracking a hurricane informs Marge; "This is the worst storm I've ever seen. And I've seen three storms." Naturally, Marge is horrified.
    • In another Simpsons episode, Moe walks in a restaurant full of mafia goons and kingpins who all immediately turn their weapons on him. He remarks that's the "second most guns ever pointed at [him]."
  • Lampshaded in an episode of the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; when Donatello delivers this line, movie-savvy Michaelangelo says it along with him.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: The words you do not want to hear at the doctor's office and why other doctors envy people whose last names were Turner, Klinefelter, Tourette, etc.
  • Commonly seen when the investigator will come out and tell the assembled press that this is the worst example of whatever they have seen in their x years of service.


Video Example(s):


I Promise Not To Tell

In "The Cloud" from "Star Trek: Voyager," Tuvok chastises Kim for commenting that he's never seen anything like what they're seeing, saying that it could make the junior officers nervous. A bit later, as Voyager encounters an anomaly, Janeway asks for Tuvok's thoughts, but Tuvok admits that he's unable to offer identification. Kim them comms him, saying that in other words, he's never seen anything like it. He promises not to tell the junior officers.

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Example of:

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