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aka: The Narrator

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"With speed and dexterity astonishing for a woman of her advancing years, Mother bastes the turkey, tosses the salad, and mashes the potatoes!"
"How d'you do and hello, I'll be running the show, I'm your host and emcee."
The Cat in the Hat, Seussical, "Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!"

"I want you to describe me."

That's what the sign had said, anyway. And so, as if compelled to do so, Stanl- I mean the Troper sat down at their computer screen and began to type...

A character, sometimes part of the story proper and sometimes completely external to it, who acts either as the storyteller or as a framing device. A Narrator by definition breaks the Fourth Wall by addressing the audience to tell them the story. Sometimes, the Narrator is also responsible for presenting An Aesop to the audience at the end of the story (as in The Twilight Zone (1959) and its imitators).

To be a Narrator, the individual must directly relate to the story in some way, if only as the person telling it. For example, Alfred Hitchcock was not a Narrator for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, because his footage was independent of and had no bearing on the story or stories it appeared with. Rod Serling was a narrator, because he specifically introduced each story individually, often provided a lead-in to set them up, and provided a closing after the story footage ended; (okay, and in one episode he actually was assumed to be present in-universe, since an in-story character erased him from existence as a closing joke).

Sometimes the Narrator can also take on aspects of a Greek Chorus or be otherwise weird, but a pure Narrator does not offer their own opinion on the action; he just lays it out — and occasionally delivers a punchline or moral. A Narrator is one of the primary ways of providing Exposition.

One way of subverting this trope is to have one or more in-story characters able to hear the narrator (as in most instances, the characters do not hear the narrations), and refuse to do what the narrator describes. Another is to make the narrator a complete liar.

See Narrator Tropes for specific types of narrators.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Delicious Party♡Pretty Cure: The series has a narrator introducing the viewers to Oishina City. She even states in the first episode that she's keeping her identity a secret for now. Interestingly enough, Rosemary and the PreCures actually hear her speaking in Episode 12.
  • The Dragon Ball series has a narrator who recaps the previous episodes, previews the next, occasionally narrates in the middle of episodes, and closes the final scene. In the Japanese version, Joji Yanami was the narrator for all of the series until Naoki Tatsuta replaced him, both sounding like an elderly man telling a folk story. In the Funimation dub, Brice Armstrong narrates Dragon Ball, Kyle Hebert does Z, Andy Chandler does GT and Doc Morgan does Kai. The second one is rather infamous for his gravely-voiced delivery of "Last/next time, on Dragon Ball Z!"
  • Digimon had an interesting variation on this: in the first two seasons, most episodes began with the previous one being recapped by a character and ended with narration by a generic narrator. However, the third season begins a new-year-is-new-universe format similar to Super Sentai, and from then on, episodes are narrated by one of the previous year's characters!
    • Of course, this is just for the dub...which is somewhat abandoned in Data Squad in favor of a next episode preview. One of the characters still recap the previous episode, but only when it's needed.
    • For Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02 the generic narrator (who does more of the narration in the original Japanese, including the recaps, which makes more sense as sometimes the characters end up talking about things they can't possibly know about) is in the epilogue revealed to be Takeru (TK in the dub) who's become a novelist writing about their adventures in the digital world.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The series has a narrator occasionally dropping in to provide exposition on characters backstories and explaining real life facts at pivotal moments.
  • The unnamed Narrator from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo frequently acts as goofy and strange as the rest of the characters, such as when he decides to speak in a bad western accent for an entire episode or when he's forced by the producers to say everything in rhyme. Due to the No Fourth Wall nature of the show, both he and the characters sometimes get on each others' nerves.
  • Who could forget the narrator from Speed Racer? Unknown to Speed, Racer X is secretly his older brother, Rex, who ran away from home years ago!
  • Princess Tutu begins every show with a Narrator telling the audience a fairy tale. Sometimes it's from the (fictional) fairytale that one of the characters is from, sometimes it concerns a character's backstory, and sometimes it's a story that's somehow related to the episode. Drosselmeyer also serves as an odd narrator in some scenes, appearing on-screen to question details about the characters and the scene, and to occasionally tell the characters (who can rarely hear him) what they should do. Considering he's actually writing the story, it makes sense for him to be the narrator.
  • Judging by sharing voice actors the narrator for the openings of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann may possibly be Simon at the age in the epilogue.
  • Alphonse Elric in the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist. In Brotherhood, it's implied to be Father.
  • Kaiji has a particularly popular narrator, due to his overly serious tone and use of overblown metaphors to describe what's going on.
  • Shin Mazinger's Narrator may be THE MOST Hot-Blooded Narrator. EVER! Oh, and he's also a Large Ham as well.
  • The GaoGaiGar narrator explains all the scientific Keys to Victory without really letting emotion into it. He doesn't need to - explaining how the Monster of the Week will be getting its ass(es) handed to it in through what is basically the Japanese version of Morgan Freeman is enough.
  • Ōkami-san has Shirai Kuroko as a Lemony Narrator who also makes frequent observations about the main heroine's lack of endowments.
  • The narrator of Sgt. Frog is a typical narrator, usually summing up the episode with a little piece of wisdom at the end of each segment. However, everyone is aware of his existence. He even appears on screen (wearing a mask) and is sometimes called upon by the characters. He's offered Natsumi fashion advice, tried to keep a stranded Keroro company, and even provided his voice for a fake invasion video.
    • He's only a typical narrator in the Japanese version. In the dub, he openly hates his job and tries to separate himself from the insanity. In one episode, he actually quit his job because the series recycled a plotline too many times, and a new British narrator replaces him until he comes back at the end. He also only does the show because he's deep in gambling debts, apparently.
  • The narrator in Code Geass appears to be C.C., based on also being voiced by Yukana. She primarily narrates the opening to an episode, recounting important past events or narrating important pieces of information.
  • Kimba the White Lion sometimes uses a narrator who would set up the premise of the episode or go over plot points that the audience may have missed from previous episodes.
  • One Piece uses one occasionally. Especially notable once in the Skypiea arc, where they each managed to individually go in entirely different directions than they were supposed to, he gave up on them.
  • The narrator in Attack on Titan appears to be Armin, based on also being voiced by Marina Inoue in Japanese, and Josh Grelle in English. He primarily narrates the opening to an episode, recounting important past events or narrating important pieces of information.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Lucy Heartfilia becomes this from time to time, especially after every arc, as if she's writing the events of the story in a book, a diary, or a letter. Appropriate, as she's an aspiring novelist with a habit of writing letters to her deceased mother.
    • In the first Time Skip, Levy McGarden becomes the narrator in the Bad Future that was supposed to happen after the disaster that would have plagued Fiore.
    • In the Japanese version of the anime, Hidekatsu Shibata is the narrator. In the English version, Bob Magruder narrated the series until his death, after which he was replaced by Jim White.
  • Hunter × Hunter has a narrator who typically speaks at the ending of the episode and later on, particularly in the Chimera Ant arc, extensively explains the characters' powers, mental states, and miscellaneous information important for the story.
  • Space☆Dandy has a narrator, voiced by Masaaki Yajima, who interacts directly with the heroes despite not being physically present, and sometimes forces them to act when their stupidity would otherwise prevent the plot from advancing. In the final episode, it's revealed that the narrator is God.
  • Ginga Teikoku Kouboushi: The original works constantly use an omniscient third-person narration to establish character thoughts and body language, but this adaptation greatly restricts its use (not counting the Encyclopedia Galactica entry at the start of each storyarc). When there is narration, the text is rendered in a rectangular box.
  • Cells at Work: Bacteria!: In the only appearance by any of the original Cells at Work! gang, White Blood Cell U-1146 presents relevant biology facts via narration boxes throughout the series.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pakdam Pakdai has an off-screen narrator named Nana, but only in the original Hindi version of the show. International localizations get rid of Nana entirely.

    Comic Books 
  • Kingdom Come has a dramatic subversion of this. Norman McKay has been chosen by the Spectre, embodiment of God's vengeance, to be the one who witnesses the downfall of the world. As they look, separate from reality but able to observe it, upon the members of the Justice League debating the ethics of what they've done, suddenly the Flash, who exists on all dimensional levels at once, turns around and plucks a very surprised Norman McKay out of the air.
  • Invincible usually doesn't use a narrator, but sometimes makes an exception. A perfect and funny example was when two characters were going to have sex, and the story jumped to another person, with a narrator explaining that they deserved a little bit of privacy.
  • The Sandman (1989) occasionally makes use of narration. Sometimes it would be by one of the series' characters, and other times it would be anonymous but fairly poetic.
  • One of Frank Miller's signature tropes is his usually hard-boiled style narration.
  • Nextwave has some fairly odd narration.
    • “Nextwave is in your room and touching you stuff”
  • For the Frankenstein segments of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers the narrator was also a Large Ham.
  • One of Stan Lee's key tropes, True Believers!
  • Virtually all of Kurt Busiek's stories use narration, sometimes by a character in the story and sometimes by an omniscient narrator.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Little Children plays this oddly straight, with a narrator explicitly saying what the characters are thinking at a given moment. It's surprisingly effective, though frequent PBS viewers will be rather weirded out, as the narrator they use is Will Lyman, the voice of Frontline and many an episode of Nova.
    • And then for the football game near the end, it turns into an Affectionate Parody of NFL Films, with Lyman doing a great impression of the late John Facenda, who narrated just about everything they put out while he was alive.
  • The Neverending Story suddenly sprouts a narrator only at the very, very end. It would be all too easy to construct a lofty critical reason for this, such as, "It's to emphasize thematically that the real story is only beginning etc..." but in all likelihood it was just because of earlier scenes being cut or a sloppy mistake in the film's writing or editing.
  • The Criminologist fulfills this role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
    • "I would like (You would, wouldn't you?), if I may (No, you may not), to take you on a strange journey (So strange they made a movie out of it!)."
  • Sleepers: Shakes narrates the entire movie.
  • Val: Jack Kilmer, Val Kilmer's son, narrates the film of Val's writings due to Val not being able to do so due to complications of throat cancer.
  • Subverted in Wrong is Right which opens with Sean Connery's voice Waxing Lyrical about the Spy Satellites orbiting the Earth before the Title Drop. A bit later we see a sailboat being driven through the desert of Hagreb while his character talks in narrative fashion about how he's an old friend of the country's king, only to get a Reveal Shot that he's being followed by camera cars and he's actually doing a live report for the TV network he works for.

  • Mike Hanlon in Stephen King's It. Between every section of the book there is an interlude where Mike narrates the history of It in the form of a documentary journal.
  • Professor Mmaa's Lecture is written down by an "impartial chronicler" who supposedly has witnessed all events first-hand, which doesn't explain how could he know the characters' private thoughts, or know what happened in places where the characters were explicitly alone.
  • Qualia the Purple has Hatou narrating every now and again, increasingly so after a certain point when she is the only person who can observe the story being told.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Rod Serling in The Twilight Zone (1959).
  • Ron Howard's voiceovers in Arrested Development.
  • Charles Martinet serves as narrator for High Score.
  • Richard Dean Anderson sometimes serves as a narrator in MacGyver, either to reveal a chunk of backstory or to describe the principles of his Bamboo Technology.
  • Waylon Jennings as the Balladeer in The Dukes of Hazzard, though his narration was usually restricted to a Quip to Black along the lines of, "Them Duke boys are in a whole heap of trouble."
    • Or "In case you're wondering what's going on, so. Am. I."
  • Likewise George, of Dead Like Me, who narrates from a distance, sometimes showing omniscience and talking directly to the audience, and sometimes just within her head.
  • Classic example: The Untouchables was narrated by famous columnist/political commentator Walter Winchell. His distinctive, urgent, sharply voiced, melodramatic announcements became a television icon, selling corny set up lines similar to this: "As Al Capone and his henchmen talked of murder over steaks and bootleg champagne, Eliot NESS and his UNTOUCHABLES made plans to topple his empire of crime!"
  • Doctor Who episode "The End Of Time" has a character known as The Narrator, who even helpfully fills us in on the plot so far in the middle of the first half. He's also known as Lord President Rassilon, possibly using an alias.
  • Jim Dale in Pushing Daisies.
  • Quentin Tarantino narrates the first season of Super Pumped The Battle for Uber.
  • JD of Scrubs narrates his own life in his head, as well as the lives of nearly everyone he has regular contact with, so he is essentially the narrator of the show. Lucy Bennett takes over this role in the last season.
  • Future-Ted Mosby (from the year 2030) in How I Met Your Mother, like JD above, is practically omniscient from the viewers' perspective, so he qualifies as a narrator too.
  • Most Super Sentai series have a narrator to handle recaps of previous episodes and Opening Narration, but Toshio Furukawa's work in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger deserves an honorable mention. Anything, from the mechanics of the Transformation Sequence to Jasmine's Psychic Powers and Sen's thinking pose would be explained every time. Up to and including The Movie and the Grand Finale. Most probably tuned him out around the middle of the series.
    • The most notable example for Dekarangers is probably the Judgment system. Every time the judgment system is activated, Furukawa explains how it works, even in the finale and special movies.
    • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger should get bonus points here, because the narrator is an actual character on the show who explains who the Monsters of the Week are and occasionally interacts with the rest of the cast.
    • Engine Sentai Go-onger is unique in that it has no fixed narrator. Rather, the Engines themselves all take turns narrating episodes, relating them like a story in the life of their Go-Onger partners
  • Most Ultra Series have a narrator whose usual purpose is to fill in gaps in the narrative with his exposition, explain the why the Colour Timer is flashing for the first few episodes, and occasionally make a few musings related to an episode's themes. In some series, the protagonist will be the narrator, but only do the narration for the start and/or end of an episode.
    • Ultra Q had Koji Ishizaka, who can be considered Rod Serling's Japanese counterpart and carries similar status in Japan. He also did the first 19 episodes of Ultraman and several movies. Hikaru Urano maintains similar status for doing the remainder of Ultraman, as well as Ultraseven and a handful of Ultra Q episodes.
  • Earl Hamner Jr. is the voice of the older John-Boy Walton in The Waltons.
  • Burn Notice has its main character, Michael, narrate a lot of the story. Most likely this was to allow him to explain the clever tricks he was doing without the need of a Watson hanging around all the time. It also serves as the gimmick of the show.
  • Main character Zack Morris did this at least once in every episode of Saved by the Bell. Unlike many examples, instead of narrating over the activity, he would actually talk directly to the camera.
  • William Conrad's omniscient narrator on The Fugitive.
  • Thomas & Friends: The Narrator was the only voice on the show until season 13 and provided all the voices for all the characters. When season 13 arrived, all the characters got their own voices, but the narrator remained.
  • Mary Alice Young (an omnipresent dead character), on Desperate Housewives.
  • Stefan Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries. Although Elena is the central character and protagonist, Stefan is the one who is telling the story about Elena and the other characters through his eyes and his point of view. This was established in the series Pilot.
  • Lucas Scott of One Tree Hill. He would always begin and end each episode with a literary reference.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981): Peter Jones.
  • Several M*A*S*H episodes feature a character narrating a letter to someone back in the States.
  • The titular character Plop serves as the narrator for each episode of Kabouter Plop by Studio 100.
  • Shawn Spencer on Psych tries to do this in the middle of a case. Gus quickly shuts him down.
  • Gonza, the butler of the Saejima clan, serves in this role in GARO: Makai Retsuden.
  • Good Omens (2019): The narration from the book is provided by Frances McDormand, voicing God Herself.
  • Time personified narrates the opening and occasionally narrates mid-scene in the Indian TV show Mahabharata.
  • Narcos has a rotating cast of narrators, each of whom is also a main character. For the first two seasons, Agent Murphy narrated and in the third season, his partner Peña takes over. Walt Breslin narrates Narcos: Mexico seasons one and two. Andrea Nuñez takes over for season 3.
  • The Toys That Made Us is narrated by Donald Ian Black.



  • In Welcome to Night Vale, public radio host Cecil is always the narrator (we rarely even hear other characters speak), often a bystander to events, and occasionally a protagonist in them. And hoo boy, is he Lemony at times, although he tries to maintain at least the pretense of journalistic distance.
  • Corin Deeth the III acts as this for the Kakos Industries shareholder announcements. He is also the main character and him playing this part only seems to be one of his many job requirements.
  • In The Magnus Archives Jonathan the archivist serves as narrator for the series as a whole, reading out each statement about an alleged supernatural encounter and giving his comments. Through him, each statement-maker is also the first-person narrator of their own story (occasionally we instead hear it in their own voice, when the archivist makes a recording of a new statement instead of one he found in the archive, though Jonathan still adds comments of his own).

    Puppet Shows 

  • Adventures in Odyssey: In the early days of the show, Chris had a good deal more air-time and personality, and occasionally interacted with the characters as well as introducing the story and setting the scene. By now, though, she has spent the better part of the series briefly introducing the show, then showing up at the end to explicitly state the moral of the day and relevant Bible verses before moving on to the credits.
  • The gangster parody Dickie Dick Dickens has two narrators who tell the story in tandem, with the one often adding additional tidbits to the other's stated information. Occasionally they'll disagree with one another about what's relevant to the narrative, or contradict each other on minor details, but both tend to over-dramatize the events and nearly worship the titular character.
  • Dimension X's "Nightfall": To quote the Epigraph and to describe the various settings, an announcer is added to the cast. They primarily help with scene transitions and character exposition.
  • The Foundation Trilogy: The Encyclopedia Galactica is read by a narrator with a teletype machine in the background and in a monotone voice artificially adjusted to sound more computery. The original work's third-person narration is removed, leaving characters to comment on each other's actions.
  • Our Miss Brooks: On the radio, a narrator introduces the show and gives a brief introduction. Often enough, the introduction passes to Miss Brooks who gives comments of her own on her role and reaction to the upcoming events. Sometimes, the narrator or Miss Brooks give another short narration after the message from the the sponsor.
  • A Prairie Home Companion: Garrison Keillor provides the narration for most of the segments, including Guy Noir's Private Eye Monologue, and the show's signature "News from Lake Wobegon".
  • X Minus One's "X Minus One E 028 Nightfall": To quote the Epigraph and to describe the various settings, an announcer is added to the cast. They primarily help with scene transitions and character exposition.

  • The Narrator from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Though the play would be fine without her (with her lines distributed to the other characters), it seems that ALW wanted to have at least one woman in the show who actually had a part.
    • Except that the original narrator was actually portrayed by a man until it premiered on Broadway more than decade after ALW and Tim Rice wrote it.
  • The Stage Manager of Thornton Wilder's play Our Town, who routinely addresses the audience and offers commentary on the characters' actions.
  • The Narrator of the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods becomes a more tangible character in the second act and gets sacrificed to the giant's wife.
  • The Narrator of Passing Strange, who is meant to be the grown-up version of the Youth the story revolves around, and who was originally played on Broadway by one of the show's co-writers, Stew.
  • The Cat in the Hat in Seussical.
  • In One Slight Hitch, PB Coleman, Courtney's younger sister, serves as the narrator in the opening and closing scenes.
  • Adam narrates in Like Dying Things Do
  • The Narrator in Finale.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Empires II: In each campaigns, a narrator tells the story about the focal character and their exploits in history to the player. Several of the campaigns often has twist of revealing themselves of being part of that history.
    • Age of King campaign:
      • The William Wallace campaign is narrated by a Scotsman rallying his warriors in fighting against Longshanks's conquest of Scotland.
      • The Joan of Arc campaign is narrated by Guy Josselyne, who tells the exploits of Joan and her battles in the Hundred Year War. Interestingly, he appears in the last scenario as a hero and though his survival is optional, he will still be the narrator even if he dies in the same scenario.
      • The Saladin campaign is narrated by an anonymous Norman knight who follows the Saracen leader Saladin in his jihad against the Crusaders.
      • The Genghis Khan campaign is narrated by the anonymous Mongolian author of the "The Secret History of the Mongol," and describes how Genghis Khan leads the horde in an attempt at forming the largest empire in the world.
      • The Barbarossa campaign is narrated by a local customer in a German bar, telling the player about the reign of Barbarossa as he ruled the Holy Roman Empire. At the end of the campaign, the narrator is revealed to be Henry the Lion, a German prince that fought both alongside and against Barbarossa throughout the campaign.
    • The Conquerors campaign:
      • The Attila the Hun campaign is narrated by a Frankish monk listening to the account of Father Armand, who reminiscences about the destruction and death brought about by Attila's reign.
      • The El Cid campaign is narrated by a woman in the city of Valentia. In the second scenario, she reveals herself as Jimena, El Cid's wife, who tells the player about her husband's accomplishments.
      • The Montezuma campaign is narrated by Cuauhtémoc, a warrior of the Aztec empire who would succeed Montezuma as the (last) emperor of the Aztec empire.
      • The Battle of the Conquerors is a collection of battles that couldn't be made into a story-based campaign. Therefore, the story is narrated by a generic historian.
    • The Forgotten campaign:
      • The Alaric campaign in the HD version was originally narrated by a wife of Alaric, but in the Definitive Edition, she is replaced by Athaulf, Alaric's brother-in-law.
      • The Dracula campaign was narrated by a young soldier who meets an old man in the ancient stronghold of Vlad Dracula who gives him and his comrades shelter and tells them a story of Vlad the Impaler. At the end of the campaign, where the young soldiers were planning to go to the monastery at Snagov to pay respect to Dracula's grave, asking the old man if he wished to accompany them, which he accepts. In the HD version, the old man reveals himself as Istvan, one of Dracula's companions, but this was omitted in the Definitive Edition, changing the old man to be one of Dracula's loyal soldiers.
      • The Bari campaign was narrated by Andreas Nautikos. He tells a story of how his Byzantine family, starting with his ancestor Panos, has defended the city of Bari for 200 years from Lombards, Normans, and Muslims.
      • The Sforza campaign was narrated by an old Condottiero who remembers Francesco Sforza's rise from mercenary to Duke of Milan. In the HD edition, this Condottiero tells Sforza's story to an university student at Florence, in which in the epilogue reveals himself to be Niccolò Machiavelli, who was writing "The Prince" at the time. However, in the Definitive Edition, the Condottiero reveals himself to be Micheletto, Sforza's cousin, both of whom were working for Venice until Sforza betrayed him while Milan and Venice were at war with each other. Machiavelli was omitted, as he wasn't even born around Micheletto's time.
      • The El Dorado campaign in the HD version was narrated by a conquistador who accompanied Francisco de Orellana's expedition in finding the lost city of gold deep within the Amazon rainforest.
      • The Prithviraj campaign was narrated by Chand Bhai, a Brahman of the caste system, telling about reign of King Prithviraj of India.
      • The Battle of the Forgotten has a generic historian tells the story of each scenarios.
      • The Pachacuti campaign in the Definitive Edition is narrated by an old man who tells the player of Pachacuti's reign. The epilogue reveals that the man is Apo Mayta, Pachacuti's general during his reign, who retired after the end of the fighting.
    • African Kingdom campaigns:
      • The Tariq ibn Ziyad campaign was narrated by an anonymous Berber warrior, who details the conquest of Europe under Tariq ibn Ziyad and his successor, Abd ar-Rahman al-Ghafiqi. At the end of the campaign, the Berber warrior closes his story with the Moors needing to defeat one Frankish king before they can conquer all of Europe. That king is Charles Martel, the protagonist of the "Tours" scenario in the Battle of the Conquerors, who defeated the Berbers and ended their conquest.
      • The Sundjata campaign was narrated by a griot named Bala Faséké Kouyaté, who tells the Epic of Sundjata to the player. At the end of the campaign, he mentions stealing Sumanguru's magical balafon before the Battle of Kirina (which was the fourth scenario in the campaign), allowing Sundjata's army to be victorious.
      • The Francisco de Almeida campaign begins with Francisco already dead, and the narrator, an anonymous Portuguese soldier in Francisco's expedition, recalls events that lead up to his death.
      • The Yodit campaign is narrated by an Ethiopian trader, who tells Yodit's story to his son during their travel to Aksum. Incidentally, in the final scenario, another older trader named Tariku joined in to tell how Yodit overthrew her nephew Gidajan in a bloody battle.
    • The Rise of the Raja campaign:
      • The Gajah Mada campaign was narrated by the eponymous character in his old age. He tells the player of his glory day in the Majapahit empire before his downfall at Battle of Bubat.
      • The Suryavarman I campaign was narrated by Sangrama, general of Suryavarman's successor Udayadityavarman II. He gathers his captains to tell Suryavarman's tale so that they can inspire their men in quelling a rebellion.
      • The Bayinnaung campaign was narrated by the eponymous character. He tells his life story until the last outro of the campaign, where it is narrated by his son, due to Bayinnaung dying during the last scenario.
      • The Le Loi campaign in the HD version is narrated by an old man who tells the player about the Lam Son rebellion, which was under the leadership of the Dai Viet rebel leader, Le Loi. The old man would reveals himself to be Wang Tong, the Ming general that fought against Le Loi. However, this is altered in the Definitive Edition, replacing the narrator with a younger Vietnamese man.
    • The Last Khan campaigns:
      • The Tamerlane campaign is narrated by a Lithuanian nobleman who gives sanctuary to a man escaping Tamerlane's wrath. The man is none other than Tokhtamysh Khan, who was Tamerlane's companion until he betrayed him and tried to take total control of the Horde. Tamerlane defeated Tokhtamysh Khan in retaliation, and he was forced into exile to escape his pursuer. Although the nobleman's name is never revealed, it is likely to be Grand Duke Vytautas.
      • The Ivaylo campaign is narrated by a woman, who tells her unnamed daughter about the short reign of Tsar Ivaylo of Bulgaria. The woman is revealed to be Maria Palaiologina, Ivaylo's wife after he killed her first husband, Tsar Konstantin Tikh.
      • The Kotyan Khan campaign is narrated by a Cuman chieftain who follows Kotyan Khan's journey to escape the Mongolian invasion until the Hungarian nobles assassinates Kotyan, after which the chieftain assumes leadership.
    • Lord of the West campaigns:
      • The Edward Longshanks campaign is narrated by his son, Edward II, who studies his father's accomplishment so that he can learn to become a good king of England. Studying on his father's life left him indecisive about how he should follow his example. If you read up on Edward II's reign, you will learn that he became a failure of a king.
      • The Grand Dukes of the West campaign begins with a Burgundian nobleman showing his son the execution of Joan of Arc. He retells the Hundred Year War in the perspective of the Burgundians.
      • The Hauteville campaign is narrated by a Muslim tutor of the young Frederick Roger. The tutor tells his young lord the story of his ancestors, starting with Roger Guiscard of Normandy, to inspire him into greatness. The young boy, in history, would become the Holy Roman Emperor as Frederick II.
    • Dawn of the Dukes campaigns:
      • The Algirdas and Kestutis campaign is narrated by a prisoner who tells a foreigner of Algirdas and Kestutis's struggle against the Teutonic Knights. The prisoner is revealed to be Jogaila, Algirdas's son who was imprisoned by Kestutis for negotiating with the Knights.
      • The Jadwiga campaign is narrated by the eponymous character, who writes about a memoir of her reign and marriage of the Lithunian Jogaila. In the final scenario, the narrator is, once again, Jogaila, because Jadwiga died in childbirth.
      • The Jan Zizka campaign is narrated by the eponymous character, who started his exploits as a mercenary before becoming a Hussite leader, leading the Hussites against Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund's crusades.
    • Dynasties of India campaigns:
      • The Babur campaign is narrated by the eponymous character, who writes a memoir of himself, beginning his story from his time as lord of Ferghana Valley to becoming the first Emperor of the Mughal Empire.
      • The Devapala campaign is narrated by Veeradeva, Devapala's personal Brahman and friend.
      • The Rajendra campaign is narrated by Rajendra Chola himself, who details his account of succeeding his father in ruling the Chola Empire.
  • Inked (2012): There's a narrator in the game who describes the events taking place. He is established as a separate entity from The Artist.
  • Paper Mario: The first three games have opening introductions from a narrator explaining the main focus of each story.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time put an interesting twist on this, that the Prince himself was the narrator, and at save points would say, "Would you like to take a break for now?" and if he got killed would say, "Wait, no, that's not how it happened..." In the end, It's revealed that he's telling the story to Farah, his love interest from the game, after undoing the game's events via time travel. Naturally, she doesn't believe a word of it. Later, in The Two Thrones, after having prevented any of the events of the first game by changing the flow of time in the second (bear with me here...), the game ends with the Prince, once more with Farah, beginning the same narration that opens The Sands of Time.
  • A very similar conceit is used in Sacrifice where the wizard Eldred is telling the story of why the world is ending to the seer Mithras.
  • Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant featured an active narrator describing the game world to the party, frequently offering a cynical view of what the party's uncovered.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Tidus is technically the narrator of the entirety of Final Fantasy X; the introduction actually takes place near the end of the game, and Tidus tells us "his story". Yuna narrates the sequel.
    • Marquis Ondore narrates, via his memoirs, several key points in Final Fantasy XII.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: Count Edmont de Fortemps narrates the introduction of each location introduced in Heavensward. Lyse Hext fills the role of narrator for Stormblood locations. Ardbert narrates Shadowbringers location introductions. Emet-Selch narrates Endwalker locations.
    • Alazlam is technically the narrator of Final Fantasy Tactics. Though he doesn't get involved in the actual story scenes, his "Brave Story" menu allows you to replay any of them, and gives his description of what happens. Plus, he has the final words in the ending, not counting the last "bonus" scene. Daravon, who runs the Tutorial menu, appears sneakily in the game via the Mediator skill "Mimic Daravon" — which puts enemies to sleep. It's also implied Alazlam Durai is getting this information from the "Durai Reports", written by his ancestor Olan Durai (who hangs around at the periphery of the plot through much of the game, only actually appearing in battle once).
  • In the 2004 version of The Bard's Tale, the events of the game are narrated by the man who's reading the tale (as voiced by the late Tony Jay). He and the eponymous Bard (as voiced by Cary Elwes) frequently bicker throughout the game, discussing issues like the morality of claiming items from chests for one's self, or the absurdity of finding money or sellable goods from killing various creatures.
  • Jenny Leclue is told by the author of the story, who's not fond of being told to make the story Darker and Edgier and argues with his supervisor against publishing it.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, the voice of Duncan provides narration at the very beginning, explaining how the Grey Wardens first began to fight the darkspawn, and again near the end, announcing the heroes' victory and the joy of the people at the coronation of whomever the player character chose to rule Ferelden.
    • After his successful tenure as one in Dragon Age II, Varric becomes the franchise's official narrator, as his voice actor Brian Bloom provides the narration in Dragon Age Keep.
    • The Framing Device of Dragon Age II features The narrator, Varric Tethras, being interrogated by a person who is after the true story of Hawke, the Player Character and Varric's old friend/rival. Notably, every now and then Varric lapses into Tall Tales, making the interrogator interrupt him and demand to return back to the truth. How much more exaggeration Varric manages to sneak in without her noticing remains open. He even, at one point during the game, narrates Hawke's actions to Hawke, prompting him/her to remind him how much s/he hates it when he does that - suggesting he does it a lot. Unsurprisingly, Varric's voice actor Brian Bloom was drafted to reprise this role when BioWare established the Dragon Age Keep. After the player establishes the choices they made (or wish they had made) in the first two games, they have the option of sitting back and listening to Varric narrate their adventures.
  • In The Witcher games, Dandelion is the main narrator. The in-game journal and most cutscenes are narrated from his perspective. Also, Geralt himself narrates the flashbacks that reflect the world-changing decisions he's made, and Vesemir narrates the first game's opening.
  • Bastion has Rucks, an old man who narrates your adventures as you go through the game. The ending subverts this, as it turns out that Rucks's narration is him telling the story to Zia, and at the very end he doesn't know what the Kid will decide to do.
  • The Stanley Parable is narrated like a novel, and said narrator describes the actions and choices of the player before they even happen. If you don't do whatever it is he is narrating, he gets increasingly irate. In some endings, he even kills Stanley- sometimes he crosses the line when he does so, sometimes he doesn’t.
  • Like many children's point-and-click adventure games at the time, Ollo in The Sunny Valley Fair has one. Actually, it featured two: one for the storyline and one that describes certain objects, events, and activities when they are clicked on.
  • Uncle Albert's Adventures:
    • Every cutscene about Uncle Albert is narrated by Albert's grandnephew.
    • In-Universe. Uncle Albert loves to narrate his adventures to children.
  • XenoGears: Much of Disc 2 is narrated by Fei, Elly, and Citan with them explaining key-events of their journey.
  • Zettai Hero Project has a narrator telling the game endings.
  • The opening prologue of Sakura Wars (2019) is narrated by Show Hayami, the voice of Tekkan Amamiya.

    Web Animation 
  • Recess Reindeer is narrated by Dan Bright.
  • Red vs. Blue had Donut narrate his play to explain how the Reds and Blues would up in the future. He calls his role as "a faceless voice used by poor writers".
  • RWBY: The pilot episode kicks off the story and the setting with a female narrator giving a brief overview of the history of humanity and the world, ending on a dark, bitter, pessimistic note that foreshadows a coming darkness. Her speech is concluded by a male narrator who strongly implies her bitterness is connected to a fall from grace and that the solution to the coming darkness can be found in a "smaller, more honest soul". The male narrator is quickly revealed to be Professor Ozpin; the female narrator isn't revealed until the Volume 3 finale and is in fact the Greater-Scope Villain Salem.
  • Sonic for Hire: A Running Gag is Tails constantly stating obvious details after they already happened, with Sonic getting tired of his narrating.
  • Internet Example: the "Flash animation "It's Dr. Tran" (NSFW for language) has a a movie trailer narrator harass and fluster a small child.
  • The Epic Narrator is implied to be taking on this role in The Most Epic Story Ever Told in All of Human History.

    Web Comics 
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has two narrators. Antimony does the bulk of the narration from some unspecified point in time (according to Tom Siddell, she's telling the whole story, even the bits without narrator-text boxes). And Tea (that white-haired girl) serves as a fourth-wall-breaking Miss Exposition on a few of the end-of-chapter bonus pages.
  • Schlock Mercenary has a narrator who sometimes interacts with the characters.
  • In Gold Coin Comics, Lance complains about having to narrate about his past.
  • The BLU Spy in Cuanta Vida.
  • Jamie in Distillum is the occasional narrator.
  • League of Super Redundant Heroes has Narrator, a crazy young woman who thinks she's a narrator, but is really schizophrenic.
  • The introduction for the first print volume of The Order of the Stick has a narrator, who's revealed to be a guy with a microphone who was up until the reveal always off-panel. The Order uses him as monster bait, and after a couple last comments as he's running away, there's no more narration.
  • In Penny Blackfeather, the ghost of Penny's grandfather provides the narration. Several characters can hear him, and wonder why he sometimes says things like "The next day" or "Meanwhile" out of the blue.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Justin briefly has this role before he goes off on a The Lord of the Rings tangent.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Some ASMR videos feature a scripted off-screen narration accompanying what the creator is doing on-screen. One particular instance is "clothing haul" videos, where the creator models clothes they have recently acquired while the narration talks about each item as it's shown.
  • The British Railway Stories: All the episodes, except the last one, were narrated. Originally it was intended to be Stephen as the narrator, before it was changed to a railyard foreman, and then the concept of one of the characters being the narrator was just dropped altogether.
  • Locomotives of British Railways: The show has an unnamed narrator who talks about the events of the show and tells historical facts about Great Britain and British Rail.
  • In Mahu always uses a series of different narrators for his narrative let's plays.
  • In SMOSH video "The Pokémon Master", when Anthony declares he'll catch all the Pokemon, a random person appears in the living room narrating his progress until Ian asks who is he, causing the man to run out.

    Western Animation 
  • Darkwing Duck: Darkwing, a couple times. He is usually an Interactive Narrator, as well - most prominently "Inside Binkie's Brain" and "The Haunting Of Mr. Banana Brain," which are both centered around narration having just as much going on (to the point of cutting away from the action at several points) as the plot.
  • The habit of Morgan Freeman playing narrators was taken to its logical conclusion in a Family Guy sketch, where Morgan Freeman stars in a show called The Narrator, and each episode is nothing but him talking.
  • The narrator is parodied with in the old George of the Jungle cartoons, including one point where he makes a character in the cartoon crash his plane into the top of the mountain with the warning, "Let that be a lesson to you: never monkey around with a narrator."
  • The narrator in Rocky and Bullwinkle (as well as the two spin-off movies) was not only a narrator but often a character. The cast frequently spoke to him, the characters talked about him, and at one point the villains robbed him. And, in The Movie, being reduced to moving in with his mother and narrating his own life when the show was cancelled, as shown above.
  • The narrator of The Powerpuff Girls (1998), starting out every episode with, "The City of Townsville," and ending every episode with a variation of, "So, once again, the day is saved, thanks to the Powerpuff Girls!" In the "Freaky Friday" Flip episode, the Narrator ended up sounding like Bubbles at the end.
  • The Storyteller in Dave the Barbarian.
  • In the South Park episode "Woodland Critter Christmas", the narrator of the story turns out to be Cartman telling it to the class.
  • Parodied in one episode of The Fairly Oddparents. Timmy wishes for Super Friends, to replace his old boring friends. He then begins to hear a voice over about his new buddies. Wanda promptly explains the Narrator comes with the Super Friends package.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has a French-accented narrator inspired by Jacques Cousteau, who seems to be "studying" SpongeBob and friends. He rarely interacts with the characters, save for one memorable moment where, as he was narrating, SpongeBob ran over him. One Overly-Long Gag has him waiting so long that he quits, and a new narrator is hired.
  • The Transformers has a narrator who introduces everything in an Opening Narration in the first episode and pops up every now and then afterwards. He also introduces the eyecatches. Starting from Season 3, he recaps lore and characters at the end of every episode.
  • The narrator of Sheep in the Big City has so little fourth wall that he regularly appears on-camera in a recording studio. He interacts with the characters so often it's more noteworthy when they can't seem to hear him, has been fired, physically attacked...the list goes on.
  • The narrator for the British cartoon Danger Mouse tended to break the fourth wall; sometimes complaining about the direction of the story or making atrocious puns (only to receive a phone call from the show's producers, telling him to cut it out). In "Once Upon A Timeslip" he developed reality warping powers: "It is now 12:15 as they..." (The landscape transforms into medieval England) "Look, I said 12:15 I didn't mean 1215 AD." The remainder of the episode became a Robin Hood parody. Another typical narration line from one episode:
    "Meanwhile... Look, is that all I have to say in this bit, 'meanwhile'? Well, I was on my tea break..."
  • A Family Guy cutaway shows Peter narrating his own life, aloud:
    Peter: I walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table. I looked with a grimace at the questionable meal Lois had placed in front of me. Of course I would never tell her how disgusted I was with her cooking, but somehow I think she knew. Lois had always been full of energy and life, but lately I had begun to grow more aware of her aging: the bright exuberant eyes that I had fallen in love with were now beginning to grow dull and listless with the long fatigue of a weary life. (Lois knocks him out) I awoke several hours later in a daze.
  • In WordGirl, other than opening and closing each episode, the disembodied narrator oftentimes interacts with the titular hero to help her and sometimes the villains, also.
  • The Boondocks was narrated by Huey Freeman, though mainly in the first season due to his diminished role in later seasons. Later on in the series, other characters occasionally took the narrator role in certain episodes, such as his brother Riley, his grandfather Robert, Uncle Ruckus, and even Colonel Stinkmeaner.
  • Word Party has an interactive one that can converse directly with the viewer.
  • Kaeloo: Episode 139 featured a narrator, who the cast found so annoying that Stumpy got Mr. Cat to shoot him with a bazooka at the end of the episode.
  • Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings (2002) is narrated by Ernie Coombs.
  • Summer Memories: Jason. Not in a Character Narrator way, but rather in voiceover format.

And so, on that note of — triumph? ends our description. I hope you'll join me again for our next episode of TV Tropes.
(cue end credits)


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Narrator, Narration



Harry in The Revenge of Jimmy, as part of his repaying Scary Godmother when he eat all the snacks (again) in the first movie.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / Narrator

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