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Offscreen Teleportation

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Kuzco: NO! It can't be! How did you get back here before us?!
Yzma: [opens mouth to speak, then stops] ...How did we, Kronk?
Kronk: Well, ya got me. [pulls down the map from the previous travel montage] By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.

A character who goes offscreen for even a second can instantly appear anywhere else, usually as long as the camera shot doesn't include them or they're obscured by something in the scenery from a certain camera angle. Nevertheless, extreme cases will be able to switch position even when all that's happened is that the camera changed shots and we're looking at the same scene from a new angle, like a deliberate technical goof. No matter how impossible it is for them to go from Point A to Point B in the time given, much less doing so without crossing the camera's field of view or making a sound, they will get there. It's almost as if everyone in fiction has the power of Teleportation, as long as they only use it when the audience isn't looking.

Variations of Offscreen Teleportation exist, for instance the telescope version. In this, Character A actually sees Character B a good distance away (usually involving looking through binoculars or a telescope), then looks away or loses sight of him. When Character A looks back a second later, Character B is right in front of him. Another variation is when Character A is running away from Character B, who makes almost no onscreen effort to chase him. Character A travels a conspicuously long route to a hiding place or equivalent, only to find or even collide with Character B when he gets there. "Sneaky" doesn't explain the speed he'd have to move at.

Even if his victim (usually it's a good guy running from a baddie) just ran five miles to get away from him and up two flights of stairs to hide in a closet with one entrance; when he flicks on the light, the other guy will be right behind him, without a sign of sweat or fatigue.

Though possible in a multitude of genres, Horror movies are particularly prone to playing this one straight - the killer will know exactly where his victim is running to and be waiting for him before he even gets there, obviously because it lends itself so well to alarming the audience. This is especially common when the victim was Exploring the Evil Lair. This is one of those powers that the horror villain loses as he goes through victims and starts to approach the final characters. Perhaps he's losing his Scourge Of God advantage? It's all covered by the Rule of Scary. For further examples done in the name of horror, see also Flash Step, Villain Teleportation and Mobile Menace. Compare Already Undone for You. Outside of horror, this trope is really popular with characters who are supposed to be mysterious (such as fortune tellers, ninjas, wise old people and Batman), because it gets them away quickly before the person they were talking to has a chance to ask too many questions.

It doesn't have to be a character consciously doing this for it to count as Offscreen Teleportation. Sometimes the scenery conspires to do this to characters who couldn't do it ordinarily. For instance, if Character C falls into Hazardous Water close to the shore, he may thrash about underwater for a few seconds and then find when he surfaces that he got teleported farther away from the shore than could reasonably be done even by a strong current.

This sometimes happens in video games, at least inadvertently, and can sometimes fall into Acceptable Breaks from Reality. (But that doesn't make it any less creepy!) In order to keep allies from getting stuck in objects (which happens...sadly.) the game may simply teleport them behind you if they are off-screen.

Typically abused by characters in a The Cat Came Back gag. See Stealth Hi/Bye for when people just use this power to begin or end conversations. See Recurring Extra for the innocuous background-character version. Offscreen Reality Warp is a related trope where any temporary cut away from a character, no matter how brief, results in changes so quick as to be improbable at best and reality-warping at worst, such as an Instant Costume Change. Scooby-Dooby Doors uses a very specific version of this trope.

Compare Travelling at the Speed of Plot, a usually less blatant situation in which characters make it to a location much faster or slower than expected. See also Fakeout Escape (characters usually always find time to hide and tend to do it offscreen) and Implausible Cornered Escape. Contrast He Was Right There All Along.

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Other examples:

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  • There was a Nike commercial where a woman in her bra and panties (and running shoes) actually outruns the Jason Myers-esque serial killer. He'd offscreen teleport behind a tree, only to realize that she had left that spot far behind. Eventually he gave up.
  • One of the Burger King commercials with the guy in the creepy King mask. It's early morning in a house. A man hears his dog barking out the porch door, and opens it to have a look. The house appears to be fairly remote, since their backyard stretches off a good distance before merging into a line of trees. And "the King" is standing near the trees, a good thirty meters away from the front door. Baffled, the man turns around to look at a woman. The camera switches to her (apparently his wife) as she idles in front of the bathroom mirror. The man looks back outside, and inexplicably, the masked man is RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, face-to-face. Cue his slow, jerky presentation of the BK hamburger on a plate. Simultaneously disturbing and hilarious.
  • There was a Mountain Dew commercial where Chuck Norris did this to a couple of boys. Then again, it is Chuck Norris...

    Anime & Manga 
  • Hei from Darker than Black does this all the time, and he's the (anti)hero. He takes Stealth Hi/Bye to Batman-like levels.
  • Minagawa frequently does this in Cafe Kichijoji De. In one episode, his co-worker/neighbour Taro went off to work while Minagawa is still wandering around in pyjamas. When Taro arrived at the cafe, he was very surprised to see Minagawa there. He's even completed some of the morning duties that Taro was supposed to take care of.
    Taro: You... defying things like time and space...
  • Averted in Death Note, when Light tests the Death Note's powers by ordering an inmate in a Japanese prison to die at the Eiffel Tower in Paris in just a few hours. When the time comes, the man simply dies of a heart attack as if no directions were given, and Light realizes the Death Note can't make people do physically impossible things.
  • Dragon Ball Z plays this straight during the early part of Goku's battle with Cell. The camera is centered on Cell, with Goku's limbs coming in from all different directions, with a new limb coming onto the screen the instant that the previous one is gone.
  • Akabane does this to Ginji in the first Infinity Fortress arc of Get Backers. Gin sees him, runs like hell, stops when completely exhausted, and... Akabane is standing right there with his customary friendly smile. Arguably Handwavable by the high speed Akabane has demonstrated in combat.
  • In episode 8 of Gosick, Kujo dangles off a cliff, held up one-handed by Victorique, for a significant length of time because he's dazed from inhaling smoke and she's too weak to lift him. Three adults, all bigger and stronger than either Kujo or Victorique, were right there when he fell. But none of them do anything, because Rule of Drama made them all vanish. They're all back again in the next scene.
  • In the anime adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders the main antagonist, DIO, appears at first to have this ability. As it turns out, it's just because his Stand, The World, has the ability to make time stand still. We later see the tables turned on him as he tries to run away once his fight with Jotaro starts turning south, DIO tries to escape down a manhole cover, but the second he removes its lid, he finds Jotaro somehow already down there waiting for him. It turns out Jotaro's Star Platinum has the same time-stopping power as The World.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team La Verite episode 9. Taro is standing on the ground with Mariel and looking through a fence. Taro wishes they could get a good view of the sunset. We lose sight of Mariel, and four seconds later she calls out to Taro from the roof of a nearby building.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • Hayate does this on a regular basis.
      Hayate: Butlers have express permission to appear out of nowhere, so don't be startled.
    • Isumi Saginomiya does this also, due to having No Sense of Direction. This gets invoked when she gets Lost. She has gone out feed the birds at home and ended Nagi's living room. She also leaves her home (in Tokyo) to go to Nerima (also in Tokyo) and ends up in Greece.
  • This seems to be how the nations get around in Hetalia: Axis Powers, since they're able to travel much quicker than a person could while on foot. Lampshaded in the 2010 Christmas event when they were being picked off one by one by a mysterious assailant, Cuba called Germany and told him to come over right away. When Germany explained that there was no way he could charter a plane at the moment, Cuba expressed surprise that Germany couldn't teleport.
  • The cheerleading routine from the last episode of Lucky Star is impossible to perform in Real Life without modifying the choreography, because the girls often change position instantly between camera cuts.
  • Lupin III: Dead or Alive simplifies Lupin's escapes from Zenigata by having them all occur off-screen. Including an example where he switches places in less than a minute while being tied to a bed.
  • Makura no Danshi:
    • Merry does this at the beginning of episode 1, replacing a pink sheep toy on his bed. Thanks to the twelfth episode, we now know that he is the sheep.
    • Kanade gets up close and personal with the viewer in a blink of their eyes.
  • Naruto: very nearly the beginning of the first episode/chapter, Naruto is being chased by two ninjas because he vandalized the Hokage stone faces, he goes off-screen in one shot followed by the two guys, and appears shortly after camouflaged in a fence in the same shot, with no explanation of how he got there, since at this point he didn't know kage bunshin yet, and had poor basic bunshin skills.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, by the time it takes two hundred-odd foot tall monster Zeurel to levitate down a hole he's just blasted himself and into the bridge (which admittedly may not be via a straight path), Shinji is able to run down there, get into his Evangelion and interrupt Zeruel before he can fire a laser beam.
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!:
    • In episode 4, Mahiro throws Nyarko and Cuuko out of the house (so his mother doesn't find them and assume he's that kind of son) and immediately sets about cleaning up the mess they left in the living room. As soon as he's done, he walks through the room and both girls are back, Cuuko playing her PSP and Nyarko sipping tea and praising him for a job well done. Cue Face Fault.
    • And again in episode 4 of the second season, where Nyarko "accidentally" spills tea on Mahiro, then ushers him to the bathroom to clean up while she washes his clothes. Naturally, when he steps into the bathroom, Nyarko's already sitting in the tub waiting for him.
  • One Piece:
    • In the first chapter, a bandit holds Shanks at gunpoint. Between panels, Shanks' constantly-eating crewmate Lucky Roux is suddenly firing a gun point-blank into the bandit's head. Some fans speculate that he has super-speed.
    • Kizaru did this once in Chapter 507 (manga) and Episode 401 (anime) to 2 pirates. We later see this was because he ate the Glint-Glint Fruit, which allows him to travel at the speed of light.
  • Homura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica seems to do this. She somehow travels from the entrance to Charlotte's labyrinth all the way to the Final Boss room in just a few seconds. But it's increasingly clear there are magical means behind it. Yep, she can stop time. And she always knows where to go to sneak up on people by virtue of being in a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • One fan joke about the anime of Rurouni Kenshin is that Saitou can evidently teleport. In one episode there's a wide shot of Misao and the scenery, then a close-up of a charging mook about to kill her, and then Saitou is suddenly there to save the day. Underlined by the fact that the mook is charging at her head-on, and Saitou intercepts him by stabbing him through the back of the head, yet is standing perfectly still - directly in front of her.
  • Several characters in Samurai Deeper Kyo demonstrate this over the course of the series, with the biggest perpetrators being the Taishiro and the Sendai Aka-no-Ou, who seem to be able to pop up just about anywhere in the Mibu lands, often covering the same distance multiple times on a regular basis that it takes the protagonists over twenty volumes to traverse. Possibly justified, since being in the upper echelons of the Mibu clan probably means they know all the secret passages and shortcuts to get around while the protagonists are more or less limited to a single path.
  • Seitokai Yakuindomo has a scene where Hata is on the roof of the school while the Student Council watches her from the only entrance. When they turn around to leave, they find that she's suddenly behind her.
  • Played for laughs in Waiting in the Summer with Rinon, whose elite stalking skills allow her to appear seemingly out of nowhere to record various private incidents with her giant videocamera. In one scene she somehow gets within a foot or so of Kaito and Ichika, both of whom are facing towards her, without either of them or the audience noticing until the sudden reveal. Maybe she stole some of Ichika's teleportation technology?

    Asian Animation 
  • In the Lamput episode "Boxing", after the boxing match, Slim Doc waves to the arena spectators and the frame cuts to a closer shot of him, causing his hand to go off-screen. When his hand is on-screen again, Lamput, who was shaped as boxing gloves on his hands, has already disappeared; he's at the arena's exit.

    Comic Books 
  • Two aliens appear in Alan Moore's Miracleman that only ever move between panels. And not in the way everyone "moves between panels" in comics - it actually appears this way to the other characters. They'll be standing still, then suddenly they appear, still motionless, somewhere else and without having appeared to move or teleport there at all. They're just there. It even freaks out the god-like Miracleman.
  • In Animal Man, Merryman suggests that the reason Superheroes don't age is that they save time by doing all their traveling between panels.
  • As mentioned for his film versions, Batman is probably the greatest example of this trope, liking to make a dramatic exit once whoever he's speaking with has turned their back and usually in mid sentence, and subsequently reappear elsewhere. He once actually managed to change from a disguise into his costume in the backseat of a car and move to the passenger seat WITHOUT BEING NOTICED, hold a brief conversation and then similarly slip away undetected with the car in motion while the driver was looking out the window.
  • By the Changelings in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW). The Mane Six take three days to go from Ponyville to their kingdom, but they do it overnight (with the CMC) and later, Chrysalis sends the troops for reporting on how the Mane Six are doing. They come and go without much any trouble, while the Mane Six advance at a normal pace.
  • Happens with Squirrel Girl in Deadpool: Toon Soon, with Deadpool trying to leave her behind three times because he doesn't want her help investigating the murder of Forbius-Man. Naturally Failure Is the Only Option.
  • Any appearance of The Phantom Stranger will have him pulling this multiple times.

    Fan Works 
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series uses this as Hobbes' standard method of cowardice.
  • This is functionally Taylor's power in Camera Shy. She can shift into an incorporeal "ghost" state in which time is effectively paused and in which she can move freely in any direction, but she cannot enter this state if anyone is visually observing her and she can't exit the state in any location anyone is visually observing.
  • Subverted in Changeling where it turns out that Pinkie Pie is actually fifteen separate changelings, which is how she always appears nearby.
  • Child of the Storm has Doctor Strange, who can teleport. He's a wizard, and an extremely powerful one, so nothing strange there - save for his habit of appearing in deeply unexpected places, at deeply unexpected times. For example, at one point he teleports from one room to another for the sole purpose of sneaking up on the Avengers.
  • Cutie Mark Crusaders 10k: Trixie uses magic to lock the Cutie Mark Crusaders in her wagon to keep them safe during her mission in Ponyville, only for the trio to have already escaped by the time she turns around again. The only explanation they provide for how they did it is "Cutie Mark Crusaders escape artists", but shortly afterwards the trio reveals they know how to use lockpicks.
  • In Jericho (MLP), there's an exchange wherein Jericho is going up against the leader of the Blackguard for control of the Cśur, and the leader of the Blackguard randomly appears far away from where he was just a moment before. Jericho asks him thereabout, resulting in this amusing exchange:
    "How the hell did you get up over there so fast?"
    "Oh, it’s a habit of mine. When folker aren’t looking, I quietly sprint really fast around the room to make it look like I can teleport and be anywhere."
    "Huh," I grunted. "So is that how bad guys do it?"
    Yhar," he said. "But it requires good cardio - you need be running all around without having to pant, else folker will wise up."
  • The titular pegasus in Rainbow Dash's Precious Book, while chasing after a human who's attempting to steal her Daring Do book, gets a door slammed in her face by said human. The human then turns around to find a pissed-off Rainbow Dash behind him before getting kicked into a telephone pole. Justified, since Rainbow Dash has been shown to be incredibly fast in her home series, meaning she could've found another way out before the human even noticed.
  • In this music video from Random Encounters, "Medics don't heal Scouts", the Scout uses this to stop the Medic leaving him without giving a free healy beam, utterly confusing said Medic. Of course, the Scout is quite nippy...or turning invisible before moving a couple of feet.
  • In Sword Art Online Abridged's second season, Asuna has gotten so good at breaking out of her birdcage that she keeps pulling this off. In one instance, she catches Sugou monologuing and slips out while his back is turned, but in another, Sugou gives a Bastardly Speech while staring directly at her, breaks eye contact for less than a second in the process of standing up, and by the time the camera angle changes to show him on his feet, Asuna has vanished.
  • In This Bites!, after Zoro decided he wanted a drink, Soundbite stopped paying attention for ten seconds. Somehow this was enough time for Zoro to get halfway across a massive marine base and find a refrigerator with booze, despite walking the entire time.
  • In Total Drama Chris, Card-Carrying Villain Todd says it's a standard ability of any villain.
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers:
    • The group fly off to Sandgem town to ask Professor Rowan some questions, but after the others have already left, Daisy remembers that she doesn't have a flying Pokemon with her. When the others arrive at the lab, Daisy suddenly shows up with no explaination of how she got there. No one seems to notice.
    • Frequently happens when a character is inactive thanks to the player being busy or something along these lines.
  • In A Darker Path, Atropos initially cheats due to her power informing her where she needs to be ahead of time. Then she actually gets hold of a teleporter.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Angry Birds Movie: When the birds at anger management go to the beach to see the pigs arriving, Chuck uses his Super Speed. To his surprise, Terence is already there.
  • In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the eponymous character, Phantasm appears to rely a lot on this trope to get around. A lot of Smoke outs were involved though. NINJA VANISH!
  • The Lord from The Boy and the Beast can somehow do this while other characters are looking right at him.
  • Used when Victor flees from Emily in Corpse Bride.
  • In Despicable Me 2, Gru takes advantage of flashes of blinding light to sneak up on Antonio when he's dancing with Margo. He starts out staring from afar; after one flash, he's suddenly dancing with a man who was next to the Antonio; after another flash, he's directly behind Antonio, and he pounces; after the next flash, both have disappeared; after another flash, it's Gru now dancing beside Margo... at least until Antonio returns with a Groin Attack.
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's New Groove, when villains Yzma and Kronk are chasing Kuzco and Pacha, only to get hit by a lightning bolt and plunge into a chasm. But when the heroes reach their (mountain-top) destination, they find both villains there waiting for them.
    Kuzco: No, it can't be! How did you get back here before us!?
    Yzma: Ah.... [looks confused] How did we, Kronk?
    Kronk: Well, ya got me. [pulls down the chart displaying the progress of the previous chase] By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
  • A rather amusing version is done in Kung Fu Panda 2: Shifu pulls this off by stepping out from behind Po when in the immediately preceding shot he had been standing in front of Po. He was out of the audience's view, but not out of Po's view. Then, when the shot changes (and, again, with Po watching the whole time), Shifu has teleported again. Po is a bit freaked out by this.
  • Amusingly done in Monsters, Inc. between Sully and Boo, the latter being a cute little girl who reappears out of nowhere like something out of a horror movie whenever he's got his back turned. Of course, to Sulley it is exactly like being inside a horror movie considering he believes that her presence is deadly to him.
  • Then Monsters University plays with this a few times, particularly with the character Squishy, who is so quiet that he often unintentionally sneaks up and startles people. And he does learn to use that to his advantage.
    Mike: We gotta put a bell around you.
  • Arguably used in The Nightmare Before Christmas when Jack goes to rescue Sally and Santa from Oogie Boogie. Last we see Jack before the Final Battle, he was sneaking in behind Oogie's back, quite a bit aways from the platform where Santa and Sally was. With the way the scene is set up, it would have been impossible for Jack to get to the platform without Oogie seeing him, no matter what sneaking skills being the Pumpkin King would get you.
  • Bunnymund from Rise of the Guardians seems capable of this. When Bunny first talks to Jack Frost in the film, Bunny somehow manages to make it to the North Pole in the span of time it takes for the Yetis to toss a Jack through the portal. And Bunny isn't even winded, despite having to physically run through his tunnel network.
  • Rather subtle because the distances involved were so small, but in the scene of Shrek where Donkey and Shrek are arguing underneath the moon, Donkey demonstrates an unusual knack for getting in Shrek's face no matter which way the ogre turns.
  • Ruth the sheep from The Star is apparently so agile that it looks like she does this, which is seen when Bo encounters her on his journey to Bethlehem.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: There's a montage where Steven and Spinel, riding Lion, teleport around Beach City looking for an amnesiac Amethyst. Onion is somehow at every location they visit... except for the last one, Onion's house.
  • In Tom and Jerry: The Movie, when Tom and Jerry have to get the note to Robyn telling her that her father is alive, they wait until Aunt Figg has gotten away from Robyn's bedroom door and walked downstairs. But as soon as they run to Robyn's bedroom door, without making a sound, Aunt Figg is suddenly right behind them and catches them.

  • One of the many skills of the Igors in Discworld is turning up out of nowhere when their master calls for them, or to answer the door.
    • Always behind them. Because that's how things are done. This is justified because tropes like this are practically immutable laws of physics on the Disc.
    • More than one of their respective masters (or "marthterths") has tested just how far this ability extends. Reacher Gilt in Going Postal tries a bear trap. It doesn't work; his Igor hands him the (harmlessly sprung) bear trap and says one of his previous employers would stand with his back to a giant pit and call Igor "for a joke".
      "One day he forgot and thtepped backward. Oh how we laughed, thur."
    • In Hogfather (and the Sky One production; see Film), Mr. Teatime does this numerous times, often while in full view of the people in the room. Naturally, it freaks them out. There's a very subtle implication that he's able to do this because of the glass orb in his eye socket.
    • Lord Vetinari uses this to worry Lupine Wonse in Guards! Guards!. The villain is particularly unnerved since he had the palace checked for secret passages and didn't find any, but Lord V observes later that the man had failed to understand the nature of secret passages (presumably, that they're secret).
    • In a scarier version, at the beginning of The Fifth Elephant when we first experience the Hunt Game, the quarry player runs to a boat, with cargo covered in tarpaulins, to escape the werewolves by river. Guess where they are. However, this is later revealed to be due to the fact that Wolfgang cheats - the theory is that the human runs away and the werewolves hunt them, while Wolfgang, as soon as or before the Game starts, sends werewolves to lie in wait in places people are likely to flee to.
    • Also used in Mort, when Death's apprentice goes to a far away land to rescue a princess. At the end of the day, Death appears right next to him. Justified because it's Death (who has this as one of his many abilities).
  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg can do this, due to his actually being a kind of mixture between Genius Loci and the child in Powered by a Forsaken Child. He can also help other people do it; he leads Ciarra and Ward to a secret passageway that leads from the caves under the castle directly to their living quarters, and Ward notices that the distance they walked didn't quite fit the distance he knew they had been under the castle beforehand.
  • Harry Potter
    • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when wizards congratulate child Harry in public, they've usually disapparated by the time he turns to look at them again.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione seems to suddenly arrive at her classes when nobody is looking, which Ron finds spooky. This carries across in the film adaptation, where she appears between camera cuts, to the same reaction. Turns out she's using Time Travel to take more classes simultaneously.
  • In Lucille Fletcher's story The Hitch-Hiker, which was subsequently used in episodes of radio's Suspense and television's The Twilight Zone (1959), a cross-country driver keeps encountering the same sinister-looking hitchhiker everywhere he/she goes. It turns out the hitchhiker is actually the Grim Reaper, waiting to pick up the driver who had actually been killed in an accident at the start of his/her trip.
  • In the Stanisław Lem sci-fi novel, Solaris, the protagonist tries in various ways to get rid of his illusionary dead girlfriend, going so far as to putting her in a rocket ship and sending her into space. It doesn't work. She's back at the research outpost as if nothing happened.
  • The Big Bad of The Stand, Randall Flagg, shows up all over the place no matter how chronologically impossible this should be. In one scene, he should be in the Southwest, but a character hears his distinct footsteps in Vermont. He is capable of using actual magic, and it's implied that he can manifest through animals.
  • In one of David Brin's Uplift novels the Jophur have a capture technology that envelopes areas in a small Negative Space Wedgie. The trapped people are frozen in time when observed, but can move when no one outside the anomaly observes them, making them appear to teleport when someone looks away from the anomaly and then looks again.
  • In Catch-22 an prostitute turned Ax-Crazy invokes this trope as she chases Yossarian all over the city, ambushing him in impossible places. He finally shakes her for a few chapters by getting on a friend's airplane, then strapping a parachute to her and dropping her out over enemy territory.
  • The Red Bull from The Last Unicorn appears to have this ability.
  • This is explicitly shown to be how the cat Mogget navigates ladders in Sabriel.
  • A recurring joke in the Jeeves and Wooster stories is how Bertie is convinced that Jeeves doesn't move like a normal person. Even when he sees him coming and going, he's always describing it as "oozing" or "trickling" from room to room, and when he doesn't, it's "Sir?" said Jeeves, kind of manifesting himself or Then he seemed to flicker, and wasn't there any longer.
  • Messrs. Croup and Vandemar do this throughout Neverwhere, as a significant part of their creep factor (the main part being, probably, their propensity for cutting people up). They seem to have it as an actual metaphysical power: teleportation allows for their being able to exist in different historical eras, as well as to reach normally inaccessible places like the family Portico's home, and of course to frequently drop in on main characters without previous indication of their presence. They also seem unable to teleport while being observed- hence they get dragged into the portal to hell, because Richard is watching at the time.

  • "You can fly to the other end of the world / and know you'll only find / that I've reserved the seat behind you, / we can talk about old times" - Marillion, The Uninvited Guest
  • Ok Go's video for "This Too Shall Pass" has the band members standing at various locations throughout the set of an enormous Rube Goldberg Device. Though we never see them walk or run from one place to another, they each show up at several different locations during the course of the video.
  • In live performance of the song "Now I'm Here", Freddie Mercury would be at one end of the stage singing "now I'm here", while a stagehand dressed like him would be at the other side of the stage to "sing" the next line "now I'm there."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Undertaker, Sting, and Suicide are somehow able to appear or disappear when the lights are turned off for a few seconds. Undertaker can even do this to enter the ring during a steel cage match, and to somehow appear in front of Big Show while the later was running away from him.
  • Ultimate Warrior gained this power during his brief time in WCW, filling the ring with smoke to obscure his appearance and disappearance. The effect was achieved by a trapdoor installed in the ring. Management failed to tell the wrestlers in advance though, leading to several injuries as guys landed badly on it throughout the show.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The tabletop horror RPG Witch Hunter, published by PCI, actually justifies this—one of the supernatural powers allows the creature to designate a target, whom it can then repeatedly teleport to within 10 yards of (but no closer, thereby ensuring that it always seems to just be following along casually).
  • This is one of the Dark Stalker's abilities in the Unknown Armies RPG - fittingly, of course, as the Dark Stalker archetype represents the pop-cultural image of a serial killer.
  • This trope was so familiar to Arthaus's writers for 3E Ravenloft, they made it a salient ability for corporeal undead in Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead.
  • S. John Ross once wrote a collection of GURPS Action Movie advantages called "Beyond the Grip of Realism". One of them was Truly Badass, which included the ability "If you want to be there, you are". It allowed you to move anywhere in the action scene as long as you were unobserved at the time.
    • GURPS Horror includes a variant of Warp advantage, that is meant to simulate this trope. It allows movement at full running speed and ignoring any obstacles that the character can pass through. As in, instantly opening any locked door, running around the Great Wall of China etc, as long as nobody is looking at the character.
  • This is a popular ability for Dark Champions vigilantes. And yes, it's built using Hero's Teleportation power.
  • Seamus' "Back Alley" ability in Malifaux allows him to relocate IF no enemies can currently see him. Fitting for Malifaux's Jack the Ripper equivalent.
  • Pathfinder has the Implacable Stalker template which turns anything with 3 or more base Intelligence into a Slasher Movie villain (a pastiche of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger). Of course, it adds the ability "Right Behind You," which teleports the Stalker, well, directly behind its target for throat slittin' time.

  • In Euripides' play The Bacchae, for which a case could be made that it is the archetype of the horror movie, Dionysus does this. Justified, in that he's Dionysus; but the other characters don't know that, so it freaks them out no end. And then they all get killed, banished, and/or turned into snakes.

    Theme Parks 

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: Cro-Marmot can only move off-screen, as well as do some spectacular acrobatics. The other Happy Tree Friends can see this and treat it as a regular occurence, but the audience can't.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Tex seems to be capable of this in Revelations Episode 10, closing the distance (of at least several metres) between her and her target before they even have a chance to fire the guns that they were aiming at her even as she was standing still. Suffice to say that if the screen ever shifts away from Tex and onto who she plans to beat up, they lose.
    • Seems to be a common trait among Freelancers. When Wash does it in Reconstruction, Church mentions that he "hate[s] it when they do that."
  • All the time in The Most Popular Girls in School.
    • Cameron appears in the girls' bathroom at Overland Park High — despite being a college student — as soon as she heard that her sister Shay was being called a "fucking liar". Which was mere seconds after Shay herself heard about it. And then their little sister Mikayla — who is in elementary school — shows up. This, like everything else, is lampshaded.
      Trisha: Okay, seriously, who is watching the door? How the fuck did a third grader get in here...?
    • Also used by Tanner's boyfriend Tristan, when he (somehow) found out Tanner was making out with someone. Despite the fact that Tristan goes to a different school. He immediately bursts into the Overland Park High locker room and smacks Tanner, demanding to know who it is.
      Tanner: Did you just run here, all the way from Blue Valley? How did you even know I was making out with someone?
      Tristan: I'm the Perez Hilton of the Blue Valley district, I have eyes everywhere!


    Web Original 
  • Every single character in Survival of the Fittest. No really, that's not a joke - it's part of the RP's in-game traveling mechanic. Since there's no map of the island, there aren't any regulations as to which locations characters can move from to get to others. This results in characters (looking at it from a logical perspective) effectively teleporting all over the island. And yes, it has also led to characters fleeing from a villain, and enter another topic, only to find the guy they were running from is there already.
    • In character, it's assumed they traveled to the location 'off-screen' rather than actually teleporting, references are also made to characters moving around.
  • The Slender Man, in almost all his appearances. He's a Humanoid Abomination, who's going to tell him he's not allowed?
    • The Tutorial in particular deserves special mention for Invoking this trope. In it, the author theorizes that the Slender Man cannot warp through space and time when he is being observed. In other words, he literally cannot teleport if he's not offscreen!
    • Slightly averted in Tribe Twelve. While Slender Man does do the usual offscreen teleporting, one video shows he's capable of Super Speed, and he uses it to bull rush Noah.
    • Marble Hornets, being the first Slender Man series, is probably the originator for this trope, but they subvert it on a couple of occasions. For a split second in Entry #54 you can see the Operator moving into a room really, really fast, and in Entry #72 he teleports onscreen.
  • Azrael of Gaijin Smash is convinced that the Japanese have this skill as a racial trait, especially the smaller ones (kids and obasan.) Their ability to appear out of nowhere from impossible distances is a recurring feature in his stories.
  • Paul in commodoreHUSTLE seems to be able to do this, apparently to make him seem more eccentric. Whether the real Paul Saunders can do this remains unconfirmed.
  • SCP Foundation
    • A few SCPs, like SCP-650 and SCP-689, can teleport when not being directly observed by a human. For SCP-650 this is its entire shtick: as soon as you take your eyes off of it it teleports to right behind you and waits for you to turn around.
    • SCP-173 is technically this trope except it doesn't actually teleport, it just moves really fast (specifically, 4 meters within the time it takes to blink).
  • Done a few times by characters in The Cartoon Man series. At one point in the second movie, Roy is talking to Valerie when she suddenly appears behind him and pulls him into another room. And in the third movie, Cynthia does this quite a bit after being transformed.
  • Parodied in The Nostalgia Critic's review of The Wicker Man (2006), which starts with a very creepy, Slasher Smile-sporting Tamara teleporting around the room constantly (complete with Sting) until the Critic just gets irritated by it.
    • In “Old vs. New: Cinderella” Benny teleports out of Devil Boner’s line of sight as he’s looking at him.
  • Kapura in the Mata Nui Online Game is normally practicing the art of "traveling quick by moving slowly" in the Charred Forest, but can appear in any other part of the vast island when he needs to find you, suddenly showing up in your path when the screen reloads. The final minigame reveals he's performing a kind of Flash Step.
  • Sun Qian has this ability in Farce of the Three Kingdoms. This is not explained, but none of the other characters seem to find it strange.
  • In TomSka's sketch "The Blame Game", each of Tom's kidnapped victims just appears with a sack on their head whenever someone places the blame on them. Even Tom doesn't seem to be in control, as he gets increasingly frustrated by all these people popping out of nowhere and doesn't always know who's just been kidnapped.
  • Subverted in season 9 of the Hermitcraft Server. From Impulse's point of view, Grian seems to repeatedly show up ahead of him without explanation as part of the latter's "Secret Fools" prank. In reality, Grian is using a series of Ender Pearl stasis chambers and walk-through paintings to pull off the effect, with the long hallways in between the rooms keeping Impulse from being close enough to hear the sound effects.

    Real Life 
  • People who know a bit about stage magician's or pickpocket's tricks know how to ensure that people's attention is somewhere else when they move, resulting in the effect, if not the fact of this trope.
  • Quiet people have a tendency to go where they want. For some people, it's not unusual for others around them to lose track of where they went and give them the illusion that they disappeared.
  • Cats are basically this trope in furry form. One second they're there, the next gone. Kinda cute when you're talking about a house cat but down right scary when you're talking about a 600 pound tiger. Ninja Cat!
  • Small dogs can also do this, too.
  • Anyone who has watched children has seen this happen. You only look away for a second and the kids are on the other side of the park.
  • Quantum tunneling. A particle may not have the energy to cross a barrier, but if its wave function is intact (that is, it is not being observed), it can "teleport" through the barrier and be on the other side when it's observed.
  • The "Statues" game. The object of the game is for the "Curator" to periodically look over his or her shoulder at the "Statues", who are only permitted to move when the Curator isn't looking and in that situation must be moving toward the curator. The game either ends or starts over once the Curator is tagged by one of the Statues (with said Statue taking the Curator's place).
  • The "Mannequin Challenge" meme, similar to the above, involves creating a video with several people moving while off-camera.
  • The game Red Light Green Light invokes this trope.
  • This occurring in real life is why motorists should keep their eyes on the road. A road safety video depicted this by having a camera in a car driving down a suburban street turn away for three seconds. When it turns back, a camel is walking halfway across the street and right in the car’s path. The lesson being that conditions on the road can change much faster than you’d think.


How Did I Get Here?

"Look! It's that lady with the shit on her face like Worf from Star Trek that was getting coffee! How did she get there?" That's for nobody to know and nobody to find out.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / OffscreenTeleportation

Media sources: