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Slow-Motion Pass-By

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A frequent visual device, where two persons/vehicles pass by each other going in opposite directions; the exact moment they are next to each other is slowed down and often extended with Repeat Cut. Usually used either to show "two ships that pass in the night" relationships (or lack thereof), or to provide a dramatic "spike" during a chase or investigation sequence. In the latter case, one of the participants is usually the seeker, and the other the sought; such cases often result in Chase Scenes of one flavor or another. Compare Slo-Mo Big Air.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens in Berserk (1997), when Griffith and Guts pass each other on horseback during a battle. This actually foreshadows that they end up as enemies, but Berserk Abridged has another, hilarious take on it, flashing "Totally straight moment!!!" as they pass.
  • A variety appears in Blue Drop, when the car Mari is in passes Hagino, who stands amidst a huge swarm of terns, leading to a wonderfully drawn-out moment when their eyes meet.
  • In one of the later episodes of Bubblegum Crisis, Priss (on her motorcycle) spots Anri (in a GENOM limousine) as they pass each other on the street.
  • In one of the many nicely shot sequences in Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid, Kaname Chidori is walking down a Tokyo street, nervous because she knows her soldier/student companion Sousuke Sagara is no longer in town to protect her. Among the crowd passing Chidori we suddenly spot a psychotic female Chinese assassin introduced in an earlier episode. Chidori, who has never met the woman, looks around, terrified for no reason she can discern. As she flees, the assassin watches her, planning her murder.
  • The opening credits of Futari wa Pretty Cure show Nagisa and Honoka in a slow-mo pass-by twice, probably to emphasize the Odd Couple nature of their friendship/partnership.
  • Happens in Madlax, when Madlax and Margaret unknowingly drive by one another, the first time the two protagonists are on screen together.
  • Happens a couple of times in episode 5 of My-HiME, when an Orphan possesses a bus and causes an accident.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has one of the best examples of this. In a two-for-one deal, on the crowded streets of Kyoto, Misao, chasing after Kenshin, runs in slow-mo right by Aoshi, the man she's been searching for for years, while Kaoru and Yahiko, chasing after Aoshi, run in slow-mo right by Kenshin, whom they came to Kyoto to search for. It's a great scene.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • In episode 18, Mamoru and Nephrite get slow-motion and dramatic color inversion when they happen to walk past one another, signifying their connection in their past lives and their current status as enemies.
    • It also occurs in Stars when Seiya and Usagi meet for the first time just as Usagi is parting ways with Mamoru.
  • Limone is able to draw strength from seeing Aaeru's look of determination in an episode of Simoun as the two fly separate fighter aircraft at high speed in a complicated formation pattern.
  • Happens in the last episode of Steins;Gate with Okabe and Makise.
  • Tenchi in Tokyo uses this with Tenchi and Sakuya twice: in the opening credits and in the first episode.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time has a scene like this. After going to extreme lengths to ensure an accident doesn't happen, the people involved pass the protagonist by; headed, of course, to their doom.
  • Trigun, when Vash runs past Beeb. The cut is used to show the strange tone Vash hears coming from a device he wears, which is what allows Zazie the Beast (currently possessing Beeb) to control the giant sand-worms that are attacking the group.
  • Wolf's Rain, when Cher, who's looking for the Flower Maiden Cheza, passes her (and Kiba's disguised wolfpack who are accompanying her) on the street without noticing.
  • Inanimate variation in Usavich: As Kirenenko runs by a television screen showing the sneakers of his dreams, time slows down and sexy jazz music starts playing.
  • Quite a few times in Darker than Black, although never in slow-mo. It's typically when someone's been chasing the assassin BK-201 and their car roars around a corner towards where they saw him disappear, passing the innocuous-looking Li in the process.
  • Happens in One Piece when Robin and Olivia pass by each other before the Buster Call took place.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist The Conquerer Of Shamballa does this between Edward and Noah as shoots by on a plane to the portal to his own world.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): Ed (riding in a train) speeds past a train station on which stands Maes Hughes' "ghost"
  • Patlabor: The TV Series: Invoked in the first episode, during the scene where Noa and Asuma walk past each other at the Shinohara plant (seen at 8:46-9:08). It serves as Asuma's first look at his new partner and his future bride.
    • GWSnote  spoofed the scene in their April Fool's parody, by adding bloom effects along with Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" (at 5:41-6:01).
  • Happens in Gundam 00 when Marina saw Setsuna for the first time as he was passing-by in a motorcycle.
  • In Azumanga Daioh, when Yukari's car is speeding past Nyamo's car, the frame (except for Tomo) freezes long enough for Tomo to taunt them for going so slow.
  • Happens with Kira and Josuke in Diamond is Unbreakable; Josuke doesn't realize it, as he doesn't know his face, but Kira recognizes him instantly.

    Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: In the first season finale, as BoBoiBoy boards the train to head home, a boy with spectacles and poofy raven hair (later known as Fang in Season 2) walks out of the train through the same doorway. As they walk past each other, the backdrop turns blue with a white flare center as time appears to slow down, before the backdrop fades and they walk at normal speed again.

    Films — Animated 
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • One instance happens when Ralph's haywire escape pod goes past Sergeant Calhoun and Felix in Hero's Duty, the slow-motion showing Calhoun spotting the Cy-Bug that Ralph is wrestling with, and Felix spotting Ralph.
    • In the climactic race in Sugar Rush, this happens as Vanellope catches up to and passes King Candy, prompting an Oh, Crap! reaction from King Candy, since Vanellope beating him in the roster race will expose him as Turbo.
  • Played for laughs in Hoodwinked!. When the Wolf is passing Red Puckett as he is summoned in to be interviewed by Flippers, Red gives him a disgusted glare in slow-mo, accompanied by a very over-the-top soundtrack.
  • A variation happens at the end of Your Name where they've both forgotten each other but still feel they've met before.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Dunk for Future: While Weslie is chasing after Tiger Wing as he is being pursued by some motorcycles, Weslie passes by a fox girl in slow motion, looking her directly in the eyes. The fox girl is lovestruck afterwards, Love Bubbles showing up around her face.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mean Girls: The introductions of the Plastics present and future.
  • In the beginning of Shaolin Soccer, a beautiful woman slips on a banana peel, but in the end she keeps her balance with the power of kung fu, and she struts past Sing while they hold each other's gaze. The same woman played the meek and homely Mui.
  • The Patriot (2000) has one between Mel Gibson's character and Jason Isaacs's.
  • The theatrical release of The Butterfly Effect ended on this between the protagonist and his love interest, having had their memories of each other lost to time travel, having managed to live lives without being killed or psychologically messed up.
  • The end of Havoc involving PLC kids and Latino gang members both driving past each other on this trope.
  • The Town: During the second heist, an instance happens as Doug, riding in the minivan and wearing a rubber nun mask, locks glances with a terrified young boy standing on the sidewalk.
  • In Twilight as Edward Cullen and Billy Black drive past one another. This is to emphasise their feud.
  • Used to draw out the suspense as The Terminator searches Tech Noir for Sarah Connor, who's sitting at a table waiting for the police to arrive. While doing so she knocks over a bottle and bends down to pick it up right as the Terminator walks past, with the action slowing down as he does so. The slow motion continues right up to the moment when Reese fires to save her life once the Terminator zeroes in on her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used often in Dexter, usually combined with his First-Person Smartass.
  • A staple trope in Korean Series. In fact, the list of those dramas that don't have it would be shorter.
  • Luke Cage (2016): One happens in the first episode, when Luke sees Shades walk past him while delivering Shameek to Cottonmouth.
  • Reprisal (2019, Hulu) has a very intense one as Doris/Catherine's crew drives past the Phoenixes. Only Doris and Ethan know each other, but the foreshadowing of the shit hitting the fan imminently is very real.
  • On Scrubs J.D. and The Janitor have been known to do this from time to time.
  • Veronica Mars gets one in the second episode when she passes Weevil doing garbage pick-up as punishment for a crime he didn't commit.
  • The Wire
    • A particularly funny one is when Avon Barksdale drives past and locks glances with Cedric Daniels, while wagging a finger at him.
    • In an early season 3 episode, Carver posses Herc with the hypothetical of Herc having to have sex with a man with the reward of getting to sleep with the Olsen twins afterwards. After spending the entire day trying to negotiate down from a man to an old ugly woman, Herc eventually decides on (the late) Baltimore Orioles catcher Gus Triandos. A few scenes later, Kenneth Dozerman drives past Herc and Carver while mimicking the act of giving head. Carver grins while Herc gives the middle finger.
    • The Major Crimes Unit only learns of Avon Barksdale's release from jail in season 3 due to Herc, while policing Hamsterdam, seeing Avon and Slim Charles driving by.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry 4: In a cutscene of Mission 10, there's a slow-mo effect and a dramatic blow of wind as Nero passes by Dante after they fight for the second time. Immediately afterwards, the two formally told their names to each other.
  • The dramatic spike version is used in the flashback mission to the opening sequence of Final Fantasy X-2 where Yuna (dressed as a Moogle) sees one of the quirky miniboss characters and has a moment like this. Said quirky miniboss character then spends the next 15 hours of the game being a Butt-Monkey, but it was supposedly dramatic at time.
  • Happens on one of the first animated cutscenes in the PSP version of Final Fantasy Tactics, as Delita runs off with the knocked out princess the protagonist was supposed to protect. This scene is the first time Ramza sees Delita after the fateful incident involing his (Delita's) sister, and marks the beginning of the flashback chapter.
  • During the opening of The World Ends with You, the game makes a point of having Neku pass by all three of his potential partners in this fashion. Of the four, only Joshua reacted to Neku's runthrough.
  • The ending credits of Risk of Rain to show how much death you caused.
  • The opening for The King of Fighters 2000 had K' about to pass Iori then cut to him walking away from an amused Kyo.
  • Sonic and Shadow do this in one of the first scenes of Sonic Adventure 2.
    • This scene repeats itself almost perfectly in the Shadow Rival Battle of Sonic Generations.
  • An early sequence in Tales of the Abyss does this with Anise passing by Jade in the hallway of the Tartarus during a fight scene. Oddly, The Anime of the Game plays it at normal speed.
  • The opening cutscene in Killer7 has this between Garcian Smith and Christopher Mills, with the implication that there was some sort of a handoff or signal because they are in cahoots.
  • Mario Kart 8 allows you to do this yourself during replays, though the racers are driving in the same direction. It still makes the pass bys look more awesome.
  • Occurs in Time Crisis 4 when Captain Rush barely avoids a projectile from Frank Mathers in the Complete Mission mode.
  • At the conclusion of the final battle of Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, Cipher and Pixy do this as they fly towards each other on their wingtips and miss each other by inches, right before Pixy's plane finally succumbs to the massive damage it has taken during the fight.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: In "The Stray", when Sun runs by Blake, it goes slow-mo as he winks at her.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Prince Zuko and Commander Zhao have a stare-off when Zhao decides not to stop the exiled Zuko from entering Fire Nation waters.
    • As do Zuko and Aang in "The Storm" when Appa emerges from the sea right off the bow of Zuko's ship.
    • In "The Day of Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse" as Azula jumps over Sokka it goes slow motion.
    • In the Grand Finale, Ozai and Aang have a similar moment when Aang destroys his airship from atop a pillar he's passing. Ozai is visibly startled for several seconds before going back into Large Ham mode.
  • In a host segment of his show, Bugs Bunny shows us how anything is possible in a cartoon. He displays how characters can zip out of a scene and he does first at normal speed then in slow motion. "The zip is quicker than the eye."


Video Example(s):


Amy and Laurie

Events slow down as Amy, in a carriage, sees her childhood friend Laurie walking in the opposite direction.

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Main / SlowMotionPassBy

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