The villain of the day has dropped a bombshell revelation. To show the reaction shots of all the protagonists at once, the screen is split into sections, with a reaction shot in each section. The reactions may show up one at a time and accompanied by a clang sound effect.
Alternatively, the split screen may show the faces of all of the protagonists as they act in unison. This is especially popular in shows with Combining Mecha, Colors or Powers. Just about every Shōnen series does this when a particularly harsh blow lands. To be fair, most anime where there is any sort of competition will show something like this.
A typical Split Screen is just two people and a thin vertical divide between the two halves. The Split-Screen Reaction often has stylized divisions at strange angles. It may not even be a true "split", but a series of picture-in-picture bubbles that pop up. (Also see Odd-Shaped Panel and Hexagonal Speech Balloon.)
Characters with Medium Awareness may be able to use the split to interact with the other characters where it wouldn't usually be possible.
Compare Multi-Part Picture.
- In Assassination Classroom, Nagisa earns a seven-panel one after pseudo-assassinating Takaoka.
- Used a lot in Mons shows like Pokémon, where an off-screen character will yell commands or encouragement to the onscreen characters as they act.
- Bleach tends to use this effect a lot. The first few frames of this epic spoof◊ are an example.
- Ditto for Naruto; well at least during the Chuunin arc.
- Happens in the first episode of The Law of Ueki, when Ueki's tree appears from the river.
- Happens occasionally in Outlaw Star.
- Happens several times an episode in Reborn! (2004).
- Seen in the AKIRA manga. Plenty of characters, plenty of shocking events to make them react.
- In Corsair this happens over dinner when Ayace suddenly announces his relationship with Canale. Everyone at the table gets a reaction panel, with expressions ranging from awkwardness to surprise to confusion.
- The Fairy Tail anime has split-screen constantly, with a lightning bolt-like separation. Most of the time the screen is split just in two, though there are a few multiple splits too.
- Given that Saint Beast has six protagonists and gets a lot of mileage out of Shōnen tropes, it was destined to happen.
- Similarly, One Piece has several protagonists with a strong tendency to overreact (with the exception of Robin), so this trope is a given.
- Constantly used in Girls und Panzer, showing reactions amongst team-mates sitting in different positions or even different vehicles.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Friendship Games:
- We get one near the climax including each of the Humane Five when they feel their magic coming back.
- And another when they look with hope as Sunset Shimmer transforms to fight the newly created Midnight Sparkle.
- Batman: Assault on Arkham: To show the Oh, Crap! Reaction Shot of each member of the Suicide Squad when they hear Batman is around.
- Honorable mention to the Ominous Multiple Screens at the end of The Matrix Reloaded, which display reaction shots of all the previous Chosen Ones, or is it the different possible reactions of Neo himself, but in the end, it doesn't matter since they're all portrayed by Keanu Reeves.note
- Happens with Ramona, Knives, Kim, Stills and Young Neil in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World after Gideon stabs Scott with the Power of Love.
- Community (of course) during their anime moment in the Foosball episode. A cat is added to the mix for good measure.
- Pokémon uses this quite a bit.
- The first Super Smash Bros. Brawl trailer had all the present smashers react in shock this way to seeing Wario about to do a Wario Waft.
- Used in both Persona 3 and Persona 4 as the start to an "All out attack" when all surviving party members gang-rush downed enemies in battle.
- Used in Juathuur (example).
- Parodied in one strip of The Way of the Metagamer.
- Seen in The KAMics when Zog gained webcomic awareness during the Crossover Wars.
- Done in Dubious Company twice.
- Done seriously in the showdown at Kreedor Castle when Izor triggers the sacrificial ritual on the racoon instead of Sal.
- Again in the Recycled IN SPACE! arc when the Marines pass judgement on Walter and his ship's passengers. A hilarious variety of reactions ensue from Walter, Sal, Tiren and Marty, Gary, Mary, Sue and Izor, Elly, and Leeroy.
- In Darths & Droids, we get one for the destruction of Naboo.
- Paranatural shows an epic one during the hitball game.
- In Rusty and Co., the apparition of a Cosmic Horror is as good as any pretext for both the protagonists and antagonists to figure in a row.
Anti-Madeline: Well, this was the wrong ***ing time to start existing.
- Nebula: In order to emphasize the awkwardness of the moment, there's a page of silent reaction with all the planets (and Pluto) on one side and Sun on the other after Earth says she thinks that Black Hole is talking to her inside her head.
- Another live-action example, Noob can indulge into this for shocking revelations.
- Quite common in The Amazing Spiez!, which regularly uses comics-style separations for the screen. Alongside the regular, rectangular panels, you'll have the sharp angles typical of this trope once or twice an episode.
- Popular too in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes. Most often with four panels.
- Used quite often in Jackie Chan Adventures.
- In an episode of Kappa Mikey, the group does this when they realize how most of their personal secrets were revealed on a reality show they were doing,
- The Loud House: In "Sitting Bull", the older girls berate Lynn when a babysitting client fires them because she roughhoused her charges on her first sitting job, so she gets back at them by answering their other clients' calls behind their backs and taking their jobs to prove that she's a good sitter. In the following scene, we get a four-way split of Lori, Leni, Luna and Luan as they receive calls from their clients and shout in unison, "Lynn did what?!"
- Happens in Miraculous Ladybug when Nino blurts out that the girl he's fallen in love with is Alya (because he can't spit out it's Marinette); we get a screen split in three showing the reactions of Adrien, Alya and Marinette (the first two horrified, the latter gleeful).
- Also a common sight in Monster Buster Club. Including one in the Action-Hogging Opening.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The episode "Boast Busters" has one with Snips and Snails screaming while the Ursa Minor is roaring. And later with Spike, as the three receive mustaches.
- "Hearth's Warming Eve" uses it (both times in association with Finish Dialogue in Unison) to show the three leaders coming to the same conclusion. Played With on its second use when the three, announcing the new land as their own, discover they are all claiming the same piece of land less than twenty feet from one another.
- "Pinkie Pride" has a nice six-part one with Rarity, Spike, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle reacting to Pinkie Pie challenging Cheese Sandwich to a Goof-Off.
- "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?" has another six-part one as the Mane Six wake up from their nightmares.
- "School Daze Part 2": After they learn that all of the non-pony students are missing, we see Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Applejack react to the shocking news with a Big "WHAT?!" in the same Split Screen used for the revelation.
- Happens once in Sabrina: The Animated Series episode "Food Tude".
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In episode 3, Star casting her "Combo Nuclear Butterfly Blast" elicits many panicked reactions from Ludo and his monsters (as well as Marco), on a screen unevenly split in seven parts.
- Happens in Steven Universe episode "Tiger Millionaire".
- Total Drama: Especially All-Stars is fond of the split-screen reaction.
- Gwen and Courtney know that either of them will be voted off in "Picnic At Hanging Dork". As Chris counts the votes, the screen gets diagonally split with the two girls at each side. When Courtney gets a vote, Gwen is happy and Courtney angry. When Gwen gets a vote, Courtney is happy and Gwen concerned. The fifth vote goes to Sierra, which causes a tie and leaves both girls stunned.
- During Chris's episode intro speech in "Runaway Model", the now exclusively male Toxic Rats are each given a quarter of the screen marked by a unique background color. They assess each other across the quarter borders amicably, except for Scott who grins at Lightning and Lightning who responds with concern.
- Heather, Courtney, Duncan, Lightning, Scott, Mike, and Cameron are all part of a shredded reaction shot in "Heroes vs. Villains" when it is revealed that Alejandro was inside the Drama Machine all along. Each of them is differentiated with a unique color background and the composition highlights the reactions' level of importance. Heather, Alejandro's love interest and rival, is large and in the center. Courtney and Duncan, who've worked with Alejandro, are smaller and flank Heather. The Gen 2 cast members get the least space each and theirs are pushed to the side. With the unexplained exception of Lightning, none of them have much of a reaction because they have no history with Alejandro.
- Gwen's plea for the Villainous Vultures to work as a team in "Heroes vs. Villains" is met with deceitful agreement. As Heather, Jo, Duncan, Scott, Alejandro, and Lightning enter the confessional to voice their real thoughts, the next shot consists of close-ups of all seven Vultures in H-formation with Gwen in the middle. She's laughing amicably because she thinks she got through to the rest, the rest is laughing evilly against an Infernal Background.
- At the campfire ceremony in "Suckers Punched", Chris tells the contestants to hold their gasps until he's done with his announcements. Those are that the winners will choose which loser gets eliminated, that the losers will choose which winner goes to Boney Island, and that it's not yet time for the merge. When Chris gives permission to gasp, the contestants are framed in a reaction shot composed of four trapezoids between Scott and Alejandro, Cameron and Gwen and Courtney, Sierra and Duncan, and Zoey and Mike.
- Zoey, Mal, Gwen, Cameron, Heather, and Alejandro respond with a reaction shot composed of trapezoids upon beholding the Moats of Doom in "The Final Wreck-ening". Each of them is differentiated with a unique color background and the composition highlights the characters' relevance. Zoey and Mal, the two finalists, are depicted largest and take up a quarter of the shot each, while the other four, as helpers, have to do with less. As a couple, Alejandro and Heather get to share their own quarter and Cameron and Gwen have an eighth of the screen each.
- Can be seen in Wakfu, as with the above picture. Not surprising given the show's Animesque roots. Especially common during the Bontarian Gobbowl arc.
- We Bare Bears: In "Go Fish", the Bears have a three-way reaction to their fishing boat captain being Swallowed Whole by a giant goldfish.