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Super-Detailed Fight Narration

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"...This mustn't register on an emotional level. First, distract target. Then block his blind jab. Counter with cross to left cheek. Discombobulate. Dazed, he'll attempt a wild haymaker. Employ elbow block, and body shot. Block feral left. Weaken right jaw. Now fracture. Break cracked ribs. Traumatize solar plexus. Dislocate jaw entirely. Heel kick to diaphragm. In summary, ears ringing, jaw fractured, three ribs cracked, four broken. Diaphragm hemorrhaging. Physical recovery: six weeks. Full psychological recovery: six months. Capacity to spit at back of head: neutralized."

A trope found mostly in literature, this is the description of every move and injury in a fight with excruciating detail. This is often used to demonstrate Awesomeness by Analysis or Hyper-Awareness, especially if the narration is from the perspective of one of the combatants.

A common subject of Purple Prose. Often done via Diagnosis from Dr. Badass, in which a combatant enumerates on the injuries they or their opponent have sustained.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A common trope of stories aimed at the young male demographic, many super-powered kung-fu series make use of this extensively. Prime offenders include such titles as Dragon Ball, Naruto and Bleach. Any given detail over the local form of magical kung-fu can take up entire chapters at a time. Coincidentally, this also helps to extend the life of the series with entire fight-explanation-chapters.
  • This happens a few times In-Universe within JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, where characters themselves serve as the battle narrators whilst their words get filtered out into an echo chamber. Notable examples include Robert E.O. Speedwagon, out of desperation for wanting to see Jonathan come out of his battles safely, and Hayato Kawajiri, out of being a scared child.

    Comic Books 
  • Frank Miller often does this, especially with Batman in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. He's far from the only Batman author to write this way either.
    • An example in The Dark Knight Returns probably is this line, from the first fight scene where Batman's back in action, perfectly summing up his methods and attitudes.
      Batman: There are seven working defenses from this position. Three of them disarm with minimal contact. Three of them kill. The other - [KRAKK] - hurts.
  • The Punisher's various authors have employed this, to incredible anatomical precision.
  • In Cerebus the Aardvark, the Roach goes through a Frank Miller phase which allows Dave Sim to mock this trope.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) has this happen typically when Karl Bollers is the one writing the story. In particular, when Sonic transforms into Ultra Sonic, the comic shifts into being a No-Dialogue Episode, opting for the narration to explain what's going on in extreme detail.

    Fan Works 
  • Pok√©mon Master is written by an author who is very fond of flowery narration and detailed descriptions. This extends also to fights: every single blow, every elemental attack... in every fight are described in great detail.

  • Sherlock Holmes
    • Sherlock Holmes (2009) has two scenes wherein Sherlock plans a beatdown out in advance before delivery. Assisted by Robert Downey Jr's real-life knowledge of Wing Chun.
    • In the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Holmes does this to an assassin who's hiding and preparing to kill Simza, using metaphors for preparing omelettes to describe how he's beating the piss out of his opponent, i.e. "break the eggs". Sim interrupts the fight a quarter of the way through with a thrown knife. At the climax of the film, Holmes and Moriarty do this with an entire brawl in their minds, figuring out who is going to win by simply analyzing each other. It's clear that Sherlock would lose because of his hobbling shoulder injury that Moriarty inflicted on him earlier... except, like the theft of Moriarty's war chest and simultaneous Surprise Checkmate he detailed earlier to his nemesis... it was all a bait for Moriarty's arrogance to occlude the Heroic Sacrifice that Holmes was really planning.
  • See also John Cleese's Holmes film, which parodies this: At one point, Holmes does this after Watson kills the murder victim by being a bumbling imbecile, then explains that he was able to deduce the events because he was in the room the whole time.
  • In True Lies, Harry gives a detailed account on how he's going to escape from, and kill his captors, after being given a truth serum.
  • In Charlie's Angels (2000), one of the Angels is captured by the Big Bad and tied to a chair. She manages to free her legs and then spends the next few seconds describing in detail how she's going to kick the Mooks' asses before "moonwalking out of there". Bonus points for trying to burn the ropes tying her hands while talking to the mooks. Her lighter fails. "And, as my trusty zippo is not working, I'll do it with my hands tied". She does. The fight goes exactly as she described, except for the last part, because what she does can in no way be described as a moonwalk (doesn't matter if a Michael Jackson song is playing in the background).

  • In the fight scenes of both The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer tells in excruciating detail things like where a spear or arrow entered the body of a victim, what vital organs it penetrates and bones it fractures, and where the point emerges on the other side. May be considered the Trope Maker.
  • This is par for the course for Matt Stover. Caine, as a narrator, can spend pages on a 30-second fight.
  • Nearly all the fight scenes in The Five Ancestors series. The books were written by a martial arts master after all.
  • Lee Childs' hero Jack Reacher, as an ex-MP investigator with superhuman math skills, near-CSI investigative abilities and Hyper-Awareness, gets outright ridiculous with these sometimes. In Killing Floor, Reacher apparently mentally solves the geometry problem of whether or not he can turn on his firing arc to get the optimal angle to shoot the Big Bad before the Big Bad can get the angle needed to shoot him (all in a fraction of a second, of course) and describes it to the reader.
  • Found in works by Neal Stephenson. He doesn't do it that often, but that scene with the Vickers machine gun in
  • Frank Herbert's Dune
  • Matthew Reilly gives pretty detailed descriptions. For example, what it looks like when a person gets shot with an anti-aircraft gun.
  • In Francois Rabelais' Gargantua, Rabelais — who had some medical training — takes his time to minutely describe the horrible wounds one of his heroes, a fighting monk, inflicts upon his enemies. All this is played for comedy.
  • R. A. Salvatore's Drizzt books, set in Forgotten Realms, tend to do this. In his more recent books, he even does this with magic-using warlocks.

    Live Action TV 
  • The History Channel's Dogfights not only spends a great deal of time recounting every detail of every battle, but also compares the strengths of opposing planes and shows how certain maneuvers are supposed to work.
  • In Person of Interest, the Machine is capable of generating such fight plans and transmitting them to its champions. We see it in action once in the fourth season finale. As Reese is currently tied up and lacking an ear piece, the Machine commandeers an old fax machine standing nearby. The baddies are understandably non-plussed and read the instructions out loud.
    Floyd: Chop right leg, left knee, ACL, tactical blade, glass jaw.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • Epic Rap Battles of History, episode "Batman Vs. Sherlock Holmes": Sherlock's final verse is a parody of the trope quote.
    Sherlock Holmes: [thinking] This mustn't register on an emotional level... First, exploit childhood tragedy... then gesture with pipe... Watson finishes punchline... next, acknowledge compliment. Conclude with killer catchphrase....
    [out loud] I believe your parent's homicide is why you mask your face
    You're shamed and traumatized and haunted by the vast disgrace
    Of watching like a passive waste as momma died and daddy was dispatched with haste!
    John Watson: Holmes, you've cracked the case!
    Sherlock Holmes: You're a bat shit crazy basket case!
    John Watson: Bloody good rhymes!
    Sherlock Holmes: I've got tonnes! Dissing these dynamic douchebags was... elementary, my dear Watson.


Video Example(s):


Sherlock Holmes (2009) Fight Scene

Sherlock plans a beatdown out in advance before delivery. Assisted by Robert Downey Jr's real-life knowledge of Wing Chun.

How well does it match the trope?

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