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Super Move Portrait Attack

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In video games with Limit Breaks or Special Moves, sometimes a character using said special will have a portrait or close-up of his face flashed on the screen just before he proceeds to use his technique.

This allows us to see the determination on the attacker's face that may otherwise be difficult to convey on the character's in-game sprite or model and serves as a good Oh, Crap! moment for his opponents (who may be other players if it's a multiplayer game). If the model is detailed enough to convey emotion, then an alternate option is to have the camera temporarily zoom in on the attacker.

When used with an image, this trope is frequently referred to as a "cut-in."

See also Eyedscreen, Versus Character Splash.


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    Card Battle Game 
  • Touken Ranbu uses this for its many special moves.
    • Shinken Hissatsu, a special "full-throttle" state that can be triggered when a sword is hit when in heavy damage stages. This state is heralded by an epic shot of the sword's going full rampage and a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
    • Double attack, which starts with close-ups of the swords doing the attack.
    • Ikkiuchi, a randomly triggered Finishing Move involving both sides' captains going one-on-one against each other. This move begins with close-ups of the attackers' faces.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, does this whenever a character uses their special skills.

    Fighting Game 
  • The Hyper Combos from the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
  • Quite a few M.U.G.E.N characters, though it's mostly in an attempt to stay true to the games they come from.
  • Used in the Gundam Vs Series series of Fighting Games. The installments centered around Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny flash the character's portrait when the player activates their Super Mode, while Gundam Vs. Gundam NEXT shows a cut-in of your character if you land the final attack. Gundam Extreme Versus brings back Super Modes, but this time portraits only appear if it's especially critical (ie, if you're low on HP and/or it's the last 30 seconds of a match).
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future shows this for supers and "custom combo" inputs; in the latter case the portrait lingers for a second or two and the character's facial features twitch to give some semblance of not being just a still image. There are also "defeated" portraits when a super move KOs a combatant.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, Heart Heat Attacks (HHAs) zoom in on the character launching the move. Great Heat Attacks (GHAs) show a momentary cutaway in the style of manga panels as the character winds up.
  • Done in the Bleach Fighting Games. Taken further, unleashing Bankai causes a short cutscene of their personal activation method to play.
  • Mortal Kombat 1 added this to the beginning of the Fatal Blow attack openers after neglecting to include it in the X-Ray Attacks and Fatal Blows of Mortal Kombat games 9, X, and 11.
  • Final Smashes in Super Smash Bros. Brawl tend to zoom in on the character using it immediately before the effect.
    • Robin's Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. uses the cut-in effect of Fire Emblem: Awakening to show Chrom joining Robin in the smashing.
    • Ultimate adds a small portrait of the character to the corner of the screen when they use their Final Smash.
    • Ultimate also has Joker doing this when his Rebellion Gauge is full, summoning Arsene and powering up his attacks and abilities.
  • Samurai Shodown V had a variation. Portraits appeared not when a character used a super attack, but when they activated "Mu no Kyouchi" mode (which dramatically slows down the opponent).
  • The Mahjong Fight Club series has in-game AI-controlled avatars of real life Mahjong professional league players. Whenever one of them wins a hand, a cut-in of the pro's face flashes on their opponents' screens right before declaring the win. The pros themselves also have special user accounts that allow them to play as their in-game avatars (with a "real-life person" tag in place of the usual "CPU"), which will have the same effect, though the pro will see his/her own facial cut-in on his/her own screen as well.
  • Starting from Street Fighter III, the zoom-in, screen freeze, flashy lights variant when a Super/Critical Art is activated. SFIV goes one step further, and uses full motion zoom-ins for Ultra Moves, to enhance that Oh, Crap! feeling. SFV adds a little more with a screen freeze after the finishing off the opponent with an autocombo.
  • Rumble Roses uses this whenever any wrestler performs one of her two finishing moves.
  • Melty Blood, as of Actress Again Current Code.
  • Based on the trailers, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny has added these to accompany the Full Drive super moves.
  • Naruto: Clash of Ninja and in the Ultimate Ninja series has a portrait of your character appear briefly in the background when activating your special attack.
  • The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match did this with the character's MAX2 supers.
  • Dead or Alive 5 does this with power blows.
  • Skullgirls uses black-and-white portraits of characters behind fast-moving film reels, in keeping with the game's film noir aesthetic.
  • Aquapazza has this for each of the characters' Splash Arts.
  • In Ougon Musou Kyouku, characters' portraits swoop in when they make meta-declarations or counter-declarations, and they get one or more for their meta super attacks. Even support characters' portraits appear for their assists.
  • Guilty Gear Xrd goes the SFIV route and has cinematic startups to certain supers.
  • Guilty Gear's sister series BlazBlue takes a more different approach to this by having a character's special crest (which represents them) pop up when activating a Distortion Drive, an Overdrive or an Astral Heat.
  • Persona 4: Arena has multiple cut-ins appear during the animations for certain SP Skills. The facial cut-ins focusing on a character's eyes are also brought over from the original game when a character enters "Awakened Mode".
  • The Touhou fighting games stay true to their bullet hell origins by doing this whenever spell cards are declared.
  • Tekken 7 introduces rage arts with starts with this trope.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has an image of the character in a fighting pose appear over the screen whenever the player uses a Mojo Meltdown, which is possible after the player has collected enough Mojo Balls to fill up their Mojo Meter twice.
  • In the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series, this trope serves a practical purpose, warning the player if an enemy character is targeting them with an Ultimate Attack so they can try to defend against it. If the player uses an Ultimate, they get the traditional 3D fighter-style closeup instead. These images occupy one corner or one side of the screen to appear roughly where the opponent is and to leave enough space when you're being targeted by more than one ultimate at once.

    Hack And Slash 

    Mecha Game 
  • Gotcha Force
  • Hardcore Mecha, similarly to Super Robot Wars, there are close-up animated portraits of the protagonist, Tarethur, in his Thunderbolt mecha when he uses any of his ultimate moves. However, the animated portraits and ultimate moves are only exclusive to story mode.

  • In Dungeon Fighter Online, when a Dungeon Fighter uses their classes "Awakening" skill (or certain high level normal skills), a portrait of their subclass appears on screen.
  • Granblue Fantasy: Just before executing their Charge Attack animations, characters will have their own static portraits flash horizontally on the screen, along with a sound effect. Some characters introduced in 2017 onwards, such as Attack on Titan characters Mikasa and Levi, have animated portraits zooming in and with a different background color.
  • Grand Chase does this during special attacks.
  • Special Actives in Elsword also work like this.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 features cut-ins of your actual character model's face talking as an option for text chat communication (with a choice of various backgrounds and facial expressions). As such, this trope can be used manually by players at their own will, or the Autowords feature can even be set up to do it automatically during special moments, such as an Emergency Code starting or clearing a Quest. Excessive use of them during gameplay though, especially when broadcast to all players in the field rather than just the player's own party, is seen as disruptive and annoying by some. As the cut-ins match your character exactly, it can also result in some less than graceful situations where your character is knocked to the ground by an enemy mid-sentence and this is reflected in the cut-in window at the time.

    Party Game 
  • Mario Party 3: The game does this on the duel boards when one player's partner attacks the opposition.

    Platform Game 
  • Ape Escape 3 has the bosses do this. Usually before doing a hard to dodge or powerful move.
  • In Azure Striker Gunvolt and its spinoff series Luminous Avenger iX, when you or a boss use an offensive skill or Anthem is triggered, the game will briefly cut to a full-screen image of the character in question. In Luminous Avenger iX 2 and Azure Striker Gunvolt 3, these images are partially animated.
  • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, when initiating a Dual Crush attack, the portraits of the two protagonists will flash on screen in a brief time-stop moment, accompanied by the characters shouting the incantation.
  • Happens once per boss fight in Rabi-Ribi and its sequel, TEVI, where the present antagonist will have a portrait display right before their ultimate attack. Erina does this too when using her 'ultimate weapon', the Bunny Amulet, which mostly just grants a few frames of Mercy Invincibility.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Even DanceDanceRevolution started doing this in SuperNOVA 2, flashing a portrait of the dancer in the background whenever the player gets high Combos. (20 or higher, with another portrait flash for every 50 combo)
    • Hottest Party 3 took this up another notch and made it more awesome. Starting from 50 combos the character will make a move on screen, and from 100 to 200 combos, so on, they'll continue to make a fancy celebrating move for it. And better yet, if you end off with a full combo, they'll have a finishing move while "Full Combo Finish!!" flashes on screen. Distracting for easily distracted players, but it's still very awesome.
  • Elite Beat Agents and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan have the portrait of the lead member appear whenever the player completes a particularly good string of beats or hits a specific number of combos.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Sacred Earth Series
    • Sacred Earth - Promise: In older versions of Promise, EX Arts were accompanied by a cut-in image of the user. In the current version, only Exceed Limits have cut-in images due to these skills surpassing EX Arts.
    • Sacred Earth - Alternative: This game only gives cut-ins to Elemental Arts, which are EX Arts that are enhanced by the Field Element mechanic. However, the only characters who get cut-ins are Konoe and the Final Boss, her original non-clone self.
  • The Tales Series uses this for its strongest attacks, known as Mystic Artes (Hi-Ougis) or Blast Calibers, depending on the game. Portraits generally come in two flavors - a horizontal or (rarely) vertical "stripe" with character's portrait, or much larger, upper-body artworks.
    • Cut-ins first appear in Tales of Eternia, uniquely drawn in one color.
    • In Tales of Destiny 2 Judas has a secret arte, that can only be activated on a New Game Plus. By extending one of his Mystic Artes, he will go through a Dramatic Unmask and his cut-in shows him as such.
    • Tales of Legendia lacks traditional Mystic Artes, but features Climax Combo - a Combination Attack performed by all four party members. When activated, it shows four Eyedscreen-style portraits of the current party, stacked on top of each other.
    • Tales of Innocence heavily features Reincarnation, and in its Video Game Remake all second-tier Mystic Artes has unique cut-ins that show both the character and their past self. Naturally, it doesn't apply to non-reincarnated characters.
    • Tales of the Abyss and Updated Re Release of Tales of Vesperia use both styles of cut-ins, reserving stripe-type ones for weaker Mystic Artes, and upper-body portraits for stronger MAs, that can be accessed only during New Game Plus. In Vesperia they are animated, too! Because nothing quite says "power" like boobie bounce.
    • Tales of Hearts has a second cut-in for Kunzite, different portrait from normal - specifically, with his helmet off. In can only be seen on New Game Plus.
    • The Link artes in Tales of Xillia and Tales of Xillia 2 briefly display a face portrait of the two participating characters whenever they're used.
    • Tales of Berseria:
      • The game has only one cut-in per character, but frames them differently depending on Mystic Arte used. First-ties artes show only a stripe, second-tier show most of the character, and third-tier show full-body artwork, accompanied by a cool effect, that depend on character, like Velvet's claw tearing through the screen, or Magilou's portrait spinning before setting in place.
      • Additionally, Break Souls display a small stripe-type portrait, seemingly modified from characters' status screen portraits.
    • Tales of Arise ditches cut-ins along with all of in-game 2D art, but still has characters strike a distinct pose before unleashing an attack. Indeed, when Arise characters were added in Tales Of The Rays, their default cut-ins were modified from these poses.
  • Two games in in the Lunar series use this trope, both of them remakes of Lunar: The Silver Star but released nearly a decade apart. Lunar Legend was the first game in the series to use a Limit Break mechanic, and years later, Silver Star Harmony added a similar system to the framework of Silver Star Story. The additional moves make the first half of the game rather easy, since Luna's move restores all health and magic.
  • Persona:
    • The PSP remake of Persona 2: Innocent Sin added these to Fusion Spells. Everyone participating in the spell appears on the screen, usually with some loose bit of clothing or their hair flapping about as a side-effect of summoning their Personas.
    • Persona 3 shows a close-up of the hero every time a Fusion Spell is used. Portraits of the Personas involved will appear to his sides. It also randomly shows a cut-in of a character's eyes when their Persona either hits a weakness or gets a Critical Hit (and the very first time they summon in battle as part of the story). This applies both to party members and enemy Persona-users (plus the optional superboss). Finally, when all enemies are knocked down, a character will suggest (via portrait pop-up and a voice-over) initiating an All-Out Attack. Agree, and the screen will throw up the portraits of all characters participating in the attack.
    • Persona 4 features the party's portraits when they perform one of their follow-up attacks. In addition, the eye cut-ins and All-Out Attack group portraits are still present. Used for dramatic effect near the end of the game, where the Killer's portrait when he first attacks during his boss battle reveals he himself has a Persona.
    • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth features them for critical hits/weaknesses and All-Out Attacks like in 3 and 4, but no longer for follow-up attacks.
    • They return in Persona 5, the artwork used looking somewhat more dynamic. Fitting the game's comic book-like aesthetic, the critical hit cut-ins look as if parts of the screen are "torn away" to reveal the portrait. The Hero even has a separate cut-in for minigames, like scoring a homerun in batting cage.
  • Fusion attacks in The World Ends with You: Level 1 Fusions have Neku's portrait on the bottom screen, and his partner's portrait on the top screen, each in a colored horizontal bar. Level 2 Fusions have the two portraits side-by-side, in colored vertical bars that stretch across both screens; this one of both characters with their eyes closed, opening them simultaneously. Level 3 fusions have full-body, non-bar portraits of the two characters in fighting poses circle each other once or twice before the attack starts.
  • From the third generation of Pokémon games onward, Pokémon using a move outside of battle (Cut, Fly, etc.) flash across the screen and cry before performing the action.
    • It also happens when you're challenged by a Gym Leader.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land does this for characters' Level 3 Over Skills and enemies' Max Rage attacks.
  • The final battle of Final Fantasy VI manages a sprite-based variant. When Kefka begins charging his Forsaken attack, a small sprite representing his laughing face will appear on the battlefield. When he appeared in Dissidia Final Fantasy the same attack reappears as his Limit Break and a more traditional close-up of his face is used before pulling back to show the attack.
  • The final boss of Final Fantasy VII made the most of its newfangled 3-D graphics to give the final boss a dramatic face close-up when he performed his infamous Supernova attack.
  • Super Robot Wars: Endless Frontier has two cut-ins for each character: one "normal" one and one showing part of the attack in progress - Harken turning his super revolver into a beam cannon, Aschen removing her personality limiters (and significant chunks of spandex), and so on. They also pop up whenever you switch characters or summon in support characters to join in on the beatdown, and the second game makes them even more elaborate and increases their number greatly as well because of all the support-only characters. It also cranked up the ammount of butt-shots and bouncy breasts.
  • Arc Rise Fantasia mostly uses these for Combination Attacks. Whenever a magic or Excel Act is synced with another magic/Excel Art, portraits of all participants of the sync will be briefly displayed on the screen, before the powered-up move is executed. Some bosses have attacks that display only their portrait, that they can use by syncing their Excel Arts with themselves. The player can't use this technique for themselves.
  • Pokémon Black and White and its sequels: Not in the games themselves, but one of the online Dream World minigames, named "Open the Treasure Box", featured this when beating the minigame.
  • The Trails Series does this with the S-Crafts:
    • Trails in the Sky trilogy has eyes-only cut-ins, while Trails From Zero uses characters' normal speaking portraits with determined expressions. Trails to Azure, however, replaces these with full-body artworks. The Evolution ports of the Sky trilogy would also give new full-body artwork for all S-Crafts.
    • Starting with Trails of Cold Steel, series undergoes Video Game 3D Leap and starts using dramatic close-ups even for most normal Crafts. Cut-ins, however, are still being used for S-Crafts. It also uses cut-ins for Link Attacks and Humongous Mecha battles. The latter uses mostly the same mechanic as the former, which means that the second cut-in displayed is cut-in for the mecha. It makes some sense for sentient Divine Knights, but less so for Panzer Soldats, which are just inanimate war machines.
    • Zigzagged in the first Trails through Daybreak game; it discards cut-ins for faster combat flow, but its turn-based mode still has a lot of dramatic close-ups shown during Crafts and S-Crafts. However, it's hard to pinpoint close-ups with the same impact as cut-ins in previous games. Regardless, Kuro II brings cut-ins back, though these ones still use the 3D models instead of 2D artwork.
  • In Fate/EXTRA, some of the Noble Phantasms such as the ones used by the playable Saber or one of the Berserkers involve this.
  • Uncommon Time does this for the Limit Breaks. Each one uses a unique portrait, in fact, with everyone having different portraits for each of their two attacks.
  • Similar to the above example, the Awakenings in .hack//G.U. feature the portraits of all three (or two) of your party members.
  • In Miitopia, whenever a Mii executes a new skill (be it a class skill, a personality skill or a relationship skill), we see a close up of their eyes in letterboxed portrait with the name of the attack next to it. In the Switch port, this was edited to now show the Mii's whole face.
  • In Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth, when a Union Skill — Combination Attack meets Limit Break — is used, all participants' portraits flash on the screen momentarily before the skill animation takes place.
  • Rakenzarn Tales began using these for its Soul Break moves with Version 4, going with a full body shot of the character.
  • Rakenzarn Frontier Story uses it for its Soul Breaks as well, sticking with a facial close-up akin to an Eyed Screen style.
  • Sacred Earth Series: In older versions of Promise, EX Arts were accompanied by a cut-in image of the user. In the current version, only Exceed Limits have cut-in images due to these skills surpassing EX Arts.
  • Genshin Impact: When 5-star characters—and Barbaranote —initiate an Elemental Burst, you get a small cutscene zooming in on the character’s face as they unleash their attack while their elemental color flashes in the background.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3 combines this with Eyed Screen when starting Chain Attacks, selecting Chain Orders, and Interlinking.
  • Ys series uses these for EXTRA skills, i.e. in all games with the Player Party.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • Spell card declarations in Touhou.
    • Taken up a few notches with Utsuho's, wherein the portrait is accompanied by large, yellow, radiation-symbol-spammed "CAUTION!" text scrolling across the screen as well as a blaring klaxon. Reason for this being that she is a living thermonuclear weapon.
  • Characters in Otomedius flash their portraits when using a P-Burst or D-Burst attack. The portrait is different depending on which Burst is used.
  • In Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3, the M-Crash special attack is accompanied by a cut-in portrait.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • In both the first Agarest and its prequel, Zero, whenever characters use their EX skills, their portraits appear in the middle of the screen.
  • Team attacks in Disgaea.
    • In the newer games, the Magichange ability also does this (As shown in the trope picture).
    • Some normal moves do this, as well, the Prism Rangers' Prism Justice (Squeezes the portraits of all seven of them onto the screen), and Mid-Boss' Adonic Buster and Super Adonis (A four person team attack and magichange respectively, both using copies of himself) being particularly noteworthy.
      • Disgaea 4 has the Prism Rangers ultimate attack. It shoves 13 portraits on screen at once!
  • Super Robot Wars games in general absolutely abuse this, sometimes using cut-ins of the pilot, the mecha itself preparing the attack (or the next part of it), or both. In some of the games, everything from the most basic attack is precipitated by at least a pilot cut-in. Considering the length of the more powerful attacks, they almost affect the Story to Gameplay Ratio.
  • SD Gundam G Generation post SEED uses this in anything stronger than vulcan and punch attacks. This is because you're basically create your own robot army, so cut-ins are used to show who is in your mech. Story-based G Generation games uses cut-in to show the character's pulling out ID Commands.
  • The Advance Wars series shows a portrait of the CO whenever they use their CO-Power.
  • La Pucelle
  • Team/Group Attacks in Chaos Wars show face cut-ins of all the characters participating in the combo. When a unit performs a Realize Special, a larger portrait of the unit is shown, and during the attack, just before landing the final blow, a face-cut in appears.
  • Pretty much every Flash Drives in the Luminous Arc series, with the third game also bringing in Unison Strike combo attack between Refi and his partner.
  • The 3DS Fire Emblem games (Awakening, Fates, and Echoes) along with Heroes and Three Houses all pull this when characters execute special skills or critical hits, complete with a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner. Fire Emblem Warriors imitates it with an Eyedscreen effect.
  • In Pokémon Conquest, a brief portrait of both the Pokemon and the Warrior commanding it will appear when attacking with a super-effective move or activating a Warrior Skill.
  • Valkyria Chronicles III: When certain characters use their super special powers, such as Kurt, Imca, and Riela. Also, Alicia and Aliasse. The use of Order in the game may also be counted as this.

    Visual Novel 
  • Even the Ace Attorney series does it, a close up of the Attorney/Prosecutor appears in the screen, generally when doing an Objection!
    • The beginning of the cross-examination, when the samurai eye shots of the prosecutor and the defense attorney are shown glaring at each other with gusto!
  • The Danganronpa games do this whenever the protagonist points out a contradiction.
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, the other classmates can sometimes cut Hajime off when he's in the middle of laying out his analysis in the same effect. The game lampshaded the surprise of seeing Mahiru's interruption after spending the entire first game without any of such thing.
  • In Monster Girl Quest, using an elemental sword skill while the corresponding spirit is summoned will cause portraits of both Luka and the spirit to appear. In Monster Girl Quest: Paradox, every single playable character (and there are hundreds of them) has one when they use particular skills.

    Wrestling Game 
  • Starting around 2002, the WWE series of games (formerly WWE Smackdown or WWE Smackdown Vs Raw) began adding more cinematic touches to the fights, typically dramatic zoom-ins, slow-mo, camera pans and/or repeating replays of successful finishing moves. In previous games you could invoke this trope in singles matches.
  • Big Bang Pro Wrestling briefly cuts in a full-screen portrait of your character with Speed Stripes in the background when you activate your Limit Break.

Non-video game examples:

    Anime & Manga 

    Live-Action TV 

    Web Animation 
  • Bunnykill 4 has the battle in the Dragon Shrine, where both main characters and the Big Bad get one such attack each.
  • Banana-nana-Ninja! uses these extensively, usually to add emphasis to Baninja's fits of overly dramatic dialogue, but also in action and fight scenes.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 


Video Example(s):


Ultra skill portrait

Every fighter in Blade Strangers will display a diagonal cut-in of their face while activating an ultra skill, as Curly firstly demonstrates with her "Super WMD!" skill.
However, Gunvolt is a special exception: after showing his normal portrait, he will display a bigger, full screen cut-in which will include the name of the chosen skill.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / SuperMovePortraitAttack

Media sources: