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Who Are You?

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"Who are you?
Who, who, who, who
I really wanna know..."
The Who, "Who Are You"

The Hero has burst into the scene, has saved the girl, and is holding the villain at sword/gun-point. The villain (or maybe some other bystander), bewildered, demands "Who are you?" The hero usually responds with a Badass Boast, although a big monologue is not necessary. Sufficiently awesome heroes can get away with just their name, which is especially effective if it's the first time the audience is hearing it, or the first time the character has referred to himself by that name. A common subversion is when the boast is interrupted. If the hero's actions are especially amazing, the villain may demand, "What Are You?" instead.

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Precision F-Strike is sometimes employed when asking the question. Can also overlap with Who Dares?.

Not to be confused with the ridiculously awesome song and album by The Who, or with the Korean Drama Who Are You?.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the opening of Rurouni Kenshin Trust and Betrayal OVA, a mysterious swordsman saves Kenshin from being killed by bandits. Just before being killed, the last bandit asks the stranger who he is. The swordsman (who is later revealed to be Hiko Seijūrō), replies "You won't live long enough to remember my name."
  • In Full Metal Panic! when a Mook asks Sosuke who he is, he replies in a cool voice: "I'm the garbage man." This is a reference to his being assigned school garbage collection duty.
  • Inverted or...something in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. The hot-blooded heroes were rarely actually asked, but often answered their opponents preemptively and at great length, always ending with the series' Catchphrase / Arc Words, "JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE!?"
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The resident Action Mom, Izumi, gives this response:
      Izumi: Normally, I'd say "just a housewife", but today, I feel like showing off: I'm an alchemist.
    • Her normal (utterly terrifying) response to 'what are you' was "a housewife." And it's true. She's Happily Married to a strong, silent-type meat butcher and is great with the local kids (though horrifyingly abusive toward her students)... and everything else in the series that isn't an Eldritch Abomination finds reason to fear her.
    • Tragically, she never will be an Action Mom. Or any other kind of mom. Except potentially adoptive, but she doesn't seem interested in that.
  • Sailor Moon villains were fond of this one. The hero who got this the most was Tuxedo Mask.
  • In Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos, any villain to receive a lecture by Rom Stoll will often demand to know who the hell Rom is, to which his reply would invariable be "YOU DON'T DESERVE TO KNOW MY NAME!" before Rom began kicking ass. This also extends to anyone in Super Robot Wars that got a lecture from Rom... even an Angel.

    Comic Books 
  • The first issue of All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder included this memetic exchange (which, for better or for worse, effectively set the tone for the series as a whole):
    Dick Grayson, Age 12: Who the hell are you anyway, giving out orders like this?
    Batman: What are you, dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the Goddamn Batman.
  • In Supergirl story arc Red Daughter of Krypton, Kara Zor-El stops an out-of-control Red Lantern who is about to fry an innocent woman's mind.
    Supergirl: That's enough!
    Sheko: Who are you?
    Supergirl: My name is Kara. I am a Red Lantern, just like you.
    Sheko: ... Red... Lantern...?
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    Fan Works 
  • Kyon: Big Damn Hero has this exchange just after Kyon arrivies to save Tsuruya and her bodyguard from a dozen Yakuza:
    Yakuza Mook: You've bought yourself ten seconds, and a one-way ticket to a world of hurt, kid. Who the hell do you think you are?
    Kyon: Today, I'm a defender of justice, and that girl's guardian. Cliche though it may sound... from this point on if you want to get to her, or him, you go through me.
  • In chapter 29 of Superman fanfic Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, Katherine saves a woman from a rapist, and her rescuee asks who she is.
    Katherine: I will take you to a place of safety, to a police station. Give them this thing he was going to use on you. Tell them about him. If you don’t, he’ll only do this again when he recovers. Do you understand? Give me your word you’ll do this.
    Woman: I’ll, I’ll do it. Who are you? Are you an angel?
    Katherine: No.
    Woman: Then who are you?
    Katherine: Supergirl. Call me Supergirl.
  • From A Growing Affection:
    Ninja Reaper: It is over, ninja. Give me your name, that I may remember it.
    Naruto: My name is Naruto Uzumaki. And there's no way I'm going to die here. I'm going to be the next Hokage.
  • In Purple Days, Joff stops in the middle of a walk when the canon incident of a peasant throwing some dung at him happens. Instead of what everyone thinks will happen, Joff just walks to the smallfolk who did it and talks to him for a while, hearing how bad things are getting at Flea Bottom and giving him a coin to get some food. Then he stands and bellows out that it's the duty of the king to help the smallfolk when he's gotten them embroiled in war, so he's opening some of the Red Keep's stores to alleviate the famine, and likewise guilts the High Septon into doing the same with the larders of the Great Sept. An awed Tyrion, used to the madness of canon Joffrey, gapes at his nephew and asks the question. Joff calmly tells him he's Joffrey and no one else.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mulan: Mushu heads over to the fireworks area during the final battle, and is asked by the guards there, "Who are you?" He responds, "Your worst nightmare," and they flee.
  • Rafiki does this with Simba in The Lion King in a non-evil variation.
    Simba: Creepy little monkey. Who are you?
    Rafiki: The question is, who are you?
    Simba: I thought I knew. Now, I'm not so sure.
  • Hoodwinked! has a variant in the form of Red Puckett's reaction to seeing the Wolf impersonating Granny:
    Red Puckett: What? Who are you?
    The Wolf: I'm your grandma.
    Red Puckett: Your face looks really weird, granny.
    The Wolf: I've been sick, I... uh... [puts his hands over his chest]
    Red Puckett: Your mouth doesn't move when you talk.
  • Said by Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda when Po interrupts him while he's choking the life out of Master Shifu when he doesn't divulge the location of the Dragon Scroll.
    Tai Lung: Who are you?
    Po: Buddy, I... am the Dragon Warrior! [bows over, panting over from climbing the stairs]
    Tai Lung: [incredulous] You? [laughs] He's a panda! You're a panda! What are you gonna do, big guy? Sit on me?
    Po: Don't tempt me.
  • Yellow Submarine: When the Beatles confront the Boob, who hands them separate calling cards:
    John: And who in Billy Shears are you?
    Boob: Who? Ah... who indeed am I. [hands out cards to each of the boys, who reads them out loud]
    John: Jeremy?
    Paul: Hilary?
    George: "Boob"??
    Ringo: [on his card which reads "Ph.D."] "Fffffud."
    All four together: Who???
    Boob: Eminent physicist, polyglot classscist, prize-winning botanist, hard biting satirist, talented pianist... good dentist, too.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Deadpool 2 when Deadpool regains his immortality and begins fighting and begins beating Cable with a pole.
    Cable: Who are you?
    Deadpool: I'm Batman!
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl has this, aimed at Will Turner. It features a mild subversion, with Jack trying very hard to keep Will from answering, since it will derail his plans.
    Barbossa: Who are you?
    Jack: Nobody! He's nobody! Distant cousin of my aunt's nephew, twice removed. Wonderful singing voice, though. Eunuch.
  • Kick-Ass has this a couple times. First when Kick-Ass saves the guy outside the store, and the guy with the camera phone says it:
    Bystander: Dude, who are you?
    Dave: I'm Kick-Ass.
  • Lawrence of Arabia uses this far too many times to count. Once even before the film transitions into the extended flashback that makes up the vast majority of it.
  • From Rambo III:
    Zaysen: Who are you?
    Rambo: Your worst nightmare.
  • The Princess Bride:
    Inigo: Who are you?
    Man in Black: No-one of consequence.
    Inigo: I must know.
    Man in Black: Get used to disappointment.
    Inigo: [shrugs] Okay.
  • From Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.:
    Mook: Who are you?
    Kabukiman: *Aside Glance* I'm Kabukiman.
  • At the beginning of the first Naked Gun movie after beating up the various Arab leaders, Idi Amin and Mikhail Gorbachev:
    "I'm Lieutenant Frank Drebin, Police Squad. and don't ever let me catch you guys in America. (Drebin then falls out the window)
  • From Hook while Peter Pan is swordfighting a pirate mook:
    Pirate: Hang on now, ain't you—
    Pan: Peter Pan.
    Pirate: AHHHHHHHHHH! [jumps out the window]
  • High Plains Drifter. "WWHHHOOOOO ARRRRRE YOUUUUUU!"
  • Both the 1989 Batman and Batman Begins feature the classic Batman introduction:
    Crook: What are you?!
    Batman: I'm Batman.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon features perhaps one of the lengthiest and floweriest examples of this trope:
    Monk: Who are you?
    Jen Yu: [while menacingly unsheathing her sword] You want to know who I am? I am... I am the Invincible Sword Goddess, armed with the Green Destiny that knows no equal! Be you Li or Southern Crane, bow your head and ask for mercy! I am the dragon from the desert! Who comes from nowhere and leaves no trace! Today I fly over Eu-Mei. Tomorrow... I topple Mount Wudan!
  • The Wizard of Oz has this:
    Oz I am Oz. The great and powerful. Who are you?
    Dorothy: I'm Dorothy, the small and meek.
  • V for Vendetta: V's Establishing Character Moment involves lampshading the Fridge Logic in play:
    Evey: Who are you?
    V: Who? "Who" is merely a form following the function of "what," and what I am is a man in a mask.
    Evey: I can see that.
    V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation, I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
  • Shoot 'em Up. Mr Smith replies, "I'm a British nanny, and I'm dangerous."
  • Major gets asked this several times in Ghost in the Shell. The question is more relevant than she thinks.
  • In the film version of The Witches of Eastwick:
    Alexandra: Who are you?
    Daryl Van Horne: Just your average horny little devil.
  • The Name of the Rose. Novice monk Adso is seduced by a beautiful nameless peasant girl.
    Adso: (narrating) Who was she? Who was this creature that rose like the dawn, was as bewitching as the moon, radiant as the sun? Terrible as an army poised for battle.
  • Played for laughs in Guardians of the Galaxy: Peter Quill is captured taking the Infinity Stone in the opening scene by Korath the Pursuer, who demands to know who he is. Peter dramatically identifies himself as Star-Lord, but rather than impressed, Korath and his men are just confused, much to Peter's exasperation.
    Korath the Pursuer: Who are you?
    Peter Quill: There's one other name you might know me by... Star-Lord.
    Korath: ...Who?
    Peter: Star-Lord, man. Legendary Outlaw.
    Korath and his mooks shrug helplessly.
    Peter: ... Guys?
  • The Assignment (1997). Annibal Ramirez is a doppelganger of terrorist Carlos the Jackal, who is naturally surprised when he finally encounters his imposter.
    Carlos: Who are you?

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Altered Carbon. When Super Soldier-turned-criminal Takeshi Kovacs proceeds to Wake-Up Fighting after being uploaded into a new body, a technician tries to look up his record only to find most of it is Classified Information, causing him to exclaim, "Who the hell *is* this guy?"
    • Detective Ortega has the same reaction when fighting the Big Bad, who has also locked off their own past. When asked "Who are you?", she just replies, "Nobody."
  • Angel. In "Soul Purpose" Spike saves a couple from vampires.
    Woman: Wait. Who are you?
    Spike: [without turning to face them, hangs his head, then softly] I'm The Hero.
  • One of the sets of Arc Words on Babylon 5, along with "What Do You Want?" and "Why Are You Here?" In contrast to its typical usage, giving your name or title is highlighted as being the wrong answer to the question.
  • Burn Notice, the episode "Center of the Storm".
    The Client: Who are you?
    Michael Westen: I'm Michael Westen, and I'm here to save you people.
    Hitman: WHO ARE YOU?!
    Michael Westen: [sigh] I'm Michael Westen, and I'm here to save these people.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor is another frequent recipient. How he replies depends on his personality at the time.
    • The Doctor also asks this of River Song several times, until he finds out in series 6.
    • In "Oxygen", the Doctor responds with a Badass Boast to this question, saying he's going to save them so they'll spend the rest of their lives wondering about that.
    • "The Woman Who Fell to Earth": The antagonist asks this of the Doctor twice. The first time, due to regeneration sickness-induced amnesia, she doesn't know. The second time, she does.
    • "Rosa": The antagonist asks this of the Doctor every time he meets her, but she never answers the question.
  • Kamen Rider Decade gets this question a lot (usually preceded with a rude pronoun) when he finishes his Kirk Summation. The correct answer is, "Just a passing-through Kamen Rider. Remember that!"
  • Happens on Leverage with Damian Moreau in season 3 after the heroes spent the entire third season taking him down. He has no idea who any of them are except Eliot.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Daredevil (2015): Karen Page's response when Matt and Foggy, tipped off by Sgt. Brett Mahoney, show up to represent her:
      Karen Page: Who the hell are you guys?
      Matt Murdock: I'm Matt. He's Foggy. [Foggy smiles and nods]
      Karen Page: Who sent you?
      Matt Murdock: No one sent us.
    • The Defenders (2017):
      • Happens twice to Matt Murdock in the course of "Mean Right Hook": At the beginning of the episode, right after an artificial earthquake, Matt roofhops over from his apartment, still wearing suit and tie, and beats up some teenage looters as well as an overzealous store owner trying to shoot them with a shotgun. As Matt is catching his breath, one of the thieves utters a bewildered "Who are you?" before Matt walks away.
        At the end of the episode, thanks to outsourced case work that Matt has received from Foggy, he finds himself walking into a police interrogation room to provide impromptu legal counsel to Jessica Jones (2015) as she's being questioned by Detective Misty Knight.
        Matt Murdock: Jessica Jones, stop talking. Hi. This is over.
        Jessica Jones: Who the hell are you?
        Matt Murdock: My name is Matthew Murdock. I'm your attorney.
      • Also from "Mean Right Hook", Luke Cage (2016) and Danny Rand say this to each other as Luke interrupts Danny's attempt to rough up Cole for information.
      • Danny gives a bewildered "Who are you people?" to Matt and Jessica as they're escaping Midland Circle in the elevator.
      • At the Royal Dragon, Alexandra implicitly asks Luke who he is when Luke notes a contradiction between her words and the Hand's methods. Luke is smart enough to see where she's going.
        Alexandra: I'm sorry, I don't believe we've been properly introduced.
        Luke Cage: Let's keep it that way.
  • Yelled by Bill O'Reilly to Stephen Colbert during his interview in The O'Reilly Factor.
  • Person of Interest. When asked this question, Reese muses that he really needs to think up an answer to give people, although his usual response is some variation on "a concerned third party". Played seriously in a later episode when he replies, "I find it hard to answer that, even to myself." And in "Trojan Horse" he's being shot at when asked this question, so he replies, "Right now? An easy target."
    • In "RAM", we see Reese's predecessor on the job saving a Damsel in Distress, and he smoothly answers, "Protector of the innocent. Heard you could use some protecting", before talking her into Rescue Sex, showing he's more arrogant and less moral than Reese.
    • Harold Finch is the inventor of The Machine, for which he charged the US government a nominal fee.
      Barnett: Who are you?
      Finch: Who am I? I'm just like you, Mr. Barnett. A man who sold the world. Only I charged them $1.
  • The Professionals
    Susan Fenton: Who are you?
    Bodie: Well, let's say that I'm the not-very-bad Samaritan.
  • Torchwood: Rex Matheson asks, "Who the hell are you people?!," before Gwen shoots down a hostile helicopter. Gwen nonchalantly answers, "Torchwood."
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    Music 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Variant: The Rock would often act uninterested when being addressed by someone he viewed as inconsequential (which was pretty much everybody), waiting until they were finished before asking them, "Who in the blue hell are you?", then interrupting them after a couple of syllables with, "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!"

    Video Games 
  • Star Fox 64:
    Cornerian Boss: Who are you guys?
    Fox: We're StarFox!
    Cornerian Boss: YOU'LL NEVER DEFEAT ANDROSS!!!!!!
  • The end of Duke Nukem 3D (LA Meltdown), the defeated boss asks, "Who the hell are you?"
  • From the Privateer intro:
    Space Pirate: Who are you that flies so good? Are you insane?!
    Grayson Burrows:: No, it's just got a load of cargo in the back, and a load of bills to pay at home.
    Pirate: And I the same! You shouldn't kill me just for attacking you!
    Burrows: I don't mind that you tried to kill me, but protecting myself against your kind gets to be expensive, and I'm on a budget! [missile to the pirate's face]
  • Final Fantasy XII features one when the heroes finally do battle with the Big Bad: Vayne asks who Ashe is, an angel of vengeance or of mercy. Ashe replies that she comes as herself, and nothing more.

    Western Animation 
  • Zuko of Avatar: The Last Airbender gets such a scene after he defeats a group of thugs in his Day in the Limelight:
    Gao: Who... who are you?
    Zuko: My name is Zuko! Son of Ursa and Fire Lord Ozai! Prince of the Fire Nation and heir to the throne!
  • Daffy Duck demands this of the unseen animator at the end of Duck Amuck.
  • Evil Lawyer Goodwill gets clocked by a chair at the end of 1938's The Case Of The Stuttering Pig.
    Porky and family: Who did that?
    Unseen Man: Me!
    Goodwill: Who are you?
    Unseen Man: I'm da guy in the third row... ya big sourpuss!
  • Megatron meets Optimus Prime this way in the time-travel episode "War Dawn" from The Transformers.
    Optimus: You've caused enough destruction for one day, Megatron!
    Megatron: I haven't even started.
    [Megatron blasts Prime, but it glances off his armor]
    Megatron: You! Who are you?!
    Optimus: Your worst nightmare!
    [Prime starts blowing away Megatron's army, single-handedly turning the tide]
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Superman asks this to Darkseid when the latter banishes his son Kalibak back to Apokolips. Darkseid blasts Superman with his Omega Beams, forcing him to kneel, and answers "That is who I am."
  • Said by Marco in Star vs. the Forces of Evil, after he witnesses Star's magical abilities.
    Marco: Who are you?
    Star: I'm a magical princess from another dimension. [creates a rainbow that quickly bursts into flames]
  • The Ruff & Reddy Show: The "Treasure of Skipper Kipper" story arc has our heroes tracing calls for help to a shack on an island:
    Skipper Kipper: Who are you?
    Reddy: We're Ruff 'n' Reddy, all-around good guys. Who are you?
    Skipper Kipper: I'm Skipper Kipper, all-around sailor, and this is my parrot Squawky Talky.
    Reddy: Yeah, I know. More squawky than talky!
  • At the start of the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Satan's Waitin'," Yosemite Sam winds up facing the Devil himself who asks him "Well, who the hell are you?"
  • Trollhunters: When Claire, Jim's girlfriend, gets possessed and starts floating around.
    Jim: Who are you?
    Morgana: I am MORGANA!
    [beat]
    Jim: Who?
    Morgana: ...Morgana. Baba Yaga? The Sorceress Queen? Ugh, the Pale Lady!
    Jim: Sorry, not ringing a bell.

    Real Life 
  • WABC-TV Consumer Reporter Nina Pineda was asked this when she tried to get back money owed to a swindled customer. Her reply was "Channel 7!" This was included in a commercial for her, with Aretha Franklin's "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" as the soundtrack.


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