The forces of good and the armies of darkness have gathered on opposite ends of the battlefield. Weapons have been drawn, Rousing Speechs have been given, and nerves have been steeled. The Final Battle is upon them, and there is nothing left to do but fight it. With a deafening roar, the enemies charge and... the audience howls in dismay as the story cuts away to something else.
The Charge Into Combat Cut is a Camera Trick that is used when a fight is about to start, but the camera cuts away to another scene immediately beforehand or shortly after the fighting begins. This can be done to build drama as the audience have to wait to see the outcome of the battle, or it may simply be used to pad time before the finale. While in many cases the narrative will return to the fight with the action already in progress, this can sometimes lead to a Fight Unscene if the audience only get to see the aftermath of the combat. If done poorly, this can end up being an Offscreen Moment of Awesome for some viewers.
Compare Commercial Break Cliffhanger, when a show cuts to a commercial just before a pivotal moment, and Anticlimax Cut, when a scene turns out not nearly as dramatic as it was originally made out to be. Also compare Battle Discretion Shot, where instead of jumping to a different scene, the camera just focuses on something else so that the audience cannot see the gory details of the battle.
Anime & Manga
- This happens with the first Angel in Episode 1 of Neon Genesis Evangelion. We only find out how the first battle went through flashbacks in Episode 2.
- Averted in the manga adaptation, where we see the whole fight.
- Quite common in Claymore, which uses this to build drama and to avoid long fighting scenes. (Yes, you heard that right: a Shonen manga avoiding fighting scenes.)
- In the opening scene of Trigun, after an armed gang demolishes the bar that Vash was drinking in, he slowly stands up after finishing his drink, adjusts his glasses and points his gun at the gang...cue a cut to another town, in which the insurance adjusters on Vash's trail are introduced.
- Ultimately subverted, as it turned out that Vash was out of ammo. He ran.
- Done again after the Time Skip, when some local thugs kidnap a friend of Vash's who had antagonized before. Vash and Wolfwood head to their hideout, calmly walking toward it while the thugs open fire. It then cuts to Vash suddenly getting a haircut by said friend.
- Princess Resurrection loves this trope as most of the chapters involve trying to figure out what they're fighting. Once they do and overcome their tricks, we see Hime and her group prepare to fight...before it goes to the epilogue of the chapter with the heroes going about their usual lives.
- Present a few times in the anime series version of Fate/stay night, mostly to account for fights that weren't narrated within the visual novel. Most notably, it happens for Archer's last stand against Berserker.
- Undead or Alive uses this as part of the finale, when Sue is about to square off against the zombie-fied pair of her former companions, Elmer and Luke. She charges at the pair with her sabre in hand before the camera cuts away, and only the aftermath is later shown.
- In the movie Pink Floyd the Wall, we see the charging soldiers at the Battle of Anzio, cutting back and forth between a young Pink years later, whose father died in the battle.
- This occurs in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, when Jack Sparrow charges the Kraken with sabre in hand.
- Galaxy Quest cuts away just as Alexander starts his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- The ending of Three Hundred consists of the Spartans charging into battle.
- Happens in The Hobbit, due to Bilbo being knocked out near the beginning of the Battle of Five Armies, and he only learns what happens when he comes to hours after it has finished.
- The battle near the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" is done this way, only showing the aftermath of the battle and a brief description of some of the highlights by one of the characters.
Live Action TV
- The Grand Finale of Angel ends with the main heroes (or what's let of them) about to face down an army of demons sent to kill them. The eponymous protagonist delivers the first blow, and... (However, a canon sixth season exists in the form of a comic book, picking up from where the show ended.)
- One of the most famous and poignant examples comes from Blackadder Goes Forth, which cuts from Blackadder and company charging over the trench to a field full of poppies.
- In The Goon Show episode "Dishonoured" (remade as "Dishonoured Again"), Neddie Seagoon goes off to fight, and we only learn what happens next from Bloodnok's narration.
Bloodnok: How that battle raged - I watched it all on television, you know. Seagoon fought like a madman - how else? But alas... On that spot is now a little white stone. Once a year, Min lays flowers on it. The stone bears a simple inscription in Hindi - I haven't the heart to tell her that, roughly translated, it says "Bombay, 49 miles".
- This is fairly commonplace in Homestuck, although the author is always kind enough to cut back to the fight in time for it to begin...eventually.
- In Naruto the Abridged Series Episode 9, Sasuke gets cut off in this manner twice before going into a fit of profanity and later refusing to do the scene.
- In the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender, this trick is used a few times to cut between Aang's battle with Ozai and Zuko's battle with Azula.
- The Simpsons: In a far far future epilogue, two factions of Bart followers wage Holy War.
"Bart" Soldier: "We believe that God's last prophet, Bart Simpson, preached a message of tolerance and love."
- In the episode "Flash and Substance" of Justice League Unlimited, this takes place when Batman Dual-Wielding batarangs is about to face Captain Boomerang dual wielding boomerangs.