Fight Unscene

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That's the problem with CHR's fights. Since they're described with the bare minimum of effort, you really have no idea what took place. It could have been a brutal, gigantic clash that tore apart an entire continent and went on for days, or if you're lazy like me, you can just take it completely literally and only show what was actually described!

In animation, cool fight scenes draw an audience—but are expensive to create.

There are two ways to handle this: pour most of your budget into the fight scenes or use lots and lots of tricks. These tricks include tight first-person perspectives, eliminating backgrounds, and making sure there's as little actual contact as possible. There may also be a censorship aspect to it, if the fight would otherwise look brutal.

Making a virtue of necessity, characters may "move too fast to be seen!" as one of their in-world powers. Ideally, they move between static poses in a split second and dramatically hold those poses for many frames, with the melee replaced by a Hit Flash.

Typically The Movie will ditch these gimmicks entirely due to the amount of money that inevitably gets put into such projects.

Can also be Played for Laughs as a kind of Gilligan Cut - Bob threatens to beat Charlie up, and the next thing we see is Bob being wheeled into an ambulance.

Compare Relax-O-Vision, Offscreen Moment of Awesome, Coconut Superpowers, and The Hit Flash. See also Bolivian Army Ending, Charge Into Combat Cut, Fight Scene Failure and Take Our Word for It. When a scene is skipped entirely and only described afterwords, it is Second Hand Storytelling instead.

Examples of Fight Unscene include:


Anime and Manga

  • Yu Yu Hakusho: Played with in the Hiei-vs.-Seiryu fight. Hiei blurs around Seiryu a few times, and he falls apart. Then the rest of the team compares notes on how much of the fight each managed to see - he was moving too fast for them, too.
  • Airmaster was notable among fans who otherwise didn't always like the art style of the series because it played its fight sequences fairly straight.
  • Avoided in the Ghost in the Shell movie, which looks as if it's going to lead into one of these, with Kusanagi being invisible during a fight sequence. What transpires is a thing of absolute beauty, with her presence only being displayed by splashes in puddles and the brutal beatdown her victim receives. And the occasional Invisibility Flicker.
  • In Black Lagoon most of the firefight between Revy and the Cuban ex-assassin Roberta, arguably the deadliest opponent Revy faced in single combat during the series, was mainly observed from the other side of a stack of shipping crates. Presumably the battle was just too amazing to animate.
  • Sumomomo Momomo: The battle between the fully grown Koganei Tenka and his pre-teen brother was so fast that only "martial artist vision" could see it. Certainly censors couldn't, and maybe that's the point.
  • Fist of the North Star: One exceptionally frustrating exception to the rule that "The Movie is more explicit": In the movie, Raoh confronts Shin in Southern Cross. We cut away, and then when Kenshiro faces Shin later, their fight consists of one punch before Shin dies from an attack inflicted by Raoh earlier. For those keeping score, that's two fights the audience is cheated out of.
  • Fairy Tail actually as a minor case of this in print form: when Luxus sets up hundreds of objects that will destroy a populated town, a full chapter is spent setting up having all of the guild members come together to destroy them all first, but then we see none of these attacks being launched as the very next page just skips to the explosion(s) made from the objects being wrecked all at once. This was fixed in the anime.
  • Ranma ½: When Ranma is fighting skating martial artist Mikado Sanzenin there is a scene where it appears the latter is spinning Ranma around madly injuring him and preventing a counterattack. Only Akane's sharp eyes are able to see the Ranma is actually pummelling the hell out of him with blows almost too fast to see. It's only after the fight when Mikado's partner, Azusa asks if Mikado won the fight that Akane points out he has actually been knocked unconscious despite still being on his feet.
  • The Devil May Cry: The Animated Series is, sadly, loaded with these. There is one episode in particular in which Dante gets purposely sent into jail in order to rescue a man under the request of his sister. Inside, Dante finds out said jail is run by demons in disguise who periodically release all the inmates in order to hunt them down. Once the "game" starts, a disarmed Dante calmly gets out of his cell, stands before a bunch of demons and adopts a fighting stance. Cue the fade to black and when we're back Dante is calmly walking away from a bunch of beaten up demons...
  • Legend of Himiko also suffers from these. Especially in the penultimate episode.
  • Panty & Stocking:the whole 2nd half of episode 6 is full of it.cue Gainax blowing the whole budget on the fighting while the rest looks...well...
  • Bakemonogatari deliberately uses this as a stylistic choice when Araragi faces down the rainy demon. Most of the sequence focuses on his face, brief glimpses of a blow or another, and cuts to typography designs. It's a highly stylized series as it is to begin with.
  • Katanagatari uses it for comedic effect in the case of Hakuhei Sabi. Said person is hyped as a Master Swordsman without peer. Said person is beaten completely offscreen with the characters describing just how awesome/epic the fight was.
  • Early in Dragon Ball, young Krillin fights Master Roshi (in disguise) during a tournament and the fight is over in a blink of an eye. When the audience complains, Master Roshi and Krillin enlist the aid of the announcer and cameraman and re-enact the most improbable fight ever in slow motion.
    • This trope is played painfully straight throughout the entire length of Dragonball Z.


Comic Books

  • In the DC vs. Marvel mini-series, the results of seven key matches were determined by fan vote; Wolverine out-polled Lobo, but the writers couldn't think of any way to believably make it happen, so the last blow occurs off-screen as the two (fighting in an alien bar) fall behind the bar and, after a couple of Beat Panels, Wolverine is the one who stands up.
    • For the record, back in his home series after the event, Lobo says that "some bald guy" bribed him to throw the fight.


Film

  • Let the Right One In featured the final fight - all we see is the male lead almost being drowned in the pool (the camera is sub-water too), then suddenly, people from above the water begin to scream, the hand that is holding the boy down suddenly disappears. Cue showing the bloodbath above. Being a drama with supernatural elements, this really works very well, and doesn't feel as an Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
  • The dutch film "De Griezelbus" did this with the final fight, only showing the shadows and people's reactions (actually, the evil monster involved in this is never in the whole film shown).

Live Action Television

  • In Heroes the fight between Peter and Sylar is shown entirely as a bright light through a crack in the door.
    • They pull the same trick again two seasons later with the big showdown between Nathan, Peter, and Sylar.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles the scene in which Chromartie kills a SWAT team is shown from the pool, so all the viewers see is them being flung down. A lot of people didn't mind, considering the unusual shot (and the song that went along with it) as being more effective than another scene of people ineffectively shooting a terminator.
  • Late in the first season of Game of Thrones, when Tyrion is sent into battle with his Barbarian Horde, he is accidentally knocked unconscious for the duration of the fight. Since he actively participated in this battle in the book, it was likely an example of this trope.
    • In fact GRRM was assigned to write the episode and had a blog post about the battle scene being absurdly beyond the budget available to him. The irony being that before he became a Famous Author he wrote TV scripts... which were often rejected for having battle scenes too expensive to film.


Webcomics

Goblin General: Truly, there has never been a more spectacular display of magic in the annals of warfare.
Redcloak: Yeah, we really blew the special effects budget on that one.

  • In Christian Humber Reloaded, many of the fights are mainly described as having the main character performing the killing moves on his enemies with his various weapons and abilities, and the quote above shows the author's approach to illustrating the fights. In "Soku's Revenge against Me," the narration immediately transitions from the main character noticing Soku's arrival and recognizing her to regretting killing her (again) in front of the children.

Western Animation

Earthworm Jim: (standing on top of a pile of unconscious ninjas) What a great action sequence!

  • Parodied in an episode of Droopy The Master Detective Hound. A fight between Droopy and Mc Wolf consist of the two bowing, and Mc Wolf flying out the window. When demanding an explanation, Droopy's son shows a recording of the fight in "super slow motion" which is basically the two bowing, Droopy turning into a blur around Mc Wolf, then stopping, then Mc Wolf flying out the window.


Web Games

  • A handful of fight scenes from Bionicle's Mata Nui On-Line Game, but in contrast to many other examples, these used the trope to great effect:
    • Kopaka VS the Muaka: Kopaka activates the Mask of Concealing, turning invisible for the first half of the fight. We only see his footprints and the flashes of his sword hitting the Muaka. The beast soon sees through his method, and smashes him into a snow-mound, forcing him to switch to another Mask Power.
    • Onua VS infected Lewa: hit flashes punctuating complete darkness, illuminating the combatants standing in various poses. When you think about it, the whole animation isn't all that impressive, but many fans consider it to be one of the best fight scenes—the music track may have something to do with it.