Offscreen Teleportation

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Loud Kiddington demonstrates some really fancy teleporting.

Droopy: Enjoy your trip?
Wolf: (gasps) I just left this guy tied up! Yet, how did ya-- when di-- how-- where-- Listen, doc, how did ya get back here, anyway?
Droopy Now, let's not get nosey, bub.

Dumb-Hounded, the first ever Tex Avery Droopy short

A character who goes offscreen for even a second can instantly appear anywhere else, usually as long as the camera shot doesn't include them or they're obscured by something in the scenery from a certain camera angle. Nevertheless, extreme cases will be able to switch position even when all that's happened is that the camera changed shots and we're looking at the same scene from a new angle, like a deliberate technical goof. No matter how impossible it is for them to go from Point A to Point B in the time given, much less doing so without crossing the camera's field of view or making a sound, they will get there. This is sometimes justified by having the character be supernatural, but this is often done even by an otherwise mundane character with no in-universe explanation given.

Variations of Offscreen Teleportation exist, for instance the telescope version. In this, Character A actually sees Character B a good distance away (usually involving looking through binoculars or a telescope), then looks away or loses sight of him. When Character A looks back a second later, Character B is right in front of him. Another variation is when Character A is running away from Character B, who makes almost no onscreen effort to chase him. Character A travels a conspicuously long route to a hiding place or equivalent, only to find or even collide with Character B when he gets there. "Sneaky" doesn't explain the speed he'd have to move at.

Even if his victim (usually it's a good guy running from a baddie) just ran five miles to get away from him and up two flights of stairs to hide in a closet with one entrance; when he flicks on the light, the other guy will be right behind him.

Though possible in a multitude of genres, Horror movies are particularly prone to playing this one straight - the killer will know exactly where his victim is running to and be waiting for him before he even gets there, obviously because it lends itself so well to alarming the audience. This is especially common when the victim was Exploring the Evil Lair. This is one of those powers that the horror villain loses as he goes through victims and starts to approach the final characters. Perhaps he's losing his Scourge Of God advantage? It's all covered by the Rule of Scary. For further examples done in the name of horror, see also Flash Step, Villain Teleportation and Mobile Menace. Compare Already Undone for You.

It doesn't have to be a character consciously doing this for it to count as Offscreen Teleportation. Sometimes the scenery conspires to do this to characters who couldn't do it ordinarily. For instance, if Character C falls into Hazardous Water close to the shore, he may thrash about underwater for a few seconds and then find when he surfaces that he got teleported farther away from the shore than could reasonably be done even by a strong current.

See Stealth Hi Bye for when people just use this power to begin or end conversations. See Yuppie Couple for the innocuous background-character version. Offscreen Reality Warp is a related trope where any temporary cut away from a character, no matter how brief, results in changes so quick as to be improbable at best and reality-warping at worst, such as an Instant Costume Change. Scooby-Dooby Doors uses a very specific version of this trope.

Examples of Offscreen Teleportation include:


Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • There was a Nike commercial where a woman in her bra and panties actually outruns the Jason-esque serial killer. He'd offscreen teleport behind a tree, only to realize that she had left that spot far behind. Eventually he gave up. Moral Guardians, convinced that a woman running away in her underwear could only be sexist and not realizing (or caring) the massive subversion of genre, got the commercial canceled. So it's back to women just dying then, yeah, there's an improvement.
    • Or they viewed a commercial of a woman running in terror in her underwear as exploitative regardless as to whether she got away or not. Just because it's a subversion doesn't mean it still doesn't have all the problems of the original trope.
  • One of the Burger King commercials with the guy in the creepy King mask. It's early morning in a house. A man hears his dog barking out the porch door, and opens it to have a look. The house appears to be fairly remote, since their backyard stretches off a good distance before merging into a line of trees. And "the King" is standing near the trees, a good thirty meters away from the front door. Baffled, the man turns around to look at a woman. The camera switches to her (apparently his wife) as she idles in front of the bathroom mirror. The man looks back outside, and inexplicably, the masked man is RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, face-to-face. Cue his slow, jerky presentation of the BK hamburger on a plate. Simultaneously disturbing and hilarious.
    • That last sentence just described the Burger King in a nutshell. Though more the former.
  • There was a Mountain Dew commercial where Chuck Norris did this to a couple of boys. Then again, it is Chuck Norris...


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Akabane does this to Ginji in the first Infinity Fortress arc of GetBackers. Gin sees him, runs like hell, stops when completely exhausted, and... Akabane is standing right there with his customary friendly smile. Arguably Handwavable by the high speed Akabane has demonstrated in combat.
    • He does this about 95% of the time. Because he is just that fast.
  • In the anime adaptation of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure the main antagonist, Dio, appears at first to have this ability. As it turns out, it's just because his stand (Za Warudo) has the ability to make time stand still.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler does this on a regular basis.

Hayate: Butlers have express permission to appear out of nowhere, so don't be startled.

  • Averted in Death Note, when Light tests the Death Note's powers by ordering an inmate in a Japanese prison to die at the Eiffel Tower in Paris in just a few hours. When the time comes, the man simply dies of a heart attack as if no directions were given, and Light realizes the Death Note can't make people do physically impossible things.
  • Hei from Darker than Black does this all the time, and he's the (anti)hero. He takes Stealth Hi Bye to Batman-like levels.
  • The cheerleading routine from the last episode of Lucky Star is impossible to perform in Real Life without modifying the choreography, because the girls often change position instantly between camera cuts.
  • Lucky Roux the constantly-eating pirate does this in the first One Piece chapter to move up and shoot a bandit who had his captain at gunpoint, leading some fans to speculate that he has super-speed.
  • Several characters in Samurai Deeper Kyo demonstrate this over the course of the series, with the biggest perpetrators being the Taishiro and the Sendai Aka-no-Ou, who seem to be able to pop up just about anywhere in the Mibu lands, often covering the same distance multiple times on a regular basis that it takes the protagonists over twenty volumes to traverse. Possibly justified, since being in the upper echelons of the Mibu clan probably means they know all the secret passages and shortcuts to get around while the protagonists are more or less limited to a single path.
  • Hanaukyo Maid Tai La Verite episode 9. Taro is standing on the ground with Mariel and looking through a fence. Taro wishes they could get a good view of the sunset. We lose sight of Mariel, and four seconds later she calls out to Taro from the roof of a nearby building.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, by the time it takes two hundred-odd foot tall monster Zeurel to levitate down a hole he's just blasted himself and into the bridge (which admittedly may not be via a straight path), Shinji is able to run down there, get into his Evangelion and interrupt Zeruel before he can fire a laser beam.
  • Dragonball Z plays this straight during the early part of Goku's battle with Cell. The camera is centered on Cell, with Goku's limbs coming in from all different directions, with a new limb coming onto the screen the instant that the previous one is gone.
  • Played for laughs in Ano Natsu de Matteru with Rinon, whose elite stalking skills allow her to appear seemingly out of nowhere to record various private incidents with her giant videocamera. In one scene she somehow gets within a foot or so of Kaito and Ichika, both of whom are facing towards her, without either of them or the audience noticing until the sudden reveal. Maybe she stole some of Ichika's teleportation technology?


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Two aliens appear in Alan Moore's Miracleman that only ever move between panels, much to the discomfort of Miracleman.
    • Doesn't everyone in comics move only between panels? It's a medium of still images.
      • Moore is weird like that. They're drawn as statues, no motion effects like the other character have. Then once in a while they suddenly appear, still motionless, a long distance away.
  • In Animal Man, Merryman suggests that the reason Superheroes don't age is that they save time by doing all their traveling between panels.
  • As mentioned for his film versions, Batman is probably the greatest example of this trope, liking to make a dramatic exit once whoever he's speaking with has turned their back and usually in mid sentence, and subsequently reappear elsewhere. He once actually managed to change from a disguise into his costume in the backseat of a car and move to the passenger seat WITHOUT BEING NOTICED, hold a brief conversation and then similarly slip away undetected with the car in motion while the driver was looking out the window.


Fanfics[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • In the Friday the 13 th films, Jason Voorhees occasionally does this. in Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, this was intentionally accentuated in the script in order to make the killer seem more terrifying, because you couldn't know where he would turn up next. Except they went too far in editing, turning it into an almost comically overt usage of this power that was supposed to be merely implied. The worst moment has to be when he's at the bottom of a ladder, the victim climbs up the ladder...and Jason is waiting at the top. Classically bad.
    • Jason X used it extensively. Jason almost never walked into a room. He was just there. Or worse, sometimes he appear outside the (one-exit) room when the victim walked in. Taken to ridiculous heights in the first major gun battle, where three soldiers with full-auto rifles unload on him, never turning away. In the split second of darkness which comes with them accidentally shooting out the lights, Jason is gone.
    • This trope is sometimes called the "Voorhees Unreality Engine" due it its ubiquitous use in the films.
  • Michael Myers in the Halloween series has fun with this trope. Even though the viewer only ever sees him move with a Menacing Stroll on-screen, as soon as he is off-screen he seems to magically teleport to wherever the protagonists are. Though it's possible this is a deliberate attempt to display Michael's eerie, almost supernatural qualities.
    • One instance in the first film: Laurie sees Michael through the window, and we cut to her reaction. When we cut back, he's gone.
    • Another example from Halloween 4 is when Jamie and Dr. Loomis manage to escape the aforementioned house. They run away, leaving Michael in the house, and decide to hide in the school. Loomis breaks open a door - which sets of the burglar alarm - rushes inside, and immediately runs into Michael, who not only managed to get to the school before them, but also got inside without setting off the alarm.
    • Another example from Halloween 4 is when Rachel and Jamie are escaping Haddonfield with the "lynch mob" Loomis organized. The last time we saw Michael, he was in the school getting blasted with a fire extinguisher, the smokescreen from which he disappeared into. The next time we see him, he's clung onto the bottom of the truck they're escaping in, climbs up, and kills almost everybody. It's theoretically possible for somebody to do this, it's hard given the time frame and fact that we always see the truck he's clung onto.
  • In The Matrix: Revolutions, when Trinity is being attacked by the Smith-possessed Bane in the real world, she is calling Neo when Bane steps in and smacks her face into a nearby wall, despite the fact that Trinity smashed him the face, knocking him down several feet onto the metal floor of the room below, and then shut a heavy metal door on him mere seconds beforehand.
  • The movie Resident Evil: Apocalypse is guilty of this. Small mobs of zombies will appear right behind a protagonist where no zombies had been before. It's especially annoying, considering that these zombies cannot move stealthily at all, and one should be able to hear a group of them shuffling, shoving, and moaning as they approach. In addition, good guys and bad guys surprise each other by instantaneously appearing in the cramped confines of the same helicopter at different times, despite the impossibility of sneaking in undetected.
    • Every single Resident Evil movie is guilty of this, going as far as having them appear in rooms that have no visible entrance other than the one the character used. Posssibly, this could be chalked up as a reference to the games.
  • Interview with the Vampire: Brad Pitt's character appears to teleport in order to scare the titular interviewer, explaining this as superspeed.
  • Heavily used in B-movie Zombie Lake to wave away the difficulty of zombies catching up to their victims.
  • The Psychlos use this in the movie version of Battlefield Earth.
  • Employed quite a bit by the giant snake in B-movie Boa.
  • Played with in Scary Movie, in which the main character sees the masked killer outside her classroom. As she looks away, the killer is shown frantically rushing to get behind the tree he was standing next to before she looks back again in order to invoke the feel of the trope.
  • Pan's Labyrinth is guilty of this. When Mercedes and Ofelia are escaping the encampment, Mercedes somehow doesn't notice Captain Vidal and his entire squad of over fifty men sneak up behind them in barely the time it took her to turn her head. The titular Faun is also capable of just appearing out of nowhere, although this is heavily implied to be some type of magic.
    • Interestingly, the first time the Faun appears this is subverted. If you look carefully enough, he's present for the entire scene, before he announces himself, but stays completely still and resembles an extension of the stony wall with some branches on it.
  • Exemplified by the ninja Tyrannosaur in Jurassic Park who can't walk around outside without much roaring, stomping, and earth-shaking but suddenly appears inside a building at the climax of the film. Happens again with the even larger Spinosaurus in the third film: the only reason people realize it's there is that they hear the musical ring tone from a satellite phone it had earlier eaten.
    • Ninja rex is somewhat justified by the fact that it normally takes a glass or pool of water to notice the vibrations of the rex, something you don't notice as well when cornered by velociraptors.
    • And exactly how does the Dilophosaur even get into Nedry's car, or know that it's supposed to be there? All the doors except the one next to Nedry are shut. Unless we assume that it hopped around the car, opened the door, climbed in, shut the door after itself, and then waited patiently for Nedry to get in and shut the door, trapping himself. Maybe the velociraptors weren't the brains of the outfit after all.
      • There could be more than one Dilophosaurus, and the other just wandered into the car while Nedry was talking to the first.
      • It probably got in the open door when Nedry banged into it and fell down.
  • Justified within in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies: not only can Davy Jones and his minions do this, but they can also walk through bits of his almost sentient ship due to the bond they all share with it. Averted when they move off of the Flying Dutchman, when they're actually shown to walk right through a wet surface and out of another wet surface somewhere else. The movie has fun with this when we first see Davy Jones just after this rule is suggested, small and far away through Jack's eyeglass; as he lowers the spyglass, we quickly see Davy Jones again, standing in the same way, but now right in front of Jack on the (wet) deck of the Black Pearl.
  • Used by the shark in Jaws the Revenge to reach the Bahamas from Massachusetts in under three days. Well, it is a Voodoo Shark...
  • The killer in I Know What You Did Last Summer uses his vast supernatural powers of almost getting killed and being off-screen not only to teleport, but to wander slowly around killing people all day in public without attracting the slightest notice from anybody he hasn't stuck something sharp into, and to magically fill a locked car trunk with crawling crabs and other sea-life, then empty it again, in about five minutes in broad daylight while the other characters (and the camera) are looking away. Ironically, teleportation officially becomes one of his powers in the third movie, where he actually is undead. At one point he slashes the tires of Final Girl's bike when she looks away for maybe a second or two.
  • Sergio Leone is notorious for this. The most ridiculous moment would have to be when Blondie and Tuco walk into the middle of a Union encampment without noticing, on a grassy plain.
    • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was actually the first movie to use this trope, and to great effect.
      • Sergio specifically made this movie with the idea that what the camera saw was what the characters onscreen saw. This makes offscreen Teleportation even possible at the end of the film, when the villain manages to sneak up on two other people in the middle of a flat area.
  • Used when Victor flees from Emily in Corpse Bride.
  • In The Night of the Hunter, Harry Powell is truly impossible to shake off. You think you've lost him, he should be miles away, and wouldn't you know it, there he is along the horizon, trotting along on his horse and belting out gospel. Asks one character, "Don't he never sleep?"
  • Subverted in the Scream films, the killer appears to be able to do this but is really two killers working as a team.Scream 3 however has a killer who can do this and is working alone so shouldn't be able to a clear case of Sequelitis. It was supposed to have two killers (Angelina was supposed to be the other one), but a bit of Executive Meddling fixed that.
  • Played with in the movie Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, in which a documentary crew essentially follows around a rookie horror-movie villain. (it turns from deconstruction to straight out horror when they realize he means it.) Throughout his preparations it is shown that this move is just a combination of careful planning, Dangerously Genre Savvy and cardio. Among other things, Vernon is shown as a student of stage magic and devoted to his cardio workout. At one point, he bets the interviewer (who lettered several times in track) that he can catch her in a footrace by walking slowly. The scene shows him sprinting when her back is turned, reading when she's going to look back at him, and dropping to a walk in time. The motion of looking back in surprise while running full-tilt causes her to do the traditional horror-movie fall-over.
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's New Groove, when Kuzco and Pacha supposedly beat Yzma and Kronk to her lab, they find both villains there waiting for them.

Kuzco: "No, it's impossible! How did you get back here before us?"
Yzma: "Ah.... [Looks confused] How did we, Kronk?"
Kronk: "Well, ya got me. [Pulls down a chart displaying the progress of the previous chase] By all accounts, it doesn't make sense."

  • Rather subtle because the distances involved were so small, but in the scene of Shrek where Donkey and Shrek are arguing underneath the moon, Donkey demonstrates an unusual knack for getting in Shrek's face no matter which way the ogre turns.
  • Possibly played with in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when John Cleese's Lancelot is seen running towards the camera from the other side of a field. The camera switches between this scene and two guards watching several times with Lancelot getting no closer every time it looks at him (in fact, every shot of Lancelot is the same piece of footage, replayed) then suddenly when the camera is on the two guards, Lancelot runs in from offscreen and stabs them.
  • In A Hard Days Night, this may be the only way to explain the climax of John's bathtub scene.
  • Happens multiple times in Yellow Submarine.
  • A non-Villain example in Young Frankenstein (watch the scene on YouTube). During final preparations to reanimate the monster, Igor is up on the roof.

Frederick: Now tie off the kites and hurry down as fast as you can.
Igor: What's the hurry?
Frederick: There's a possibility of electrocution. Do you understand?
Igor: [Looks down through the skylight]
Frederick: I say: There's a possibility of electrocution! Do you understand?
Igor: [comes in from offscreen next to Frederick] I understand, I understand. Why are you shouting?
Frederick: Did you...Did you tie off the kites?
Igor: Of course.

  • In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the titular character, Phantasm appears to rely a lot on this trope to get around. A lot of Smoke outs were involved though. NINJA VANISH!
  • Subverted at one point in The Prestige, when Angier is tailing Borden, another magician. Borden crosses a street and a carriage passes between them... and Borden's still there. Played straight quite frequently, but then, they are magicians.
    • The whole plot of The Prestige revolved around the rival magicians trying to out-do each other with teleportation tricks.
  • In The Dark Knight, while the Joker is threatening Rachel, Batman appears out of nowhere in the middle of a crowded party surrounded by the Joker's goons. Indeed, one of Batman's few supernatural powers seems to be the ability to teleport whenever anyone turns his back for one second.
    • There's no evidence that nobody in the room noticed Batman. Most likely, the only people who didn't see him were Joker, whose attention was on Rachel, and Rachel and the Joker's goons, who were paying attention to him. Remember, Batman tries to be stealthy while the Joker wants to stand out, so Joker's being the center of attention is almost a given, even compared to a giant bat. In all likelihood, many of the party guests saw Batman, but were already intimidated into silence and thus didn't give away his presence.
    • Also in Batman Begins, when Batman appears to Rachel for the first time on the train platform after rescuing her from the "mugger." And he comes and goes several times around Gordon in both movies.
      • Gordon, to Dent: "He does that."
        • Interestingly, the film borrows this tendency of Batman straight from some of the best comic books written about him. 'He does that', from what I remember, is from the comic book The Long Halloween. You could quite easily say this is one of Batman's most enduring traits.
  • Used to terrifying effect in Ring 0: Birthday, the Prequel to the Japanese The Ring movies. Even though she still has a living, breathing body (well... kind of) Sadako can project herself across relatively long distances to corner her prey. Justified in the American remake, where Samara's unique nature and "video glitches" grant her true teleportation.
  • At the climax of Star Wars, the Millennium Falcon swoops in and saves Luke's bacon. How exactly did Han fly a cargo freighter close enough to shoot one of Darth Vader's wingmen, without any of the other TIE fighters or gunners on the Death Star noticing him?
    • He used the light from Yavin's star to blind their sensors and mask his approach. You can see the glare coming from behind the Millennium Falcon in the shot where it is first seen.
  • Lampshaded in Vidocq, where the Alchemist not only teleports offscreen but also manages to change position in absolutely impossible movements. However, this is consistent with the impossible nature of the Alchemist, who even manages to have two left arms in one scene.
  • Simultaneously Justified and Averted in Van Helsing with Dracula as apparently super speed is one of the powers you get as top vampire.
  • The title character in The Good Witch likes this one.
  • Done in the film Cube. Quentin, now insane, gets pulled down into a cube room and left by the other survivors, who have to use the composite of their knowledge and mathematical prowess to figure out how The Cube works and avoid the traps. They manage to get to the exit but then Quentin shows up, kills Leaven and mortally wounds Worth. How he managed to get there without their aid to avoid trapped rooms and to figure out the final pieces of The Cube's puzzle is unknown. But even if he did somehow get there by sheer blind luck, how did he get in undetected to take them by surprise? The doors in The Cube are loud and clunky.
    • Well, the audience can very clearly hear him open the door... which just makes Leaven and Worth not noticing it even more confusing.
  • In the movie Dante's Peak, Pierce Brosnan and the Mayor's family need to cross a stream of cooling, but still very hot, lava. They're just barely making it through in their car when the dog, which disappeared a scene earlier, appears out of nowhere even though there's no way he could have gotten there without teleporting or flying.
  • Apparently if you ever become a vampire/werewolf hybrid this is one of the primary powers you will receive.
  • Spies Like Us. While Austin and Emmett are walking away from them and talking, the two KGB Special Branch agents somehow get from the jeep they were in (behind our heroes) to standing in front of them.
  • As per the page quote, accidentally used in The Girl in Gold Boots. "Accidentally" because it wasn't actual teleportation, just really bad film editing that made a character magically appear at a restaurant table in the middle of a scene. See for yourself.
  • Bang Bang from The Brothers Bloom. Bloom looks through his binoculars and she's there, he looks behind him, she's there.
  • Used memorably in [[2001: A Space Odyssey]] for the appearances of the Monolith and to show the progression of Dave Bowman's age in the hotel room near the end of the movie. In [[2010: The Year We Make Contact]], the same technique is used when Bowman talks to Heywood Floyd, switching back and forth between his various ages before turning into the Star Child and disappearing.
  • Used hilariously in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Go to White Castle, when our titular heroes want to cross a street at a crosswalk. Kumar convinces Harold to jaywalk, and Harold checks both directions, to find the road clear on both sides for miles. Then he steps off the sidewalk and a cop car instantly pulls up from just off-screen. Cue Kumar trying to ignore Harold's Death Glare.
  • The Professor, an asset in the employ of Treadstone, does this to Nicky in The Bourne Identity when he receives his order to kill Bourne.
  • Cthulhu (2007). The protagonist encounters the Ancestor in an Abandoned Warehouse and flees, only to find him waiting on the street outside.
  • Mr. Teatime does this in the Hogfather adaptation, accompanied by a sound similar to a blade being drawn. Such an ability may well be expected for an assassin, but he manages to surprise even the head assassin, Lord Downey, with it.
  • Used humorously in Daybreakers when a non villainous human suddenly appears behind a non villainous vampire, spooking the vampire.
  • Heroic version similar to the "ninja-rex" example above: in The Golden Compass, suddenly Raargh! Stealth Bears! in plate mail!
  • Perhaps one of the most unlikely examples appears in Cloverfield, when the giant creature somehow approaches the characters unnoticed across Central Park, even though it must have been directly in their line of sight.
  • In the film Blame It On The Bellboy, a hit man stalking his target looks away from her for a second ... only to have her show up directly behind him, saying hello and introducing herself.
  • In Tom and Jerry: The Movie, when Tom and Jerry have to get the note to Robyn telling her that her father is alive, they wait until Aunt Figg has gotten away from Robyn's bedroom door and walked downstairs. But as soon as they run to Robyn's bedroom door, without making a sound, Aunt Figg is suddenly right behind them and catches them.
  • Amusingly done in Monsters, Inc. between Sully and Boo, the latter being a cute little girl who reappears out of nowhere like something out of a horror movie whenever he's got his back turned. Of course, to Sully it is exactly like being inside a horror movie considering he believes that her presence is deadly to him.
  • In the film of Eragon, Brom practically comes out of nowhere to perform his Heroic Sacrifice for Eragon. In fact, attentive viewers will notice that, in previous shots, the area where Brom leaps from blocked off completely by a wall.
  • Used repeatedly by the Matthew Broderick version of Harold Hill in Marian The Librarian. Played for Laughs: every time Marian tries to get away from Hill for about the first half of the song, she turns around and he's standing right in front of her. She lampshades it after the first few times with increasingly frazzled aside glances.
  • Arguably used in The Nightmare Before Christmas when Jack goes to rescue Sally and Santa from Oogie Boogie. Last we see Jack before the Final Battle, he was sneaking in behind Oogie's back, quite a bit aways from the platform where Santa and Sally was. With the way the scene is set up, it would have been impossible for Jack to get to the platform without Oogie seeing him, no matter what sneaking skills being the Pumpkin King would get you.
  • In the first Fantastic Four movie, the eponymous heroes (and Doom) are all knocked unconscious by a radiation wave. The next scene shows them all waking up in a hospital. No explanation at all is given as to how they got back to Earth. In a more typical example, when Reed, Sue, and Johnny are trying to get to Ben in the bridge scene, Reed tells Sue to turn invisible. She does so and slips through the crowd. The film moves on to show what Ben's doing for a couple minutes, and when it comes back to the others, Sue is complaining about having to strip her clothes off, and Reed says "Well, at least it got us through the crowd." The movie doesn't even attempt to Hand Wave the explain how Sue turning invisible got all three of them through the crowd.
    • Wasn't there the implication that Sue caused something to short-circuit, which started enough people to thin part of the crowd?
  • A Running Gag for the titular Nanny McPhee.

"I did knock."

  • In Mr. Deeds, the character "Emilio", who is Deeds' butler, is extremely sneaky. He will suddenly appear, and disappear, right next to someone, exclaiming his sneakiness.

"I am very very sneaky, sir."

  • Played oddly straight in "Nosferatu", where Hutter arrives at the castle. The carriage driver (who is assumed to be Orlok in disguise) drives the carriage into the woods, away from the castle. Approximately 5 seconds later, Orlok walks out of the castle. This is never made light of in the rest of the film.
  • Gandalf does this in Film/The Fellowship of the Ring when Bilbo turns invisible at his birthday party and runs home. Gandalf is in the audience when this happens, yet when Bilbo gets inside, he's already there, even though there's no way that he could have run the open ground unseen, even though his longer legs would have carried him faster. And wizard or no, no-one in Middle-Earth has the power of teleportation.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Gollum is busy ranting about how he plans to kill the hobbits, and drops a stone into a puddle. In the two seconds it takes for the ripples to clear, Sam is now behind him, his reflection in the exact spot Gollum dropped the stone. Given that Sam overheard a fair portion of the rant, one would almost think he did it on purpose.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • One of the many skills of the Igors in Discworld is turning up out of nowhere when their master calls for them, or to answer the door.
    • Always behind them. Because that's how things are done. This is justified because tropes like this are practically immutable laws of physics on the Disc.
    • More than one of their respective masters (or "marthterths") has tested just how far this ability extends. Reacher Gilt in Going Postal tries a bear trap. It doesn't work; his Igor hands him the (harmlessly sprung) bear trap and says one of his previous employers would stand with his back to a giant pit and call Igor "for a joke".

"One day he forgot and thtepped backward. Oh how we laughed, thur."

    • In the Sky One production of Hogfather, Mr. Teatime does this numerous times, often while in full view of the people in the room (if not the viewers). Naturally, it freaks them out.
    • Lord Vetinari uses this to worry Lupine Wonse in Guards Guards. The villain is particularly unnerved since he had the palace checked for secret passages and didn't find any, but Lord V observes later that the man had failed to understand the nature of secret passages (presumably, that they're secret).
    • In a scarier version, at the beginning of The Fifth Elephant when we first experience the Hunt Game, the quarry player runs to a boat, with cargo covered in tarpaulins, to escape the werewolves by river. Guess where they are. However, this is later revealed to be due to the fact that Wolfgang cheats - the theory is that the human runs away and the werewolves hunt them, while Wolfgang, as soon as or before the Game starts, sends werewolves to lie in wait in places people are likely to flee to.
    • Also used in Mort, when Death's apprentice goes to a far away land to rescue a princess. At the end of the day, Death appears right next to him. Justified because it's Death (who has this as one of his many abilities).
  • In Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione seems to suddenly arrive at her classes when nobody is looking, which Ron finds spooky. This carries across in the film adaptation, where she appears between camera cuts, to the same reaction. Turns out she's using Time Travel to take more classes simultaneously.
  • In Lucille Fletcher's story The Hitch-Hiker, which was subsequently used in episodes of radio's Suspense and television's The Twilight Zone, a cross-country driver keeps encountering the same sinister-looking hitchhiker everywhere he/she goes. It turns out the hitchhiker is actually the Grim Reaper, waiting to pick up the driver who had actually been killed in an accident at the start of his/her trip.
  • In the Stanislaw Lem sci-fi novel, Solaris, the protagonist tries in various ways to get rid of his illusionary dead girlfriend, going so far as to putting her in a rocket ship and sending her into space. It doesn't work. She's back at the research outpost as if nothing happened.
  • In one of David Brin's Uplift novels the Jophur have a capture technology that envelopes areas in a small Negative Space Wedgie. The trapped people are frozen in time when observed, but can move when no one outside the anomaly observes them, making them appear to teleport when someone looks away from the anomaly and then looks again.
  • In Catch-22 an prostitute turned Ax Crazy invokes this trope as she chases Yossarian all over the city, ambushing him in impossible places. He finally shakes her for a few chapters by getting on a friend's airplane, then strapping a parachute to her and dropping her out over enemy territory.
  • The Red Bull from The Last Unicorn appears to have this ability.
  • This is explicitly shown to be how the cat Mogget navigates ladders in Sabriel.
  • A recurring joke in the Jeeves and Wooster stories is how Bertie is convinced that Jeeves doesn't move like a normal person. Even when he sees him coming and going, he's always describing it as "oozing" or "trickling" from room to room, and when he doesn't, it's "Sir?" said Jeeves, kind of manifesting himself or Then he seemed to flicker, and wasn't there any longer.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Angelus manages to invoke this trope in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when chasing Jenny Calendar, though this time it's justified through the Super Speed shown by both Angel and Angelus throughout the series.
    • Another Buffy example is in "What's My Line, Part 2." When the worm-man from the Order of Taraka is chasing Xander and Cordelia, he pulls some Offscreen Teleportation to suddenly pop up in front of them, despite the fact that he shows no other signs of having unusual movement capabilities. (He can disintegrate into worms and crawl, but the worms do not appear to be particularly fast. Certainly he can't teleport, since Xander and Cordelia escape him shortly thereafter by ducking into the basement, closing the door, and putting duct tape across the crack at the bottom. For that matter, it's not entirely clear what makes the worm-man so dangerous in the first place...)
  • Lampshaded all to hell the episode Gunslinger of MST3K, where Tom Servo reveals that he can do this at will.
  • Doctor Who: "Blink" The Angels have this ability as a form of Applied Phlebotinum: they can move incredibly fast, but turn to stone whenever someone looks at them. This episode also breaks the fourth wall because the same principle applies to the camera as well (that is, the angels turn into stone even if only the camera is looking at them).
    • From the mid-season finale of season six: Rory, as the Last Centurion, is in a Cyberman ship. At one point, he somehow accomplishes the following:

Cyber-Leader: Intruder level eleven. Seal levels twelve, thirteen and fourteen. Intruder level fifteen.

  • Heroes: Sylar does this a lot, either moving distances or changing positions when the camera's not looking. Only when the camera's not looking. At one point, he goes from knocked to the floor to up on his feet as the camera pans around another character. This may be some sort of superpower; in one volume 4 episode, he is talking to Danko in a car, the camera pans around Danko, and we see him on top of a huge building. However he mostly only uses this power when the camera's not on him.
    • He does use it on camera once in the first season. He can fling himself ridiculously.
    • A personal favorite is that he went from California to New Jersey in roughly the same amount of time it took Peter and The Haitian to get there from NYC. The rush hour traffic must have been terrible.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, characters and indeed entire civilizations are quite easily capable of keeping pace with Voyager, despite Voyager moving flat out to get home.
    • Possibly justified in that Voyager takes a LOT of side trips and is stopped or delayed, sometimes for weeks at a time.
  • Parker on Leverage is capable of this. It implicitly explained via Le Parkour or other expert climbing/gymnastics/thieving skills.
  • Supernatural has a particularly hilarious example of this. In the episode "Criss Angel is a Douche Bag," the Winchester boys tie up a stage magician that they think is responsible for the recent murders. The boys discuss their next move as the camera pans around them, and when the camera comes around again, the chair that they tied the man up in is empty.

Dean: We really should have seen that one coming.

    • Even funnier, after Sam and Dean run off to go looking for him, the magician pops out of the closet. When Sam and Dean get downstairs and the cops pull in, the magician comes downstairs. Cue the very confused looks from poor Sam and Dean.
    • Speaking of Supernatural, Cas (like other angelic creatures) is a MASTER of Off Screen Teleportation. If Cas is in the episode, it'll probably happen. Multiple times.
      • Note, however, that it's often only "offscreen" for the audience; there are multiple examples of human characters looking straight at angels while they flutter away.
    • Crowley is pretty much Cas's demonic Evil Counterpart in this regard. He does it in every episode he appears in - for example, in "Two Minutes To Midnight", he does it to Dean three or four times in about a minute. Dean's reactions are hilarious.
  • In some episodes of Charmed, many characters who had the power to teleport themselves for some reason bothered walking out through a door and then, once not seen by the viewer, use their power. Sometimes, the sound effects were heard, sometimes it was implied.
  • Occurs in Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, when the guidance counselor Atticus is pursued by a man-sized monster baby spawned by the titular Artifact of Doom. Although the Big Bad Baby is only capable of shambling slowly, it somehow manages to get in front of Atticus as he sprints down a school corridor.
  • In the Korean Series Boys Before Flowers, Jan Di chases after a limousine on foot for a short distance, then turns and runs back to her bicycle. The next scene is her riding up to a house's front entrance at the same time the limo arrives.
  • On Warehouse 13, Mrs. Fredrick does this all the time, to the point that its her most defining trait.
    • For that matter, her bodyguard and the Regents seem capable of it too.
      • Incidentally, one of the Regents has the same actor as Crowley.
  • The teacher in charge of detention in Jonas. He even lampshades this for Joe, his Girl of the Week and the other students: "I'm like an invisible ninja...!"
  • In an episode of Falling Skies, the 2nd Massachusetts manages to go on an unfamiliar route they have never traveled before, completely passing the group which has recaptured some of their members who were trying to escape back, and take the enemy headquarters, all offscreen.
  • The Flash naturally did this a few times justified both by his Super Speed and the tv show's budget.
  • In one episode of Castle, CIA Agent Gray took it Up to Eleven by Offscreen Teleporting twice in as many minutes.[1]


Music[edit | hide]

  • "You can fly to the other end of the world / and know you'll only find / that I've reserved the seat behind you, / we can talk about old times" - Marillion, The Uninvited Guest


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • The Undertaker, Sting, and Suicide are somehow able to appear or disappear when the lights are turned off for a few seconds. Undertaker can even do this to enter the ring during a steel cage match, and to somehow appear in front of Big Show while the later was running away from him.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The tabletop horror RPG Witch Hunter, published by PCI, actually justifies this—one of the supernatural powers allows the creature to designate a target, whom it can then repeatedly teleport to within 10 yards of (but no closer, thereby ensuring that it always seems to just be following along casually).
  • This is one of the Dark Stalker's abilities in the Unknown Armies RPG - fittingly, of course, as the Dark Stalker archetype represents the pop-cultural image of a serial killer.
  • This trope was so familiar to Arthaus's writers for 3E Ravenloft, they made it a salient ability for corporeal undead in Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead.
  • S. John Ross once wrote a collection of GURPS Action Movie advantages called "Beyond the Grip of Realism". One of them was Truly Badass, which included the ability "If you want to be there, you are". It allowed you to move anywhere in the action scene as long as you were unobserved at the time.
    • GURPS Horror includes a variant of Warp advantage, that is meant to simulate this trope. It allows movement at full running speed and ignoring any obstacles that the character can pass through. As in, instantly opening any locked door, running around the Great Wall of China etc, as long as nobody is looking at the character.
  • This is a popular ability for Dark Champions vigilantes. And yes, it's built using Hero's Teleportation power.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • In Euripides' play The Bacchae, for which a case could be made that it is the archetype of the horror movie, Dionysus does this. Justified, in that he's Dionysus; but the other characters don't know that, so it freaks them out no end. And then they all get killed, banished, and/or turned into snakes.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Played perfectly straight in Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened and Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis, possibly as way to avoid programming pathfinding AI. As long as you are looking at Watson, he never moves. You can walk as far away from him as you want, and he will stay in that spot. As soon as you turn around and turn back, however, he will be right next to you immediately. This leads to some cases where you can walk up to a door, turn away from Watson, open the door, and find him in the room, despite it having no other entrances.
    • Partially averted, however, in the remastered version of The Awakened. This time, you can see Watson running to keep up with Holmes.
  • Played absurdly straight to the point of on-screen teleportation in Final Fantasy Tactics, where upon being defeated in battle important NPCs will literally teleport away from the battle whenever convenient, even if such a power makes no sense for them, or you acquire them later, at which point they lose their plot-driven abilities.
  • This trope is a common means of news conveyance in classic Final Fantasy games. Journey long distances over treacherous terrain from Town A to Town B, and somehow the residents of Town B have already heard the news about Town A, even though no one could have possibly made the journey faster than your party did. (Perhaps someone Took a Shortcut? Or your party just got bogged down in all those Random Encounters?)
  • One commentator described the appearance of this tendency in video games as "NPC powers", noting the ability of minor characters in Resident Evil to appear on the other side of locked doors, survive alone with only a handgun for defense, and mysteriously beat you to any location you're traveling towards.
    • Somewhat justified in Resident Evil 2, with Sherry. A close examination of the rooms you see her disappear into or from will show some vent or opening that the character will note is "too small for an adult."
      • Doesn't quite explain how she got into the chief's quarters when the corridor was blocked by the helicopter debris.
  • Randomly placed enemies in Baldur's Gate pop up practically anywhere the "fog of war" covers, never appearing in areas you can see (unless you load a saved game, in which case some can even appear out of nowhere when it loads!). A particularly absurd example would be the hordes of Kobold Commandos that almost seem to pour out of the very walls in the Firewine Ruins.
  • Scorpion from the video game series Mortal Kombat can literally do this—jumping off the screen in one direction, results in him instantly appearing, fist-first, from the other side of the screen.
    • Scorpion is justified in that he is an angry ninja ghost.
    • Chronos from One Must Fall 2097 has a similar power, with the in-game explanation being that it's a Humongous Mecha designed for time-critical spaceship rescues.
    • Reimu has an ability very similar to this in Subterranean Animism, the eleventh Touhou game, when she has Yukari helping her. Minus the punching, since this is a SHUMP and all that. This ability was later given to Yukari in a patch of Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. Still minus the punching, since it's still a defensive tactic.
  • Used regularly in BioShock (series), where Splicers will suddenly appear in areas that had been cleared out minutes before. Kind of justified in that Rapture is one giant city of crazies and new ones will inevitably wander in after Jack has passed.
    • There's also the Houdini Splicers. Justified in that they also have on-screen teleportation.
  • F.E.A.R. makes use of this with Alma and Fettel sometimes appearing without warning when the Point man turns around. In their case, though, its quite justified in that both of them are using psychic projections or hallucinations.
  • In the game Myth 2, the Deceiver can travel much faster if he is unobserved.
  • Used as part of a game mechanic in Left 4 Dead - the Infected team in Versus can spawn -anywhere-, as long as there's no Survivor within 10 feet and no Survivor has a line of sight to the spot. Also, if the Survivor team gets too far away, the Infected can Offscreen Teleport closer to their location.
    • The AI Director uses line of sight for all infected spawning, which can lead to hilarious instances where a massive horde of zombies pile out of a small bathroom. This can happen even if you had previously cleared the room, and in some instances, you can manage to be in an area when the infected begin spawning around you.
    • The Survivor bots do this if they get far enough behind you.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, during your fight with The End, he can immediately appear right next to Snake if the player spends too long in first-person mode.
  • In Dementium: The Ward, you acquire your first gun by taking it from the body of some poor schmuck who fell prey to this. The first living person you come across has closed himself off in a tiny boiler room, which only has one door, and has been shooting the undead creatures as they come in. While he's busy threatening you with his gun, a zombie impossibly appears behind him, and kills him.
  • Used by Flying Fox in Heavenly Sword, though he uses it on another villain and is played for laughs due to Bohan's confusion.
  • Haunting Ground, arguably. Although the Big Bad gains genuine teleportation after going One-Winged Angel with some Applied Phlebotinum, the other antagonists (particularly the maid Daniella) already teleport almost constantly. For example, when Fiona finds Daniella tending the fire in one room, the player can go into the opposite identical room and find her hiding in the closet. Given how there is no way she could have gotten there without first passing Fiona in the corridor... yeah.
  • In Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas, The Dragon Stogie takes this to completely absurd levels, appearing out of nowhere no matter WHERE you happen to be at the time. Doesn't matter if you're on a train well on its way to Chicago, or out in the middle of the Vegas desert...
  • In just about every gorram racing game if you get too far ahead of the AI opponents, they'll magically teleport to just behind your tail.
    • F-Zero for the SNES provides a particularly blatant example of Offscreen Teleportation. If 2nd place is far enough behind you to be off screen (ie not by much), it will literally be just Behind the Black no matter what.
  • The mysterious G-man in Half Life does this a lot, appearing inside rooms that are just beyond reach but are locked, sometimes as soon as you turn around.
  • There's an add-on for Garry's Mod called the "Harmless Companion Cube." Don't turn your back on it......
  • How exactly do the villains in Pokémon get away when the game decides to turn the lights out?
  • Ally Example: Tricky from Star Fox Adventures. Run too far ahead of him? He's around the next corner. Had to climb to proceed? He'll catch up. He cannot teleport across large pits with flame jets and moving platforms for some reason, however.
  • Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and its sequel The Darkside Chronicles feature many scenes in which you look away from an empty room for a few seconds, only to look back and see that it has become overrun by slow-moving, loud, unintelligent, but apparently very sneaky zombies.
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla - no matter how fast you drive between safehouses, Sam will be there to exchange salvage for goodies.
  • Time Splitters. It's in the name, yo!
  • The Grand Theft Auto games do this with the police and other authorites once you get above a two-star warning level. Essentially, there is no hiding spot inconvenient enough that the authorities can't magically appear to shoot at you, even when it should be impossible for them to even know where you are. IE, if you run out of their line of their sight for a long time and are holed up in say a small shack, they will still spawn close to you just out of your LOS.
  • Heavy Rain abuses this quite a bit. In a typical version of the warehouse scene, it will show the empty warehouse, you walk up to save Shaun Not Jason, and the killer appears right behind you. Then another character runs out of nowhere to save you. Also Manfred's killing, done without Lauren noticing, even though she's in the same room. Also Norman's ghost, although that one's justified by it being inside virtual reality.
  • Enemies in the Soldier of Fortune games frequently "teleport in" behind walls, behind your back, or even more blatantly, in plain sight.
  • In some of the Medal of Honor games, there are certain randomly-spawned enemies that can appear right behind you, as well as Teleporting Keycard Squads and Respawning Enemies from around corners ala Call of Duty.
  • In the epilogue "The Last Visit" from Scratches: The Director's Cut, Robin Blackwood somehow appears in the dead-end confines of the bathroom while your back is turned.
  • In A Tale of Two Kingdoms, the barghest does this. No matter where you turn, he will be in front of you.
  • In the first episode of [[[Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People|Strong Bads Cool Game for Attractive People]] Cool Game for Attractive People]], Homestar Ruiner, Homestar will move into Strong Bad's house and lament the three problems that have crept into his life. As he does so, there are effectively three Homestars at once, implying that he's teleporting around when Strong Bad isn't looking. This gets a reaction shot when Strong Bad first notices.
  • Friendly example, though still incredibly creepy: In Kingdom Hearts 2, your party members will warp inexplicably. Normally, they will just try to follow the path you took to reach any given spot. But, sometimes, you can get to areas that are plain and simply impossible for them to reach (some of the stores in Twilight Town, for example). Now they'll jump around like idiots so long as you're looking at them...but turn away...and they're right behind you. Bonus creepy points if you enter first person mode to do this, as when you turn back around you'll get a truly unnerving close-up.
    • They also do this in Days, however this may be more zig-zagged as it's usually a lot more common to see them teleport right in front of you.
  • In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, if you call your horse, it will appear somewhere nearby just out of sight and gallop to Ezio, even if you had left it behind far away. The Assassin recruits are also very good at this; if they are not running in from just out of sight, they are leaping out of hiding spots that they probably should not have been able to reach before you call for them.
  • In La-Mulana, when the Faceless Eye chases after Lemeza, no matter how quickly he gets to the next screen the eye is only a few seconds behind.
  • Nethack won't randomly spawn monsters in line-of-sight (unless there's no other option). If the player is unable to see monsters can spawn anywhere, even right next to the player. This occasionally surprises players who are blinded for a single turn.
  • Ghost Master lets you benefit from this—unlike humans, the ghosts you control don't take any time to move from room to room.
  • In Amy's levels of Sonic Adventure, Zero will sometimes suddenly reappear by smashing through a wall that he had no apparent means of getting behind.
  • Ran with in Rainbow Six:Vegas with the terrorists. In some rooms, you can equip your Thermal Goggles and see a squad of terrorists appear out of thin air.
  • Luigi in Super Mario Galaxy 2 takes this to somewhat extreme levels. He teleports from galaxy to galaxy when you aren't looking, and he doesn't have a spaceship of his own. He also reaches Starship Mario either this way, or he can jump even higher than he shows us.
    • In Super Mario RPG, Croco breaks into Bowser's Keep even with all access cut off. Toad makes it farther to the Final Boss Corridor despite being captured every few minutes by low-level enemies in one of the first areas of the game.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, you can be anywhere, even another country, where with one simple whistle your horse will be there.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Played with in Girl Genius, in which Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! repeatedly falls out of the zeppelin-attached Castle Wulfenbach, only to appear again without explanation. (It's indicated he might have managed to first land on and then take over a small blimp. Then fly it back to the Castle.)
    • Mind you, he tries to give an explanation. No one cares.
    • He plays it straight here
  • The most recent Abel's Story update (Part 2, page 24) at Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Fa'Lina does this to Abel.
    • Not the first time she's done it, particularly since she has a certain "nasty habit".
  • Noah of El Goonish Shive seems to be able to do this. This strip clearly shows Elliot reaching the top of the escalator first, while the next one places Noah in front of Elliot. Of course, it had been strongly implied earlier that Noah had some sort of magical ability.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Every single character in Survival of the Fittest. No really, that's not a joke - it's part of the RP's in-game traveling mechanic. Since there's no map of the island, there aren't any regulations as to which locations characters can move from to get to others. This results in characters (looking at it from a logical perspective) effectively teleporting all over the island. And yes, it has also led to characters fleeing from a villain, and enter another topic, only to find the guy they were running from is there already.
    • In character, it's assumed they traveled to the location 'off-screen' rather than actually teleporting, references are also made to characters moving around.
  • The Slender Man, in almost all his appearances. He's a Humanoid Abomination, who's going to tell him he's not allowed?
    • The Tutorial in particular deserves special mention for Invoking this trope. In it, the author theorizes that the Slender Man cannot warp through space and time when he is being observed. In other words, he literally cannot teleport if he's not offscreen!
  • Tex in Red vs. Blue seems to be capable of this in Revelations Episode 10, closing the distance (of at least several metres) between her and her target before they even have a chance to fire the guns that they were aiming at her even as she was standing still. Suffice to say that if the screen ever shifts away from Tex and onto who she plans to beat up, they lose.
  • Everybody in Suburban Knights.
  • Paul in Commodore HUSTLE seems to be able to do this, apparently to make him seem more eccentric. Whether the real Paul Saunders can do this remains unconfirmed.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode, "Dummy Love", the Aqua Teens make many attempts to get rid of or otherwise destroy the two Demonic Dummy characters that appear in the episode. Of course, no method of destruction prevents their return, eventually leading to a profitable and lucrative magic show career on the part of one of the main characters.
  • In the Batman Beyond episode "Sneak Peek", Terry does an extended chase scene following Ian Peek down floor after blockaded floor as fast as he can. The instant he falls through the final floor (right after Terry arrived), an elderly Bruce Wayne appears...although he was left hundreds if not thousands of feet away in no rush to chase after them.
  • In the Droopy cartoons, the wolf would get into a plane, boat, and train to get away from Droopy, end up in China, and have Droopy inexplicably waiting for him when he got there.
    • There's at least one in which there are shown to be a very large number of identical Droopys.
  • Happens a few times in Looney Tunes as well.
    • It's actually parodied it also. In "Tortoise Beats Hare," Cecil Turtle and and Bugs Bunny are in a race, but Cecil gets his (identical) relatives scattered across the route ahead of time to screw with Bugs and make him think this trope is in effect.
  • In Animaniacs this is the main forte of the Warners, to the dismay of other characters.
    • A particularly funny one happens when they're antagonizing the Jerry Luis-like Mr. Director. As part of his Angrish fueled rant at witnessing this, he briefly points back to where they were, and for that brief second, they're still there.
  • The above image from Histeria! comes from a scene in which Loud Kiddington pulls this on George Bush after he climbs over the gates in front of the White House. As you can see, the animators drew Loud twice on the same shot.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons a few times. In one, Mr. Burns makes it from the top floor of his mansion to his basement, faster than the kids can slide down a laundry chute, apparently only needing secret passages to do so.
    • In the safari in Africa, there's a POV Cam shot as Marge looks at a cheetah through binoculars. "They don't look so fast to me." Then she lowers the binoculars and the cheetah is right up in her face.
    • Nelson manages to do this trick in "Das Bus".
  • Ron has this ability in Kim Possible. Kim leaps off a building with her pistol grappling hook, through a window, across laser beams to her target, Ron casually walks into shot seconds later and continues the conversation they had on the roof.
  • The Phantom Blot performs this in Mickey Foils the Phantom Blot, when Mickey uses tape on his shoes to get to the top of the Blot's blimp, the Blot's already at the top, after he fought Mickey on the ladder on the bottom of the blimp.
  • Played straight in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thing is, the person being fled from is Raphael. He even says "You can't sneak away from a Ninja, kid."
  • In the Columbo parody Mumbly (basically Wacky Races's Muttley in an overcoat and The Alleged Car that literally falls apart when parked) the Droopy example is revisited. The Columbo-esque villian keeps running away from Mumbly, only to have him turn up in places like garbage cans or under a serving plate lid a waitress served to the bad guy.
  • A lesser example appears in the Ben 10 episode "Ben 10,000". When Ben first meets his older self, he manages to cut him off at every escape attempt to continue the conversation. What makes this odd is that the older Ben is XLR8 at the time.
    • Used by Max Tennyson to escape Albedo in the Ben 10 Alien Force series finale. Ben uses it to elude Max in the very next scene.

Max: Aw... It's only cool when I do it.

Squidward: (picks up SpongeBob off his arms) "That's great, SpongeBob. Why don't you work on this problem back in the kitchen?" (throws him in the kitchen but SpongeBob reappears beside him.)
SpongeBob: "I'm serious, Squidward! Mr. Krabs is a robot, and I can prove it, too!"
Squidward: (looking around confused) "How did you...?"

  • A few times in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy: In "Wish You Were Ed", Ed got stuck in a mailbox somehow, and Eddy and Edd ask Rolf for help. Rolf goes off on a rant about how much he misses The Old Country and doesn't help them, but then Ed appears right next to Eddy.

Ed: Rolf's homesick, Eddy.
Eddy: Where'd you come from?!
Ed: Blame my parents, Eddy.

    • Also in The Movie, Edd stops in his tracks completely stunned by something Eddy said. The camera follows Eddy and Edd up a hill...and then Edd is shown on the hill right there, stopping them.
  • Pinkie Pie of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is surprisingly adept at this. In "Over A Barrel" for instance, she's shown in a train car along with the other main ponies prior to a commercial break. At the end of the break, the others reveal they somehow have lost track of Pinkie. Cut to Rainbow Dash by herself sneaking through the desert when Pinkie Pie shows up out of nowhere and startles her. Also, at the beginning of "Griffon the Brush-off", Pinkie keeps pulling this as Rainbow Dash tries to avoid her. Another example occurs in the season 2 premiere, where Pinkie hops outside to play in the cholocate rain, only to appear back in between her friends in the vary next shot.
    • She's able to pop up in improbable spaces (like the inside of a piano without disrupting the song Spike's playing on it, the inside of a large bell that Rainbow Dash hid in to avoid her) or impossible spaces (a bucket of sponges much too small to fit a pony, appearing as a reflection in a mirror). Fanon has stated that because she knows she's a cartoon character, she's able to manipulate cartoon physics. She may also be completely insane (yes, just like Deadpool.)
  • Brainy in Hey Arnold! does this as a Running Gag, where Helga recites love poetry to Arnold only to be interrupted by Brainy, who she then punches. Most of the times, it's rather plausible as to how he gets behind Helga, but there are times where he literally shows up out of nowhere, such as on Elk Island and on a haunted train. It's also lampshaded at the end of "Helga on the Couch" where she ducks into an empty alley...and sure enough, Brainy comes to interrupt her.
  • In an episode of Invader Zim, GIR is sleeping on Zim's head but is forced off. The camera eases in while Zim delivers his Evil Gloating - as soon as the top of his head is Behind the Black, he yells at GIR for sleeping on his head again.
  • It's Robin's shtick in Young Justice. It starts to bug Kid Flash.
    • Even Batman gets in on the act, using it in the season 1 finale against Robin.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy Billy not only did this, but also managed to change from his normal wardrobe to fishing gear as he was inching off the screen.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Don't be silly.
    • Well, people who know a bit about stage magician's or pickpocket's tricks know how to ensure that people's attention is somewhere else when they move, resulting in the effect, if not the fact of this trope.
  • Azrael of Gaijin Smash is convinced that the Japanese have this skill as a racial trait, especially the smaller ones (kids and obasan.) Their ability to appear out of nowhere from impossible distances is a recurring feature in his stories.
  • Ninja Cat!
  • The director for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tried to use practical camera effects whenever possible. One scene has Jim Carrey on both sides of the room at the same time. He had to run behind the camera and put a stocking cap on several times as the camera panned back and forth.
  • Oh, anyone who has watched children has seen this happen. You only look away for a second and the kids are on the other side of the park.
    • When this Troper was a child he was able to disappear without anyone noticing. In order to gain attention all he had to do was speak.
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