Slow-Motion Pass-By

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A frequently-seen visual device, where two persons/vehicles pass by each other going in opposite directions; the exact moment they are next to each other is slowed down and often extended with Repeat Cut. Usually used either to show "two ships that pass in the night" relationships (or lack thereof), or to provide a dramatic "spike" during a chase or investigation sequence. In the latter case, one of the participants is usually the seeker, and the other the sought; such cases often result in Chase Scenes of one flavor or another.

Examples of Slow-Motion Pass-By include:


  • Shampoo commercials do it a lot.

Anime and Manga

  • Happens in Berserk, when Griffith and Guts pass each other on horseback during a battle. This actually foreshadows that they end up as enemies, but Berserk Abridged has another, hilarious take on it, flashing "Totally straight moment!!!" as they pass.
  • A variety appears in Blue Drop, when the car Mari is in passes Hagino, who stands amidst a huge swarm of terns, leading to a wonderfully drawn out moment when their eyes meet.
  • In one of the later episodes of Bubblegum Crisis, Priss (on her motorcycle) spots Anri (in a GENOM limousine) as they pass each other on the street.
  • Used for incredibly heartbreaking effect in 5 Centimeters Per Second.
  • In one of the many nicely shot sequences in Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid, Kaname Chidori is walking down a Tokyo street, nervous because she knows her soldier/student companion Sousuke Sagara is no longer in town to protect her. Among the crowd passing Chidori we suddenly spot a psychotic female Chinese assassin introduced in an earlier episode. Chidori, who has never met the woman, looks around, terrified for no reason she can discern. As she flees, the assassin watches her, planning her murder.
  • The opening credits of Futari wa Pretty Cure show Nagisa and Honoka in a slow-mo pass-by twice, probably to emphasize the Odd Couple nature of their friendship/partnership.
    • Also the first episode shows this, right before the call.
  • Used in Gundam Seed with Athrun in a shuttle and Kira in the Freedom Gundam.
  • Pretty much every scene in Hikaru no Go where Hikaru passes Akira in a hallway/street/etc, ever.
  • Madlax used this trope at the end of a key episode, signifying the end of Act 1 and the beginning of...something else.
  • Happens a couple of times in episode 5 of My-HiME, when an Orphan possesses a bus and causes an accident.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has one of the best examples of this. In a two-for-one deal, on the crowded streets of Kyoto, Misao, chasing after Kenshin, runs in slow-mo right by Aoshi, the man she's been searching for for years, while Kaoru and Yahiko, chasing after Aoshi, run in slow-mo right by Kenshin, whom they came to Kyoto to search for. It's a great scene.
  • Happens in Sailor Moon, when Seiya and Usagi meet for the first time just as Usagi is parting ways with Mamoru.
  • Limone is able to draw strength from seeing Aaeru's look of determination in an episode of Simoun as the two fly separate fighter aircraft at high speed in a complicated formation pattern.
  • Tenchi in Tokyo uses this with Tenchi and Sakuya twice: in the opening credits and in the first episode.
  • Toki wo kakeru shojo has a scene like this. After going to extreme lengths to ensure an accident doesn't happen, the people involved pass the protagonist by; headed, of course, to their doom.
  • Trigun, when Vash runs past Beeb. The cut is used to show the strange tone Vash hears coming from a device he wears, which is what allows Zazie the Beast (currently possessing Beeb) to control the giant sand-worms that are attacking the group.
  • Wolf's Rain, when Cher, who's looking for the Flower Maiden Cheza, passes her (and Kiba's disguised wolfpack who are accompanying her) on the street without noticing.
  • Inanimate variation in Usavich: As Kirenenko runs by a television screen showing the sneakers of his dreams, time slows down and sexy jazz music starts playing.
  • Quite a few times in Darker than Black, although never in slow-mo. It's typically when someone's been chasing the assassin BK-201 and their car roars around a corner towards where they saw him disappear, passing the innocuous-looking Li in the process.
  • Happens in One Piece when Robin and Olivia pass by each other before the Buster Call took place.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conquerer of Shamballa does this between Edward and Noah as shoots by on a plane to the portal to his own world.
    • Also happens earlier in the anime when Ed (riding in a train) speeds past a train station on which stands Meas Hughes' "ghost"
  • Used on at least one occasion in the Claymore anime.
  • Happens in Gundam 00 when Marina saw Setsuna for the first time as he was passing-by in a motorcycle.


  • The epilogue of Shaolin Soccer after a previous event has recurred differently.
  • The Patriot has one between Mel Gibson's character and Jason Isaacs's.
  • The theatrical release of The Butterfly Effect ended on this between the protagonist and his love interest, having had their memories of each other lost to time travel, having managed to live lives without being killed or psychologically messed up, to go for a Bittersweet Ending in contrast for the completely miserable ending where Protagonist kills himself in the womb.
  • The end of 'Havoc' involving PLC kids and Latino gang members both driving past each other on this trope.

Live Action TV

  • Used often in Dexter, usually combined with his First-Person Smartass.
  • On Scrubs J.D. and The Janitor have been known to do this from time to time.
  • A staple trope in Korean Series. In fact, the list of those dramas that don't have it would be shorter.
  • Veronica Mars gets one in the second episode when she passes Weevil doing garbage pick-up as punishment for a crime he didn't commit.

Video Games

  • The dramatic spike version is used in the flashback mission to the opening sequence of Final Fantasy X-2 where Yuna (dressed as a Moogle) sees one of the quirky miniboss characters and has a moment like this. Said quirky miniboss character then spends the next 15 hours of the game being a Butt Monkey, but it was supposedly dramatic at time.
  • Happens on one of the first animated cutscenes in the PSP version of Final Fantasy Tactics, as Delita runs off with the knocked out princess the protagonist was supposed to protect. This scene is the first time Ramza sees Delita after the fateful incident involing his (Delita's) sister, and marks the beginning of the flashback chapter.
  • During the opening of The World Ends With You, the game makes a point of having Neku pass by all three of his potential partners in this fashion. Of the four, only Joshua reacted to Neku's runthrough.
  • The opening for King Of Fighters 2000 had K' about to pass Iori then cut to him walking away from an amused Kyo.
  • Sonic and Shadow do this in one of the first scenes of Sonic Adventure 2.
    • This scene repeats itself almost perfectly in the Shadow Rival Battle of Sonic Generations
  • An early sequence in Tales of the Abyss does this with Anise passing by Jade in the hallway of the Tartarus during a fight scene. Oddly, The Anime of the Game plays it at normal speed.

Web Animation

  • In RWBY, the moment when Blake and Son Goku (not that one) first see each other is presented in this manner.

Western Animation

  • Played for laughs a few times in Hoodwinked. Over-the-top soundtrack included.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Prince Zuko and Commander Zhao have a stare-off when Zhao decides not to stop the exiled Zuko from entering Fire Nation waters.
    • As do Zuko and Aang in "The Storm" when Appa emerges from the sea right off the bow of Zuko's ship.
    • In the Grand Finale, Ozai and Aang have a similar moment when Aang destroys his airship from atop a pillar he's passing. Ozai is visibly startled for several seconds before going back into Large Ham mode.