One of the Stock Super Powers; a person with Super Reflexes can react to situations faster than normal. This is typically used to allow him to dodge or cancel threats that would otherwise blindside a regular character.
Unlike Spider Sense, there is normally no psychic component to this ability—rather, the character with Super Reflexes acquired the skill through training, Applied Phlebotinum, technological enhancement, or just dumb luck. An implied limitation is that a character with Super Reflexes must first notice the danger before he can (quickly) react to it. Whether or not this is enforced depends on the quality of the work.
Super Reflexes is often a Required Secondary Power for Super Speed, but the two are not equivalent; just because a character can dodge a flurry of fists doesn't mean he can run halfway across a field in the blink of an eye. Expect this power to be revoked the moment it becomes inconvenient for the plot; witness The Flash being able to clean an entire house in a tenth of a second one page and slam into a villain's outstretched arm on the next.
In non-superhero settings, Super Reflexes may be called other names like "Combat Reflexes" or "Heightened Response".
Bullet Time is a visual effect often used to depict this trope.
Anime & Manga
- In Naruto, one of the powers the Sharingan grants is super reflexes due to move prediction. It can read any movement the enemy makes, even those at high speeds and the user can avoid an attack-although this isn't an exact science. Rock Lee rightfully said that even if you can see an attack, if you can't move fast enough to counter, it won't matter. As Sasuke learned the hard way.
- The 4th Raikage can use lightning to boost his reflexes so much that even the Sharingan has difficulty keeping up with him, while the 4th Hokage apparently had comparable reaction time naturally.
- Tsunade and Sakura's style also revolves around having super reflexes and move prediction to make up for their lack of speed.
- Sloth from Fullmetal Alchemist is a notable subversion of the Super Speed / Super Reflexes combination—super-fast, super-strong, and as nimble as an 18-wheeler.
- Kallen from Code Geass, being a combat mech pilot, has incredible reflexes, which tend to act up even when she is playing an Ill Girl in school, e.g. in one episode, when Rivalz accidentally sends a champagne bottle cork right into her face, she notices it even before he does and deflects it with her hand.
- Suzaku Kururugi from the same show is shown to be able to dodge bullets from machine guns.
- This is one of the effects of the Psycho Serum, Bloody Eye in Cowboy Bebop, with both the minor villain, Asimov Solensan and the Big Bad, Vicious being notable users.
- A common power for various enhanced humans in Humongous Mecha shows, seeing as how something as complex as a giant humanoid fighting machine would probably be nearly impossible to control without them in Real Life. Notable examples include Newtypes, Co-ordinators and Headdliners.
- One of the "Plus" Abnormals in Medaka Box has Super Reflexes as his Abnormality, which he calls "Automatic". He discovered that his reflexes were an Abnormality in a truly disturbing way. When he was a child he and his entire family were caught in a car wreck so horrific that his entire family was crushed to death. He, on the other hand, was (physically) completely unharmed thanks to his Super Reflexes. Being covered by bits and pieces of his dead family for hours while waiting for rescue did a number on his psyche though.
- Taken to insane heights in Bleach, with one of Mayuri's inventions including a Super Serum that was made for this purpose but is far, far, far too strong: he mentions that if you dilute the sample he had (stored inside of Nemu, who is assumably immune) to one part per 250,000, one drop would be enough to be significantly increase your fighting ability. If you take the whole thing (which Szayel does by accident) it will make every second seem like a century, roughly 3 billion times normal speed, and thus make co-ordination of movement utterly impossible.
- Vivio in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid gains this when she's using Sacred Heart, letting her react, dodge, and deflect attacks that move too fast for her to see.
- In Suzumiya Haruhi, Nagato can react fast enough to block lasers. It's implied she had to teleport a short distance to do so, and couldn't react fast enough to deflect all the damage to herself.
- Spell Crests in Taboo Tattoo can grant super reflexes, among other abilities.
- Invoked in Sword Art Online whenever Kirito used his Dual Sword Skill. However, due to incidents of the time he used the skill, it's unclear if it's another perk of the skill or a rare skill.
- As mentioned in the description, most Comic Book superheroes with Super Speed will also have Super Reflexes as a Required Secondary Power. Character with Super Speed but without Super Reflexes are rare, and tend to acquire it as part of their training.
- Wonder Woman is renowned for using her Super Reflexes to deflect bullets with her bracelets.
- Batman has reflexes fast enough to almost qualify as a Charles Atlas Superpower version of this.
- Same thing with Cassandra Cain as Batgirl, minus the "almost." In one issue, while being fired upon, she jumps between the bullets because it's more fun that way.
- Captain America (comics) doesn't dodge bullets, he blocks them with his mighty shield. Yet somehow, even when surrounded on all sides by gun-wielding Mooks, the shield always seems to be in the right place. This even applies when he is mindcontrolled chemically, an early story set in World War II had him under the influence of such a chemical by the Red Skull, but when he is taken before Adolf Hitler and the Fuehrer takes a swing at him, Cap reflexively blocks it with his shield, a body function that the Red Skull can't suppress.
- Deathstroke the Terminator
- Spider-Man's Super Reflexes is closely linked to his Spider Sense.
- Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O'Hara, has enhanced perceptions that happen to tune in more quickly to what's pertinent, although "what's pertinent" could be anything from an immediate danger or a more general plot point. Unlike Spider Sense, it's limited by what his attention is focused on, and he could still be caught flat-footed.
- Thor has blocked plenty of bullets and energy attacks over the years, even those fired at point blank range. In Journey Into Mystery #100, Thor deflected two bullets fired simultaneously with one swing of Mjollnir.
- Squirrel Girl has Squirrel Agility—the proportionate speed and reflexes of a squirrel.
- |Shatterstar is often shown to use his Super Reflexes to augment his swordfighting skills.
- In the Transformers Generation 1 comic books, Headmasters are Transformers who have mentally fused with a human (or Nebulan) partner. The combined minds work in tandem, usually giving Headmasters faster reflexes and/or better tactical assessment skills. They are usually depicted as a single entity, though sometimes the two personalities will discuss and argue with each other as the story requires.
- One issue of Marvel's G.I. Joe comic book featured the Star Viper, a Cobra pilot who could connect himself to a computer and gain augmented speed and reflexes.
- John Doe of Nth Man the Ultimate Ninja, thanks to a lifetime of Ninja training. In the first issue of his comic, he dodges a bullet fired at him from point-blank range; later, he dodges a sniper's bullets while running uphill towards the gunman.
- The Sub-Mariner has superhuman reflexes, though how that works while he's submerged is unclear.
- Arguably, Indiana Jones uses this to dodge many of the deathtraps he ends up in.
- In Johnny Mnemonic, Jane's cybernetic implants, allegedly, grant her this ability, but nothing she ever does makes any use of the skill. On one occasion, Johnny even had to push her out of the way of a falling car that she didn't even notice.
- Terminator Salvation shows that this is why the moto-terminators are so deadly; their cybernetic brains allow them to predict the movement of obstacles at high speeds, effectively giving themselves Super Reflexes. At one point, one terminator slides under a bouncing tanker truck, rights itself and keeps firing at the retreating heroes.
- A common ability for the robots in I, Robot
Sonny: By the time you have fired, I will have moved Dr Calvin's head into the path of your bullet.
- Appears in the Serbian animated movie Technotise Edit I Ja
- Maruti from The Return of Hanuman is able to avoid bullets very quickly. This was shown when he had to face some gangsters.
- D.A.R.Y.L. has this ability due to being a cyborg.
- Remo Williams learns to dodge bullets.
- A form of Super Reflexes has been described in literature for years now—where a Main Character has gotten into a fix, and time seems to "slow down" for them. They don't actually get superhuman reflexes, they just get "extra time" to solve the situation. This may be Truth in Television, as there are studies showing this to be a real phenomenon.
- Gentleman Johnny Marcone has this a Charles Atlas Superpower. The list of things he can't dodge/out react probably includes bullets and next to nothing else.
- In Discworld, the History Monks have a technique called "slicing time" that allows them to do this. The problems with Super Speed are also deconstructed, as the monks have a number of requirements to avoid the "solid air" problem. At deeper levels, you see red/blue shift and have to keep moving so the air in your personal time pocket won't all get used up.
- Lord Vetinari is mentioned to move like a snake.
- The protagonist Kiritsugu of the Fate/stay night prequel Fate/Zero has this as his primary magical capability. It works by "time manipulation", accelerating the processes of his body while leaving the world alone; basically, he moves really fast. Unfortunately, this causes conflicts when his body interacts with the rest of the world, and stuff like his blood moving faster than sound results in his body receiving internal damage each time he uses it.
- In Fate/stay night itself, Archer can do the "freeze time to think about his options" method, though we only find out after Shirou (who has gained Archer's skills via arm transplant) does this during the fight between Saber Alter and Rider.
- This is one of the key abilities of windcrafters in the Codex Alera. However, it's possible for someone to start damaging their body if they push the Super Speed aspects too far, since muscles and bones aren't designed to move that fast.
- Described in Shadows of the Empire when Luke fights a superfast droid assassin, opens himself to the Force, and time seems to slow way down.
Luke felt as if he were moving at normal speed, though there was a crackling feeling to his motion, a sound like strong wind whistling about his ears.
- Possibly the first example ever of Super Reflexes appeared in the 1956 Science Fiction Classic (and proto-proto cyberpunk novel), The Stars My Destination (aka Tiger! Tiger!). In it, the anti-hero protagonist has his nervous system and musculature rewired to allow a state of accelerated movement. It is notable in that it had a relatively realistic look at the effects and problems of the state: The color spectrum shifts down to red, energy expenditure means that you will starve to death if the state is held too long, and engaging in hand to hand combat with another accelerated fighter is essentially suicidal for both of you as the collision is nearly instantly fatal.
- Appears in Philip K. Dick's novel The Counter-Clock World.
- In Mistborn, the metal atium effectively causes this when "burned" for power- technically it grants the wielder the ability to see a few seconds into the future, but in practice this results in almost literally unbeatable Super Reflexes- unless the other person has atium too, in which case the power is cancelled out.
- The Percy Jackson books explain that the demigods enhanced "Battle Reflexes" are the reason so many of them end up diagnosed with ADHD. (This an a similar explanation of dyslexia being the result of having a brain hardwired for ancient Greek were written in for the benefit of the authors son, who has both ADHD and dyslexia.)
- In Timothy Zahn's Cobra trilogy, the Cobras are an elite unit of Super Soldiers with unbreakable bones, servo-powered joints, concealed lasers, and computer-enhanced reflexes, among other changes. Unfortunately, the computerized reflexes include responding "lethally to anything that even looks like an attack." And when the Cobras tried to go back to civilian life, none of those enhancements could be removed. Including the lasers.
- Also, Zahn's Blackcollar novels features the titular special forces troops who have gained this ability through the use of a drug called "Backlash". Unfortunately, with the defeat of the Terran Democratic Empire by the Ryqril, the secret of the drug was destroyed to prevent it from falling into Ryqril hands, so there is no way to make more full-fledged Blackcollars. The protagonist does his best to train himself to have near-superhuman reflexes, though.
- Loup Garron in Santa Olivia, being the daughter of a genetically-modified soldier, is capable of moving significantly faster than the average person.
- David Weber's Path of the Fury has a combat drug cocktail (stored in the cybernetic implants of the elite Drop Commandos) which effectively provides this: the "Tick" speeds up the speed of perception by about three times - while a commando on the Tick can't move faster, she can deliberate every move and anticipate her opponent's moves effortlessly. Its very existence is top secret.
Live Action TV
- Dillon of Power Rangers RPM has enhanced reflexes as part of the entire half-machine package. First demonstrated when he instantly catches Colonel Truman's falling mug while being interrogated.
- A lack of them is used in No Ordinary Family to keep a lid on Stephanie's Story-Breaker Power of superspeed. While she's not at a risk of crashing into things if she goes too fast, when she's not using her power she has normal reflexes, allowing people to take her out before she can react.
- Panther of The Protomen, who once caught a Megabuster being tossed directly at his head from stage right.
- In superhero RPGs a character has this if they have a high enough Dexterity/Agility ability score.
- Martial artists in Champions.
- Found in Mutants & Masterminds as a combination of Quickness and Improved Initiative.
- In GURPS, the Advantage called Enhanced Time Sense is an "always on" version of Super Reflexes.
- In Shadowrun, Street Samurai with cybernetic boosted reflexes see the world this way when the reflexes are turned on. Presumably anyone with magically boosted reflexes (whether from spells or physical adept abilities) gains the same perspective.
- Naturally Cyberpunk 2020, being a cyberpunk-based RPG, has this and in two flavors: the Kerenzikov (always ON) and the Sandevistan (only when it's required).
- In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition, the monk has a class ability that more or less makes sure that they are never really surprised by an attack.
- The Pathfinder RPG (based on D&D 3.5) goes one further with the Divination specialist Wizard. Even if they didn't notice an ambush, they can act in the Surprise Round along with the attackers. And with the bonuses they get to Initiative, there's a better-than-normal chance that they'll even be able to act before the ninjas hiding in the bushes. This plays out as a quick-duration Cassandra sometimes, because the game mechanics prevent your fellow party members from gaining any benefit. Shouting a warning won't do anything.
- The Kanohi Calix, Mask of Fate in Bionicle. It pushes the wearer's physical capabilities to their limits.
- One of the Power Sets for Scrappers, Brutes, Tanks, and Stalkers in City of Heroes is explicitly called this.
- The Superspeed movement set in DC Universe Online gets this as a skill.
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight In Jedi Outcast, and Jedi Academy, if you get shot by an enemy sniper, you'll automatically dodge it like Neo, especially if you have Force Speed activated.
- This is because the snipers use disruptor rifles, which fire at the speed of light. It's probably faster to dodge then try to block the shot with a lightsaber.
- Naturally, this is subject to The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. You will auto-dodge some of the time depending on your force meter and how highly-leveled your abilities are. Enemy force-users are nigh impossible to hit with any sort of weapon, enforcing lightsaber combat. Especially the sniper rifle. Even the weakest Mook Reborn will have no problem dodging it, no matter how rapidly you fire it even though its shots seem to travel instantaneously.
- In Mass Effect 2, Commander Shepard's combat-related classes each have a variation of this, which is represented in-game by Bullet Time. The Soldier can use this effect on-demand with Adrenaline Rush (with an additional damage bonus), while the Vanguard gets it after a sufficiently-evolved Charge attack, and the Infiltrator gets it for a few seconds when zooming with a sniper rifle.
- Albert Wesker from Resident Evil 5 has this ability, being able to perceive incoming attacks much faster than normal and dodging accordingly.
- The Pointman (player protagonist) in First Encounter Assault Recon has this ability coupled with Super Speed, depicted as Bullet Time. Later on Michael Beckett, Foxtrot-813, the unnamed FEAR Sergeant, and the Nightcrawler Elites have this ability, and in the third game Paxton Fettel is able to take advantage of the Point Man's powers whenever he activates them due to their psychic connection.
- Shin Kuroi from Morenatsu
- Any character with a high Moxie in Kingdom of Loathing. The higher it is, the less likely it is that the monster will hit you;there's a point where only a critical hit can touch you.
- In Interviewing Leather, the title supervillainess is noted as having Super Reflexes.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, everyone who has Super Speed also has Super Reflexes.
- This is the primary superpower of the villain Whiteout (he's an albino assassin). His reflexes are fast enough to dodge bullets (and pretty much anything else) if he knows they're coming. He doesn't move with Super Speed, though.
- Arachne, being a Captain Ersatz of Spider-Man, can do this by way of a danger sense.
- In the Whateley Universe, Exemplars like Stormwolf get the superstrength and toughness, but they also get enhanced reflexes. And then there's Chaka, who uses her ki for this: she can use her ki to sense your ki and dodge any punch you throw at her.
- When the Fight or Flight reflex is initiated, like temporary super strength, people react to things much faster than normal.
- Trained athletes and fighters can react faster than the average person to certain stimuli. The debatable issue is whether this represents a superhuman ability or an undiscovered range of natural ability.
- (both the computing and the obstacles, that is)