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Hayate: Stop hitting me!

Ayana: Then stop projecting your stupid fantasies where everyone can see!

A fourth wall-breaking gag in which one character is inexplicably able to see another character's Imagine Spot, taking the perspective of the audience and reacting to specific details that they shouldn't be able to guess. Mind-readers don't count, as that's cheating. Medium Awareness helps.

See also Did I Just Say That Out Loud?, Strange Minds Think Alike.

Examples of Imagine Spotting include:


Anime and Manga

  • In the Kodomo No Jikan manga, Houin examines the Double Standard of Shirai slapping Aoki by imagining a genderflipped retake. Oyajima, whom she had been talking to, demands to know why he had been genderflipped, as well.
  • Elsee spots Keima's grandiose imaginings in The World Only God Knows all the time.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler, which pulls off Fourth Wall gags all the time, does this.
  • In the first episode of Excel Saga, Excel is in an ambulance after being hit by a truck. We see scenes from her life, and one of the EMTs in the ambulance says something like, "Uh oh. Her life is flashing before her eyes. That's a bad sign."
    • The Japanese dub was something along the lines of "You've got so much more to live for, like love- oh wait, you've already done that. Never mind." after he notices the flashback.
  • In the Fruits Basket manga, Haru wonders aloud what Yuki would look like dressed in a girl's uniform. We see Haru's Imagine Spot and Yuki tells him to stop picturing it.
    • Although it could be justified as a lucky guess.
  • Onegai Twins - "Miss Mina, that fantasy of yours is getting awfully close to breaching Love Alliance rule #1."
  • At one point in Negima Konoka has a brief thought of how bishonen Negi will be when he's 18. Negi looks up and is shocked, asking who that is.
  • A frequent gag of the Ranma ½ manga. "You actually have the gall to picture yourself like THAT?" "Leave me OUT of your sick fantasies!"
  • In an early chapter of Keroro Gunsou, Fuyuki realizes that their mother, who doesn't like animals, is probably going to be angry about Keroro's presence, and imagines her as EVA-01. The next panel has Natsumi glancing back at the last panel and saying "That visual might have been a bit exaggerated, but..."
  • Done a number of times on Eyeshield 21. "Why am I always the one throwing confetti?"
  • Occasionally occurs in Ouran High School Host Club, usually with characters commenting on Tamaki's day-dreams about Haruhi.
  • "Wako! That fantasy was tres bien!"
  • This happens to Ken from Seitokai no Ichizon, who follows the same rules in life that he does in an H-game. At one point he visualises a conversation with Kurimu as a selection of options, and wonders how each will effect the "ending" he gets. Kurimu not only cuts it short by taking out a floppy disk, but pulls it off the screen, and wonders how it has any relation to reality.
  • In Hayate Cross Blade; Ayana has a tendency to see Hayate's imagine spots; and tends to hit her for them.

Comic Books

  • I Feel Sick: Tenna takes exception to Devi's imaginary portrayal of herself. "That's BULLSHIT! And why the fuck am I wearing a bear suit?!!"

Film

Live Action TV

 Momotaros: Ryotaro...your sense...

Kintaros: ...it makes me cry!

Theater

  • Tom Stoppard's play Travesties is presented to the audience through the recollections of an Unreliable Narrator, Henry Carr. In one scene, as his Hot Librarian love interest gives a long lecture on politics, she accuses him of tuning out and imagining her naked. He denies this, but as she continues lecturing the lighting changes, music plays, and she starts performing a striptease. A minute later, Carr sheepishly asks the audience if they "noticed anything" in that last scene...

Web Comics

Web Original

  • In SBemail 169, Strong Bad is unable to have an Imagine Spot because "the suits" firewalled his imagination. Homestar walks in, however, and has an Imagine Spot just fine. When Strong Bad complains, Homestar explains that he has 'admin privileges'.

Western Animation

  • Taken to extremes in the US Acres shorts on Garfield and Friends: Orson's literature-inspired fantasies feature himself and the other cast members as characters... except that everyone is experiencing it as vividly as he is. It may or may not be really happening.
  • In the episode of The Simpsons where Homer was tells the kids about when Maggie was born, at one point Bart takes over and claims that Homer got so scared his head exploded. After Homer gets back to telling the story himself, Marge notices that he was imagining himself without a head and that he should have weighed a few more pounds.
    • In another episode, Lisa says, "I feel like I'm in a think tank," leading Homer into a surprisingly accurate vision of policy discussion. When he comes out of the reverie, the other Simpsons are staring at him and he says, "What, I can't get one right?"
    • And again, Bart imagines having a "Moon Party in Outer Space", complete with a theme song. After he comes out of the daydream, Homer walks into the room and starts singing the song.
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