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Often in book-based media at the point where the tension is about to climax, the author will make sure that a page turn will be necessary, as to avoid letting the audience accidentally glimpse a spoiler on the other side of a page. Often this technique is necessary for a big reveal or otherwise dramatic moment.

Most artists are taught to pay attention to this necessity of a technique when planning their comic book, and less commonly, authors need to worry about this situation as well. The only difference for prose novelists, however, is that in a 200-page book with font standardization, they can't exactly know when the typesetting will force the reader to turn the page in hardcover or paperback books.

It's so common that Scott McCloud cites it as one of the things comics creators need to re-learn if they move from page-based to Infinite Canvas comics.

If the media product resides in the horror genre, chances are the image/text on the next page is going to be shocking/horrifying as well as surprising.

In visual print media, this technique can come in several forms, some of which are included here:

  • The scene is hinted at on the previous page, but you must turn the page for the entire effect.
  • The surrounding characters get a glimpse at the sight before the audience, often allowing for a wide-eyed look of disgust before the reveal.
Examples of Page Turn Surprise include:

Anime and Manga

  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has done this multiple times, and it has proved very effective as the key moments in the manga adaptation are often remembered as these
  • The Naruto manga does it during the Sasuke Retrieval arc, where you turn the page and find a gloriously awesome full page of Rock Lee roundhouse kicking the bad guy.
    • This happens quite often on other cases, someone will talk for a little while to build up to revealing something, then hesitate for a panel or two to push The Reveal onto the next page, sometimes accompanied by a character asking "What?". Noteworthy examples include Naruto finding out that he is the host of the nine-tailed fox, Sasuke learning that Itachi was trying to protect him, and Hinata confessing her love to Naruto.
      • In the pilot, this happens when Takashi reveals that Saburo stabbed Kuroda, and when Takashi gets shot by the person who came to steal "Proof"
  • Setsuna's Wing Pull in Mahou Sensei Negima was specifically kept on the very next page, and hinted at earlier in the volume.
  • Enel's huge Jaw Drop in the One Piece manga.
  • The first issue of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid. After some hints about the research on "that", Vivio gets ready for her first Transformation Sequence. Then as the reader turns the page, they get a two-page spread showing the glorious return of Sankt Kaiser Vivio.
  • In the Volume 4 November Special of Azumanga Daioh, Sakaki is attacked by a horde of cats, when suddenly, a cat appears in the way! It isn't immediately identifiable yet, to those who didn't connect it to the foreshadowing and haven't seen the anime of it. We see a close-up of Sakaki's eyes... and turn the page to find a full page of Chiyo latched on to Sakaki, who's looking down at the Iriomote cat she met on the school trip!
  • In Bakuman。, this happens when Mashiro and Takagi first learn that Miyuki Haruno, the woman Moritaka Mashiro's uncle loved, is his girlfriend Miho's mother, One Hundred Millionth failing to get an award, and The World is All About Money and Intelligence only getting 3rd place in Akamaru Jump.
  • In Chapter 128 of Muhyo and Roji, everything seems to be going well when the Demon Carriage arrives, only for Ginji to reveal on the next page that Enchu has regained consciousness and now has the upper hand, with the rest of the heroes in the carriage tied up.

Comic Books


  • Pratchett has one of these in Reaper Man (famously ruined because one of the editions placed it on the wrong page) where when Azrael answers you turn the page only to find one big, huge "YES" covering the entire page. In the hardcover, this is on the left side of the page, so you see it when you turn (and Pratchett allegedly wrote an extra 200 words to make it so), but it ended up on the wrong side of the page in the paperback edition.
    • Later paperback releases fixed this issue, but ran into another, related problem: 100pt block letters tend to show through thin pages.
  • There's a spread in The Ersatz Elevator that is meant to show the reader what the titular elevator's shaft looks like. Both pages of the spread are completely black.


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