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File:Frame break 618.png

And sometimes, you get literal examples.

A Painting the Medium and Medium Awareness trope, where characters interact with the confines of the scene. For example, interacting with borders around comic strip panels by crashing through the side or falling out the bottom. In live action media, it might be that it is implied that two characters are in a different settings, in different buildings, yet one of them can reach into the other setting.

A Sub-Trope of Odd-Shaped Panel and Ninja Prop.

Examples of Frame Break include:

Anime & Manga

  • Dragon Ball: Once, Goku is hit so hard he bounces off the edge of the panel.
  • Obligatory Mahou Sensei Negima example: Negi, Blue with Shock, holds on to the frame in a "Kilroy was here" pose when he contemplates what Evangeline's going to do to him for losing the ring she gave him.
  • When a character is formally introduced in One Piece, they often stand outside the panel, overlapping it.

Comic Books

  • She Hulk did it once or twice in her Genre Savvy days. One issue of She Hulk has her ripping through two pages of ads to go after a villain.
  • Ambush Bug once jumped back several pages to rescue Cheeks.
  • "Little Sammy Sneeze" by Winsor McCay used this as early as the 1900's.
  • Kitty Pryde, in some comics, can phase through panels.
  • A recent issue of Superboy had Doomsday actually a clone of him smash through the entire bottom half of a page in attacking Superboy, destroying the frames in the process.
  • Has been used in The Beano a number of times and in the Beano Video as well.

Live-Action TV

Newspaper Comics

  • Pearls Before Swine does this several times, as well as "Panel Walking" between comics.
    • Pearls once had a joke that relied on proper placement in the paper. One day, Family Circus had Billy denying that he was spilling sunflower seeds in the kitchen. The Pearls strip that day had Rat throwing sunflower seeds down and out of the panel. When positioned directly above Family Circus, Rat's abuse of the long-running comic became apparent.
  • Every so often a character in Pogo would literally lean on the fourth wall this way (or at least against the frame border); on occasion Albert would use it to strike a match for his trademark cigars.
  • Little Nemo in Slumberland used this on occasion. In one strip, Flip tears off the bottom frame of a panel and uses it to knock down letters from the comic's logo.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • In The Fairly Odd Parents, when Timmy magically goes into the Crimson Chin comic book, he's able to jump from frame to frame (and time travel by doing so).
  • In the intro of The Beano Video we see numerous instances of this including Teacher being used by the Bash Street Kids as a battering ram.