History Main / AmbiguousSituation

29th Jun '16 4:03:05 PM Anddrix
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* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. The short version: A character who has the explicit ability to return from any death, except one that is either ''heroic'' (HeroicSacrifice) or ''just'' ([[KarmicDeath die for their crimes]]), dies and does not return. Hardly any readers think this is a heroic death, but there's ambiguous evidence suggesting that it's not a just death either, and that the real reason the character doesn't return is because of a cosmic accident cheating them out of their revival. [[note]]The longer, spoileriffic version:The character in question is Vriska, the comic's BaseBreaker and reigning queen of AlternateCharacterInterpretation. She had committed many murders, was deliberately responsible for the creation of [[BigBad Bec Noir]], and was killed while leaving to fight Bec Noir--if Vriska had not been stopped, Bec Noir would have killed all her friends. However, Vriska's FreudianExcuse, her eleventh-hour remorse over prior misdeeds, and her desire to reform may or may not have redeemed her enough that her death no longer qualified as just. Further complicating the matter, the simultaneous ([[TimeyWimeyBall for a given value of "simultaneous"]]) destruction of a magic clock, whose pendulum was swinging between ''heroic'' and ''just'', may or may not have interfered with the universe making the right ruling on the nature of her death. Death sure is confusing![[/note]] [[WordOfGod Word of Hussie]] [[http://www.formspring.me/mspadventures/q/205977743303664796 has outright stated]] that he intended for this to be ambiguous and divisive.

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* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. The short version: A character who has the explicit ability to return from any death, except one that is either ''heroic'' (HeroicSacrifice) or ''just'' ([[KarmicDeath die for their crimes]]), dies and does not return. Hardly any readers think this is a heroic death, but there's ambiguous evidence suggesting that it's not a just death either, and that the real reason the character doesn't return is because of a cosmic accident cheating them out of their revival. [[note]]The longer, spoileriffic version:The character in question is Vriska, the comic's BaseBreaker and reigning queen of AlternateCharacterInterpretation. She had committed many murders, was deliberately responsible for the creation of [[BigBad Bec Noir]], and was killed while leaving to fight Bec Noir--if Vriska had not been stopped, Bec Noir would have killed all her friends. However, Vriska's FreudianExcuse, her eleventh-hour remorse over prior misdeeds, and her desire to reform may or may not have redeemed her enough that her death no longer qualified as just. Further complicating the matter, the simultaneous ([[TimeyWimeyBall for a given value of "simultaneous"]]) destruction of a magic clock, whose pendulum was swinging between ''heroic'' and ''just'', may or may not have interfered with the universe making the right ruling on the nature of her death. Death sure is confusing![[/note]] [[WordOfGod Word of Hussie]] [[http://www.formspring.me/mspadventures/q/205977743303664796 has outright stated]] that he intended for this to be ambiguous and divisive.
29th May '16 10:54:05 PM billybobfred
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* In ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2'', it's never confirmed whether [[spoiler:Gundam Tanaka]] killed [[spoiler:Nekomaru Nidai]] using [[spoiler:his hamsters to hit his "Good Night" button]] or if [[spoiler:he simply fought him on even terms]]. The killer insists that he/she used the latter method, but the former is simpler and slightly more believable. Both are plausible, however.

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* In ''VisualNovel/SuperDanganRonpa2'', it's never confirmed whether [[spoiler:Gundam Tanaka]] killed [[spoiler:Nekomaru Nidai]] using [[spoiler:his hamsters to hit his "Good Night" button]] or if [[spoiler:he simply fought him on even terms]]. The killer insists that he/she used it was the latter method, but the former is simpler and slightly more believable. Both are plausible, however.
14th May '16 7:49:10 AM lalalei2001
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' ends with [[spoiler:Spike, grievously wounded, collapsing in front of what remains of Vicious's gang]]. The creator said that [[spoiler:whether he lives or dies]] is entirely up to the viewer.
13th May '16 3:45:04 PM Vir
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* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' has this for the entire land of Termina. Theories abound about what its story is. Is it some sort of afterlife? A hallucination? An alternate universe? A representation of Link's mental state/the five stages of grief/depression? Just a regular land? All the player knows is that Link goes though an incredibly trippy sequence to get there. The people all look the same as the ones from Hyrule, but that was done to make sure the game was finished sooner and it's never acknowledged in-universe. The implied backstory throws a lot more into the mix, with interesting carvings at Stone Tower that have lead to speculation that Terminia may have been cursed by the goddesses for blasphemy.

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* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' has this for the entire land of Termina. Theories abound about what its story is. Is it some sort of afterlife? A hallucination? An alternate universe? A representation of Link's mental state/the five stages of grief/depression? Just a regular land? All the player knows is that Link goes though an incredibly trippy sequence to get there. The people all look the same as the ones from Hyrule, but that was done to make sure the game was finished sooner and it's never acknowledged in-universe. The implied backstory throws a lot more into the mix, with interesting carvings at Stone Tower that have lead to speculation that Terminia Termina may have been cursed by the goddesses for blasphemy.
13th May '16 3:44:48 PM Vir
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* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' has this for the entire land of Terminia. Theories abound about what its story is. Is it some sort of afterlife? A hallucination? An alternate universe? A representation of Link's mental state/the five stages of grief/depression? Just a regular land? All the player knows is that Link goes though an incredibly trippy sequence to get there. The people all look the same as the ones from Hyrule, but that was done to make sure the game was finished sooner and it's never acknowledged in-universe. The implied backstory throws a lot more into the mix, with interesting carvings at Stone Tower that have lead to speculation that Terminia may have been cursed by the goddesses for blasphemy.

to:

* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' has this for the entire land of Terminia.Termina. Theories abound about what its story is. Is it some sort of afterlife? A hallucination? An alternate universe? A representation of Link's mental state/the five stages of grief/depression? Just a regular land? All the player knows is that Link goes though an incredibly trippy sequence to get there. The people all look the same as the ones from Hyrule, but that was done to make sure the game was finished sooner and it's never acknowledged in-universe. The implied backstory throws a lot more into the mix, with interesting carvings at Stone Tower that have lead to speculation that Terminia may have been cursed by the goddesses for blasphemy.
2nd May '16 9:47:55 PM lalalei2001
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* ''Anime/YuGiOhTheDarkSideOfDimensions'' ends with [[spoiler: Seto successfully breaching through to the afterlife. He has Aigami's Quantum Cube and promises Mokuba he'll return, but the movie leaves it up in the air as to whether going there made him dead as well, and whether or not he'll win against Atem when he finally duels him]].

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* ''Anime/YuGiOhTheDarkSideOfDimensions'' ends with [[spoiler: Seto successfully breaching through to the afterlife. He has Aigami's Quantum Cube and promises Mokuba he'll return, Cube, but the movie leaves it up in the air as to whether going there to the afterlife made him dead as well, and whether or not he'll win against Atem when he finally duels him]].him. Complicating matters further is that he leaves [=KaibaCorp=] in Mokuba's hands, suggesting he may not return right away, if at all]].
27th Apr '16 11:08:07 AM lalalei2001
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Anime/YuGiOhTheDarkSideOfDimensions'' ends with [[spoiler: Seto successfully breaching through to the afterlife. He has Aigami's Quantum Cube and promises Mokuba he'll return, but the movie leaves it up in the air as to whether going there made him dead as well, and whether or not he'll win against Atem when he finally duels him]].
27th Apr '16 7:22:29 AM Eievie
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He brings the change - angel in human shape\\

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He brings the change - angel change--angel in human shape\\



The art of playing mutually exclusive tropes at the same time, by ''making the situation itself ambiguous'' so the viewers/readers can't know for sure what's going on. While this trope can come into play unintentionally, for example as a side effect of FauxSymbolism, it's normally intentionally played by the authors. This can be done to make the story more interesting in general, as a way of GettingCrapPastTheRadar, or simply to appeal to several audiences at the same time - each of them likely to interpret the situation in whatever way they are most familiar with.

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The art of playing mutually exclusive tropes at the same time, by ''making the situation itself ambiguous'' so the viewers/readers can't know for sure what's going on. While this trope can come into play unintentionally, for example as a side effect of FauxSymbolism, it's normally intentionally played by the authors. This can be done to make the story more interesting in general, as a way of GettingCrapPastTheRadar, or simply to appeal to several audiences at the same time - each time--each of them likely to interpret the situation in whatever way they are most familiar with.



When ''invoked'' or ''debated'', the characters themselves ponder the nature of the situation they are in. This only applies to cases where they don't know that the trope is - say for example that they are having a strong emotional reaction and are pondering whether it's ThePowerOfLove or ThePowerOfFriendship. In a detective story, the detectives might be unsure or disagreeing - not merely about whether or not a certain suspect is guilty or not as a simple "who did this" level, but about the the basic nature of the situation they are investigating. Note that examples only count if the uncertainty is left unresolved: Brief uncertainties stop being this trope when they get a definite answer.

When adding examples, list the alternatives - both what the unknown factor is, and what tropes the different alternatives result in.

to:

When ''invoked'' or ''debated'', the characters themselves ponder the nature of the situation they are in. This only applies to cases where they don't know that the trope is - say is--say for example that they are having a strong emotional reaction and are pondering whether it's ThePowerOfLove or ThePowerOfFriendship. In a detective story, the detectives might be unsure or disagreeing - not merely about whether or not a certain suspect is guilty or not as a simple "who did this" level, but about the the basic nature of the situation they are investigating. Note that examples only count if the uncertainty is left unresolved: Brief uncertainties stop being this trope when they get a definite answer.

When adding examples, list the alternatives - both alternatives--both what the unknown factor is, and what tropes the different alternatives result in.



[[folder:Anime]]

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[[folder:Anime]][[folder:Anime & Manga]]



* ''Film/{{Inception}}'' ends with an EsotericHappyEnding where Cobb is so happy to see his children again that he forgets to check if his wife's top stops spinning or not -- which is his way of seeing the difference between reality and dreamworlds! Will it stop spinning shortly after the scene? If so, the ending is EarnYourHappyEnding, with an implied HappilyEverAfter. Or will it not? If so, it's kinda a LotusEaterMachine.

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* ''Film/{{Inception}}'' ends with an EsotericHappyEnding where Cobb is so happy to see his children again that he forgets to check if his wife's top stops spinning or not -- which not--which is his way of seeing the difference between reality and dreamworlds! Will it stop spinning shortly after the scene? If so, the ending is EarnYourHappyEnding, with an implied HappilyEverAfter. Or will it not? If so, it's kinda a LotusEaterMachine.



* ''Series/{{Lost}}''. True to its [[{{Gnosticism}} gnostic]] roots, it eschews answers about the nature of the universe in favor of personal revelation according to the perspectives of the characters (''and'' the viewers). A close-up of eyes is a recurring visual motif, characters making a decision based on incomplete or outright fraudulent information pops up repeatedly, and questions like "Is the Light spiritual or scientific in nature?" "Is Jacob a god, a superpowerful conman, or a scientist who sets an experiment in motion and watches the results?" or "Do the Numbers really mean anything, or is Hurley mistaking coincidence for fate?" are never clarified, to the [[BrokenBase dismay of some fans]].

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* ''Series/{{Lost}}''. ''Series/{{Lost}}'': True to its [[{{Gnosticism}} gnostic]] roots, it eschews answers about the nature of the universe in favor of personal revelation according to the perspectives of the characters (''and'' the viewers). A close-up of eyes is a recurring visual motif, characters making a decision based on incomplete or outright fraudulent information pops up repeatedly, and questions like "Is the Light spiritual or scientific in nature?" "Is Jacob a god, a superpowerful conman, or a scientist who sets an experiment in motion and watches the results?" or "Do the Numbers really mean anything, or is Hurley mistaking coincidence for fate?" are never clarified, to the [[BrokenBase dismay of some fans]].
20th Apr '16 1:45:33 AM Doug86
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* In ''AvatarTheLastAirbender'', events surrounding Azulon's death are extremely murky. The main question is whether he [[spoiler: was really going to have Ozai kill Zuko as a punishment for Ozai's attempt to usurp Iroh's position as heir.]] The only two people who know for sure are both known liars and only discuss the incident while trying to manipulate others. One popular fan theory is that [[spoiler: Azulon intended to make Zuko Iroh's heir to remove Ozai from the succession]], which does fit the very little we see of the scene in question, but is mainly rooted in a literal interpretation of Azula's version of the story which, as noted above, could be all lies in the first place.

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* In ''AvatarTheLastAirbender'', ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', events surrounding Azulon's death are extremely murky. The main question is whether he [[spoiler: was really going to have Ozai kill Zuko as a punishment for Ozai's attempt to usurp Iroh's position as heir.]] The only two people who know for sure are both known liars and only discuss the incident while trying to manipulate others. One popular fan theory is that [[spoiler: Azulon intended to make Zuko Iroh's heir to remove Ozai from the succession]], which does fit the very little we see of the scene in question, but is mainly rooted in a literal interpretation of Azula's version of the story which, as noted above, could be all lies in the first place.
14th Apr '16 8:11:36 PM Everdream
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** The episode "Flight to the Finish" confirms that Scootaloo is behind most pegasi kids when it comes to flying. The question of whether or not Scootaloo ever ''will'' fly is raised, but left unanswered as Scootaloo is given a BeYourself aesop to put her mind at ease.

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** The episode "Flight to the Finish" confirms that Scootaloo is behind most pegasi kids when it comes to flying. The question of whether or not Scootaloo ever ''will'' fly is raised, but left unanswered as Scootaloo is given a BeYourself aesop to put her mind at ease. WordOfGod was that [[spoiler: she is disabled,]] but the person that said this (Lauren Faust) is no longer executive producer and at the time of writing has limited influence on the show, so this idea may or may not have been dropped.
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