Created By: revolverzanbolt on July 4, 2011 Last Edited By: chihuahua0 on January 17, 2012

Genre Dissonance

When a work that belongs to one genre uses an element usually not associated with that genre.

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Trope
Needs a Better Description, Needs More Examples

Genre Dissonance is similar to Soundtrack Dissonance; it's when you look at a work and 90% of what you see tells you one thing, there's just one element that is in sharp contrast to that. The difference is, rather than the emotional content of a scene, the contrast is between elements which make up genre.

An easy way to tell if a work is this trope would be to imagine the work without the foreign element. If the work unequivocally belongs to one genre if you ignore that one element, it matches.

Super Trope to Genre Refugee and Our Monsters Are Different. Compare Unexpected Gameplay Change. Contrast Genre-Busting, which is when a work doesn't have a recognisable genre to be dissonant from. If the dissonant element is only in it for a short amount of time, it's Out-of-Genre Experience.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Samurai Champloo is the story of samurai in feudal Japan... with a hip-hop soundtrack and breakdancing.

Comic Books

Film

Live-Action Television
  • Caprica is the Cyberpunk prequel to a SpaceOpera... with a 1950's aesthetic.
  • Alias is a show about slick spies... who repeatedly get caught up in a quest for a mystical treasure and unraveling an ancient prophesy.

Western Animation

Video Games
  • Portal is a puzzle game...with FPS-style gameplay.
  • Terraria is a game with a magical psudo-medieval theme and tons of fantasy monsters... and ray guns and light sabers.
  • Metal Gear is a stealth game . . . with magical realism.

Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • July 4, 2011
    revolverzanbolt
    Also, is there a Genre Mashup type trope? I feel like this one should be a sub trope of that one.
  • July 4, 2011
    Octagon8
    Compare Unexpected Gameplay Change, a Video Game subtrope of this.
  • July 4, 2011
    fluffything
    • Gojira is an allegory of the horrors of the atomic bomb (Specifically Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the Lucky Dragon 5 incident)...with giant monsters.
  • July 4, 2011
    revolverzanbolt
    Eh, I'm not sure about Unexpected Gameplay Change. That's more like Out Of Genre Experience than this one. The difference I'm trying to convey is that the out of place element is shown in contrast with the assumed genre, not a deviation from it. Basically, I think with this trope the element has to be there the whole time rather then for just one segment of it. So, if your game was A Space Marine Is You fighting an alien horde... except your sidekick is a wizard, it's this trope. If your game was A Space Marine Is You fighting an alien horde... and for one level you travel back in time and fight Knights, it's Unexpected Gameplay Change.
  • July 5, 2011
    fluffything
    • Alien can be described as a haunted house story (IE: People trapped somewhere with a monster)...in space.
    • Portal is a puzzle game...with FPS-style gameplay.
    • Rodan is a tragic love story...with giant monsters.
  • July 7, 2011
    revolverzanbolt
    Hmm, I'm not sure whether or not In Space should be connected to this trope...
  • July 7, 2011
    Prime32
    Would Nanoha count? The first season is a Magical Girl Warrior series where the protagonist allies with Space Police and everyone fights with Magitek military equipment. By the third season it's a series about a military unit who happen to be magical girls (and boy).
  • July 7, 2011
    revolverzanbolt
    I haven't watched Nanoha, but that sounds more like Genre Shift. To count as this trope, imagine watching Full Metal Jacket... except just before going into battle all the characters go through a Magical Girl Warrior style transformation. Everything else is the same, so it's not like the genre's really changed, but you know just from looking that something like that belongs in a completely different genre.
  • July 7, 2011
    jbrecken
    Alias is a show about slick spies... who repeatedly get caught up in a quest for a mystical treasure and unraveling an ancient prophesy.
  • July 8, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I'm pretty sure this is just Genre Busting
  • July 8, 2011
    AlexRandom
  • July 9, 2011
    revolverzanbolt
    Gainax Ending could use this for added mindscrew (the live-action segments from End of Evangelion might be an example), but it isn't necessary.

    And Noir Grimoir, I'm not sure I'd agree. Maybe I'm misunderstanding Genre Busting, but isn't that when somethign is made that can't be accurately described using any current genre? The examples I'm putting up can be described with a genre, except for one element from a different genre.

    The best example is Samurai Champloo. It's a samurai story, but it's got a hip-hop soundtrack. The fact that I was able to describe it using a genre term means it's not Genre Busting, and it's not on that page currently.
  • July 9, 2011
    HairSecuritySchool
    Desert Punk, as another example, is a Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Seinen set thousands of years ahead into the future, but it uses a mixture of foul, extremely raunchy, off-the-wall, and totally hilarious comedy, well-paced action, and extremely tense drama, peppered with unexpected moments that completely shatter the fourth wall that would not be expected in your typical post-apocalyptic science-fiction tale.
  • July 10, 2011
    hotrods4ben
    Is this related to Genre Roulette?
  • July 10, 2011
    revolverzanbolt
    Not really. Genre Roulette is about a work that keeps switching genres. This is about a show or whatever with a consistent, easy to recognise genre that uses an element usually associated with a different genre for effect.

    If you're aware of Genre Refugee, think of it like that. Dodgeball is comedic parody of sports movie... and one of the characters is a pirate. The Big Lebowski is a Noir film deconstruction... and the narrator is a cowboy. It's the same basic thing with this, except this version isn't limited to just characters, it extends to other media elements like soundtrack, format or narrative.
  • January 14, 2012
    chihuahua0
    Due to inactivity, I'm grabbing this.
  • January 14, 2012
    tustin2121
    I'm loving the whole "state the tone... with added weird thing" theme in the examples. Perhaps make the "Examples" title follow suit: "Examples...with a twist!"

    Video Games:
    • Terraria is a game with a magical psudo-medieval theme and tons of fantasy monsters... and ray guns and light sabers.
  • January 15, 2012
    Dcoetzee
    At Consistency two tropes are listed under "lack of genre consistency": How Unscientific and Our Monsters Are Different. I think this is a supertrope of both?
  • January 15, 2012
    chihuahua0
    ^I presume so.
  • January 17, 2012
    ScanVisor
    Metal Gear is a stealth game . . . with magical realism.
  • January 17, 2012
    Tuomas
    Keith Giffen's and J. M Dematteis's Justice League International is a Superhero comic... with Sitcom humour.

    Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol is a Superhero comic... with Surrealism.
  • January 17, 2012
    nman
    A lot of these examples are just Schizo Tech and/or Anachronism Stew.
  • January 17, 2012
    chihuahua0
    Should I remove those examples then?
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