So you've got a story starring a Drifter
or group so on-the-move that he rarely spends more than a week in any one place. In such a situation, it's unlikely he ever run into the same friends or enemies more than once... except he does. A lot
It may be the case that the heroes are following a map or in a tournament that requires going to some landmarks in a well known order, so recurring characters frequently pop up in a not so Contrived Coincidence
. In more extreme cases, the hero is wandering completely randomly
yet he continues to run into the same four or five people, who may not even be wandering but sedentary! It's a Small World After All
to the point it seems the hero and everyone else are inside the same five mile radius.
See also Theory of Narrative Causality
Anime and Manga
- Casshern Sins runs on this trope. Casshern spends most of the series looking for Luna with basically no clue of where she might be, yet he continually runs into Lyuze (who is admittedly following him from a distance), Dio and Leda (who somehow always cross paths with him) and Oji and Ringo (who own the only working truck on the planet and are probably trying to avoid him for most of the series).
- In Macross, the Zentradi are pretty explicitly following the SDF-1 as it travels deeper into the solar system. It's made all the easier because the SDF-1 isn't using it's FTL drive after the initial accident. Throughout the series, the Zentradi are always waiting, laying ambushes, on every planet/area they go into.
- The rivals in Pokémon; they always happen to be in the same areas as you, and wanting to battle of course.
- In Trigun, the main character Vash is a a drifter who constantly is running into Meryl and Millie, two insurance agents who've been tasked with tracking him down. At first, though, they don't even believe he's the "real" Vash, so each time they bump into him they just think he's some random goofball. The phrase "You again?!" is heard tons of times thoughout the first part of the series.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: There's a bunch of tournament regulars that Yugi and the gang run into frequently: Rex and Weevil, Mako Tsunami, Bandit Keith, and, of course Mai Valentine. Mai, in particular, seemed to show up all the time, from being coincidentally chosen to test the virtual reality simulator the gang was trying to rescue Kaiba from, to becoming a member of the evil cult they were trying to save the world from. This made her absence in the Grand Prix arc all the more baffling.
- In Victor Hugo's masterpiece Les Miserables Javert and Jean Val-Jean run into each other first at the prison, then in the town of Montreuil-sur-Mer, and later in Paris. While everyone runs into each other in Paris, at least that's just one very large city.