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Narrative Capoeira
When you have no idea what the story is gonna do next


(permanent link) added: 2011-10-12 10:03:39 sponsor: PacificState (last reply: 2012-03-10 07:16:04)

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Alternate title: Shrodinger Plot. It is known that TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life. In particular, Twain's Observation on Originality means that polished, hig-quality, condensed experiences have a tendency to be predictable to the Genre Savvy. Some Genre-Busting shows still manages to be like that because they respect conventions, either specific to their media/format, or common to good storytelling in general. A Wham Moment is when the sotry hits you with an unexpected blow either with the help of a distraction or through sheer speed and power. This trope is when the story pulls a move like this on you. You keep watching it, and it flows and all makes sense, but then, without any waring, it pulls off something wierd. You don't really know how to react. It throws you off balance, it challenges your notions of how a story should be told.

This Subjective Trope is about those shows whose extreme originality and keen sense for the Left Fielder will cause you to be shocked and amazed, not matter how seasoned you are, either because none of this was ever seen before, or because of the incredibly unexpected way it is presented. Absurdist humor or art don't necessarily fit the bill though: you can still see what the author was doing, what message they intended to carry, what they meant to satirize... I also doesn't count if it makes no sense at all. An In Media Res surrealist clip with no narrative coherence or cohesion doesn't count.

Since many of the cases of this are surprises, either expect untagged spoilers or expect the entire description to be spoilered: the best way to experience this trope is to go watch the relevant shows without any preconceptions.

Examples:
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: possibly the Most Triumphant Example in mainstream japanese animation, this show's makers have gone out of their way to cause the viewer as much confusion and conflicted feelings, and utterly destroys every single trope it lays its smelly hands on. Angels sent from heaven are extremely beautiful insolent reckless immortals who are obsessed with their own very earthly pleasures rather than with doing their jobs, and are the epitome of every single of the Seven Deadly Sins (lazy, arrogant, lustful, greedy, gluttonous, short-tempered, and prone to envy) the priest is a Hard Gay masochist ephebophile who's nevertheless quite Bad Ass and competent, the demons are Lawful Neutral pseudo-nazi hypocritical moral prudes with some weird kinks, and God wears high-heels. And that's just some elements of the setting, don't get us started on the plots...
  • The endings of Evangelion tend to cause this reaction, whether TV or film. So much that it's been fiteen years and people are still trying to unravel what the hell they had watched (and now that they're mostly done save minor details, come the Rebuild films to add insult to injury). It also turns out that Hideaki Anno was deliberately messing with the audience from the start.
  • Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon: just read the page description.
  • Quality Meats: Flesh Straight Jacket by Michael Taflove. One question: "Why?"
  • Satoshi Kon usually averts this: his stories are psychedelic, yes, but they do follow a Dream Logic, and by the end it's usually pretty clear what elements where at which points for what purpose. His works are actually very coherent and polished once
  • Team Fortress 2 Fan Videos Can they have this effect on people? Nope...
  • South Park. They keep topping themselves: usually the plots make enough sense that you can follow them without too much trouble, but sometimes, especially in the early season... The Coon Trilogy involved what might well be the strangest, least dignified instance of Did You Just SOMETHING Cthulhu ever.
  • A lot of The Sandman can be like this: scenes are disconnected, plot developments don't make much sense... it's all mythology, you see.
  • Shutter Island and other Chris Nolan films narrowly avert this: they keep the viewer on their toes and in constant tension throughout the story, but they can always be followed if not outright anticipated: they're very polished, perfectionist works, where few if any lines are wasted.

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