Or Ninja Scenery
. I can't decide.
This is where Painting the Fourth Wall
meets Chekhov's Gun
There are certain things we're used to seeing in certain media: speech bubbles and captions in comics, wires that make people "fly" in shows, and stage hands that move props and sets around in theater. This last one is where the trope gets its name. The classic outfit associated with Ninja
(black, tight suit & a mask with a slit for the eyes) actually comes from stage hands in Japanese theater. They wore black so that the audience knew to ignore them. Imagine the shock of the audience, then, when the non-entity setting the castle walls in place for scene 4 suddenly pulls out a BFS and kills one of the characters.
And thus is named the Ninja Prop
. You didn't see it coming, because you were actively ignoring it as just a necessary part of the medium.
Compare Chekhov's Gun
. Sometimes invokes Medium Awareness
. Someone Else's Problem
may be an in-universe related trope.
- A Wizard Of Id strip has a guard in a tower with a Z over his head. The invaders report that the guard is asleep, and go to attack. Cut to the tower, where the guard is holding up a fake speech bubble with a Z on it.
- The Most Triumphant Example of this trope would probably be the diamond from Order Of The Stick's cast page, which Haley Starshine stole in order to pay for a spell in the main comic.