Created By: AtomicusJuly 13, 2010 Last Edited By: AtomicusJuly 13, 2010
Troped

Offscreen Rebuilding

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Trope
See those pots? Yeah... break them, leave the room, then come right back in, and they're back. Link must be confused.

It's that place. You know the one. Maybe its the place where heroes gather. Chances are its Tokyo. Every episode or sequel it gets destroyed by some attacking horrible monster, natural disaster, or maybe the writers just felt destructive. Either way, you've got monumental damage, and now the city is a complete wreck. At least everyone was evacuated, right?

But what's this? We come back the next week/film and the city is already rebuilt?! Only it now has to face the next big threat from the experiment gone wrong or the psychotic supervillain who wants to drop rocks. Rinse and repeat. Funny, everyone seems to remember that things, happened, but everyone seems to forget that things were destroyed.

This does not always need to apply to a city or town, but may apply to smaller settings like rooms or even objects with a room. Perhaps one of the most famous examples are pots in The Legendof Zelda: pots destroyed by Link for the goodies inside are restored if he leaves the room and comes back.

Probably a subtrope of Plot Hole. Very similar to Negative Continuity, except that continuity is established, this may be a subversion of Negative Continuity. Not truly induced by an alternate continuity or Canon Discontinuity since it may happen within a regular continuity.

Similar to a Snap Back, except that the issues caused still seem to carry meaning, just that the physical consequences have been magically erased. Related to but definitely not a Reset Button, since characters and plot points still occurred. Probably the result of a recycled plot type

Not to be confused with New Neo City where the city was completely destroyed and then rebuilt into a Utopia or No Communities Were Harmed where a fictional city is (or might be) "destroyed" so that real ones are "spared." Compare with No Endor Holocaust, where collateral damage seems to have been averted. The Tokyo Fireball may be a SubTrope or a SisterTrope.

Examples

Comics
  • In Judge Dredd, given the number of extraordinary disasters that have plagued Mega-City One, as well as the sheer frequency of such occurrences, it's a wonder how the place is even remotely able to function as a society. What's really strange though is that following events in the "Apocalypse War" story-arc which roughly cut MC1's population in half, the city has somehow managed to maintain a population of around 400 million people ever since--even after 60 million people were killed in "Necropolis" a few years after this, followed by a few million more in a zombie invasion just a few months after that. To be fair though, reclamation and rebuilding needs are usually addressed as plot points in stories taking place in the aftermath of any disaster of that magnitude.

Film
  • Batman: No matter how many times the bad guys pop up, Gotham seems to be in decent order. Subverted in the fact that Gotham always seems to have some kind of problem to upend the neighborhood.
  • Godzilla: Either he destroys the local city in question, or it undergoes tremendous CollateralDamage.
  • HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas: Somewhat hilariously Lampshaded when the Whos bring out a secondary Christmas tree after he burns down the first.
  • Spiderman: None of the three Spiderman films make much mention of the damage done to New York when Spidey fights the big bad. Lampshaded, partially, in a commercial for the Spiderman II videogame where window washers are seen removing webbing from windows.

Live Action TV

Video Games
  • Most games (especially certain RPG games) provide some kind of structures, items, etc that can be destroyed only for it to reappear later on.
  • In the Grand Theft Auto games (or almost any major sandbox game that lets you destroy stuff) anything the player blows up, kills, damages, or destroys simply vanishes and/or fixes itself once the player leaves the immediate area and focuses the game camera elsewhere.
  • In some Legend of Zelda games, it is possible to return to a room where you broke all the jars or pots, only to have had more jars or pots replace them. Even if there is no one there to do so.

Web Comics
  • Inverted in Looking for Group, where the neighborhood destroys you. May also be a slight subversion since the people in Richard's little village up the coast are killed, but then it is revealed that they are all undead.

Western Animation
  • Lampshaded in Futurama where Fry notes (after the end of the episode where aliens had been trashing the city) the secret of a good episode is a Snap Back. The camera then pans back to reveal New New York in ruins. Of course it's been fixed by the next episode.
  • New Jersey in Megas XLR. Fortunately, most of it seems to be Conveniently Empty Buildings.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: The City of Townsville always had its share of issues. Possibly averted in that this might be more of a SnapBack or a Reset Button
  • Averted in the The Simpsons episode after the movie where you can see rebuilding occurring during the intro.
  • South Park: Plays it straight, subverts, and probably even inverts this one.

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Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • July 7, 2010
    Koveras
  • July 7, 2010
    Atomicus
    Hmmmm... but that one seems to apply mostly to Tokyo itself (I only see one or two examples that are not Tokyo)... Maybe rename it to "There Goes The Neighborhood". Especially since that trope doesn't have much of a page yet.
  • July 7, 2010
    randomsurfer
  • July 7, 2010
    arromdee
    The link of "the city is already rebuilt" goes to a trope which sounds like it's about rebuilding cities, but isn't.
  • July 7, 2010
    Sceptre
    Obligatory South Park mention, as it skewers, plays straight, etc this trope all the time.
  • July 7, 2010
    JonnyB
    Deconstructed in Mega Tokyo, where they have special sections of the police force and public services to deal with monster incursions and rapidly rebuilding the city after monster attacks. (And if you have the proper permits, you can even Rent A Zilla and wreck the place yourself.)
  • July 7, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    So this is a more specific form of Snap Back?

    And don't use that name. It's actually a term for when undesirable people move into a neighborhood and drive down the property values.
  • July 7, 2010
    Generality
  • July 7, 2010
    Atomicus
    @Dragon Quest Z

    Thanks for the heads up on Snap Back, I'll check it out. There may be a continuity trope it falls under.

    Maybe you have a suggestion for a better name? I'm hesitant to move back to "There Goes Tokyo" but I can't think of anything better atm...
  • July 7, 2010
    whereismytea
    Citywide Catastrophe Yo-Yo?
  • July 7, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
  • July 7, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    New Jersey in Megas XLR. Fortunately, most of it seems to be Conveniently Empty Buildings.
  • July 7, 2010
    SeanMurrayI
    Comics

    • In Judge Dredd, given the number of extraordinary disasters that have plagued Mega-City One, as well as the sheer frequency of such occurrences, it's a wonder how the place is even remotely able to function as a society. What's really strange though is that following events in the "Apocalypse War" story-arc which roughly cut MC1's population in half, the city has somehow managed to maintain a population of around 400 million people ever since--even after 60 million people were killed in "Necropolis" a few years after this, followed by a few million more in a zombie invasion just a few months after that. To be fair though, reclamation and rebuilding needs are usually addressed as plot points in stories taking place in the aftermath of any disaster of that magnitude.
  • July 7, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    This sounds like a specific type of Negative Continuity.
  • July 8, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Dunno if this counts as an aversion or what, but in the first episode of The Simpsons after The Simpsons Movie (where the town got destroyed), the opening showed the town still in pieces and slowly being rebuilt ([1]); but in the actual episode aired the town was back to normal.
  • July 10, 2010
    Bisected8
    Lampshaded in Futurama where Fry notes (after the end of the episode where aliens had been trashing the city) the secret of a good episode is a Snap Back. The camera then pans back to reveal New New York in ruins. Of course it's been fixed by the next episode.
  • July 11, 2010
    whereismytea
  • July 11, 2010
    GiantSpaceChinchilla
    Could you find a before and after shot? Otherwise it's Just A Face And A Caption.
  • July 11, 2010
    SeanMurrayI
    • In the Grand Theft Auto games (or almost any major sandbox game that lets you destroy stuff) anything the player blows up, kills, damages, or destroys simply vanishes and/or fixes itself once the player leaves the immediate area and focuses the game camera elsewhere.
  • July 12, 2010
    AlsoArin
    Actually, most games with respawning anything work like this, not just Lo Z. Probably once had something to do with being entirely too much trouble to put whether things were broken/blown up or not into memory.

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