Created By: Elle on August 17, 2009
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Flashback Echo

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(Note: The old Flashback Echo has been renamed Visions of Another Self. Refer to here.)

Bump and 24 hour-ish launch notice

An event taking place in the present triggers a Flashback of a very similar event that happened in the past. Resembles an Ironic Echo or Meaningful Echo except that the viewer often sees the current event first and the meaninfull or ironic past event is only shown through the flashback.

Common types of Flashback Echos include:

  • If a character sees a large fire and starts having a Freak Out because it triggers a traumatic flashback of when they were a kid and almost got trapped and killed in a fire. Flashbacks of forgotten or repressed traumas may be incomplete, mysterious and forbooding.
  • As above, but with nostalgic or otherwise meaningfull events.
  • A person reminds someone of a different person they used to know, and they flashback to memories of that person, sometimes represented by visualy superimposing the old person's image over the new person's.
  • A flashback to That One Case or an event that was someone's Greatest Failure brought on by a similar event, may lead to My Greatest Second Chance.
  • Any flashback to an event because History Repeats.

And so on.

Compare Visions of Another Self, where the "Echo" part can be conveyed through a dream, an alternate reality side trip, a holodeck or other such literary device, usualy in a way that teaches the character or the audience some lesson relevant to the present.

If you're thinking of the stereotypical echoy sound effect that often acompanies flashbacks, you should be looking at Flash Back Back Back.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In ROD the TV, the youngest of the Paper Sisters has a breakdown during a book-burning, since it gives her a very keen flashback to the incident that gave her a phobia against books in general - being trapped in a burning library.
  • During the first half of Space Pirate Mito, Aoi keeps having fractured flashbacks (maybe that should be a trope) from 11 years ago, when his mother took him into space and they were attacked by Ranban. The flashback is finally shown in full when he witnesses Mito and Ranban fighting in a similar fashion, and ends up subconsciously wounding Mito, due to not recognizing her true form all those years ago.

Film
  • Fatal Instinct. Twice when Laura sees some disarranged towels, she has a flashback to her Spousal Abuser husband getting angry at her because of his obsessive need for towels to be neatly hung.
  • The prequel trilogy of Star Wars did this in Flash Forward form to the original trilogy. Repeatedly.

Literature

  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore asks Harry, "Is there something you wish to tell me?". Later on he asks Tom Riddle the same thing in the diary flashback.

Live-Action TV

  • Torchwood did this in the first episode where an odd looking knife sparks gwen's memory and overrides the amnesia drug she was slipped earlier.
  • Lost loves to do this. Every episode contains a flashback that usually has some relevance to what is currently going on in the episode, focusing on the central character for that episode.
  • Forever Knight does this Once an Episode (or more) with Nick flashing back to a situation earlier in his life which paralleled his current predicament.
  • Kung Fu was all over this.

Other

  • A common symptom in dramatic portrayals depicting war veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • July 28, 2009
    Evalana
    During the first half of Space Pirate Mito, Aoi keeps having fractured flashbacks (maybe that should be a trope) from 11 years ago, when his mother took him into space and they were attacked by Ranban. The flashback is finally shown in full when he witnesses Mito and Ranban fighting in a similar fashion, and ends up subconsciously wounding Mito, due to not recognizing her true form all those years ago. edit: forgot the part that's actually relevant to this trope.
  • July 28, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    Everytime I come across Flashback Echo I think it's this, so, yes, it needs to be renamed.

    As for examples for this trope,

    • Lost loves to do this. Every episode contains a flashback that usually has some relevance to what is currently going on in the episode, focusing on the central character for that episode.
  • July 29, 2009
    archieanderson
    In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore asks Harry, "Is there something you wish to tell me?". Later on he asks Tom Riddle the same thing in the diary flashback.
  • July 29, 2009
    Arivne
    Often used when depicting war veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • August 2, 2009
    Elle
    Bump. I know this is a Seen It A Million Times trope.
  • August 2, 2009
    random surfer
    Forever Knight Once An Episode (or more) Nick flashed back to a situation earlier in his life which paralleled his current predicament.
  • August 11, 2009
    Umptyscope
    Kung Fu was all over this.
  • August 12, 2009
    Arivne
    Film
    • Fatal Instinct. Twice when Laura sees some disarranged towels, she has a flashback to her Spousal Abuser husband getting angry at her because of his obsessive need for towels to be neatly hung.

    Do we really not have Spousal Abuser, Wife Beater or something like that?
  • August 12, 2009
    Dracomicron
  • August 12, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Just saw this in Batman Forever recently.
  • August 12, 2009
    Saintheart
    The prequel trilogy of Star Wars did this to the original trilogy. Repeatedly.
  • August 13, 2009
    Elle
    More detail on the Batman Forever example please.
  • August 16, 2009
    Oonerspism
    This could be confused with Flash Back Back Back.
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