Mind Screw Opening
An opening which makes very little or absolutely no sense, and that may or may not make sense in context.


(permanent link) added: 2011-07-12 17:51:46 sponsor: Archereon (last reply: 2011-07-23 20:48:57)

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Hello there. We're in space. Except that space is a walnut being eaten by a cosmic bunny rabbit.

So there you are. Its your first time watching this show or reading this book your friends have recommended to you. The premise sounds good, and it has solid ratings, so it looks as if you'll be in for a fun ride. Then things get weird. Maybe the story opens with a focus on characters that never appear or appear very late in the story, or it details events which don't seem to have happened in the main story, and may not occur until the very end.

You've just experienced a Mind Screw Opening. This trope is an opening which doesn't make sense, at least to first time viewers who didn't spoil themselves too much about the premise and Verse.

But regardless of what the writers chose to throw at the viewers, its likely you'll be able to figure things out By The End Of The Story. Or Not. What makes a Gainax Opening distinct from an Inverted Gainax Ending is that the amount of Sense the Opening Makes In Context or to repeat viewers varies. In some stories, particularly Speculative Fiction that gets Lost in Medias Res or uses a poorly (Deliberately or otherwise) implemented Action Prologue, things will make sense as soon as the exposition gets going. In other stories, the opening won't make sense until late in the story, possibly even at the ending. In many such cases, the opening is revealed to have been the ending or late point in the story all along. Then there's cases in which the opening never gets explained at all, due to an Aborted Arc or stylistic choice.

Extreme forms of In Medias Res and Action Prologues can fall into this. Compare Big Lipped Alligator Moment, which is a weird moment that happens somewhere else in the story, and contrast Gainax Ending, The Ending Changes Everything, and Dropped A Widget On Him.


Examples:

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  • Inception: Opens with a scene of a man lying in an ocean, with no explanation as to who he is or how he got there. Several men with guns bring him before an ancient Japanese man, who seems to know him, then the scene suddenly cuts away to something completely different involving the first man. In the end, this footage is played once more, and it is Revealed that the old man was Saito, lost in Limbo after dying in the dream.
  • Mr Nobody
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • The Illusionist
  • The Prestige

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Now about that weird page opening...It's Self Demonstrating, get it!?

replies: 22

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