Created By: ArchereonJuly 12, 2011 Last Edited By: ArchereonJuly 23, 2011

Mind Screw Opening

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

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
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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[[folder:Anime And Manga]]

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[[folder:Film]]
  • 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!?

Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • July 12, 2011
    Archereon
    Yeah, it really needs some examples. I'm not in the mood to go hunting for any, and I'll write up a description for the two I had off the top of my head later.
  • July 12, 2011
    revolverzanbolt
  • July 12, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I know it's sort of the opposite of a Gainax Ending, but it definitely needs a name change. For one, the Gainax Ending is so named because Studio Gainax is known for them. Gainax is not known for Gainax Openings, that I'm aware of, so it makes no sense. Another thing, is you're not supposed to name pages in ways that it requires knowledge of another page to understand, which this would. So yeah, we need to brainstorm. Obscure Opening is a suggestion.
  • July 13, 2011
    revolverzanbolt
    Mind Screw Opening seems like it'd be the clearest.
  • July 13, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    The Plank has a Gainax Opening. Horrific Joker style laughter coming from, and echoing around, the timber in a timber merchant's yard.
  • July 13, 2011
    Deboss
    Let's not make a clone off of a terribly named trope please. All of your examples seem to suffer from a bad case of X Just X as well.
  • July 13, 2011
    Archereon
    That's because I haven't gotten around to writing them up yet, I'll get to that in a jiffy, though I'm not familiar with all of those. You're correct though, it should be renamed. Mindscrew Opening sounds good enough for now.
  • July 13, 2011
    Deboss
    Incidentally, are we referring to an opening scene or the OP thingy with a song?
  • July 13, 2011
    Archereon
    No, I just made that up completely out of nowhere. It's self demonstrating in that the opening lines make absolutely no sense, though it gets an explanation for people who didn't figure it out in the ending thing. That's if you're referring to the "We're in space..." thing.
  • July 13, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • ParanoiaAgent's opening is just people laughing in a very frightening manner, in various places, including on the moon. .
  • July 14, 2011
    Aielyn
    The Laconic is a bit fuzzy and wordy. You really don't need to mention that it "may or may not make sense in context", as that's tautological. Something as clean as "An opening which makes little to no sense" would be sufficient (although there's value in perhaps emphasising that it's not just that it doesn't make much sense, but that it's going to seem utterly bizarre to the person first seeing it).
  • July 14, 2011
    Discovery
    Is there a certain show that this trope is the best known for? Perhaps a good title would be X Opening, with X being the name of the show, if said show was prominent enough that the majority of people would be able to associate the two. It would give it a bit more context than just "Mind Screw Opening".
  • July 14, 2011
    Aielyn
    Well, you could probably go for the ultimate Mind Screw series, which would almost certainly have fit this trope - Monty Python.
  • July 15, 2011
    Archereon
    Need some more examples here. Discovery: Not really.
  • July 15, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    Perhaps "No Contexposition" as a title?
  • July 15, 2011
    Aielyn
    Did you intend another word, there, Pyroninja42? If you intended "Contexposition" to be a portmanteau, then it really does fail to work as one.
  • July 16, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^Context + Exposition = Contexposition.
  • July 16, 2011
    Aielyn
    I can see it once it's pointed out, but it reads as "Context Position", which thus doesn't make sense. Besides, putting "No" in front of a portmanteau that isn't well-known isn't a good idea, since you haven't yet defined the original portmanteau.

    If you want a suitable name, I'd go with something like Peculiar Prologue.
  • July 22, 2011
    Archereon
    Well, that sounds fairly good. Peculiar Prologue...
  • July 22, 2011
    ArtemisStrong
    This may really be more of Chekhov's Gunmen, I'll let you decide.

    Pulp Fiction: The film opens with two hold-up artists discussing the trade in a coffee shop, ending with them brandishing guns and yelling "Everybody! This is a robbery!" It isn't until the end of the film we return to the thieves and realize the gravity of the choice to rob that particular coffee shop.

  • July 22, 2011
    KevinKlawitter
  • July 23, 2011
    Archereon
    Kevin: any explanation for that?

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