Created By: pawsplay on February 20, 2012

Improbably Significant Characteristic

It seems like the only thing that didn't survive Krypton's destruction and end up on Earth was Kal-El's parents

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An Improbably Significant Characteristic is when a character has a notable or defining trait that reflects very improbable events, yet that trait becomes a constant motif. Time, distance, probabability, and plausibility are no obstacles to the defining trait showing up again and again. It is easy to see why this can occur; when a characteristic is significant enough to a character, naturally people want to play with it. It becomes a problem when the re-uses dilute the original defining trait, such that it no longer uniquely defines the original character.

Examples: Comic Books
  • Even though Superman was exiled on Earth from an improbably far away planet that was destroyed, Krypton's worst villains somehow end up alive on Earth, along with Superman's cousin, a Kryptonian dog, and Kryptonite Is Everywhere.
  • Adamantium is incredly rare and difficult to work with substance in the Marvel Universe. Wolverine's origin is virtually defined by the conjunction of his regeneration power, adamantium, and deadly combat training. Naturally, several of his enemies have basically those same traits.

Live Action Film
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, the lead character is obsessed with mastering kung fu. Naturally, it turns out all his enemies, friends, and neighbors are secretly kung fu experts of varying ability.
Community Feedback Replies: 7
  • February 20, 2012
    Wouldn't a better title be Improbably Probable Characteristic? If I'm reading this right, you're emphasizing the frequency of the characteristic, not the significance.
  • February 20, 2012
  • February 20, 2012
    In Ranma 1/2, the main character Ranma is a boy who transforms into a girl because he fell into a Chinese cursed spring where a girl had once drowned. Seems like this would be a rather rare condition, but as the series progresses, more and more characters who've fell into various cursed springs in the same area (making them transform into various different things) appear, and they're all connected to Ranma one way or another. The silliness and improbality of all this is lampshaded more than once.
  • February 20, 2012
    I think this is the Oddly Common Rarity, where a "rare" ability or item pops up constantly.
  • February 20, 2012
    Needs a more general laconic. I had no clue what the heck you were talking about until I read the description.
  • February 20, 2012
    This is definitely Oddly Common Rarity. The Superman example is even listed. Just need to merge the others.
  • February 20, 2012