Created By: Laevatein on June 10, 2013 Last Edited By: Agares on May 14, 2014
Troped

Fantasy Conflict Counterpart

It's a conflict from our world, but not as we know it.

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Trope
This trope deals with a story that features some sort of analogue of a real-world historical conflict in a fantasy or science fiction context in a different world from ours. This is especially popular in Japan, since it allows them to tell stories utilizing the era of World War II without actively mentioning the war.

See also Recycled In Space, Fantasy Counterpart Culture, and Does This Remind You of Anything?. Supertrope to Space Cold War.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • It's only seen through flashback, but the war between Thracia and Persia in Pluto is heavily based on the Iraq war (with robots). The United States of Thracia accuses the Middle East nation of Persia of making Robots of Mass Destruction, but before other countries can complete their investigation into whether it's true, Thracia sends troops in and starts a horrific, wasteful war that devastates the country. And this is all just a ploy to make Thracia the world's main superpower.
  • In One Piece, the New Fishman Pirates threaten the people of Fishman Island to commit Fumi-e on the late Queen Otohime's image, to shed out their loyalty to Queen Otohime (who has the exact opposite view of the Big Bad Hody Jones') which is a reference on feudal Japan's practice of purging Christians (they have their people step on a Christian imagery to prove that they're not Christian).

    Fan Works 

    Film - Live-Action 
  • In-Universe example in Argo: A group of American diplomats pretend to be a Canadian film crew to escape Iran. When questioned about the (fake) movie by the Revolutionary Guard at the airport, they describe the plot as the Iranian Revolution as a space opera.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Firefly was partially inspired by journals of Confederate soldiers on the frontier from The American Civil War, and the Unification War and aftermath has its similarities (Alliance occupation troops in the series' present = Union occupation troops during Reconstruction, for instance). However the comparison isn't perfect, as the Independent Faction started out independent instead of trying to secede and failing.
  • Dinosaurs: In the two-parter "Nuts to War" filmed shortly after the first Gulf War, had the two-legged dinosaurs go to war with the four-leggers over pistachio nuts in "Operation We Are Right."

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 

Indexes: Military and Warfare Tropes, Speculative Fiction Tropes, This Index Is Copypasted

Community Feedback Replies: 53
  • June 12, 2013
    dvorak
  • June 15, 2013
    MrRuano
    I think this would qualify as Alternate History. For example, Strike Witches replaces World War II with an alien invasion, thus forcing the nations of the world to fight them as opposed to each other. This fight is also aided by research that proves the existence of magic and weaponizing it.
  • June 16, 2013
    Chernoskill
    The Wing Commander series was conceived as a sci-fi version of World War II aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific Theatre (with some Top Gun mixed in).
  • June 16, 2013
    kjnoren
    I think there is a trope here, but there are examples that aren't tied to World War II. The way I take it is that it's a reasonably straight re-telling of a real-world historical event in a fantasy or science fiction context, ie it has similarities with Recycled In Space.

    Literature:

  • June 20, 2013
    Duncan
    If we're doing any war, the Temeraire series imagines the Napoleonic Wars with dragons.
  • June 21, 2013
    Surenity
    In Conkers Bad Fur Day the war between the squirrels and the Tediz is modeled after World War II, complete with a Saving Private Ryan parody.
  • June 22, 2013
    Chernoskill
    It just occured to me that many examples are probably of the "... in space!/with anthropomorphic animals"/etc." variety.
  • June 23, 2013
    Koveras
    There are several examples listed under Wars Of The Roses (copying from there):

    Also:

  • June 24, 2013
    StarSword
    Supertrope to Space Cold War.

    TV:
    • Firefly was partially inspired by journals of Confederate soldiers on the frontier from The American Civil War, and the Unification War and aftermath has its similarities (Alliance occupation troops in the series' present = Union occupation troops during Reconstruction, for instance). However the comparison isn't perfect, as the Independent Faction started out independent instead of trying to secede and failing.
  • June 28, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    There is no trope called Dont Mention The War, by the way.
  • July 8, 2013
    DAN004
    Would this trope be related to Does This Remind You Of Anything?

    BTW...
    • In One Piece, the mentality and actions of the New Fishman Pirates can draw parallels to violent black supremacy groups, the KKK, xenophobic practices of ancient Japan, and Al Qaeda all at once!
  • July 8, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Final Fantasy XII, the story is effectively the Cold War with the events of the game as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Archadia's goal over the last several years has been to take over Ivalice, and the other major world power, Rozarria, is nervous about their ambitions. Many on both sides don't want war, but neither is willing to look weak or back down. Enter the party, lead by the princess of one of Archadia's conquered kingdoms, seeking power and allies to begin open rebellion. Such a conflict would give Rozarria a prime chance to make the first move against Archadia before Archadia makes it against them, and the game depicts the escalating tensions of the world leaders as they prepare for the coming war.
  • July 14, 2013
    Koveras
    @OP: You added my Ace Combat example to your write-up but not the Wars of the Roses examples?
  • July 14, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    In the Jack webcomic the furries ended up reprising most of human history, with "The Trench War" as their analog of World War One.

  • July 14, 2013
    GKaiser
  • July 14, 2013
    StarSword
    ^We already have Space Cold War; this seems to be a supertrope.

    Is anyone running this?
  • July 14, 2013
    dvorak
    Fan Fic
  • July 14, 2013
    DRCEQ
    What the heck? How do you derive Ace Combat Zero as a World War I analogue? How does a world war caused by the assassination of an arch-duke, which lead to conflicts between countries due to very poorly thought-out alliances between said countries compare to a country who wants to expand it's borders in order to claim new natural resources, only to be pushed back by a collective alliance of every other country on the continent and lose even more of their own country's territory?

    I'll admit that the Strangereal world has it's Fantasy Culture Counterparts, with 6 countries representing three different versions of both the United States and Russia, but I didn't really see any specific references to the Cold War in any of them other than obvious generic references that anything else could easily just as replicate outside of the series.
  • July 14, 2013
    zarpaulus
    I seem to recall Harry Turtledove writing a fantasy version of WWII as well, can't remember the title though.
  • July 14, 2013
    Hodor
    Some of these might be Recycled In Space.

    Another example from A Song Of Ice And Fire- the series has an elite army of eunuchs called the Unsullied, who are trained/conditioned through The Spartan Way. There's a mention at one point of the Three Thousand Unsullied who held back a much larger Dothraki force, and while they all died, have a Doomed Moral Victor status and were honored by their foes (to explain the blue links, the Unsullied stand in for the Three Hundred Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae).
  • July 14, 2013
    Koveras
    @DRCEQ: The Belkan War has some similarities with WW 1, such as the flying aces honoring each other and the giant weapons being deployed. But yeah, there are also similarities to WW 2 (German-speaking nation aggressively expanding but getting its capital sacked, the saturation bombings, and the nuclear weapons ending the war).
  • August 4, 2013
    dvorak
    The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode Over a Barrel deals with a scenario much like early America's Indian Wars, settlers taking over the natives ancestral land for their own purposes, without native consent, which in turn cranks off the natives. Due to the nature of the show, things get resolved before they... escalate too far.
  • August 20, 2013
    kjnoren
    @zarpaulus: That's the Darkness Series.

    The question is really where to put the dividing lines. [1] is in part an analogue of the conflicts in Spain during the reconquista, but it covers just a short episode and is more a domestic than an international conflict. Would that count? Or some of Guy Gavriel Kay's books?

    An old possible example:

    • In The Begum's Millions by Jules Verne, with two competing cities that are expies for France and Germany. Verne made no bones on where his sympathies where.
  • August 20, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Possible quote from Zero Punctuation: "Sorry, did I say Adolf Hitler? I was, of course, referring to Gadolf Shmitler, Chancellor of Bermany. Valkyria Chronicles concerns the outbreak of war on the continent of Europa between the evil empire in the East (for there are no good empires) and the allied federation in the West. It's World War II in everything but names, and the disguise is cling-film thin."
  • August 21, 2013
    Nithael
    Manga
    • It's only seen through flashback, but the war between Thracia and Persia in Pluto is heavily based on the Iraq war (with robots). The United States of Thracia accuses the Middle East nation of Persia of making Robots of Mass Destruction, but before other countries can complete their investigation into whether it's true, Thracia sends troops in and starts a horrific, wasteful war that devastates the country. And this is all just a ploy to make Thracia the world's main superpower.

  • August 23, 2013
    Snicka
    This may be related to A Nazi By Any Other Name, if the conflict's Real Life counterpart is World War II.
  • October 3, 2013
    acrobox
    An episode of Young Justice dealt with border skirmishs between North and South Relasia. an obvious stand in for modern day skirmishes between North and South Korea.
  • October 4, 2013
    DAN004
    Does my example count? Somebody please reply...
  • October 4, 2013
    aurora369
    Christian Gossett's Red Star comics are all about this. About the Not-USSR (later Not-The New Russia) involved in conflicts in Not-Afghanistan and Not-Chechnya.
  • October 4, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ unless this trope also covers YMMV stuff, it doesn't count. i think it has to be confirmed by Word Of God or obvious/blatant enough to count.

    now it's your turn to reply on my YKTTW...
  • October 5, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced and italicized a couple examples + did some formatting.

    EDIT: And my edit was overwritten by some other troper...

    EDIT2: Okay, maybe it sticks this time.
  • October 5, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Literature
  • October 6, 2013
    DAN004
    To explain my example:
    • In One Piece, the New Fishman Pirates threatens the people of Fishman Island to commit Fumi-e on the late Queen Otohime's image, to shed out their loyalty to Queen Otohime (who has the exact opposite view of the Big Bad Hody Jones') which is a reference on feudal Japan's practice of purging Christians (they have their people step on a Christian imagery to prove that they're not Christian).
  • October 6, 2013
    dalek955
  • October 6, 2013
    DaibhidC
    Literature
    • Jingo combines elements of the Gulf War (the enemy is the Arabian Fantasy Counterpart Culture, it's mentioned that Ankh-Morpork [ie the West] actually sold the Klatchians their weapons for use in "pacifying" their own people, and jingoism leads to racism against Klatchian-Morporkians) and the Falklands War (the conflict is over an island that is of no real significance except that the other lot aren't getting their hands on it).
  • October 7, 2013
    Alvin
    Literature: A lot of The Chronicles Of Narnia The Last Battle is, I think, World War II. Animal Farm is the Russian Revolution. I suspect this may intersect with Fantastic Racism.
  • October 8, 2013
    Nithael
    Film - Live-Action
    • In Universe example in Argo: a group of American diplomats pretend to be a Canadian film crew to escape Iran. When questioned about the (fake) movie by the Revolutionary Guard at the airport, they describe the plot as the Iranian Revolution as a space opera.
  • October 8, 2013
    reflaxion
    No Axis Powers Hetalia? I haven't followed up enough with the show to write the example myself, but it at least started out as anthropomorphic personifications of the countries of the world during the WWII era.
  • October 8, 2013
    StarSword
    Is anybody actually updating this?
  • October 8, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^^ Nah, Hetalia actually is WWII, not a conflict between fictional nations that resembles one between real ones.
  • October 8, 2013
    StarSword
    Supertrope to Space Cold War.
  • October 13, 2013
    windower
    Video Games
    • The developers of the Free Space 2 mod Blue Planet: War in Heaven have stated that the war between the United Earth Federation and the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance is meant to be the Vietnam War in space, in both cases we have one side being far more powerful than the other but is forced to fight a limited and conservative war due to political divisions and murky objectives while the much less powerful but more ideologically convinced side is simply trying to hold its own and ultimately push the other side out by costing them enough blood. Similarly to the Vietnam War, there is no clear-cut good guy.
  • October 15, 2013
    DAN004
    Just wondering: Who's this Guilen guy?
  • January 8, 2014
    robinjohnson
    • Discworld has a few of these:
      • The historical wars between Ephebe and Tsort resemble the mythical Trojan War. In Pyramids, when there's a threat of the war re-erupting, both sides build wooden horses along the border.
      • Jingo, published a few years after the first Gulf War, has Ankh-Morpork getting into a rather pointless territorial war with the Arab-counterpart Klatchians, and the resulting intolerant attitudes against Klatchian immigrants in Ankh-Morpork. [EDIT: I just noticed someone already listed Jingo, in more detail.]
      • In the later novels, the terrorist actions of the fundamentalist "deep dwarfs" (who cover themselves from head to foot because they consider it a sin to look on sunlight) are reminiscent of The War On Terror.
  • January 8, 2014
    Generality
    ^ Another, though it's only apparent through Word Of God, is that the ancient Evil Empire is based on the USSR, with the alliance that finally toppled it based on Europe. What information there is on this conflict within the series itself suggests that the Empire was not nearly as evil as painted, but that its history was Written By The Winners.
  • January 9, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
    The Smurfs have a conflict between the north and the south sides of the village over a linguistic difference that escalates almost to a full-blown war; this is an allegory to the Flemish-Walloon tensions.
  • January 9, 2014
    robinjohnson
    ^^I thought of that, but it's not really the counterpart to a war - more a collapse of a system because of economic influences. I think Fantasy Counterpart Culture covers that one.

    The war of Monstrous Regiment might be vaguely former-Yugoslavian, too, but I don't know enough history and haven't read the novel very recently.
  • January 9, 2014
    DAN004
    Does my example count?? ;_;
  • January 9, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Dinosaurs, In the two-parter "Nuts to War" filmed shortly after the first Gulf War, had the two-legged dinosaurs go to war with the four-leggers over pistachio nuts in "Operation We Are Right."
  • January 14, 2014
    luisedgarf
    Does the 4th Ninja War could be an analogue of World War II, up to including nukes (of the fantastic type)?
  • January 14, 2014
    Astaroth
  • January 14, 2014
    StarSword
    Any objections to me going ahead and launching this?
  • May 14, 2014
    reterusu
    launch authorized.
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