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[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/TheMuppets http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/muppetfilms_7130.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Sometimes it ''is'' easy being green.]]

->''If you're familiar with things like Popeye and some of the old comic characters, you would oftentimes see this cast of characters that takes on different roles depending on the comic or cartoon. They might be businessman in one [cartoon] or a pirate in another. Depending on the story that was being told, they would change roles. So, to a certain degree, I look at [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros our characters]] in a similar way and feel that they can take on different roles in different games. It's more like they're one big family, or maybe a troupe of actors.''
-->-- '''Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto''' on [[http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/09/24/miyamoto-tezuka-interview.aspx the Mario spinoffs]]

You have a set of characters. They work well as an ensemble; so well, in fact, that they can be slotted into just about any scenario you care to imagine, within the constraints of genre (fitting an ensemble into a different genre is a completely different trope). So you can see them, identical but for different trappings (he was wielding a sword, now it's a blaster pistol...), in places as diverse as FeudalJapan, the Modern Era, SpaceOpera, etc., etc., etc.

What you have is a Universal-Adaptor Cast: found anywhere that an ensemble is cast into an odd situation and yet fits in perfectly because their roles and characters are so well-defined. Many {{Moe}} shows are practically MerchandiseDriven versions of the Universal Adaptor Cast. SeparateSceneStorytelling is often done this way.

This is one of the essential justifications for TransplantedCharacterFic, including the HighSchoolAU.

TheMagnificentSevenSamurai is a specific subtrope of this. ''CommediaDellArte'', the former TropeNamer, is a whole subgenre of theatre based upon the concept.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''VisualNovel/YamiToBoushiToHonNoTabibito'' is a straight {{anime}} example; this one a Yuri series set in a bunch of settings with the same basic characters due to reincarnation.
* Every episode of ''Anime/AbenobashiMahouShoutengai'' has the characters playing different roles in a parody of a given genre.
* The various incarnations of ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'', exemplified by the spinoff of the ''Anime/PrettySammy'' series.
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'':
** The various ''GurrenLagann Parallel Works'' music videos seem to suggest that the cast is one of these, with the exception of the 8th one, which is canon and tells the story of [[spoiler:Lordgenome's StartOfDarkness]].
** As does HighSchoolAU [[http://community.livejournal.com/gurren_lagann/157779.html Audio drama]] and {{manga}}.
** And its BuddyCopShow [[FanFicRecommendations equivalent]], ''[[http://captainosaka.deviantart.com/gallery/#DOUBLE-K DOUBLE K]]''.
* This dates back to the beginnings of anime, with Creator/OsamuTezuka's troupe of characters. They were a little more versatile than the standard ''commedia'' troupe (several of them "played" both heroes and villains), but the idea remains that they are "actors" portraying characters.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' spinoff manga ''Strange Tales of the Bakamatsu'' places the cast of characters in pre-Meiji Japan, with LaResistance being the nationalist rebels and Lelouch himself leading TheShinsengumi as a cover identity. Oh, and in this universe, "Geass" means the ability to summon Knightmare Frames.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' has two AlternateUniverse / AlternateContinuity spin offs: ''[[NeonGenesisEvangelionAngelicDays Angelic Days]]'' and ''Gakuen Datenroku'', the former being a fluffy shojo manga and other one being an XMeetsY scenario with Persona. There is also the radio drama ''Shin Seiki Evangelion'', which is where the characters are trying to create a new show so they can continue after, you know, [[spoiler:all of humanity is destroyed at the end]]. As the title sounds, Asuka wants a sentai show.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'' frequently puts the Straw Hats into alternate universes, such as one in which they are all fantasy monsters and another in which they -- even the males -- are middle-aged women. The most frequently used setting is one in 19th Century Japan, in which Luffy is in the police force of Japan under the rule of Cobra. The Chopperman setting, in which Chopper acts as a superhero with Nami as his assistant and Luffy as his HumongousMecha against Usopp, Franky and a QuirkyMinibossSquad composed of the rest of the crew, initially started out as special that was a few minutes long, but got a full-length filler episode after the Ice Hunter Arc.
* ''Manga/SchoolRumble'' tried this a few times as well. Even more so in its short sequel of sorts, ''School Rumble Z'' which was mostly composed of the cast in various different alternate universe or possible future settings.
* ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'' has its [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters large cast]] take on the roles of Japanese historical figures like UsefulNotes/MiyamotoMusashi, or fight in the [[UsefulNotes/KaijuDefenseForce Heian Self-Defense Force]]. Of course Kintaro is an recurring character in the [[AnachronismStew modern age]], so yeah... As usual, HilarityEnsues.
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'' and his crew (and you can add Zenigata, too) have found themselves facing pretty much anything that Creator/TMSEntertainment can come up with for them. From the 15th century to the 22nd century, they've found themselves in all sorts of situations.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Most major superhero teams have had "[[{{Elseworld}} imaginary stories]]" where they were medieval knights, steampunk warriors, etc.
* ''MarvelFairyTales'' retells various {{Fairy Tale}}s with the ComicBook/XMen, Franchise/SpiderMan and Comicbook/TheAvengers.
* ''Marvel Noir'' does the same, but with FilmNoir-style tales.
* ''ComicBook/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice''. It helps to be the Freelance Police.
* [[ComicBook/DisneyMouseAndDuckComics Disney comics]] often feature the characters in various different settings, such as medieval fantasy, science fiction and parodies of famous books or movies. In one MickeyMouse story, Mickey and pals performed what was supposed to be a play by Molière but was actually a parody of one.
* The ''Franchise/ArchieComics'' gang. Including for a while, various spinoffs were they were in space, in the past, or superheroes.
* The Brazilian equivalent of Archie, ''ComicBook/MonicasGang'' -- helps that there alongside the core group there are LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters in various settings (the hillbillies, the jungle animals, the astronaut, the caveman...).
* The ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd Alternity Special'' put several characters from the Dreddverse into various alternate historical periods, such as Dredd taking on AlCapone, Shimura facing off against the Angel Gang during the Old West and Mean Machine Angel in a FilmNoir PrivateDetective parody.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the past twenty-plus years, the cast of several older anime/manga series (most triumphant being ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' and ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'') have been slotted into every possible scenario in FanFic, ranging from bizarre {{fusion fic}}s (''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', ''Franchise/StarTrek'') to original plots of every possible stripe. See TransplantedCharacterFic for specific examples.
* In general terms, the internet also offers fan artworks of the [[Franchise/DisneyPrincess Disney Princesses]] line-up in numerous roles - as boys, as zombies, steampunk, etc.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The ''Franchise/CarryOn'' movies are a great example of this. A group of comedy actors (that did change gradually over the years, as people joined, left, or came back) made films together in a wide variety of settings and parodying a wide variety of genres.
* Likewise, the Creator/MarxBrothers. The brothers, plus Margaret Dumont, always play the same basic characters under different names, transplanted into any number of settings -- race course, opera house, a very thinly-disguised Nazi Germany, and so on.
* Film/TheThreeStooges!
* Crosby, Hope and Lamour in the ''Film/RoadTo'' movies.
* The French comedic foursome "Les Charlots" played basically the same characters within several movies during the '70s/'80s, in various settings. Among other things, this included them fighting {{Dracula}} (''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0194748/ Les Charlots contre Dracula]]''), a spoof of ''Film/JamesBond'' flicks (''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072722/ Bons baisers de Hong Kong]]'') or a [[AffectionateParody retelling]] of ''Literature/TheThreeMusketeers'' (''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072052/ Les Quatre Charlots mousquetaires]]'' and its [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454427/ sequel]]).
* Creator/AbbottAndCostello meet...
* Creator/JackieChan, Creator/SammoHung & Yuen Biao.
* Series/{{Chespirito}}, when not doing his usual characters, he could be from Christopher Columbus to Sancho Panza. The rest of the cast tend to be this outside ElChavoDelOcho, where only Chespirito's character is recurring.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/MichaelMoorcock's ''[[Literature/TheCorneliusChronicles Jerry Cornelius]]'' novels do this explicitly. Many of the characters are clearly identified with their original Commedia dell'Arte counterparts, with Jerry as Harlequin, and swung through a wide variety of settings and situations without clear explanation.
* Hal Duncan's ''Literature/TheBookOfAllHours'' does this extensively with its central cast. This is an interesting case, because each character is the living embodiment of an archetype superimposed upon multiple realities. So by the second book, where reality has degenerated into isolated wells of time and space, and the characters move from one reality well to another, they all become DangerouslyGenreSavvy, having absolutely no qualms about screwing all possible realities to their advantage. This results in them routinely sitting around a table and leafing through the "script" for the next reality, deciding who is going to play what.
* ''Literature/TheYearsOfRiceAndSalt'' is an AlternateHistory of the 700 years following TheBlackDeath, the "alternative" being thrown in by the idea that all Europeans died, not just 1/3 of them. The same group of characters are reincarnated as characters with the same first letters of their names, until 2002 CE.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'' series, including the final movie.
* ''Series/NorthernExposure'' did this a few times, once casting all the series regulars as the turn-of-the-century founders of Cicely, and once all showing up in a dream sequence Joel had about returning to New York.
* The cast of ''Series/ElChavoDelOcho'' enacted different roles in other shows (most notably in ''Series/ElChapulinColorado'') but often looked and acted almost the same as their Chavo characters.
* Both ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'' and ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'', with their frequent crossovers and overlapping supporting casts, did this from time to time, setting stories during the FrenchRevolution, 1930s AdventureArchaeologist stories, bizarre [[OurMermaidsAreDifferent mermaids with human husbands soap opera]], or having the [[SelfDeprecation supporting cast playing the production staff]].
* ''Series/TheGoodies'' had several episodes in which the usual modern day trio were inexplicably transplanted to some historical era and played characters from that era.
* ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'' offers an interesting interpretation of this: [[spoiler:the title character is meant to [[WalkingTheEarth wander between the parallel universes]], becoming whatever each needs in time: hero or villain, savior or destroyer. His abilities actually include UndeadTaxExemption, which gives him a role to play in each new world like policeman, lawyer, door-to-door salesman, etc. When he dies in the GrandFinale, his friends are told that this means he's KilledOffForReal, but they say ScrewDestiny and find a way to revive him.]]
* An in-universe example in a ''[[Series/TheTwilightZone Twilight Zone]]'' episode in which a prisoner on Death Row states that it's all his dream, and the people in his dream are all from his waking life -- and they swap roles every night (i.e. The Judge becomes a guard, the priest becomes his lawyer, etc.).
* Paul Shane (working class LoveableRogue), Jeffrey Holland (Shane's morally upright StraightMan) and Su Pollard (TheDitz) in ''Series/HiDeHi'' (1950s holiday camp), ''Series/YouRangMLord'' (1920s manor house) and ''Series/OhDrBeeching'' (1960s railway station).
* Whenever an episode of ''Series/{{JAG}}'' was set in different time setting (usually a character was being told a story by someone else via {{Flashback}}), they would use the existing cast to fill in the roles of the new characters. Whenever a story centered on Harm's father, a fighter pilot during the VietnamWar, he would be placed by the same actor, plus a mustache.\\\
One episode in particular played with this: [[ActionGirl Mac]] has been researching a case where an AgeOfSail captain was court martialed for summarily hanging several crewmen suspected of planning a mutiny (one of them the son of the Secretary of the Navy). She ends up having a dream about the investigation, with her fiance Mic playing the role of the Captain, Mac playing his wife, and Harmon Rabb (Mac's [[{{UST}} unresolved love interest]] eventually revealed (just before the hanging) to be playing one of the mutineers, naturally segueing into Mac [[CatapultNightmare jumping awake]] to [[AnxietyDreams ponder the implications.]]
* The ''Series/NewsRadio'' cast was placed in a sci-fi setting and on the Titanic.
* The Holodeck on the various ''StarTrek'' series allowed for this, and several "Holodeck gone awry" episodes featured the cast doing this either deliberately or unknowingly.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/{{Vocaloid}} characters. De-facto, they are ''tabula rasa'' (Miku did have a manga series, though) and it's up to the producers just ''what'' they are supposed to be-- which is largely the point of having virtual songstresses. Even the official merchandise is in it: [[CashCowFranchise the sheer variation of Miku figmas is staggering]], and these are based on the most popular imagining of Miku.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* Franchise/TheMuppets, who manage to play themselves whether [[Series/TheMuppetShow on a vaudeville stage]] or in ''[[Film/MuppetTreasureIsland Treasure Island]]''. Yet, and this is the unique part, they ''still capture the roles they're playing''. ''Film/TheMuppetChristmasCarol'' is widely regarded as one of the best adaptations of the book ever made.
* Similarly, many sketches in ''Series/SesameStreet'' would use the characters in a variety of settings.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' has the same troupe of characters in a different setting every episode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* The best example is ''CommediaDellArte'', an Italian theater tradition that uses a group of characters whose characteristics and attributes are ''so'' well-known that the ''entire play'' is ad-libbed.
* The ''Theatre/SeraMyu'' has a sequence where Chibi-Moon and Saturn are transported to the Edo Era of Japan. The other characters show up as apparently past life versions of themselves. Usagi and the Inner senshi (sans mercury) are a group of noble thieves, Setsuna appears as a traditional comedian/announcer complete with a paper fan, Mamoru as a local playboy who is secretly the magistrate, and Ami as a village girl who has a crystal ball similar to the one carryed by the Inner Senshi and is thus destined to be their companion. One of villains shows up as an apparently time-displaced Mexican named "This is a pear".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The ''VideoGame/{{Beatmania}}'' series has background animations that show the same characters in different settings.
* Each Mecha's Story Mode in ''VideoGame/TechRomancer'' basically features them as if they were the star of their own MechaShow, with the other fighters as secondary characters.
* ''VideoGame/MegaMan''; particularly the original, ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'' and some parts of ''[[VideoGame/MegaManLegends Legends]]''. (Let's not get into continuity, please.)
* The various ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' spin-offs provide the best video game examples and the best example for the video game industry. I.E. they don't just adapt to narrative genres, they adapt to video game and gameplay genres too. To name just a few settings that have been done by the Italian Plumber and his friends:
** PlatformGames: Their default genre for the main series
** {{Sports Game}}s, including Tennis, Golf, Soccer, and Baseball and regularly competing in the Olympics ever since 2008;
** RolePlayingGames (''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG, VideoGame/PaperMario, VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'')
** Party Games (''VideoGame/MarioParty'')
** [[{{Driving}} Kart racing]] (''VideoGame/MarioKart'')
** Fighting Games (''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'')
** PuzzleGames (YoshisCookie, DrMario)
** And those are just the popular ones that got sequels. They've also guest starred in DanceDanceRevolution, SSX and NBAStreet. Plus the cartoon series did this, similar to the animated examples below.
** Moreover, the series has been doing this from the very beginning. ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'' was about a mean ape tormenting his owner Mario, where the second game cast Mario as a cruel owner who caged DK. The player controlled DK Jr. to save him.
** Mario even did a ''first person rail shooter'' in ''Yoshi's Safari'' on the SNES.
* The ''VideoGame/SonicStorybookSeries'' has ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' characters filling fairytale roles (save Sonic himself, who gets pulled into the adventures ''as'' himself). For instance, Knuckles is Sinbad the Sailor in ''Sonic and the Secret Rings'' and Sir Gawain in ''Sonic and the Black Knight''. On another note, Sonic is almost as successful as Mario when it comes to adapting to other gameplay styles for spinoffs, having appeared in fighting games, racing games, a party game, and a {{Metroidvania}} among other things.
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' there are many different incarnations of Link and Zelda that occur in different time periods. [[WildMassGuessing Fans have come up with numerous explanations]] for why Link and Zelda reoccur such as reincarnation, descendants, or just some sort heroic spirit that reappears when evil threatens Hyrule. However, on a meta-level, Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto says that he sees Link and Zelda like old theatrical cartoon characters like in WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}} who can be recast in many different situations.\\\
The character casts of the two Zelda games ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' are perhaps a nod to this idea, as all of the same character models are reused, like actors cast in new roles (sometimes different only in name, sometimes very different ''despite'' the ''same'' name, and sometimes ''arguably'' the same character as in OOT.) Even Link has a counterpart (Kafei at least uses the same ''face'' design, though with different hair and clothes. You also play as him for a portion of the Sakon's Hideout area. The Fierce Deity may also be the counterpart for the original Link or other heroes in the timeline) Though this may have been motivated through technical limitations, figuring out how to have a sequel in a new setting but to reuse the character models from the first installment so you don't have to design and model dozens of new NPC from scratch. Even after getting around those limitations, the series still has a fair number of recurring characters which was something started by ''Majora's Mask''.
* Shows up in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''. The game features the characters travelling to worlds based on different Disney movies. Once they pop up their, they either show up as themselves and do their own business while helping the characters originally from that movie out, take the role of a character that, while in the original, doesn't pop up in this adaptation (i.e. Sora replaces Christopher Robin in [[Disney/WinnieThePooh The 100 Acre Wood]], Terra takes the role of the huntsman in [[Disney/SnowWhite Dwarf Woodlands]]), or try to fit in with the world they pop up in by actively transforming to fit so [[AlienNonInterferenceClause they don't stand out]] as being from another world, explained as being a result of [[DonaldDuck Donald]]'s magic.
** Sora becomes a Merman, Donald becomes 1/2 Octopus and Goofy becomes a turtle despite still having a {{Dogface}} in [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Atlantica]].
** Sora becomes a vampire or bat person of some sort, Donald becomes a mummy and Goofy becomes some sort of clockwork abomination in [[TheNightmareBeforeChristmas Halloween Town.]]
** Sora becomes a Lion, Donald simply loses his human characteristics and becomes a full on Duck, while Goofy becomes a tortoise in [[Disney/TheLionKing The Pridelands]].
** Sora, Donald, and Goofy start wearing PoweredArmor rife with TronLines because they end up in [[{{Film/Tron}} Space Paranoids]]. Riku later gets in on the action in The Grid.
** Donald and Goofy return to their classic black-and-white animation look in [[SteamboatWillie Timeless River]], while Sora looks like a Tezuka-era anime character.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'', as seen by the many many alternative settings (futuristic Japan, medieval times, 1800s US just to name a few) and premises.
* The Website/SomethingAwful ''Peezle Ward'' series of Flash Tub cartoons are various movies that place the same four characters in various movie "adpatations" of a fake author's stories, ranging from Fire Fighters to Astronauts to Time Travelers.
* As ''VideoGame/GarrysMod'' and Source Filmmaker both come with models for characters from various Creator/{{Valve}} games, said characters are frequently used this way in video made with either program, especially the cast of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'' slots its cast into science-fiction, the contemporary world, super-heroics, and various more specific parodies (i.e. ''Series/{{Mash}}''), and it always works. How much of this is the versatility of the cast, and how much is [[http://www.arthurkingoftimeandspace.com/1539.htm not stretching settings farther than it works]] is debatable. Still, just as impressive, either way. In some settings characters are gender-flipped, and still work just as well.
* The "[[StickFigureComic Stick Figures in Space]]" FillerStrips from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' take this approach, transplanting the main ''Sluggy'' cast into a space opera spoof.
* ''[[Webcomic/{{Mezzacotta}} Lightning Made of Owls]]'' may well set the record for range of different settings used. In theory, at least; its small archive size might not give it room to be there in practice, yet.
* Aaron Williams' ''Q-4orce: The Mighty Moderately Average Superteam'' converts the cast of ''Webcomic/{{Nodwick}}'' from a ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' adventuring party to a ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' superhero team.
* The [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters massive and diverse cast]] of ''Homestuck'' is this. Common fan fics and fan adventures involve taking the characters and transplanting them into different settings or genres. Some of the most popular examples include ''Troll Cops'' (a homage to [[BuddyCopShow Buddy Cop Shows]] and crime thrillers) and ''Brainbent'' (where the cast are patients and staff at a mental hospital, [[DysfunctionJunction rather fittingly]]).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Script/AHDotComTheSeries'' likes to do this with SomethingCompletelyDifferent episodes such as "Story Hour" (which inserts the cast into ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'') and "Movie Night" (which inserts them into a 1950s B-movie). There are also full-fledged spin-offs starring the same cast, such as ''AH Dot Com Wars'' (''Franchise/StarWars'' parody) and ''Luaky Commer'' (''Literature/HarryPotter'' parody).
* Mario's numerous roles are evidence of a multiverse in ''Website/{{Cracked}}'''s #15 [[http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_388_27-science-lessons-as-taught-by-famous-video-games/ Science Lesson As Taught by Famous Video Games]].
* ''WebVideo/TheAnnoyingOrange'' has been shown in various time periods, in the video game world, as a viking, in medieval Europe, in a [[BlandNameProduct Not-Professional Wrestling]] ring, in a spoof of Literature/TheHungerGames, as a cop, as a Youtube video presenter, and so much more.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Many characters originating in animated shorts have this ability:
** ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry''
** The Warner Bros. ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' stable, along with the ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''.
** Can't forget WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain, who would appear alongside Samson one episode, then encounter RobinHood, and then attempt to take over 1946 Los Angeles by shrinking people's hats.
** MickeyMouse, WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck, WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}}, and pretty much anyone from the WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts, as quite completely proven by ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''. Perhaps the most WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids is the Italian comics story "Mickey's Inferno". Yes, Mickey travels through Hell ''a la'' ''Literature/TheDivineComedy''.
* The whole series of French animated TV shows ''WesternAnimation/OnceUponATime...'' is a definite example of such a cast. It started with ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time..._Man Once Upon a Time... Man]]'', which followed a cast of similar characters throughout the ages (though with variable nationalities and ethnicities). The same cast was then used in a SpaceOpera (''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time..._Space Once Upon a Time... Space]]''), as anthropomorphized cells in the human body (''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time..._Life Once Upon a Time... Life]]''), and other edutainment entries.
* ''The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo'' has WesternAnimation/MrMagoo (and a few other recurring "actors") play various well-known stories, like ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'', ''KingArthur'' or ''RobinHood''.
* Weirdly, ''Series/TheSuperMarioBrosSuperShow'' tries this route in its animated version... though all of the different settings remains in the Mushroom Kingdom. Made even weirder by the fact that Mario and his crew were always unambiguously themselves -- while Koopa and his Troop more often then not completely built themselves around the theme of that episode's world. Some themed version of Koopa was used far more often then the simple "vanilla" one.
* Similar to the Mario example is WesternAnimation//{{Popeye}}, who might be in Ancient Rome for one cartoon and then play Aladdin in another. Bluto, likewise, might be himself, Sindbad, Hercules, or someone else to fit the theme.
* The central cast of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' is often worked into the central cast of whatever they're parodying in the "TreehouseOfHorror" specials, such as the episode where Bart has [[YouWannaGetSued the Shinning]]. Also the Bible stories episode and the tall tales episode. Other episodes featured Homer as [[Literature/TheOdyssey Odysseus]] or the [[Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo Count of Monte Fatso]].
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
** The ''Franchise/StarWars'' parodies use the cast for ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuyPresentsLaughItUpFuzzball''.
** The episode "Three Kings" uses this technique for adaptations of Creator/StephenKing stories.
* Franchise/{{Barbie}} was this in her earlier CGI movies. She has been Literature/{{Rapunzel}}, [[Theatre/SwanLake Odette]], [[Theatre/TheNutcracker Clara]], a [[GenderFlip genderflipped]] [[Literature/AChristmasCarol Ebnezer Scrooge]], [[Literature/TheThreeMusketeers D'Artagnan]] and [[Literature/ThePrinceAndThePauper The Prince and the Pauper]]. Not to mention all the different professional Barbies that have been produced over the decades. Doctor, nurse, dentist, vet, rock musician, scuba diver, geisha (Japan only), RCMP officer (Canada only), infantryman, fighter pilot...
* ''Walter Melon'', from the AnimatedAdaptation of ''ComicBook/AchilleTalon''. That "hero for hire" does replacements for heroes (like Franchise/{{Superman}}, Casanova, [[Franchise/StarWars Luke Skywalker]], Franchise/{{Tarzan}}, Franchise/{{Rambo}}...) and (in later seasons) historical figures, despite the fact that he's overweight and don't look like a typical hero. His friend Bitterbug is the usual sidekick, and Walter's nemesis, [[MonsterClown Sneero]], is playing the villains (SelfDemonstrating/LexLuthor, Darth Vader, SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker, Captain Hook, Doctor Octopus...)
* The cast of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is heading this way further and further.
** In an example that's half InUniverse and half straight, [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E13HearthsWarmingEve "Hearth's Warming Eve"]] put the core cast on a pageant about the founding of Equestria, and the historic figures they play all have exaggerated versions of their own personalities.
** The episode [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E6PowerPonies "Power Ponies"]] forces them into the roles of superheroes while they are [[TrappedInTVLand trapped in an enchanted comic book]].
** Their human counterparts in the ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls Equestria Girls]]'' and ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsRainbowRocks Rainbow Rocks]]'' movies and shorts give us the AlternateUniverse {{High School|AU}} version, with their respective personalities still unchanged.
* In any given episode in the ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales'' series, most of the characters will be played by one of the stock cast members.
* In the '90s ''WesternAnimation/XMen'' series, Jubilee tells a fairy tale with her as an InUniverse [[SelfInsertFic self-insert character]], Magneto as the villain, Scott as a prince, Jean as a {{princess}} (in [[PrincessesPreferPink pink]] even).
* This was pretty much the point of ''WesternAnimation/HelloKittysFurryTaleTheater'', a short-lived cartoon where Kitty and her friends played out various stories like "The Ugly Duckling".
* Certain episodes of ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' have seen the cast living in ancient China ("Doof Dynasty"), the stone age ("Tri-Stone Area"), a swords-and-sorcery fantasy ("Excaliferb"), an Indiana Jones-like setting ("Phineas and Ferb and the Temple of Juatchadoon"), and a turn-of-the-century Danville ("[[{{Steampunk}} Steampunx]]"). Soon the cast will appear [[Franchise/StarWars in a galaxy far far away]]. Then, of course, there was the WholePlotReference to ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''...
* Each episode of ''WesternAnimation/DinoBabies'' has a character read [[AnachronismStew a story won't be written for billions of years]], even taking place in the future setting, and the Dino Babies play the characters in the story.
* Like the Puppet Shows folder above, ''WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies''.
* This is the premise behind the animated ''Series/{{Alf}}'' spinoff, ''WesternAnimation/AlfTales''.
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