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Just For Fun: Surprisingly Similar Stories
"Because it is always plagiarism, especially when it isn't."

Sometimes, two works are obviously inspired by each other, or the younger one contains minor Shout Outs to the older one, or they are coincidentally considered Dueling Movies.

This page is not a collection for them. Here, we should experiment with finding some less obvious, and probably nonexistent connections, through wordplay, and selective examples of plot points.

This page is where the plots or settings between two stories are similar. If all that is similar are the characters, that belongs in Surprisingly Similar Characters instead.

Spoilers ahead! Mostly unmarked, so read at your own risk.


Examples:

  • A corporation is secretly engaging in shady science experiments in a remote and hostile location and through a catastrophic accident opens a portal to a harsh alien realm, unleashing its horrific denizens into our world, who then go on a killing spree and wipe out most of the inhabitants in the laboratory and its surrounding buildings. The hero has to go up against them with little to no aid in an attempt to close the portal that is allowing them in. When he reaches the portal, he discovers the only way to close it is to travel through it into their dimension and destroy some monstrous creature on the other side.
    Half-Life or Doom?
  • Our story centres around a forbidden romance, the likes of which are so iconic that the character's names have entered pop culture and are recognizable amongst people who don't know the story. Our heroine is a teenage girl who while heartbreakingly passive throughout most of the story makes a startling act of defiance towards the end. Our hero is well-known for his wordyness and childlike attitude that may make him unsympathetic. The lovers are forbidden from contact by society, most vehemently her parents, but eventually they come together under hard-to-keep secrecy. The story ends in tragedy when they are separated and both of them die.
    Lolita? Or Romeo and Juliet?
  • An impulsive young protagonist travels to a thick forest full of Scenery Porn as part of an evil corporation bent on exploiting its natural resources for personal gain. He was not chosen for the job for his intelligence. Through poorly-explained means, he becomes one of the forest's differently-sized and mystical natives. He learns to interact with the environment, falls in love with the first fanservicey native girl he meets, rides their flying mounts, and finally decides to stop the exploitation of his newfound people. After single-handedly destroying one of the corporation's terrible machines (which is much, much larger than himself), he rallies the natives, drives off the humans trying to exploit the natural resources, and uses the power of the forest itself (channeled by the natives) to secure his victory. The audience learns an anviliciously Green Aesop.
    Avatar, or Ferngully: The Last Rainforest?
  • A young man goes into hibernation, and when he wakes up, he is in the distant future. This young man is a bit of a slob who likes to drink beer and is usually referred to by his last name. He becomes friends with a robot who likes to watch a robot-themed soap opera. He is in love with a woman who is smarter than he is. He has lots of adventures travelling through space, and he is somehow his own ancestor.
    Red Dwarf or Futurama?
  • Man comes from another world to harvest a highly valued resource unique to only this strange world whose natives resent outsiders. Ends up being forced to live among the natives and learn their ways from a local girl who he ends up falling in love with. Has to ride a fearsome creature as a rite of passage into manhood, and then becomes the leader of the local clans and leads them to battle against culture from which he originally came.
    Is it Dune? Or Avatar?
  • Our heroes obtain an ancient magical artifact from a small, old creature who talks to himself in third person. Said artifact must be destroyed to kill the Evil Overlord, but it can't be destroyed through normal physical or magical powers. Eventually, the artifact that the heroes wear around their neck feels unusually heavy, tries to possess them, and influences the team to split up from conflict.
    The Lord of the Rings, The Deathly Hallows, or Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn?
  • Neurotic and emotionally unstable teenage girl falls in love with a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire who attends her high school. There is lots of talking. Eventually, the two get caught up in love triangle with a werecreature that ends with the girl and the werecreature deciding to be Just Friends.
    Twilight or Bakemonogatari?
  • Neurotic and emotionally unstable teenage girl, living in a small town in Washington state, learns that an ancient supernatural being is sexually interested in her, and often climbs through her window into her room while she is sleeping.
    Twilight or Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me?
  • These two works feature the tale of a Farm Boy who discovers a Plot Coupon sent to a wise old mentor by a captured princess, and has his uncle who raised him killed by the impenetrably hooded servants of the Evil Empire. The two set off for justice. The mentor is a former knight who teaches the farmboy how to use his mystical powers in about five days (not that his magic is much use until he becomes stronger) and gives him a sword that belonged to his father before he "bought the farm". Luckily, the farmboy meets up with a Badass Anti-Hero, rescues the princess, who is also a major player in the Rebel army, and joins the rebellion, becoming a key member before going to train with a half-mad old hermit in the forest. After this, he discovers that his father was The Empire's right-hand man and he's been betrayed by his own family...
    Now, are we in fact talking about Inheritance Cycle or Star Wars?
  • A blond, tunic-wearing boy and an orphan leaves his home and gains a shiny new sword. He is given advice by a wise old mentor (who eventually leaves him), escapes several fantastic creatures and finds out the true identity of someone close to him. The final duel between him and the villain takes place in their stronghold over a huge pit.
    Star Wars or Ocarina of Time?
  • A military man, sent to remote outpost, befriends the indigenous population and comes to sympathise with their cause, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.
    Dances with Wolves, The Last Samurai, or Avatar?
  • Common spaceman turns out to have amazing teleportation powers and can teleport through time.
    The Stars My Destination or Martian Successor Nadesico?
  • A young girl who thinks her life is too ordinary has her family kidnapped by a predatory fairy being who can give you every little thing you want, but at a terrible price. With some help from those who are familiar with the fairy's ways, the girl enters the fairy's unreal, cobbled-together world, does battle with her, and through pluck and brains manages to defeat her and rescue her family.
    The Wee Free Men, Coraline or Labyrinth?
  • Clumsy but endearing Japanese school girl meets a mysterious stranger (a Jerk with a Heart of Gold) and before she knows it, she's pulled into supernatural adventures with him and his Five-Man Band. They discover that she has a unique power that they desperately need. Over time The Crew grows close until they are almost like family. Though they try to deny it, eventually the girl and no-longer mysterious stranger admit that they care for each other.
    Is it InuYasha, Crescent Moon, Fruits Basket, or Blackbird ?
  • The story is a musical starring an ambitious young woman who faces prejudice because of the color of her skin. Her best friend is a perky, spoiled, blonde who loves pink and has her eye on a happy-go-lucky prince. Said prince ends up falling in love with the heroine instead, despite the fact that she is green.
    Wicked or The Princess and the Frog?
  • A handsome man travels everywhere in his vehicle, which he loves like a person, and he fights monsters/evil beings. He's incredibly lonely, but there's a second man that he's incredibly close to, though that man may or may not be evil. Lately, a lot of battles have put these two on opposing sides. He meets lots and lots of girls along the way. He's also developed a friendship with an old man, who makes a great and very loyal companion. Along his journey he starts out all adorable, but gradually grows more and more depressed and screwed up.
    Doctor Who or Supernatural?
  • A classic Disney musical about British children starved of parental attention who come under the care of a woman with magical powers, including the ability to fly and to make inanimate objects come to life. Mostly live-action, but includes a memorable sequence in which the protagonists visit a fantasy world rendered in animation, with talking animals and a sporting event with an unlikely outcome. Features David Tomlinson in a major role and numerous songs written by The Sherman Brothers.
  • In this flash animated cartoon, a young female joins a group consisting of an eccentric, a snarky Tomboy, an unassuming butt-kicker, a rather shy child, and a stubborn workaholic. Together, they protect their domain from evil, while learning about The Power of Friendship.
  • This Darker and Edgier installment begins with the main hero of the story in heaven after having fallen to his/her death near the end of the previous arc. He/She comes back wrong before getting better. Meanwhile, his/her powerful wizard ally becomes obsessed with increasing hir magical power, and, in a Kick the Dog moment, callously disintegrates a Smug Snake villain who had themselves just crossed the Moral Event Horizon by murdering a likeable supporting character. Said wizard also undergoes a power upgrade combined with a darker, evil new look after hir loved ones are threatened and begins the next arc back to normal but still trying to atone for and deal with what (s)he did during hir flirtation with evil.
    Order of the Stick: Don't Split The Party or Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
  • A God-girl creates an endlessly repeating summer month, because she has unfinished business. Only the resident strange girl remembers the past events, and she decides to do absolutely nothing for thousands of loops, getting quite depressed in the process. At the end, the protagonists' companions (that is "officially" organized as a school club that spends most of its time with board games in a classroom), figures out that teamwork is the solution for breaking the loop. The story also frequently references the sound that cicadas make as the symbol of these summer evenings.
    Endless Eight from Haruhi Suzumiya, or Higurashi no Naku Koro ni?
  • This Pixar feature concerns an isolated widower who sets out on an adventure, picking up a flighty traveling companion not long into the trip. The two travel to a region all but unknown by their community, encountering strange creatures and facing terrible dangers along the way. Ultimately, the widower learns that he can't let his lingering grief prevent him from experiencing the joys that yet remain in life, and he and his companion become fast friends.
    Finding Nemo, or Up?
  • You’re trapped in an isolated, sterile facility with only your best friend and an AI who keeps tabs on your every move via a network of cameras to keep you company. The AI is supposedly there to guide you, but after awhile you start to realize there’s something off about it. It then kills your friend and tries to kill you, but through some miracle you manage to break into its inner sanctum to slowly lobotomize it while it protests in a terrifyingly calm voice. And then, just as it's almost all over, the AI proceeds to sing to you.
    Is your name Chell or David Bowman?
  • In a society dominated by class prejudice, a young man with incredible strength and ingenuity, who grew up in poverty and had to steal and salvage for survival, is arrested and tattooed so that he can be easily spotted after his release. An incredibly zealous cop makes it a personal campaign to put him back behind bars, complicating The Hero's genuine efforts to help people, such as a friendless, abused woman. Meanwhile, a Love Triangle starts between a young woman, a young man she's known for awhile, and a woman he just met. Although someone initially plans for the guy and girl to die together, she manages to save him at the last minute and wrenches many tears out of the audience when she dies in his arms right before the finale's battle.
    Les Misérables or Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds?
  • A painfully average young man meets an eccentric, blithe, spirited, unrestrainable strange girl who violates all rules of common etiquette, propriety, and modesty...and he's inexplicably attracted to her in some bizarre, frightened way. Despite the danger/folly of associating with her, he can't stay away, no matter how uncomfortable her strange habits, such as her history of serial dating, make him.
    Daisy Miller or Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu?
  • A group of rebels fighting against the oppressive regime of an immortal godlike being, is led by a Badass who mentors a younger, less confident character for the first third of the story, only to have a Dying Moment of Awesome leading to the rebellion's first victory. The real hero of the story steps forward, and inspired by their Love Interest and their friends, defeats the Big Bad. The heroes establish a democratic state and live in peace briefly, only for it all to collapse into anarchy when it's revealed that the previous villain was only protecting them from the embodiment of entropy and despair. Following numerous reveals, epic cosmic battles, and Heroic Sacrifices, the heroes defeat the great evil and return to live in peace, except for The Hero and their love interest, who do not get such happy endings.
    Mistborn or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann?
  • Due to circumstances beyond her control, a down-to-earth working-class girl is forced to hang out with a flighty Upper-Class Twit and other eccentric characters, including a big guy who's friends with a much smaller guy and a hopelessly romantic blonde who starts out with a crush on one of the major characters, despite having never met them. Despite driving each other up the wall (and the occasional intervention of a creepy black magic practitioner with a shadow motif), the guy and girl grow to love one another.
    The Princess and the Frog or Ouran High School Host Club?
  • We open with our antihero, a man with a Scottish name and a nickname that means something significant in Latin. He's a war veteran who now finds himself in a less noble line of work. In the pilot, after a meeting with a potential client goes south, the client explains that it's offensively obvious that our antihero thinks he's better than all this. But does he really? While he doesn't like to talk about his origins, we eventually learn that he grew up as a poor, adopted farmhand before a traumatic event in the war prompted him to transform himself. Now, he struggles to be honorable even as he must constantly deceive. Women in his life: well, there's the one who's been devoted to him for years, but he just takes her for granted. The woman he wants is fiercely independent, and it drives him crazy to have to stand by as she sleeps with an endless succession of other men. Then there's the much younger woman who works for him, but there's no tension there. She's just interested in the new guy, who drives our antihero crazy with his arrogant ambition and elitist style. Witty, feminist, and original, the show enjoys a cult following and critical acclaim. It's never quite made it to the mainstream. Special mention has to go to Christina Hendricks's character, a talented redhead who tries to use a marriage as a means to an end, only to have it backfire horribly.
    Firefly or Mad Men?
  • In the future, two guys head to the past. Now in that past, there are two other guys just having fun when the two guys from the future appear. Now in the past, one of them is planning to cause trouble, while the other one is trying to save the world. This heroic act of theirs leads to a misunderstanding with the two guys from this time period the two from the future are in. The misunderstanding then leads to a fight between them. Some time after that fight, the guys that live in this time period find out that the guy they just fought against is trying to save the world and that the other guy is trying to destroy their time period. Then they team up to defeat the guy who wants to destroy the world. After this fight the guy who came from the future to save the world, and the guy who came from the future to destroy the world head back to their own time period. Of course the guy from the future, who came back to save the world gives the two from the time period that he visited a gift for helping him, before heading back to his time.
    Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers Of Time/Darkness/Sky or Rockman.EXE: Operate Shooting Star?
  • In a world long in decline, there are holy rituals to reverse said decline for a period of time, creating a new Golden Age that leads to much rejoicing amongst the populace. The game's heroine is an anointed holy woman with the power to steer the world towards said Golden Age, but she is far from alone: by the game's second town, she has four companions, one of whom is the hero and viewpoint character. Said hero and heroine become entwined romantically as the game goes on, visiting a handful of shrines full of puzzles that increase her powers until one of her magical attacks is a force to be reckoned with in any battle. However, as the story progresses, the heroine falls out of favor with several groups of powerful people, a member of one of those groups will join up and NOT be a spy, and the heroine must be saved from various situations - though she does rescue herself at least once from a particularly threatening one. There are two major catches, though - her Golden Age is far from permanent due to the sadistically-designed nature of the rituals, and if she succeeds in saving the world and creating her Golden Age, she will perish in the process...and the hero is completely unaware of that fact because those who were in the know couldn't bring themselves to tell him that his plans for a Happily Ever After with the girl were futile. As it is, though, Take a Third Option is exercised at the last second and the world is truly saved after several more hours of gameplay.
    Now, though, is this Final Fantasy X or Tales of Symphonia?
  • You wake up one day in a mysterious house. You're the only normal person in town. The others seem to come and go at random. The whole place is shut off from the outside world except for a well-guarded exit controlled by the town and a shoreline that has, at most, one active boat, and is the site of odd things, or half-dead people, constantly washing up onto the beach. Both of these routes only take you to another near-identical village, and even then you inevitably return to your home town anyway. The nominal leader is rarely if ever seen and does nothing at all, but the "second" most powerful figure controls absolutely everything, and yet only ever seems to do any business with you, nobody else. The only buildings are oddly decorated houses, a single clothing store, a single other store that sells everything else, a town hall, which does everything, and a museum, which also revolves entirely around you for no apparent reason. There is only one source of news for the town, and it only ever covers local things. Very local things. And personal ads. Violations of the rules are enforced by an unstoppable entity who will attack you at the drop of a hat when summoned. Incredibly often, the whole town breaks out into a random bizarre celebration. And the most popular fashion accessory? Bizarre parasols.
    Animal Crossing or The Prisoner? Now you can't un-think it.
  • An indie Adventure Game in which the protagonist arrives to an abandoned Victorian mansion on England, events happen that prevent him from leaving the house, there's a terrible sordid history about the mansion's previous owners, strange hair-raising noises plague the house, a sinister presence that appears to be supernatural looms in the mansion and its focus is an African artefact, and the inclusion of the Madwoman in the Attic trope.
    5 Days a Stranger or Scratches?
  • A dark, but ultimately idealistic seinen anime series starring an extremely morally dubious Tall, Dark and Handsome Anti-Hero with a Dark and Troubled Past, sister issues, and the apparently unwitting ability to cause anything with two X chromosomes to melt into a puddle of squee, both in and out of the story. Thanks to his behavior in his Secret Identity, the fandom often compares him to Batman. The plot is a Gray and Grey Morality-filled Mêlée à Trois involving a corrupt government, La Résistance, and psychics with one very specific power apiece, of which the protagonist is one. There's a Hero Antagonist with whom there's a certain amount of Ship Tease and UST going on (complicated by the fact that they don't know their friend is the criminal they're trying to stop) and a Mysterious Waif with green hair who knows more than she lets on, is a good bit older than she looks, and has a complicated emotional relationship with the protagonist that may be at least partially romantic. Said green-haired character is obsessively loved by a murderous white-haired and black-hearted pretty boy. The anti-hero also has a Phenotype Stereotype rival who is more personally pleasant but also more ruthless. He is dubbed by Troy Baker. The second season is considered hit-or-miss in part due to a difficult-to-follow plot and the fact that the hero is much less likable for part of it, and features a younger character who shows up near the beginning and joins the protagonist (earning the wrath of part of the fandom for "stealing the real main character's spotlight"). There's a good bit of Pizza Hut Product Placement (to the point that it's become an internet joke), and the soundtrack is amazing.
    Code Geass or Darker Than Black?
  • A rather posh, blonde girl meets a white rabbit, who leads her to fall into a strange, unfamiliar world, full of talking animals and unusual characters. These include a grumpy bug, a sleepy creature who tells stories that go nowhere, a pair of twins who do battle and a malevolent monarch who wants the protagonist dead.
    Alice in Wonderland or Brandy & Mr. Whiskers?
  • Our hero is a sensitive, if rather passive, young man, living in a dystopic society. One of his parents has been notably absent from his life, while the other one is manipulative and controlling. Due to the influence of said parent, he is forced into an uncaring social system that devastates his sense of self-worth and leads him to commit soul-destroying actions. A potential love interest offers temporary relief, but communication problems surface, and the characters drift apart, unable to overcome external pressures and their own insecurities. Under great stress, the protagonist withdraws to the safety of his own mind, walling himself off totally from the world. A Mind Screw sequence drenched in Nightmare Fuel (and loads of Soundtrack Dissonance) results. In the end, however, there is the briefest suggestion that things may be better in the future. Or not.
    Is this Neon Genesis Evangelion? Pink Floyd's The Wall? Or Brazil?
  • The setting is France. The protagonist has all the talent he needs to accomplish something but is unable to because of what he is or how he looks. He finds someone who has the necessary physical appearance but none of the talent, and the two scheme so that the protagonist can exercise his powers through the latter.
    Cyrano de Bergerac or Ratatouille?
  • Paraphrased from a wonderful person on My Anime List.net: A guy beats the shit out of whiny bitches with superpowers and can negate said superpowers when his right hand makes contact with said whiny bitches.
    Mobile Suit Gundam or Toaru Majutsu No Index?
  • The story mainly is mainly focused on the adolescence of a character who is wider considered a Complete Monster in their own universe when they die, and the complicated relationship they have with their best friend of the same gender. The main character is somewhat cynical, very intelligent, and grows into some very strong supernatural powers; the best friend is more idealistic, not as intelligent and tends to react more based on emotions. The lead has a younger sister in a wheelchair, and a mother who died very young and it is revealed at some point the man in charge of the kingdom is the lead's father, whom they loathe. They are sent away by their father to a distant place, where they meet up with the future best friend. They initially loath one another for their differences, but eventually become incredibly close trusting friends. Both, at separate points, indicate that they love another character, and both wish to make the land they live in a better place, but disagree on methods. Eventually this disagreement causes them to end up as enemies; the cynical lead bringing rebellion against rulers, the more idealistic best friend becoming part of the system. The lead causes the best friend to lose the person they both loved, amping up the dislike between the two. Eventually, they confront one another and are willing to forgive each other for their mutual betrayals. The lead is "killed" off, causing much celebration in the land; the best friend is left as the most powerful figure in the newly peaceful realm. There is a lot of Ho Yay between the lead and their best friend.
    Is it Code Geass or Wicked?
  • Our four main characters include a borderline retarded man who, despite always being drunk, is an Anti-Sue; the retarded man's wife, whose independence and personality is eschewed for sex appeal; the retarded man's douche of a friend who acts as the voice of reason; and a sociopath who quickly descends into comic relief. Many WACKY AND RANDOM adventures ensue.
    Control Alt Delete or Family Guy?
  • The protagonist of this story is a teenage boy who turns into a girl at the worst possible times. He soon meets his future love interest, a girl named Akane who alternates between shy/calm and rude/bitchy. Eventually, the protagonist soon nets a Harem of both girls and guys which he has trouble escaping. Several characters who enter the story are animals with human-like tendencies. Eventually, the show itself gradually switches from an action series with some fanservice to a comedy that ramps the fanservice Up to Eleven.
    Ranma ½ or Kämpfer?
  • Our protagonist is a young man who wakes up with severe amnesia and the ability to morph his body into living weapons. He discovers that something recently happened (possibly related to him) that is unexpectedly turning ordinary people into mutants. The young man tries to discover the source of his amnesia and stop the mutants from killing everyone, mostly by absorbing their mutations. The young man also deals with two separate organizations. One is an offspring of the military that is solely focused on the annihilation of all mutants, no matter what the cost, and the other is the mutants, led by a mysterious person who can control his/her mutations and wants to kill all humans.
    Generator Rex or Prototype?
  • A lighthearted musical retelling of an older work. A young as innocent soprano falls in love with a man in the midst of a single musical number, but is subsequently kidnapped by someone who wants her body and taken from her home and family, thereby putting her innocence and availability at stake. She is rescued but somehow ends up in the hands of another man who wants to marry her. Meanwhile the man she loves learns of her abduction and searches for her. The girl is desperate to go back to the man and her family and is helped by new friends along the way, but many greedy villains, and the hands of fate, keep her and her boyfriend apart. In the end they are reunited against the will of those who want to either marry or showcase her. Initially a commercial failure. Also features characters supposedly being killed but not actually dying. Originally starred Barbara Cook.
    Is it Don Bluth's Thumbelina or Leonard Bernstein's Candide?
  • A musical about how a hero leaves home and becomes a celebrity because he dislikes his normal life, or else it has been unkind to him. A villain wants to either enslave him or kill him for his own selfish reasons. In order to weaken the will of the hero, he sends a girl, who works as his slave due to te consequences of her own selfishness, and who also parades around in seductive dress, to seduce him. The girl, however, develops an actual crush on him and helps him escape the villain. In the end, the villain is no longer dominant over the hero and he gets to be with the woman he loves. Involves several instances of characters escaping death, and one instance of the hero being restored to his original self.
    Hercules? Or Damn Yankees? How about Rock-A-Doodle?
  • A blond man who's pretty good with a sword arrives in the middle of a plot he doesn't understand. His love interest, a brunette, turns out to know more about the plot than she lets on. He meets a mentor character who is strangely similar to a legendary soldier he's otherwise familiar with. He has various battles with a man who refuses to drop dead no matter how many times he's killed and proves why you should hate him by killing someone which agitates a major character. He learns that his childhood was mostly fiction and is repeatedly visited by a person of ambiguous gender with their face covered. He's swallowed by a huge, unnatural sea monster controlled by his father figure, confronts his father figure in a replica of a location he knew from a simulation and fights giant robots.
    Is this Final Fantasy X or Metal Gear Solid 2?
  • A spaceship, with the same name as the series, is on a routine flight and somehow gets a huge distance away from where it's supposed to be. The limited crew, which includes a smug hologram obsessed with slideshows, attempts to get back to Earth. Their experiments with FTL travel are a disaster and most of the entertainment on board is VR gaming, much of which is presented in monochrome. The crew encounter a cyborg who succeeds in becoming unique and integrates with the original crew members, but disagrees with the ship's superior officer whenever possible. The main threats are from cyborgs and genetically-engineered monsters. A central theme is that space travel perhaps isn't as great as it's made out to be.
  • A movie musical with heavy visual effects (though most of them focused on aspects of one particular character) and score by Alan Menken. Stars two protagonists, one girl and one guy. The guy is downtrodden or misunderstood and the girl is blonde. The girl desperately wants to leave her home area but can't. The villain, who is given at least one show-stopping number, acts as a force gradually growing stronger against one of the protagonists, who knows a secret that is vital to the villain's life. The villain also sings songs to keep the protagonist on a leash in order to gain nourishment. Features an adorable green character. One of the characters has a near-death experience caused by the villain. Also, a major plot point involves a plant with some kind of unique supernatural power. At least one of the songs has once been sung by Mandy Moore.
    We're talking about Tangled, right? Or could it be Little Shop of Horrors?
  • A man in a long, black coat and his female associate challenge people to possibly deadly games which usually involve blades and makeshift devices. Contestants are briefed on the challenge beforehand and have a few hours to complete the challenge. All the materials required to succeed are available, but they must go to great lengths to acquire them. If they do, there's usually a face-off with their enemies before they can be considered winners. Their games end up being great re-run material for Channel 4.
    This is Saw, of course. Or is it Scrapheap Challenge?
  • This show is the sequel series to another show, becoming Darker and Edgier in the process. Many of the concepts from the first show are Retconned to come from aliens; for example, the protagonist turns out to have descended from aliens, despite looking human. One of the villians from the first series joins up with the hero, now much older than the first series, and the protagonist's female sidekick, the smartest of the group, acts as the group's bonding force. The female sidekick begins having a romance with a dark, brooding villain who switches sides every so often, while the hero becomes friends with one of the most powerful beings in the universe. One of the main plots in the show includes the heroes journeying from planet to planet to find several parts of a whole item which grants power beyond anyone's comprehension. Also, the show is criticized for having quite a lot of filler. The show, which was aired on Cartoon Network, had a sequel series; whether this is better than the original or not depends on the viewer.
    So, is this Ben 10: Alien Force or Dragon Ball Z?
  • Love Makes You Crazy the series. Miyuki Sawashiro voices a foreigner living in Japan, and Hiroshi Kamiya is a well-educated bishonen whose family goes for weird names.
    Durarara!! or Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei?
  • A young man obsessed with honor and banished by his father falls in love with his closest childhood friend, a Lonely Rich Kid Well, Excuse Me, Princess!. The fandom, however, passionately ships him with a young woman he meets on his travels who has the power to heal, never turns her back on those in need, and comes from a nation whom his own people have persecuted for centuries. The creators are forced to give a direct Take That to the Fan-Preferred Couple's shippers.
    Ivanhoe or Avatar: The Last Airbender?
  • In this Disney Animated Adaptation of a fairy tale, the heroine yearns for excitement and adventure beyond the sheltered world she's known. She falls in love with a man whom she teaches to be less selfish, to the point of sacrificing his own well-being for her freedom, creating a contrast in context between selfless, true love and possessive, controlling, abusive "love." The couple is forced to separate for awhile but soon reunite, only for the villain to stab the guy right before dying during a fall. The girl holds her dying lover in her arms and cries over him, bringing him Back from the Dead via The Power of Love mixed with the effects of an enchanted flower. A peasant marries a royal, and they live Happily Ever After.
    Beauty and the Beast or Tangled?
  • This story begins underground, with a burrowing colony whose philosophy is to dig as often as possible to avoid danger from the outside world. One digger, whose name ends with "-imon", accidentally causes animal-like creatures to attack the colony. He is then exiled from said colony, joining up with a large, boisterous friend. Eventually, the digger meets and rescues a young, innocent child who is related to the Big Bad, left for dead. The digger relays his philosophy to said child and, after a Time Skip, they go off to defeat the Big Bad and his forces.
    This is Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, right? Or is it The Lion King 1 ½?
  • The Big Bad attacks a heroic character, which results in said character getting a scar on the forehead and in the two of them being linked mentally. This link makes the hero feel unclean and unworthy to be around their friends and it proves to be both useful and dangerous for them both, as they can spy on what their enemies are doing but run the risk of exposing their own secrets and plans to the enemy as well. Eventually, the villain decides it's in his best interest to block the connection, leaving the hero and their companions free to track down and destroy his Soul Jars so they can ultimately destroy him. Anyone Can Die (but not without getting a Dead Guy Junior), and the powers of love, friendship, and having a cause worth fighting for prove to be more Bad Ass than the forces of evil. Religious allegory abounds.
    Dracula or Harry Potter?
  • Let's see...four person main cast, but Loads and Loads of Characters among the guest stars, including politicians, alien ambassadors, allies and a large Rogues Gallery. The field commander is borderline suicidal and lost his family due to tragedy. The Chick is a scientist who likely has the most common sense, but is still a trained fighter. There's a Ph.D. who signed on reluctantly, is grossly underpowered compared to his teammates, but can be really dangerous if pushed. And a walking tank bred to be a fighter who is the only non-human crew. The commander back home has the unenviable task of putting up with both the team's antics and the crooked politicians trying to shut the project down.
    Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers or Stargate SG-1? (Lampshaded here with the German version of the Galaxy Rangers theme)
  • A kind-hearted male protagonist in a nice jacket goes back in time to prevent the deaths of those around him. His main skill is to manipulate small objects in order to effect changes in the timeline. When he uses his power, the world turns Deliberately Monochrome and Time Stands Still. The protagonist finds out that the main villain has a twisted, murderous obsession that's gotten worse over the course of many years and a power that directly complements his own. The villain uses this power to directly oppose the hero and Make Wrong What Once Went Right. The result is a complex story spanning multiple timelines, and an ending which is a bit of a Mind Screw if you're not paying attention. The villain can be talked out of his craziness. A mysterious cat proves central to the story, as it time-travels while carrying the source of the hero's power and becomes immortal as a result due to an unexplained temporal effect.
    Which Nintendo DS game is this? Is it Time Hollow, or Ghost Trick?
  • Having spent a whole game fighting 'liquid', the good characters fight a team which includes a bald, overweight man who avoids walking, an inappropriately-clothed woman who has her own agenda, and a character who is enough like one of the protagonists to pass for him. Having gained access to a 50-year-old weapons concept, these characters attempt to take over Eagle Land using a superweapon disguised as a science facility and a cyborg lizard, and the President gets involved somehow. It turns out that everything was planned decades ago by a dead bloke. In the finale, the teams realise they have to work together and there's a rush through the superweapon, followed by a battle with the lizard. The superweapon tries to pull a Colony Drop of sorts, and there's a final showdown in front of the superweapon. That old guy who gets killed in the ending? He didn't; the guy with the moustache rescued him and put him in a sort of stasis, but we don't know this until two games and a handheld title of ambiguous canonicity later.
    Metal Gear Solid 2 or Sonic Adventure 2?
  • A hyperactive high school girl who is superior to everyone in her class at anything gains a role of power, dragging her perfectly ordinary best friend with her. All is fine and dandy until a Genre Shift occurs, revealing that the girl is a literal God-Mode Sue, causing others to try and take her power for their own use. It's up to her best friend to protect her and the school from these mentally unstable unnatural beings.
    The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya or Medaka Box?
  • A girl with low self-esteem (despite being revered like a goddess by everyone around her, especially male admirers, who can't wait to risk their lives to protect her) moves against her will to a dark, gloomy, Gothic landscape. She is in a Star-Crossed Lovers plot with a guy for whom Stalking Is Love and who admits that he is bad news but claims he is so madly, passionately in love with her, he can't stay away. She literally can't function when she's separated from him. She meets a Nice Guy who would be a much safer, more dependable partner but rejects him in favor of her bad boy.
    The Mysteries of Udolpho or Twilight?
  • We've got an Atlus game here. The story focuses on a messy-haired hero who hears of a mysterious rumor. Around that time, he meets a mysterious girl in white, after which he seems to be trapped in a twisted dream with people who are like people he's met before, but with a radical difference. The hero now has to make a series of choices which will affect how the story plays out. Said hero is also in a Love Triangle with an odd, somewhat exotic girl and the Girl Next Door he's always known.
    Is this Catherine, or the first Persona?
  • The story takes place After the End, with a mentally fragile Bishōnen protagonist and his severely messed-up friends. There's an older girl named Misato who hides her sadness by acting perky and sometimes drinking while having a strained relationship to someone from her past, a redhead who only hates the protagonist because she wants attention after being left alone, and an Emotionless Girl who has a mysterious aura to her, but breaks down by the end of the story. The protagonist also has some hidden mommy issues. He does find some normalcy in his two friends, the guy who has a soft spot for his sister and the normal, yet rather off guy. In an alternate continuity, he kills everyone and becomes God (or something).
    Neon Genesis Evangelion, or Cross Channel?
  • A mysterious, handsome vampire is attracted to and intrigued by a clumsy human girl, who considers herself unattractive, because he can't read her mind. Said vampire is part of a family of vampires whose patriarch is trying to bring them to a new style of life and abandon old-fashioned stereotypes. They are immune to sunlight and garlic. The vampire has a bratty sister who absolutely hates the human girl. The human girl has a variety of friends/allies, including a tribe of pugnacious, loyal fighters and a very attractive man who can shapeshift into a furry animal, and is fighting against an army of evil vampires who have been created as a fighting force.
    The Twilight Saga, or Carpe Jugulum?
  • A brilliant but ruthless and rather amoral revolutionary takes on a totalitarian dictatorship in a postapocalyptic world, driven by personal pain from being a victim of said dictatorship's most terrible prison. Along the way, he picks up a teenage girl as a protege and becomes Shrouded in Myth. In the end, he dies, but his death is just the beginning.
    Mistborn: The Final Empire or V for Vendetta?
  • A caped nobleman loses his grip on sanity upon the loss of his fiancee, becoming a villain as his entire world and civilization (though not his fancy castle) crumble around him. When the heroes confront him, they bring with them the truth of his fiancee's fate, and her declaration of everlasting love forces him to confront reality as his castle collapses.
    Super Paper Mario or Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box?
  • A barefoot long-haired girl with light-based powers is kept in a remote tower by her mother for the mother's own selfish and sinister purposes. A social outcast stumbles upon the girl and, armed mainly with an improvised weapon, helps her earn her freedom.
    Tangled or Ico?
  • A woman becomes the undisputed ruler of her domain, with the aid of her weak-willed male companion. She believes Happiness Is Mandatory, and so creates a brightly-uniformed Culture Police that ruthlessly deals with people who don't fit her definition of how things should be, subjecting them to Cool and Unusual Punishment. Then the Guile Hero and companion(s) show up, and deliberately defy her, allying with the locals and eventually forcing the ruler to confront the falseness of her beliefs. The heroes then leave, with the people free to act however they want.
    Witches Abroad or "The Happiness Patrol"?
  • An evil Fairy Godmother is the power behind the throne, having transformed a frog into a puppet ruler. She wants to consolidate her power by arranging a marriage for kingdom's princess. The princess has other ideas, and allies with the heroes. Lots of Fractured Fairytales take place before the big confrontation during the palace ball, When the Clock Strikes Twelve.
    Witches Abroad again, or Shrek 2?
  • A warrior of justice who has dark spiky hair and wears the same blue-and-white outfit every day has just made the wrong enemy. The pretty-boy villain, nominally an agent of justice himself but corrupted by his inflated ego, pretends to be his friend while secretly masterminding a plot to have him taken out of commission. What the villain doesn't count on are the spiky-haired guy's young successors: while the successors may not have been strong enough to take out the villain on their own, they continue their predecessor's work and ultimately expose the truth. The Villainous Breakdown at the end is the stuff of legends.
    Death Note or Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney?
  • A half-hour animated sitcom, starring a character from 1930s cartoon shorts. The character is now a father, living in a small town. The villain of the shorts (whose profession in the originals would change to fit the setting) is now a second-hand car dealer, and also has a son. The focus is more on the sons than the fathers, though.
    Goof Troop or Popeye And Son?
  • A long-running video game series revolving around a regular hero and villain. On one side, a chubby guy with a Badass Mustache and a Trademark Favorite Food. On the other side, a spiky anthropomorphic animal who wants the freedom to do what he wants, but the mustached man always gets in the way. The bad guy has been subject to some Villain Decay, but is occasionally still able to show some badassery. The hero has a girlfriend in pink and an Evil Twin - well, more of an Anti-Hero Twin - and is a major industry mascot, especially in the 16-bit era.
    So, which one is the hero? The human (Super Mario), or the spiky animal (Sonic the Hedgehog)?
  • A slacker with a guitar tries to impress a girl with oddly coloured hair and rollerblades by facing a gauntlet of enemies headed by shadowy, yet charismatic man. Along the way, he gains an acoustic theme about his love, a realization about what he's fighting for, and a serious self-confidence boost by the final boss. While treated favorably by critics, it wasn't too profitable.
    Scott Pilgrim or Gitaroo Man?
  • A boy who had his mother go to a different plane of existence when he was young grows up to be a Magnificent Bastard Messianic Archetype who controls his own army and confront his Magnificent Bastard father who abandoned him and is planning Instrumentality. One of his Love Interests is a Tsundere red-head with a red Humongous Mecha, and the other is a Deadpan Snarker exotic-haired girl with mysterious origins. He also confronts a secret society of people with special abilites like his own and his rival is a white-haired boy.
    Code Geass or Shinji And Warhammer 40 K?
  • A group of British siblings sent to live in the country during World War Two discover magical secrets in the house where they are staying. There's a witch who intends to use her spells to win a war, and a world inhabited by talking animals with a lion as their king, and a climactic battle between good and evil, with swords and magic both in heavy use.
    Now, is the witch the Big Bad or one of the good guys?
  • A group of criminals enter into a wealthy man's dreams to trick him out of his secrets. In the course of the adventure, multiple layers of dreams are entered, "bigger guns" are summoned by the protagonists, the ultimate trick involves confronting the dreamer with a loved one that they're estranged from, people are removed from the dream by falling, and there's a risk that people stuck in the dream will enter a form of Limbo and go crazy if they stay in too long.
    Inception or Don Rosa's Dream of a Lifetime?
  • This work has become one of the most well-known examples of a popular genre of the late 80s-90s, despite being in many ways a more philosophical Deconstruction of that genre, possibly due to Creator Breakdown. It concerns a young man whose estranged father commands him to become a man of action; contrary to most of the genre's heroes, however, the son struggles with the psychological and philosophical implications of this role, even though there are moments when he performs admirably; in one scene, he performs the sort of action that his father wanted him to while his mother is present. The work lends itself well to Freudian analysis, probably because of the main character's mother issues. His only real confidante is a male friend with whom there is a hint of sexual attraction; one of his female love interests has to be institutionalized before dying along with most of the other characters in a Kill 'em All ending.
    Neon Genesis Evangelion or Hamlet?
  • A girl kept alone in a high tower for unscrupulous reasons is rescued by a smart-alecky thief who's initially after a big treasure connected to the girl's heritage. She ends up falling in love with him as he helps her earn her freedom. At one point, she tries to bargain with the villain in order to save the thief's life after he gets mortally wounded.
    Tangled or The Castle of Cagliostro?
  • This story is about an ordinary schoolboy with really spiky hair. However, he is unaware that a powerful, sometimes cruel spirit lives inside of him, possessing the boy in times of great emergency. This boy soon becomes friends with many people, eventually meeting three siblings who come from a far-off area: a sister, a brother, and their little psychopathic brother. They all become good eventually, though.
    Yu-Gi-Oh! or Naruto?
  • A man is pulled from his enjoyable but uneventful existence up North and thrust into a world he thought he'd left behind. He doesn't appreciate conflict and often disagrees with his superiors' methods, but gets the job done. His rival is a Western fan known for his methods of extracting information, who secretly has a noble purpose. Halfway through, he has to rescue his could-be lover from a family member he didn't know much of. Most of the story involves a Gene of some kind. It's followed by a sequel in which a more feminine counterpart encounters similar situations a few years later. It's often difficult to figure out what's real and what isn't.
    Is this Metal Gear Solid or Life On Mars?
  • A man assembles a Badass Crew, who use their various skills and talents to perform a heist that many had thus far considered impossible. The man claims that this mission will be his last job, with the ultimate goal for most crew members being the money at the end. Along the way, our hero ends up jeopardizing the mission due to complications with his ex-wife. In the end, the mission is successful and our hero makes his way home.
    Is this Inception or Ocean's Eleven?
  • This show focuses on two main characters: a kind but dim-witted young boy and a non-human who wears little clothing. The two live at the boy's house with his young yet intelligent little sister, and go to school with a variety of unusual characters, all of which are simply regarded as students despite their extraordinary origins. At one point, a ghost schoolgirl possesses the body of one of the protagonists to indulge in her own desires.
    To Love-Ru or The Amazing World of Gumball?
  • This show is about a lazy, misanthropic, unhygienic man with the emotional capacity of a 12-year old and his young and more successful foil. In each episode, the lazy man drags his foil into some hair-brained scheme, which will inevitably backfire in some way.
    Dan Vs. or Kochikame?
  • This story is about aliens that come to Earth. They're here to prevent humans from eventually developing technology that will destroy the universe. They give a Breaking Speech to the humans when they meet face-to-face, and the encounter ends with the aliens being defeated. Whether or not the universe is still doomed is left to the viewer's imagination.
    Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann or Plan 9 from Outer Space?
  • A webcomic about Anthropomorphic Personifications of countries, centering on a Power Trio consisting of a scrawny, excitable hedonist with a phobia of being alone, a larger and more level-headed man with whom the first man is in a long-term relationship, and a third character who is reserved, tech-savvy, and something of an outsider to the first two. The comic derives much humor from the inevitable Culture Clash as the various characters interact, and also from re-interpreting historical events as interpersonal relationships. Most of the fans, though, are in it for the ambiguous—and not so ambiguous—yaoi.
    Axis Powers Hetalia or Scandinavia and the World?
  • The setting — seven participants are involved in a battle royale. Each one has certain innate advantages and disadvantages — one is bigger and more powerful than the rest, one finds it easy to create a safe zone at the edge of the conflict and influence events from the sidelines, and so on — but the various skill levels of the participants also have a major impact on their chance of success. What is more, the players tend towards different personalities — one is stupidly honest, another suffers from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, and in most scenarios there is one guy who thinks he's hot stuff, but in reality doesn't even quite understand the rules, let alone possesses a good chance of winning. In any case, alliances are repeatedly made and broken, long periods of leisurely conversation are followed by scenes of intense action, and although the format points to a There Can Be Only One ending, it is more than possible for two or more to win by cooperating with each other.
    Fate/stay night? Or your average game of Diplomacy? Or even a quick session of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri?
  • This is a comic about a young adult living in a video game-esque world. He fights a variety of people who, in his mind, are out to get him, fighting for what he sees to be his true love. However, he isn't as perfect as he thinks.
    Sonichu or Scott Pilgrim?
  • A girl becomes friends with her Ill Boy of a cousin and helps her cousin improve himself in a dark, big, fancy, rambling Gothic mansion, owned by a reclusive, Byronic man (whose sanity began significantly slipping after the death of his beloved), located at the edge of a moor where the wind is always "wutherin'."
    Wuthering Heights or The Secret Garden?
  • This story is an epic Space Opera. The main character is an emperor with a prolonged lifespan who finds himself fighting an old foe from his past, and switches between fighting with and aiding another monarchy.
    The Five Star Stories or Hobbes Wars?
  • In this video game, a protagonist with a blue and red color scheme and very odd hair is just trying to do his job, but has to deal with a Genki Girl sidekick, a lolitastic Love Freak and a flamboyantly sophisticated rival. All of these characters, particularly the protagonist and his rival, turn out to be more closely connected than we originally thought. In a later game, the blue and red protagonist is replaced by a red and white one with some family issues. Although most of the original cast are nowhere to be seen, the original protagonist is still there, and one female character returns for another important role. The new rival is blonde, famous and plays the guitar, and the new female lead is the subject of a major plot twist toward the end. Also, a blue creature with googly eyes, supposedly based on a Real Life animal, serves as a mascot in the series, and there's one guy who incorporates as much Gratuitous Foreign Language into his daily speech as possible.
    Ace Attorney or Disgaea?
  • A group of people are gathered to a mansion on an island and are killed off one by one in accordance to a bizarre poem, with their alleged host nowhere in sight. This group includes devoted servants, a doctor, and a Jerkass detective. The female character who is essential to the plot is still reeling from the harsh rejection of her lover, and it was this rejection that ultimately drove her insane. Some of its adaptations are loved by fans; others are absolutely reviled. And the ending has the fan base sharply divided.
    And Then There Were None or Umineko no Naku Koro ni?
  • It takes place in the Pacific Northwest. There's a character whose name begins with "Ed". One of the characters can predict the future, or at least says she can. A guy falls in love with someone in a way that could be interpreted as creepy and stalkerish, and they end up together.
    Twilight, right? Or is it Frasier?
  • Two swordsmen, a girl with guns and a super-intelligent Little Miss Badass fight against a large authority that is secretly an evil organization. The white-haired, red and black clad hero holds a massive grudge against a member of his family, but it turns out they aren't so bad. The final boss is a Treacherous Advisor to one of the main characters, who turns out to be both a former hero of legend and the de facto leader of the evil organization.
    Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice or BlazBlue: Continuum Shift?
  • A series that chronicles the occasionally weird everyday adventures of a group of female friends, which includes a somewhat naive bookworm, an energentic and boastful girl who fancies herself a great athlete but is actually kind of a klutz, her hard-working and more level-headed Friendly Rival, a girl who frets over her appearance a lot and is usually the most serious of the group, a bashful animal lover, and one girl who's not all there.
    Azumanga Daioh or My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic?
  • A brilliant weapons designer discovers that his weapons are being used by forces of evil and so he stopped building weapons and created a suit to take down those weapons. He had help of a redhead friend, he saved the day.
    Iron Man or Steel.
  • A cartoon series whose establishing shot is of the main character, a muscular young woman, wearing a sleeveless shirt and with her arms at her sides, looking down from a high place at a city based on Shanghai.
    Canaan or The Legend of Korra?
  • For as long as anyone can remember, the prosperity of civilization has been possible due to the presence of mysterious magical artifacts left behind by an ancient race. These artifacts come in many forms and serve a variety of purposes, from the mundane to the spectacular; from warding off enemies to providing locomotion; from enhancing physical abilities to supplying an entire town with water. Their use is commonplace and widespread. There are institutions devoted to studying the powers of these artifacts. However, some artifacts can also be used as devastating weapons, and there are those who would seize that power for themselves. Indeed, cataclysmic wars in which the artifacts were both fought over and employed have taken place in the past. Now, the artifacts have once again brought conflict sweeping across the land.
    Which artifacts are we talking about? Is it the blastia? Or the remnants? Or maybe Old-Tech?
  • An Evil Overlord in a China inspired land wants to Take Over the World but is afraid of a certain race defeating him. So he destroys all of that race except one. Now, it's up to that last guy to save the world with the help of some friends.
    Avatar: The Last Airbender or Kung Fu Panda 2?
  • This beloved classic animated movie begins with the birth of the main character, a Talking Animal. He grows a bit older, meets the female lead, and grows very close to a parent who protects him and tells him about where his life is destined to take him. This parent is killed in a disaster during a series of events that began with the lethal intentions of the main villain (a predatory animal with a wounded eye). The grieving main character runs away, and promptly begins meeting new friends, and is then reunited the female lead, who stresses the threat posed by the villain but is initially ignored by the main character. Eventually, however, he comes to his senses, and he and his friends lead an attack on the villain (who ends up falling to his doom). At last, the hero stands on a rock overlooking the land that is his home. If we also mention that he sees his dead parent in a cloud at one point and remembers what he was taught, and that the supporting cast includes a duo of significantly mismatched size and a flying guy who usually frustrates the main character, then it should be obvious to anyone that this movie is The L...
    ...and Before Time or ...ion King?
  • This takes place in a world where the time period and technology level/aesthetic don't quite add up. The story centers around a dysfunctional yet tight-knit team of nine mercenaries. Said mercenaries include: a medic; a friendly, easy-going mechanic; a Professional With Standards; an intimidating black person; a soldier who's still stuck on a war that ended long ago; someone who's past is unknown because he is secretive; someone who's past is unknown because he/she is imcomprehensible; an enthusiastic, somewhat childish guy; and a rather large, Hot-Blooded fellow who is very attached to his guns. There are Nice Hats aplenty.
    Team Fortress 2, or Firefly?
  • The Affectionate Parody of Classic Disney Films stars two acquaintances: A fat guy who's main color is green, and a somewhat annoying horse-like animal. Together they go on a huge journey, and have all kinds of strange adventures, including trying to cross a rope bridge but destroying it in the process, at the same time, each one discovering the friend he never had, while the fat green guy is trying to stop some homes from being destroyed. Sometime later in their journey, they encounter a ferocious kitty cat.
    Western Animation/{{ Princesse}} or The Emperor's New Groove?
  • This musical based off a children's book series has characters, including a Funny Animal and a rather messed up, unlucky guy as main characters, in a Slice of Life series going through the seasons. Many adventures ensue, such as a story about flying a kite and various other mundane tasks. It also has very few actors, some playing the parts of others.
    You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown or A Year with Frog and Toad?
  • This films stars a pampered pet living in a certain part of the United States. After ending up in his/her species's native land (a Hispanic/Latino country) our protagonist is captured by humans planning on using him/her for illegal purposes. After escaping with the help of a friend of the opposite gender, the duo trek through the country to find our hero/heroine's owner. Meanwhile, these evil humans send their nasty pet off to find our protagonist and bring him/her back. This duo also encounters two locals who serve as comic relief. When the protagonist finds his/her owner, he/she finds love and has Babies Ever After. Also, the animal villain suffer an embarrassing fate right before the credits.
    Rio or Beverly Hills Chihuahua?
  • A man whose first name is never given, but is referred to with a title, is bored with his life. He meets a badass guy who who the main character tries to be more like. Later he meets a girl, who eventually leaves him because he starts to go crazy. It is later revealed that the badass guy is actually an alter-ego of the main character, who later "dies" due to a shot to the head.
    Is it American Idiot or Fight Club?
  • A Diabolical Mastermind creates a mechanical doppelganger of Queen Victoria to replace her during her diamond jubilee.
    The Great Mouse Detective or The Girl in the Steel Corset?
  • A very neurotic man gets a job at an establishment. He believes it something strongly, and tries to run a tight ship. However, most of his employees and guests are weird, and his wife is very tired of him. There isn't a day where something goes wrong at said establishment.
    The Brittas Empire or Fawlty Towers?
  • A group of people travel to places and always seem to get caught up in some kind of strange occurance. They have a vehicle that they travel in which may not be reliable and one of the groups companions has been or is a dog.
    Doctor Who or Scooby-Doo?
  • This film is a cult classic, iconic for its use of B-Movie tropes. In Cold War era America, a traveling couple are forced by circumstances to seek the hospitality of a hammy, Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette sexual deviant who employs an odd-looking Crusty Caretaker and isn't entirely human. It doesn't end happily, but at least many memes are spawned along the way.
    "Manos" The Hands of Fate or The Rocky Horror Picture Show?
  • This is the Gothic story of a highly talented but equally insane Mad Artist from the early 1900s who is horribly scarred and disfigured, hides behind a mask, dresses all in black, goes around killing people (strangulation being his specialty), and becomes obsessed with a woman who unmasks him dramatically after he kidnaps her. Remakes/adaptations of the original version move said Mad Artist closer to the center as a Villain Protagonist, whereas the heroic female lead was closer to the center in the original version.
    The Phantom of the Opera or House of Wax (1953)?
  • An animated story about a career-driven loner who gets stuck in a small town, and reluctantly befriends the locals despite initially thinking they're all crazy. The aid of the protagonist's new friends is invaluable when they eventually leave the town to pursue their original goal. Once the excitement has died down, the protagonist adopts the small town as their new home.
    Cars or the pilot of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic?
  • Professor Moriarty seeks to start a world war in the late 19th century so he can sell his Steampunk weaponry to both sides and make a fortune, prompting the protagonists to stop him.
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie?
  • Two people are stuck in a situation where they live together, even though they don't exactly get on. One is very neurotic and believes he is the best at everything, while the other is more laid back. They have two other friends that the laid back person likes more than the neurotic man. One friend is full of himself and thinks about sex all the time, and the other is of a different ethnic background, but is polite and timid. The laid back guy wants to date a girl that is from a different background than him, but the neurotic guy doesn't think it would ever happen. The couple do get together in the end, though.
    The Big Bang Theory or Red Dwarf?
  • Adventure series from the early '90s. A group of colour-coded adventurers travel through various diverse locations, known as 'Zones', trying to gather mystical jewels. Locations generally include ancient ruins and/or castles, mechanical environments and space stations. It often culminates in a time-limited showdown in space, where the jewels make things easier. Later adventures heavily involve a black-haired guy from the past, whose love interest is a dead girl on a space station.
    The Crystal Maze or Sonic the Hedgehog?
  • An animated film from the nineties with a message about nature and the environment. A native princess lives in a civilization in the forest with her father and crazy animal sidekick(s), and takes advice from a wise matriarchal figure. When some intruders show up to overrun their land, she meets a long-haired blond guy who wears blue. They learn about each other and fall in love. But a shirtless native is jealous, and an Evil Brit wants to take over their homeland. The native and the guy don't end up together in the end.
    Pocahontas or Ferngully?
  • Aired in the 1997-98 season, this TV series featured an extragovernmental organization which hires five agents to continue its mission of fighting for justice and protecting mankind. The organization's original mentor is no longer at his post. These five agents are given five vehicles. These vehicles can combine into other machines.
    Team Knight Rider or Power Rangers Turbo?
  • An ordinary person meets a mysterious, anarchist Dark Messiah with big plans to change the world. Though some circumstance out of the persons control, they end up living with the Anarchist. Though the two trust each other from the start, it is not until after a Horrific Initiation that the mysterious begins to trust the other person well. The mysterious persons forms a giant army, which ends up in at least one hard to watch casualty. Also, The Dark Messiah ends up dead, but his ideas live on, and in the movie versions of both, at least one important building collapses in an explosion set to Crowning Music of Awesome.
    Is this Fight Club, Or is this V for Vendetta?
  • In a fictional, ultra-fascist alternate version of a real-world country, a tyrannical government forces children to play a game where they must to go to an isolated arena and simultaneously survive the elements and kill each other until only one is left standing, for a bunch of convoluted reasons that basically boil down to For the Evulz. Most of the population knows about this and are aware that anyone can be chosen, making them fearful and paranoid, although the government gives this event heavy media coverage as a way of manipulating the people. Though the game appears to take place in a natural environment, the truth is that the game makers use advanced technology to manipulate the elements and keep the players in check. At the game's start, the players (an even number of boys and girls) are gathered at a central point where they can obtain backpacks filled with supplies, including weapons. Lingering around this point at the wrong time, however, will result in them being blown up. Once the players leave this point, the game officially starts, and it is a common strategy for players to stay around the area during this time to kill as many others as they can. As the game continues, all of the players are given a recount of who has been killed through a broadcast given at a certain time. During one of these games, a young boy and girl with a shared history come together to help each other survive. They are assisted by an older mentor who had previously survived one of these games. Some of their most dangerous opponents are a boy and a girl who have no qualms about killing and are dead set on winning– in fact, the boy ends up being the last survivor outside their group. At one point, one of the female players dies from eating poisonous food that was meant to be eaten by the male lead. When some of the main characters become separated, they use a tactic they had previously discussed of lighting a number of fires and using a bird call to determine where each other is. Over the course of their journey it is revealed that one of them has had long held a crush on the other and the other, despite having someone else back home they have feelings for, eventually reciprocates the feelings. In the end they both survive the game by tricking the game makers, resulting in the death of the game's supervisor. Despite having entertained thoughts of running away earlier, they end up going on to fight the government that created the games.
    The Hunger Games or Battle Royale?
  • This series is notorious for its high levels of Nightmare Fuel and complex, ever-deepening plot without too many straight answers. One of the key figures is a man who's always seen smoking a cigarette, first appeared as a background character in the first season, and is involved with a shadowy group of conspirators. In the second season finale, the protagonist and a woman who has joined him on his quest get into a Mexican standoff with a murderous character named Alex K. The same woman disappeared mysteriously in Episode 6 of the season. Plenty of creepy men in suits lurk in the dark depths of the forest in:
    Marble Hornets? Or The X-Files?
  • A young girl with no parents, and a special locket as an Orphan's Plot Trinket, dreams of having a loving family. She escapes from her evil guardian, only for a policeman to bring her back to said guardian, who pretends to be overjoyed about it. The second time she gets away, she becomes the subject of an advertisement that causes her to become a Living MacGuffin due to how much money she is worth, especially for the guardian and her hammy male accomplice. The girl ends up with a wealthy father who lives in a mansion, and her friends are given a home. A family musical with its share of Ear Worms, an Award Bait Song, and a Villain Song about wealth.
    It's Annie, right? Are you sure it's not Tom and Jerry: The Movie?
  • A group of kids become friends and a hang out together. As their get to know each other a love triangle develops between them. One vertex of the triangle dies tragically and all of them drift apart. Several years later the one who was supposed to be dead appears before the main character and causes the once separated friends to come back together and repair their broken relationship. Also one of them is a bit of a jerk who wears fabulous clothes.
    Is it Ano Hana The Flower We Saw That Day or is it Tales of Graces?
  • A famous musical film based on a book, widely hailed as a classic. A young girl wearing blue who has a small animal as a pet is unsatisfied with her normal life and sings an "I Want" Song expressing her longing to be in another world. Shortly afterwards, she is transported to a fantasy world that satirizes the real one, and becomes the Only Sane Girl. She ventures through the world largely by "following" something. While there, she meets many different creatures, including a very unique cat, some talking plants, and a loud and intimidating political leader, whom she confronts. An evil woman becomes intent on killing her because of an accident that wasn't the girl's fault. In the end it turns out to have been All Just a Dream.
    Wait, is this Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz?
  • After dying in an accident, a shiftless teenager gets a new job dealing with the supernatural and meets some bizarre new friends. The Grim Reaper turns out to be quite friendly.
    Dead Like Me or YuYu Hakusho?
  • The story centers around an Odd Couple composed of a quirky, immature, dark-haired Mr. Fanservice with unusual eating habits who wears a long billowy coat, and his shorter, lighter haired partner with post-traumatic issues. They investigate murders and have buckets of Ho Yay. The best-known villain of the series is a stylishly creepy Sissy Villain-slash-Evil Genius who just can't stay away from billowy coat boy.
    Yami No Matsuei or Sherlock?
  • This is a series of British TV dramas, composed of multiple very short mini-series, that is based (with notable deviations) on a series of classic British tales that are icons of their genre. The title character is a tall, thin, pale Badass Bookworm with curly dark hair, fangirl-bait cheekbones, and an aloof demeanor. He has a best friend/sidekick/foil who is a shorter, fairer-haired, more approachable Badass Adorable. They have lots of homoerotic subtext. One of the major supporting characters is an attractive in his own right older guy who functions as a Reasonable Authority Figure. A lot of the tension in the second miniseries is due to the machinations of an Irishman who has a thing against the main character. The last episode of the second miniseries involves a serious assault against the protagonist's reputation, and ends in a major character making a heartrending Heroic Sacrifice.
    Sherlock? Or Horatio Hornblower?
  • A Video Game Sequel. The protagonist of the first game has been kidnapped and is being held captive somewhere. Playing as their younger-sibling-figure, you have to rescue them.
    Donkey Kong Country 2, or Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2?
  • This is a famous cartoon series with a large Periphery Demographic and is extremely popular over the internet, spawning hundreds of memes. The main protagonist's (who's VA's first name starts with a T) friends include a ditzy pink Big Eater, and an action-loving girl with a southern accent. There is also a villain who started out Laughably Evil, but turned out to be Not So Harmless Villains, brainwashing some of the main characters and turning the town into an awful hellhole, which was enough to get him onto the Vile Villain, Saccharine Show page. After this episode, the creator had stepped down. Also, in one episode, the friendly yellow character tried to become "more assertive" with the help of a mentor, but ended up losing friends. In another episode, the Workaholic kept on doing their job without getting any sleep, and went crazy from sleep deprivation. In fact, all of the main characters have had a mental breakdown at least once.
    My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic or SpongeBob SquarePants?
  • An incredibly talented human being with obvious mental problems is so enchanted with various fiction works that they decide to live those adventures in Real Life. The first time that human being intends to do so the results are disheartening. However, this human being knows another that seems to be it’s foil: A poor Deadpan Snarker who will get always the worst part in this relationship. Together, they will have adventures in a work of fiction with no definite genre where they will change reality itself.
    Haruhi Suzumiya or Don Quixote?
  • A man wakes up finding he has superpowers which eventually develop into godlike power, turning him into an unstoppable tank. However he finds that he is not the only one, and must stop them from causing chaos in the city (which has been quarantined, resulting in a Crapsack World). Eventually he discovers a shady organization is behind the quarantine, and they want you dead.
    Prototype or inFamous?
  • British science fiction series. A man from a North West English city, with a thing for leather jackets, ends up out of his time period. His immediate superior is a tall, authoritarian individual who is technically dead. The man's colleagues include a guy who thinks he's a bit of ladies' man, and a bumbling but well-meaning character who lacks assertiveness. The man's love interest is also featured, but is not initially part of the team as such. The overall plot concerns the man trying to get home and, at first, to get back with his initial love interest. Along the way, he encounters his mother as a young woman, and meets himself as a child. He also finds out the truth about his apparently absent father. He does eventually return to a version of his home time, but it's not quite the world he left. After a lot of soul-searching, he returns to the other time.
    Red Dwarf or Life On Mars?
  • In this Elemental Powers animated series, whose theme starts with a roll call of the elements in the order "Earth, Fire, Air/Wind, Water," a group of ethnically diverse teenagers (mostly either orphaned or estranged from their parents) unite to save the world after moving in together on an island. The main romance is between a Tomboy with a focus on her power over air and a boy with a Dark and Troubled Past from the big city with power over fire, who bicker as often as they flirt.
    Captain Planet or The Legend of Korra?
  • In a society divided sharply into two classes of people, the class that has been more or less abused and oppressed by the other for years rebels but goes too far, so they come across more as terrorists than as sympathetic rebels despite the fact that they have a point. They make the horrific punishment of members of the ruling class a recurring public spectacle. A foreign hero who lives across a channel of water from the City of Adventure arrives to stop the rebels and rescue their victims and has several loyal friends who willingly form their Hero Secret Service. An inter-class romance is a major part of the plot. A woman from the rebels' class refuses to join them, believing them to be wrong. Two of the main characters lost their parents when they were children, prompting one to get a Promotion to Parent and become very protective of their sibling. A suave, charismatic, cunning, and very talented Manipulative Bastard of a villain wants the much-younger-than-him heroine to work with him, but when she refuses, he takes her loved one(s) hostage to force her hand. Their confrontation ends with the heroine almost passing out from exhaustion at the end of a long journey before being carried to safety by the man she loves, when things have been rocky between them up until then. A major character has a lot in common with Batman.
    The Scarlet Pimpernel or The Legend of Korra?
  • A Deconstructive Parody in which a young man, well past the age of his chosen genre becomes so obsessed with the genre that he goes off and has delusions that make him consider himself to be a hero in said genre. Much conflict comes from his trying to impose the genre's tropes upon normal situations.
    Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger or Don Quixote?
  • Possibly autistic guy who likes to punch people has an awkward, chaste romance with a Chinese high school girl until he meets a mysterious, blue-haired woman with a dangerous past and cosmic powers given to her by twisted experiments.
    Scott Pilgrim or Zeta Gundam?
  • A parody of a beloved action genre wherein an inexperienced young man becomes a hero in order to stop an Army of Thieves and Whores hired by a ruthless villain to depopulate a small backwater in order to make way for a lucrative transportation route.
    Blazing Saddles or Gekisou Sentai Carranger?
  • Now, let's see. We have: A team of archaeologists that dig out an ancient site that turns out to be a spaceship, a race of incredibly old giant alien beings that have visited Earth time after time in human history and have profoundly influenced human history, a scientist giving a presentation featuring pictograms from different human cultures depicting these beings, a True Believer who is still faithful even after having her beliefs obviously contradicted, a very old man manipulating everything for his own personal gain, a not-quite-human dude whose motives are never entirely clear, and several gruesome deaths.
    What does that add up to? Prometheus? Or is it the 1971 Doctor Who serial The Dæmons?
  • A young man and his female hanger-on are dragged into a fight which blurs the boundaries between good and evil, thanks to a major player on their side being in cahoots with the Big Bad. On the way, they pick up someone investigating supernatural events (which everyone in the region seems to be involved in) with a Heterosexual Life Partner who leaves the plot after a while, a person with a close relationship to said investigator, and a strong person who ends up in a dark, small place often with a small group of people. Ultimately, the female hanger-on realizes that the male lead used to be part of the villainous organization, back when it wasn't outright evil, only for another, worse one to take it's place. The ending is deliberately vague, allowing a more optimstic sequel to be made. In this world, the first game's events are generally unknown outside of legend.
    Persona 2: Innocent Sin or Pokémon Colosseum?
  • It's After the End, and the protagonists end up being part of an attempt to fight for their lives and ultimately go to a better world than this one. Said protagonists are five adults who are given the ability to transform by the "government" of the desolated world. Among them is a Standardized Leader, a bad boy who has a strong emotional tie to some mysterious girl who is important to the plot, a girl who is both Tomboy and Girly Girl at different times, a Plucky Comic Relief, and an intelligent person.
    Power Rangers RPM, or Digital Devil Saga?
  • This story concerns a young, dark haired protagonist who doesn't interact with others a lot. On his journey, he meets a person who is initially quite hostile and has someone close to them injured, a girl who is only vaguely aware of the massive significance she has with the plot and ends up having a god-like version of her be the final obstacle in the story, an upbeat person with mother issues, and a boy with a dark secret that he doesn't reveal until right near the end. There's a dark-haired person who wears sunglasses during one point of the story and is more villainous than he reveals, is ultimately not the Big Bad, and is related to one of the party members. There's also the chance for people to become reach a higher form of existence, but since the basis for this would be one entity linking them together, the girl and the protagonist stop it from happening. Also, the girl has three different versions of her, and changes them throughout the story, but it is barely noticed until it becomes a plot point.
    This is obviously Neon Genesis Evangelion. Or is it Persona?
  • This Cartoon Network Deranged Animation series stars a mammal and a bird who live together in the same house. The bird is smarter than the mammal, though both have very hyper and childlike personalities. The two are commonly antagonized by a guy in red who raises his voice a lot.
    Cow and Chicken or Regular Show?
  • Three incorporeal beings are looking for host bodies until their android shells are ready. Of these three, two are madly in love while the third is bitterly jealous and wants to break them up. He tries to talk the two of them into keeping their host bodies. The lovers are tempted, but realize it would be wrong to take what they promised only to borrow. Help comes from a powerful if unexpected source- also a disembodied being borrowing a host body.
    Is this the episode of Star Trek: The Original Series known as "Return To Tomorrow" or the episode of Gargoyles known as "Possession"?
  • A pair of fictional Star-Crossed Lovers (an Uptown Girl and a young man far below her own class) are separated forever by a real historical, disastrous, nightmarish tragedy involving water that resulted from a combination of the forces of nature and human incompetence/idiocy/laziness/complacency.
    Titanic, or the novel In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden?
  • A group of heroes harness The Power of Friendship to defeat a villain. They must find a set of Macguffins that concentrates their positive moral traits into a semi-physical power. Two of the heroes have younger siblings. At the end, it turns out that the power was inside them all along.
    Were they using the Elements of Harmony? Or the Crests and Tags?
  • This television show features a preteen protagonist who manages to step up and save the day despite being entirely too young to be gallivanting around the world. He is determined to become a master but is easily distracted and often runs off to chase after various strange yet adorable animals. His favorite creatures are a pointy-eared critter from his old home and a big beast with a bit of an attitude problem that the protagonist can fly around on. At one point he is separated from the flying beast and is emotionally distraught until they reunite. He is accompanied on his journey by two teenagers, one of whom is a girl with an affinity for water and a motherly nature, although she has been known to deliver Amusing Injuries to her often exasperating companions. She originally sticks with the protagonist because he can help her get something she needs, but soon grows to care for him. The mutual attraction between her and the younger boy is obvious but the tension won't be resolved anytime soon. The final member is the oldest of the trio, and thinks of himself as very adult and responsible. He felt limited by his responsibility to be the "man of the house" back home, which is partially why he follows the other two on their crazy adventure. He is actually incredibly competent at what he does, a fact that is often obscured by his remarkable ability to act like a total doofus, especially when attractive girls are present. Throughout their travels, our heroes find themselves pursued by a duo of Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains attempting to gain the respect of their superior, who is much more sinister and enjoys standing with his face obscured by shadows.
    Avatar: The Last Airbender? Or the early seasons of Pokémon?
  • A Trope Overdosed animated work depicting the epic, world-changing adventures of a diverse group of undersupervised young people. While there are obvious fantastic elements, it falls well outside the conventions of Medieval European Fantasy. The cast includes a kind, goofy boy on the brink of adolescence who has air-related elemental powers; a snarky teenage boy with a sword who acts as the Manly Man to the air-power boy's Sensitive Guy; a rather femme Action Girl (whose name begins with the letter K) who tries to be the Team Mom to her similarly-aged friends and has unusual supernatural attributes associated with blood; a badass blind girl (whose name begins with a T) who learned an unusual means of nonvisual perception from supernatural creatures; a sympathetic paraplegic boy (whose name also begins with a T) with a flying wheelchair; an adorable flying bovine; a Badass Adorable girl with some Animesque traits who has an Odd Friendship with a much less cutesy young aristocrat; a snarky young lady who is the Dark Feminine of a Light Feminine Dark Feminine pair and wields pointy objects; a highly competitive, manipulative, very troubled adolescent girl with an abusive parental figure, who is associated with the color blue and belongs to a technologically advanced, militaristic culture; a cranky but sympathetic adolescent male from the same culture as the aforementioned troubled girl, who is the descendent of a Messianic figure and something of a foil to the goofy boy with wind powers; and a Dante Basco character. The series has a large, active fandom, including an abundance of Shipping, which the creators are aware of and have affectionately parodied.
    Homestuck or Avatar: The Last Airbender?
  • A talented, highly eccentric individual from a Commonwealth country relocates to a large American city and grows close to a snarky American of a different ethnic background. They fight crime!
    Due South or Elementary?
  • Discomfiting information comes to light when a young adult does some genealogical research and discovers their mixed ancestry.
    The Shadow Over Innsmouth or Secrets & Lies?
  • The hero (Chris Evans), having spent to beginning of the story getting the crap beaten out of him, is injected with an experimental serum as part of a plan to defeat a superpowered villain working for a totalitarian government.
    Captain America: The First Avenger or Push?
  • This Japanese show takes an odd look at the superhero concept. In it, monsters exist in parallel worlds and only those who become superheroes can fight them. Wishes and contracts are involved with being a superhero, though there is no way out of it once the contract is made, and you must fight. One hero in yellow is taken out early on, emphasizing the tone for the story. Another hero, who is the second main character, makes their wish to heal the one they love after they got into a horrible accident, fights with a sword, and dons a cape. One of the pivotal players of the story is a time traveler who is clearly more powerful than the other heroes combined and uses Game Breaker powers. They keep repeating time just to save the one they love most from a tragic death, who in the end tells them to stop, ending the vicious cycle once and for all, at the cost of the person's life.
    Are the heroes Magical Girls or Kamen Riders?
  • The story's central conceit is that mythic figures of childhood like Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, and of course the jolly fat man who brings presents at midwinter are real...not only that, but it's very important that children continue to believe in them, both for their own sake and for humanity's. The villain wishes to dispel that belief and twist children's thoughts to his own purposes. Part of his plan involves invading the Tooth Fairy's realm and stealing the stored teeth. The main protagonist is a relative newcomer to this "mythic figure" business who initially doesn't want to get involved but ultimately becomes devoted to the cause, and the belief of a child close to that person proves instrumental in defeating the villain.
    Rise of the Guardians or Hogfather?
  • This computer-animated franchise is aimed at young girls but has a notable Periphery Demographic due to being more smartly written and not nearly as saccharine as people would expect given previous iterations of the franchise. It is set in a society of magical beings who oversee the changing of the seasons, ruled by a female monarch associated with golden light. The central protagonist is a relative newcomer to her community who has trouble fitting in at first but soon establishes herself as intelligent and resourceful. The other five main female characters include a ditzy girl, a grower of plants with a Southern accent, a girl who is good with animals, a girl who makes things sparkle, and a snarky girl who is very smug about her flying speed. Each entry in the franchise teaches a lesson about friendship.
    We've all seen My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Have we all seen the Disney Fairies movies?
  • This young adult dystopian trilogy, centered around Star-Crossed Lovers, is told in the present-tense and first-person point of view of an older teenaged female protagonist who is named after a plant that starts with the "k-" sound and contains the letters i, a, and ss. This is unsurprising, since her mother works with plants and has an extensive knowledge of them. She lives in a nation ruled by a totalitarian regime that exploits the lower classes to provide the Bread and Circuses to keep the higher classes happy. She is protective of her one younger sibling whose one-syllable name is spelled "consonant"-r-"vowel"-m. She eventually teams up with another young ally whose name contains three letters and reminds someone strongly of aforementioned younger sibling. A Stepford Smiler female chaperone is assigned to watch her every move and keep her in line. She is torn between her feelings for her oldest, best friend and a boy who once made a strong impression on her when they were children but whom she barely noticed until the ruling powers threw them together for their own sadistic entertainment. Both boys, despite being rivals, are devoted to her and just want her to be happy. Their safety at one point requires her pretending she's madly in love with someone. She ultimately falls for the second boy, and the two of them are sent away with other young people from their nation's outlying districts to be sacrificed over a period of several weeks. The story then focuses on survival in the wilderness and having to make difficult, painful choices about weighing your own survival against others'. They are eventually taken in by the rebellion against the totalitarian government, despite the fact that they can't be trusted any more than the government they're rebelling against. There are frequent references to "odds."
    The Hunger Games or Matched?
  • This movie start with the protagonist, an American doctor, and his wife coming to a Western European capital, where he is supposed to attend a scientific conference. They are driven from the airport to their hotel by an immigrant taxi driver. After the two arrive to the hotel, something unexpected and highly unusual happens. This makes the protagonist think there's a criminal conspiracy threatening the life of his wife. The protagonist tries to convince the hotel staff, as well as other local authorities, of the conspiracy, but they remain incredulous. He can't get the American embassy to help him either. So the protagonist has to investigate the mystery alone, in a foreign city whose language he doesn't speak. A black immigrant man leads to him a local woman who might be able to help him. This woman is streetwise, works on the shady side of the law, and is much younger than the middle-aged protagonist, but there is Unresolved Sexual Tension between the two. The woman agrees to help the protagonist if he'll pay her. She takes him to her apartment. While they are there, some bad guys burst in. The protagonist is in the bathroom when this happens, and he manages to escape through the bathroom window and via the roof. He comes back to the apartment and confronts the bad guys. The protagonist finds out the key to the mystery lies in a suitcase he and his wife had lost at the airport. He and the local woman get the suitcase, which indeed helps to solve the mystery. It turns out the conspiracy involves the theft of a top secret technological innovation, as well as Middle Eastern politics. In the finale, one of the two potential love interests for the protagonist is killed, while he gets away with the other. The movie ends with a shot of them leaving the city behind in a moving vehicle.
    Are we talking about Frantic or Unknown?
  • A man and a woman are shipped to a remote location and go on largely separate missions which are, ultimately, crucial to each other's success. Guided to some extent by Mission Control, they acquire keys and make their way towards a common goal before a deadline. Both are pursued by a tall, blond, gleefully hammy man with a long coat, who is known only by a code name. He often gets around by helicopter, but he can and does use other forms of transport when he needs to, and at least once disguises himself as a good guy to dupe someone.
    Is this Metal Gear Solid or Interceptor?
  • A race of peaceful, yet dangerous and bizarre looking aliens that canapparently mate with other species arrives on earth. They can't communicate with humans, and are immediately shut off from the rest of society, referred to by derogatory names. A young man with an unusual name is imprisoned for experimentation after coming into contact with the aliens (or their technology). Eventually, he develops a friendly bond with the aliens. In the end, the creatures rebel against their captor, escape, and the hero is left permanently changed by his time with them.
    District9 or the Goosebumps novel Egg Monsters From Mars?
  • This 3-part dystopian saga tells the story of a heroine's struggle against a totalitarian government Twenty Minutes into the Future. She finds the organized La Résistance against the totalitarian regime in the third installment. As a teenager, she is One of the Boys. She has one sibling. Her closest female companion in the story dies. She is at the center of a love polygon, but all the men who are madly in love with her want her to be happy no matter whom she chooses and are willing to do anything to protect and aid her, protect and aid the man she loves, and help them be together. Her oldest, closest childhood friend Did Not Get the Girl. At one point, she must track down the man she loves in a wilderness full of obstacles; she finds him, but they are eventually separated again for a while. She snaps when the man she loves is taken prisoner by the government. The ending is ambiguous; who survived is clear, but the future of their society is not. The plot features significant references/parallels to figures/stories from Greek mythology.
    Atlas Shrugged, The Hunger Games, or Matched?
  • The protagonist is a 16-year-old tomboy associated with Fire. She is in a Love Triangle with 2 boys with opposite personalities — one is more aggressive, brooding, a fierce and tough warrior, a protective big brother who has been promoted to parent, slowly starts to realize he's in love with her long after they first met, and is also associated with Fire; the other is very strong but also sweet, sensitive, good at cheering people up, fell almost in Love at First Sight with her, and is associated with the green Earth of spring. Her closest female friend is a beautiful, Spoiled Sweet rich girl who is in love with the first boy but doesn't end up with him. The watch-able form of the story premiered in spring of 2012.
    The Hunger Games or The Legend of Korra?
  • Police detective in the Pacific Northwest is blessed or cursed with a magic he doesn't understand and can't control and finds that the world is a much more complicated and less cut-and-dried place than he thought he was. His guide and teacher in using his new magic and navigating this more complex world is a civilian with lupine qualities.
    The Sentinel or Grimm?
  • In this movie from the mid-90s, a highly successful comedian plays a divorced father who feels he doesn't get to spend enough time with his offspring. He assumes an alternate identity that massively changes his appearance, including a great deal of weight gain. This enables him to get the family time he craves, but when his ex-wife and her new paramour discover the situation, they think he's mentally ill and get his visitation rights revoked. Fortunately, the dad is able to use his new role to benefit children in general and prove his sincerity, and he makes peace with the ex and resuming seeing his kid(s), now with a better understanding of what responsible parenthood entails.
    Mrs. Doubtfire or The Santa Clause?
  • The plot of a Les Yay-filled, female-focused fantasy story starts when an insecure girl with a Friendless Background and No Social Skills starts at a new school, and is soon taken under the wing of a happy-go-lucky, naive Genki Girl whose colour motif is pink, and who has been training her skills in magic. The offer to become a magic-user is given to our protagonist as well, and she accepts it - but after initially doing this favour for the benevolent-seeming Well-Intentioned Extremist villain, she goes on the run to use her magical powers to rebel against a world-spanning corrupt system. After she tries and fails several times to stop her naive friend from helping out the villain, she ends up stoic and cynical. The story ends with the protagonist's friend finally understanding what the protagonist had been trying to tell her all along, and in a moving scene, they promise to never forget each other, and the protagonist's friend promises to finally succeed in what the protagonist had spent the story attempting to do. A subplot of the story concerns a magic-using girl who is slowly driven to evil by her love for a boy who can't love her back.
    Is this story Puella Magi Madoka Magica or Wicked?
  • A small, fictional town in rural Japan has been plagued by a string of serial killings with which the police have not been able to find any leads to. It just so happens that around the same time as these killings unfold, a group of high school students awaken to a power that allows them to call forth a manifestation of their will that can fight alongside them. With these new found powers, these students hope to uncover the mystery behind these killings, and bring the culprit to justice. They share Kappei Yamaguchi, Romi Park, and Showtaro Morikubo in their voice actor list and they both have Fighting Game adaptations.
    JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond Is Not Crash, or Persona 4?
  • The main character's caretaker initiates a genocide against the people he despises, so he and his plucky friends must save everybody before things get out of hand. It's a musical and the Villain Song is very famous.
    Is it The Hunchback of Notre Dame or South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut?
  • A streetwise redhead from New York City ends up in a new land full of strange and funny characters. Our hero introduces his new friends to many things from New York and a sort-of Culture Clash ensues. Two of the friends are an egotistical Jerkass and a scientific genius and inventor.
    Is it Futurama or Mike, Lu & Og?
  • An Ordinary High School Girl discovers a supernatural family. She ends up in a Love Triangle with two guys of feuding species (an aloof Pretty Boy and a macho dude with Shapeshifting issues) who still manage to overcome their prejudices when the girl is in trouble. She marries one of them eventually.
    Is it a popular novel or manga?
  • In a place where old-style values are a way of life, Sinister Minister accuses a sweet innocent of witchcraft and leads a hunt to burn and lynch him.
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame or ParaNorman
  • Long ago, the solar system had a Golden Age, every planet had life, and the Moon was its capital. A great darkness escaped; and killed off all worlds but Earth; and only the child of the ruler of the Moon was left. Centuries later, that child brings together a force to defeat the darkness and bring about a new Golden Age.
    Are we talking about Sailor Moon or The Guardians of Childhood ?
  • A race of Well-Intentioned Extremist aliens comes to Earth to halt the eventual destruction of the universe. Unfortunately for humanity, this plan involves raising an army of the undead. The aliens give several Breaking speeches telling the human protagonists that they really should've been more careful in their endeavors when they discover the full depths of the aliens' terrifying plan. The story ends after the climactic final battle, with the zombie army being dissolved. This production is by far the best-known work of its creator.
    One is a Japanese anime; the other is an American movie made by "the worst director of all time", and is often considered the Trope Codifier for So Bad, It's Good.
  • A certain young girl remains stubbornly optimistic despite the misery and horror of her surroundings in this anime produced by Studio Shaft and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, even when her own normal life comes to an end. Through her sacrifice she is able to save several critically depressed girls from their own misery. No one remembers her now, but she still kindly watches over her acquaintances. This anime stars Ai Nonaka, Chiwa Saito and Yuko Goto among others (including Ryōko Shintani, who plays a "normal" girl in this fantastic universe), and is noted for its use of Deranged Animation and cynical worldview (most of the time).
    Is this Puella Magi Madoka Magica or Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei?
  • This is the third film in a series, following a reboot of a franchise. While the first movie was a Darker and Edgier Deconstruction of the source material, by this point, Decon-Recon Switch is in full effect, the film explores the positive role the protagonist plays in the world. The protagonist is menaced by a brilliant villain with a weird accent and facial deformity, who wants to destroy everything the protagonist stands for. Finally, while earlier entries in the series had avoided this kind of thing, this film includes a popular character from the source work as well as another character who is revealed to be such via a Full Name Reveal.
    Skyfall or The Dark Knight Rises?
  • Humanity is threatened with extinction by the recently-awakened lifeforms who were meant to become the planet's dominant species before the microorganisms that most life evolved from arrived on Earth. It's up to a group of dangerously maladjusted young people to either save the world or put it out of its misery.
    Neon Genesis Evangelion, of course. But have you ever heard of the Rifters Trilogy?
  • A charming ne'er-do-well saves the life of an adorable furry nonhuman, who thereafter is his loyal companion. The aforementioned rogue gets mixed up in a sympathetically portrayed rebellion. With Character Development, he becomes less self-centered, becomes a true hero of the rebellion (despite being a Badass Normal in a world in which supernatural powers exist), and wins the heart of a princess. The evil ruling regime is lead by two characters with extraordinary abilities: a manipulative lightning-wielder and a Fallen Hero Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds whose turn to the dark side was driven by a combination of Love Makes You Evil and the other villain's machinations.
    Oz: The Great and Powerful or Star Wars?
  • The Hero lives in an isolated rural area. However, his adopted father has been adventuring abroad and taken home a sword which the hero later uses. The hero is informed by The Obi-Wan that he is important to the fight against a great enemy to the world. He flees from the enemy with a few friends. Later The Obi-Wan makes a Heroic Sacrifice but eventually he/she gets better.
    The Lord of the Rings or The Wheel of Time?
  • The protagonist is a prince who just can't wait to be king; the villain is his close relative and Evil Prince who plans to steal the throne from him and is such a successful Manipulative Bastard that the prince trusts him unquestionably. The villain forms an alliance with his people's enemy, only to double-cross them at the end. The villain tricks the hero into going somewhere beyond the kingdom's borders, where his father has expressly forbidden him to go, and he almost gets killed before said powerful father swoops in and saves him. After this, the prince leaves his kingdom to live in a different, very unfamiliar place, where he meets his love interest and a wise, older mentor, while the villain takes over the kingdom. The villain also tricks the prince into believing he killed his father, even though the audience is shown this is a blatant lie. The prince returns to his kingdom after some other residents leave and find him, learns the truth about his father, defeats the villain in a one-on-one fight on a ledge (from which the villain falls but doesn't die), and has not only grown stronger as a result of his trials but learned that being king doesn't mean doing whatever you want to whoever you want all the time but comes with great responsibility.
    The Lion King or Thor?
  • A man with prodigious powers of illusion and trickery is prohibited from entering the United States, though he dearly wishes to, referring to it as "going home." Meanwhile, a younger man's father has just died in Australia, leaving behind unresolved issues in their relationship, though they were close enough that the son has taken up his father's profession. The son takes his father's body on a flight from Sydney to LAX for the funeral. Once over the ocean, though, the son becomes ensnared in the illusionist's scheme. He's subjected to a series of surreal experiences, culminating in a final reconciliation with his father. Along the way, he's followed by a mysterious series of six numbers, and ends up having to enter them into a device, without ever really understanding what's going on. On the other side of the fourth wall, the audience is surprised by the final revelation that, though parts of the story were illusions, the whole thing did not turn out to be a dream (that we know of, anyway). On the other hand, since the father and son's last name refers to an ancient profession associated with Jesus's apostles, maybe Everybody Is Jesus in Purgatory.
    Wait, whose subconscious are we going through exactly? Robert Fischer's or Jack Shephard's?
  • A young man recieves the power to transform into a superhero through less than heroic means. Refusing to serve the evil forces than created his powers the new hero rebels and fights against them and in the end saves the world. As a bonus, both heroes are known for riding motorcycles, a trait that is shown in their superhero names.
    Kamen Rider or Ghost Rider?
  • A Law Enforcement Unit/Officer from the distant future is stranded in the present after terrorists they were supposed to execute use a time machine to escape. While in the present they come across a person/people who may have shaped the future they come from. There is much dilemma about how their actions will change the future both for better and worse.
    The unit is from Mirai Sentai Timeranger (and its adaptation Power Rangers Time Force). The lone officer is from Continuum
  • A child starts out treated badly in an orphanage and ends up adopted by a wealthy gentleman. Seeking to kidnap the child are a poor, money-craving person who takes care of orphans, a vicious criminal, and his girlfriend, one of whom has a Heel-Face Turn in at least one version. The story takes place in a famous city, and one of the characters has a dog.
    Is the child named Oliver or Annie?
  • The story centres on the only active human in a vast, almost lifeless expanse; his animal companion; and a slightly sinister character who orders them around, despite not having a proper physical form. The human's ultimate goals are to revive a woman he seems to care for and to return home with her. From a central base, he explores the wastes with his animal companion, while the other one stays back and leads from behind. Almost every living being they encounter is out to kill them. The human does eventually get to 'revive' the girl, and the one without a physical form is reborn with a body. The human even gets a visit from other humans, but they think he's done wrong, then everything falls down and he's back to being almost alone. The other guy might be dead.
    Is the human's name Dave or Wander?
  • This story takes place during a war between Capitalist and Communist nations. Among the more notable characters on the Soviet side are a manipulative leader, a subordinate played by Andrew Divoff whose name starts with "Kr", and a worrysome scientist. The scientist makes an attempt to defect to the Allies.
    Is Divoff's character Kravchenko or Krukov?
  • A Massively Multiplayer Crossover with truckloads of Alternate Continuity Disney characters, a Big Bad obssessed with taking hearts and preventing happy endings, a town no one seems to know where it came from and that no one seems able to leave, where identites are split, erased, stolen, and re-written. Our hero (or at least he thinks he is) is a kid with light brown hair who can travel in and out of worlds as he pleases, armed with The Power of Love, The Power of Friendship, a journal containing the clues behind the massive conspiracy (albeit with plenty of incomplete data and false leads), and a keyring that seems to lock or unlock any door.
    Is that kid Sora or Henry?
  • The story involves peril, adventure, and shadowy conspiratorial goings-on, but the emotional heart centers around an Odd Couple of two men who are very fond of each other. The younger one is a genius Guile Hero with killer cheekbones who has sociopathic tendencies but remains on the side of good (in an antiheroic sort of way) and could even be seen as a bit of an understated woobie (or at least a sympathetic Broken Ace). The older one is a bit shorter, more cute than male-model handsome, very competent in his own skill set, and rather nicer than his partner. One of the guys has an Ambiguous Disorder. The other once served in the military and is an excellent shot. A sexually ambiguous dark-haired young man with a fondness for messing with the guys' heads makes an appearance as a villain. Who are this dynamic duo?
    Adamska and Hal, in Stray, or Sherlock and John, in Sherlock?
  • This video game from the Noughties, often considered the third in its series, features a protagonist whose name is derived from the way he goes about missions and the name of a reptile. He is sent on a mission to a faraway land, because his superiors believe him to be the only one capable of doing it. He starts by chasing a woman who has handed some valuable items from the protagonist's land to a depraved villain with sinister intentions for them. He is assisted by, among others, an English-accented military man with a lot of Bond references about him, a large but intelligent individual who provides equipment support, and a blonde woman who appears to be straddling both sides. Eventually, he arrives at the villain's mountain base, scorches them and blasts them into something. The villain somehow survives to return for a vehicular battle, after which they finally meet their burning demise. The female antagonist is ultimately killed in a final showdown at a lake.
    The protagonist: is he Naked Snake or Spyro the Dragon?
  • A legendary hero takes on a quest for a blonde girl and, accompanied by his regular comrade, sets out to help her. Shortly after arriving, he befriends a young girl under the tutelage of a professor, and begins assembling a force of natives to accomplish his goals. The blonde spends much of the game in the custody of a seemingly cybernetic character whose intentions are unclear to begin with. The Big Bad has an AI under his command, but it doesn't seem to know who to fight with. As the story progresses, the hero grows his fledgling army and travels through a forest, where he encounters a new female companion, before tackling a gigantic mech. Shortly after that, he visits a gloomy town with a dark secret. Before he can get the bottom of what's going on, he has to track down a character by visiting a variety of locations he has previously cleared. The AI turns against its controller, but pays with its 'life'. The blonde is the final boss.
    Is the legendary hero's name Mario or Big Boss?
  • A mere mortal gains ownership of a book of doom that could grant one powers akin to a God. Soon, people start falling victim to the power of the book and an investigation led by a genius of Improbable Age begins. However, they fail to catch the master of the book even though said master is right under their noses as the book of doom continues to fill its pages with its many victims. It doesn't help that other-worldly immortals connected to the book are helping its mortal owner evade capture, and that the owner of the book is an idealistic youth who you would never suspect. Is the book's mortal master named Yagami...
    Light or Hayate?
  • A black-haired teenager attends a boarding school that teaches magic. The teenager learns that they are destined to fight an undead sorcerer they had encountered as an infant and who was responsible for their father's death. The undead sorcerer is revealed to have been very handsome in life, but is now a horrifying monster. Along the way, the teenager must rescue their future love interest from a form of magical captivity and is aided by a snarky atoner who makes no secret of his dislike for them, but aids them anywar for personal reasons. The final battle takes place back at the boarding school where the students and an adult fighting force must team up to prevent the undead sorcerer from recovering his Soul Jar. The story is set in a world where there is a sharp divide between magical and mundane and many muggles don't believe magic exists, and one of the major themes is that using magic to cheat or control death is a violation against the natural order.
    Is the teenager named Harry Potter or Sabriel?
  • An Anti-Hero with a knack for gadgets, living on an incredibly polluted Crapsack World, is trying to reach a Utopia floating in the sky called Elysium. Initially trying to reach Elysium for selfish reasons, he eventually starts trying to get to Elysium for altruistic reasons, culminating in performing a Heroic Sacrifice so the person they care about can get to Elysium.
    Elysium or Deponia?
  • The main character of this surreal, fourth-wall-breaking turn-based RPG is a stoic person wielding a baseball bat who is sent on an important mission by aliens. This mission involves seeking out and defeating "guardians" who protect various important areas. The main character is joined in this mission by three helpers whom he meets during their adventure. After defeating every guardian, the main character next goes to a very strange land based on someone's mind and memories, and after passing several points of no return, the game eventually culminates in an emotional final battle whose outcome is decided by the player themselves.
    OFF or EarthBound?
  • A highly beloved series (to the point where criticizing it online would get you a nigh-universal tongue-lashing) about a man who seeks to travel across the constructed universe he lives in, much of which was based on tales and experiences of Western influence. To accomplish this, he gathers a crew of colorful individuals who he deems as the best at what they do, and becomes the captain of a well-loved ship (to the point where it's considered by most as a crew member itself). But despite being the protagonists, they are essentially considered in their universe, and would also be considered as such in ours, criminals. But their positions as criminals is due in part to being in conflict with the totalitarian, enigmatic, morally-dubious government that rules most of their setting. In fact, a few crew members' backstories consist of tragedy at the hands of this mighty regime, even the captain himself. Now, what was the name of the ship that carried this fine crew?
    Her name has to be Serenity, right? How about Going Merry.
  • A formerly heroic male character loses his mother and gains a high rank in the Evil Empire while also getting a cool Laser Blade and helmet. Some years later, another male character closely related to the first one engages in a tearful "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight with him, and after an incident involving lightning, the first character dies.
    Star Wars' or Mother3?
  • A famous baseball player becomes disgraced after his misses a ball that costs his team the game. He is scorned and attacked by everyone around him to the point he attempts suicide, but in the end, he is given another chance and wins in the end.
    Is it the Kingdom Hospital episode "Butterfingers" or The Simpsons episode "The Boys of Bummer".
  • In this classic flash-animated cartoon, a terrific athlete gets into various hijinks with a nerdy bookworm, a quiet nature-lover, a store owner, a physics-bending comic relief, a rude magician, a pint-sized punching-bag, and the ruler of the land, who all tend to hang out by a tree. Letters are an integral part of the series and are treated as Serious Business by the leader of a group of friends. One of the main villains is an s-shaped dragon made out of various animal parts.
    Homestar Runner or My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic?
  • The protagonist is a single woman in her late 20s working as a journalist for a Japanese media conglomerate. She is characterized as being assertive and driven, which helps her achieve professional success and distinguishes her from the other, more traditional office ladies at the business. However, this also means that she must deal with the ingrained sexism of Japanese society, a situation which is compounded by her markedly blunt, unfeminine personality and interests. In addition, she finds additional troubles with her personal life, as her desire to succeed leads to great amounts of stress and periods of self-doubt. Although she has an attractive, successful boyfriend who appears to be a good catch, he is just as career-oriented as she is, leading to difficulties in their relationship. They can go months between seeing each other, and even when they do, communication is strained and sex is unsatisfying to non-existent.
    Kimi Wa Petto or Hataraki Man?
  • The crew of a ship in deep space wakes up to find some oddities and discrepancies, including inexplicable injuries. They come to the conclusion that their memories of the past few days have been erased, and despite oblique warnings by a mechanical crew member, decide to investigate further. They discover that they themselves willingly allowed their memories to be erased, to protect themselves.
    Red Dwarf episode "Thanks for the Memory" or Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Clues"?note 
  • A show touted by fans as a Deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre, featuring the eponymous Magical Girl who wears a pink-and-white Minidress of Power and happens to be the personification of Hope. The Transformation Trinket is a gem that's actually a Soul Jar fashioned into a piece of jewelry. She gets her powers from a white-haired individual who becomes increasingly menacing as the series progresses. She also has a dear friend who becomes the very thing they were fighting against, and meets a black-haired person who is made out to be a villain at first, but eventually the two of them grow very close. At the end, she forfeits her human form in order to save the world.
    Is it Puella Magi Madoka Magica? Or Princess Tutu?
  • Long ago, in a Crapsack World, mankind was terrorized by large, monstrous creatures. Human society managed to survive against these monsters, and eventually creates some vague semblance of peace. One day, a superior monster massacres an unprepared town, and allows its weaker kin to resume their devastating attacks on human settlements. Our protagonist, who survived the massacre, decides to join the fight against these creatures. However, they discover that they have the ability to wield the powers of the monsters they fight, making them mankind's best hope to win this war.
    Are these monsters dragons or Titans?
  • In this Pixar movie, two people meet for the first time, don’t really care about each other but don’t exactly dislike each other either. One of them is convinced he can do something which he clearly cannot and the other thinks he’s an idiot for believing it. Shortly after, they clash and develop a drawn-out rivalry during which the dreamer slowly gains the upper hand. When the realist does something stupid, the dreamer reacts, things escalate, their lives get turned completely upside down, and they have to reluctantly work together to get them back. The dreamer eventually is close to despair by learning from a more reliable source than his companion that his dream is impossible for him to reach, and deliberately evokes a Fly Or Die situation in which he fails at what he’s dreaming about and comes/believes to come close to getting himself killed. The realist goes after him with the help of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. The dreamer also has a Heroic BSOD which the realist gets him out of by revealing his own insecurities. They then save each other’s lives, team up to get out of a very dire situation in a great showdown, and end up moving and living together as best friends.
    Toy Story or Monsters University?
  • Temporal anomalies cause prehistoric creatures to arrive in the modern world. An elite team is sent to solve the problem, which leads to them discovering that said temporal anomalies and the people who cross into them end up causing ecological/temporal disaster. Humans battle the dinosaurs while attempting to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. A mysterious woman repeatedly appears with an ulterior motive and seemingly hostile intent, but may have a connection with one of the protagonists and be the key to the whole strange situation.
    Primeval or Dino Crisis 2?
  • A fantasy warrior character is somehow transported to the real world to live with his creator and proceeds to turn said creator's life upside down. He slowly takes over the creator's life by wooing his girlfriend, winning over his friends and taking his job, after which the creator transports himself into the fantasy world to take the character's place.
    Terry Pratchett's Final Reward or Dragonbored?
  • This shorter first installment of a Sequel Series to a popular fantasy epic is set after a lengthy Time Skip and follows a new generation of heroes in a world which was previously early-industrial and is now a mix of early modern and Steam Punk. It is primarily set within a single city, and the plot focuses heavily on social upheaval within said city. Three of the main protagonists are a serious, responsible male, a joking, clownish male (both of whom have magical powers) and an elegant rich girl who can handle herself in a fight. The Big Bad is a charismatic masked revolutionary with weird powers who relies heavily on theatricality in his methods. He has a wealthy backer who is related to one of the heroes.
    Is it The Legend of Korra Book One or The Alloy of Law?
  • This attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot theme park — just head for the imagination-themed pavillion — tells the tale of a Blithe Spirit with magical powers who arrives in a place desperately in need of fun, whimsy, and color. The person in charge, a Large Ham (and played by a performer likely recognized by the adult viewers for their other work), is aghast at the magic being woven by Our Hero and tries to get them under control. But Our Hero knows that they just need to get in touch with a hidden, lovely part of themselves, and — singing an Ear Worm song all the way — makes a grateful friend of them and transforms the setting in the process. There's some Stuff Blowing Up, Everything's Better with Rainbows, and the final scene is set amongst the stars.
    Captain EO or Journey Into Imagination with Figment? (From 2010-13, these attractions played alongside each other!),
  • The main characters face off against the ultimate Big Bad of the story, who stays in the background for most of said story. Try as they might, the main characters find that they can't defeat the Big Bad, due to said Big Bad being the Anthropomorphic Personification of something that will always exist as long as there are living things around to experience it. One of the main characters then manages to at least stop the Big Bad temporarily by performing a Heroic Sacrifice to form a seal around the moon.
    Is this the ending to Soul Eater or Persona 3?
    For certain values of "Main Character" and "Sacrifice/Seal", this could also apply to Final Fantasy IV.
  • The honourable leader of a noble house takes on a dangerous new job on the behest of a ruler, even though he is well aware of the danger. He ends up being betrayed and losing his life to an enemy house with unusual sexual predilections. However, his son, and said son's mother survive, and lead the fight against the murderous enemy house. It also has a leader with a powerful, prophesied child going native and learning to control powerful animals. Incest abounds.
    Is it A Song of Ice and Fire or Dune?
  • To quote an article by Chris Sims: "Years after a nuclear war obliterates society as we know it and gives rise to a strange world with stranger creatures, the last human boy on Earth, with flowing blonde hair and blue shorts, wanders the land with his pal, an older, wiser talking dog, fighting for good and trying to do the right thing and live up to the heroes of the past."
    Is he talking about Adventure Time or Kamandi?
  • A game memetically about collecting accessories and headgear that also happens to contain combat.
    Dragon Quest IX note  or Team Fortress 2?
  • This humorous science fiction story, complete with mystery, horror, romance, and major characters who are ghosts, is notable for its complicated plot that relies on all sorts of shenanigans involving time, space, and computer programming. The writing is deceptively accessible for how dense it is - every time you reread, you'll pick up something new. Also, it contains disappearing cats and a canny, eccentric character named Dirk. Its creator, who was already attracting attention for a previous work at the time that he began writing this one, is prolific but has been known to suffer from the occasional Schedule Slip, partly due to his tendency to take on several projects at once. While his is not a household name everywhere, there are quite a few fannish circles in which everybody expects everybody else to have at least a passing familiarity with his work as a matter of course.
    Homestuck or Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency?
  • A protagonist haunted by the past leads a group of soldiers to recover the survivors of an accident on a deserted island. Along the way, they discover that the island is home to super-intelligent, genetically modified apes that prove to be the result of experiments gone awry. The hero must lead the survivors out, with the killer simians hounding their every step.
    The Matthew Reilly novel Hell Island, or the film Primal Force staring Ron Perlman?
  • The hero puts something incredibly valuable into his jacket pocket, then carelessly loans his jacket to... er... either a kangaroo or a beautiful young woman.
    Titanic or Kangaroo Jack?
  • In this Heroic Fantasy series, an Action Girl assassin goes undercover as a minor noblewoman in the court of an Evil Overlord (who is known only by his title and used strange magic forbidden to the lower classes to become a powerful conqueror), in the process attending several dances and balls. She must mask both her competence and her secret heritage, from which she derives her supernatural abilities. She gradually discovers that an ancient evil thought defeated a thousand years ago is stirring, and she may be the only one who can defeat it. Eventually she gets a dog. Another main character is an idealistic young nobleman with a tyrannical, abusive father. In the backstory, one of the protagonists was sent to an infamous death camp but managed to survive.
    Does the assassin kill the Evil Overlord or does she become his champion?
  • In this UK-centric Massive Multiplayer Crossover, a monstrous being based on a Harry Potter character threatens Londoners, but is defeated by the awesome power of Mary Poppins. A character from recent James Bond films also appears in the work, but isn't really involved in this storyline.
    League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2008 or the opening ceremony to the London 2012 Olympic Games?
  • The villains of this story are Eldritch Abominations running an Ancient Conspiracy who have constructed an artificial country and populated it with tens of millions of humans whose only purpose is to die in one momentous instant. The sheer volume of death occurring at a singular moment in time will force open a metaphysical "heaven's door" that will then force God to descend down to the earth. Also involved are superhumans running around with magical powers thanks to a tattoo somewhere on their bodies that were bestowed upon them by said Eldritch Abominations.
    Fullmetal Alchemist or Final Fantasy XIII?
  • A beautiful, kind, and spunky, if somewhat flighty and possessive, blonde finds out right before graduation that her boyfriend is breaking up with her. Undeterred, she drops her plans for a fashion career and follows him to law school (without alerting him to this until she gets there). Once enrolled, however, her stylish clothing and intense personality set her apart from the careerist-minded crowd and leave her feeling isolated, and her ex shows no desire to get together again. There is a Nice Guy who might just be an alternate romance option, though...
    Legally Blonde or Golden Time?
  • In this campy children's film, an ordinary teenage protagonist is constantly annoyed by their younger sibling, until they inadvertantly cause said sibling to fall into danger at the hands of a group of mythical beings led by a villain with an excellent singing voice (played by a famous musician, no less), who the protagonist had heard about, but didn't think was real. The film takes place over the course of a single day, as one of the two parties is under a time limit to complete their goal.
    Is the time limit on the protagonist or the antagonist?
  • This film is a low-budget, black-and-white story of people fighting against reanimated corpses. Because it's in the Public Domain it may be repeatedly aired by community-access TV. Both films are generally considered epitomes of a level of quality.
    Really good quality or really bad quality?
  • A collection of these comparing various horror movies to the Nancy Drew games can be found here.
    The Haunting of Castle MalloyThe Orphanage: A male character goes missing, female character remains convinced that they can be found although other characters are doubtful; both take place in rundown buildings kind of in the middle of nowhere—said female characters own them because the properties have history and sentimental values to them; also they both involve hauntings perpetrated by orphans.
  • In a war between Capitalist and Communist nations (again), the United States faces an invasion brought by the Russian army, in an act of bitter revenge. Two Russians, Vladimir and Yuri, are the most violent of rivals (and sometimes, enemies). The second entry in this game's franchise takes place mostly in the United States, while the third is a tad bit more international. One American isn't trustworthy.
    Who is the Big Bad? Vladimir or Yuri?
  • There is a war going on between three factions: The United States, China, and a third faction whose home nation is never clear, but nonetheless have enough support and resources to be a superpower. In some cases, The United States and China team up, and in others, the third faction manages to manipulate both sides and their technologies.
    Is the third faction Cordis Die or The Global Liberation Army?
  • This dark work features protagonists with a Meaningful Name struggle to survive against the deadly environment using improbable physics and jetpack. At beginning of the story, the only thing between the protagonists and death is a wall, then the wall breaks and someone close to the protagonist dies. Later on, the protagonist suffered a near death experience and gave up on life, but a Helpful Hallucination came to reignite the protagonist's will to live. A secondary protagonist who is stronger than the main protagonist supports the main protagonist at all cost. Muscle memories saves the main protagonist from a certain death. Characters who the audiences is tricked into not dying end up dying in a Tear Jerker scene. The moving version of the work debut in 2013, features Scenery Porn, Crowning Music of Awesome, more than four years of planning, criticized by some when the trailer first came out, and is considered a Sleeper Hit.
    Is the moving frames Attack on Titan or Gravity?
  • The ongoing story of a team of friends, including the braggart speedster, the one who only wants to bring joy to everyone, the Large Ham, the stereotypical Southerner who's smarter than they look, the rogue with better fashion sense than the rest, and others. Occasionally they defeat hellish foes with the power of teamwork, but most of the time they just go about their day jobs.
    Team Fortress 2 or My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic?
  • Near the beginning of the story, a 10-year-old boy finds out that he is the chosen one. Later, he is told by a girl about his age that he must go out and collect three special gems (One of which is red and associated with fire, one of which is blue, and one of which goes with the theme of the other two), and take them to a sacred place that one would associate with religion. This task would be fairly simple, except that the main villain has has been causing problems since before the hero started his task, forcing said hero to overcome many obstacles. The girl knows how to play a special song on the ocarina, and this becomes a plot point. The hero may or may not have multiple love interests.
    Pokemon 2000 or the first part of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?
  • At the beginning of the story, there are two siblings. One is shy and sheltered, and has blond hair; the other is more adventurous and has red hair. Events separate them from each other as well as their parents. Three years later, the younger sibling goes on an adventure with three friends, including someone raised by strange magical creatures as well as an animal sidekick; this adventure eventually leads to them finding the older sibling, who had gone into the mountains and never returned. The two siblings have grown apart in this time, and the elemental powers of one end up almost killing the other, but by the end the two have reconciled and things turn out well.
    Frozen or MOTHER 3?
  • A couple friends head to Las Vegas for a fun time, and after a night of drunken partying, wake up in their disheveled hotel room to discover they've apparently gotten married to some Vegas cocktail waitresses. As they attempt to make sense of what happened and get out of their new marriages, they face such obstacles as show tigers and a celebrity boxer.
    The Hangover or "Viva Ned Flanders"?
  • This popular film starring Mark Hamill involves the potential misuse of a powerful space-based energy weapon, which is later turned against our heroes. The film serves as the finale of the main protagonist's story arc as he fully comes into his own and out of the shadow(s) of his predecessor(s). Story arcs set earlier but published after help show how the world came to be the way it was when we first met said protagonist, including information on his very birth. Clearly, this is Return of the J-...
    ...-edi or ...-oker?
  • This anime film revolves around a universe that's very different compared to the series its based off. The film also involves an omnipotent goddess' powers being stolen by her otherwise loyal and logical friend that became emotionally unstable due to a "Groundhog Day" Loop. With that power, the friend creates a world where it's more normal and peaceful life for the main characters, even though that 1) they know full well that this world will not last and 2) one of them manages to be aware of the situation.
    Now, was what happened in that film considered a disappearance or a rebellion?
  • A movie about a bunch of soldiers from a well-known, old world. They are the first ones sent to a new world recently discovered, with the special mission to bring back home a precious mineral. One of them manage to approach the local chief's daughter, who is very close to nature, and they quickly fall in love. Meanwhile, their respective people do not get along well and finally decide to attack each other at the climax.
    Pocahontas or Avatar?
  • Once upon a time there was this guy who used the same number of swords as hands with a dead mother. He was trying to save the world from this Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who intends to use the goddess that they always worshipped in a way to destroy the world, there is rampant racism, especially towards those who were half-human and half-humanoid-other-person, a family in which said Woobie Destroyer of Worlds was involved in, with the help of a Deconstructed Mary Sue who can be a vessel for a goddess, and his pessimistic, extremely intelligent half-blood mage best friend, one of whom has silver hair. Is this Tales of Symphonia or Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn?
  • A guy is so inspired by the works of super heroes that he decides to become one. Time and time again though, he gets his ass kicked over and over, thus causing people in the city who are better at fighting than he is to persuade him to stop fighting. It gets to the point where the main character does something that manages to get positive attention from the normal crowds, causing them to believe in heroes. The main character, now kinda famous, is then forced to fight an even bigger villain that he never expected. He wins, of course, but not without some consequence. Kickass or Samurai Flamenco?
  • A recent cartoon reboot based on a franchise originating in the '80s, spearheaded by producers and writers who've had previous experience in acclaimed animation. The series begins with a story arc spanning two episodes, and the first episode opens with the mention of a plot-significant historical event that most citizens no longer believe is relevant to the modern day. The main character's mentor is the ruler of the land, and the villain is the mentor/ruler's sibling, who rebelled in a fit of jealousy only to be defeated and sealed away for years. Now they've returned to take revenge and conquer the world, and only the hero and their friends can stop them. That's My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic right? Or wait... Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures?
  • A young person who is closely related to the family that rules the known world, but has grown up in exile due to the actions of a parent, has to travel to the capitol for the imminent election of a new emperor, who will succeed the dying current emperor. There are two candidates and the loser will die. There, the protagonist has a dangerous romance while threachery at court is afoot. The world is ruled by a pale-skinned elite which places a high value on blood purity and the local priesthood has suppressed the worship of a goddess who was once held in high esteem, but the story ends with this old order collapsing due to the actions of the protagonist. There's also quite a bit of incest involved.
    The Stone Dance of the Chameleon or Inheritance Trilogy (N. K. Jemisin's, not Paolini's)?
  • The main character of the story is a member of nobility, who has spent a long time living a sheltered life in their home. One of the few people they get a chance to meet from outside is a man with whom they develop a close relationship, believing that said man understands them better than anyone else. Not everyone agrees that this relationship is a good one, however, and partly as a result of a disagreement about the issue there is an explosion of magical power, and the two are separated while the main character goes on a journey. During this journey, other characters also express their skepticism about the man, while the main character continues to defend him. While for much of the story the doubts seem unfounded, it is eventually discovered that the man was really using the main character for his own ends, and he ends up becoming the primary villain of the story.
    Frozen or Tales of the Abyss?
  • In a Medium Blending sitcom episode involving children's toys, we are treated to an alternate universe. However one of the characters, thanks to a toy, begins to get visions and flashbacks of another world. After some digging around, he discovers the world he knows is only a fantasy caused by a combination of injury and the harsh reality of growing up. The character decides living in a fantasy world based around toys is better, but after realizing that there are things that only the real world can offer he knows that he must go back to reality.
    Community episode "G.I. Jeff" or The Simpsons episode "Brick Like Me"?
  • A young man encounters a deadly war machine when least expected. During their time together, the machine protects the young man while the young man helps the machine understand humanity, teaching him that he can go beyond his programming. During the climax, the machine sacrifices himself in order to prevent a nuclear armageddon.
    Terminator 2: Judgment Day or The Iron Giant
  • This Nippon Ichi game has a notably darker tone than most other games by this company, with violent deaths and sexual abuse being important to the plot. It begins with the player creating a name for the main character, though no matter what is chosen, the true importance of this name isn't revealed until near the end. Your main ally, and the character that gives the protagonist most of their strength, is foul-mouthed, desires world domination, and views most events through the protagonist's eyes due to limitations on their powers. You are able to encounter and befriend other unique characters over the course of the game, including a ditzy girl with some beastly features and a lot of determination, and a fellow with some farm animal features that acts friendly and naive until his true intentions are revealed. The game's grand finale takes place soon after exploring a world other than your own, and the ultimate Big Bad is considered to be a god.
    Soul Nomad & the World Eaters or The Witch and the Hundred Knight?
  • In a time of myths and legends, The Hero and his band of misfits stumble into a plot by the Big Bad to obtain a great reward by opening one of a number of "gates" and freeing a great menace that will destroy humanity and even threaten the gods (as the Sealed Evil in a Can already once proved against the Greek gods) if unleashed, at the behest of the patron god of one of the main villains. The hero had previously hunted down and fought another one of the villains for more personal reasons, at the time unaware of his involvement in the wider plot; the Big Bad is one of those two. Now the hero and his team must go on a wild goose chase across the world to get to each gate and stop the Big Bad from freeing the world-threatening menace. However, not everything is how the Big Bad thinks it is...
    Is it the Age of Mythology single-player campaign? Or The Order of the Stick?
  • In a time of change and upheaval, our main character - a man of great strength with an easily-recognisable mark on his person - finds himself unable to escape his past, and a woman's death weighs heavily on his conscience and influences his actions. He constantly crosses paths with a dogged police officer with an unshakeable moral code. In the meantime, following the death of a popular politician, a motley group of revolutionaries with a remarkably charismatic leader plan an uprising against the ruling government, and a brooding young man joins them - and for the sake of the girl that likes him, the main character must bring him back, all while trying not to kill anybody in the process. Other supporting cast members include a street urchin and pickpocket with absurd courage, an innkeeper with old ties to aforementioned brooding young man, and a crossdresser with a ton of unrequited love issues.
    Les Misérables, or Rurouni Kenshin's Kyoto Arc?
  • In the Final Battle, the original main villain finds himself rejected by his own family. He is horribly mutated into a monstrous reptilian creature that breathes purple fire, and his body is possessed by a malevolent black/purple-themed demon who has been manipulating him the whole time and now has hijacked the plot, becoming the true main antagonist. The possessed villain is forced to keep fighting a battle he no longer wants to fight, and the heroes engage him in final battle atop a great tower in a major city. Upon his defeat, a wave of "light" energy is released, cleansing the city of the demon's "dark" energy.
    Dino Attack RPG or Ninjago?
  • In the penultimate episode, the main characters are trapped in an Eldritch Location with a malevolent spirit which has cast illusions of their worst fears brought to life. For one character, his greatest fear is the death of a loved one, which leads to him suffering a Heroic BSOD even while she, unaffected by the illusions, tries desperately to snap him out of it. In the final episode, she is Killed Off for Real, sending him into a depression. He also learns that his days are numbered and begins to undergo Rapid Aging. In a Thanatos Gambit, he ultimately performs a Heroic Sacrifice to banish that malevolent spirit.
    Dino Attack RPG or Being Human (Remake)?
  • Our main character is a guy who survives an attempt on his life via poison, but not without unintentional alternate effects on his body. From there, he goes to return to normal. The primary villains are a tall thin person (Who also happens to be the person who caused the main character's poisoning) and a big guy who isn't as smart as the tall person.
    Is this Detective Conan or The Emperor's New Groove ?
  • A detective haunted by strange nightmares tracks a Serial Killer who uses antlers as a calling card. But is the detective a robot or just really screwed up?
  • A shooter set Next Sunday A.D., concerning a growing ultranationalist power in Russia, who eventually take over, kidnap their own President, and launch attacks on America and its allies. Along the way the player watches their character die to a bomb they can do nothing about, is supported by a character from previous games in the series, chases after a gun runner or two, performs covert operations against Russian forces before they're officially at war, infiltrates a cargo ship, gets caught in a sandstorm, watches civilians in London die horribly, rescues the Russian President, and goes on to take care of the men behind the whole incident in the final mission. And from the real-world side of things: the game includes a metric ton of Cool Guns with almost-impossible numbers of accessory rails and attachments to put on them, the game only receives patches within one year of release, the devs don't particularly care to make the PC version work as well as the console versions at release, and the patches generally ignore actual bugs while introducing new ones.
    The Modern Warfare trilogy, or Ghost Recon: Future Soldier?
  • Not only did the Greek gods really exist, but they survived into the modern era. To prevent the Big Bad Cronus from rising against them once more, the pantheon establish an Extranormal Institute for their descendants- most of whom have supernatural abilities like precognition, Super Strength, and...being really, really attractive. (The suckiness of that last one is often lampshaded.) The series' protagonists are a clique of such students, and the plot meshes their struggles to defeat Cronus with the difficulties of normal teenage life.
    Percy Jackson and the Olympians or Class of the Titans?

    Cited Entries 
Cracked
  • This movie is set just before Christmas in a big city. A wise-cracking protagonist has family problems. There's a humorous airport scene in the first act. Our erstwhile hero has to take on a bunch of criminals who use a disguise to get into the hero's sanctum. In defeating them, the hero employs the glass-from-below variant of Agony of the Feet, utters bad catchphrases from an even older movie, and performs at least one Building Swing. Although Police Are Useless, the hero gets a last-minute assist from an Ineffectual Loner with his own problems. Although we don't know about the sidekick, at least the hero's family problems are solved at the end. This movie goes on to produce three sequels, none of which are as popular as the original.
    Die Hard or Home Alone. Cited at the start of this article about the latter.

Caiaphas The Sympathist
  • In a World where there exists a discrimination between two big groups of the population, a man who grew up among the less-fortunate group and believes that they are all being oppressed by the other group dons a mask due to horrible facial scarring resulting from this oppression and rallies the members of his group to rise up in a rebellion against the others. An outsider who originally had no plans to get involved in this conflict ends up being a key player in it, in no small part because of their desire to protect their friends. Along the way, the stranger learns that the masked rebel is being supplied with weapons from a corrupt dealer and focuses a significant part of his fury against a public figure with close ties to the state who turns out to be as bad as (if not worse than) the masked rebel. After this figure's malevolent nature is revealed to the public by a female subordinate, a confrontation occurs between him and the masked rebel which is a crucial point in the story.
    Doctor Who and the Caves of Androzani or The Legend of Korra?
  • In a city in an alternate-universe Earth, a group heavily based on rapid technological advancement and its introduction for use by the bulk of the population is suspected of partaking in less-than-savory activites by a loner. As he gradually finds out, this group is in fact in cahoots with the corrupt police force, running an operation to take poor people and criminals off the street in for their own operation, which entails their transformation into part-machine beings that have had most of their human will stripped away. The man behind the whole scheme, the group's leader, possesses a deranged pragmatism that dictates that it is but destiny that this operation should go through, bringing an age of metallic dominance upon the planet by wiping out all "imperfect" organic life. Together with a group of rebels doing their best to oppose this group and its leader, the loner must use his own cunning and abilities to bring an end to the madman's scheme.
    Thief II: The Metal Age or Doctor Who and the Rise of the Cybermen?
  • This notorious work of social oppression features a protagonist that, although appearing silent before the world, proves that he possesses a memorable personality. The story concerns this man's adventures as part of a group that rebels against an immeasurably large group known as the Combine, mainly against the member who operates closest to them. This is a figure the Combine wants the bulk of the populace to perceive as trustworthy and benevolent, but who in truth is cruel and manipulative. Near the story's end, this figure tries to put the silent protagonist's colleagues in doubt as to the true nature of a figure he views as a benefactor. Ultimately, the rebels' combined efforts, although insignificant to the Combine as a whole, manage to strip the figure of their authority for good.
    It's gotta be Half-Life 2, right? Or... is it One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?
  • The protagonist of this dark, dreary piece starts out as a sad, dissatisfied everyman, whose experience with a woman suddenly causes his life to take an unexpected turn as he finds himself in the middle of a crisis that eventually comes to involve many deaths. Though the woman could be branded as the pivotal cause behind the crisis, it also revolves around a tough-guy figure that the protagonist comes to regard as his only true friend in a midst of people who treat him with contempt and adversity. As the story continues, however, the protagonist's mind becomes more and more broken, as he comes to perceive every truth and facet of the people that surround him. Things finally come to a headway at the end, as the woman is at her most helpful but the protagonist discovers that the tough-guy is in fact an ethereal, chaotic version of himself, and the man directly responsible for all the death and destruction. After a final, decisive confrontation, only one of them survives, but it does little to quell the chaos and destruction that the tough-guy's scheming has caused.
    Fight Club or Darkseed 2?
  • In this film adaptation of a story that originated in print media, Edward Norton plays a mild-mannered person who has to deal with regularly losing himself to a completely uncontrollable alter-ego that revels in violence, chaos and destruction in a citywide scale.
    Fight Club or The Incredible Hulk?
  • Set in a Bad Future version of London, this story features a society ruled over by a sinister, shadowy group whose leaders rarely, if ever, show their face in public, and if they do, it is done in disguise, mostly presenting themselves to the public via a popular personification of themselves as a whole. Despite a pretty general perception of this group being malevolent, most of the population nonetheless works for them, if only to keep their livelihood. Many of them wear blue overalls constantly, while the group's most trusted members wear black. While they try to run a mostly normal life, they know that holding any sort of contempt towards the group will bring them trouble, and so if they do, they try their very best to keep their opinion secret. The plot concerns a man who finds himself in this society but bears a strong link to the past, having lived in a time before the group seized power, with a distinct memory of an event concerning an explosion that was part of what eventually led to that. Seeking the help of the worker class, this man leads a furtive campaign against the group and their leaders after a figure he silently trusts gives him a message indicating that there are more people behind their cause. Along with his younger companion who also dresses in blue, this man meets the figure and begins to take part in a clandestine rebellion against the group's highest authorities. Along the way, the pair stumble into an old-fashioned business run by a bushy-haired caretaker who later turns out to be a villain, and holds them hostage. At the climax's beginning, it turns out that not only was the pair's supposed ally playing them, he is ultimately THE villain of the story.
    1984? ...or Professor Layton and the Unwound Future?
  • A group of peoples that have lived among humanity since its beginnings, but have always conspired to rule and manipulate others from the shadows. Many believe that the biblical Cain was their first member. Their most outspoken leaders seek peace and order through control and coercion, though there have been known cases of members of the group exploiting the benefits of being a member For the Evulz, and others who change their mind and attempt to rebel against the other members, having come to hate what it means to be a member of that group.
    Vampires or Templars?
  • A man with a morally dubious past who has reformed into a kind, loving person finds a kindred spirit in a woman whose suffering is similar to his. After the woman suffers a death that could very well be blamed on others, the man is left to care for her daughter, raising her in a place that is mostly isolated from human society. After the girl grows up and develops eye-catching beauty, a single look exchanged between her and a young boy makes them fall in love. The man initially disapproves of this relationship and is eager to do anything he can to keep the girl away from the boy, but as he learns more about him, the man eventually comes to care for the boy as much as he does for the girl. In the final act, the man goes through a desperate struggle to make sure the boy, who has put himself in a situation where he might never see them again, is reunited with the girl. Although the story has no clear-cut villains, the two characters that come closest are an authority figure with an unhealthy attachment to order and pragmatism and a mean-spirited, sycophantic but selfish Frenchman created by Victor Hugo.
    Les Misérables or Hotel Transylvania?
  • This is a video game set in the early 20th century, about an ex-detective turned private eye who is beckoned to a bizarre, anachronistic environment filled with barely-human beings who want him dead in order to rescue a young girl dressed in blue. One of his most notorious opponents is an old man with an eyepatch who ends up putting himself out of commission. Some of the names in the lore include two characters named Comstock and DeWitt who have similar skills, though DeWitt's are greater, and a woman named Elizabeth who has time-related supernatural powers.
    Bioshock Infinite or Alone in the Dark 2?
  • In this story set in a universe where most tales straddle the line between sci-fi and horror, a team of scientists and researchers travel to a remote, inhospitable location where humans have virtually no history. Once there, they being conducting an archaeological investigation but soon find vestiges of an extremely old civilisation, mostly in the form of images in the walls of caverns, as well as preserved specimens of primordial beings. Though some of these beings are dead, at least one of them breaks free and, despite showing signs of intelligence, kills several members of the team without a second thought. The other researchers continue on, though they eventually find out that they are being threatened by different, far more menacing beings. Eventually, it is revealed that the intelligent beings are Ancient Astronauts who created humanity to perform menial tasks, and never meant for humans to survive or evolve beyond that. However, they also created a race of beings that were physically superior and could take on many forms, including a famous tentacled one, though these beings ended up turning against their masters and becoming a threat to humanity as well. In the end, at least two members of the research team survive, though they are scarred by the experience, and it is implied that the monsters they have faced will come back to threaten humanity in the future.
    At the Mountains of Madness or Prometheus?
  • A young, somewhat inexperienced American arrives at a European town where a murder has just taken place. They gradually get to know the locals and become especially attached to a particularly charming young girl. Eventually, they hear rumours of dark witches being responsible for the murders, and the girl is killed by one of these witches. In the finale, it turns out that almost every one of the people the American was living with was a dark witch, and they intend to kill them. The American comes face to face with the leader of the witches, an incredibly old sorcerer originating from southern Europe, who tries to use the death of the girl against them. However, they manage to overpower and kill the witch leader by stabbing them with an improvised weapon, which results in the death of the rest of the coven.
    Suspiria or Ben Jordan 3: The Sorceress of Smailholm?

Darkblade
  • In a medieval-ish post apocalyptic world humanity has been hunted by nearly unstopable monsters. Even hiding behind mostly effective walls humanity is losing a slow war of attrition against the monsters. One day the walls fail to hold back the monsters and a young boy looses his mother to the monsters. Barely escaping with his own life he swears that one day he will rid the world of the monsters. Years later he finds some Applied Phlebotinum that allows him to fight the monsters on equal terms at the expense of his humanity. Some people see him as a saviour others are less than pleased with him shaking up the status quo.
    Attack on Titan or The Warded Man
  • A long running speculative fiction franchise that recently had a landmark anniversary. Over the course of the decades the franchise has run several different actors have played the titular roll. Among the older seasons there are seven iconic portrayals that are held as sacred by parts of the fandom. A hiatus in the nineties in which movie(s) no one is sure what to do with came out before the franchise was renewed in two thousands. Also the most famous classic incarnation wore a scarf.
    Doctor Who or Kamen Rider?
  • A young female aspiring artist witnesses a demon hunter kill a demon. Although initially frightened by his arrogance and violent tendencies she starts to fall in love with the hunter after she gets dragged further and further into his darkly magical world. Eventually it is revealed that she has some ties to this world herself and is important to the main villain's plans. The villain himself is a fallen demon hunter who is now using their evil powers along with his own abilities for his own ends.
    Garo or The Mortal Instruments?
  • A TV show about a down on their luck middle class suburbanite that turns to drug dealing to maintain their lifestyle.
    Breaking Bad or Weeds?

Diamonddmgirl
  • This infamous fanfic shares its name with a song. A character who, in canon, was just a bit weird is now evil for no reason. A girl is oddly happy when another girl who is supposed to be one of her best friends is killed and her body is desecrated. Again, the first girl's motivations are barely explained.
    My Immortal or Cupcakes?
  • The villain has been raising someone else's child for their own selfish purposes, keeping the child away from others and making them think that all other humans are evil. The child has long light hair. When they are in their late teens, they meet another human around their age who has brown hair. Said other human isn't anything like what the long-haired person thought that humans were like, causing them to doubt everything the villain taught them about the world. Eventually the long-haired character sides with the villain, only to realize that they were wrong when they're in the tall building they grew up in. The villain then tries to kill the brown-haired character in that same building. This story also features oddly helpful animals, people going over ledges without getting hurt and criminals dressed in medieval clothing.
    Do the law-abiding citizens wear medieval clothes too, or are they dressed like modern day New Yorkers?

Floria
  • During the Cold War, someone with the initials AR attempts to found an Objectivist utopia. The project goes downhill in dramatically dreadful ways that are gradually revealed to the audience. The Fantastic Drugs the community manufactures don't help.
    BioShock or The Fountainhead Filibuster: Tales from Objectivist Katanga?
  • An early 21st century sci-fi(ish) series with a devoted following among geeky types. It is the product of an infamous Trolling Creator with a fondness for playing with tropes and Kill the Cutie. It features a mixed-gender ensemble (including multiple Action Girls as major characters), non-earth planets, a Badass Adorable Extraordinarily Empowered Girl with long dark hair, a socially privileged young male who has skills that can help the injured and is platonically close to a Badass Adorable cute girl, a dark-skinned male character fond of edged weapons, a sinister Mega Corp., a sun of unusual color, psychic powers, and lots of snark. It's also spawned its share of memes. Its representation (or lack thereof) of racial diversity has caused controversy in some quarters.
    Firefly or Homestuck?
  • A snarky, eccentric, perpetually unshaven British Badass Bookworm and a snarky, competent, take-no-crap, much shorter American woman of color solve mysteries in contemporary New York State in this Setting Update of a popular literary property.
    Elementary or Sleepy Hollow?
  • In this new adaptation of a longstanding pop culture franchise, a Badass Bookworm Great Detective fights crime in a large American city. Rather than his customary male sidekick, the detective's companion is a tough Asian woman whom he mentors in detective work. One of the major villains is a beautiful, dangerous British-accented woman who is a leader in a vast criminal organization.
    Elementary or Beware the Batman?
  • A goodhearted (but not to be underestimated) East Asian Badass Bookworm teams up with an eccentric, socially inept, European genius detective of the opposite gender, and they develop a close bond, with the relatively normal nice Asian acting as the other character's Watson. The European detective character has high-status ancestry and a less than friendly relationship with their father. They are not emotionless or lacking in the capacity for kindness, but they're not the warm and fuzzy type at all - although they do defrost to some extent. Together, they solve murders. Despite the European detective character's strong resemblance to Sherlock Holmes, this series does not take place in Victorian or Edwardian London.
    Elementary or Gosick?

Hell Kill Us All
  • The future of a kingdom is at stake, especially a very respected individual, when a former student of theirs is out for revenge. Now a current student of the master must use all they can in a new environment to stop this evil and restore peace.
    Is it Kung Fu Panda or My Little Pony Equestria Girls?
  • A child-like character becomes a newspaper reporter to his Bad Boss. However, once his friends start alienating him, he wants to reveal the truth, but the boss threatens to blackmail and overwork him if he comes clean. However, our hero uses the newspaper as a way of clearing himself and giving the boss his just desserts.
    Is it the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "The Krabby Kronicle" or the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Ponyville Confidential"
  • A redheaded Rebellious Princess wants to be her own person and make her own decisions, something her royal parent doesn't approve of. Their differences escalate to the point where the parent destroys the princess's most beloved possession during a bitter argument, something the parent later regrets. The princess then runs away from home and makes a deal with a shifty witch to make their dreams come true via a magical transformation, but it only causes trouble in the kingdom, making both parties put aside their differences and become stronger on their journeys.
    Is this The Little Mermaid or Brave?
  • A film about toys, both original and preexisting, that contains a plot point about whether toys are meant to be put on display or of they're meant to be played with.

Lale
  • The Chooser of The One anoints a man with power, who subsequently goes evilly insane, requiring him to re-do the procedure. There are several big, strong, muscular, physically-impressive candidates who would seem to be the obvious choice to turn into a heroic warrior, but the story emphasizes that, although most men judge by outward appearance, the most important trait to look at is the heart, and the smallest candidate with the least impressive outward appearance is chosen and anointed with the power. A war is being fought that The Chosen One is initially kept out of (he's instead employed as a performer), but, over protests from his superiors, he goes up against the enemy's elite champion and acquits himself very well, particularly with his use of his iconic projectile weapon, becoming a renowned and feared super soldier who leads mighty men to one victory after another.
    Captain America: The First Avenger or the Biblical story of David?
  • A young boy with a two-syllable name starting with "H" who gets bullied at school, has no father, and whose mother works at a diner has to hide a super-powerful robot called "Iron [noun]" that can disassemble and put itself back together again in his shed.
    The Iron Giant or Iron Man 3?
  • The Water controller of an Elemental Powers-themed team goes on an obsessive quest to find and get revenge on the man who attacked someone she cared deeply about. She's closely aided by the team Firebender. Her quest ends with a Sword over Head moment where she almost kills the guy before, of course, realizing If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him.
    Is the episode "Teers In The Hood" of Captain Planet and the Planeteers or "The Southern Raiders" of Avatar: The Last Airbender?
  • Based on a True Story. Tom Hanks plays a captain whose ship falls victim to an unprecedented disaster (so big that it makes national headlines), endangering the lives of him and his crew and trapping him and a few other men in a lifeboat with little control over the situation. All he can do is be patient and use his brains to stay alive as the agency on the other end of the radio works to get him and his crew home safely.
    Is the captain Jim Lovell or Richard Phillips?

Lemia
  • A Platform Game with a one-word title becomes famous for its dark subversion of its initial Save the Princess plot, with the "hero" having reality-warping powers that do more harm than good in the long term and the "princess" being strongly hinted to be a highly destructive non-human entity that the hero might have been better off not pursuing in the first place. It also has a difficult-to-get secret ending that can be accessed only after collecting all the special items scattered throughout earlier levels and is even worse than the already-disturbing standard ending due to the hero becoming or being revealed to be a monster.
    This game is Eversion, right? Or wait, is it Braid instead?
  • In an animated film, a Fiery Redheaded princess falls in love with a male character who has an animal sidekick, but the major obstacle holding her back from declaring her love to him is that she is not truly human in spite of her appearance and is under a magical spell that decrees that she must receive True Love's Kiss to become fully human herself. She and her love interest come close to kissing on one occasion but are rudely interrupted before they can do so, and the two of them are separated not long after when the film's villain assumes the Romantic False Lead role and persuades one of them to marry him/her. The wedding takes place at sunset and the villain almost succeeds in pulling it off until the other main character crashes the wedding with at least one angry animal sidekick attacking the villain. Unfortunately for the princess, the sun sets just before she can kiss the human prince and her true non-human nature is consequently revealed to everyone at the wedding. Her love interest doesn't care, however, and the villain's eventual demise is followed by the princess happily becoming the same species as her true love for good.
    By "the same species as her true love", do we mean "human" or "ogre"?

Monty Python Fanatic 2
  • In this November 2013 Disney film loosely based on Scandinavian legend, two siblings have been separated on the order of their father, the king. Following a death in the royal family, one sibling, an outgoing adventure-seeker, tries to reestablish contact with the other, a withdrawn loner with ice powers, in order to end a crisis that is threatening their kingdom. Neither of the siblings are happy with the state of their relationship, and the outgoing sibling in particular wishes it could be the way it was when they were children. At one point, the ice-powered sibling appears to attack and wound the other. Additionally, the elder sibling rejects the throne, but ultimately the ice-powered sibling has control of the kingdom by the end.
    Frozen, right? Or is it Thor: The Dark World?
  • In this Summer 2012 film pegged as a risky venture by box office analysts, a young hero witnesses the death of a beloved family member and embarks on a quest for revenge against the responsible party, honing some newly acquired skills to achieve this goal. However, despite his best efforts, he doesn't find initial success, but is inspired to use his skills to help the greater good when he discovers a major threat to humanity. Eventually, he wins the respect and admiration of countless Americans, who help him foil the villain's plot to begin the end of the human race. However, this victory comes at the cost of a close personal friend.
    Is it The Amazing Spider-Man (risky due to being a reboot of an under-10-year-old series)? Or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

Obiwan Lives Forever
  • In this Disney animated feature, a young person is kept isolated from the outside world in an old-fashioned structure by their controlling, emotionally manipulative, and eventually evil guardian of the same gender. This person is not their biological parent; instead, they took them from their parent(s) as an infant. The only friend that the main character has is a small, talking creature which lives with them in captivity. After a spectacular "I Want" Song, they are persuaded to leave their confines, with the help of a streetwise love interest who accompanies them on their journey. The love interest is an outlaw of some kind, but misunderstood by most of society. They also meet a soldier who initially attempts to stop them but soon comes over to their side. The love interest teaches the main character about the outside world, and in one scene the protagonist joins in a dance in the town square. Near the middle of the movie, the protagonist sings a love song comparing their romantic interest to light. In the end confrontation, which takes place upon the structure where the character was imprisoned, the villain attempts to kill the love interest, but they are saved from near death by the protagonist. The villain then falls over the edge to their death, with the help of one of the building’s denizens. The story ends with a mass celebration among the villagers.
    Is it The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Tangled?
  • In this movie adaptation of a popular comic, a group of beloved characters bands together to save the world from alien invasion. Their greatest obstacle lies not in the enemy but in their unwillingness to work together. The team includes a patriotic American WWII veteran who constantly bickers with one of the other characters, an arrogant womanizer, and a Russian. One of the early scenes showing the alien invaders terrorizing random townspeople takes place in Germany. There is also a scene where a character makes a dramatic appearance while rock music is playing. Much of the action takes place aboard an airship, which at least one character falls off towards the ¾ mark of the movie.
    Is it The Avengers or Hetalia: Paint It White?
  • Based loosely off real-life events, this upbeat story is set in Central Europe during a historical time period. A free-spirited, headstrong and optimistic young woman who finds herself incompatible with the group of people she wishes to belong to is sent to the household of an aloof dark-haired Austrian man. He’d had a previous marriage, but it is now over. Several younger people share the mansion with them; they are treated strictly by the man but kindly by the woman. One of these children, a naïve brunette, falls in love with a young blond German soldier, but his preoccupation with his duties to the ruling regime cause their romance to end in tragedy. Meanwhile, the man and woman find themselves inching closer and closer to love themselves. The man is revealed to have a softer side, as shown in his interactions with the woman as well as a scene where he plays music for the aforementioned child. In fact, music is an important theme for the main romance. A blond character also serves (more obviously in one story than in the other) as a rival love-interest for the man, but they are unsuccessful. The main man and woman are eventually married. After a time skip, the Anschluss of Austria places the characters in a tight situation, with the man being summoned to serve the Germans, but all the main characters survive.
    The Sound of Music, right? Or is it Axis Powers Hetalia, with an emphasis on the characters of Austria and Hungary?
  • In this modern retelling of the Nancy Drew mystery adventures, the girl sleuth goes to a major Californian metropolis and stays in an old house which used to belong to a famous actress. Her ghost is believed to haunt the mansion and 'appears' to Nancy twice, although it becomes apparent that a woman living there is faking all of the hauntings. Other characters Nancy encounters include a brunette twenty-something who is without a proper home and at one point resides in the mansion, and a middle-aged, grey-haired, sharply-dressed man who turns out to be the culprit. Nancy explores hidden passageways, investigates the historical actress' life, and, based off clues found in some of the woman's documents, discovers her will in a Chinese puzzle box. The next case she is to crack involves an iconic European figure and a missing diamond.
    Message in a Haunted Mansion or the 2009 Nancy Drew film?
  • It takes place on a fictional American island called "[Noun referring to a way one can interact with people] Island." Residents are in an uproar over a large marine creature which has recently appeared in the nearby water and seems to frequent the area. Some, including a grizzled old fisherman, think the creature should be instantly removed due to the threat it poses to locals, while others, such as a younger scientist from the city, wish to study it. One character is either mayor or running for mayor. The climax involves the protagonist, the scientist, one other important character with an obsession with a particular aquatic species, and the animal itself, and takes place aboard a boat. The antagonist threatens the protagonist and the scientist, but they both survive. The animal either kills or incapacitates the other important character on board the boat.
    As a hint, this site also saw at least the "Residents in uproar over a large marine creature" part, though didn't give any specifics.
    Is it Danger on Deception Island or Jaws? %%Obiwan Lives Forever, 20 Nov 2013; assisted by the Above Site.
  • In this famous musical, a Heartwarming Orphan girl is adopted by an initially aloof but ultimately benevolent father figure who gives her a better life and is himself changed by the child's love. A pair of devious small-time criminals, one male and one female, try to pass themselves off as the girl's rightful guardians, but are thwarted. One of the most famous and iconic songs in the play is an inspiring ballad about what will happen tomorrow. A live action movie version came out in the early 2010s.
  • Is it Les Misérables or Annie?

Pamina
  • This 1997 animated feature stars a reddish-haired, blue-eyed, 18-year-old protagonist, who was born into a royal family but separated from them at a young age by the villain and grew up unaware of his/her heritage. His/her only clue is an engraved trinket that was around his/her neck when (s)he was found by the people who raised him/her. As a dissatisfied teenager, after singing a classic "I Want" Song about longing to find "where I belong," (s)he learns that (s)he is or might be the lost prince(ess) and sets out to do whatever it takes to reunite with his/her family. This involves gaining a helpful animal companion, then gaining a streetwise Jerk with a Heart of Gold male teacher (who trains him/her for his/her new role in a Training Montage set to music), and then traveling to a big city to prove him/herself. (S)he also finds a Jerk with a Heart of Gold love interest, who initially lies to him/her and uses him/her for personal gain, but eventually falls for him/her and becomes a better person. But then the love interest's duplicity is revealed to the hero(ine), who is devistated and loses all trust in her/him. The love interest is forced to take dramatic selfless action to get back in his/her good graces. The villain, meanwhile, is a funny yet dangerous supernatural male figure who lives in the afterlife, targets the hero(ine) because he hates his/her family, and has at least one comical non-human sidekick. He spends most of the story sending supernatural dangers the hero(ine)'s way, but (s)he survives them all and doesn't know about the villain until late in the movie, when they finally meet in person. In the final battle that defeats the villain, the love interest seemingly dies trying to save the hero(ine), who weeps over her/his body, but in the end it's only a Disney Death. Then our hero(ine) has to choose between living a royal life with his/her newfound family, as (s)he longed to throughout the story, or giving it all up to marry his/her lower-born love interest. (S)he chooses the love interest and says goodbye to his/her family, who lovingly accept his/her decision. This movie has often been criticized for making hash of its much darker source material.
    Hercules or Anastasia?
  • In this musical retelling of a universally-known story, two legendary enemies are depicted in their youth as best friends. Only over time are they driven apart, as the protagonist becomes an outlaw who stands up for the oppressed, while the other character rises to power and upholds the oppressive status quo. The ending is bittersweet, as the two leads part ways forever, but the future looks hopeful for the protagonist, his/her love interest (who is initially linked to the second lead before switching to the protagonist instead) and the people (s)he champions. The musical score is by Stephen Schwartz.
    Wicked or The Prince of Egypt?
  • In this popular family musical set in the New York City of a past era, a child separated from his/her family tries to find them. In the process he/she makes new friends, including a pretty, caring female, a common domestic animal, and the richest person in the city. There’s also a sleazy male villain who disguises himself to exploit the child for money. At one point the child is trapped in a place where he/she is forced to work like a slave, but runs away, and at another point (s)he meets a camp of cynical homeless people. The songs include an ode to optimism, a sweetly sad song that the child sings about his/her missing family, and a happy duet that the child and a friendly adult male sing about their relationship. All ends happily, with the child in the care of a loving family.
    Annie or An American Tail?
  • This musical TV show for children stars a female magician with a horned head, multicolored hair, and one or more stars on her person, whose spells sometimes go awry. Other characters include an egotistical Jerk with a Heart of Gold who can fly, a female Big Eater, a pair of inseparable troublemakers, and a young male dragon to whom the magician is a big sister/mother figure and whose sneezes can be destructive.
    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or Eureeka's Castle?
  • This musical children’s TV show takes place in a fantasy world inhabited by colorful non-human creatures. It centers around a Vague Aged group of friends, which includes a sweet, nurturing Girly Girl whose coloring includes pale pink, a brash, athletic Tomboy with a color-based name, a practical, down-to-earth character with an orange body and a “rustic” speech pattern who sometimes serves as the tomboy’s Friendly Rival, a nervous, insecure character whose coloring includes yellow (and who in one episode learns to be more “confident” but Takes a Level in Jerkass as a result), and an Only Sane Person/Grumpy Bear. These main characters sing the theme song themselves. Three different “races” of creatures exist in this world and rely on each other. Other characters besides the leads include a small, friendly green creature of a different species (or many), a large male of yet another species who starts out as a villain but eventually does a Heel-Face Turn, and various colorful background characters. Nearly every early episode features a letter exchanged between the main character and his/her older mentor of the same gender; this formula is altered later in the series. The Aesops of the series tend to involve harmony and friendship, but plenty of humor is present to keep it from becoming Anvilicious. This show has aired on the Hub, and is just as popular with adults as with children, if not more so.
    Fraggle Rock or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?
  • This sweet and heartwarming yet Glurge-free children's classic of both page and screen takes place on a farm, with Talking Animals as the main characters. The protagonist is a male piglet, who is taken from his birthplace and sent to live on the aforementioned farm at the beginning. Initially lonely, he soon befriends a female creature of a different species, who becomes a mother figure of sorts to him. The humans plan to eventually butcher and eat him (which he naively doesn't realize until another animal tells him, leaving him distraught), but ultimately change their minds when an animal (either the pig himself or his close friend) performs a miraculous feat that in the real world would be impossible for his/her species. We also meet a Jerkass male animal who, surprisingly enough, helps the pig in the end. Another prominent supporting character is a water fowl. One sad scene late in the story involves the death of an elderly female creature who was a friend of the pig's. But the ending is a happy one, with the pig famous among humans and animals alike and secure in the farmer's affection and pride.
    Charlotte's Web or Babe?
  • This children’s TV show stars a group of six friends: a nerdy female braniac, a tough, brash tomboy, a vulnerable, insecure character with yellow hair, a romantic-minded Large Ham, a fun-loving prankster, and a strong, competent character who’s probably the overall flattest of the group. In the first episode, one of these characters enters the show’s main setting for the first time and meets all the others. This show also includes a pair or group of Alpha Bitches, a kindly female teacher, assorted bullies, and a colorful variety of background characters. Episodes include one in which the athlete of the group has an emotional breakdown because (s)he thinks (s)he’s lost his/her touch, a few in which the meek one Takes a Level in Badass or Jerkass, one in which the romantic is disillusioned by his/her crush, one in which the five “supporting” leads all compete for a special favor from the main character which they all get to share in the end, one in which Hilarity Ensues after a group of kids play matchmaker to a female teacher and a man they know, and one or more in which one of the leads goes slightly insane.
    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or Recess?
  • In this hit family musical based on a beloved printed-page source material, a spunky little girl escapes from her miserable upbringing, triumphs over three villains - a sleazy man always scheming to get rich, a bleach-blonde floozy, and a child-hating woman who runs an institution for children and terrorizes her charges - and in the end finds a happy new home with a loving adoptive parent.
    Annie or Matilda?
  • In this classic musical fantasy film from the late 1930s, loved by both children and adults, the protagonist is an adolescent orphan girl who has one or more animal companions, and who wears an iconic dress that includes the color blue and at least one ribbon in her hair. At the beginning she longs for more than what she has and sings an "I Want" Song in the yard of her home. Soon afterward, she’s forced away from home and into a new place, where she meets several lovable male doofuses who become her best friends. The comic relief these characters provide is much needed to balance the Nightmare Fuel provided by the villainess, a wicked witch who wears black, lives in a castle, and cackles dramatically. She wants to kill the heroine because the girl has something that she wants, and is able to locate her at any time thanks to a magic crystalline object. The lovable doofuses eventually show surprising courage by facing the witch’s wrath to try to save the girl they’ve come to love. At one point the witch magically poisons some pretty red plant growth, which sends the heroine into a death-like sleep, but a benevolent third party revives her. Eventually the witch dies in a dramatic climax that involves water. At some point or other, the heroine meets friendly little people, while at another point she’s harassed by (seemingly) living trees. As much as she loves her new friends, her greatest wish is to reunite with some person or people she left behind when she left home. In the end she says goodbye to her friends, reunites with her long-lost loved one(s), and seems poised to live happily ever after. This movie is based on a story from a book, but has far eclipsed the source material in most people's minds.
    That thing the heroine has that the witch wants... is it unsurpassed beauty or a pair of magic slippers?
  • A teenage boy moves to a new neighborhood, where he deals with bullies and being a misfit at school, as well as conflict with his (step)sister. But then he accidentally releases a group of comical fantasy creatures into the real world. Hilarity and complications ensue. Fortunately for the fantasy creatures, it’s Halloween when they arrive in the boy’s hometown, so they blend in with all the costumes. The plot largely consists of the protagonist and villains struggling over possession of a magical book, and at one point the villains cast a spell on all the adults in town, including the protagonist’s parents. The protagonist and his sister are forced to put aside their differences and work together to save the day and send the fantasy creatures back where they came from. The movie isn’t a musical, but at one point one of the fantasy creatures sings a pre-existing pop song.
    Hocus Pocus or The Neverending Story III?
  • An innocent young male encounters an attractive married woman whose given name is never mentioned, who tries to seduce him. She later falsely accuses him of rape. In at least one version of the story, he eventually ends up with her daughter. This story originated in a book, but received a popular media adaptation in the late 1960s. It includes a character named Benjamin, and the protagonist, or at least the actor who famously played him, is Jewish.
    The Graduate or the Biblical story of Joseph son of Jacob?
  • This work revolves around a rebellious young outcast from a troubled home. His/her main issues are related to his/her father. At the beginning we see his/her first day at a new school, where (s)he clashes with the other students. (S)he is a fundamentally good person, but over the course of the story, his/her own actions endanger him/her and inadvertently result in at least one other person's death. (S)he also becomes close to two other young people: one of the opposite gender who becomes his/her love interest despite initially being involved with someone else, and one of the same gender who's officially just a friend, but with whom Word of God has confirmed intentional Ho/Les Yay. Of these two, the girl treats the protagonist dismissively at first, but eventually warms up to him/her, while the boy is eventually killed (or seemingly killed), devastating him/her. The ending is bittersweet, with tragic loss but a note of hope. This work has been very popular with teenagers who identify with the protagonist.
    Rebel Without a Cause or Wicked?
  • This DreamWorks Animation film features a protagonist who used to lead a happy life as a normal brown-haired human until an event that should have killed them instead turned them into a white-haired superpowered being. Their main source of angst is how their newfound nature makes it nigh impossible for them to interact normally with humanity, and they join a team of similarly superpowered beings as the fifth and most powerful member to take down a sinister villain.
    Monsters vs. Aliens or Rise of the Guardians?
  • This film is centered on a young woman whose name begins with J and ends with E and her painful struggle to cope with her husband's death, a struggle that involves her moving far away from her husband's home with very few possessions to call her own in spite of her late husband's wealth in an (ultimately futile) attempt to leave the past behind and build an entirely new life. In her new living grounds, she comes into contact with another female known (and often derided) for her sexual choices/lifestyle. The female protagonist, in contrast, has severe difficulties in forming a connection with another man in spite of at least one man professing his love for her. Later on in the film, it's revealed that the protagonist's husband had been unfaithful to her and that his mistress was someone the protagonist had known and trusted as a friend. A haunting song she connects deeply with her husband is frequently heard and referred to in the film. In addition, the film's title has the word "Blue" in it. Surely this film's title must be...
    ...Blue Jasmine! Or could it be simply Blue instead?
  • In this love story, the young heroine is an impoverished yet intelligent, strong-willed brunette who doesn’t fit into her era’s mold of what a woman should be like. Modern female audience members/readers tend to find her very relatable. Through some circumstance or other, she comes to live in the home of a wealthy yet brooding, physically unattractive man with a dark, secret past. At first he seems gruff and unpleasant, but gradually she comes to see a kinder side to him and they fall in love. (Some feminist critics lambast this work for “encouraging girls to think they can change abusive men.”) At one point she leaves him, but eventually she goes back and affirms her love for him after he nearly dies. Another, handsomer and more “respectable” man also proposes marriage to her, but she rejects him. Ultimately the two lovers are married and all ends happily.
    Jane Eyre or Beauty and the Beast?

PDL
  • Within the backstory, there is a legend of two very closely related entities with god-like power who ruled the land. The elder one was associated with light, the color white and had control over fire while the younger one was associated with darkness, the color black and had control over lightning. Eventually, the younger one grew dissatisfied with the status quo and started to fight with the elder one, which threw the land into complete chaos. Eventually, one of the entities sealed the other within a circular object and peace was restored to the land. However, by the climax of the main story, the sealed entity is unsealed and six others have to face and defeat it with with the Power of Friendship. None of these characters are human.
    Is this Pokémon Black and White or My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic?
  • This Japanese made series stars a particularly badass protagonist who has a good heart but his way of solving problems is through the merciless slaughter of hundreds of mooks using deadly techniques that he can copy from his opponents. His resolve is able to trump over even the mightiest of foes. However, there are a few other characters who can rival his strength and are notably badass themselves. The main motif of this series are stars.
    Kirby or Fist of the North Star?
  • In this Disney movie, a strange young girl who is bullied by others makes an unlikely friend who was created to be bad and destroy things. At some point, this friend ends up destroying something personal to the girl and she hates him for it. However, the supposedly bad friend does something to regain the girl's friendship.
    Lilo & Stitch or Wreck-It Ralph?
  • A naive but idealistic young man grows up in a world where human beings are restricted to only a few safe spots while the rest of the world is filled with dangerous "monsters". Due to certain circumstances, he is forced to leave home, but at least he is granted a mystic power that allows him to survive away from civilization. He ends up befriending the non-human locals that live in these wild areas, including a spirit who initially dislikes him, but eventually warms up to him when he manages to prove his worth as a hero. With her help, the hero gains more powers after overcoming various trials and learns that there is an ultimate evil who wants nothing more then to destroy everything. The hero and the great evil do battle and eventually the hero is the victor, but the nature of this evil means that it cannot be completely eradicated. The Hero is eventually reincarnated and is tasked to protect the world from evil throughout all his lifetimes. This installment is the earliest in the series' timeline.
    Is this The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, or the Beginnings two-parter of The Legend of Korra?

The Bagel
  • It's the third in a well-known sequence of games, all of which have similar gameplay; however, although some liked it, many others gave the game lower reviews than the obscure but still good first game and the famous second game. Also, PewDiePie has played at least one of the games at some point. The protagonist is a mostly ordinary girl who can fight sometimes, but is mostly helpless. The real gameplay comes from using a mysterious (male) spirit to overcome the obstacles of the story, including a group of people from a facility who wish to use her powers for their own selfish purposes. Despite how useful the spirit is, the girl is scared of him, and she has no real control over him, leading him to do annoying or destructive things just for fun. Eventually, it is revealed that the spirit is actually the protagonist's twin brother, who died when they were babies. Events of the story include: the girl being inside an institution for a significant part of her life, and the girl using her powers to take revenge on a group of bullies (which leads to her being considered insane by some of the characters).
    Is it Clock Tower: Ghost Head/The Struggle Within or BeyondTwoSouls?
  • A work from the 90s that was born out of the creator's desire to make a story belonging to one of their favorite genres, but also to bring a Darker and Edgier tone to the medium (with the tone considerably altering the work's early concept). Despite being mocked frequently by people on the Internet for its emphasis on its melodramatic story, poor production values and frequent Mind Screw elements, all of which culminated in a highly unpopular ending which got rid of all action to the point of resembling a psychoanalysis session, the work is one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved in its medium. The plot concerns a young man who is thrust into a plot he does not understand because of a responsibility to pilot a Humongous Mecha and, despite the work's cliche start, it soon becomes a philosophical discussion on the nature of existence and the psyche (making use of religious symbolism and Freudian references - some researched, others not), with the hero having a twisted relationship with his red-headed girlfriend. Keeping track of which characters are actually the same becomes difficult due to Reincarnation, people using the same body, some characters splitting in two (with one half remaining the original body and the other entering a robotic one), and characters having split-personality disorders. Everyone in the cast has some kind of issues, such as: surviving the death of one parent and watching the other go off the rails, being separated from your same-sex parent and suffering through their slightly deranged actions, the mind of one parent being absorbed into a giant robot, actually being a reincarnation of a pseudo-deity, losing your father to an apocalypse, surviving the apocalypse but having your true powers be surpressed and being largely ignored in the modern day as anything but backup (the character suffering from this also generates a strong audience reaction), being a Double Agent, and going through a traumatic struggle and almost losing family members simply for being born in a certain way. In the end, the protagonist discovers that humanity was created by a godlike creature that was created from, and has the soul of, a creature from a higher dimension (which could easily be described as "God"), but the creature is not actually God in itself. It also created an Adam figure and an Eve figure; the Eve figure is the Big Bad who changes position and has her body altered several times throughout the story, and the Adam figure is mostly indifferent but could easily cause the apocalypse (it's a moot point anyway, because the Eve figure kills him to advance her own goals). More of an active Big Bad is the Ancient Conspiracy seeking a Depopulation Bomb, and the character who is related to the protagonist, hopes to revive someone following the death of a loved one, and kind of works for the Ancient Conspiracy but stabs them in the back when the time comes. Following the Depopulation Bomb going off (despite the death of the conspiracy members) and most (but not all) of the giant robots ceasing to function, the protagonist kills the god-like being with a combination of therapy and epic giant robot fights, and finally reunites with his girlfriend, hopeful for the future and preparing to reunite with his other friends, with one giant robot left as a symbol of the story's concepts. It's been retold as a series recently, with some characters altered and others being cut from wholecloth, but the reboot is considered inferior to the original (if still tolerable). The third installment of this reboot ended on a cliffhanger, with the deaths of several characters (although they may survive in another form) and attempts to restore the old planet - although this calls back to the beginning of the conclusion of the original work, the philosophy is traded for action.
    Is it Xenogears or Neon Genesis Evangelion?
  • A 2013 video game where a manly character with a beard and played by Troy Baker guards a teenage girl who can occasionally hold her own in a fight as they explore a twisted version of the USA. The man does this because he failed to protect his daughter. Although the game features many monsters, humans are also major enemies, especially a corrupt human government and the morally ambiguous resistance movement. Despite being from a genre which produced many games in 2013 and the years before, the game was critically acclaimed and has at least one version in the top 100 at Gamerankings. The company which made it also produced other critically acclaimed franchises, and although the gameplay between the game and the franchise is similar, the company makes the shift between "adventure" and "tragedy".
    Bioshock Infinite or The Last of Us?
  • One character accidentally causes some kind of disaster, causing two other characters to chase them, with the viewpoint switching between the two characters and the one character. There's also a fourth character, but he only occasionally gets focus and is more often seen the story of another character who has a close relationship to them - when this character falls in love with another, the fourth character becomes less important. The protagonist also has superpowers, which another faction is very interested in, and has quite a lot of Angst involving seriously injuring someone. The plot goes in a different direction when it begins to make use of classic myths; at this point, objects start coming to life and acting malevolent, new villains are introduced, and a group of creatures find a prophecy which provides a solution to the problems, with one of the characters coming back to life through the mystical powers of these creatures. In the background, the characters' town is freezing over, with the snowstorm growing in scale until it becomes almost impossible to survive - the snow stops when the protagonist learns the secret of the aforementioned mystical powers. The story has become regarded as a particularly good example of it's sub-genre by critics, even proving that it is still a viable genre and setting a standard for it. The title is one word, beginning with "F".
    Frozen? Or Fahrenheit?
  • Humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction by bizarre Eldritch Abominations, and only a small, specialized force has the means to combat them. The main character is a member of said force: a mentally disturbed teenager with a dead mother and an estranged father with glasses and a beard. He's able to fight said abominations by controlling a giant humanoid from within the back of its neck (though unfortunately said humanoid has gone berserk and out-of-control before.) Later on, it's discovered that a member of said force with a connection to the hero is actually a mole and one of the abominations they've been fighting.
    Is this Neon Genesis Evangelion or Attack on Titan?

Joshua Sweetvale

  • As a kid, the main sympathetic adult point of view character was visiting an archaeological dig when their parent of the opposite sex, along with their team, unearthed the male progenitor entity of an ancient race of mythological beings. Said male progentior promptly woke up and started killing everything, with the parent only barely able to put their kid somewhere safe. With the child safe, but sealed off from their parent, the progenitor killed their parent too, leaving them traumatized and horrified.

    When the main story begins, the viewpoint character is all grown up... and human society as we know it has been all but destroyed by a mythological armageddon kicked off by their dead parent. They are leading the defense of a small bastion of human hope, fortified but ultimately struggling... And then,of course, they are thrust back into action, bamboozled but trying to maintain some semblance of stability. The mythological monsters start dropping like flies from the onslaught of unorthodox and unethical but awesome human ingenuity, but enormous collateral damage also occurs.

    So, is this the life story of Misato Katsuragi from Evangelion, or Christian Bale's character from Reign of Fire?
  • In today's episode, a formerly Disappeared Dad reappears to announce he wants to enter his kid's life again. They hang out for a couple days and have fun, and the child is convinced to join the father once again. When someone else hears wind of this, they think it's all a farce, and will only lead to more heartbreak, but the person they tell this to is unconvinced, and fumes at the thought of it. However, it turns out they were right, as the father later goes back on his words, saying that something has come up that prevents the father and child from truly reuniting as a family. When the child finds out about this, they shout something to the effect of "I don't need him anyway."
    Now, is this an episode of Toradora!, or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?


Surprisingly Similar CharactersAdverbly Adjective NounSuspiciously Apropos Music
Mass EffectAdministrivia/Overly Long PagesDawn of War
Surprise Slide StaircaseAdded Alliterative AppealSurrogate Soliloquy
Surprisingly Similar CharactersJust for FunThe Tale of Sephiroth Goku the Stampede

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