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- In a commercial for the Seattle Mariners baseball team., Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt as the "doubleplay twins" dress identical, and get a song about how "you're seeing double," but look absolutely nothing alike.
Anime and Manga
- In Inuyasha, everyone initially compares Kagome to Kikyo, of whom she is the reincarnation. They may technically have the "same" face, but the series suffers from Only Six Faces, so they don't look any more alike than any other two random characters you could pick out. The anime makes this even worse than the manga, as there Kikyo and Kagome purposefully differ in hair style, texture, and color; habitual facial expressions including nose and eye shape, skin tone, and figure—to the point where they're two of the most distinct characters of the same sex and similar age group.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, no-one ever seems to see a difference between short, moe, Tareme-eyed, soft-voiced Yugi and his not-quite-so-short, bishonen, Tsurime-eyed, deep-voiced alter ego. Some fans have tried to explain the (apparently not so) obvious changes as audio-visual cues to the audience that do not actually exist in-universe. Since every once in a blue moon somebody will mention one of the changes in passing, this explanation has not been widely accepted. Maybe the others just can't stop staring at the hair. The manga averts this, actually. They all notice the switch between Yugi and his alter ego or at least they notice that he changed. It gets more ridiculous in Season 5, when the gang travel to Ancient Egypt. The anime adds a scene where the gang meet Atem's childhood friend Mana. She promptly mistakes Yugi for Atem, but now there is not only a height difference but a difference in clothing and also skin colour.
- Something similar happens Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. Yuzu comes across with Yuto who looks exactly like Yuya does... except not really. They have similar faces, but their hair, voices, clothes, and mannerisms are completely different. Despite this, Yuzu stays uncertain for a long time that they're really not the same person. Several other characters comment on how he looks exactly like the splitting image of Yuya. There's also Yugo, who looks even more different from Yuya than Yuto does, but once again the show insists that they look exactly alike. Then we met Yuri who looks even more different than Yuya but everyone again says the same thing. And then there are Yuzu's looklikes Ruri, Serena and Rin, but the resemblence between them is stronger than Yuya and his lookalikes. For comparisons, here is a picture of all lookalikes◊.
- In Cardcaptor Sakura
- Sonomi comments on how much Sakura looks like her mother, to the point of being surprised at the resemblance before she even knew who Sakura was. Yet there is no noticeable resemblance between them (Touya actually looks much more like their mother than Sakura does).
- Yue, and Yukito, a entity the former created to hide inside are noted by another character to be "just alike," when in actuality they have almost nothing in common whatsoever, despite technically being the same person in a odd way. They are functionally in effect completely separate characters with contrasting personalities and distinctly different appearances.
- This is mostly a side effect of the art style; CLAMP draws adults with long faces, but children with shorter, rounder ones. The result of this is that Sakura's adult brother looks far more like their mother than she does, making it impossible for readers to spot the resemblance. For instance, look at an older alternate version of Sakura in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-: the resemblance between her and her mother is more noticeable.
- In Digimon Frontier, people marvel at the near-identical Koji and Koichi, who—like Kagome and Kikyo—only share points of similarity that everyone else shares due to the art style. Maybe you could handwave the totally different skintones as one spending more time in the sun than the other. It leads up to their being revealed as each other's long-lost twin. Fraternal twins do exist, but again, we get "they look exactly alike!" Once an Episode. The only noticeable thing that it can truly be chalked up to is that they're the only two of the main cast who have Tsurime Eyes.
- An interesting case happens in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure because of the artist's style changes. Part 3 protagonist Jotaro Kujo is supposed to look identical to his grandfather Joseph Joestar in his 30s, to a point Joseph's mistress Tomoko Higashikata mistakes him for her lover in Part 4. Jotaro's appearances in every Part he appears in are all during periods of Art Evolution, meaning that Jotaro never looks like Joseph in the slightest to the readers (unless you count Araki's recent redesigns, which suffer from an extreme case of Only Six Faces).
- In Samurai High School, the main protagonists Kou and Tsukiko are presented as Half-Identical Twins who can pull a Twin Switch without anybody noticing, despite their vastly differing heights, eye shapes and colours.
- Super Gals: When Ran visited Taiwan for a study tour, she was mistaken for actress Vivian Lin, who apparently looks a lot like her. However, due to the series' Only Six Faces art style, they look no more identical than any other pair.
- Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: While Illya and her magically-generated clone Kuro do naturally look very similar, in-universe this trait is greatly exaggerated. They're suggested to be nearly indistinguishable, to the point that Illya's friends and even her brother mistook Kuro for Illya the first time they saw her. However, to the viewers it's always obvious which is which, since Kuro has brown skin, pink hair, and bright orange-red eyes, while Illya has white skin, white hair, and dark red eyes.
- Happens in Kamen Rider: The First, where the woman only spots one of the two Hopper operatives in night time, making it harder to distinguish their Palette Swap. On top of that, she's seen Hopper no. 1 without the helmet once, but because of aforesaid problems with color perception, she doesn't know that it him who saves her later since he keeps the helmet on this time, AND she comes across Hopper no. 2 in the daytime and thinks that's the one who saved her. That would make sense in the show, where for the longest time, only small details kept them from being 100% identical. But this being the big-budget remake, the producers knowingly pimped out the suits with heavy detailing just to make sure you weren't counting arm-stripes to tell them apart.
- In the very goofy 1991 movie Mystery Date, everyone confuses Ethan Hawke with Brian McNamara (playing his older brother), despite the fact that the two bear next to no resemblance to each other. Seriously. They even claim to give Ethan Hawke the same haircut, but he still has that bowlcut style haircut he had in every movie he made in the early 90s. It's ridiculous.
- In Gattaca, the fact that Vincent is able to disguise himself as Jerome using his DNA samples is believable, but, looks wise, they aren't that similar. Jude Law and Ethan Hawke just don't look alike, at least not enough to confuse one for the other. This is handwaved in the movie as people (especially cops) being so confident in their genetic analysis material that "who looks at the face, nowadays?". The only person to notice is the Love Interest who's surprised when she meets the real Jerome and a random doctor who realizes the urine samples "Jerome" is providing are actually coming from a hidden pouch but keeps it to himself.
- A big plot point in The Black Dahlia is that Madeleine Linscott and the murdered Elizabeth Shortt looked alike. Kay is even able to spot the resemblance from several feet away on the lawn. Actresses Hilary Swank and Mia Kirschner look nothing alike.
- In Repo! The Genetic Opera, Mag comments that Shilo has her "mother's eyes, her hair" - the eyes are debatable, but the hair looks nothing alike, Marni's hair being slightly lighter and curly. Especially noticeable since Shilo's "hair" is a wig supplied by her father.
- The Great Muppet Caper had a running gag in which Fozzie and Kermit were supposed to be twins and they can only be told apart when Fozzie has his hat on.
Fozzie: You're lucky. You have fur.Kermit: No, Fozzie, you're the one with the fur. Turn on your light and see for yourself.
- Gets even funnier when they get each other confused while simultaneously acknowledging their obvious physical differences:
- In Doris Egan's "Two-Bit Heroes," narrator Theodora is constantly mixed up with Cantry, the ladylove of the biggest criminal in the area she's visiting. Theodora finds this especially ridiculous because she's a redhead and Cantry is a blonde, but since the two of them are from other planets and the planet they're both living on, Ivory, is populated with dark-skinned brunettes, it's maybe natural that Ivorans wouldn't somehow notice/pick up on that. Eventually the two of them get caught up in a scheme to have two "Cantrys" showing up at the same time.
- Inverted in Warrior Cats. Many characters look virtually identical to other cats, but this is only referenced when they have a very Strong Family Resemblance. Apparently, cats look less similar to each other than they do to humans.
- An episode of NewsRadio had this as part of the plot. Matthew's 'twin brother', played by pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart, came to visit. He looked nothing like him, but they both kept playing 'look alike' games. Eventually Matthew's brother says that it was a stupid idea of his parents in order to misdirect Matthew from thinking he was adopted. The rest of the cast is shocked, as this is incredibly stupid, even for Matthew. It turns out that the deception was the other way around. Matthew was the biological son, and he was simply playing stupid in order for his brother to not think he was adopted.
- In Sykes Eric and Hattie insisted they were identical, despite not only being the opposite sex but also being completely different body types (Eric being taller, thin, and rakish and Hattie being shorter, heavier set and baby faced).
- In an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle and Aphrodite have to infiltrate a twins bar run by the Gemini twins, despite not remotely looking alike (Aphrodite is a good deal taller than Gabrielle, for starters).
- Metastises horribly with an Obvious Stunt Double in the Doctor Who story "The Chase", in which the Doctor's Evil Knockoff is played by William Hartnell's stunt double even in scenes when only one character had to be shown. The evil Doctor is said to be indistinguishable from the other in every way, which is reaching. The two actors do look very similar, but still readily distinguishable.
- In Switched at Birth, several characters have said that Bay looks like her biological mother Regina, a clue that she was switched at birth. While Bay doesn't look much like the parents she was raised with, she doesn't look much like Regina at all. On top of that, it's been said many times that her parents assumed she got her "colouring" from a distant Italian relative (Bay's biological mother is Latina), when Bay really just has pale white skin but with brown hair, something that isn't that weird considering her "dad" has medium brown hair anyways.
- There's a Professional Wrestling duo named the Dudley Boys/Team 3-D where one of the "twins" is white and the other's black. The official explanation is that they are "Brothers From Another Mother". They even managed to once pull the switch places when the ref isn't looking trick.
- Swan Lake: The daughter of the Bad Guy goes to a dance disguised as the white swan. We know it's her because she's dressed in black.
- Les MisÚrables: Champmathieu is supposed to look exactly like Jean Valjean, but in practice the actors are seldom identical.
- The Comedy of Errors: Two long-lost identical twins end up in the same town. In some productions, the twins are played by different actors, and even, if the production wants to play this trope for laughs, different races and/or genders.
- In the Twelfth Night, Viola and Sebastian are supposed to be Half-Identical Twins, impossible to tell apart when Viola is dressed as a man. Needless to say this, it is very difficult to find a suitable male and female actor who are even the same height, let alone actors who look enough alike to be mistaken for each other. Even when the play is performed with an all male cast, as when it was originally performed, actual male twins are rarely cast. One television production from 1969 simply used Double Vision movie magic to have the lead actress play both roles.
- In Blood Brothers, Mickey and Eddie are supposed to be identical twins. This has not stopped some productions from casting actors who have very different appearances.
- In The Woman in White, Laura Fairlie and Anne Catherick are supposed to look similar, but are often played by actresses who look different from one another.
- In Kingdom Hearts, members of Organization XIII either claim Sora looks like Roxas or just call Sora "Roxas". This is... confusing, since to some degree they seem to actually believe he is Roxas, but they're also messing with his head, and it's hard to tell which is happening. Sora and Roxas do have the same face, but they also have completely different hair, mannerisms, and voices, so it's kind of hard to actually confuse the two. Later human/Nobody pairs are basically identical (for example, the only difference between Axel and an adult Lea is the facial markings on the former), making it seem even weirder.
- With later revelations about the nature of Roxas and nobodies, the Organization had reason to believe that Roxas could become the dominant persona. However, as Roxas had personal reasons to hate the Organization, getting him to take charge would have been bad for them.
- In Onmyōji, the protagonist Seimei has an Evil Counterpart who goes around causing troubles and all the latter's victims mistake the former for the perpetrator, even though their designs are as different as apples and oranges. Like, we know they are separated from a single person, but come on.
- In Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic is constantly being mistaken for Shadow, who has upturned spikes, uses hoverskates, and is black and red as opposed to Sonic's blue. Their only similarity is that they're both hedgehogs. Additionally, Sonic's self-proclaimed girlfriend Amy Rose got them mixed up, and that's when Shadow was standing still in broad daylight.
- Tokimeki Memorial 4: It's certainly true that Rui Nanakawa looks like Tadashi, but she's still a girl. Even when in his clothes, Rui is a head shorter, has a higher pitched voice, lighter skin, and certainly isn't lacking in the bust department. No one seems to notice these differences except the Protagonist.
- Phoenix Wright and Furio Tigre in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations. Played for laughs since the only thing Furio shares with Phoenix is a hair style. They differ in build, temperament, facial features, and skin tone yet Tigre successfully managed to impersonate Phoenix in court using a fake badge made of cardboard with no one thinking it was anything other than slightly odd.
- Played for all kinds of laughs in Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. Shantae, Risky Boots, Sky, and Rottytops are all mistaken for the missing princess of the Tan Line Temple and held against their will. Mind you, these are four very attractive women, though with their different (and often fantastic) skin and hair colors, they're not even particularly easy to mistake for each other. The actual princess? Short and dumpy, not even slightly similar in appearance to any of the four. Risky threatens the High Priest with violence after realizing who she's being confused with. The townspeople only seem to notice after the princess returns (she was just shopping), and the High Priest remains confused even then.
- In Breath of Fire IV, Ryuu and Fou-Lu are said to look very similar, at least by the residents of the village of Sonne. Their facial features, however, look almost nothing alike, even if you ignore their completely different hair styles and colors, their completely different eye colors, and Fou-Lu's horns.
- In Super Mario Sunshine, people constantly mistake Mario for Shadow Mario, and insist that Mario is the one responsible for polluting Isle Delfino; even when they are seen together, characters (including Princess Peach, who's spent more time around Mario than anyone else besides Luigi) insist that they look identical. This despite the fact that Mario has his normal color scheme, while Shadow Mario is uniformly blue from head to toe and appears to be made of water.
- Played with in Welcome to Night Vale. Cecil and Kevin are mentioned to be completely identical, aside from the latter's Black Eyes of Evil. This carries over to the live version, where it can be clearly seen that Cecil Baldwin and Kevin Free look practically nothing◊ alike.◊ Word of God says that only the descriptions in the podcast are canon, which are so far irrelevant to anything besides clothing.
- Parodied in Sonic Shorts with one short featuring Sonic being increasingly frustrated for being mistaken for Metal Sonic, Shadow and Silver, culminating in him ripping his own ears off.
- Family Guy: Brian is in a Spot the Imposter situation between Regular Stewie and EvilerThanUsual Clone Stewie. We can tell which is which because they have reversed color schemes on their clothes: Regular!Stewie has red overalls with a yellow shirt and ETUC!Stewie has yellow overalls with a red shirt.
- At least until the inevitable fight where they both get the overalls ripped off, leaving two Stewies in diapers (quickly lampshaded).
- Exaggerated in "German Guy" when Chris gets in a Spot the Imposter situation with Peter and an elderly Nazi. Peter remarks that they don't look anything alike, but it doesn't help.
- Played for Laughs in Back at the Barnyard. The other dog who was impersonating Duke looked nothing like him.
- In one episode of Kaeloo, Kaeloo says that fraternal twins Pretty and Eugly resemble each other. Pretty was not amused.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Princess Ember (a dragon) has difficulty telling Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer apart, since they're "both purple ponies with purple hair", and they "both have cutie marks with sparkly things". Doubles as Leaning on the Fourth Wall as fans have often pointed out the similarity between the two names.
Starlight Glimmer: Mine's more of a glimmer.
Ember: How is that different?