Think of your favorite pair of fictional twins. Got them? Now, be honest: Are they identical
If you answered "yes," there's a reason for that. Identical twins show up far more frequently in fiction than fraternal (non-identical) twins. If you don't believe us, take a Wiki Walk
through Twin Tropes
. We'll wait.
Welcome back! So why are fictional twins always identical? Well, for starters, identical twins are visually striking. They allow for comic plots
, and they add symmetry
to a story. An Evil Twin
is almost always an Identical Twin; how else could they impersonate the "good" twin
? Fraternal twins, for all intents and purposes, are just regular siblings, and regular doesn't cut it in fictionland
. Oh yes, and if it's an animated film or series, that makes it one less character for the artists to design and learn to draw.
This trope is so pervasive that it even manifests when the twins are different genders
— Half-Identical Twins
shouldn't even be
identical! Though it is certainly possible for fraternal twins to bear a Strong Family Resemblance
, particularly in early childhood.
There are sometimes aversions, almost exclusively in live action productions where twin actors or Double Vision
are not available. The main subversion
of this trope is Non-Identical Twins
, when twins are said to be
identical but are obviously not.
Identical twins are highly prone to Speaking In Unison
or Finishing Each Other's Sentences
Keep in mind if the twin isn't established at the beginning
, prepare for rage from the fandom.
Chalk this up to the Law of Conservation of Detail
— if they're not identical, there's usually no need to establish them as twins rather than just siblings.
In reality, fraternal twins are significantly more common than identical twins - only 8% of twin births are identical, or 0.1% of all births. But how would it look if in fiction only one character in a thousand had an identical twin?
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- In a recent series of commercials for State Farm insurance, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul plays both himself and his (fictional) Separated at Birth twin Cliff, an insurance agent who was likewise born to assist.
Anime & Manga
- Fujio Akatsuka's Osomatsu Kun is about identical sextuplets. Yes, SIX characters that look exactly alike. The running gag in the early episodes was that other characters couldn't tell which is which.
- Ouran High School Host Club has the Hitachiin twins, who are so alike that no one had ever been able to tell them apart until they met Haruhi. Of course they use that similarity for their own amusement, but it's also implied that it's also the reason they can be a bit bitter and cynical.
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle has Fai and Yuui , the "twins of misfortune" who are practically the same child made twice.
- Horitsuba Gakuen has the above mentioned twins as well as Syaoran and Syaoran. In the actual series they're clones but the Alternate Universe extra portrays them as identical twins. To make it even weirder in the main series Syaoran technically does have a twin — Watanuki, but the two of them are not identical at all.
- It is fairly common in most harem-type series to have a pair of identical twins as part of the cast.
- Played with in Eyeshield 21. Agon and Unsui dress and act very different from each other and whether they were fraternal or identical was left somewhat ambiguous for most of the series. However after Agon gets a haircut, everyone is amazed to see he and his brother are very much identical.
- Air Gear has identical octuplets, complete with identical outfits.
- Shion Sonozaki from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni uses this to her advantage, as she assumes her sister's identity to manipulate as well as to cover up murder in the Watanagashi and Meakashi arcs.
- Naruto features two sets of identical twins (Hiashi and Hizashi and Sakon and Ukon). Coupled with Shadow-Clones and Generation Xerox, Masashi Kishimoto seems fond of twins... then again he himself is one, and his younger twin Seishi is also a mangaka.
- Yoh, the protagonist of Shaman King, is revealed to be the identical twin of Hao, the Big Bad of the series.
- Played with in Maomarimo: Mao and Ako remain fraternal twins even after Mao's Gender Bender, but the issue is raised by a background character who wonders why this trope wasn't invoked when Mao became a girl. Technically, Mao isn't Ako's twin (though it's plot-relevant that they were born on the same day) but Mao doesn't know he was adopted (and Ako is concealing it for reasons of her own) so their classmate gets a lecture on the difference between fraternal and identical twins instead.
- Takuma and Kazuma from Gakuen Babysitters look exactly alike, though they are easy to tell apart once one looks at their faces and judge their temperament; Takuma is perpetually cheerful and Kazuma is perpetually tearful.
- One episode of Sherlock Hound has Sherlock and Watson dealing with a pair of twins, one is a navy commander and the other is an insane treasure hunter.
- Gunnm has Elf and Zwölf, AKA AR/GR-11 and AR/GR-12 respectively, android clones of Gally, who inexplicably behaves as if they were identical twins, and often fill the role of Gally's Annoying Younger Siblings.
- Armored Trooper VOTOMS features the Schmittel twins, who are (at first) only differentiated by their uniform color and voices. Even so, the animators were incredibly prone to slip up at remembering which one was which.
- Played with in Blood+: Chiropteran queens are always born in pairs, with one having red eyes and one having blue eyes, but otherwise the two are completely identical.
- Futakoi is all about this trope. There are six pairs of identical twins in the same series.
- In Saki, Kana has three younger sisters- Shirona, Nazuna and Hina- who appear to be identical triplets. She often has to care for them, and while they don't show up much in the series proper, they often appear in Saki Biyori.
- Bleach: A major plot-point in the final arc centres around two brothers who are completely indistinguishable from each other. Their powers allow them to mimic the forms of others, an ability they discovered before birth when they learned to mimic each other. They were thus born visually identical. Loyd is killed when he mimics Kenpachi's sealed form. Kenpachi has to remove his eyepatch to grow stronger than the form of himself Loyd is using. However, Royd is mimicking Yhwach, so when the eyepatch-free Kenpachi confronts Royd, Royd instantly defeats him with his bare hands. He goes on to fight toe-to-toe with Yamamoto. Yamamoto does manage to kill him, but not before using all his power, including bankai, which allows the real Yhwach to kill Yamamoto.
- Wendy and Goldie, twin prostitutes from Frank Miller's Sin City. According to Marv, they even smell identical. Granted, he is insane and at one point, even mistakes one twin for the other despite knowing full well she was dead.
- Mandrake The Magician and his Evil Twin Derek.
- The Fix-it Twins who appeared in The Beano in the late 70s .
- There are identical twin brother cops in Hot Fuzz— the Sergeants Turner (Bill Bailey's characters).
- Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen in everything they've done (except Full House, where the twins both played the same one character to stretch limits on how long very young child actors are allowed to work). They're actually fraternal twins, but look alike enough for identical-twin plots to work. However, as is often the case they started growing out of their Strong Family Resemblance as they approached adulthood.
- The Twins from The Matrix Reloaded.
- Both versions of The Parent Trap.
- In Pacific Rim, the Chinese pilots of Crimson Typhoon are played by real-life identical triplets the Luu Brothers. As well, the American Jaeger pilots of Romeo Blue, Bruce and Trevin Gage, were identical twins.
- The Prestige: Borden and Fallon.
- The Stabbington Brothers in Tangled.
- A pair of elderly women twins appear in the French film Amélie, buying food at the local fruit stand. They also Finish Each Other's Sentences.
- Seconds Apart: Seth and Jonah are identical twins who use their telepathic abilities to commit murders.
- Eli and Paul Sunday of There Will Be Blood.
- This was the main driving force behind the plot of Cronenberg's Dead Ringers.
- In Room in Rome, Natasha/Sasha/whatever her name is has an identical twin.
- Harry Potter: Fred and George Weasley and the Patil sisters.
- In the films, this trope was both confirmed by the Weasley brothers (played by real life identical twins James and Oliver Phelps) while averted in the fraternal twin Patil sisters, who were played by unrelated (though similar looking) actresses.
- The main character and his brother from The Spiderwick Chronicles
- The main characters of the T*Witches series.
- Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield of Sweet Valley High. Not to mention the identical evil twins Nora and Margo, who other than hair color are so like Elizabeth and Jessica that they're even able to fool the twins' parents.
- Subverted in Honor Harrington: while Detweiler brothers look like identical sextuplets, they are, in fact, clones of their father.
- Elladan and Elrohir of The Lord of the Rings are not outwardly stated as being twins or even identical, but because their birth year is the same and elves wait at ten years between children, they are assumed to be twins. They are also said to be "So much alike were they, the sons of Elrond, that few could tell them apart: dark-haired, grey-eyed, and their faces elven-fair, clad alike in bright mail beneath cloaks of silver-grey." This implies that they are identical twins (ignoring the fact that more elves are described like that than not, and quite a few humans!)
- Tolkien also has Amrod and Amras, the youngest sons of Feanor from The Silmarillion: "twin brothers, alike in mood and face."
- Lampshaded in Chronicles of the Kencyrath, where the Edirr produce so many twins they usually do everything in twos.
- "The twins" (No Names Given) in Peter Pan, "who cannot be described because we should be sure to be describing the wrong one." Note that Peter doesn't really know what "twins" are, and the animated series Peter Pan & the Pirates subverted this trope by making the twins different colors and heights, the implication being that they're merely good buddies who were labelled "twins" because they are always together and finish each other's sentences.
- Jory and Nia from Cold Fire.
- Little Miss Twins from Mr. Men.
- Lottie and Lisa in Erich Kästner's novel Das doppelte Lottchen who are so identical-looking that when they switch places, their own parents don't realise they've gone home with the wrong child, even though they don't even like the same food, aren't good at the same things at school, and Lisa doesn't know how to cook.
- Enid Blyton's St Clare's series has twins Pat and Isabel O'Sullivan. They do look alike, but their classmates can recognize them.
- Nypre and Deren, the first two characters introduced in the Stories Of Nypre are identical twins, though its never been said if they are so identical as to be indistinguishable from one another.
- Robert A. Heinlein seems to have liked this trope; not only are there the Stone twins in The Rolling Stones but Lazarus Long's twin sister-daughters (clones) in Time Enough For Love
- In Mockingjay the Star Squad includes identical twin sisters whose first names are never revealed. Katniss and the other characters simply refer to them as "Leeg 1" and "Leeg 2".
- Averted in First Light when Thea was told that the three girls on her locket were Lana, her mother, and her mother's twin who left the community with her twin. This was important because there could only be two girls born to any mother.
Live Action TV
- Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell on Sister Sister are long-lost identical twins, played by real life twins Tia and Tamera Mowry.
- Emily and Katie Fitch from Skins are Identical twins, played by Real Life twins Kathryn and Megan Prescott respectively.
- Zack and Cody on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, also played by Real Life twins. Puberty made them not so identical.
- The title characters of Liv and Maddie are, by contrast, played by one actress, Dove Cameron.
- Nearly every set of twins in The Pretender, from regular character Sydney and his brother Jacob down to the briefest one-off appearance. Particularly notable was the episode where Sydney visits a Twins Convention, which is populated entirely by identical twins sticking together and wearing co-ordinated outfits.
- The Bold And The Beautiful had a rather interesting example. Twins Stephanie and Phoebe Forrester were identical twins until they graduated high school. From that point on they've been fraternal.
- Friends: Phoebe and Ursula.
- Outrageous Fortune. Van and Jethro West. Both with wildly contrasting personalities.
- Peter Punk: The Pop twins Andy and Michael.
- Power Rangers Zeo has the character Trey of Triforia (also known as the original Gold Ranger). He is an alien whose race are composed of three separate entities that are normally unified as one, but due to being injured in battle cannot keep his singular form and has to appoint a successor to his Gold Ranger powers while he recovers. The Treys are played by identical triplets Ted, Tom and Tim Di Filippo.
- The Doctor in the House franchise features two examples, achieved via Acting for Two (or Three).
- In "Brotherly Hate" from Doctor in Charge, the humourless crawler Lawrence Bingham is revealed to be one of a set of identical triplets, and always resented being overshadowed by his cooler brothers Lionel and Leonard.
- Professor of Surgery Sir Geoffrey Loftus is revealed to have an identical twin brother, Captain Norman Loftus, in the first episode of Doctor at Sea, so that when Drs. Waring and Stuart-Clark sign on as ship's surgeons, they will still be serving under a Loftus (and in contrast to the Bingham triplets, the Loftus brothers are very similar in personality).
- Guiding Light: Lujack Luvonaczek and Nick Spaulding.
- Another World: Marley and Vicky Hudson.
- All My Children: Adam and Stuart Chandler.
- The Ravenloft setting has Laurie and Gennifer Weathermay-Foxgrove, identical twin monster-hunting heiresses, as well as Jacqueline and Louise Renier, identical wererat littermates.
- The mix-up in The Comedy of Errors is caused by two sets of identical twins confusing themselves for each other.
- Dante and Vergil from Devil May Cry, of the symbolism-heavy, Cain and Abel, Polar Opposite Twins variety. You can tell them apart because Vergil slicks his hair back, but they're also Color-Coded Characters: Vergil wears blue, Dante red. Two other pairs are Agni and Rudra from 3, and Bael and Dagon, a pair of frog demons in 4, the latter of whose in-game information even points out that, aside from their color, they are identical in terms of abilities and weaknesses.
- Redmond and Blutarch from Team Fortress 2, you can only tell them apart because Redmond wears a red suit and Blutarch wears a blue suit
- Ami and Mami Futami of The Idolmaster.
- Enter and Return in LEGO Island
- Koume and Kotate from The Legend of Zelda series. Identical apart from the gem on their forehead being different colours. A Link to the Past also featured Twin Lumberjacks and due to the model reuse in Majora's Mask there's at least three sets of twins identical in everything but clothing colour.
- The Order of the Stick: Elan and Nale.
- Legostar Galactica: Bob and Rob Smith. Subverted in that Rob is an evil clone of Bob created by the Remulans as part of an abandoned infiltration plot.
- Sailor Sun Bay(Brad) and Heather after Bay's Gender Bender. We don't know if they were Half-Identical Twins prior to the Gender Bender because Brad has never been depicted in the comic. It's even a plot point because in the backstory Bay & Heather found each other (they'd been Separated at Birth) after Heather was hired to play Bay's role in a touring production of Sailor Sun based on her identical appearance.
- El Goonish Shive plays with this: Susan and Diane are heavily implied to be twins, although they have different hair colors and heights. However, one of them had recently gone through an intense magical awakening, which resulted in her getting a growth spurt and the change of her natural hair color. Originally both girls were blonde, and one of them dyed her hair.
- Patty and Selma and Sherri and Terri from The Simpsons
- The DeeDees (real names Delia & Deidre Dennis) from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
- Lo and Li, Azula's ancient caretakers, from Avatar: The Last Airbender. ATLA also had a set of twins in the episode "The Fortuneteller," who were identical except one was an Earthbender and one wasn't.
- Kim Possible's little brothers are identical twins who can only be told apart by the colour of their shirts.
- The Scottish Twins from Thomas the Tank Engine zigzag with this trope. In their backstory the twins intentionally removed their number plates so as to appear completely identical and pull a Twin Switch and escape from a railroad that threatened to have them scrapped. After being employed at Sodor, though, they were given number and name plates, specifically so they could be told apart.
- Ingrid and Latoyah from Slacker Cats.
- The Twins in Superjail!, whose character models are literally copy and pasted most of the time.
- The village of Kodhini, India has 6 times as many twins as the global average. On top of that, the majority of the twins are identical.
NOTE: This section is reserved for twins who do not look alike at all; brother-sister twins who still look alike go to Half Identical Twins.
- Kirio and Kirika from Kamichama Karin.
- In Corsair, fraternal twins Aura and Leti are clearly related yet distinct, with Leti taking much more after their father's side and Aura taking more after their mother's side.
- "Syaoran Li" and "Watanuki Kimihiro" aka "Tsubasa Li 1" and, presumably, "Tsubasa Li 2 of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and xxxHoLic are a particularly notable example, being that they're not identical despite one of them being a time travel duplicate of the other.
- Gundam SEED's Kira and Cagalli, being largely based on Luke and Leia. In addition to being non-identical, one is a genetically engineered superman and the other is completely unaltered.
- Kagami and Tsukasa Hiiragi from Lucky Star are fraternal twins who are drawn to have very different eye shapes (Tsukasa has Tareme Eyes and Kagami has Tsurime Eyes) and they also have different hairstyles. However, they do look more similar to each other than to any of their other family members, at least as far as their hair and eye colors are concerned.
- Bleach: Yuzu and Karin Kurosaki are twin sisters but are the complete opposite of each other. Yuzu is a pale-haired homemaker who gets excellent grades in school. Karin is a tough, dark-haired tomboy who leads her male peers in football.
- Mairu and Kururi Orihara from Durarara!!, though they are sufficiently similar to possibly be just identical twins who decided to look different.
- Rin and Yukio Okamura from Ao No Exorcist are fraternal twins who - despite looking somewhat alike when you take away Yukio's glasses - are opposites in pretty much everything, up to and including Rin being (half-)demon and Yukio being human. This didn't stop the fandom from going nuts with Twincest.
- Princess Fine and Princess Rein of Fushigiboshi no Futago Hime (Twin Princesses of the Mysterious Star).
- Kyou and Ryou Fujibayashi of CLANNAD are similar to Kagami and Tsukasa Hiiragi in that Ryou has Tareme Eyes and Kyou has Tsurime Eyes. Though they're more alike than most fraternal twins with similar colored hair and eyes in the OVA for Kyou's route it takes Tomoya several minutes to realize that he's talking to Kyou and not Ryou after she cut her hair.
- Momiji and Kaede Fujimiya of Blue Seed are not only fraternal, they don't even resemble each other all that much. But their twinship is very important, because by being twins they split the power of the Kushinada,
- Bossun and Tsubaki from Sket Dance are eventually revealed to be twins who were Separated at Birth. Nobody noticed this before the revelation. Especially since Tsubaki is characterized by his long eyelashes, which Bossun don't have, and he also wears contacts, making them look less similar than they should be. However, with proper modifications, they're apparently similar enough to perform a convincing Twin Switch.
- To Love RU has two sets of twins, but neither set is identical. Ren and Run are the result of a Literal Split Personaility and look nothing alike.
- Yukino and Kanade from Candy Boy are twin sisters but they aren't identical. Their hair colors are different and the way they style their hair differs.
- Mitsudomoe has this with the main trio. They're triplets but look very different.
- In Dragon Ball Z, Androids 17 and 18 are twins, but look nothing alike, eye color aside.
- In L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, Anne and Gilbert's twins, Nan and Di, are fraternal. They are opposite in looks, with Nan taking after Gilbert and Di taking after Anne. They also differ in personality. Di is mentioned as being "very much her father's child", while Nan inherits her mother's wild imagination. The fact that they are not identical forms a minor plot point in Anne of Ingleside, in which a mischievous friend convinces the young Nan that all twins are identical, and the reason Nan doesn't look like her twin is that she was Switched at Birth.
- In Anne of Avonlea, Anne's foster mother Marilla adopts the twins Dora and Davy.
- House of Leaves: Will Navidson, the main character of his piece of the story, has a fraternal twin brother, Tom.
- Faith* and James* Harrington, Honor Harrington's younger siblings.
- The Bobbsey Twins.
- Caramon and Raistlin Majere of Dragonlance. Caramon's a strapping warrior, Raistlin's a sickly wizard, and this difference drives 90% of their character development and plots.
- Leto and Ghanima Atreides, twin children of Muad'dib in Children of Dune.
- Kit and Holly Fielding in the Dick Francis novels Break In and Bolt.
- The The Kane Chronicles has Carter and Sadie Kane, who look absolutely nothing alike.
- "One Lonely Night" by Mickey Spillane. A radical politician campaigning against corruption and Dirty Communists hires Mike Hammer to catch his insane twin brother who committed a murder in public in apparent attempt to destroy his reputation (fortunately the politician was giving a speech before hundreds of people at the time). Mike discovers the brother is a fraternal twin who doesn't look anything like the politician, who hired a look-alike actor to give the speech and committed the murder himself.
Live Action TV
- On The Hogan Family the twins were explicitly fraternal.
- On Get Smart 99 gave birth to twins in the final season; it never came up whether or not they were identical, but given that they were boy & girl it is safe to assume they are fraternal because it is impossible for them to be genetically identical.
- Buffy and Jody from Family Affair were fraternal twins.
- Miss Parker and Mr Lyle in The Pretender.
- Brenda and Brandon Walsh Beverly Hills 90210 are fraternal twins.
- The Bold And The Beautiful had a rather interesting example. Ridge and Taylor's daughters Steffy and Phoebe were identical twins and played by identical twins up until the point where the characters left for London. Phoebe is the first to return, now played by a new actress. When Steffy returns a while later she is played by a different actress than Phoebe and the twins are now fraternal.
- One episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, called "Twins at the Tipton" had Dirk and Kirk, fraternal twins Maddie and London dated.
- The Big Bang Theory has Sheldon and his twin sister, Missy, who look nothing alike except for hair color.
- In the Elementary episode "While You Were Sleeping", when Sherlock Holmes learns that Yvette Ellison, a coma patient identified as a murderer by a witness, has a twin sister called Rebecca, he automatically suspects Rebecca of being the killer. He is very surprised to learn that Yvette and Rebecca are fraternal twins. Yvette is the killer. Her coma is medically induced to provide her with an alibi for the murders of all her siblings.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Dennis and Dee Reynolds, another brother/sister pair.
- Days of Our Lives: Eric and Sami Brady.
- One Life to Live: Jessica and Natalie Buchanan.
Religion And Mythology
- The Bible has Jacob and Esau. Esau is described as red and hairy, and Jacob, as plain and smooth-skinned. Since Esau was born first (by a minute or so), he was treated as the firstborn and was supposed to receive the birthright, until Jacob bought it from him.
- Alexander and Rosella from King's Quest. Alexander is dark-haired, dark-eyed, and medium-skinned, while Rosella is fair-skinned and blonde and blue-eyed.
- Kid and Sara from Ever17 are fraternal twins.
- For a series that's so out of touch with reality, you wouldn't expect Super Mario Bros. to feature realistic fraternal twins, but the heroes are, in fact, same-sex twins that look similar enough that they're clearly related, but different enough that they're easy to tell apart.
- The Sims 2 has a mechanic resetting how the parents' genetics and features are mixed after every birth, including between twins. Identical twins are thus impossible unless that mechanic is glitching (which is not uncommon).
- However, you can create identical twins in Create-A-Sim and Angela and Lillth Pleasant are existing identical twins.
- Lucas and Claus from Mother 3. Based on in-game evidence, they're still similar enough that you can confuse the two if you don't know them well. What really gives them away, though, is their hair; Lucas is blonde, Claus is a redhead.
- While they are half identical in Final Fantasy IV, by The After Years, twins Palom and Porom have grown to look very different.
- North and South Dakota from Red vs. Blue are a quirky example. They don't look that much alike out of their armor aside from both having white-blond hair, but when suited up their armor is near-identical compared to the other Freelancers.
- Alex and Dan in The Dreamland Chronicles are a rare case of fraternal twins of the same gender. This is likely inspired by the creator's fraternal twin sons.
- Surama and Hafmar in Wurr.
- Shotgun Shuffle has blonde Ellie and her black-haired sister Cinnamon. Since Cinnamon is generally referred to as "the dumb one" of the seven sisters, Ellie is constantly annoyed that they're the same age.
- The Venture Bros. has two sets of fraternal twins. Jonas Junior & Thadeus and Hank & Dean, the latter two being the title characters.
- Jackal and Hyena of Gargoyles both have brown hair and are completely Ax-Crazy, but that's where the similarities end.
- In Transformers several characters are twins, and there's usually at least one pair in each continuity. However they are never identical - at the very least they have strikingly different colours like Jetfire and Jetstorm in Transformers Animated and other times they look different in many other ways, like Sideswipe and Sunstreaker in G1 - who even had radically different personalities. This is obviously for the purpose of making and selling more toys. Family relationships are actually rarely used to explain the Palette Swap characters, who get a more technical explanation if it's explained at all.
- Hurricanes: Helmut and Yorg Beethoven. Helmut is taller and Yorg is more muscular.