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Anime & Manga
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Team Nanoha (the heroes) accidentally meets Team Wolkenritter (the heroic antagonists) in a hospital while visiting the Wolkenritter's master Hayate (who also happens to be a friend of Nanoha's friend Suzuka; they didn't know she was their enemies' master until then, however). This takes place just before the Final Battle, so it doesn't go well at all.
- This is a staple in the various Gundam series, with the heroes typically meeting their enemies by accident while out of their respective mechas and uniforms.
- Late in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Amuro and Char meet on a road in the neutral colony of Side 6 and Char even helps the young soldier get his car out of a ditch. While Char is quite famous in-universe, Char does not learn the name of the Gundam pilot he's been fighting for the whole series until after this encounter. Earlier, Amuro ran into Zeon officer Ramba Ral in a tavern after (temporarily) deserting from White Base.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Kira and Cagalli accidentally meet the enemy commander Andrew Waltfeld and his lover/partner while scouting an enemy town for supplies. That meeting ends rather amicably: even though Waltfeld immediately realizes he is dealing with enemy aces, he likes them well enough to let them go on that occasion.
- In "The SVU's Longest Day pt.2" Asuma happens to see Kai, while he was waiting for Noa at a ramen noodle stall. It isn't until he sees Kai's picture during a news broadcast, hours later, that he realizes he'd seen the leader of the rebel army that was currently laying siege to Tokyo.
- While, in the Mobile Police continuity, Noa and Asuma go to an arcade center on their day off and end up running into Richard Wong and Bado, who would later prove to be the series main antagonists during the Griffon arc.
- In Heat Guy J, Daisuke is going to lay sunflowers on his father's grave, and meets up with Clair, who has just visited (and stomped on) his own father's grave. The two look at each other for several minutes, before walking past one another.
- In one of the K prequel novels, this is how Mikoto and Reisi first met. Mikoto, the Red King and King of destruction, is smoking in a non-smoking area, and Reisi, the newly awakened Blue King and King of order, tells him not to. They bicker about it, but don't fight.
- Rinne no Lagrange: In the first season, when the trio of De Metrio pilots go looking for Madoka Kyono, the pilot of Vox Aura. Kirius actually runs into her wandering around town, they chat a bit, and then she runs off to do something else. As she leaves, Kirius thinks to himself, "Oh, I should have asked her where Madoka Kyono is."
- In the Sailor Moon/Cutey Honey crossover Venus Flash, Minako and Honey's secret identity are in a jewel shop because of a discount sale at the same time the youma Morga is in waiting for the right moment to kidnap and replace the owner. Then Jadeite and a platoon of low level youma barge in, as they have just found out what the owner is up to and were disgusted by it. Then the owner is revealed being a member of Panther Claw...
- After a battle, Minako returns home... And finds that the tentacle youma Electricus is servicing her mother. Wisely, the youma leaves.
- Pulp Fiction: A boxer named Butch, on the run for not throwing a fight for Marcellus Wallace (a local crime boss), shows up at his apartment to retrieve his gold watch. He decides to have a quick snack...and notices a submachine gun lying on the counter and picks it up to examine it. Cue toilet flush, and Vince Vega (who works as muscle for Wallace) walks into the kitchen, finding Butch with his gun. Exit Vega.
- The next scene: Butch is driving back to the hotel he and his girlfriend are hiding out. He stops at a light, and who should cross the street at that exact moment but Marcellus Wallace, the man who put the hit out on him, who was out getting coffee.
- In The Town, the Villain Protagonists have just pulled off a daring robbery and managed to escape pursuit... only to run smack into a police officer while they switch cars. The officer chooses to pretend he didn't see them.
- In Superman Returns, Lois sneaks onto Lex's yacht (not knowing it's his) and runs into the man himself, while he is brushing his teeth and utterly surprised to see her there.
- In Kick-Ass, after having his operations foiled, the Big Bad puts a hit out on the eponymous hero. Then, as he's casually driving down the street in his limo, who should walk past but Kick-Ass! Actually a subversion. It was really an unfortunate Kick-Ass imitator, whom the Big Bad shoots in the head and then inspires the real Kick-Ass to retire in fear of his safety.
- Captain America: The First Avenger: While searching for Bucky, Cap happens to spot Dr. Zola fleeing his lab, but abandons pursuing him in favor of finding Bucky. A few minutes later, however, the two encounter Schimdt and Zola as they all head for the elevator, and Zola ends up cutting them off so that the heroes can't reach them.
- In Batman Returns, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are at the same party when they realize that they are enemies (i.e., Selina figures out that Bruce is Batman, and he that she is Catwoman) while they dance together.
- In Ariel, Kasurinen runs into a man who robbed him earlier.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, two characters travelling in opposite directions, going on about their own business (Catelyn Stark and Tyrion), recognise each other in an inn, causing the intrigues of other characters to spiral out of control into an all-out civil war.
- Several books later, Tyrion is on the lam and has travelled to an entirely different continent, where he convinces his travel buddies to let him stop off at a brothel. While there, he happens to bump into Jorah Mormont, the dismissed-but-still-loyal knight of Daenerys's court, who are enemies to the Lannisters. Jorah was only there for the same reason as Tyrion himself: he was going through depression and needed a quick lay.
- In Soon I Will Be Invincible, Dr Impossible is having a cup of coffee and reading the paper when several members of the New Champions run across him and a battle ensues.
- Happens all the time with Monsieur Thenardier and Inspector Javert in Les MisÚrables.
Live Action Television
- In Burn Notice, Michael is infiltrating a bomb-maker's apartment. The bomb-maker had rigged a booby-trap to the door: a claymore, pointing at the door, tied to a rope. If the door opens, the rope slackens, which will set off the claymore. Michael, luckily, notices the trap and pulls on the rope to keep it taut. At that exact moment, though, the bomb-maker happens to walk in the back door. Though surprised, he quickly takes advantage of the situation, since Michael is standing directly in the path of the claymore and can't let go of the rope.
- Firefly: The episode "Trash" has Mal run into Saffron his ex-wife, who tried to get him and his crew killed on some backwater moon. As soon as they see each other they draw guns on each other.
- Breaking Bad: Walt happens to meet Jane's father Donald Margolis the night she dies. He later talks with Jesse after he realizes what happened about the "astronomical" odds of the meeting.
- The 100: When Clarke checks out the forbidden areas of Mount Weather, she discovers Anya, last seen trying to kill Clarke and all her friends, locked up in a cage.
- Game of Thrones:
- While going about their own business, Catelyn Stark and Tyrion Lannister recognize each other at an inn, causing the intrigues of other characters to spiral out of control into an all-out civil war.
- In "The Children" the two character duos wandering the Riverlands and the Mountains of the Moon bump into one another by chance.
- Hannibal: During season 3's "Red Dragon" arc, the first significant divergence from the novel's plot happens when the killer Francis Dolarhyde, who has conned his way into the Brooklyn Museum to destroy the William Blake painting, is interrupted by Will Graham, the man in charge of catching him, who was tipped off to the painting's importance by Hannibal.
- Daredevil: In "Speak of the Devil," Matt Murdock visits the art gallery run by Wilson Fisk's girlfriend Vanessa Marianna, hoping to tease some information out of Vanessa. While Matt is talking with her, Fisk shows up and Matt has to make some awkward small talk about the tenancy dispute Fisk is having with one of Nelson & Murdock's clients to avoid blowing his cover.
- One War Zone battle scenario works like this, pitting two scout teams (the Bauhaus and Mishima) against each other. The scenario starts with the sergeants of both sides already dead; both scout teams have been crawling through tall grass and somehow Failed a Spot Check until the leaders nearly bumped into each other.
- In Fate system games like Spirit of the Century, if you take an Aspect representing a nemesis, you are begging your GM for this to happen. But at least you get bonus fate points out of it. Other games with Nemesis disadvantages (or advantages!) also ask for this, though the degree to which such nemeses are part of the rules versus "just" a story hook varies depending on system.
- In Tales of the Abyss, there is a scene where the protagonists are going to visit a scholar who have knowledge pertinent to their quest. When they arrive, the Big Bad is already there, reading up about the same subject. The two of them have a bit of a row, but out of respect for the scholar (an old friend of his), the Big Bad leaves without anything coming of it.
- In one sidequest in Final Fantasy VII, Cloud and the gang pursue Yuffie to Wutai after she steals all of their Materia, where they find several members of the Turks hanging out in a bar. Fortunately, the Turks are currently on leave and aren't interested in pursuing their conflict with Cloud.