Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest
"For three years I searched for the house he built. I knew it had to be out there. Because I know him. I am him. I am Jack Harper, and I'm home. "
So the protagonist is forced to part with a love interest
for fantastic (supernatural/fantasy/science fiction) reasons.
But it's okay! Because at the end of the story they meet a mundane person who happens to look exactly
like the person they lost. Usually it's never explained why this person looks exactly the same
, but it's a quick way to turn a bittersweet ending
into a happy ending
Usually, the new love interest has been relationship-free for some time, or just got out of a long term relationship.
If time travel is involved, the love interest in the present is often an identical grandson
, which also makes for some incestuous implications if you assume they get married and have babies
Not to be confused with Replacement Goldfish
. Note that this trope only
applies when the new love interest appears by devices not possible in the world as we know it, such as magic, parallel universes, time travel, or cloning. If there's a mundane explanation (or none) for the Suspiciously Similar Substitute
, that's plain old Replacement Love Interest
. See also Doppelgänger
See Settle for Sibling
for when the old and new love interests are twin brother/sisters.
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Anime & Manga
- In Gantz, this is subverted with Kurono and Kishimoto. When Kishimoto died during a mission, Kurono thought to try and pursue her original that was still living a normal life. However, she ends up thinking Kurono is a nutty stalker and runs away from him.
- However, this trope is followed in relation to Kato and Kishimoto. It's implied that Kato has finally decided to get together with Kishimoto's original, and she seems to have taken a liking to him.
- And the manga does this to a T with Reika's very own Kurono, who she resurrects with this trope in mind.
- In Threads Of Time, this is what happens to Moon-Bin at the end. Although he isn't able to end up with Atan Hadas from the past, when he goes back into present time, it's implied that he ends up with a girl (that always liked him) who is identical to Atan Hadas.
- In Cross Game, the characters meet Akane who happens to look exactly like Wakaba, Kou's dead love interest and the Tsukushima family's daughter. Subverted in that Kou and Akane don't end up together, and the main characters theorize (somewhat bizarrely) that Akane was sent by Wakaba to let them know that it's okay to move on. Yeah, whatever lets you sleep at night, bub.
- Subverted in the Black Cat anime, where, for an episode, Train meets a girl who is physically identical to Saya. The thing is, he never really shows much romantic interest towards her, and ends up leaving and forgetting about her. Which certainly contributes to the idea of his character — that he loved Saya's carefree way of life, not that he romantically loved her. Therefore, since the girl had a completely different way of life and occupation, he certainly wouldn't be all that interested in her.
- Trigun is an excellent, if subtle, example. The Technical Pacifist protagonist Vash the Stampede refuses to kill anyone because of the teachings of his mother-figure— even though his brother killed her and some (millions of) colonists on their arrival on the world over one hundred years ago and both villains and protagonists point out how unreasonable he is on the Sliding Scaleof Idealism Versus Cynicism. The catch is that one of the two insurance girls following him throughout the series (similarly an idealist and Vash's love interest) in an act of If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him is superimposed with the image of said dead mother figure. Of course, she looks exactly the same, just with much, much, shorter hair (for fans who are half-blind).
- Toyed with a bit, and subverted in Full Metal Panic! during The Second Raid. Sousuke is separated from Kaname by Mithril, and goes into his huge Heroic BSOD. He ends up meeting a Chinese prostitute who looks exactly like Kaname, and decides to hire her to chat with him. The subversion comes in that, as soon as she starts making advances on him and attempts to kiss him, he completely freaks out and runs away.
- Fist of the North Star played around this trope when Mamiya was first introduced, whose resemblance to Yuria (Kenshiro's supposedly dead fiancee) was the first thing he noticed about her. Subverted in that even though Mamiya is in love with Kenshiro at first, his feelings are not mutual. Also, Yuria is later revealed to be Not Quite Dead yet.
- Non-romantic example, in the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist after Ed is trapped in our world on the other side of the gate, he befriends a boy named Alfons who is this world's counterpart to his brother Alphonse in his world.
- Also, probably, a non-romantic one. He befriends Noah, who is probably Rose's counterpart.
- Another one from the Bleach movie, Memories of Nobody: After Senna sacrifices herself, Ichigo sees a girl who looks and sounds just like her run past on the bridge.
- InuYasha plays with this trope in the situation between Inuyasha, Kikyo, and Kagome. After Kikyo's death, plenty of characters who knew Kikyo are struck by the similarity between Kikyo and Kagome (justified by the fact that Kagome is Kikyo's reincarnation), resulting in Kagome angsting over being compared to Kikyo. Inuyasha himself was initially repulsed by Kagome because her scent was so similar to Kikyo, something he got over when he realised their scents weren't the same. He didn't actually notice the physical resemblence between the two until he caught Kagome sleeping one time and had the chance to really study her face to see what everyone else was going on about; for him it didn't really factor in to how he handled Kagome. As a result, the trope is played with because while the resemblence is there, it's not the driving force behind their relationship or the reason Inuyasha became attracted to Kagome. The differences between Kagome and Kikyo are, in fact, so stark, that Kikyo and Kagome have trouble understanding each other and Inuyasha never has any trouble keeping the two women straight in his head because their personalities and motivations are very different.
- Toyed with in MÄR with Koyuki being Ginta's love interest from the real world, and he ends up having fallen for Snow, her exact counterpart in the fantasy world. In the end, he decides to return to the real world and, in the anime, starts dating Koyuki, who Snow's spirit has joined with.
- In Fushigi Yuugi, Hotohori marries Houki, a woman from his harem that looks just like a female version of Nuriko. Also, Houki herself had once been in a relationship with a man that looked just like Hotohori later revealed to be his long-lost older brother
- Ultimately averted in Project ARMS. Almost immediately after the apparent death of Katsumi, a girl named Kei is introduced. She looks exactly like Katsumi (to the point where it's later revealed that she was Katsumi's clone and Ryo is obvious struck by this resemblance. But then Ryo and Kei only ever are friends, while Hayato becomes her love interest. Katsumi, meanwhile, turns out to be alive, and Ryo spends the series trying to rescue her.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima! Eva from the future states that one of her goals is to find an "extra Nagi", after she gets a dimension jumping machine from Chao.
- In Nanatsu No Taizai, Meliodas originally had a lover named Elizabeth nicknamed Liz in his past. In the present, a princess who exactly looks like his dead lover except for hairstyle and color is in love with him. Not only does she uncannily look like his dead lover, but she is also named Elizabeth, and also seems to have ties with his past.
- Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam 00: following the death of Neil Dylandy (AKA Lockon Stratos), his twin brother Lyle is recruited by Celestial Being to take Neil's place as the team's sniper. When he first arrives on the Ptolemaios, Lyle meets his brother's Love Interest Feldt Grace and acts like a jerk to her, driving her off in tears. Lyle later apologizes, revealing that he did it because he recognized that she was in an emotionally fragile state and didn't want her to form a misguided attraction to him based solely on the fact that he looks exactly like the man she loved. The two make peace, and they end up with completely different love interests.
- In the X-Men comics, after Jean Grey "died" in The Dark Phoenix Saga, her boyfriend, Scott Summers, met and married Maddie Pryor, a girl who looked just like her. Of course, it's not a straight example because 1) Maddie turned out to be a clone of Jean created by an enemy, and 2) Jean wasn't really dead and later came back to marry Scott. The original script would've had Maddie be someone who looked like Jean. That's it. No reincarnation, no clone, just someone who happens to look like her. Unfortunately, an anniversary was rolling around, and Marvel wanted something big. So, they retconned Maddie into a clone for the sake of a story.
- In The Incal, John Difool meets, falls in love and loses a beautiful "Aristro" (she goes off with another guy.) Later he meets Animah, who exactly resembles her. (Strangely, given the metaphysical manipulation that occur in reference to John, this seems to have happened by accident.
- In Countdown to Final Crisis The Atom Ray Palmer ended up in a parallel universe where his counterpart had just died. He tried to make a new life for himself there and got together with the counterpart of his insane ex-wife Jean Loring. Amazingly enough, things were actually going pretty well — but since this is Countdown, which was described on this wiki as DC's love letter to Kill 'em All, it didn't last.
- In RASL, the protagonist's girlfriend is killed and then he finds himself in a parallel universe where she's still alive — and so is his longer-dead wife. This being RASL, this only makes his troubles more complicated.
- In Runaways, Xavin once impersonated Nico, knowing that Karolina had a crush on her and thinking that this might make their betrothal easier. It backfired pretty badly, creeping Karolina out and making her even more aware of the differences between her and Xavin.
- At the end of Code Geass: Mao of the Deliverance, C.C. takes Mao to C's World while he is unconscious and leaves him there with the mental version of herself so he can be happy. Mao's reaction, however, is a subversion as he, while grateful for the gesture, is ultimately NOT satisfied and determined to get back.
- In the infamous fanfic My Immortal, when Draco is kidnapped by Voldemort, Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way mentions how Vampire looks exactly like Draco... before screwing him... in front of the class.
- Which is even more ridiculous when you remember that "Vampire" is supposed to be Harry and he doesn't look like Draco.
- The Monsters University Alternate Universe fanfic A Sinister Mind (part of a series of AU stories written by Crazybird101) reveals that Johnny Worthington had a childhood friend named Marcus, who eventually became his lover. He was a lizard with crimson scales, red eyes, and four fronds. Marcus is forced to leave his abusive aunt and move to a different home, and Johnny doesn't see him for years. When the events of the movie come around, Johnny meets Randy Boggs, who looks almost like Marcus.
- Marcus of course doesn't die; he shows up in another fanfic called A growing bond. He is the main villain in A fighting bond, but in Silent obsession, it is revealed he had died in childbirth.
- In Andrew M. Greeley's Angel Fire, Sean Desmond meets an Irish woman who is a dead ringer for Gabriella, the angel who has shepherded him through the entire book, after she leaves for good. It's implied that Gabriella knew of this coming meeting and used the woman's appearance in order to prime Sean for a relationship with her.
- In Heir Apparent, the protagonist is trapped in a virtual reality game and ends up developing a bit of a crush on one of the characters. For obvious reasons, they can't exactly be together once she's escaped the game. Luckily he looks just like the game's Teen Genius creator, who shows up to apologize to the heroine personally and seems flattered that she liked the character based on him...
- In Stephenie Meyer's The Host, one human has his girlfriend taken over by a Soul. The free humans then remove the Soul, but the girlfriend is brain-dead due to the possession by this point—so they just stick the Soul back in the body. The original mind's boyfriend then stays with the Soul-in-the-body, despite said Soul being the reason that his girlfriend died at all.
- In the Last Herald-Mage trilogy of the Heralds of Valdemar series, The Hero Vanyel loses his first Love Interest, Tylendel, in a truly epic tragedy that starts him on the path to becoming the most powerful Herald-Mage in the history of the kingdom. Seventeen years later, he finds a new love interest, Stefan, who is physically dissimilar, but still bears an uncanny psychic resemblance to Tylendel, up to and including forming a lifebond with Van. It turns out that 'Lendel was reincarnated as Stefan, though most of the main characters are ignorant of this until close to the end of the story.
- John Perry from Old Man's War is very upset by his wife's death. Near the end of the book he meets a special forces soldier who has a body cloned from his his wife's DNA, who looks exactly like her. They end up together.
- The Redwall novel Martin the Warrior has an odd case of this. In the end, it's revealed that the traveler narrating the story is a dead ringer for Rose, Martin's love interest who was killed by the Big Bad in the final battle. The catch? The two will never meet, as Martin lived and died many generations before the traveler told the story. Slightly better than most examples in that the two characters are, you know, mice.
- Disturbingly handled in the Scorpion Shards trilogy by Neal Shusterman. The titular "Shards," pieces of a Starfish Character, can only truly love each other. Dillon, the leader of the group, attempts to start a relationship with an outsider, but is haunted by memories of a female Shard who died in the first book. The solution is best summed up by the tropes involved: Death Is Cheap for the female Shard, Death of the Hypotenuse combined with Deader Than Dead and Heroic Sacrifice for the outsider, and Freaky Friday plus That (Wo)man Is Dead just to up the weirdness.
- Inverted in Solaris—a doppelganger is created to remind the protagonist of a love interest he failed to save, and he eventually falls in love with her. This is not a case of Replacement Goldfish, as he remains well aware that the copy isn't the same person as the original. It still ends rather badly, though.
- Harry Harrison's Starworld (the third in the To the Stars trilogy) has the protagonist sent to Israel to meet a contact, and he at first is shocked to see Sarah, his dead love who was killed in the first book. Subverted in that he then starts to see differences and, after talking to her, finds out that she's Sarah's sister. They end up having sex, but it turns out they're both married (he got married in book two) and have no intention of leaving their spouses.
- In both the novel and subsequent TV movie Tek War, Jake Cardigan falls in love with an android built in the image of Beth Kittridge. The android dies in a Heroic Sacrifice. Then Jake meets the real Beth.
- In The Vampire Diaries, Stefan initially fell for Elena because she looked just like his long-dead love interest, Katherine.
- In the final book of The Dark Tower, Susannah Dean travels to an alternate New York City where she meets an alternate version of her (deceased) husband Eddie, their young (also deceased) friend Jake, and even an Earth-dog version of their (guess) billy-bumbler Oy.
Live Action TV
- This often happens with laterally reincarnated innerwalkers in Feng Shui.
- Deconstructed in Silent Hill 2, where James can choose to be with Maria, who is an idealized doppelganger of his dead wife Mary. In the ending Maria starts to cough, implying that James is doomed to relive the pain of her dying from a terminal illness just like his wife did. The game implies that this is what James just deserves for clinging to an image of his wife instead of moving on. Or, in another interpretation, refusing to accept responsibility for what he did, and failing to understand why what he did was wrong and selfish.
- In the game version of Da Capo this happens in the Miharu route. Girl gets hit by car, girl gets replaced by robotic duplicate. Boy loves robot. Robot malfunctions. Girl comes back. Boy gets together with girl...
- The NES game Astyanax ends with the hero back in his normal highschool world, but the new student is a dead ringer for the fairy companion who pulled a heroic sacrifice.. but the game never says whether perhaps she was just reborn or what.
- Super Paper Mario lets you purchase a robotic doppelganger to replace the Fairy Companion who turns out to be the villain's love interest.
- At the end of Sam & Max: Freelance Police: The Devil's Playhouse, Max is Killed Off for Real. The cutscene shows the devastated Sam leaving all his friends and walking aimlessly through the town. Suddenly, he sees the Time Travel elevator from Season Two and finds there Max from an Alternate Timeline, in which Sam is the one who died. After an awkward moment, they decide to resume their mischief and pretend none of this happened.
- By Poker Night 2, they remember the events with laughter, possibly blocking out the memory of losing their best friend.
- In .hack//G.U., after Haseo loses Shino to Triedge, he meets Atoli who happens to have the near exact same avatar design, save a color change. However, while her looks are similar, her personality is very different from Shino's, which causes Haseo to (initially) hate her.
- In Winter Shard, if Frederone's love interest Rosetta dies, Zewoe creates a clone of her to please him. This enrages Federone, either because he promised Rosetta that he wouldn't try to resurrect her or because he did resurrect her only for her to be Driven to Suicide because of her religious beliefs, and he actually orders Marliene to wear a mask at all times when around him because he doesn't want to be reminded of how much she resembles Rosetta. He can either come around to accept Marliene as a legitimate love interest in her own right, or he can reject her.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us:
- The alternate Harley Quinn falls for the main universe's Joker, as her Joker had been killed, but eventually dumps him and moves on when she realizes what an asshole he is.
- The evil alternate Superman declares he will kill the main universe's Superman and take his Lois Lane. When Superman points out she would be disgusted and terrified of him, evil Superman says he doesn't care as long as Lois is alive again. Fortunately, Superman defeats the evil one.
- In Sluggy Freelance, both Zoe and her Dimension of Lame counterpart are this for Torg. First Torg has a Cannot Spit It Out crush on Zoe, then he gets trapped in the Dimension of Lame and hooks up with that universe's Zoe, then Alt-Zoe is killed by Lord Horribus and Torg returns to his home universe, and starts crushing on Zoe all over again.
- And it turns out Torg is this for Alt-Zoe as well, since her dimension's Torg vanished long ago after the two were romantically involved.
- Danielle in Kevin & Kell.
- Averted in Cuanta Vida. After Red dies, the new spy, Rojo, shows up. It doesn't end well.
- Parodied in Johnny Bravo. He wakes up in the hospital to find a nurse that looks identical to the girl in his dream... then he wakes up again.
- Teen Titans may have done a variant: Beast Boy's love interest, Terra, is turned to stone. Then, in the series finale (several seasons later), he suddenly sees a girl who looks just like her and is convinced she's the real Terra (whose petrified body has vanished), even though she at least claims to not know him or remember anything about being a superhero. They do not wind up getting together in the end, and whether the girl really was Terra or just a lookalike is left ambiguous. Word of God says she is. It's a throwback to the comics, however the second Terra was a clone and the first really was dead.
- ReBoot: After Glitch-Bob's attempt to split apart via portal goes explodey, Dot decides to marry the other Bob. Dot was already leaning towards choosing the other Bob, and Glitch-Bob's accident pushed her the rest of the way. Then it turns out that the other Bob is actually the Big Bad. Whoops.
- On Futurama, Fry (and the Professor and Bender) get hurtled into the future so far, they reach the end of the universe and watch a new, identical one come into existence. Fry gets together with the Leela from that universe (after the native Fry is killed by their time-machine's arrival). Uncharacteristically for this trope, though, we actually get to see the original Leela spend the rest of her life miserable and alone.
- At the end of The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, Judy Jetson is pining for her stone-age boyfriend Iggy Sandstone (met during a time-travel mishap), and then meets his identical space-age descendant, who's no less cool. Both boys are into rock music, of course.
- In an early episode of The Simpsons Homer becomes the manager for a country singer named Lurleen Lumpkin, who falls in love with him and tries to get him to have an affair with her. Several seasons later, she appears again, and it's revealed that she's been married 5 times since, and all her ex-husbands (and her current boyfriend) look just like Homer.