Evelyn: [about a telenovela] So, you see that stripper? She used to be a nun and she's pregnant with the butcher's baby, but she doesn't know that the butcher is her second cousin.
Wilhelmina: A story as old as time.In some stories, it's not enough for the hero and villain to be long lost brothers, separated at birth. It's not enough for the protagonist to find out that the man he has chased down with intense hatred is also the man who conceived him, and thus they are linked by fate. Every main character is secretly related, and everyone they have even incidental contact with is a far removed cousin or uncle. If nothing else, The Dragon is secretly The Lancer's adoptive father, or the White Magician Girl went to the same monastery as the dread summoner who now threatens all of existence. For one reason or another, everyone of even marginal importance to the story secretly has some kind of connection to each other, to be revealed only at the moment of greatest dramatic impact (because the writers hadn't thought of it until just now). In particularly silly cases, you can gauge a character's rising importance in the story by the fact that they are suddenly revealed to have been related to someone else in the plot all along. Very common in Soap Operas, which hinge on dramatic twists. You can't really blame them for eventually running out of reasonable ones and going back to the family well. Also common in particularly Mind Screwy and plot-heavy video games and long-running dramatic television series. Modern incarnations are often a deconstruction, but not always. The presence of (fertile) immortals can easily lead to this, especially if the immortality is itself heritable. Often Truth in Television when dealing with a feudal society. Those stories tend to revolve around royalty and nobility, who were intermarried so heavily that it's entirely plausible for every scheming duke and brave baron to be someone's uncle or cousin. This is possibly where the trope originates. Also true for humanity in general: recent studies indicate that the most recent common ancestor of all humans alive today may have lived as recently as three or four thousand years ago, while in most groups where immigration isn't the primary method of population growth, it is inevitable that this has happened much more recently. The way populations work, someone ends up either leaving a lot of descendants, or the family line dies out within a few generations. So if a person living now can trace their ancestry back to, say, Charlemagne, that means inevitably hundreds of thousands, and probably millions, of other people living today can do the same thing, which means they are all distant cousins. It is assumed some 30% of all Central Europeans descend from Charlemagne in one way or another. This is not to say Charlemagne was an immense fornicator. He had only ten legitimate and illegitimate children. But they all survived to adult age, married and procreated. Usually a pedigree of a foreparent either collapses within six generations, or surviving that, his or her genes will spread and multiply immensely, like those of Charlemagne. Compare You All Share My Story and Tangled Family Tree. Subtrope of One Degree of Separation. For the non-familial version, see Everyone Went to School Together.
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Anime and Manga
- Almost every single character from the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki! OVA is related in some vague way. Of the show's huge cast, there are probably only about three characters that aren't a part of that tree: Tenchi's two school-mates, and Doctor Clay.
- Alright, Mahou Sensei Negima!. The whole thing deserves spoilers: Negi and Asuna are related by blood, and Negi's dad's group has ties to Asuna, Konoka, Evangeline, Takamichi, and the Headmaster. Konoka's bodyguard/love interest Setsuna is the sempai of now-villainous Tsukuyomi. Chao is a time traveling descendent of Negi's, and helped create Chachamaru with Hakase. Zazie's Evil Twin sister is an underling of one of the Big Bad's alliesnote , Yuuna's mom was revealed to be a mage, and Misora was in on magic to begin with, as was Mana.
- Hayate the Combat Butler seems to have everyone related by convoluted means. Given that it's an Unwanted Harem..
- Only Ayumu Nishizawa has escaped this fate so far. Either going to the same school or related... or both.
- Ever try to make a Cardcaptor Sakura family tree? If they ain't related, they're dating...or they're related AND dating.
- RahXephon has pretty much the entire case being related in some way or other.
- And it makes things particularly confusing by having most of the characters be either lying or ignorant about their real relationships!
- In I'm Gonna Be an Angel! all the main characters and even villains turned out to be connected to each other in some way: starting with Yuusuke and Noelle, Yuusuke is in love with Natsumi who is obsessing over her dead brother Fuyuki. Fuyuki is really Raphael, who a teacher and a lover of Mikael, who in turn is a part of Noelle, who as you know, is in love with Yuusuke. Mikael, Noelle and Silky are parts of one angel soul, which makes something akin to siblings. Eros, Muse and Dispell are Silky's toys, living because of her power. And there's Noelle's family where noone is really evenblood-related..
- Naruto has a lot: The Fourth Hokage is Naruto's Father. And his mother is the previous Demon Fox's host. And Pain is his distant relative. And so is Sasuke. And all of the Uchiha clan. And the Hyuuga clan. And the First Hokage. And the Fifth as well. It's later revealed that Karin is also a member of the Uzumaki clan. Even three of the maids/butlers/witches are related. Or one maid-butler-witch, rather.
- Sailor Moon. Played for Laughs in a small sub-plot in the fourth season. There's an entire family of ball-type Lemures. Actually Fridge Horror when you realize what the Lemures really are, and what that means.
- Angel Sanctuary: A-yup. Not only is the main couple a case of Brother-Sister Incest, but every first-generation angel in heaven and demon in hell was born from from the flesh of Adam Kadamon. Meaning, in other words, that all of them are immediately related. Could explain a lot.
- Takes a bit of a dark twist in Attack on Titan. Everyone is related... in large part because only people of that bloodline were vulnerable to the royal family's mind control abilities, and so they had non-vulnerable other populations, such as Asians and the Ackerman family, actively persecuted and hunted down.
- Between the Summers family, the House of Magnus and to a lesser extent the Darkholme family, the Marvel universe can feel like this.
- The Summers Family is by far the most extensive though: Corsair (father to Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan), Katherine Summers (wife of Corsair, mother of Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan), Cyclops, Havok, Vulcan, Nate Grey (alternate reality version of Cable (sorta) and clone of Jean Grey and Cyclops), Jean Grey (wife of Cyclops), Madelyne Pryor (clone of Jean Grey and wife of Cyclops), Cable (son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor), Jenskot (wife of Cable), Tyler Summers (son of Cable and Jenskot), Stryfe (clone of Cable, adoptive son of Apocalypse), Hope Summers (adoptive daughter of Cable), and Rachel Grey (alternate reality daughter of Jean Grey and Cyclops), Ruby Summers (future daughter of Emma Frost and Cyclops). Adam X may or may not be the half brother of Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan (though he was intended to be, it was never confirmed in the comics).
- Perhaps this should be it's own trope "Wold Newtonism" (http://www.pjfarmer.com/woldnewton/Pulp.htm ) For example, we know that Sherlock Holmes' family seat, Mycroft Hall, is in Norfolk. As all the county gentry are more-or-less related, we may assume that Sherlock and Mycroft were related to Lord Peter Wimsey. And we know that Sherlock & Mycroft had French relatives; perhaps BELGIAN ones? Perhaps that's why Hercule stayed in England after the war—he had English relatives?
- Life and Love: Pokemon Journeys invokes this.
- Though The Lion King films use this trope to a lesser extent, forming important plot points, fans have taken this to the extreme. It's not hard to find a fanfiction where Nala and Simba are cousins, Nuka is Scar's son, or Zira is Sarabi's second half-cousin once-removed.
- In Across The Stars, Kim and Shego are revealed to be cousins. An alternative to being sisters (or half-sisters) as many fanfic writers often do.
- The "Pooh's Adventures" videos are the absolute worst offender of this trope. Every other human character that Winnie the Pooh interacts with is a cousin of Christopher Robin, every bear character is a cousin of Winnie the Pooh, etc.
- Crazy Stupid Love: Sort of. The main character's friend meets a girl in a bar that made him want to be monogamous who's the main character's daughter, and the woman the main character met in the bar is his children's teacher.
- An unusual variation: Kevin Smith's Askewniverse movies include a member of the Hicks family in every movie; in either a main, supporting, or cameo role. The character is always played by Brian O'Halloran.
- Spoofed in Hot Shots.
Topper: I don't think we've met.Kent: Kent Gregory. Excuse me if I don't shake the hand of a certain hot-shot whose father caused the death of someone who was very special to me, Dominic "Mailman" Farnham.Topper: You mean...Kent: Yes. Dominic Farnham was my father. I was his love child.Topper: It was a hunting accident.Kent: Accident, my deep-blue eyes. It was reckless, irresponsible flying, and you know it.Washout: This is an incredible coincidence, but the hunter who mistakenly killed your father was Henry Pfaffenbach, my father. I feel terrible. *holds a family picture with Mailman's head stuffed like a deer's on the wall in the background*Kowalski: Isn't this Henry Alva Pfaffenbach? My mother was a Pfaffenbach.Pilot extra: Not... Doreen Pfaffenbach? From Minnesota?Kowalski: Yeah.Pilot extra: Then we're cousins! We used to spend our summers in Eagle River.All the other extras: EAGLE RIVER?
- Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus:
- Jason and Thalia have the same mother, as well as being kids of the same god (Jupiter/Zeus respectively) but in different aspects.
- Hazel is Nico’s sister and Frank turns out to be a descendant of Poseidon, so Percy and Tyson adopt him as their brother.
- Leo is related to Sammy Valdez, Hazel's boyfriend from back during World War 2—specifically, he is Sammy's great-grandson.
- Heracles & Chrysaor to Jason and Percy. They try to kill each other.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth (The Lord of the Rings, etc.) has many related protagonists by virtue of them mostly being from various prominent families or ruling dynasties. But there aren't really any cases of 'surprise-relatives' (which this trope seems to be about). Well, except perhaps Túrin getting told that his wife is actually his grown-up and amnesiac baby sister, but the reader knows that from the start. This is most apparent in the First Age, where all the main Elves and Men are descended from the three 'fathers' of their respective races (Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë/Elu Thingol for the Elves, and Bëor, Marach and Haldad for the Men), and there is much intermarriage between the descendents, which eventually leads to the birth of Elrond and Elros, who are descended from all of them simultaneously. This trope becomes less apparent in the Second and Third Ages, as the First Age thinned the cast a bit.
- Most of the wizarding families in Harry Potter are related in one way or another, mostly for being a very small population and community, coupled in addition with pureblood inter-marrying of cousins.
- The Black Family Tree revealed in Book 5 clarified that Sirius is cousin to the Black Sisters: Bellatrix married the Lestranges, Narcissa the Malfoys and Andromeda, the White Sheep married a Muggleborn, Ted Tonks, whose daughter is Nymphadora Tonks. The Blacks in addition are distant relatives of the Weasleys.
- Cygnus Black and Violetta Bulstrode, re Draco's great-great-grandparents. Even one minor character in Slytherin, who is not much more than a sparring partner for Hermione in the second book, is related to Draco through Violetta Bulstrode.
- Harry is a descendent of Ignotus Peverell, one of the three Peverell brothers who received the Deathly Hallows. Another Peverell brother is a distant ancestor of Tom Riddle/Voldemort which means that Harry and Voldemort are themselves cousins, several times removed. And of course by the end of the books, by the end of the story the Power Trio are all Weasleys by marriage or blood, with fraternal and legal connections to the French Delacour and Tonks families
- According to the book of Genesis, every human being that ever lived is descended from Adam and Eve, and everyone born since the great flood is descended from Noah. One might conclude at first that this means that any kind of sex is incest, except for two things: First, the gene pool was still mostlynote clean at the time of the flood, and the incest taboo wasn't needed until centuries later when God handed the law down to Moses. And even then, God never prohibited first cousin marriage.
- In any book after the first in any Piers Anthony series, EVERY CHARACTER EVER. Even, like, the robots and stuff. He'll find a way.
- Except for the Virtual Mode series, which tended to have characters come and go as they crossed through the various universes. Although given the species of several of the characters, any kind of more-than-friendship relationship between them would end up being...interesting...
- The Incarnations in Incarnations of Immortality (see One Degree of Separation for explanation of this tangle).
- Dune. When Jessica and Paul are on the run from the Harkonnens, Paul drops a bombshell: "We're Harkonnens."
- Up to Eleven in God-Emperor of Dune where almost everyone is related to Leto though the Ghanima/Farad'n line, then continued and taken up even more in Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune where almost everyone are Atreides from the Siona/Idaho line, including the entire Bene Gesserit sisterhood, many of the Honored Matres such as Murbella and others throughout the Imperium and in the Scattering. Plus on a personal level, Odrade being the daughter of Teg.
- The main premise of The 39 Clues book series is groups of people, all members of the vast Cahill family, vying to find the secret of the family's fame and power.
- In the H.I.V.E. Series, just about everyone is one of two families that have a distinct possibility to be linked:
- Xiu Mei is the wife of Wu Zhang and the mother of Wing, as well as the programmer ("mother") of Overlord. In addition to referring to Xiu Mei as his mother, Overlord refers to H.I.V.E.mind as his brother because they share a code base, and vice versa. H.I.V.E.mind's programmer/"father" is Professor Theodore Pike. Overlord has fourteen known sons, including Zero, the twelve other clones introduced in book eight, and Otto. Otto was raised by Mrs. McCreedy along with Tom and Penny. Otto seems on track to marry Laura, whose parents are Mary and Andrew Brand, and whose younger brother, Dougie, will likely be an Alpha as well once he is older. Shelby is also a likely candidate to enter the family via Wing.
- Nathaniel "The Architect" Nero and his wife, whose name remains unknown, are the parents of Maximilian Nero. Nero was at some point married or at least very romantically close to Elena, who was the sister of Peitor and Anastasia Furan. Raven, born around the time Elena died, was described by Nero as "hauntingly familiar" upon their meeting, a phrase always used to describe someone whose relative is a known member of the cast.
- Additionally, after book one, most important characters introduced tend to be related to a character who is already in the cast, including Diabolus Darkdoom, Xiu Mei, Cypher, Lucy Dexter, Number One himself, and Anastasia and Peitor Furan.
- In the Outlander series, characters are revealed to be related even though they were born two centuries apart.
- In the Warrior Cats series, considering that each clan has its own Tangled Family Tree, and that cats inside one clan are not allowed to mate with cats from other clans (though some still do), it is not surprising that after a few generations of mating with each other, almost everyone is related to one another inside any given clan, except for newcomers.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, protagonist Lazarus Long is the oldest living human being, having survived over 2,300 years thanks to an abnormally long natural lifespan and the technology of human rejuvenation. It is statistically estimated that, if you claim any ancestry at all from the Howard Families (humans who took part in a breeding program designed to improve longevity), there's an 80+ percent chance that you're his descendant, and the novel makes something of a Running Gag about everyone Lazarus meets telling him how closely related they are (fifth generation descendent of his eighth wife, etc.). This even extends outside the Families, as he's had uncounted unregistered children over the centuries and at one point relates a story about meeting a pair of slave twins whom he suspects of being his great-to-the-nth grandchildren.
- The medieval epic poem Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach lives this trope. The titular hero Parzival turns out to be closely or distantly related to just about every person he meets in the course of his adventures. This is generally interpreted as Wolfram telling his readers that all of mankind is one big family, even across national and religious divides - Parzival has an elder half-brother, Feirefis, who is a Muslim (although at the end of the story he becomes a Christian) and has black-and-white piebald skin, being the son of a white father and a black mother. For the time of the Crusades, when it was written, this was a quite unusual message of tolerance.
- In Great Expectations, Estella turns out to be the child of two characters Pip has had random encounters with: Abel Magwitch and Molly. In addition, the man who left Mrs. Havisham at the altar turns out to be the second escaped criminal that Pip saw when he first met Magwitch.
- In Fort Hope, protagonist Greg is related to half of the cast. The book does start off with his trying to get to know his family, after all. Towards the end of the book, it is revealed that Emma is related to the other half of the cast, including her longtime best friend and the book's big bad.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, most of the main characters are aristocrats whose families have been intermarrying for centuries. Robert Baratheon's Arch-Enemy was also his second cousin, the Starks have distant cousins in various Vale families, many noble families in the Reach are related via Garth Greenhand, the Freys have marriage/blood ties to practically everyone, etc.
Live Action TV
- Heroes is another example. With each season, more familial bonds spring up between main characters that originally lived on completely different continents.
- Then again, powers are genetic, so it's a convenient way to introduce a new character with powers by saying they're a relative.
- As mentioned in the trope, most Soap Operas tend toward this eventually. If nothing else, it's an inevitable consequence of the constant marriage and divorce of everyone in the show.
- Lost has had a few. Jack and Claire are half-siblings. We had met Widmore, Eloise, and Daniel in seasons 2, 3, and 4, respectively, but it wasn't till season 5 that we found out Widmore and Eloise are Daniel's parents.
- Which makes Penny Daniel's half-sister, and Desmond and Daniel- who were already good friends- brothers-in-law.
- Hilariously enough, this means that if Jack and Kate's marriage had worked out, they could have gotten custody of Aaron legally.
- Interesting variation: Jacob and his supposed arch-nemesis being brothers all along comes out as a shocking twist, but unlike the above examples they were perfectly aware of their relation and simply chose not to tell anybody.
- The Pretender where Jarod has an evil long lost older brother Kyle and a sister Emily. His arch nemesis Ms. Parker has an evil long lost twin brother who was separated at birth Mr. Lyle. Ms. Parker and Mr. Lyle's mother Catherine has a son named Ethan with Jarod, Kyle and Emily's father Charles. Mr. Parker the supposed father of Ms. Parker and Mr. Lyle turns out to be sterile and thus not their father. Their actual father is Mr. Raines who is the long lost brother of Mr. Parker but who was raised in foster care. Mr. Raines and his wife Edna also have a daughter named Annie. Mr. Lyle and his supposed father (but actually his uncle) have both slept with Brigitte and it isn't clear who her baby's daddy is. Oh and Jarod also has a clone.
- Most of the characters in Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Frank originally thought was the father of twins Dennis and Dee. Turns out their mother Barbara had also been sleeping with another guy named Bruce but she dumped him because she thought Bruce was poor (he wasn't). Charlie discovers that Frank may be his biological father when Frank reconnects with Charlie's mother Bonnie via Facebook and Charlie who doesn't know who his dad is realizes Frank and Bonnie slept together roughly 30 years ago. Frank swears that Bonnie was a tramp and aborted the baby but Bonnie swears that Charlie survived the abortion. Later in a scheme to get back Frank's money that Barbara left Bruce upon her death Frank and Dee (his legal daughter) pretend to be engaged in an elaborate scheme to trick Bruce out of the money...they even go so far as to marry. Frank later also has a same sex marriage with roommate (and possible son) Charlie. Dee becomes the mistress of Bill Ponderossa...the brother of her twin brother's wife. Mac isn't really related to any of the characters but he has slept with Dennis mom. Also Mac's ex-girlfriend Carmen the tranny is the biological father of the baby Dee gives birth to.
- On Once Upon a Time, it turns out that Henry Mills is Rumpelstiltskin's paternal grandson, the maternal grandson of Snow White and Prince Charming, and the adopted son of Snow White's stepmother. The kid is surprisingly well-adjusted to these facts.
- And then we find out that Peter Pan is his great-grandfather. And the Wicked Witch of the West is Regina's half-sister.
- And The Snow Queen is Emma's foster-mother...wait, does this make her Elsa and Anna's cousin?
- On Revenge, it is eventually revealed that Charlotte, daughter of Victoria and Conrad Grayson, was fathered by David Clarke, making her Emily's paternal half-sister. Given Emily's marriage to Daniel, this results in both of Charlotte's half-siblings becoming her in-laws. Also, due to the identity swap between Emily Thorne and Amanda Clarke, Fauxmanda becomes the legal sister of Charlotte, daughter of Kara and David and wife of Jack. Emily is also made godmother to Fauxmanda and Jack's son Carl.
- Complicating things further, in Season 3 it is revealed that Conrad's first wife, Stevie Grayson, is the biological mother of Jack Porter, Emily's childhood friend and love interest- making Conrad Jack's ex-stepfather.
- It is also revealed in Season 2 that David Clarke's apparent murderer was married to Emily's mother Kara, making him Emily's stepfather- who is subsequently killed by Emily's eventual fiance Aiden.
- According to The Bible, all humans are descendants of one man and one woman.
- Arthurian legend also tends toward this, for the same reason that most feudal stories do.
- Greek mythology tends to include complex genealogies for almost every God, Goddess, monster, king, hero and villain mentioned. Mostly connected to each other. For example, Theseus and most of his early foes were all said to be sons of Poseidon. Penelope was a paternal first cousin of Helen and Clytaemnestra. Making their respective hasbands Odysseus, Menelaus and Agamemnon kinsmen. And so on. The few figures not related to anybody else tend to be either insignificant or our knowledge of their legend is mostly fragmentary.
- Agamemnon and Menelaos were brothers, and great-grandchildren of Zeus, who was the brother of Poseidon. Oh, and Helen was the daughter of Zeus, so a not all-that-distant blood relative of her husband and a first cousin of Theseus.
- In Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools the kitsune have genealogies as complex as you'd expect to see in classical pantheons. Playable characters include Ako-chan and two of her daughters, Sharmarali and April, and grandkits Akira and Cori. And the threesome of Saski, Sareiko, and Hayako and their progeny Kenji, Seiki, Ai & Midori.
- In Tekken most of the main characters are Mishimas. Jin is Kazuya's son, who is Hehachi's son who is Jinpachi's son. And Jin's mother Jun turns out to be Asuka's aunt (her brother is Asuka's father).
- Lee is Kazuya's adopted brother and, in T6, we learn that Lars is Heihachi's illegitimate half-Swedish, half-Japanese son.
- Final Fantasy VIII springs to mind almost immediately. Three quarters of the way through the game it turns out that many of the characters lived in the same orphanage as children and then forgot about it; one of the side effects of the Applied Phlebotinum the game's magic system revolves around happens to be memory loss. And Edea, who appears to be the Big Bad but is in fact just the Big Bad's mind-controlled Dragon happens to have run said orphanage, and is the wife of the headmaster of Balamb Garden, the military school most of the main cast attends in the present day...which was established (by Edea) to fight Sorceresses like Edea.
- To make it a lot more (relatively speaking) plausible, many of the mercenaries from Gardens were recruited from the said orphanage. The one character who didn't have any earlier ties with the rest of the cast isn't from a Garden. That being said, her mother did know and date the main character's father... Thankfully (her being the Love Interest) the possibility they are in fact half-siblings as result is ruled out.
- In Haunting Ground Riccardo is Fiona's uncle, and Lorenzo is Fiona's grandparent.
- In No More Heroes, almost every character important to the plot ends up being related to Travis Touchdown. He reveals before the Rank 4 fight that his parents are dead. The real Rank 1 holder, Dark Star, claims to be his actual father, and certainly knows enough to rekindle Travis's memories of watching his parents get killed. However, Jeane, who kills Dark Star before the match takes place, points out that he saw his parents die, so Dark Star can't be his father. Jeane should know too, as she was dating Travis just to get close enough to Travis's parents to kill them. She only wanted to do this because she's Travis's half sister (Yes, Squick), and wanted revenge on Travis's father for abandoning her family and causing her mother's death. Travis's rival, Henry, is also his twin brother, making Sylvia, Travis's love interest, his sister-in-law, and her daughter, Jeane, his niece. Don't think about it too hard
- In the normal ending of Chrono Trigger, it's revealed that several people you met throughout the ages are all part of Marle's bloodline, including one of the last surviving humans from the Bad Future and fellow party member Ayla. And another, far less serious ending reveals that Frog married into Marle's family as well — though it's implied this is only true for this particular ending/timeline.
- 12Riven" Boss is Narumi's adoptive father, Myuu and Mei are twin sister and brother, Narumi is their older sister, Maina is a physical manifestation of part of Narumi's consciousness, is dating Ohtemachi, who once dated Narumi. Chisato and Omega are Psi-Clones created from Myuu and Mei's DNA, Yuyu is the daughter of a friend of the Maina family, Renmaru is Myuu's childhood friend (boyfriend by the end of the game)...yeah, practically every character is related in some way.
- The Fire Emblem series is notorious for this, but the most notable one is Genealogy of the Holy War where thanks to the "second generation" mechanic, with proper breeding the entire army really can be composed of various siblings and cousins and cousins' cousins, etc.
- Odin Sphere. Of the main characters, Gwendolyn marries Oswald, Cornelius and Velvet are lovers, and Mercedes has a thing for Ingway. Of course, Velvet and Ingway are twin siblings, and Gwendolyn is their half-sister on their father's side. As if that wasn't enough, it turns out that Cornelius had a long-lost first cousin... Oswald. Who was adopted by a fairy noble who happens to be the first cousin of Mercedes. Part of the fun in Odin Sphere is figuring out the ridiculous family trees.
- Metal Gear. METAL GEAR. It is made of this trope. It started out reasonable, but as time went on and prequels began introducing various characters's parents and so on, it quickly turned into a very matted family tree. In most cases the relationships are adoptive and the romantic relationships are non-incestuous about seventy percent of the time, so it mostly just leads to a lot of Fridge Horror for Shippers who work out that, say, Big Boss and Ocelot both have the same mother (spiritual for Big Boss, biological for Ocelot), that Solid Snake is technically Raiden's uncle and Gray Fox's brother, that Otacon's mother had been in love with and implicitly bonked Solid Snake's 'grandmother', or that shipping Big Boss/Roy Campbell projects a pretty skeevy dimension onto the canon pairing of Solid Snake/Meryl.
- To a degree, BlazBlue. Ragna and Jin/Hakumen are brothers, and their little sister Saya is the Imperator of NOL. In their childhood, they were all raised in an orphanage by Celica A. Mercury, the sister of Nine (aka Konoe A. Mercury) of the Six Heroes. Jubei (also of the Six Heroes) is Nine's husband, and together, they gave birth to Kokonoe, which means that, technically speaking, Ragna, Jin, and Saya are Kokonoe's foster cousins. Additionally, Jubei's genetic template was used to create the Kaka clan, from which Taokaka hails. On Jin's side, he was adopted into the Kisaragi family (one of the Duodecim, the twelve noble houses descended from the first twelve humans to master Ars Magus during the Dark War) and shares a brother-sister relationship with his love interest, Tsubaki (of the Yayoi family, another one of the Duodecim). All of the Murakumo Units (including Nu, Lambda, and Noel/Mu) are clones of Saya. And then there's the Clover family. The less said about them, the better.
- BlazBlue's spiritual predecessor, Guilty Gear, dabbles in this a bit as well. Sol (back in the days when he still went by the name of Frederick) was Aria's lover, Aria being heavily implied as Justice's true identity before she was converted into a Commander Gear (this is further supported by Valentine, a clone of Aria introduced in GG2: Overture). Dizzy is Justice's daughter and, if Accent Core + and Overture are any indication, she eventually marries Ky. They have a son named Sin. If you subscribe to the theory that Sol is Dizzy's father, Sin is essentially all of the main characters rolled into one.
- Lost Odyssey :
- The entire playable cast (almost) is related in some way, shape, or form. Kaim, Seth, Ming, Sarah, AND Gongora are all immortals, and all have the same origin story. What's more, Kaim and Sarah are married, and Cooke and Mack are their grandchildren, Seth is Sed's MOTHER, Janson and Ming are Love Interests, and end up married at the end. Finally, Tolten is... just Tolten.
- This isn't even counting the myriad Love Interests for Kaim in 1000 Years of Dreams. We can assume some of the other immortals probably had similar short-lived (by their standards) relationships in the past and ALSO have descendants we don't know about. It's entirely likely that after 1000 years the immortals (and their more 'direct' relations) have a very extended family indeed.
- While it's not directly revealed in the game itself, the script notes for Heroes of Might and Magic IV reveal that the protagonists of three of the campaigns, Waerjak, Gauldoth Half-dead, and Lysander are brothers meaning they are all Gryphonhearts.
- 12 out of the 18 characters Umineko: When They Cry starts out with are direct family of each other whether by blood or by marriage. Then again, most of the story takes place during a family conference. (The other 6 characters are five of the family head's servants, and a friend of his.) As for the characters who show up later (and there are a lot), a number of them are Meta characters, two characters are based on characters from a previous work, and a number of characters are really one person going under different identities.
- Basically every present-day character in Fate/stay night, although you can somewhat include many of the Servants as well. Where to begin. Shirou is schoolmates with Rin, Sakura, and Shinji. Shinji's younger sister is Sakura, whose real older sister is Rin. Shirou's adoptive father Kiritsugu is Illyasviel's biological father. Kirei was Rin's father's apprentice, and Caren is his estranged daughter. Rin's, Shinji's and Illya's ancestors were all partners who started the Holy Grail War together. Shirou's only friends at school are Issei and Shinji, who both happen to be the school's cool kids (as a side note, Issei has an old rivalry with Rin and Shinji has a crush on her), while Shinji is Rider's temporary Master and Issei lives with and is soul brothers with Kuzuki, Caster's Master. Shirou's Servant, Saber, was Kiritsugu's Servant previously, during which time she met and was proposed to by Gilgamesh, who was originally Rin's father's Servant. Shirou was formerly in the Archery club with Shinji, Sakura, and Ayako, and Ayako happens to be Rin's old, close friend. Taiga is simultaneously Shirou's neighbor, childhood friend, guardian, homeroom teacher, and former club adviser, and her grandfather is an old acquaintance of Kiritsugu who lets Shirou do his bike maintenance. And I shouldn't even need to mention Archer actually is Shirou, should I? And that's just the characters important enough to get face time and ignoring the relations to characters in Nasu's other works.
- Infinity series
- In Ever17 Hokuto and Sara are Tsugumi and Takeshi's children. You is the mother of her clone. You and Coco's father worked together in Lemu and are the reason both are there. And may have designed Sora and are therefore her 'father' in a sense. Sara and You went to the same high school. But Kaburaki is just some guy. Unless, as some believe, he and the older You had a relationship of some sort going.
- In Kara no Shoujo it doesn't seem this way at first, but once you have the full story it becomes clear how much this applies. Both serial killers were set in motion by the serial killer who got Reiji's wife. The second one knew Toko as a little girl and is not unlike her brother. He also killed another person who could be considered his sister, Mizuhara. Mizuhara's mother is one of the Mamiya family. Mamiya Shinzo was Misa's lover, and Misa was Rokushiki Makoto's sister. Rokushiki's fiancee was Stella's older sister, and Stella's family raised both Shinji and Toko for some time. This is not taking into account the stuff you know from the start like how everyone went to school together or still goes to school together and whatnot.
- Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney really liked this trope. Apollo is the half-brother of Trucy Gramarye/Wright, who was adopted by Phoenix Wright. Their mother Thalassa was married to Zak, who was accused of killing her father Magnifi Gramarye. This accounts for pretty much all the main characters besides Kristoph and Klavier...who are brothers
- Oh, and don't let us get started on the Feys. Mia, Maya, Pearl, Morgan, Elise Deauxnim, serial killer Dahlia Hawthorne (who was coincidentally jailed by aforementioned Mia), her identical twin Iris (who was Phoenix Wright's girlfriend in university while posing as Dahlia)... Pretty much all females who appear in more than one case in the first three games, save Maggey, Lotta and Adrian, can be safely assumed to be a Fey. Turns out even Bikini is one. And those who are not Feys are sure to have some kind of connection to them. Especially bad with Phoenix, whose life seems to have been determined by the Fey Clan ever since loooong before he knew that it even existed.
- Homestuck: When it's not by blood, it's by adoption. The trolls take this more literally than most due to the way their Bizarre Alien Reproduction works..
- In Kevin & Kell, many of the characters marry into the Dewclaw or Kindle families (Fiona's mother remarried to Kell's brother Ralph, and her father married Kevin's sister Danielle, which technically makes her Rudy's cousin), thus becoming related to the main characters, or are revealed to be related to them somehow (Corrie turns out to be Ralph's daughter, and a minor character, Wendell, is one of Dorothy's over 240 grandchildren). Some of the fans have even come up with a name for the phenomenon, "Dewclaw assimilation".
- The Gungan Council calls its family trees a "Family Wreath." This is usually due to massive families like the Draclau, Marzullos, and Decuirs having new family members every other day, and then those members marrying non-family members. It doesn't take much effort to be related to every single character on the site by just marrying one person.
- Common in Iceland, which has a small, almost completely genetically homogeneous population that has lived in geographic isolation for over a millennium. It's not unheard of to start dating an erstwhile complete stranger, and then encounter them at a reunion of extended family. This high level of national endogamy makes Iceland very interesting to genetic researchers.
- Common also in Finland, which has been a genetic isolate for a millennium. It is not uncommon for people sharing the same surname but assuming they are not related to each other, to find out they are ninth or tenth cousins. The Finnish gene pool has likewise been used in genetic research.
- Also Japan has this, to the point where very rare genetical diseases such as Xeroderma Pigmentosum are between 10 and up to 1000 times more likely to be among japanese. The thing that a lot of japanese culture revolves around a strong sense of "us and them" is but one reason why Japanese don't exactly marry outsiders that often.
- The Cohen haplotype. All male Jews who belong in the Kohanim (the priestly class) share a common ancestor who lived some 3,200 years ago in the Near East. The Bible knows him by the name of Aaron. The Kohanim are in theory only the male-line descendants of Aaron. A recent genetic study indicates that 50 % of all Cohens have the same Y Chromosome—and the Y chromosome is preserved from father to son generation after generation. If the rule had been perfectly followed, we would expect 100%, but over 3200 years we expect there to be some accidents (some lying about being Kohanim, unfaithful spouses, perhaps adoption), so a 50% rate is surprisingly high.
- The human species as a whole has relatively little genetic variation, as the result of a "bottleneck" where the population decreased to very low numbers about 70,000 years ago. In fact, all living humans are descended from "Adam" who lived about 60,000 to 90,000 years ago, meaning that we are all related, albeit distantly in most cases. In fact, all individuals of all species on Earth, from bacteria to sequoias to fruit flies to humans, is related through the Latest Common Ancestor
- South Korea has about the longest table of affinities in the world; it also has about the most complete genealogical database in the world. Also, one of the requirements for a marriage license is that both partners must do a genealogical search to be sure that they aren't too closely related. It is not uncommon for couples to be surprised. It used to be worse; it took a Korean Supreme Court decision to change it. Couples were living in unwedded bliss because they could not legally be married.
- In the year 2012, a California student named BridgeAnne D'Avignon completed a genealogical project that, by tracing both paternal and maternal lines, proved that forty-two of the forty-three men to become president of the United States of America are descended from King John Of England. The only exception is Martin Van Buren.
- The royal families of World War I were all related to each other. Because Queen Victoria and Prince Albert married their children into many different monarchies (and their grandchildren later married into other monarchies as well), their descendants included: the King of England, the Kaiser of Germany, the Tsarina of Russia, the Queen of Greece, the Queen of Norway, the Crown Princess of Sweden, the Queen of Spain, and the Queen of Romania. The Norwegian throne was created in 1905, and a Danish prince was chosen to be King, so they were related to the Danish royal family as well. The rulers of Austria-Hungary were related to the Spanish rulers: Francis II was the child of a Spanish princess, and Franz Joseph I of Austria (Franz Ferdinand's father) was the grandson of Francis II. Austria-Hungary was also related to Italy: Franz Joseph was from the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, and so was Maria Theresa of Austria, who was the great-grandmother of Victor Emmanuel III. The King of Serbia was married to Princess Zorka of Montenegro, whose sister married Victor Emmanuel III, connecting Serbia to the family as well. Franz Joseph married Empress Elizabeth of Austria, whose niece married Albert I of Belgium (in addition, her grandfather was an exiled king of Portugal). Ferdinand I of Romania was the son of a Portuguese princess, and Ferdinand I of Bulgaria was from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the same as King George V of England. Even the minor countries where involved: the de facto Albanian king was descended from Romanian and Dutch royalty, and the reigning Grand Duchess of Luxembourg was, again, descended from the Portuguese monarchy. The mother of the King of Montenegro was the aunt of a woman who married an Italian prince. For Liechtenstein, the Ruling Prince's sister married Arnulf of Bavaria, whose uncle was King Otto of Greece (and Otto's grandson was the King who married one of Victoria's grandchildren); Arnulf of Bavaria was also the Stewart Pretender to the British throne. Aside from the obvious exceptions (either not part of Europe or with no monarchy), the Ottoman Empire may be the only exception: there is a claim that they were related to the Habsburgs through the Byzantine Empire , and despite the fact that the Ottoman Sultans preferred to marry normal women rather than foreign princesses, a legend states that one spouse was related to Napoleon, whose wife was from the House of Habsburg. World War I could be described as the nastiest family quarrel ever.
- This is not an uncommon phenomenon in small towns and villages, especially in rural areas. Aside from the occasional blow-in, most residents will generally be related by marriage, at least.
- The island of Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited community in the world, located over 2000 kms from, well, anywhere else (nearest neighbours are South Africa and St. Helena). There is a present-day population of 297 residents, who all carry one of the eight last names of the original eight men and seven women who first settled on the island through the 19th and early 20th century. That is, the entire population of the island is thought to be descended from 15 people (though it seems every now and then someone would go abroad and pick up a wife or husband while away, it is actually illegal to immigrate to the island, meaning little genetic variance in the immediate future).