Flashback Within a Flashback

Also known as "Inception Flashback", a flashback within a flashback occurs when a character recounts an event in which he/she also flashbacks into an even earlier event within the flashback. Yep, it's confusing.

These types of flashbacks are used primarily in popular anime/manga to build suspense or burn episode time. Bleach, in particular, uses this trope almost religiously.

Can be used in Whole Episode Flashbacks, as a character may recount an earlier episode in which he had an Epiphany Comeback or Heel Realization, usually leading to a scene of Fridge Horror. Can also be used to clarify certain instances of Offscreen Inertia scenes that were skipped in previous episodes.

  • "Octopussy", the Ian Fleming James Bond short story, opens with the central character reflecting on events earlier that day, when Bond came to his Jamaica home to arrest him for murder, where he recalls the circumstances in the last days of WWII where he did the deed.
  • Most of Black Legion is Khayon telling the tale of the eponymous warband to his captors, so when he dwells on what happened earlier, this is the result.
  • In Malodrax, Lysander's flashbacks about his first time on the eponymous planet are interwined with accounts of Inquisitor Corvin, who's been there even earlier.