We dare you to put a genre on this
Most creative work fits nicely into a series of classifications. We can quickly tell the difference between a sitcom and a sonnet, and we know what to expect in each one. Even if a work defies our specific expectations about tropes, it usually conforms to more general expectations about the genre. A sci-fi show can be new and different and innovative, but it can at the same time very clearly be science fiction,
with a whole range of tropes assumed in that category.
But every so often, something comes along that just does not fit
into our usual map of genres. Most of the time, these kinds of pieces get thrown out, so no one remembers them. If they're good, though, they often go on to found new genres. This means that Genre Busters are often Trope Makers
for a whole range of tropes.
Of course, even genre busters are not entirely original
. But they are original enough—and powerful enough—that they appear to completely transcend genre. Categories like the broad Speculative Fiction
and the hybrid Science Fantasy
exist so that works can be filed somewhere
, but these often fail to capture the feel of a genre buster.
Compare From Clones To Genre
, Trope Maker
, and Trope Codifier
. Quite often a Deconstructor Fleet
. 90% of the time, you will find Mind Screw
within them, with the other 10% just weird
. Compare and contrast Genre Killer
. For a character see Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot
. See also Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly
for a related musical trope.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Watchmen: a Film Noir Raygun Gothic Golden Age / Silver Age / Dark Age Sci Fi Cyber Punk Political Alternate History Deconstruction of superheroes that invented half the tropes used by modern comics, and quite a few others besides. Phew.
- The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is a Funny Animals comic book that follows all the conventions of the classic Epic — a truly modern epic.
- Strangers in Paradise is a Slice of Life story, mixed lesbian romantic comedy, crime drama, and on occasion a Xena parody.
- Ronin is a mixture of fantasy, Cyber Punk, post apocalyptic action comic with a dose of Time Travel for good measure..
- Grimjack by John Ostrander covers a whole lot of genres. Its protagonist is a cross between Sam Spade and Conan the Barbarian who lives in a city at the center of the multiverse populated by, among other things, humans, robots, talking animals, ghosts, and vampires. Magic works in some parts of the city, technology in others, some places have both and others neither. Ostrander said he was inspired by Dr.Who's ability tell any kind of story it wanted, which is true of Grimjack without it being very much like Dr. Who at all
- Wild Cats Version 3.0. While it is technically a super-hero comic, there aren't many super-heroics, and the titular team isn't even assembled until the last story arc. It is also very philosophical, topics ranging from questioning if a corporation can be truly good, to how far people will go to maintain the status quo, or adapt to new situations.
- Usagi Yojimbo. At first blush, it's a pretty standard samurai story. Albeit one starring an anthropomorphic bunny. Then the ghosts and ghouls start showing up, then it veers into a pure detective story, then slice-of-life, almost Edutainment, in/about Shogunate Japan, and even tragedy raw enough to draw tears. It's an interesting series.
- Casablanca is a classic example, proving that Tropes Are Not Bad. It's equal parts romance, Film Noir, spy thriller, and war drama, though the romance portion tends to be remembered the most.
- Sucker Punch is a Mind Screw that's All Just a Dream except you're not sure just whose dream it is with an Imagine Spot inside an Imagine Spot mixing together over the top action sequences reminiscent of every anime and video game you've ever seen, the fifties, and Bedlam House escape drama. It defies genre.
- Once Upon a Time in China starring Jet Li showed the world that Kung Fu cinema is a genre that is more than capable of being artistically poetic, emotionally deep and politically relevant as any European art film.
- Being John Malkovich. A comedy drama laden with surrealism which functions as a borderline philosophy course.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A Science fiction romantic comedy most of which takes place inside the main characters head.
- Most films by The Coen Brothers. Namely:
- Shaun of the Dead was marketed as a zom-rom-com. A romantic comedy...set during the Zombie Apocalypse.
- Repo! The Genetic Opera: A Gothic Cyber Punk Musical with a little Gorn thrown in for good measure.
- The Brood, though unabashedly a horror movie, combines aspects of both the 1800s Gothic Novel and the 1970s slasher.
- Scanners is a sci-fi / horror / noir / psych thriller.
- The Fly starts out as a quirky romantic comedy with some sci-fi aspects, before plunging right into horror/tragedy.
- Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. A philosophical post-modernist character study about a black man living in a modern day inner city who lives by the code of the samurai, while working as an assassin for a mobster that saved his life years ago. Along the way it explores issues surrounding violence, the extinction of old cultures, the ability or inability of people to adapt to a changing world, and more.
- A Brazilian review of Snatch stated it was hard to qualify. "Action? Not sure, but has some electryifing scenes. Comedy? If it's not, only God can explain all the laughter in my theater. Drama? Maybe, the comic side switches into scenes that could easily enter a yellow press tabloid."
- Inception turns a Journey to the Center of the Mind into a heist film.
- Vanilla Sky combined romantic drama with a psychological thriller with a sci-fi reveal.
- Toys. Strong on comedy but with much drama, sometimes family-friendly and sometimes not, having a lot of futuristic technology and a lot of action scenes that are confined purely to the third act.
- My Dinner With Andre. Drama? Art house? Documentary? None of the above, really.
- Griff The Invisible is a superhero movie/romantic dramedy/fantasy. The premise sounds like the next Kick-Ass, but the superhero parts are brief and only there as a part of Griff's characterization. It's actually about Griff as a person, and his relationship with a girl who's trying to walk through walls.
- Midnight In Paris manages to combine fantasy, comedy, romance, drama and science fiction into one package that only Woody Allen could concoct.
- Fight Club is a social commentary/philosophical drama/black comedy/surreal-psychological mystery-thriller/crime action film in which the real fighting is only used as way to highlight the message of the film. It has to be seen at least two times to be fully enjoyed.
- Ghost World is about two girls who just graduated and their relationship with each other and the world. Also has black comedy and romantic comedy mixed with a very unusual soundtrack.
- Black Death is a horror-action-period piece drama.
- Kontroll is a Hungarian comedy/thriller/drama based around a ticket inspector in the Metro system.
- Pixar films can have this tendency.
- WALL-E is comedy, drama, romance, sci-fi, and even silent film during the first half.
- Finding Nemo is a road movie/coming of age/thriller/animal comedy/prison escape/surf movie.
- Monsters Inc is a monster movie/kid flick/invasion movie/sci-fi/family drama/comedy.
- Toy Story is a philosophical comedy/drama/thriller/adventure/prison escape.
- Up is a comedy/drama/tragedy/jungle adventure/WW 2-style pulp adventure/talking dogs/extremely difficult to categorize but highly enjoyable movie.
- The Incredibles is an action/adventure/sci-fi/fantasy family dramedy satire with explosions.
- A Bug's Life is an adventure/road movie/comedy/drama/thriller as well as a Seven Samurai adaptation.
- Brave is a supernatural fantasy/family drama/action-adventure/horror with less outright comedy than Pixar's previous works without being too dark.
- The upcoming "Pixar Film That Takes You Inside the Human Mind" has the clear potential to be an artsy surreal philosophical comedy/drama.
- Tiger Love: You have a Romeo and Juliet kind of love story with Star-Crossed Lovers in it, you have a Tarzan kind of plot line in it, you have a Revenge story combined with horror in which a tiger shapeshifts into a creepy old woman with claws, fangs, and bathed in eerie green light, and martial arts put into it. Good luck trying to classify this film into a genre!
- Nudist Colony Of The Dead: a horror/sex comedy/musical.
- It's no wonder Donnie Darko has become such a cult classic. It's a drama/supernatural mystery/preapocalyptic almost-sci-fi/black comedy/almost-teen-romance-coming-of-age-80s-period-piece.
- Buckaroo Banzai, comedy/pulp action/scifi
- Big Trouble in Little China combines comedy, martial-arts action and Chinese myth along with the apparent full body possesion of Kurt Russell by John Wayne.
- Literary Fiction is expected to not fit into a particular genre. Certain academics who regard Lit Fic as True Art are guilty of looking down on works that don't engage in Genre Busting.
- William Gibson's Neuromancer combines elements of film noir, mystery, pul science fiction and an emphasis on technology to create what is now known as Cyber Punk . It is now seen as the Trope Maker of the genre, and depending on who you ask, the Trope Codifier as well.
- Riddley Walker is an After the End Science Fiction done in the style of a Middle Ages mind screwy historical novel.
- William Blake's self-illustrated book of poems, Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
- Stephen King's The Dark Tower book series isn't your typical King material, and it definitely isn't a typical Western story. Hell, in the context of storytelling, it arguably isn't really a typical anything. It's fairly well described by Torg's description of his own "greatest comic book of all time" in Sluggy Freelance — "a cowboy-western-psychological-horror-action-romance-thriller" — except that you should really add "fantasy" to that mix.
- It's easy to forget that while Paradise Lost followed the epic form, it broke with a lot of epic conventions; most notably by casting the villain in the apparent role of epic hero, at least at first.
- Paradise Lost was supposed to be in the style of medieval epics. Since it was written in the 17th century, Milton was being "retro." The bit about Lucifer being epic badass prior to his fall was already a trope by then, although the common interpretation of Satan as Anti-Hero was unintentional on the (very devout) author's part.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's books were a blend of old and new-made mythology and the Trope Codifier for High Fantasy.
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy also broke the medieval epic hero genre by making the protagonists ordinary people, putting the standard epic hero (royalty, ancestral weapon, takes part in an enormous battle) in a secondary role as a diversion from the main protagonist's goal, which isn't accomplished in a very heroic way at all. It's also interesting to note that the chapter "The Scouring of the Shire" makes it clear evil hasn't truly been defeated or eradicated, something many Tolkien-inspired high fantasists would gloss over.
- James Joyce's Finnegans Wake CANNOT be put into genre because IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE.
- It's worse than that - any sense you do manage to make of it will only compound the genre-busting. There are very few individual words in Finnegans Wake that don't have multiple meanings...
- Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus is a comedic conspiracy novel that also includes erotic fiction, horror, epic fantasy, and espionage. Wilson's later novels in the same setting add science fiction, historical fiction and a variety of literary pastiches.
- Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem is a sci-fi police procedural without aliens and computers. In fact, it probably is far closer to a pastiche of thirties noir with the silly elements (talking animals, superintelligent alcoholic infants, free drugs for everyone, etc) justified after the fact. It could be telling that the author is also the editor for the PKD and Raymond Chandler anthologies.
- Thursday Next lives' off of Metafiction, so the fact that it's a fantasy/sci-fi/mystery/comedy/drama involving everything from Time Travel to cheese smuggling as major plot points eventually just starts to be classified as "I give up."
- Second Sons is almost brilliant about this. From one perspective, there's little reason why it couldn't just be called Historical Fiction— it has no magic, no aliens, no Applied Phlebotinum, and generally nothing outright impossible, and while it definitely Never Was This Universe, that doesn't necessarily disqualify it from fitting the genre. However, it's marketed as fantasy, because it really Never Was This Universe rather than being just our universe with different names, and because the depicted world has two suns in its sky. (For the record, the author calls it medieval science fiction.)
- Complete World Knowledge combines the almanac with the absurdist comedy.
- House of Leaves is a horror/fantasy/parody/romance story, and while that statement is accurate, it's only scratching the surface of the novel's strangeness and unconventionality.
"I had one woman come up to me in a bookstore and say, 'You know, everyone told me it was a horror book, but when I finished it, I realized that it was a love story.' And she's absolutely right. In some ways, genre is a marketing tool."
- Battle Royale is notoriously hard to classify. Some consider it horror due to the terrifying premise, but that classification always causes "traditional" horror fans to baulk because it isn't traditional. Action-adventure? That's perhaps the best when combined with horror, but given the deep, requires-substantial-thought satire and themes "action" seems misleading. When you go to buy a copy you could end up in the Sci-fi section, the horror section...you try putting it in a box!
- If that's not confusing enough, many people also characterize the film as a VERY dark comedy.
- Gravity's Rainbow includes elements of historical fiction, spy fiction, sci-fi, war, comedy, pornography, conspiracy theories, and a general atmosphere of Mind Screw.
- Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series combines Urban Fantasy with science fiction and serves it up with a heavy dose of crime drama. A plotline involving fairies using nanotechnology to take down the Russian Mafia is pretty typical for the series.
- Similarly, Colfer's book Airman is a mixture of a Swash Buckler, Romance, Steampunk, Retro Sci-Fi, Adventure, Western, Espionage and Great Escape.
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold doesn't seem to fall under any particular genre.
- Pretty much anything by Christopher Moore is difficult to classify. Most just say his works are Comedy and leave it at that, but that description barely scratches the surface.
- Gunfighter's Ride is a pony express rider delivering the mail, dealing with demons, ghosts, and a genocidal medicine man.
- Terry Pratchett's Discworld is a fantasy series, mixed with parody, mixed with humor, mixed with deep examinations into the human psyche, mixed with occasional detective story elements, mixed with war drama, mixed with Police Procedural tropes. Might be just shorter to say it is simply awesome.
- Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency was described by author Douglas Adams as a "detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic". Mind you, of these labels, only four are really accurate — detective, ghost, whodunnit and time travel — and two of those are synonyms.
- Dhalgren is written very much like psychological Sci Fi (one of the characters lampshades this at one point), but it ends up being very hard to classify.
- Earth's Children is a portrayal of life during the Ice Age, but this includes elements of Romance Novel, Historical Fiction, historical fantasy, erotica, travelogue and Shown Their Work mixed with a lot of Artistic License.
- Isaac Asimov wrote Sci-fi robot detective stories.
- Rudyard Kipling's Kim is a spy story, a gigantic Slice of Life, and a Coming of Age story.
- Anyone who simply calls Great Expectations a romance is greatly oversimplifying matters. It has romance, drama, comedy, suspense, a bit of action, a bit of adventure, it's a rags to riches story and a coming of age story, a possible satire of this and that or even Self-Parody, and it has strong elements of mystery and horror. Figure that out!
- Slaughterhouse Five is a pretty genre-busting work, which also seems to go out of its way to demolish tropes.
- The Destroyer series of books were published as Men's Adventure books. However, there are strong elements of Satire and Black Comedy. The main characters practice Supernatural Martial Arts and the opponents ranged from The Mafia, terrorists, and communist spies (typical of the genre) to androids and vampires.
- Stephen Crane is hard to recognize as a genre-busting writer, inasmuch as all the genres he busts no longer exist, but there's a lot of argument among literary critics over what style to fit him under. (To grossly simplify, there were writers who wrote as objectively as possible, writers who wrote subjectively, and Crane, who portrayed characters with subjective viewpoints from as objective a viewpoint as possible.)
- According to The Other Wiki: "A Clockwork Orange is most frequently described as political satire, dystopian science-fiction, black comedy, and crime drama, although its crossover appeal to the horror fan community is unmistakable."
- The Princess Bride is a humorous fantasy action adventure — with a Framing Device that makes it into a parody of old satire (yes, a parody of satire) and also incorporates fictional autobiography for some reason. The book's title and those of its chapters are also deliberately misleading to suggest some kind of bland-sounding fairytale romance.
- John DeChancie's Castle Perilous series is essentially fantasy, being based in a magical castle, but what makes the castle special (well, one of the things) is that it contains portals to 144,000 different worlds. This allows for dumping the characters in any genre of story the author feels like writing.
- The Dresden Files can very easily be put on the "Urban Fantasy" shelf of the bookstore, but certain elements of the story and the lead character have enough "cowboy" characteristics that it had a strong element of fantasy western (even though it takes place in Chicago.) The author himself says that, at its heart, it's like a comic book, and the general World of Snark writing style also gives it a strong comedic element as well.
Live Action TV
- They have Emmy categories for this now, listed under "Outstanding Special Class" and "Outstanding New Approaches".
- Tokusatsu can do this.
- LOST, while also being a Trope Codifier for the Noughties Drama Series, started off with what can best be described as a clean slate since the plot was so heavily shrouded in mystery. This allowed the writers to construct a story that would include tropes from... well... Pretty much everything.
- The general rule, at least in the early seasons, was that the island stories were Ontological Mystery or supernatural stories, while the flashbacks were romantic or character driven, either or being able to be replaced with a comedy plot for Breather Episodes. This changed post-season-three-finale.
- Even during season 3, it was already starting to change. The focus was taken off the seemingly-supernatural mysteries and placed on the more earthly stuggle against the apparently very-human Others. It's just that the bigger genre switching takes place in season 4 and 5 with time travel and visions of the future. Though 5 also has some strange genre of it's own going on, what with it focusing on the Dharma Initiative. Then the final season has the fantasy/mythical/supernatural kitchen sink with human gods, earth mana, supernatural powers, and theological themes.
- Joss Whedon seems to enjoy this trope as evidenced by his past creations: a Drama/Comedy about Teenaged Monster Hunters and a Space Western!
- Space Western is a fairly common subgenre of science fiction, though. Though, usually not so western.
- The Buffyverse also has advanced technology, even if it is only a occasional problem, like that demon robot, or the demon cyborg or that robot that the devil made.
- He did this on purpose with Dollhouse. Ostensibly a sci-fi show, but dipping into pretty much every genre out there including romantic comedy.
- The Wire: A crime show, a political drama, a black comedy, and in its late seasons, a grim coming-of-age tale and an exposé of the news media.
- Bones is a forensics procedural romantic dramedy.
- NCIS is similar, but with little romance and more comedy. It's also very unusual for a procedural because of how heavily character-focussed it is even as it doesn't take itself terribly seriously and the actual personal arcs the characters get are limited. It's primarily about how their personalities affect their job and vice versa rather than how the cases are solved. The plots making sense can arguably be considered secondary.
- Doctor Who can quite literally be whatever genre it wants to be when it wakes up in the morning. In series 4 alone it's been comedic romp, family drama, military drama, historical fiction, Genteel Interbellum Setting murder mystery, steampunk, disaster film and horror, all mixed with sci-fi and fantasy fairy-tale elements.
- And sometimes not mixed with sci-fi, back in the era of pure historical stories.
- And Series 5 throws in a Sitcom episode.
- Even when they were promoting the first half of Series 7, they basically described the whole thing as five individual movies. In order, you had an Action-Adventure ("Asylum of the Daleks,") Sci-fi ("Dinosaurs On A Spaceship,") a Spaghetti Western ("A Town Called Mercy,") a Disaster Film ("The Power Of Three,") and a psychological thriller with traces of a detective-noir mystery ("The Angels Take Manhattan.")
- Quantum Leap is basically the trope basically being about a guy who's continually moving through any kind of story the writers feel like.
- While Star Trek is undoubtably science fiction (it could be said to be the Science Fiction), it has, like Doctor Who, also been able to mix in many, many other genres on a episode-by-episode basis. Several episodes (especially in The Original Series) are only science fiction because of the occasional tricorder or phaser.
- And of course, Gene Roddenberry pitched it as Horatio Hornblower in space. This influence was picked up more heavily by Nicholas Meyer for the second movie which set the tone for the rest of the series.
- The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. was a science fiction/western with a lead who was best known for horror/comedies.
- The X-Files took archetypes and conspiracies from espionage shows and crime dramas, inserted them into plots about scifi and supernatural phenomena, and filmed it in horror/suspense style.
- Pushing Daisies classified itself as a 'forensic fairy tale,' with elements of fantasy, procedural mystery, romantic comedy, and, well, what genre WASN'T it?
- Babylon 5 is spy story combined with Space Opera combined with Lovecraftian tropes combined High Fantasy.
- Prison Break is obviously about escaping prison but is also about a intricated conspiration and after they escape the second season is about the future of those who escaped.
- Castle, like Bones above, is a Police Procedural romantic dramedy. They also like staging episodes around particular subcultures and bringing in various tropes of particular other genres as well; there's been a vampire episode, an alien abduction episode, a few political-spy thrillers, and so forth.
- Community is definitely a sitcom. With every other genre mixed in with it.
- Supernatural is a fantasy/horror/drama/dark comedy with the classic Monster of the Week episodes playing like combination police procedurals and pulp mystery novels, the overarching plot straight out of epic poetry (particularly the Bible), and much of the character development for one of the main duo in the later seasons coming from a platonic love story.
- Chuck combined spy thriller, sci-fi, family/workplace drama, romantic comedy, sitcom, mystery, and even musical (courtesy of Jeffster!). Really, was there any genre it didn't try out at least once?
- The Damned: Late 70s British Punk band turned Progressive Rock/ProtoGothic (before it was even known as "gothic") in the early to mid-80s, with use of early electronic instruments. Cites influence from many different genres, and has a singer who dresses like a vampire and sings like a pub crooner.
- Queen: Both individual songs and their discography as a whole.
- Blondie: Starting off in the Punk Rock and Garage Rock movement but their discography gradually covered pop, hard rock, new wave disco, rap reggae, calypso, motown and electronica. Most critics either call them a punk band with pop tendencies or a pop band with punk tendencies, but the band would admit that they don't belong to any classification. They not only brought a lot of variety to pop music, but they also challenged punk's ethos of being anti-disco and helped to create new wave in the process.
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Especially evident in the video for "Dani California", where they took the time to point out several.
- The Residents are, um, avant-garde classical punk psychedelic synth-pop... usually.
- Bands like Mr. Bungle, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Estradasphere, Iwrestledabearonce and uneXpect take Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly so far that they can only be vaguely classified as experimental metal.
- Rip Rig & Panic (featuring a young Neneh Cherry on vocals) were a post-punk, jazz, rock, funk, soul, dance-pop, rock, classical... you name it... band. Their collaborators include everybody from Don Cherry (Neneh's father) to Ari Up of The Slits, to Nico.
- Speaking of gorillas...
- They Might Be Giants: The only way to place them within a genre is to a slap a big fat "Alternative" sticker on every song they write.
- The best example is the album "Mink Car", which basically has a song from every single genre of music they could think of.
- The best example within a single song is Fingertips from the album Apollo 18 which basically consists of a few bars each of no fewer than 21 other songs, across a variety of styles, speeds and genres.
- Each snippet of the song is on a different track. Playing the album on "shuffle" makes for a Crowning Moment of Subversion.
- Movits! is a Swedish swing hip-hop jazz band.
- Happens all the time in electronic music. Sometimes, producers use different artist names/stage names for their different genres/niches.
- Pendulum, in particular, is one notable example. Two parts band members and one part DJ, they formed together to produce mostly aggressive drum & bass music. Over time, their sound became more commercial and developed into a rock-electronic fusion group with live performances.
- Japan has spawned not one, not two, but a ton of outright weird musical acts
- The entire Visual Kei movement. Heavy Metal meets Goth meets Neoclassical Punk Zydecorockabilly taken Up to Eleven meets Bishōnen meets Elegant Gothic Lolita meets Badass clothing meets Japan. There's no easier way to describe it.
- Post-Visual Kei metallers Dir En Grey are particularly notable for this. They used to be an alternative metal band, nothing too out of the ordinary for a Japanese band. Except for the fact that they were a lot noisier than most bands during their time. Slowly they began to experiment with Metalcore, Nu Metal, Death Metal, folk music, psychedelic, Shoegazing, doom metal, funeral dirge music, symphonic, mathcore and outright weirdness (not that they weren't already a bit odd since the very start), resulting in each album getting progressively weirder and crazier.
- Lampshaded: The band officially recognizes itself as "uncategorized", even stating in their official website that "it is unnecessary to even classify them in any way". Creates a lot of Mind Screw for critics.
- Other bands have independently achieved the same level of weirdness (such as Sigh, see below), but very few have achieved considerable success (they are often labeled as one of the most successful cult bands in the modern metal scene). This is the band that took Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly way too far and eventually set standards for Crazy Awesome music in the Japanese rock/metal scene.
- UROBOROS isn't considered by fans as their Magnum Opus for nothing, as the album features considerably more weirdness than any release before it. Their latest album, Dum Spiro Spero continues the trend, and has gotten compared to Mr. Bungle, Opeth, Meshuggah, Sik Th and Slipknot all at the same time.
- Japanese metal band Sigh have become famous for this as well. They began as fairly straightforward Black Metal and got progressively weirder, peaking with their album Imaginary Sonicscapes, which was equal parts Psychedelic Rock, Jazz, Orchestra, Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal. All of their albums since have been just as weird, thanks to their liberal use of Genre Roulette.
- High and Mighty Color was also this. Though often classified as alternative metal, they also played straightforward J-pop, hard rock, post-hardcore, punk rock, metalcore, nu metal, and a whole salad of other genres. The Japanese rock scene has yet to give birth to a band that can be considered a successor.
- J-pop/rock band Dazzle Vision is possibly the most likely to be the said successor. Equal parts J-pop, metalcore, nu metal, electronic and hard rock. Still, they aren't even close to sounding like a proper successor.
- Blood Stain Child used to be a straightforward Melodic Death Metal band. From Idolator onwards, they've introduced elements of Nu Metal and trance music. Later albums added Industrial Metal, eurobeat, J-pop and catchy, cute, dance-worthy weirdness. The formula works very well.
- Maximum The Hormone is also notable for this. A self-proclaimed Nu Metal band that cites Korn as an influence. Not your typical Nu Metal band, though, since they're also a pop band, rock band, punk band, funk band...any band, except that they're not any of those. They put on and off genres as if they were clothes.
- X Japan...oh god...X Japan. Where to start? Visual Kei's biggest band generally plays a form of metal. And that's only the least that they can do. Somehow, they're one of very few metal bands that make seemingly sappy ballads sound like epic metal operas and seemingly catchy pop-rock songs sound like fast, energizing Thrash Metal.
- Progressive metal band Mastodon sound pretty much like every single band you've listened to, whether it be hard rock, prog, heavy metal, southern rock, experimental, psychedelic, southern rock, alternative, maybe even a little country here and there, and loads of other genres I'm not gonna bother listing, all somehow put together. And it's awesome.
- Case in point: The song "Megalodon". Opening with a strange jazzy section, then metal, then a country lick out of nowhere, and then different metal. In the first minute and a half of a four minute long song.
- Crotchduster: Unclassifiable death metal band that incorporates over one hundred different genres of music in one album
- Goth-rock legends Bauhaus certainly were the Ur Example of the genre, but there's no single way to quite describe their sound... Their original single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", so utterly defied description that "[You'd] find it in one music store under punk, and in another under reggae, and in others as jazz, pop/rock, psychedelic, and pretty much anything else you can imagine," (paraphrasing David J, the band's bassist). The rest of their work was equally so confusing- you could hear reggae ("Exquisite Corpse"), funk ("Watch that Grandad Go"), disco ("Kick in the Eye 2"), glam (they covered David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust"), jazz ("Party in the First Part"), punk (Brian Eno's "Third Uncle"), prog ("Silent Hedges"), Joy Division style post-punk (John Cale's "Rosegarden Funeral of Sores"), and endless other things... and yet, at the same time, all of their songs definitely sounds like them and only them.
- Mindless Self Indulgence have made a career on their odd blend of synth-pop, hip-hop, industrial, and hardcore punk. They've decided to describe themselves as "industrial jungle pussy punk".
- Frank Zappa was doing this as early as 1966. His albums blend rock, doo-wop, jazz, modern classical, humor and satire, studio experimentation, and any number of other elements.
- Charles Mingus could be argued to be a genre buster. His music combined elements of beebop with dixieland, blues, free improvisation, and later on classical music. Check out his album "Let My Children Hear Music" to hear all of these elements work together.
- Behemoth's second full-length, Grom is utterly unclassifiable. Their prior Black Metal sound is still there, but now there's elements of their later Death Metal sound...as well as Folk, Ambient, Progressive Metal, acoustic, and straight-up guitar rock. There's a reason why it remains one of their most polarizing albums among fans.
- Destrophy blends several different styles each song, and it's still pretty difficult to categorize even if you break down every element they blend in.
- Scissor Shock. Full stop. If you don't know who they are, a simple Google search will lead you to it and subsequently turn your bowels and brain into mush.
- Pink Martini is a weird postmodern classical retro-kitsch international-lounge/Tropicália jazz outfit which they themselves have described as "music for children and dogs."
- Yuki Kajiura...just...Yuki Kajiura. Yoko Kanno too, but she's more easily placed in the general realm of alt-rock.
- Yuki Kajiura is post-pop neoclassical Buddhist New Age trance-turbofolk world music electronica.
- Beck has done rap, jazz, pop, rock, hip-hop, blues, country, tropicalia, techno, experimental, indie, alternative, folk, anti-folk, dance, funk... Beck has really done a lot.
- Metallica started out as one of the inventors of Thrash Metal. They have since moved to a more Progressive Metal style (Black Album through St. Anger), with stops at Power Ballad ("The Unforgiven"), Irish Folk Music ("Whiskey in the Jar"), Blues ("Low Man's Lyric") and Orchestral Metal (the entire S&M album/concert). For a while, even they weren't sure what they were. As of Death Magnetic, they seem to be a Progressive Thrash Metal band.
- The Beatles: at first their songs were typical love songs, but overtime, they did power ballads, hard rock, blues, psychedelic rock (and oh how much!), folk rock, and, uh, whatever the hell this is.
- Buckethead. Avant-garde, noise rock, jazz fusion, funk, jazz, thrash metal, bluegrass, instrumental rock, hard rock, progressive metal, heavy metal, experimental rock, funk metal, ambient, dark ambient, alternative metal, electronica, country rock, folk rock, experimental... Yes, he plays all of that. And more. Oh yeah, he also incorporates robot dancing, nun-chakus and chicken into his stage performances. It's safer to say that Buckethead is simply Buckethead.
- Van Canto. You think you've explored all genres of metal and suddenly, A Capella Epic Power Metal outta freaking nowhere.
- The Script is an Irish alternative/soft rock band inspired by American "street" music.
- Cormorant started out as Melodic Death Metal, which is represented in their debut EP. Their next album, though, is a weird mix of Black Metal, Death Metal (in both the melodic and the more traditional style), Doom Metal, Prog Metal, Heavy Metal and Folk. Fans just started calling them "tiberian ass bastard folk".
- Wintersun. Melodic Death Metal, Power Metal, Folk Metal, Black Metal, Symphonic Metal, and Progressive Metal influences can all be heard in their debut. Frontman/Guitarist/Bassist/Keyboardist Jari Mäenpää has given up on trying to classify and and calls Wintersun "Extreme Majestic Technical Epic Melodic Metal".
- What to call Tangerine Dream? Progressive rock/New Age/World music/Electronic/Trance/God Only Knows? Further proof of how flawed these labels are to begin with.
- Enter Shikari mixes post-hardcore with various electronic genres and in certain songs, rap.
- Opeth is a Progressive Death Metal band with Jazz and Folk influences. Mikael Åkerfeldt has said that he just took elements from every genre he liked and sort of just mashed them together.
- Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine were originally a two-piece whose songs usually consisted of witty punk rock-style vocals and cranked-up rock'n'roll guitars, played over backing tracks that sounded like Stock Aitken Waterman done on the cheap. They eventually got a full band line-up and became a bit more conventional, then broke up because nobody was enjoying it any more.
- Devin Townsend's solo output generally falls under progressive metal, but albums like Terria go off at so many tangents that no one label could do them justice.
- Tool. Just...Tool. People have tried to classify them as such things as alternative metal, progressive metal, hard rock, but they don't seem to fit into just one genre.
- And for that matter, Dream Theater. Are they progressive, alternate rock with metal elements, pop with metal elements, or downright metal? Not to mention all of the unique sounds in their songs...
- Butthole Surfers have a similar problem, with not all of their songs even identifiable as "music."
- Oingo Boingo. Most pop music historians classify them as "new wave," but then there are other critics who claim that they invented pop-punk. And some of their songs are so solo-driven ("Dead Man's Party," anyone?) that they would fit comfortably on most hard rock or classic rock stations. Frontman Danny Elfman even said, when asked to sum up his band's ethos: "I wanted to piss everybody off!"
- Kaizers Orchestra. You could, if you had to, classify them as Rock, in it's most broad sense. More specifically, depending on the song, you'll find polka, Eastern European folk music, surf rock, gypsy rock, jazz, whatever the hell Maskineri is, and so forth. They've also been described as a "punk rock Tom Waits", and Tom Waits desribed them as "Norwegian storm-trooping tarantellas with savage rhythms and innovative textures". Whatever that means.
- Alexander Rybak. The Other Wiki describes his music as pop, classical, and folk, among others.
- The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are an Art Punk band.
- TNT. Wikipedia classifies them as Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, AOR, and Glam Metal while some of their fans think their earlier albums have touches of Progressive Rock.
- Literally takes place in this indie music video.
- Incubus. While their albums might be similar in terms of style, each album contains songs that are pretty different to any of the others on that album, more so on the earlier albums.
- Coheed and Cambria. Some people call them progressive metal. Some people call them alt-rock. Some call them pop-punk, post-hardcore, alt-metal, hard rock, prog-rock or even emo. In a way, all of them are right....
- Bone Thugs N Harmony: Gangsta Rap, speed rap & Hardcore Hip-Hop fused with barbershop doo-wop harmony.
- When you get right down to it, Liō is like nothing else in America. The closest it gets to "normal" is when it emulates Calvin And Hobbes, but it's just as likely to resemble a Victorian morality fable mixed with Surreal Horror.
- When Candorville began, it essentially was to Doonesbury what Ctrl+Alt+Del is to Penny Arcade, albeit with far more black people. As time passes, however, the Big Lipped Alligator Moments not only have gotten more frequent, but seem to have stopped being Big Lipped Alligator Moments and become canon. At the same time, in what seems to be an unrelated process, the previously unimportant character of Saxon Kenchu set up a comedic horror plot that has been declared to be his insanity, then declared actually true, then declared to be the main character's insanity, then indicated to be true after all, with no end in sight.
- This what Richard Wagner set out to do (and most would say he succeeded). His concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk was a fusion of all the arts - visual, theatrical and musical.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: At the time, all operas were written in the Italian style (except the French, which were seldom performed outside France). There were two types of opera: Opera Seria (dramatic) and Opera Buffa (comedic). Mozart was one of the first composers to blur the lines between the two styles, incorporating hilarious comedy into dramas and compelling drama into comedies. He even took this a step further, inventing the concept of "German Opera" with The Magic Flute (and to a lesser extant, Die Entführung aus dem Serail).
- Even Don Giovanni, an Italian opera written in an essentially classic form and style, shatters conventional dramatic structures. There's no hero, the Anti-Hero Jerkass protagonist(?) dies, the alpha couple doesn't get married, and one of the few sympathetic characters is too weak-willed to do anything but be a menial serf to some other entitled creep. Neither tragedy nor comedy, it's just sorta there.
- There is a classic story about the first two productions of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov. The first production was very sad and melancholic, and the audience left the theater deeply moved. The second production? The audience was laughing so hard the walls shook. So which is it, comedy or tragedy? None can say (though Word Of God claims comedy).
- Romeo and Juliet was the first play to combine the idea of comedies and tragedies. In a typical comedy, there are young lovers who live Happily Ever After. In a typical tragedy, there are political figures and families that feud and kill people. All of this happens in Romeo and Juliet. Except the happily-ever-after part.
- BIONICLE, as a whole. It has magical epic fantasy, cyber-city sci-fi, plenty of action (both regarding the usage of special powers, or plain hand-to-hand combat), a Cosmic Horror Story or two, war tales, crime and mystery, western-ish Desert Punk, some mild philosophizing, tells moral fables, and showcases various kinds of humor (sarcastic and dry verbal jokes, or visual Slapstick). Comes in the form of plastic toys, comic books and novels, 2D and 3D animations and Direct-to-Video movies, magazines (at least in Europe), free-to-read online stories, even audio podcasts, and its music ranges from rock and techno mixes of varying hardness to orchestral choirs, tribal drums and hums and almost rural-sounding chimes.
- All the characters are cyborgs, a subset of which get inherent magic.
- Additionally, their masks (which are also breathing apparatuses) have more single-purpose magic latent in them. Some of these are telepaths. They live inside a robot. "Mata Nui" was built on the robot's (i.e. The Great Spirit i.e. Mata Nui) face, Metru Nui is his brain, (and his eyes are the two suns,) and the last several chapters take place in various parts of his heart. It's like the damn Fantastic Voyage but with blue and red and green people. They sometimes live on lily pads, just because. Some of them swim. They build robots. They have friendships and the occasional romance. What does a cyborg do with romance? The hell if I know.
- The only reason it works at all (never mind startlingly well) is because Greg Farshtey was the writer for the whole thing, and Lego gave him a veto on a lot of important decisions. Human in the first Bionicle movie? Veto. And the results were awesome, counter to the expectations of lots of movie executives that Farshtey turned down.
- The toys also blended traditional LEGO bricks and standard Technic pieces with the unique Bionicle parts. The early Tarakava models, for instance, had a midsection built up purely by classic, studded bricks. Since the theme was still a member of the Technic umbrella-title then, some of these early Rahi sets looked more like mechanical playthings than animals. Then, there were the playsets, "normal" LEGO building sets that came with their own Minifugures, but often had a regular Bionicle figure thrown into the mix for good measure. Blending the vastly different building techniques has, in fact, become a standard practice for LEGO since then, and not-too-overspecialized pieces tend to creep over from one theme of sets into another.
- Shadow of the Colossus is damn near impossible to classify into any genre (except Boss Game, of which it is currently the page image, but that only describes the level goals). The open-world-ish exploration segments contain no puzzles or combat, while the Colossus battles are equal parts puzzling and climbing, and there's never any definitive or enduring rule as to how to approach the Colossi, other than 'stab the weak point'.
- Katamari Damacy. Apart from those who call it Bubbles as a 3D platformer!, trying to fit this series into a genre is an exercise in futility and Mind Screw.
- The folks at V's Recommended Games like to call it a "Ball Rollin' Simulator".
- There is absolutely no way to categorize Jet Set Radio as anything other than that one cool game with the rollerblades and the tagging and the cel-shading. And the music. And the cops.
- Mondo Agency is a Deconstruction of the FPS genre that's also a Mind Screw puzzle game with platforming and Surreal Horror.
- The Defense Of The Ancients mod for Warcraft III qualifies. It's an online game played in teams that contains elements of Real Time Strategy, third person action and Role Playing Games.
- It ended up starting what are now called "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" games, but for a while were just called "DotA clones." (DotA itself was called an "AoS clone" as it duplicated the mechanics of the "Aeon of Strife" map from Star Craft.)
- Mind you, the MOBA term is still not very good at describing what the game really is, since Multiplayer Online Battle Arena is a very non-specific term. FPS games are certainly multiplyer, online, with battling, in an arena, and they are not this type of game. Action-Strategy has also been used to describe this genre, but games like Dawn Of War 2 fall into the Action-Strategy genre, yet they are not this type of game.
- Pikmin - one can make a reasonable case for it being a Real Time Strategy, action-adventure, and a puzzle game, yet none of these terms properly describes it.
- Lemmings was so unlike anything that came before that it still defies easy categorization.
- Later games like it (for instance, The Humans, March of the Minis, and I Wanna Save The Kids), are occasionally called "save-em-up." The problem is that there are very few of them.
- The Mega Drive box calls it an 'Action Puzzle'. You solve puzzles and execute your planned of action quickly. It's not a strategy (like, say, Chess).
- Fans are still arguing over what the Metroid Prime series should be called. First person adventure seems to be the one that's stuck the most (due to it having First-Person Shooter elements).
- Killer7 is an Action Adventure Rail First-Person Shooter, yet at the same time only includes some elements from all three genres, making it difficult to classify. It is also a Mind Screw.
- There are some Resident Evil-esque Survival Horror elements as well. Understandable, since the series' creator Shinji Mikami helped in the creation of the game.
- All the original Might And Magic games (without the word "of" in the title) switch from swords and sorcery to sci-fi towards the end. Trade in your maces and bows for blasters.
- There has been debate over whether the Super Smash Bros games should be classified as a "true" Fighting Game series on par with Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, or a party game series with Fighting Game elements; the Smash series is based on environmental factorsnote and damage taken to the health meter equaling a weaker resistance to launching, while traditional fighters aren't very concerned with the environment (as all stages are linear) and damage directly makes the player closer to dying. While it is, by definition, a fighting game, whether it should be considered a true fighting game or a party game really depends on how it's being played; while the games were intended to be non-traditional party fightersnote (especially Brawl), the competitive community optimized the gameplay so that the games play more like actual fighting games rather than party games.
- Grand Theft Auto is a mish-mash of genres that has led to the creation of it's own genre... which nobody can decide what to name (some variant on "Open Sandbox" seems common, but is often co-opted by much more focused gameplay styles). Third person shooters, driving games, RPGs, action games, stealth games, racing games and even arcade games have had elements incorporated into the series.
- Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption blends this even more, with further focus on typical RPG elements like looting, morality and NPC interaction and the inclusion of a hunting system while still maintaining the third person shooter aspect and an even wider world designed for exploration and adventure.
- Flower is something that creators call "poetic adventure".
- System Shock 2. It's in a first-person perspective, but has strong survival horror elements (aside from the monsters, you'll be scrounging for ammo and playing inventory management as you go), isn't quite a first-person shooter, nor an RPG or Action-RPG. Most who play it, though, say that whatever it is, it's good.
- Knights in the Nightmare defies easy description. It's a Real Time/Turn-Based Strategy Hybrid...which incorporates Bullet Hell elements because the enemy is shooting at YOUR CURSOR, not the units you temporarily bring to life to attack back. There are RPG Elements for the units you control, but there's some stuff that can't even properly be classified, like hitting a big red/blue switch for Law and Chaos that completely changes the hit ranges and attack types for your characters across the map, or that you advance stages by destroying enemies placed on a grid via a roulette system.
- Yume Nikki is not an RPG, despite being made on RPG Maker. It's an horror game... Except not really. It's an exploration game. It's an adventure game. What is it, anyway?
- Game critics had a hard time pigeon-holing the first Thief into any recognisable genre when it came out in November 1998. It played from a first person perspective, yet wasn't an FPS (nor did it reward killing everything in sight). It featured lots of various puzzles, yet wasn't an Adventure Game. It had vaguely RPG elements, yet wasn't an RPG at all. Along with Metal Gear Solid, Thief practically defined the stealth game genre as we know it today.
- One review described it as a 'First Person Sneaker', which is a pretty apt description.
- Fahrenheit has some elements of Monkey Island style adventuring, God Of War-esque action button mini-games, the odd piece of Metal Gear Solid type stealth, with a grainy cinematic sheen to the whole package...ambitious is not the word. Somehow, it works.
- Eversion is a platformer, puzzle, and Lovecraftian horror game, all at once.
- Rabbids Go Home is a Platformer, Racing Game, Adventure Game, and Katamari Damacy-like collectathon.
- Deadly Rooms Of Death is part puzzle game, part hack and slash, part turn based strategy, and ultimately none of those things. The only classification it can consistently fit is that of extremely difficult games.
- Shenmue. Aside from being one of the earliest examples of a modern Wide-Open Sandbox game, it also touted Adventure Game mechanics and Visual Novel aesthetics, Quick Time Event action sequences, beat'em-up mechanics inspired by Virtua Fighter, and plenty of interactive minigames to keep you busy. It was revolutionary enough to be labelled as its very own genre by creator Yu Suzuki: Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment, or F.R.E.E.
- Batman Arkham Asylum is a bit hard to classify having elements from stealth, beat-'em-up, RPG, survival horror, and Metroidvania games.
- The first LittleBigPlanet was hard enough to classify as it was, but LittleBigPlanet 2 is about as easy to classify as beating all the online levels.
- Is Umineko No Naku Koro Ni a mystery or a fantasy? Neither! It's more of a romance with fantastical mystery and Jungian psychological elements.
- This is even hinted at in EP 1 WAY before the players figured it out
- Same with Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. It seems to change to whatever it wants whenever it feels like it.
- Speaking of Jungian, Persona 2 is an RPG Urban Fantasy about saving the world and facing your fears and with psychological elements and it's a horror game like the other Megatens and it's got elements of romance. Confusing stuff. Persona 3 and Persona 4 are all that but with dating sim mechanics. Hmm...
- Brütal Legend is inclined towards being a Real Time Strategy game, but your skills at Hack And Slash, Rhythm Games, and driving are often more important than RTS-related skills. The single player campaign being a Wide-Open Sandbox further complicates slapping a genre label onto it.
- Monday Night Combat at first looks like another Third Person Shooter, but teamwork is vital, playing deathmatch style tends to do as much harm as good, you're effectively fighting on a two-sided Tower Defense game, you've got to upgrade your abilities and buy bots with money you earn during battle, and topping it all off it's class-based to keep things balanced.
- Fantasy Earth Zero is also like this. Most of the game is typical MMO stuff, but the main heart of the game is basically 100-man PvP RTS/Tower Defense.
- Zeno Clash is a first person melee brawler shooter. Except for that bit with the shadow people. Also there's the rail shooter section and ummm... well at least we know it's fantasy. Unless it's sci-fi...
- The Wario Ware series can be loosely considered mini-game collections, but it does it in such an unusual way (games are typically about 4 seconds long, must be done in quick succession, are presented in random order, and the goal is to survive a predetermined number of them before failing four times), and has an emphasis on single-player rather than multiplayer, that gamers and critics alike have largely given up trying to classify it at all.
- Planetarium bills itself as an online "story-puzzle", and is about equally balanced in both Web Original and Puzzle Game elements. You can follow the unfolding story and ignore the puzzles, or focus more on the puzzles than the story surrounding them, or enjoy both the story and puzzles.
- Trenched, as a Spiritual Successor to Brütal Legend, combines Mecha Game with Tower Defense elements instead of Real Time Strategy elements as you control a customizeable mobile trench.
- eRepublik can best be described as massively multiplayer online strategy game meets government simulation game meets social networking site.
- Battlezone is a hybrid vehicle combat, FPS, and RTS.
- Etrian Odyssey: Part Eastern RPG-style battles, part Western RPG-style character customization, part Dungeon Crawler.
- Although The World Ends With You is commonly classified as an Action RPG, the combat, particularly on the bottom screen, is quite reminiscent of side-scrolling Beat Em Ups.
- Penumbra is an Adventure Survival Horror Stealth-Based Game, with all the in-game manipulation controls and motions being based on dynamic real time physics.
- Sacrifice is a fantasy third person RPG, RTS game.
- Achron is superficially an RTS, but the time travel mechanics make it play quite differently. The creators call it a "Meta Time Strategy Game".
- Soulcaster has elements of a Tower Defense while playing nothing like a normal Tower Defense, and elements of a top-down Action Game while playing nothing like a normal top-down Action Game.
- Asura's Wrath is a Hack And Slash/ Beat 'em Up game mixed with Rail Shooter styled gameplay and a lot of Action Commands throughout the game, as well as no RPG Elements like other Hack and Slashers like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta or God Of War. You could say it's more of an interactive Anime than a traditional action game.
- Pathologic and Turgor, by Ice Pick Lodge. They're both first person action-adventure surreal/lovecraftian horror philosophy art games where the aim isn't really to kill things but you're probably going to be doing that in the process of whatever other endeavor you have.
- Getter Love!! is a combination of a board game, a dating simulator, a few free-motion mini-games, and all kinds of hilarity, including hip-wiggling panda bears. Plan out where you want to go, use item cards to promote your relationships or screw your opponents over, talk to your friends or one of seven girls, take the girl of your choice out to places, buy presents for your girl of choice, and even run into various random folks. Watch out for the resident Gonk who wants to harass you and fuck up your relationships! All kinds of wacky hijinx ensues until someone confesses their love, after which either either school resumes or the winner's girl appears in a pastel-colored aura while talking to you.
- Hatoful Boyfriend: Oh, look, another Visual Novel / Dating Sim. Oops, it has just turned into a horror game. And just like that, now, it's a turn-based RPG. And, after you thought it can't get any weirder, it turns into a survival horror/mystery.
- NiGHTS is a platformer, but far removed from the genre's core concepts: As you're in midair nearly all of the time, there's no actual running, jumping, or functional platforms. The stages loop endlessly, as your goal is collection rather than getting to the end. You're totally invincible, your only real opponent being the timer counting down. You must reach certain score quotas to advance. And sometimes, you transform into a bobsled. Indeed, you have just as many who say it's a platformer as those who say it isn't, and the only other genre it fits even microscopically into is as a Bullet Hell type game with no bullets and total free roaming.
- Sword Of The Samurai is simultaneously an action game with (nonfunctional) stealth elements, a primitive RTS, and a turn-based strategy game that was the Spiritual Predecessor to the Total War series.
- Deadly Premonition is a survival horror adventure wide-open life sim—and that's just the gameplay. The story attached to it is a murder mystery police procedural horror-fantasy romance that ping-pongs between nightmarish tragedy and screwball comedy, with every mood in between.
- Gobtron. You play as a giant pink monster and defend against waves of enemies by using its snot, spit, burps and farts.
- Sluggy Freelance started out as simply a Fantastic Comedy, then (while still keeping comedy a staple) started playing Genre Roulette with soap operatic drama, epic fantasy/science-fiction, spy stories, horror, film noir, and so on. However, thanks to the constantly accumulating continuity, story elements introduced while handling one genre will still be around when another genre takes the foreground, creating some weird combinations. Like sci-fi epic "Oceans Unmoving" having a lead character who's a Talking Animal that went to war with Santa Claus. Or the wacky adventure of "A Time for Hair-raising" drawing upon Torg's past as an action hero and Gwynn's past as a victim of Demonic Possession. Or the dark, brutal story told in "Fire and Rain" still having a Zoe-gets-turned-into-a-camel gag.
- El Goonish Shive crosses a few. It starts out like a comedic slice-of-life comic, quickly adds sci-fi and drama, then fantasy, then it retcons the sci-fi into fantasy. Currently it's kind of a mix of the lot. And weird.
- Problem Sleuth and Homestuck of MS Paint Adventures both are very difficult to classify. They're online comics, except that the readers basically choose the direction stuff moves in (at least they used to; the readership is too large now). Homestuck in particular ping-pongs between a Satire/Parody/Pastiche, other comedy elements, Slice of Life, and a (fairly) serious epic fantasy/sci-fi Myth Arc that draws heavily from Superhero stories and creation myths. At a few points it even throws in flash-based interactive point-and-click sequences where the reader/player can control one of the main characters directly! The creator however does say that despite the Cerebus Syndrome, it is and always will be a predominantly comedic series.
- Bonus points to Homestuck, which is Medium Busting. One part Interactive Comic, one part Game, one part Novel, one part Animation, one part Puzzle, one part something else? It's impossible to define, with the official designation having settled on 'thing'. On TV Tropes it's generally classified as a Web Comic because it's predecessors were, and it is still predominantly a webcomic.
- Last Res0rt is a sci-fi vampire Furry Comic about a Deadly Game Reality Show, with some supernatural elements, a Magical Girl squad, and even a little Coming of Age (well, coming of vampire age) thrown in for good measure.
- Wapsi Square describes itself as a "slice of supernatural life" comic, but it is a bit more complicated than that. For starters, there's the save the world plotline without any antagonist. Then there is the protagonist's constant attempts to convince herself and those around her that the comic is actually on the other side of Clark's Third Law (she gives up eventually). It's rather hard to explain.
- Where do you even try to fit the aztec god of alcohol?
- The Dragon Doctors blends a bunch of different possible genres into one. It's about magical doctors solving weird problems in a fantastic setting that nonetheless resembles a lot of modern-day life, but the doctors spend as much time fighting evil as adventurers as they spend time as healers, plus there are plenty of slice-of-life moments mixed in to even out the pace. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's very dark. Transformation is rampant but it's far from the actual point of the comic, unlike most Transformation Comics; instead, it's just a consequence of the magical setting. Emotional healing is given as much priority as physical healing, too, unlike most Patient of the Week deals.
- For its first two chapters, Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a musical, superhero deconstruction, romantic comedy about a wannabe mad scientist supervillain and his attempts at gaining power (frequently detailed, of course, in his video blog). Then the last chapter ends with elements of classic tragedy, the only remotely sweet and sympathetic character dying in the most gut-wrenching, Whedon-specialty way possible. The montage that follows, however, still includes some brutally funny moments.
- Survival of the Fittest, just like the work that inspired it, is pretty much impossible to place in one genre. A class of students being abducted and forced to kill each other with very close attention to their personal experiences has led to a rather diversive mix of horror, action, romance and even comedy, all thanks to the multitude of different writing styles that occurs with so many authors in one place.
- Video Game High School is a high school action/comedy/drama with elements of sci-fi, Sports Stories and of course, Video Games. It often uses Video Game Tropes as plot points.
- Steamboat Willie, one of the first sound cartoons.
- Ka Blam!: Comedy/sci-fi/action/(and depending on the Henry and June short) romance
- Teen Titans is a superhero action cartoon whose animation is often more inspired by Tex Avery or the weirder side of Anime than anything in U.S. Comic Books, yet often has very dark, dramatic storylines and, on a few occasions, will have an episode focus almost entirely on character interactions, with the obligatory supervillain battle relegated to a minor B-plot.
- Gargoyles is an epic Urban Fantasy, a sci-fi thriller set Twenty Minutes into the Future, and a gritty crime-drama. And a tribute to William Shakespeare, where Puck, Oberon, Titania, and the Weird Sisters have prominent roles, and Macbeth kicks ass in a trenchcoat with a laser gun. Seriously.
- Recess: Comedy/drama/prison escape/satire
- Phineas And Ferb has a specific work in universe: "a twenty-eight volume science fiction swashbuckling historical romance tell-all potboiler mystery satire buddy cop adventure tragedy how-to action novel!"
- Codename: Kids Next Door: Action/adventure/comedy/drama/sci-fi/satire.
- The kingdom protista is for all organisms that don't fit into other kingdoms in traditional taxonomy. The new system (with Domain) is partially fueled by an attempt to fix that problem.
- Monotremes (platypuses and echidnas) are known for not fitting 100% into the traditional fauna classifications (They are the sole examples of egg laying mammals; the platypus is also one of the very few mammals to be venomous).
- Native Australian wild life in general.
- Due to evolution being a slow process, many animals have only one or two traits to qualify them for a classification. So, there's a lot of overlap and a large number of animals don't fit nicely into the categories we define.
- Turtles are the subject of a raging debate among taxonomists and herpetologists as to how they're related to other types of reptiles. This is due to how all other closely related groups have gone extinct. In fact, until the discovery of Odontochelys in 2008, there were no known transitional species—for all that people knew based on fossil records, some reptiles just suddenly evolved shells and became turtles.
- Creole languages are hard to class by the usual "genetic" system of descent in philology, where one former language branches off into others. These languages are (typically) the result of one language merging with a group of other related ones, with the vocabulary taking from both while much of the grammar is created from scratch.