So there's four kids. Each of them has a guardian. And an exile advising them. And three Trolls each, to boot. And that's just Pre-Scratch. Just look at the "Webcomics" section.
Let's say you have a large cast
and you don't want to do a Love Dodecahedron
. How do you keep track of all your characters, while still making your desired points? One way is to take your central character grouping and duplicate it with groups of contrasting characters. Do this a few times and the copies can even provide contrast and commentary on each other without reference to the main group.
Most of the time, you will be replicating your "core" grouping. If you have a romantic couple, then you provide other couples with different problems and reactions. If your main protagonists are Heterosexual Life Partners
, bring in more pairings (most cop shows). If you have a Power Trio
, build another one. Compare the Five-Man Band
with the Five-Bad Band
or The Psycho Rangers
. Throw in a group of Evil Counterparts
Named for a geodesic dome, a half-dome structure built out of triangles. Notable for being stronger the bigger it is made.
See also Cast Herd
and Theme Table
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Neon Genesis Evangelion is built around the three pilot "children" (Shinji, Rei and Asuka) and their adult supervisors/mentors in Nerv (Misato, Ritsuko and Kaji). Many of the twists relationships and complications within each group are contrasted with similar situations in the other group. To complete the picture, each group gets a support trio of its own: Shinji and gang get Those Two Guys and the Class Representative, and the adults get the Bridge Bunnies. Now each of the kids from school has a corresponding grownup: the geek, the jock and the chick.
- Shoujo Kakumei Utena does this starting with its second story arc. Each character has their own corresponding temporary duelist counterpart, who all learn An Aesop when they try to enter into the duels. Utena and Anthy both get their own Spear Counterpart during this storyline, although Anthy's turns out to be Anthy in disguise. Kind of. Mind Screw ensues.
- Naruto takes place in a world where everyone is forced to team up in squads of four ninja. The characters in each team of main characters all seem to fit particular molds as well. Each team has:
- An either goofy or incompetent ninja; generally gutsy/impulsive (Naruto, Choji, Kiba, Lee, Kankuro, Jiraiya, Obito, Yahiko)
- A smart, clever, or strategic ninja that is much Darker and Edgier; the Blue Oni to the aforementioned Red Oni. (and generally superior, at least initially) than the first (Sasuke/Sai, Shikamaru, Shino, Neji, Gaara, Orochimaru, Kakashi, Nagato eventually).
- The Chick (Sakura, Ino, Hinata, Ten-Ten, Temari, Tsunade, Rin, Konan)
- Although it seems that for the majority of the Ame Orphan's life as a team Nagato was even more The Chick than Konan was.
- The more experienced mentor (Kakashi, Asuma, Kurenai, Gai, Baki, the Third, the Fourth, Jiraiya)
- And yet unlike the normal dynamic for this trope, they have a Love Dodecahedron anyway.
- And to make things even more confusing, even though they're supposed to follow this dynamic, plenty of them don't. (To name a few, Akatsuki, Taka, Team Samui, the Kin/Gin Brothers, and the Kages with their bodyguards. Not to mention three of the four Konoha teams getting messed up due to people leaving, people arriving, people dying, and people going on maternity leave.)
- Clamp's X1999 has seven main good characters grouped around Kamui, and seven main villains (sort of) grouped around Kamui's twin star and childhood friend Fuuma. Both groups also have their own stargazer, who are two sisters.
- The Prince of Tennis has several teams of 7 regulars, coach and a couple of supportive characters.
- Minami-ke has numerous groupings of a reserved character, a childish character, and an intelligent character. Respectively among the sisters we have Haruka, Kana, and Chiaki. Among their friends we have: Haruka, Maki, and Atsuko; Riko, Kana, and Keiko; and Yoshino, Uchida, and Chiaki.
- Lucky Star cast is made up of interlocking girl trios.
- Roughly in Soul Eater, as we have the two main groups of students - Maka, Black Star, Death the Kid being the first and Ox, Kirikou and Kim the second. Each has the 'bookworm' (Maka and Ox) the 'bruiser' (Black Star and Kirikou, though in different ways) and the unusual one (Kid the god, Kim the witch). The less geodesic attribute is Dual Wielding: Kid and Kirikou. A flashback to how Black Star ended up in Death City indicates the teachers followed a similar pattern for at least one group (Stein/Spirit, Sid/Nygus, possibly Joe/Marie), and parallels between the character types can definitely be made. Plus, there is the fact that each character's weapons are characters in their own right.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn! showcases multiple mafia families each having seven members and each member having one of seven flames.
- GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class features the main Five Girl Band and the separate-but-similar Fine Arts club.
- Legend of Galactic Heroes has this on an interstellar level. At the outset of the show, you have Reinhard von Lohengramm in the Galactic Empire, a highly principled strategic genius of an admiral with strong ethics, who has a close right-hand man, a close right (left?) hand woman who later becomes his wife, and a group of admirals who are loyal to him and question the prevailing social order since they are trying to serve better ethical principles (honor, loyalty, transparecy and relative equality) than the ruling aristocrats. Over in the Free Planets Alliance you have Yang Wen-Li, a highly principled strategic genius of an admiral with strong ethics, who has a right-hand boy, a close right (left?) hand woman who later becomes his wife and a group of officers who are loyal to him and question the prevailing social order, since they are trying to serve better ethical principles (honor, loyalty, transparency and democratic equality) than the ruling bureaucrats.
- Gundam Wing has an equivalent female character for every male pilot, usually one who mirrors and/or balances his personality, and who is important to his character development in some way. Heero-Relena, Duo-Hilde, Trowa-Catherine, Quatre-Dorothy, Wufei-Sally, and even Zechs-Noin, and Treize-Une.
- Grant Morrison's run on the Justice League of America used this as a major theme. The League's first major foes are a group of extremist superheroes called the Hyperclan, whose members are idealized versions of the League's lineup that mirror their powers. A later storyline has them go up against literal evil duplicates of themselves. Yet another has them face The Injustice Gang, a team consisting of each JLA member's greatest enemy (ie, Lex Luthor for Superman, The Joker for Batman, etc.) Finally, in a later adventure they discover the existence of a Mirror Universe and must deal with the Crime Syndicate, consisting of their incredibly sadistic counterparts from that universe. What's amazing is that Morrison managed to make "The JLA vs themselves" a recurring theme without it ever becoming repetitive.
- A few years later when Joe Kelly was writing the book, he gave us the League of Ancients, a group of JLA counterparts from 1000 BC. Their Superman counterpart was a highly religious golem, their Wonder Woman was a member of a fierce warrior tribe, and so on. Notably in comparison to Morrison's groups, this bunch turned out to be good guys (though, in grand superhero tradition, the two Leagues still fought each other upon first meeting.)
- The Harry Potter books start with a Central Power Trio: Harry, Ron, Hermione. A villainous trio is soon added: Draco, Crabbe, Goyle. Soon after we hear stories of the trio plus one that Harry's dad led, which got many thinking that Neville was going to be promoted to the central cast. As it turns out, Neville becomes part of a mirror-image Power Trio with a Weasley [Ginny] and a Brain [Luna] which carries on the trouble-making tradition of the original (mostly offstage) in the final book.
- Reinforced by the fact that Neville could have been the Chosen One if Voldemort had attacked the Longbottoms instead of the Potters when they were babies. The prophecy did not specify a name, and both Neville and Harry fit the bill.
- The Fourth book of The Dark Tower book, Wizard and Glass, shows through flashback how Roland's childhood Ka-tet parallels his current group of companions, most notably the similarities between Eddie and Cuthbert, while between the two of them Susannah and Jake have almost all of Alain and Susan's personality traits ("The Touch", the similarity between Susan & Susannah's names, Susan & Jake's being the loves of Roland's life).
- The Deryni novels feature a Geodesic Cast of Duos (Morgan and Duncan, Cardiel and Arilan, Kelson and Dhugal, Alyce and Vera, Charissa and Ian Howell, Wencit and Rhydon, Loris and Gorony) and groups (Camber and his family, the Camberian Council, the evil human regents of the tenth century, the deCorwyns/Morgans/McLains, the religious hierarchy, the royal courts - Festillic, Haldane, Torenthi, Mearan, Trailian). Justified in that this reflects the many loyalties individuals have: to family, to feudal overlord (and ultimately the king), to Church and its God, to the human race(s). The loyalties and the conflicts between them are a large part of the interest for the reader. As a fellow Camberian Council member tells Denis Arilan, "Pray to every god in heaven that you are never forced to choose among your oaths."
- Good Omens. Let's see now, there's the human-loving devil a long way from Hell and the human-loving angel a long way from Heaven, then there are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, their four Hell's Angel counterparts and then their four child counterparts, then there's the young Odd Couple and the old Odd Couple, then there's Metatron and Beelzebub, there's Agnes Nutter and Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer and their modern-day descendants...it happens a lot.
Live Action TV
- The Brand extension of WWE to Raw and Smackdown. Each show had one world title, one second-tier title, and one tag-team titles. The only difference was the Cruiserweight and Women's titles. After the Cruiserweight title was retired in 2007, the Diva's title was created the following year thus playing this trope straighter.
- The Women's Championship and one of the tag team titles has since been retired, after they where unified, in 2010. The Diva's championship and the Tag Team Championship can be challenged on both shows.
- In Kingdom Hearts, practically every incarnation focuses on a different triangle of the "Two Guys and a Girl" variety.
- Tales Of The Abyss gives each of the six player characters a counterpart/rival in the Six God-Generals.
- Halo's Spartan-IIs rarely operated as one large force. From early in their training, their quasi-family was split into several teams that drilled, ate and later fought together. Blue Team originally consisted of the main SPARTAN characters John, Kelly, and Sam. Kurt filled in briefly after Sam's Heroic Sacrifice, and Linda, Will and Fred took up Blue Team's mantle during the first battle for Earth. Gray Team was made up of Adriana, Jai and Mike, three Ineffectual Loners sent on long missions behind enemy lines.
- Touhou does something like this, based on the stages the character are bosses of. The first three bosses are generally unrelated to the plot. the stage four boss has about equal odds of being connected to the Final Boss. The stage 5 boss is the Big Bad's Battle Butler, with few exceptions. The stage 6 boss is responsible for whatever incident is going on, and in charge of a handful of subordinates and some prime real estate. The Bonus Boss has some connection to the Big Bad. There are some exceptions to all of these, and they're becoming increasingly frequent.
- Although Luigi has yet to save Princess Daisy from King Boo, the three characters mirror Mario, Princess Peach and King Bowser respectively. We also have Wario and Waluigi acting as a twisted version of the Super Mario Bros. themselves, with many more parallels to be drawn.
- Sonic Heroes organizes Sonic's friends into four teams with roughly the same speed-power-flight gameplay mechanic.
- A reason why Suikoden III was acclaimed in terms of Character Development is because of this.
- The Order of the Stick has this with Elan's team, Nale's team, and possibly Xykon's team.
- Also, most of Haley's opponents.
"Hey, can someone explain to me why I'm always fighting skanky chicks who fly? I mean, Sabine
... I bet even the druid's hawk was some sort of a bird-hussy. I should take a level of ranger so I can choose Favored Enemy (Airborne Tramp)."
- 8-Bit Theater has three teams of four warriors apiece: the Light Warriors, the Dark Warriors, and the appropriately named Other Warriors. The Elemental Fiends may fit the mold as well. A team of real Light Warriors also exists, but this team is less developed than the rest and has not made any contact with any other team on-panel, aside from being cut off at every corner by the Light Warriors' random acts of violence and Zany Schemes.
- Not to forget the 4 white mages that killed Chaos. Although the comic didn't last long enough to flesh them out.
- Problem Sleuth used this to an extent, with the three protagonists, their various Distaff Counterparts and time-travel clones. However, Homestuck turns it Up to Eleven with four kid protagonists, four corresponding guardians, four exiles, and four sprites. And then there's twelve trolls, who turned out not to be counterparts at all- but they also each have a corresponding lusus and exile... and some of their exiles are alternate universe characters from the kids' session... Argh.
- Also, four of the trolls took a role as a "patron" for each of the kids. Vriska is John's, Terezi is Dave's, Kanaya is Rose's, and apparently Karkat is Jade's.
- In early 2011, readers learned that the Trolls have long-deceased adult ancestors, with similar personalities, zodiac symbols, and powers, but their own separate subplot. Fanartists responded accordingly.
- Trolls and kids also have some overlap in their titles - and of course this makes similar events happen to them.
- Pretty much the only characters that break the mold are the kid's version of Jack Noir (he is an apparent Big Bad, while the troll's is an Exile), and Doc Scratch, who manipulates both sessions without bothering with a counterpart.
- Well, technically Doc Scratch's counterpart is Bec, as they're both First Guardians: Doc Scratch is First Guardian of Alternia, and Bec is First Guardian of Earth. But since Bec is a Good Dog, Best Friend, he only cares about Jade's welfare and not about meddling.
- Bec has recently gotten a new counterpart in God Cat. The First Guardian of the rebooted universe.
- Both Jacks are more parallel than it seems at first. Both end up destroying their own session's originating universe and help create the Green Sun.
- And it gets even worse, as it was revealed that all of the ancestors of the trolls actually played a session that resulted in a reset, which switched their places in the timeline with the troll kids the readers know, who had been the ancestors in the original troll universe.
- And as of 11/11/11, the same thing has happened with the human universe, with the four ancestors of the B1 kids becoming the Sburb players for the new B2 universe.
- As of A6I3, there are an additional twelve extra trolls: the dead A1 trolls in the dream bubbles.
- And, hopefully finally, there are the two cherubim, one of which is the juvenile version of Biggest Bad Lord English.