"I detest talk of supernatural drivel. I suppose now you'll say she has midi-chlorians."
A moment within a show that doesn't work within the conventions of the genre
. For instance, a UFO abduction in a Dom Com
, or the sudden appearance of magical elves
in a Real Robot
This usually falls outside the main characters' Genre Blindness
, allowing them to see and comment
on how manifestly weird
it is. It is not, however, based on parodying
of the intrusive element (though some satire
may be involved).
If enough of these happen and stick around, the entire genre of the series may change
Especially common in Massive Multiplayer Crossovers
and similar mashups, since these often involve sticking characters from different genres in the same plot
also cross each other often, as they're opposite sides of the same Speculative Fiction
coin—not to mention equivalent, per Arthur C. Clarke's third law
. If that's the case, expect to hear the intruding elements described in terms that match the original genre (after all, to a starship captain there's No Such Thing as Space Jesus
, only Sufficiently Advanced Aliens
). If the two sides can't play nice and one view takes over, that's either Doing In the Wizard
or Doing In the Scientist
; if they can live together harmoniously, it's Science Fantasy
A violation of Genre Consistency
. May be caused by Achievements in Ignorance
or Power Born of Madness
. A character who can consistently do this is Inexplicably Awesome
. See also: Arbitrary Skepticism
, Magic Realism
, Skepticism Failure
, Something Completely Different
, This Is Reality
, Screw the Rules, I Have Plot!
. Contrast Magic A Is Magic A
, Minovsky Physics
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Sailor Moon was, most of the time, a Magical Girl show set in the modern day, where the only non-ordinary elements are the Sailor Team itself and the season-specific villain faction. The beach episodes (once a season), however, were strange exceptions: episode 20 had Usagi, Ami and Rei confronted by an (apparently) real ghost, not connected to the Dark Kingdom in any way it is actually the result of little esper girl manifesting something she couldn't control. Episode 67 featured no villains and thus no need for the girls to use their powers, instead presenting a couple of living dinosaurs. Seriously.
- Episode 67 had so little to do with the overall plot, it was actually left out of ADV's DVD releases of the series. The DVD release simply skips over it.
- A startling example occurs in the second season of the ghost-and-swordmanship filled Jubei-chan, where it's revealed that the reason the Human Popsicle villainess knows about 21th century customs is because upon thawing, she was raised by Talking Animals.
- The Battle Royale manga is fairly realistic, then out of nowhere holy shit Ki Attacks.
- Mazinger Z is a sci-fi Mecha Show. Several times Kouji Kabuto has said (in the original manga) that he does not believe in ghosts or living corpses. Then in a Crossover movie with Devilman, he accidentally awakens a demon and spends the remain of the movie finding and fighting demons and devils.
- Patlabor featured two episodes that clashed with the show's otherwise stringent policy of depicting "real life, but with robots:" One with a prehistoric giant monster, and another with a haunted building full of ghosts.
- There were a few other giant monsters, as well. Though all of them had sorta-scientific rationales behind them, they still stretched the Willing Suspension of Disbelief by playing fast & loose with the Square/Cube Law (more so than the relatively modest sized Humongous Mecha of the title, anyway). The first OAV featured a giant monster that was created by a Mad Scientist doing experiments on abiogenesis that somehow rapidly evolved from an amoeba to a humanoid Kaiju that inexplicably had Yamazaki's face. The TV series had a Patlabor sized giant rat created by growth hormone experiments & the monster from the 3rd movie, which was a grotesque giant zombie/fish thing created from genetically altered human cancer cells & alien DNA from a meteor.
- The prehistoric monster story also played with the unreality by having hyper-rational But Not Too Foreign cop Kanuka Clancy insisting the creature must be some sort of dinosaur and practically using the trope quote as a Madness Mantra, while dreamy Genki Girl Noa insists on calling "him" a dragon. It's "him" according to Noa because "He had a deep voice".
- Heavy Metal L Gaim is a Humongous Mecha Real Robot Genre Mecha Show. In the episode 2, the main character meets a fairy capable cast illusions, read minds and scout souls.
- In Infinite Ryvius, Straw Vulcan Stein Heigar is quite upset when the spaceship Grey Geshpenst suddenly goes One-Winged Angel, transforming from a conventional-appearing vessel to a massive organic sphere, insisting that it violates all logic. (He is unaware that the Grey Geshpenst is a Living Ship).
- Parodied, like many other things, in Gintama; specifically, the episode where Gintoki and co. team up with the Shinsengumi to fight a supposed ghost:
Shinpachi: Could it be there's really a ghost?
Gintoki: Huh? I don't believe in things that can't be scientifically sustained like ghosts. Though I do believe in the Continent of Mu. (beat) This is ridiculous. I don't feel like goofing around with you guys. Let's go back.
Shinpachi: What is this? (Gintoki is holding hands with him and Kagura)
Gintoki: What do you mean? I was just worried that you two might be afraid or something.
Kagura: Gin-chan's hand's all sweaty, this is disgusting.
Gintoki: Huh? What are you talking about?
Ah. The woman in the red kimono [the ghost in question; in this case, Okita's just trolling them, as customary]
(Gintoki leaps into a cupboard and assumes fetal position)
Shinpachi: What are you doing, Gin-san?
Gintoki: Uh, nothing. I just saw a gate to the Continent of Mu.
- Ghost in the Shell: Man-Machine Interface arbitrarily features a psychic who keeps astrally manifesting to the protagonist as a raccoon dog and a teenaged girl whose body is made out of a dragon, commenting on her activities in a Trickster-like manner. Motoko's own comment on her first manifestation is "How unscientific" (added with a footnote that it's unscientific to dismiss a phenomenon on the drop of the hat, implying that the author has his own opinions on the subject).
- Inverted in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, when Kyubey, who acts like a demon by making Faustian Pacts, claims to be from space. Although in this case both interpretations can work at the same time if you consider the show to take place in a Cosmic Horror Story universe.
- L, the master detective in Death Note, has solved the world's toughest mysteries, but he is completely stumped as to Kira's modus operandi because he doesn't believe in the supernatural — at most, he allows that Kira must have psychic killing abilities or mental powers, but not a something out of (pseudo) Japanese mythology. When he's finally presented with evidence that shinigami are real, he has a screaming freak-out followed by a short breakdown. Light does his best to convince him there's no such thing as shinigami, while Ryuuk grins in the background.
- Many of the Gundam series (read: everything but Turn A Gundam and G Gundam) go out of their way to portray everything as realistically as possible, down to giving a justification for apparent Square/Cube Law violations. They also features psychics and ghosts.
- That really, really weird Cloverfield prequel manga. As an example, it's revealed the main character was created by a cult using human and monster DNA, and that the cult intended to use him to control the monster, which responds to an emotion-powered orb in the character's body.
- Back when The Masquerade was still in place in Mahou Sensei Negima!, Chisame remarked on pretty much every development with this attitude.
- Played for Laughs in Great Teacher Onizuka, which is a (slightly exaggerated) slice of life series about the trials and tribulations of a high school teacher: Onizuka is momentarily possessed by ghosts after he takes on the very stressful job of picking up the remains of those who committed suicide by jumping in front of trains. Miyabi and Fujiyoshi also meet the ghost of a child killed in a road accident, though they don't realize it after seeing a sign talking about his death.
- The Astérix book, Asterix and The Falling Sky, features two groups of aliens fighting for control of the magic potion. With Superman clones. And lasers. In an otherwise Low Fantasy version of Ancient Rome.
- Some of the humor in Atomic Robo comes from Lampshade Hanging on things that are too ridiculous for its universe, such as giant ants. This really comes into play, however, when Robo fights the talking raptor Dr. Dinosaur, who claims to have time-traveled from the death of the dinosaurs with a crystal-powered time machine. Robo points out the grossly bad science in this backstory before pointing out that Dr. Dinosaur is probably just a genetic experiment gone wrong (which is implied to be true).
- Lampshaded in Captain America #600, where Patriot of the Young Avengers meets Rikki Barnes, the dimension-hopping Alternate Universe granddaughter of Bucky Barnes. He notes how implausible her back story is, but then accepts it after remembering that one of his best friends is a teenage time traveler.
- Hellboy. The eponymous Occult Detective discovers that Aliens exist the hard way when they try to give him an Anal Probing in "Buster Oakley Gets His Wish".
- In the chapter of The Black Dossier that deals with Les Hommes Mysterieux, it's specifically mentioned that team leader, air pirate Jean Paul Robur from Robur the Conqueror and Master Of The World, specifically avoided using cavorite for his flying ships, instead developing heavier than air flight, for exactly this reason.
- In one Ramba story, Ramba (an assassin who normally takes on gangsters, drug dealers, terrorists, etc.) encounters cultists who are summoning a demon. She steals their magic book and uses a spell from it to transform her cat into a monster that battles the demon. This is the only appearance of the supernatural in the entire series.
- In the Tintin story Flight 714, we had a thrilling hijack plot and Tintin & Co. being trapped on a remote island. And then out of the blue... Aliens!
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- James Bond movie Live and Let Die
- The death scene for the main villain; Bond wrestles him into a pool of sharks but, before either of them get eviscerated by them, he pulls out a compressed gas pellet and sticks it into the villain's mouth. This has the cartoonish effect of causing him to literally inflate like a blimp and float up towards the ceiling, getting bigger until he eventually bursts. Making things even more cartoonish is that he pops exactly like a balloon, with no blood and just rubbery shreds left over. It was around this time in the movie series where things started to get more campy and ludicrous.
- The apparently functional Voodoo prescience and a Dragon who actually comes back from the dead like the deity he's named for/impersonating/possibly is.
- Highlander II: The Quickening, where the Immortals were revealed to be aliens from the planet Zeist.
- The case in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. On one hand, this was the film which introduced interdimensional alien beings into a series which had firmly rested on the magical side of Magic Versus Science.
- Blade has this to anyone one not familiar with the original comic book. Vampires are explained in Doing In the Wizard fashion (vampirism is a literal virus, they are burned by UV light, they react to garlic but not to crosses, etc) then in the film climax the Big Bad uses a mystic ritual to become the avatar of the vampire's blood god to issue the vampire apocalypse. Despite this he is still killed in a mundane manner.
- Monty Pythons Life Of Brian has an alien abduction scene set in a decidedly non Sci-Fi context. It has little bearing on the plot and never comes up again, which is oddly appropriate in a movie explicitly about Insane Troll Logic.
- In Dexter's third installment, wherein the Dark Passenger which joins the titular serial killer in his "fun" is pretty much proved to be some sort of primordial creature that comes to certain humans during times of great emotional pain instead of just being part of a (completely understandable) dissociative disorder.
- Leslie Charteris' The Saint often encountered the paranormal, though he mostly had mundane adventures facing blackmailers, gangsters, kidnappers, and so forth. He encountered advanced technology sought by Dr. Rayt Marius (a no plans, no back-up situation) in The Last Hero, oversized ants in The Man Who Liked Ants, machine to produce gold, advanced aeronautics, zombies, and the Loch Ness Monster. The anthology The Fantastic Saint collects most of these stories.
- Some paperback original heroes of the 1970s such as The Penetrator switched back and forth from mundane gangster foes to enemies with technology that outpaced the 20th century.
- James Lee Burke's Robicheaux series featured the paranormal in the book and film In the Electric Mist (With the Confederate Dead).
- The 87th Precinct novel Ghosts involves the paranormal, and in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction notes this serves as a detriment to the novel as a detection.
- The Decameron suffers from this in one tale, where the mundane medieval setting is disturbed by an actual vision of Hell.
- In the book The Great Detectives, Walter Gibson wrote an article of reminiscence on his work on The Shadow, and he noted that some stories approached or crossed into science fiction, while other Shadow stories stood as conventional crime thrillers.
- The Skylark Series by E. E. “Doc” Smith may get extremely far-fetched with the science, but it was always science, or at least plausibly something like science. Then came the series finale, in which the collective witches of the universe got together with the main heroes to turn their collective magical willpower to overcoming the villains' telepaths and transporting a whole solar system into another galaxy, which is then set on fire to burn for a thousand years. May have some of the details off there, but it was not a little disconcerting, what with the effective Mood Whiplash.
- Used in the Lensman series. The way the Hell-Hole in Space works, and what happens to someone who goes through it, are nothing like anything else that happens in the series, and do not make sense even in terms of the most far-out reaches of the series's mental or physical science. Up until this point everything that happens is basically a more extreme version of something that has happened before, but the Hell-Hole in Space is on a different track altogether. Even the description of it flounders, and resorts to using words like "binding" and "geas". The literal invocation of The Power of Love as a Deus ex Machina to put right what the Hell-Hole put wrong could also be considered as this; it is presented as an aspect of the series's mental science, but if that segment was read in isolation with the characters' names changed the connection would not be at all obvious.
- The Pure Dead series has this kind of moments. Its mostly about fantasy, but the second book introduces cloning. Given how it was handled (basically the clones were incubated in a duck corpse and ended up as being small sized, red versions of the humans that they were cloned from) it hardly matters.
- The first time the Doctor pulled a Where I Was Born and Razed, in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, the absence of the Time Lords allowed magic to gain a foothold in the universe. So the Doctor has sex with a Fair Folk-esque water nymph who wants to trap him in her realm, and gets horribly injured in several magical rituals. What, were they trying to literally Do In The Scientist? Also, he has to get married to save the world, because magic. This almost resulted in him marrying a thirteen-year-old girl, although, reassuringly, not only is consummating it never brought up, the UST between him and the grown woman he does end up marrying remains just that. Amazingly, he's never seen complaining about all this damn magic making his life worse.
- Dennis Wheatley's adventurer the Duc de Richlieau debuted in a non-paranormal adventure novel. However, Wheatley featured de Richlieau in the novel The Devil Rides Out (1934) where he encounters the modern wizard Damien Mocata, who has actual paranormal powers. The Duc de Richlieau would alternate between paranormal adventures such as Strange Conflict and Gateway to Hell and mundane adventures such as The Golden Spaniard, Codeword-Golden Fleece, The Second Seal, The Prisoner in the Mask, Vendetta in Spain and Dangerous Inheritance.
- Wheatley's character Gregory Sallust also features in a novel in which Satanism plays a part, They Used Dark Forces though the supernatural events in this are only peripheral and it is mainly a spy story.
- Enoch Root in Cryptonomicon appears to not age in the half century between his appearances in both the World War II era and the modern era. In The Baroque Cycle, this is elaborated upon, but to someone just reading Cryptonomicon the presence of this unaging man sees pretty much no explanation.
- The final Doc Savage novel Up From Earth's Center has Doc clashing with someone who might have a demon and visiting somewhere that might have been Hell.
- Garrett, P.I.. In Angry Lead Skies, Garrett's already-Genre-Busting world of fantasy noir is intruded upon by strange Visitors which the reader (but not the characters) will quickly recognize as Grey-like space aliens.
Live Action TV
- Several scholars of Greek Tragedy have claimed this to be the case for the Oedipus story. The confines of realistic human tragedy seem to always be at odds with the riddle-spewing, man-eating, she-beast in the backstory.
- The Odyssey is not technically a supernatural story. Aside from the unfalsifiable secret movements of various gods, all of the monster-fighting and sorcery takes place within Odysseus's narration; the main text is only telling you what the man said happened to him. Only the battle with the suitors at the end definitely happens, and that part of the story is merely unlikely, not impossible.
- Except, of course, the part at the end where Athena literally descends from the heavens to protect Odysseus from the disgruntled families of the dead suitors, the Trope Maker for Deus ex Machina.
Table Top Games
- The 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure Expedition to the Barrier Peaks starts out like any other fantasy dungeon-crawl of the era ... at least until the heroes enter the mysterious "cavern"—actually the airlock of a crashed spaceship full of weird life forms and hostile robots.
- In older editions of Warhammer and Warhammer 40K, the two verses were connected through the Chaos Wastes via the Warp, which is how some lucky champions got their hands on chainswords and plasma guns.
- Indigo Prophecy, known as Fahrenheit outside North America, has a notorious game shift toward this. What begins as a realistic murder mystery in an American city with vague supernatural elements transforms halfway through into a fantasy game featuring ancient Aztec temples and fight scenes straight out of Dragon Ball Z.
- Super Robot Wars has several of these, usually breaking the hard-end of the science-fiction During the War setting from certain series (like Gundam) that forms the main backdrop of each story.
- Ōkami starts out as a Far East version of Fractured Fairy Tale, including references to people who live on the moon. Sounds appropriately mystical at first, but you eventually see these people's vessels and the game portrays them as spaceships (one - described the locals as a "metal bamboo shoot" - even looks like a traditional rocket). The Big Bad itself is practically a robot.
- The first Rayman game is a light-hearted platformer where you fight musical instruments and colorful wildlife. The second has you fighting evil robot pirates who have blown up the heart of the world and enslaved all of your friends.
- Given the ludicrousness of the series in general, that probably falls under Mood Whiplash more than this trope.
- The "silly clowns" option in Quest for Glory II, a game that takes place in a middle-eastern fantasy setting. Granted, these games basically run on Anachronism Stew combined with an overabundance of cheesy gags, but there's just something about seeing a brightly dressed clown walk through the streets of the Sultan's palace.
- True Crime: Streets of LA is a grity, if cheesy cop story, mostly dealing with the right and wrong sides of the law, and how doing the right thing can take a backseat to vengeance at the expense of being a good guy, among other things. Except for the part where you descend into the bowels of LA, confront a Japanese mystic guy, and fight off dragons composed entirely of fire that shoot skulls at you. And then Nick, the protagonist, doesn't mention it ever again.
- In the Touhou side manga Wild and Horned Hermit, Kanako uses this trope when doing the cold fusion experiment after Reimu wonders if there would be demons or spirits emerging instead of just bubbling water. The whole use is rather ironic considering they are conducting a scientific experiment in Gensokyo, the land where everything fantastic exists.
- The final Nevada level in Tomb Raider III' is pretty consistent in theme, ranging from a high security area in the middle of a desert and transitioning to a secret government lab experimenting on aliens and have an alien spaceship locked away in a room. However, at one point, you see a pair of orcas/whales in a tank. The whales are just there without any explanation at all and they severely clash with the theme of the level. The only reason you would jump into their tank is to collect the level's last secret.
- This reaction, taken to extremely Fan Dumb levels (death threats were involved), forced a significant change to Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade: originally the expansion pack was supposed to be centered around a science fiction faction, the Forge, and the attempts to stop it from taking over the world, but that had to be thrown out and another story quickly come up with. Whether this trope is an accurate reaction is... more complex: the setting was a clear Science Fantasy one, so looked at from that perspective the Forge was in keeping with genre conventions. Heroes, on the other hand, had previously only loosely alluded to the science fiction elements in ways that didn't make clear they were science fiction elements, so looked at from the perspective of the series it was a breach of genre conventions.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask featured cow abductions and a battle against aliens despite its otherwise High Fantasy setting.
- The Ace Attorney games are in a realistic-ish setting, with spirit channeling appearing on the side, holding no real effect on the game for the most part, and not appearing in the latter games, which while featuring rather unlikely concepts, feature nothing on the scale of mediums.
- Team Fortress 2's Halloween events. TF2 is normally about a (not so) normal war going on between two companies, but every Halloween supernatural elements come into play. For example, in 2013 you had to send your employer's dead brother to Hell, while fending off skeletons with magic.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising takes place mostly in a Greek Mythology inspired fantasy world. With, the exception, of the few Space Pirates, as well as when the world desroying aliens called the Aurum show up.
- The King of Fighters, which already featured ninjas, superpowered martial artists, street fighters, crime lords, secret agents, sorcerers, demons, gods, other preternatural beings, other cybernetically and bio-augmented warriors, and Duck King, entered this territory in spinoff The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2 with the introduction of Jivatma and Luise Meyrink as well as the revelation that the Meira brothers were aliens themselves.
- The Transformers was primarily a sci-fi show centered around giant robots. However, there were several occasions where the plot delved into supernatural areas—in one episode they ran into a wizard in the past, in another they dealt with a Quintesson who used magic, and two episodes were devoted to Starscream's ghost.
- Scooby-Doo has occasionally been known to replace the guy in a monster mask with an actual monster. Generally, if Shaggy and Scooby are alone (or with Scrappy), the monsters are real. If Fred or Velma is there, they aren't. The films, both live-action and Direct-to-Video, usually have real monsters regardless of their cast.
- The Daria episode "Depth Takes a Holiday" involves Daria meeting personifications of the holidays asking her to find other missing personifications of them who have run off. Quite different for a show mostly about life in high school. Do yourself a favor and don't bring it up to fans.
- The Mysterious Cities of Gold is set around the conquistador times, and is about men in search for El Dorado, and cities full of Gold. While their are some semi-mythical elements (such as Esteban being the "Child of the Sun" and that the Incas have fairly sophisticated fantasy-esque technology), it was always kept in the theme of the period and explained in terms of what was available at the time. Then out of nowhere, the aliens are revealed and watching the protagonists on television screens...
- The Flintstones: The Great Gazoo is a space alien in a modern stone age setting.
- Gargoyles. Goliath, Elisa Maza, Angela, and Bronx during their world tour arrive on Easter Island and run into Nokar, who is an alien sentinel who was sent by his race to protect Earth from another unmentioned race of aliens.
- This is a little less weird than it seems, though, as science fiction elements had been in the show from fairly early on, with cybernetics and genetic manipulation having already put in appearances.