In the world of fiction, illnesses always progress as quickly as a heart attack. A person feeling ill will drop down within minutes of the first signs of an illness. Similarly, only hours or minutes remain for an antidote to take effect.
This unrealistically speedy disease progression, apart from the need to squash a 24-hour or week-long disease into the 1 or 2 hours you can keep viewers interested, is motivated by the Rule of Drama
: Nobody cares about an illness that takes weeks to develop.
See also Travelling at the Speed of Plot
. Contrast Soap Opera Disease
and Victorian Novel Disease
Anime and Manga
- In Yuu Watase's manga Imadoki, early in their acquaintance, Kugyou finds Tanpopo planting flowers in the rain, and she suddenly collapses with a fever. She hates hospitals, so he takes her back to her apartment instead, and has to take care of her—including changing her clothes while she's unconscious.
- This happens a few times in Hana Yori Dango but the most ridiculous example is when Tsukushi falls into a swimming pool in a warm, tropical setting and instantly gets a bad fever. This prevents her from getting physical with Domyoji when they are finally alone together.
- In the fourth episode of Seitokai Yakuindomo, Tsuda seemed perfectly healthy until the moment he steps out from under an umbrella. Within seconds he sneezes and is sick for the next episode.
- In Fruits Basket, Yuki tends to collapse pretty quickly if he's in the cold or overexerts himself. It's explained that he was pretty sickly as a child, and his massive self esteem issues brought on by being abandoned by his family and tormented by the head of the house no doubt contributed.
- The Chalet School books are pretty bad for this, probably because of Values Dissonance and girls being considered to be delicate, as well as the school's large Ill Girl contingent. Any exposure to chills, rain, drafts, mud or cold water is fairly certain to leave the victim in the grip of a life-threatening disease if they're not immediately put into a hot bath and then into bed with two hot water bottles. In one book, Jo spends three days unconscious and is bedridden for over a week after standing for literally a few minutes by an open door on a snowy day.
- Galaxy of Fear once has Tash given an injection that, within hours, has her sweating, feeling unusually irritable, and growing a rash-covered lump on that arm. Then it starts oozing, because it's the Blob Monster Virus. The one responsible actually coolly observes that the disease isn't progressing in her as fast as he'd expected.