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Anime and Manga
- The animated version of Sazae-san recycles most of its scripts every few years, updating clothing styles and appliances as appropriate.
- Ah! My Goddess (the manga version). The TV series hangs a lampshade on this when Belldandy comments on Keiichi still keeping his old appliances from the '80s in mint condition.
- Detective Conan:
- The manga has a particularly hard time of this, due to suffering from an extreme case of Comic-Book Time. The series has run since 1994 for about two decades, but Word of God claims that only about six months have passed in the story. (There's a lot of trouble with that statement, including the number of holidays we've seen, and the changing of the seasons. And that's not even considering the sheer number of important cases that have occurred. Even condensing the series down just to its plot and character relevant episodes and ignoring repeated holidays/seasons renders enough time passage to fill well over a year.) Either way, the widespread use of cellphones and personal computers became adapted into the stories concurrently, which created some interesting problems. An early episode had a lunchbox-sized portable fax-machine qualify as an awesome gadget, while a more recent episode had a writer's lack of familiarity with cellphones used as proof that he hadn't left his attic in years. And canonically, those two incidents were - at most - 3 months apart.
- Played for Laughs in Lupin III vs. Detective Conan: The Movie. Inspector Zenigata reveals that at this point, Lupin has started texting him about his intentions to steal certain items, and everyone seems incredibly shocked that Zenigata even owns a cell phone.
- This became ridiculous when recently there was a flashback case, ergo, a story that's supposed to have happened prior to the series beginning, that required the use of a phone that had video recording capabilities. Meanwhile we're supposed to believe that chapters containing characters in possession of pagers happened afterwards. Right.
- Applies to Kochikame. Over the years, the manga updates consumer tech from home computers to cell phones. There are some elements of sci-fi tech such as humanoid police robots.
- Wandering Son began in the early years of The Noughties, which was a fast paced decade for technology, thus this is inevitable for a Slice of Life. For example, early on few characters had cellphones but recently most characters do. There's also a case of Technology Marches On where in the manga, in a volume that came out in 2006, two characters record their voice using a tape recorder. Cut to the 2011 anime adaptation and the scene is changed to them using their cellphones instead. The series barely takes place within 6 years so far, so it seems a bit realistic compared to other examples.
- People in the Pokémon world have surprisingly begun to implement current technology in the recent series, despite the series starting in the '90s and the passage of time remaining ambiguous after the Kanto saga (which is approximately one year long). This includes giving James a tablet with the new Rocket logo on the back, and characters using smartphones.
- Played with in His Coool Seha Girls: Dreamcast can connect to the Internet wherever and whenever she wants, but can use only sluggish dial-up (in an age where Wifi and broadband are the norm). She also prefers to connect only during certain times to avoid running a fee, on account of being from a poor family.
- Averted in Hunter × Hunter: Shalnark's Weapon of Choice, a brick-type cell phone that could mind-control people and instructions given out via texting, was not changed over the years the manga has remained in publication. That being said, hand gestures for texting today remain similar to back then, and the phone itself is unusually flat and rectangular for a brick phone, so when the phone reappeared in a story arc in 2015, the manga depicted as few shots of its front as possible, with most shots of the phone from behind and the user rapidly tapping the front of it. That being said, it's played straight with other people's phones, with smartphones popping up with increasing frequency, though a few other characters still have the phones they originally had.
- The comics started out as a Great Depression-era comic. Now, they have the latest iMacs.
- Clark Kent's job at the Daily Planet deserves special attention. Originally, he worked there so he'd be aware of disasters happening as soon as possible; as Superman's powers increased and he gained super-hearing and super-vision, that didn't hold water any more, so now he worked there because he thought he could do good influencing public opinion as Clark Kent, and it was a job where nobody would question him always being close to dangerous events and frequently disappearing when something big happened. Meanwhile, the Daily Planet itself changed with the times, always reflecting whatever a modern newspaper would be like — most notably, the Planet's online presence has gone from nonexistent to being their primary focus. Finally, the changing role of newspapers themselves as news delivery systems has led Clark to quit his job twice; once to become a TV anchorman and once to become an independent news blogger.
- Supergirl was created in the late Fifties. In one of her modern adventures a group of super-villains used a mobile app to track her location.
- Archie Comics. The characters don't age, but the technology is always up-to-date. It's not something that's just quietly slipped in either; a strip in the late 80s saw Veronica replacing her record collection with CD's, and in a more recent one Archie's parents reminisced about the days of dial-up.
- The Disney Mouse and Duck Comics. While aesthetically with many bygone elements, the level of technology is always assumed to be contemporary (not counting Gyro Gearloose and other inventors occasionally pushing it well beyond that), so that cell phones or desktop computers may crop up in more recent stories. A notable exception are the stories by Don Rosa (active from 1987 to 2005) which are always either set in the timeframe "late forties to early sixties" (the time in which Carl Barks created his classic stories), or are prequels taking place at very specific dates in history.
- Batman: At the start of his career, a radio small enough to fit in his belt buckle that could be used to send Morse code was bleeding edge. Nowadays he has his own satellite network. Modern stories set in Batman's past tend to fuzz technological details by avoiding showing specific tech. Fortunately a punch to the face has always been a punch to the face.
- The Marvel Universe is actually more prone to this than DC, which Cosmic Retcons its continuity every couple of years nowadays, making it so that whatever 1940s Batman or Superman stories that currently still count might have happened last year. Marvel has it particularly bad with those characters — Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Reed Richards — who work with fantastic technology, the earliest issues of which involve technology which often wasn't so fantastic 10 years ago or so, when the Fantastic Four took their ill-fated space flight to the Moon (to beat the Russians), and contemporary Marvel continuity began. A prime example? Reading the original Iron Man appearance, one might be amused to discover that the secret to his suit's power was "highly miniaturized transistors."
- Not to mention, Marvel's use of Comic-Book Time isn't ignored in the stories. Every so often, a story from decades ago will be referred to as having been five or ten years ago. Hank "Beast" McCoy was in his late teens in the sixties and celebrated his 30th birthday in the nineties. The technology seen and real-world events referenced in the Silver Age that are later established as recent would seem to set all things Marvel in a version of the late seventies that happens to have smartphones and such (perhaps due to having people like Peter, Tony, Reed, and Hank hanging around. Maybe Reed Richards isn't useless after all...?)
- Cerebro, the mutant-detecting computer from X-Men, first appeared in the '60s using punch-cards and tape drives. It has wildly fluctuated in both appearance and capabilities throughout the years before everyone just went with the device's portrayal in the movies, a hollow ball-shaped room.
- Hi and Lois: Look at the photo on The Other Wiki here, and compare the TV to the modern TV the family has now, not to mention the other conveniences that they have.
- Blondie's family has been around for decades, and (as noted on the main page) has stayed the same age since the 1940s. However, the family now owns a flat-panel LCD screen and keyboard, presumably attached to a computer of some sort. And a bit of changing values, too: Whereas Blondie was a simple housewife early in the comic, in the '90s she finally got her own job, running a business no less (as a caterer).
- Dick Tracy justifies it with industrial magnate Diet Smith supplying Tracy's tech with continual upgrades.
Film - Live-Action
- Very subtly done in The Bourne Series. In The Bourne Identity (2002), all the mobile phones are late-90s basic phones and we see PCs with massive CRT monitors. By The Bourne Supremacy (2004), we start seeing early smartphones and PDAs, such as the HP iPaq used to ID Bourne's (faked) fingerprint, and flatscreen monitors. Jason Bourne (2016) features recent smartphones and mobile apps, with a subplot involving a social media CEO.
- Mission: Impossible Film Series: The first Mission: Impossible (1996) featured the then-current computer technology of the mid-90s. As the franchise went on, computer technology upgraded with it, such as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) prominently featuring tablet PCs and other smart devices.
- In the early Cat Who... books Qwill has a clunky manual typewriter that he refuses to replace with an electric one. In the later ones he has a clunky electric typewriter that he refuses to replace with a word processor. It's still claimed to be the machine he used his entire journalistic career.
- Young Wizards: A computer obtained by one of the characters in the third book starts out as a typical 80s Macintosh-like device. By the seventh book, it has "evolved" into a modern-day laptop, despite less than five years passing in-universe.
- The author has recently released "New Millennium Editions" that, among other improvements, iron out the timeline and update the technology in the earlier books to be more contemporary.
- The gadgets in Alex Rider used to be disguised as Game Boys and early Harry Potter books. He's since moved on to iPods, without aging more than a year.
- The fairies in the Artemis Fowl universe are supposed to be high-tech, with technology significantly beyond anything humans have produced. And while some of their tech has remained in Magic from Technology territory, a lot of their technology has quietly become upgraded over the course of the series as real-life human technology has reached new heights, making some of the fairy tech seem backwards in comparison. While the series has progressed forward in time, it's worth noting that in-series, fairy tech has been high-caliber for a long time and is not generally noted as making significant improvements.
- Alan Dean Foster started the Humanx Commonwealth series in 1972; its older novels show Flinx looking up information on microfiche, whereas recent ones have him hacking a global computer network when he's only a few years older. Notable in that one of the novels, Bloodhype, was set chronologically near the end of the series, but written back in the 70s. Foster himself acknowledges that this makes for a jarring plunge in tech-level whenever you read them according to the in-universe timeline.
- The Helmsman Saga was started in the 80s. In the fifth book, Wilf was stated to have a pager. In book 7, he had a mobile phone. In book eight (written in 2011, after a fifteen-year hiatus), he sends SMS messages.
- The novel serialization of the Robotech saga. By the last book (#21), cell phones, internet and email were common enough parlance in the real world that references to them were included, despite never being mentioned anywhere in the previous books.
- In the first two Fudge books (1971 and 1980), elevator buttons and pocket calculators are presented as new technology. The fourth book (2002) has instant messaging. The characters are only three years older than in the original. The reference to the pocket calculator was changed in revised editions.
- The young Amelia Bedelia are a prequel to the original Amelia Bedelia franchise, but don't try to pretend they're set in the time period that would actually fit the Amelia Bedelia seen in the original books. Amelia Bedelia on the Job shows Amelia Bedelia's father working on a laptop, even though personal computers didn't even exist during the 1960s time period in which the books with the adult Amelia Bedelia were first published.
- Atlas Shrugged ended up doing this in a single book. Ayn Rand started writing the novel in 1943, so for much of the book, radio is the standard mass medium. Just before the Galt speech, Television is suddenly an established technology as it was in 1957, when the novel was finally published. Sure, the story takes place over a few years, but said story involves the greatest geniuses and innovators mysteriously disappearing.
- Carefully averted in the 1632 series — the people of Grantville have the knowledge and technology available in a small town in 2000, and Eric Flint has noted that it takes ever-increasing amounts of care to avoid including anything that didn't exist then.
- Stargate Atlantis (set in the present day), where the expedition had a seemingly limitless supply of gadgets, which mysteriously kept updating with rather recognizable new models which hadn't even shipped yet at the show's premiere, in spite of being cut off from Earth until the Dædalus showed up in season 2.
- Red Dwarf:
- This Sci-fi Sitcom long-runner features this in the set design, having had its original heyday during the late-'80s/early-'90s but been revived most recently in 2012. The early seasons feature Holly (the ship's computer, seen as a face on a screen) moving about on R/C tube TV rigs, and Total Immersion Video Games being triangular-shaped VHS tapes, but this has (eventually) evolved over time so that by Season X (the latest season as of this writing) the Red Dwarf comes equipped with flat-screen monitors. Whilst both of these types of technology are present on the same ship, the "just go with it" nature of the show means that it isn't too distracting.
- The show hung a massive lampshade on this trope in the 2009 'comeback' miniseries 'Back To Earth', when the characters encounter DVDs and ask "what are these?" since video cassettes were seen in the earlier series to apparently still be ubiquitous in the future. The dialogue reveals that in their timeline at least DVDs swiftly fell out of favour again, owing to humanity's congenital inability to put the discs back in their case: they were re-replaced by VHS tapes as "videos are just too big to lose".
- Lampshaded in the pilot episode of the 1980s revival of Mission: Impossible, which saw the mission briefings upgraded from tapes to CDs, leading Jim Phelps to say "Time does march on..."
- Over the course of the Nancy Drew adventure games, Nancy transitions from using land lines to basic cell phones to camera phones to smartphones, and from borrowing suspects' desktops to owning a laptop to downloading through her phone. In The Secret of the Old Clock, set in the 1920s, the game pokes fun at this by having Nancy's friend Bess having the latest tech— a party line.note
- The entire Street Fighter series takes place across the course of only a few years. Street Fighter IV takes place immediately after Street Fighter II. The story is still taking place in the 1990s, but that isn't stopping C. Viper, Chun-Li, Juri, and a few other characters from using modern smartphones and ultra-thin laptops. There is some in-universe justification if one looks at Shared Universe Street Fighter is part of. Even discounting the events of Alpha 3 (theorized to take place in the late 80s/early 90s), where — among other things — Karin's family owns a Kill Sat, the decidedly futuristic Captain Commando takes place in 2026; in order, II, IV, and III collectively span from the early 90s to the turn of the 21st century, complete with technology that matches and even surpasses what's currently available in the real world (never mind all of the genetic manipulation experiments going around, which seemed to have started before 1987). Given the overall moveset similarities, the high-tech battle suit Viper wears is commonly speculated to be a possible prototype for Cap's gear.
- This is somewhat noticeable in the Modern Warfare trilogy, even though the first in the series came out in 2007 and the last one only four years later, as the games try to maintain the feel of bleeding-edge tech. The player character takes out a briefcase computer to guide Predator missiles and helicopter gunnery in 2; these are upgraded to touchscreen tablets in 3, even though it's the exact same conflict set only days apart.
- In most Pokémon games, the latest Nintendo console will be featured. The only real inversion of this is in the remakes Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, which feature an NES (as opposed to the original games which featured a SNES, which was the newest main Nintendo console at the time the game was released in Japan). This happens despite remakes which in theory take place at the same time the originals did (for instance, Pokémon Gold and Silver feature the Nintendo 64 but the remakes feature the Wii). In the case of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, it took place chronologically before the Pokémon Gold and Silver, yet had a newer console (the Nintendo GameCube).
- In El Goonish Shive, the teenage main cast has gone from landline phone extensions in bedrooms to flip phones to smartphones.
- Word of God on Dumbing of Age is that it'll roll with this, in order to avoid 'slowly becoming a period piece'. Other than an early oopsie of many of the students listing modern movies as their favorites in a gender studies class (Willis laments in a decade that'll seem weird that so many 18-year-olds would be into classic movies), the pop culture references tend to try to stay as generic as possible. The Nintendo DS/3DS may be replaced, but playing a version of Mario Kart on a handheld device will probably be A Thing for the foreseeable future, for instance. Amber's MMORPG is most likely World of Warcraft but never named directly, and Transformers references are kept as generic as possible, IE "Optimus Prime" and "Bumblebee" being safe choices for future generations.
- Sluggy Freelance. The very first strip opened with Torg talking about the potential of the Internet in 1997. The march of tech is sometimes downplayed and sometimes lampshaded, especially in the 10th and 15th anniversary strips which redo the first strip but with Torg talking about the internet's potential in 2007 and 2012 instead.
- Being about gamer nerds and including a lot of industry jokes, MegaTokyo fell prey to this really badly; consider that the first strip of the comic sees Piro and Largo trying to get into E3 2000 and a few strips later they were making jokes about Neverwinter Nights being Vapor Ware. Possibly because Fred Gallagher realised this was becoming a problem, references to "current" gaming technology became much less common as the comic went on (particularly after Rodney Caston left the comic and the format shifted away from single-strip gags to an ongoing story).
- Arthur: Early episodes had Muffy, the rich girl, the only one with a cell phone, and Arthur's family owned a computer that seemed to be command prompt and had a very primitive GUI. Later episodes had everyone else owning a phone, the computers up-to-date with 21st century technology.
- The Simpsons: The technology in the early episodes definitely reflected that the show took place around the same time they were produced, the 90s. Bart used a typewriter to write a paper in an early episode, and the kids in the series played video games on what appeared to be a SNES/NES mashup. Later episodes reflected the 2000s/2010s period, though it took until the show's 2009 HD conversion for the family to have a flatscreen rather than the dials-and-rabbit-ears cabinet TV they had. It gets even more bizarre in an episode where Homer remembers his teenage times which happened in "That '90s Show"; Homer mentions Sonic the Hedgehog as his idol. The show started 2 years before the first Sonic the Hedgehog game so the game should be a novelty even for Bart.
- Ironically in "That 90's show", Sonic and Amy Rose resemble their look from Sonic Adventure which came out in 1998.
- In "You Only Move Twice", one sign that Cypress Creek had a wealthy school was because it had its own website, which the public schools did not. One of the writers mentioned that it was one of the most dated jokes they had ever done.
- In "The Blunder Years", there was a joke about a 12-year-old Carl talking about "this new thing called the Internet", only to reveal he was talking about "inner netting" in swim trunks. At the time it aired, it was obvious that the Internet was invented too recently to have been around during his childhood, but by the mid-2010s someone in their thirties would likely have considered the Internet a novelty when they were his age.
- Likewise, post-uncancellation, Futurama has been 'updated' with the latest Eye-Phone and most recent scientific gadgets and theories about Time Travel and Evolution, which didn't exist in 1999 back then in Real Life. In one episode, Amy's cell phone was shown to be humorously tiny. When the episode was aired in the early 2000s, the real-life trend at the time was to make cell phones as small as possible and this was the logical progression. Around the mid-2010s, however, the focus shifted towards larger touchscreens, meaning larger cell phones.
- South Park:
- In early seasons a DVD-player was a sign of rich status, that only one family in town could afford. Now, various characters can be seen buying DVDs, playing Xbox games, and having a Facebook account. Yet the boys have only advanced one year in the school.
- The episode "The New Terrence and Phillip Movie Trailer" involves the boys watching TV to catch a movie trailer during commercial breaks. It aired in 2002. If it aired after 2005, they could just watch the trailer on YouTube or recorded it on a DVR and skipped to the commercials. However, after 2010 thanks to Marvel's continuing success, trailers are given announcement for their "premier" on television before being released online, making it relevant again.
- The greater DC Animated Universe has something like this, since the original Batman: The Animated Series was deliberately made to evoke the character's 1930s noir roots, while Superman: The Animated Series and others are more modern. As a result, Gotham City got a massive tech upgrade between seasons as BTAS was updated to match STAS. This has always been inconsistent: BTAS seemed to have modern tech from the start, just with a 30s art-deco aesthetic.
- Family Guy is a pretty jarring comparison between the first season in 1999 and its current seasons, though numerous episodes address this issue by introducing new technologies to the family (mostly because they were still new technologies in real life, and ripe for parody). The series starts off by mentioning using a VCR to tape Monday Night Football, singing about how owning a cellphone was status of great wealth and importance, having a home computer and the Internet was completely unheard of. Now, taking advantage of modern technology for the sake of jokes, everyone has a smartphone, the old tube TV was replaced by a Hi-Def LCD, the VCR was replaced by a Blu-ray player and TiVo, Stewie makes jokes about Twitter, Lois has a Facebook account, etc etc.
- In the 2011 Beavis and Butt-Head Revival, the technology is more or less up to date with the 2010s. Computers look modern, they mention the Internet and modern video games, one episode features a drone, and their TV has a converter box near to the rabbit ears.
- In the original Inspector Gadget cartoon, Penny had a computer shaped like a book long before laptops were invented. The 2015 series updates this by replacing the computer book with a device that more closely resembles a tablet. In addition, Chief Quimby's exploding messages are now small devices that play recorded messages instead of pieces of paper that detonate when the last sentence, "This message will self-destruct" is read aloud.
- The 2016 revival of The Powerpuff Girls turns the girls' hotline into a cordless phone and an app on their individual smart phones.
- John W Young was is a NASA astronaut and test pilot with 6 space flights under his belt. Sounds unimpressive? Young was selected as NASA's 2nd ever batch of astronauts in 1962. His first space flight was the first manned flight of the Gemini program; piloted the first mission to dock with two target vehicles; performed a "dress rehearsal" for the first Moon landing by testing the Lunar module by separating it from the command module in Lunar orbit during Apollo 10 (and as Cracked mentions, they had a Potty Emergency) walked (and drove) on The Moon himself on Apollo 16 (making him the second person to visit The Moon's vicinity twice); piloted the first space flight of the Space Shuttle; delivered the first Skylab module on STS-9, before finally retiring as an astronaut in 2004, at the age of 74; and, according to Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang, Young voluntarily continued attending NASA Astronaut Office meetings for years after retirement just for the lulz. Despite such an illustrious and Troperiffic career, Young ended up overshadowed by awesome, being not as famous as Neil Armstrong (1st manned docking and 1st man on The Moon), Buzz Aldrin (made Extravehicular Activity safer and more useful + 2nd man on The Moon), Alan Shepard (1st American in space + oldest person to visit The Moon), or Jim Lovell (rendezvoused with Young + helped Buzz Aldrin make Extravehicular Activity safer and more useful + became one off the first 3 humans to enter Lunar orbit + averted disaster when he became the first person to enter The Moon's vicinity twice + played by Tom Hanks in a Hollywood movie based on his heroic act of avoiding an Apollo 13 disaster). As The Other Wiki puts it:
"Young enjoyed the longest career of any astronaut, becoming the first person to make six space flights over the course of 42 years of active NASA service, and is the only person to have piloted, and been commander of, four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle."
Young: (to Mission Control): I have the farts again. I got them again, Charlie.Young: (makes a Cluster F-Bomb)
- Young is also known to have suffered a severe bout of flatulence ON A FREAKING MOONWALK. Leading to this hilarious exchange with Mission Control:
- Young's aforementioned moon farts episode is another great example of Technology Marches On. While today's astronauts on the ISS enjoy air that is quickly recirculated, treated and recycled (because zero gravity encourages flatulence), a study sponsored by NASA found that farts in the Apollo capsule (and earlier Gemini and Mercury capsules, as well as the lunar lander craft) can cause asphyxiation, gas poisoning, and worst of all, creates an explosion hazard.
- Young has so much space flight experience that he made it into this Cracked article twice. This time it's for sneaking a corned beef sandwich onto Gemini 3. Mission control was properly paranoid that the breadcrumbs would play havoc with the instruments and make the astronauts choke in zero gravity (it messed up the inside of their capsule, but the mission itself went well). But Young knew this warning and decided to take the risk anyway because back in his day, space food was designed to create minimum crumbs, but at the expense of flavour (and was further encouraged to do so by fellow astronaut Wally Schirra, who knew how unappetising space food was). Nowadays (including on Young's moonwalk and Space Shuttle flights) astronauts have more appetising foods which are similar to US military rations requiring that you just add water, with some astronauts from other backgrounds bringing expensively-modified foods from their countries (e.g. Korea's famous Kimchi; toilet-clogging Russian Food; China's Yuxiang pork, Kung Pao chicken, Eight Treasures rice and Chinese herbal tea; Italian espresso; and Japanese foods and drinks such as matcha, yokan, ramen, sushi, soups, rice with ume).
- The fears of the Gemini 3 mission control were totally plausible and the likely consequences of eating unapproved foods in space featured in an episode of The Simpsons. Cracked even compares Young to this episode, saying "(Young) was basically Homer Simpson".