"Wanting connections, we found connections — always, everywhere, and between everything. The world exploded in a whirling network of kinships, where everything pointed to everything else, everything explained everything else..."Say one day you meet a girl and fall in love. Nothing wrong with that. However, on your wedding day, when you meet her father, you remember that he's the guy who failed you in biology in the twelfth grade. Okay, odd, but not inconceivable. But wait, isn't her mother the one who sat next to you at a bus station five years ago and gave you great life advice? And her cousin looks familiar, too. Hold on, it seems you've met her entire family at one point or another throughout your entire life. And then she comes up to you and reveals that she's met your whole family before as well. In fact, you are her father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate. It seems there's only One Degree of Separation. This is where every character is tangentially connected to almost every other character. It doesn't matter if it's an Easter Egg or important to the Myth Arc. Everyone's connected. This trope does manage to somewhat be Truth in Television: in the 1960s, American social psychologist Stanley Milgram's "small-world experiment" found that the average connection between any person in the United States as being around three friendships. While more recent studies on global links between any random person are more inconclusive, games such as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon show that the "six degrees" concept is at least true when restricted to people within the same professional field, such as actors or musicians. Often part of a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot or a Hyperlink Story. Sometimes just a lot of Contrived Coincidence. See also Generation Xerox. Gets much more complicated when you have Loads and Loads of Characters who all seem to know each other. Or if they don't they quickly do thanks to You ALL Share My Story. Can be seriously aggravated by the presence of Immortals, also prevalent in Generation Xerox. Subtrope of Connected All Along. Subtropes:
— Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In Netojuu No Susume Yuta Sakurai becomes best friends with Moriko Morioka in an MMO. It turns out he has a friend at work who used to talk to Moriko on the phone a lot for business reasons. Yuta was very impressed by a personnel manual Moriko wrote back then. He runs into her by accident in a convenience store, where they both want the last piece of chicken. Much later, they collide by a street corner where he accidentally knocks her unconscious with his elbow. His friend from work ALSO has a chance encounter with Moriko, recognizes her voice from back then and asks her out. And ... it just so happens that Yuta and Moriko used to be best friends in another MMO, many years back. And the student behind the counter in the convenience store? He's Yuta's and Moriko's guild leader in the game. This in a country of 127 million people.
- The anime Code Geass, about a disowned prince rebelling against an empire, despite its incredibly large cast, features a great degree of connectedness. The protagonist, Lelouch, has more half siblings than he can count (since his father is an emperor with 108 wives), at least five of which are important to the plot. His father is the primary villain of the series. He and his sister spent time, as children, in the Kururugi household, giving him a personal relationship with his rival, an important businessman, a legendary general, and a girl who will later become an enthusiastic fan of his alter ego. The president of the student council at his school is from a noble family that were supporters of his mother. A military officer he disgraces turns out to have formerly been a guard at his mansion. A Japanese citizen who becomes an important supporter of his rebellion turns out to have been his maid, and also a ninja.
- Should note that Lelouch and Suzaku's relationship is central to the series, not just a coincidence (check how the beginning and ending revolve around their relationship), and both are royalty - Lelouch literally, Suzaku more or less - so it's no surprise that they're well-connected. Anya and Jeremiah are where they are due to the same thing that connects them to Lelouch - Anya gets the piloting ability to be a Knight of the Rounds because she's possessed by Marianne, and Jeremiah and pretty much everyone else who cared about Marianne, or Lelouch and Nunnally, came to Area 11 specifically because Lelouch and Nunnally had supposedly died there - including Clovis, as revealed in an audio drama. Lloyd gets engaged to Milly because the Ashford family has Marianne's knightmares, which they have because they were connected to her, which is also the reason they took in Lelouch and Nunnally. Legitimate coincidences include Euphie meeting Suzaku unless she planned it that way, Lloyd meeting Suzaku, Villetta - Jeremiah's second - getting her Knightmare stolen, and then being rescued by Ohgi, Lelouch's classmate Nina being the one to invent Britannia's superweapon, and a few others - plenty of Diabolus ex Machina to go around for both protagonists. But the level of connectedness in general is pretty typical of monarchies, making it a Justified Trope.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: In the first episode, Kira finds himself opposing Athrun, his best friend from the colonies. But before that, he runs into an unknown girl who later joins the crew of the Archangel — Cagalli. And she turns out to be his sister. Later on, the Archangel comes across an escape pod from a destroyed ZAFT vessel, containing none other than Lacus Clyne, Athrun's fiancee. By the end of the first season, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny be damned, Kira is romantically attached to Lacus, and Athrun to Cagalli. And their Ace Pilot, Mwu la Fllaga, has an ongoing feud with Athrun's commanding officer, Rau le Creuset, who turns out to be Mwu's father's clone. And the guy who ran the project? The one who eventually genetically modified Kira to be the Ultimate Coordinator.
- Some even theorize that the guy who ran the project (and is thus Kira and Cagalli's dad), Dr. Hibiki, may have used Al da Flaga's DNA in the Ultimate Coordinator project, adding yet another attachment.
- It seems that in ef - a fairy tale of the two., everyone is tied to each other through their past and present. Episode 10 of a tale of melodies best emphasizes this, as nearly the entire cast comes up in name or on screen.
- Almost all of the main characters in Chrono Crusade are connected to Chrono in some way, and through him to each other. Chrono met Rosette and her brother, Joshua, when they woke him up from a long sleep in a tomb. Joshua was then kidnapped by Aion, Chrono's former friend. Chrono and Rosette join the Magdalan Order to try to find Joshua based on advice from Father Remington, a man who was trying to convince Joshua to join the Order because of his powers. Remington was also Mary Magdalene's guard in the Order when Chrono kidnapped her back in 1870. The Elder was her foster father of sorts. During their search for Joshua, Chrono and Rosette run into Azmaria, who has powers startlingly similar to Joshua because they're both Apostles. They all start to look for Joshua together, and run into a "jewel witch" named Satella. Satella is searching for a missing family member, and finds out that her sister, Florette, has become Fiore, Joshua's maid and a servant of Aion. Pretty much the only characters that don't have a strong connection to Chrono, Rosette or Aion are Sister Kate (Rosette's commander in the Order) and Father Gilliam, an ally of Chrono and Rosette's in the order.
- In Bakuman。, most of the characters have heard of Nobuhiro "Taro Kawaguchi" Mashiro, the mangaka uncle of the main character and some of the editors have worked with him (Editor in Chief Sasaki, for example, was the one who told him Shonen Jump wouldn't renew his contract). In a later arc of the series, Azuma, an out-of-work mangaka, happens to be Nobuhiro's assistant. Outside of the manga industry, Kaya's father was friends with Nobuhiro in school, and the woman Nobuhiro loved happens to be the mother of the girl Moritaka loves.
- Paranoia Agent has this for the first few of Shonen Bat's victims. The copycat victim Shougo is running against the third victim (Yuuichi) for student council president. Yuuichi is being tutored by the fourth victim (Harumi), who has an alter ego Maria that works as a prostitute, and one of her clients is the second copycat victim Hirukawa. Hirukawa's daughter Taeka is the fifth victim.
- All over the place in Dennou Coil. The grandfather of protaganist Okonogi Yuko "Yasako" was the doctor of Asazawa Yuko "Isako" and also created the Dennou Coil and 4-4-2-3 based off Isako's brother, which gave Yasako and Isako their nicknames. Yasako's grandmother Megabaa (wife of the grandfather) set up the Coil Detective Agency whose membership includes that of Yasako's father (Megabaa's son), who also works for the Megamass Corp. and is the boss of fellow Agency member Tamako, whose immediate superior is Agency member Nekome and is the aunt of Agency member Haraken, who was friends with Kanna, who died in a car accident partly because of Isako's "encoding", who copied her techniques from former "encoder" Tamako who is now trying to stop Isako's "encoding" along with Nekome, who is actually a Double Agent and is really Isako's partner in crime and whose brother Takeru became friends with Yasako.
- In Ichinensei Ni Nacchattara, the main character Iori just happens to have his life saved by the sister of his oblivious crush, at the cost of being turned into a seven-year-old girl, which causes him to be sent to the same school as the kid whom he risked his life to save. By pure coincidence, his younger sister attends that school as well. He winds up living with his crush (who happens to bear a strong resemblance to the woman Iori's father cheated on his mother with) and her sister, and after their house blows up his real family takes them in out of the goodness of their hearts, still completely oblivious to Iori's true identity. Also, a minor character that Iori and his friends encountered once lives in the same apartment complex.
- The Black Jack anime suffers from this. Kumiko is the daughter of Jack's mentor Dr. Honma, and she works for a man named Tetsu who was a pickpocket until he lost his fingers and then had them sewn back on by Jack. In the manga none of these characters are related.
- At the beginning of Elfen Lied, Lucy escapes imprisonment but is shot and falls into the ocean. She happens to wash up on shore at the same town she lived in as a child, right when the boy she had a deep and ultimately tragic friendship with has moved back to town. And he just so happens to be taking a walk on the same stretch of beach at that very moment.
- Durarara!!: Everyone—no, really, everyone—knows Mikado somehow. Leader of the Yellow Scarves? his best friend. The Demon Sword and chat room troll Saika? possesses the girl he has a crush on. Urban legend Dullahan on a motorcycle? one of his chat room friends; the other is Orihara Izaya. And Harima Mika, the girl made to look like Celty's head, sits behind him in class.
- Nearly every main character in One Piece has a connection to others.
- This is especially evident in the Dressrosa arc, where many of the participants in the Tournament for Ace's devil fruit have a connection to characters that connect them to Luffy.
- Also in the Dressrosa arc we learn that Law's Parental Substitute Donquixote Rosinante doesn't only connect him to Doflamingo, but also to Sengoku, as Rosinante was Sengoku's adopted son. This in turn connects Law to Luffy, as Sengoku and Garp are friends.
- Almost all the main cast in Nuko Duke has some connection to each other. Everyone in the city (including animals) know who Yuuya is due to his constant job-changing and his habit of sleeping wherever he wants. Whenever a new character is introduced, it's always someone he already knows, such as Yamato (his best friend), Haruki (his younger brother), Kana (his pet's twin sister), Inori (his girlfriend) and Kana's owners (Inori's father and cousin).
- In Himouto! Umaru-chan, Umaru's friends Kirie and Sylvie have big brothers too; they all work for the same company and are friends with Umaru's brother Taihei (and they eventually befriend Umaru themselves without any influence from their sisters). The odd one out is Umaru's friend Ebina, whose older brother ran away from home when she was little — but he turns up in one story arc where Taihei has a business trip and they end up working at the same restaurant.
- In Love Live! Sunshine!!, it turns everyone in Aqours besides Riko know each other from the past, thanks to the abundance of Childhood Friends. Justified in this case, as the cast all live in a small beachside town.
- Many of the new characters in Dangan Ronpa 3 are somehow connected to the old cast(s). Yukizome was the Cool Teacher of the Super Dangan Ronpa 2 cast, Kizakura was Jin Kirigiri's best friend, Sakakura was the head of security at Hope's Peak and inadvertently helped motivate Hinata to become Izuru Kamukura, Andou, Izayoi and Kimura were expelled thanks to Komaeda's efforts to get the school exams cancelled, and Mitarai was not only a member of Class 77-B, but a close friend of the Imposter and Tsumiki as well as Junko Enoshima's unwilling accomplice. And every character, in all the games, has either attended Hope's Peak at some point or is directly related to someone who did.
- In Haruhi Suzumiya, despite Kyon being completely, explicitly unconnected to any of the weirdness going on, his Childhood Friend turns out to be the previous holder of an incredible unique power whose next inheritor Kyon would befriend, solely by chance, several years later. Most other examples of the trope are justified in that they result from Haruhi being God and unconsciously warping the universe to be more fantastical, but this example she has absolutely nothing to do with. It's just how the dice fell.
- Yuuto from Tonari no Kashiwagi-san ended having a connection with the Kashiwagi family even before he becomes friends with Kotone. For one thing, Kotone is secretly his favorite online artist Sayane. For another, Kotone's older sister Kotori is the boss at his new job. Also, Tina's boyfriend turns out to have been the boy that caused Kotone to become a Closet Geek.
- In Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Kobayashi's boss is an old friend of Tohru's father, and his son Shouta ends up summoning Tohru's friend Lucoa as a Familiar. Taken even further in the anime, when it turns out that Shouta attends the same elementary school as Kanna and Saikawa.
- Comic Girls has three recurring adults: the Four-Girl Ensemble's landlady, teacher and editor (as they are also Sequential Artists). It turns out they were high school classmates, and joined the same Japanese School Club.
- There is a part of Sin City where almost every protagonist is in a strip club, dancing or watching the dancing.
- Which is more of a Continuity Nod, since the same scene is shown from different character viewpoints in different stories where they all happen to converge on this one time and place in Kadie's Bar. Sin City is full of similar scenes connecting two or more stories at the same time/place but different perspectives.
- Marvel's Ultimate Origins mini series appears to be their attempt at doing this for the Ultimate Marvel Universe.
- Of course in this case it makes no logical sense whatsoever. For example: Hulk is revealed to have killed Peter Parker's parents even though canonically Spiderman was already a superhero in the UMU when Banner became the Hulk.
- The Marvel Comics universe includes a concept called the "Nexus-Being" or some such, which describes the person who is the focus of their universe. That role is filled by the Scarlet Witch: her father's a mutant supervillain, her ex-husband is a robot superhero, her brother married into the royal family of a secret city that was Touched by Vorlons, her sister is dating a member of the Summers' famously Tangled Family Tree, and she herself got inbuilt magic powers from a Chaos demon.
- Jenny Sparks from The Authority was the spirit of the 20th Century, and as a result is somehow connected to every mover and shaker of the century, both good and bad — from being raised by Einstein to persuading Hitler to give up painting, and met or worked with pretty much every superhero on the planet. Her successor, Jenny Quantum, will presumably be the same for the 21st century.
- Seems to happen to most of the mortal side characters in The Sandman, even excluding circumstances directly caused by Morpheus' influence.
- A central conceit of Seven Soldiers is that each of the seven leads is accidentally setting up the others to defeat the Sheeda without ever quite meeting.
- During the second story arc of W.I.T.C.H., Will learned that Halinor and Kadma, of the previous generation of Guardians, were keeping tabs on her and the others, with Kadma plainly admitting they were also the mentors to Will's mentors before she moved to Heatherfield. The previous generation pulls double duty when you remember that Hay Lin's grandmother Yan Lin was also one of the previous team (in fact there's the chance Hay Lin did meet Kadma and Halinor), and was keeping tabs on the future Guardians through her fellow former Guardians.
- Utilised in one storyline of The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, as part of a flashback. Several members of the cast (Chromedome, Drift, Ratchet, Skids and Whirl) turn out to be in one way or another connected to each other as part of a story involving a faked terrorist plot and a heist. Through the story, there are several other cameos and connections to other major characters, chief among them Orion Pax, Prowl and Shockwave.
- Lampshaded in this Doonesbury strip, as shown in the page image.
- In Peanuts, Snoopy attempts to tie together all of the characters in his novel "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" in this fashion:
Could it be that she was the sister of the boy in Kansas who loved the girl with the tattered shawl who was the daughter of the maid who had escaped from the pirates?
- Linus then asks "What about the king?" and gets beaned with a typewriter.
- Weightless: Shepard used to live in an orphanage where the nephew of one of the caretaker was Kaidan, then she was bailed out from there by Ghost/ Kai Leng. Later, after her rape, she was rescued by Nihlus, who then was spared by Samara because without him Shepard would die. And now, apparently, Jack looked familiar to her, too.
- Child of the Storm takes this approach, especially with Harry: his maternal grandparents were crack SHIELD Agents who mentored Nick Fury, who was the second candidate to be Harry's godfather after being a sort of big brother to Lily Evans. Doctor Strange was his paediatrician. Wanda Maximoff is his godmother. Jean Grey is his maternal second cousin.
- Meanwhile, Clint turns out to be the grandson of Bucky Barnes and Minerva McGonagall and the first cousin (via adoption) of Clark Kent. Charles Xavier is Tony Stark's godfather. It only gets stronger and stranger from there.
- A Justified Trope, however, as explained in chapter 48 and elaborated upon in chapter 80, is that Wanda blessed Harry with a probability warping enchantment designed to cause this at the behest of Doctor Strange, who has been manipulating events and people for decades, if not centuries, to unite the world against Thanos.
- Mass Effect Fanfic Crucible has Herz, Trebia's mortal form, was the original ancestor of the 5 clans (one of which was the Vakarian). Kadisa, who married into the clan was a friend of Deathl, who manipulated his daughter Jane to become what she was today to be the one who push Trebia's plans into actions. Jane later married Garrus, Kadisa's grandson. Their son Gaius's best friend Tiberius was the son of Victus and Miranda. Tib's lost love Emi was daughter of Jack, who designed Shepard's nanites. Also, Gaius married Amata, daughter of Jane's first crush. And Jane's father died from saving a young Anderson's life.
- This Bites!:
- Captain T-Bone was a Marine soldier in the West Blue who was ordered on the sea-wide pursuit of Nico Robin. When he and his men protested against the unreasonable amount of force, they were sold out by Vergo and the entire division massacred by Akainu. T-Bone barely survived.
- And when she hears about Vergo, Hina, who served with him under Tsuru, is suitably shell-shocked.
- Vice Admiral Jonathan trained together with Bell-mère.
- Lily Carnation is the monster that chased Buggy out of the Grand Line and into the safety of the East Blue.
- Mr. 13 and Ms. Friday are from Kuraigana Island.
- Don Accino's Hot-Hot Fruit is one of six Devil Fruits passed through Alabasta's Royal Guardians for generations, until several were lost or stolen (one of which is the Sand-Sand Fruit).
- Garp spars with Boss's teacher and role model Sifu Dugong on a yearly basis.
- Captain T-Bone was a Marine soldier in the West Blue who was ordered on the sea-wide pursuit of Nico Robin. When he and his men protested against the unreasonable amount of force, they were sold out by Vergo and the entire division massacred by Akainu. T-Bone barely survived.
- Ranma's former instructor in Ranma Saotome, Chi Master is revealed to be Cologne's daughter-in-law and the many-greats grandmother of Shampoo's grandfather.
Films — Live-Action
- In the first Saw, two apparent strangers, Adam and Dr. Lawrence Gordon, are trapped in a room together. It turns out, however, that Adam was hired by a detective to spy on Gordon, who was suspected of being Jigsaw who turned out to be a patient of Gordon's with terminal cancer; this was all part of the plan, but the characters didn't know that when they found out.
- Later sequels show that most people that had been trapped by Jigsaw were going to the clinic of Jigsaw's (ex)wife or people he knew beforehand.
- The View Askewniverse, often with Jay and Silent Bob being in the center of the Venn Diagram of character connections. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is built off of all the characters from the previous films.
- Star Wars. Not only is the Evil Overlord whom the main character met through a long series of coincidences his father, but the woman that he happened to meet through the same series of events is his sister. The prequels exacerbate it by introducing a pitiless onslaught of Already Met Everyone;
- R2-D2 was owned by Queen Amidala and C-3PO was built by Anakin Skywalker. Boba Fett, as well, is the clone-son of Jango Fett, who is the original model for the entire Clone Army. Chewbacca knew Yoda from the Battle of Kashyyyk near the end of the Clone Wars.
- Also, in The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader and Boba Fett share a brief exchange ("No disintegration." "As you wish.") In Attack of the Clones, Mace Windu kills Jango Fett while rescuing Anakin Skywalker, along with Obi-Wan and Padme, and then in Revenge of the Sith, Anakin kills (or assists in killing) Mace. So, Boba's dad died because of Vader, but Vader then killed the man who killed his father.
- One review mentioned Vader's saying "I sense something..." when he first encounters the Millennium Falcon. No kidding: his son, his mentor, the droid he built and another from his past are aboard. He'd really be losing his touch with the Force if he couldn't pick up on all that.
- At one point, there were plans to include Han Solo in the prequels, but they were scrapped when they noticed this trope.
- In the original trilogy, there's no reason to assume Yoda and Chewbacca even know of each other, but Episode III implies them to be good friends.
- Clue uses this, with characters turning out to be increasingly connected as the plot unfolds; the precise nature of some of these connections, however, depends on which ending you go with.
- Crash, which drew some criticism for it.
- Do You Believe?: Similar to Crash, many characters are connected from the beginning by a hospital at which they either work or are patients.
- In Babel, connections are pretty one-way, and flimsy, but they're there, dammit, and it's meaningful. Oscar, please.
- Parodied and lampshaded by the Audience Surrogate in Burn After Reading:
"They all seem to be sleeping with each other."
- Amores Perros (or Love's A Bitch) has three different stories with the characters tied together by a car crash and a dog.
- Love Actually does this with a very large cast.
- To be exact, Jamie and Sarah are friends of Juliet and Peter, appearing at their wedding. During their reception, Colin has several failed attempts to flirt with women, including Mia. Peter's best man is Mark who knows Mia. Mia is the new secretary for Harry who is married to Karen. Sarah also works for Harry. Karen is the sister of the new Prime Minister David and is also close friends with Daniel. Daniel's son goes to the same school as Natalie's cousins. We also find out that Mia is neighbors with Natalie's family. Even the salesman Rufus, who had earlier wrapped a gift for Harry, manages to help out Daniel and his son at the airport.
- The only one that doesn't directly interact with the others is Billy and his manager. However his antics and his music video inspires Daniel's son on how to get his crush's attention.
- In Playing By Heart, this is The Reveal — except for some Arc Words, there's no hint of any connections other than the obvious ones, until the end.
- Gosford Park — it's the motive for the murder. Robert Parks is acting as the valet for a guest of Sir William's. He's actually the illegitimate son of both Sir William and the current housekeeper Mrs Wilson. And Mrs Wilson is also the sister of the cook Mrs Croft.
- Auf der anderen Seite/The Edge of Heaven by Fatih Akin did this with three parent/child pairs. All six characters were connected in some way.
- Parodied in a scene in Hot Shots!, where it turns out everyone in the barracks is related in some way.
- Hot Shots! Part Deux:
- Parodied when Topper is sent on a special mission to Iraq where his contact happens to be his former love interest Ramada (who was a psychologist in the previous movie) and one of the prisoners they're there to save is her husband. Also, while Topper's new love interest being on the mission doesn't fit this trope as this is how they met, her having been Ramada's college roommate does.
- Also parodied in the revealed background between Saddam Hussein and President Benson. Given Benson's military background and involvement in the Iraq operation of the previous movie, its not inconceivable that they could have met, but when they whipped out lightsabers and began dueling, theres no doubt they were parodying this trope again.
- In the remake of The Parent Trap Meredith was planning to ask Elizabeth to design her wedding dress - not knowing Elizabeth is her fiancee's ex-wife and biological mother to her would-be stepdaughters. And of course the only reason the twins meet in the first place is because their separated parents send them to the same summer camp.
- All six characters in the Animorphs series had a family or friendship connection with at least one other Animorph. Even Aximalii, the resident alien, was Tobias' uncle.
- Les Misérables. Would you believe it, Cosette, we just happened upon the same convent of which I had saved the gardener's life? And your boyfriend, what a coincidence, feels obliged to fulfill a debt owed to the same family that abused and starved you for three years! And that same family produced that gamin on the streets who's taking care of his brothers who were supposed to go live with your boyfriend's grandfather and mon dieu let's talk about the Parisian sewers.
- Also happens in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Victor Hugo liked this trope!
- Tess of the d'Urbervilles (this was very popular around Hardy's time period.)
- Robert A. Heinlein's short story —All You Zombies—: The various characters are connected by zero degrees of separation.
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Seriously, what are the odds? Markos happens to be a good friend of Nabi's, and helps him pass on the letter to Pari informing her of her true parenthood. Idris and Timur both live in the same city in the United States as Abdullah and end up meeting Nabi, his uncle. Adel becomes friends with Gholam, who is the son of Abdullah's half-brother Idris, and Adel's father owns the same ancestral plot of land as Abdullah and Idris did, and... Yeah, it's confusing.
- Collaborations between Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle:
- Lucifer's Hammer.
- Footfall was particularly egregious in this regard.
- Justified in Niven, Pournelle, & Flynn's Fallen Angels as many of the characters are connected through science fiction fandom.
- In Escape From Hell (the sequel to Niven and Pournelle's Inferno) every other person Allen Carpenter meets is someone he met in the previous book, or someone who's met one of those people, or both.
- The Wheel of Time books: Elayne and Gawyn are introduced as siblings, Galad as their half-brother. Whose father, Taringail Damodred, is a relative of Moiraine Damodred (whose cousin, Caraline Damodred, also appears in the series). Galad's mother, Tigraine Mantear, on the other hand, is also the mother of the main character, Rand al'Thor. Meanwhile, the mother of Elayne and Gawyn had an affair with Thom Merrilin, her court-bard-turned-wandering-gleeman, who likely killed Taringail. Gawyn is now (sort of) romantically involved with Egwene al'Vere, who was Rand's love interest back in the first three books, while Rand is now involved with Elayne.
- That's just scratching the surface. In this series, They All Share The Story. The mariner Bayle Domon, for example, helped Rand and Mat escape monsters in book one, helped Elayne and Nynaeve hunt the Black Ajah in book four, and traveled with Mat in books eight through 12 or so. None of their meetings were planned, and were barely even voluntary. The Mole who threatened Moiraine in book two also spied on Elayne and Nynaeve in later books. Verin mentored Elayne, Nynaeve, Egwene, Mat, Perrin and Rand, but each in different ways and for different reasons. Character histories like that are completely typical in this series.
- Happens in Incarnations of Immortality, by the end of the series. Greatly assisted by the presence of several "temporary immortals" (the longest-lived being Parry) and a literal Fate playing a centuries-long chess game against the Devil. Niobe (Lachesis, the middle Aspect of the incarnation of Fate, formerly Clotho (another Aspect)) is the mother of Orb (Gaia, Incarnation of Nature, from Niobe's second marriage) who's married to Parry (Satan, Incarnation of Evil). Orb's child with Mym (Mars, Incarnation of War), is Orlene (God(dess), Incarnation of Good). Orlene once dated Norton (Chronos, Incarnation of Time), and bore a child (who later died). Niobe's granddaughter, Luna (via Niobe's son from her first marriage), is dating Zane (Thanatos, Incarnation of Death). Kerena (Nox, Incarnation of Night) is a distant ancestor of Orlene's dead husband, and accidentally introduced into her line the curse that would kill Orlene's child. Parry's demon ex-lover, Lilith, is a concubine of Mym. Another Aspect of Fate, Nicolai (Atropos), is a friend of Orb and helped find an adoptive family for Orlene. There's also a very strong hint on the first page of Under a Velvet Cloak that Kerena's sister Katherine is a distant ancestor of Niobe, thus also of Orb, Luna, and Orlene.
- The focus of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, hence the "holistic" in the title — everyone is connected through the main character Richard. Which only goes to prove that Dirk's ideas about the interconnectedness of all things are not crackpot theories, despite the cynical use he makes of them.
- Near the beginning of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford and Arthur end up on the Heart of Gold and meet Trillian and Zaphod. Despite being, respectively, the only three survivors of the Earth's vaporization and the President of the Galaxy, they all know each other already: Ford and Zaphod are old friends from the same star system, Trillian (originally Trisha) recently dumped Arthur for Zaphod at a party, and Ford knew about Trillian through Arthur.
Zaphod: Is this going to happen every time we use the Improbability Drive?
Trillian: Very probably, I'm afraid.
- Every single case of The Hardy Boys would somehow turn out to be connected to the one their father was investigating. This was dropped entirely for later series.
- The Star Trek novel Enterprise: The First Adventure has most of Kirk's Enterprise crew meeting each other before the start of the original series.
- The Star Trek novel series The Rise And Fall of Khan Noonien Singh involves at least one character from almost every Star Trek episode with characters from the 20th century. Khan (of course), Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, Jackson Roykirk, Shaun Christopher and Flint the Immortal from TOS; Guinan, Ralph Offenhouse and Clare Raymond from TNG; Jeffrey Carlson from Deep Space Nine; Rain Robinson and Shannon O'Donell from Voyager.
- Gravity's Rainbow has a cast of several hundred characters, and at least for the 40 or so main ones it seems they are all interconnected in multiple ways. (Mapping it all out can be pretty difficult).
- This was standard operating procedure for Charles Dickens.
- Great Expectations. Magwitch, the convict who Pip meets at the beginning, is Estella's father, and Compeyson, the other convict, is the former lover of Miss Havisham (who adopted Estella). The lawyer Jaggers' housekeeper is Estella's real mother and the boy Pip fought with as a child turns out to be Herbert Pocket, who, as a young man, teaches Pip how to be a gentleman.
- Oliver Twist is saved from going to prison by the man who turns out to be the friend of Oliver's real father and an admirer of Oliver's mother, who died giving birth to him, though in the musical they simplified it and made him Oliver's grandfather.
- A Tale of Two Cities had every major character directly connected to either the Marquis St. Evrémonde or the Doctor he had imprisoned for no real reason.
- Lampshaded in The Kite Runner. Amir is not surprised at all to discover that a random beggar on the street knew his mother. Apparently, in Kabul, every single person is related to everyone else somehow or other.
- Sarah Dessen is known for this. All of her books seem to take place in one town, or in the beach town next door to it, and it must be a small area because in any one of her books (aside from the first) there will invariably be references to the others. Examples include: Truth Squad (and Remy) from This Lullaby cameo in Just Listen; Jamie getting Owen from Just Listen to help him with Cora's birthday present in Lock and Key as well as Rogerson from Dreamland appearing (while briefly); Annabel and Owen from Just Listen seeing Macy and Wes from The Truth About Forever at the World of Waffles; and Cora from Lock and Key inviting Remy's mom from This Lullaby to her Christmas party. In Along for the Ride, Heidi is friends with Isabel and Morgan from Keeping the Moon and used to work at Last Chance Cafe.
- Murder on the Orient Express. Almost everybody on the train knew each other by working together, but it's not a coincidence; it's been very carefully set up.
- The girl, Kendra, that Vince falls in love with in Gordon Korman's Son of the Mob just happens to be the daughter of the federal agent investigating Vince's Mob boss of a father.
- Christopher Brookmyre novels have lots of subtle nods. Maybe one of the subtlest: the photographer in Not The End of The World is implied to have shot Simon Darcourt's band for their one single.
- In the Liaden Universe series, as a result of the Korval clan's Weirdness Magnet and Coincidence Magnet nature, many non-Korval characters find their paths crossing Korval's repeatedly in improbable ways. It sometimes seems as if every minor character in the entire universe is related to Korval in ways that just haven't been revealed yet.
- The Big Finish Doctor Who short story collection The Centenarian. It's not just that the titular Centenarian, Edward Grainger, keeps running into the Doctor. It's not even that the Sixth Doctor also met Edward's granddaughter in a previous short story collection. It's that Edward's mother just happens to be a good friend of Lady Louisa Pollard — mother of Eighth Doctor companion Charley Pollard.
- The Brief History of the Dead: Pretty much the entire plot of the book. The entire population of The City is made up of people who are remembered by Laura Bird before they and everyone else on Earth except Laura died.
- Happens to such a degree in Rule 34 that several characters realize it can't be a coincidence. They are all being manipulated by an nigh-omniscient artificial intelligence.
- Xanth To ridiculous degrees, if you haven't gone on a quest with someone, you've gone on a quest with a relative of theirs.
- In Finally where Rory meets and helps several minor characters before it's revealed by the end of the book that they're all related. Then again, 'Aunt' Angelina links all the protagonists of the series together by 13 Gifts. Or maybe everyone in Willow Falls just knows each other.
- Used extensively in Meg Cabot's Boy series. Each book has (mostly) different characters, but they all seem to have known each other, some for justified reasons (a lot of them do work at the same company, after all), but others through completely random coincidence. Notable examples include Stacy Trent turning out to be Mitch Hertzog's sister, or Amy Jenkins, annoying HR rep to Mel and later evil boss to Kate just happening to have somehow screwed Jane over in the past as well. Also, Nadine's fiance Tony from the first book just happens to show up and hire Ida Lopez to work in his restaurant in the second, and apparently Aaron Spender and Cal Langdon both slept with Barbara Bellerieve.
- The Jeżycjada series by Malgorzata Musierowicz has Loads and Loads of Characters, and they all seem to have met at one point or another. Being a Long Runner, this leads to situations like Gabriela's stepdaughter marrying the son of the surgeon who saved Gabriela's mother's life several books prior.
- As Tamora Pierce's Tortall series(es...) lengthened, every protagonist developed close relationships with every other. Basically: Alanna note serves King Jonathan, whose queen establishes an elite combat unit taught by Onua, whose friend Numair used to be friends with the Emperor of Carthak. The Emperor later employs Dainenote to heal his pet birds, and while doing so, Daine befriends the Emperor's son, whose future personal physician travels to the Copper Isles and falls in love with Sarai, whose maid/spymaster Alynote is the daughter of Alanna and George, who is a very distant descendant of Beka.note Alanna is secretly the patron of Keladry,note who has admired her since childhood.
- Harry Potter's wand contains a feather from the pet phoenix of Harry's future mentor, whose childhood crush was later murdered by Voldemort, who would become Harry's nemesis because Harry's mom cast a spell which sorta-kinda-killed him. Voldemort's wand, in turn, contains another feather from the same phoenix (which becomes a major plot point starting in book 4)
- Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett refers to a theory that "there are only about five hundred real people on any given planet, which is why they keep unexpectedly running into one another all the time." Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman says this theory is "true as far as it goes", but it's not that the other millions of people are "unreal", just that they're in different stories.
- Game of Thrones: Normally justified, as the relatively small size of the noble class in Westeros means most families will have met or at least heard of each other.
- Played straight with Arya's experiences wandering among the much more populous small folk: Out of all the people she could have bonded with between Kings Landing and Winterfell, her closest/only friend is naturally the son of her Dad's best friend. note (On other occasions she ends up serving her family's Arch-Enemy and travelling with her sister's former protector).
- Tyrion travels the world from the Wall to King's Landing, to Pentos and to Meereen, and becomes the first of the main cast to interact with every major character and faction, making him the linchpin of the series. He has met Jon Snow and the Night's Watch, Robb and Bran Stark at Winterfell, Catelyn Stark and Lysa Arryn at the Vale, King's Landing and the Deadly Decadent Court (Lannisters, Littlefinger, Varys, Joffrey, Tyrells, Martells). Once in Essos, he meets Daenerys and Jorah Mormont, and he's the one who breaks Jorah the news about his late father. This becomes clear when he reunites with Theon Greyjoy in Season 6 and brings back their last meeting at Winterfell and it becomes even more obvious when in Season 7, he serves as the common friend for both Daenerys and Jon Snow, being the only man who knows both of them.
- Lost is the epitome of this trope. To give just one example:
- Charlie played guitar outside the offices where Desmond had a job interview, who in turn once met Jack while jogging in a stadium, and Jack's father, Christian Shephard, is also Claire's father, met Ana Lucia in an airport bar and hired her, got drunk with Sawyer, and that's all before he died. Word of God says that these are not Easter eggs, but rather a part of the larger mythology.
- All the character connections are shown on this page, with this◊ rather impressive graphic.
- In Seasons 1-3 such connections only occurred every other few episodes. By the time of Season Six all pretenses are dropped and each episode features cross-character connection at a rate of about once every 15 minutes in the Flash Sideways.
- Well, by the end of season 3, they'd stopped doing flashbacks at all. They didn't dip back into the past, so it makes sense that the rest of the show would feature the main characters encountering each other. And the Flash Sideways was some sort of mystical alternate dimension engineered specifically to create this sort of thing.
- Once Upon a Time uses this trope in the first season when showing events in the Enchanted Forest. But then it wholly embraces it in the second season after we find out that the majority of the main cast are all related in some way. Unsurprising, since it's written by the same team that did "Lost".
- In How I Met Your Mother, during the last season, The Mother makes it appearance, but as it turns out, Ted is the last one of his group to meet her. She first meets Barney, and convinces him to go after Robin, then befriends Lily on a train, then Marshall by giving him a ride, then Robin, by stopping her of running away on her wedding day, lastly, she meets Ted. When he reveals to them he met her, Lily and Marshall even state how great she is and Barney tried to introduce them on the start of the last episode.
- Heroes is a user of this trope as well, though to a lesser extent than Lost, with even some characters saying, "We're all connected."
- Though considering that many of the characters are the children of the founders of The Company or were manipulated by it, this doesn't seem too implausible.
- And the writers of doing a pretty good job of remembering that not everyone has met everyone. For example, it took two full seasons for Matt and Hiro to meet:
(Nathan and Matt arrive at Primatech Paper)Hiro: (seeing Nathan) Flying man!Matt: Who is this kid?
- The same thing happens with Claire and Hiro, and they have a whole episode centering around it with lampshading of how they never met each other.
- Technically, they have met. However, how was Hiro supposed to recognize a toddler he probably didn't even look up to see (he was buried in a handheld video game) when he was little?
- Though they sometimes slip up-like how Nathan in early season 2 seemed to have forgotten meeting almost everyone, even people he met before the events of the finale.
- On a related note, the fact that new Petrellis keep cropping up certainly implies this.
- Charles Deveaux is never actually seen doing anything while he's alive. He's shown unconscious a couple of times, once in Peter's dream, and then he's dead. He seems to be unimportant; just a plot mechanism to connect Simone and Isaac to the Petrellis. But after his death Charles become increasingly important, until by Volume 4 it's revealed that he was the leading founder of the Company.
- Ditto Linderman to an extent. Initially he just seems to be a powerful mobster who has very generic interests. While there are a few hints that there is more to his character while he's alive, we don't really begin to find out about him until after he dies.
- Community did this in the episode "Heroic Origins" as a parody of this trope's prevalence in works like LOST and Heroes. Turns out and Jeff helped break up Shirley's marriage, Abed got Annie arrested for her pill addiction, Shirley accidentally got Dean Pelton to embrace his Creepy Crossdresser and Camp Gay tendencies, ect.
- Specifically, Abed is shown to be the one character who had a hand in bringing everyone together. He compares himself to the villain of their superhero origin story. Then it turns out Chang, of all people, helped out as well.
- Spaced has two flashbacks to childhood showing Tim being chased by a pack of dogs, (giving him a fear of them) and Daisy chasing after them. They don't make the connection. On the DVD Commentary, they mention plans to have all four main characters in the same park as children (with the fifth, Marsha, as a young mother) without meeting, but never did it.
- Caprica: Joseph Adama, father of the future military leader of the surviving human race, knew Daniel Graystone, the inventor of the Caprican Cylons.
- The Class did this. A group of eight adults who were in the same third grade class spontaneously be re-involved with each other lives, both intimately and in passing.
- Six Degrees did the same with a more serious tone.
- Misfits got hit with a boatload of this in the time-travel episode. Every character happened to have been at the same club on the same night, and several of them had brief encounters that they had presumably forgotten about the next time they met. This includes their social worker and his girlfriend, who became his fiancee that night, but he didn't have an engagement ring because Kelly and her boyfriend just so happened to break into their car and steal it.
- Mad About You discussed this when Jamie got pregnant - they wanted to tell everybody in Thanksgiving, Paul pointed out it would be leaked and spread before the date because people they know usually know each other, using the Bacon numbers as a reference. And in the end of the episode, one person appears to congratulate on the pregnancy... Kevin Bacon himself!
Phoebe: I'm so, so sorry, Ross, I'm sorry, but, y'know, if you think about it, it's kinda neat. I mean, well, it's just that I've always felt kinda like an outsider, y'know, the rest of you have these connections that go way back. And now you and I have a great one!Ross: It's not the best!
- Chandler's connection to the group started off simply as "Monica's neighbour", but the writers later added that he had also been Ross college roommate, met Monica and Rachel several times and spent regular Thanksgivings with the Geller family. He only became Monica's neighbour because she tipped him off about the avaliable apartment next to her's.
- Phoebe, who first met the group through being Monica's roommate, also mugged Ross when they were teenagers. This is lampshaded:
- Most of the main characters in Only Fools and Horses (Del, Rodney, Trig, Denzil and Boycie) grew up together in Peckham. That makes sense. What strains credibility somewhat is when Raquel - who didn't grow up in Peckham - learns her ex-husband is in town and he turns out to be Recurring Character, Dirty Cop Slater the Slag ... who was also at school with the main characters.
- In Waterloo Road, Esther and Lula happen to frequent the same animal rights chatroom...and realise who each other are.
- Subverted in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: When Coulson asks a previously-unknown Asgardian if he knows Thor, he sarcastically replies "Oh, yeah, I used to pal around with the future King of Asgard all the time — no I don't know Thor!"
- Later played straight when it turns out both Skye and Matt Murdock spent part of their childhoods at Saint Agnes Orphanage in New York. The jury is still out on whether they were there at the same time.
- In Kamen Rider Kiva, protagonist Wataru Kurenai gets latched onto by Cool Big Sis Megumi Aso, but neither of them ever realizes that their parents (Otoya Kurenai and Yuri Aso) were a couple briefly. On top of that, Wataru eventually learns that his childhood friend Taiga Nobori is actually his half-brothernote . And that's not even getting into the tangled web weaved by the IXA armor...
- The formation of The Traveling Wilburys musical supergroup would likely have been dismissed as being a Contrived Coincidence if it didn't actually happen. The story goes: George Harrison and producer Jeff Lynne, who were working on an album together, met up with Roy Orbison for dinner one night, and when they finished Harrison realised that he'd left his guitar at Tom Petty's house and went to collect it. While they were there, Petty suggested that they use Bob Dylan's home recording studio to work on the album, since Harrison's own home studio was back in England. Petty tagged along with the others to Dylan's house, and all the assembled musicians decided that since they already were hanging out together, they might as well jam together. The product of that session ended up resulting in their first single, which they decided was so good that it could go on it's own album, and since they had so much fun together...
- The instrumental rock scene of the 1960s might count. Many of the surf musicians in Southern California knew each other. The Ventures and The Fabulous Wailers both came from the Seattle area and knew each other, even releasing a joint album in 2009. The Ventures had also collaborated with instrumental rock guitarist Duane Eddy. Over in Europe, two of the most popular instrumental rock groups, The Shadows and The Spotnicks, had met and even had a jam session. The Ventures' rhythm guitarist Don Wilson has met The Shadows' Bruce Welch. The late Ventures guitarist Nokie Edwards held a joint concert with Sponticks lead guitarist Bo Winberg. The Ventures also know Yuzo Kayama and Takeshi Terauchi, two of the most popular instrumental rock guitarists of the 1960s, with Yuzo Kayama having several joint concerts with The Ventures, Takeshi Terauchi joining The Ventures tour briefly when rhythm guitarist Don Wilson had a death in his family. Takeshi Terauchi also knows Nobuhiro Mine, who was the lead guitarist in another famous Japanese instrumental rock group of the 1960s, Munetaka Inoue & Sharp Five.
- This happens in wrestling by default, as a lot of wrestlers that worked together in the indies often find themselves working together and/or connected to other wrestlers when they move up to a bigger promotion such as the WWE.
- Today, the feud between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins is one of the personal rivalries in The New '10s for the WWE, and one that dates back all the way to their days in the developmental territory FCW. This trope comes into play when you consider their history together in the indies — or, to be more specific, lack of. Jon Moxley and Tyler Black had wrestled and/or tagged with a lot of the same people. The most obvious connection would be Jimmy Jacobs, one of Mox's perennial rivals, a feud so brutal that it ended in an "I Quit" match, and Black's best friend/partner in the Age of the Fall up until the relationship soured thanks to Austin Aries (who has also wrestled Mox in one of his last matches before leaving for the WWE). In spite of all that, Mox and Black would never cross paths in any capacity in the indies and wouldn't meet until FCW. The irony in all this is that when they did finally wrestle each other, the chemistry between them was absolutely amazing and led to some of the best matches in the history of FCW.
- A lot of wrestlers will get introduced as the friends or family members of an existing roster member - only for this to quietly disappear as they settle into their character. It's especially common among the female stars - Beth Phoenix debuting as a former friend of Mickie James, Natalya debuting as Victoria's "best friend", Michelle McCool as Rob Van Dam's personal trainer etc.
- Built right into character creation in Spirit of the Century and inherited by multiple later Fate-based games. Player characters are assumed to be created as a group by default, and coming up with backstories (and aspects to go with them) is a five-step process of which the last two steps specifically involve explaining how each character happens to already know two of the other PCs from previous encounters, thus tying the whole group together.
- In Exalted, players can take the 'Destiny' background, which (among other things) means they'll frequently interact with other characters who have the background.
- Charley's Aunt: Jack is Sir Francis' son, Kitty's suitor, and Charley and Babbs' friend. Charley is Amy's suitor, Dona Lucia's nephew, and Jack and Babbs' friend. Babbs is Jack and Charley's friend, and turns out to be the young man who deliberately lost money to Ela's father playing cards when he was penniless and dying, and who loved and was loved by Ela. Sir Francis (Jack's father) turns out to also be Donna Lucia's old suitor. Donna Lucia is Charley's (real) aunt, and Ela's guardian. Kitty is Sir Spettigue's niece; she and Amy are both under his legal guardianship, and are best friends. Sir Spettique wants to marry Donna Lucia. The only character who isn't related to, or in love with,note at least one of the others is Brassett, Jack's valet.
- Played straight, but almost to the point of parody in The Importance of Being Earnest: Algernon and Jack are friends from the city, Jack wants to marry Gwendolen, who is Algernon's cousin and the daughter of Lady Bracknell. That's all well and fine, but Jack has no biological parents (high society no-no), having been abandoned at a train station as a baby. It turns out that Jack's ward, Cecily, who is Algernon's love interest, is being taught German by Ms Prism, the former employee of Lady Bracknell and also the woman who accidentally abandoned Jack as a baby. It's then revealed that therefore Jack is Lady Bracknell's nephew, Gwendolen's cousin and Algernon's brother. Ironically this is one of the few times where characters turning out to be related actually leads to a happy ending as it gives Jack a respectable background.
- Played straight in Wicked where every single character of relevance in the play can be tied to Elphaba. Not unreasonably so since she's the Wicked Witch, but let's sum up. Her teacher is the Wizard's Dragon, her sister is the Wicked Witch of the East, her manservant is a school chum, she saved the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow is her transformed boyfriend, the Wizard is her father, and so on and so forth.
- Final Fantasy VIII: It turns out that Squall, Zell, Quistis, Irvine, Selphie, and Seifer all resided in the same orphanage...with Edea as its headmistress. And all those flashbacks Squall was having to Laguna were facilitated by another child at the orphanage...who turns out to be his adopted sister...and Laguna turns out to be his father.
- And it doesn't even end there: the singer Laguna fell head over heels for in the past, Julia Heartilly, ends up marrying another man when Laguna vanishes during the war. In the present day, Julia's daughter, Rinoa, falls head over heels for Squall.
- Fire Emblem. Holy cow there is a ton in every game, mostly revealed through optional conversations. Pretty much every game has had several pairs separated relatives or friends who both happen to join the same army and find each other.
- From a series-wide perspective, Fire Emblem Awakening brings back playable characters from every previous game in the series, so that every playable character from the series is separated by no more than four degrees.
- In Hotel Dusk: Room 215, the main character (an ex-NYPD detective) stays at a dingy hotel in the middle of nowhere for one night. By morning, he's discovered that every single guest staying there that night is connected to either his former partner Bradley or to another guest in the hotel (and frequently both). This also goes for staff members.
- Jade Empire, also of Bioware, had several characters openly expressing their disbelief in the number of connections encountered. As it turned out, Master Li was really Sun Li, brother to the Emperor. Sagacious Zu had saved Li's daughter and ended up unknowingly leaving her with Li who also didn't know about the connection. This also means that Dawn Star is the cousin of Silk Fox, who is also daughter of the Emperor and niece of Li. And both daughters have fathers who are the main Big Bads. And Death's Hand is the emperor's other brother's spirit, bound to Li's old armor. Gah!
- In Knights of the Old Republic, Darth Revan, Big Bad Malak's former master, was also HK-47's original owner, the Jedi who inspired Juhani to join the Order, and the one who led the fight against the Mandalorians (including Canderous). The former Dark Lord of the Sith died in a capture mission led by Bastila. Revan got better, however, because s/he's also the player character. When this all comes out Mission actually points out how ludicrously unlikely it is, only for Canderous to point out that The Force means this kind of thing happens all the time.
- And in the sequel, The Exile commanded the Handmaiden/Brianna's mother and Bao-Dur at Malachor V, a battle Atton also involved in and Canderous fought in on the other side, and ended it by using the Mass Shadow Generator, killing Mira's adoptive family, inadvertently creating Visas' master, and inspiring Revan to commission HK-47 so they wouldn't need such overkill in the future. The Exile was also the Disciple/Mical's intended master before s/he ran off, so s/he's not only a dominant influence in the lives of everyone on that ship, s/he's also responsible for all their significant neuroses. Furthermore, the Exile was a general for Revan during the Mandalorian Wars.
- By the time of Mass Effect 3, every major hero of the war against the Reapers has served on the Normandy at some point. Except Admiral Hackett.
- The sidequest with Conrad Verner in the third game, overlapping with a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot, ends up being solved with various artefacts, technology licenses and favours owed that were collected from all across the Galaxy during first game. Conrad surviving likewise depends on whether Shepard had gotten an C-Sec informant out of a dangerous assignment or not.
- The freeware RPG Last Scenario absolutely loves this trope, gradually revealing connections to a certain flashback of seemingly mild importance. At first we simply learn that Thorve grew up with Felgorn and a guy named Wolfram, the latter of whom was killed by a child in a burned-down village. Then we meet Randolph, who was Wolfram's father. Okay, given their current situations, they were bound to meet up again. But then we find out that amnesiac party member Ethan was the boy who stabbed Wolfram, trying to protect his older brother from the soldiers. Oh, and that older brother is now the Big Bad. And the random soldier who chased Thorve and Felgorn off after Wolfram was stabbed is Zawu.
- The Reveal near the end of Overlord I invoked this. As it turned out the player character was formerly a companion of all the fallen heroes you have spent the game killing, except you had amnesia. The former Overlord, the ultimate Big Bad, has possessed the final hero(one-half degree of separation?) and is also the father of your two potential Mistresses.
- Since Brock Samson (see Western Animation) is in Poker Night 2, the game continues the show's tradition of this. It turns out Cave Johnson used to work with Dr. Jonas Venture, and Ash Williams unintentionally ended up becoming one of Brock's ancestors in the 14th century. The second one shocks both Brock and Ash when they find out.
- The Nancy Drew character Sonny Joon has been mentioned in almost every game. At this point, he's worked in a Mayan museum (that would be stolen from), for a Parisian fashion designer (whose work would be sabotaged), witnessed an Italian cat burglar escaping, tamed monkeys near a Bahaman resort, and stayed in a 'haunted' Japanese inn...yet Nancy never actually meets him until The Shattered Medallion, despite seeing marks of his presence in near every case she investigates.
- In Planescape: Torment, you come across a rather staggering array of people with one degree of separation from one or another of The Nameless One before he got amnesia, including all your party members except Nordom and Fall-From-Grace. Justified because not only is the game about a personal quest for identity and therefore you will logically be hunting down people with a prior connection to you, but you actually have a supernatural ability to bind people to yourself, connecting their torment to your own.
- Ace Attorney uses this to an extreme in the third and fourth games, particularly the third. By the end of the third game's last case, protagonist Phoenix Wright is pretty much the only relevant character who is not either related to the Feys, wasn't directly screwed over in a way by the events of DL-6, or both. And even then they indirectly had huge influence on his life by setting up 90 of the 100 reasons he decided to become a defense attorney.
- Infinity series:
- In Ever17, while nobody except Sara and You seem to have known each other beforehand, it turns out that Sara and Hokuto are the children of Tsugumi and Takeshi, You and Coco's fathers designed Sora and Lemu. And You is actually two different people. As you can see from the majorly spoilery bit there, it's... complicated. In fact, this is no coincidence at all, and these people were gathered together specifically as part of a massive Gambit Roulette.
- In Remember11, Satoru, the person with whom Kokoro begins to swap minds just happens to be where she was planning on going before her plane crashed. Yomogi (from where Kokoro is) is married to Utsumi (from Satoru's location), Lin (Kokoro's location) used to date Satoru, and Keiko (Satoru's location), is the person who Kokoro was planning on meeting, as well as being the person who killed Yomogi and Utsumi's son. Additionally, Satoru is a student of Kyumeikan University Graduate School, while Kokoro goes to Kyumeikan Women's University. Utsumi gave birth to her twins in a "hospital" (actually a lab of some sort) overseen by (the original) Satoru, leading to those twins being involved in the space-time transfer loops along with Kokoro/Satoru and Keiko/Hotori and providing an important clue to the existence of the third area. Even Yuni, who initially seems to have no prior connection to anyone else, turns out to be the key to the whole Stable Time Loop that ultimately results in the shelter cabin refugees being saved, and as part of his efforts to preserve history might have been somehow involved with Satoru during part of 2011, despite his dislike (according to his TIPS bio) of Leiblich.
- In Never7, all four members of the "seminar group", including protagonist Makoto, attend the same university. Yuka, the chosen leader of the group, went to middle school with Saki, who has a summer house on the island. Although the two Morino sisters, Izumi and Kurumi, don't seem connected at first, Haruka (of the seminar group) eventually turns out to be a clone of Kurumi. Even later, Izumi is revealed as the mastermind behind the seminar, whose real purpose was to scientifically test a strange phenomenon by attempting to make Makoto manifest it.
- In The Letter, Isabella, Rebecca, Ashton and Zachary are friends. Isabella meets Marianne, Hannah and Luke at the open house of the Ermengarde Mansion. Zach then meets Hannah later as the photographer for a home magazine about their new house and later meets Kylie. Kylie is Luke's goddaughter, Rebecca's student, and a friend of Takako (the ghost). Hannah realizes that Rebecca is a childhood acquaintance. Finally Luke turns out to be the person Ash is currently investigating, as Luke caused the death of the wife of Professor Andrew, Ash's mentor.
- Zero Time Dilemma has 9 protagonists and only four preexisting relationships in that group. However, once time travel gets involved, things get more complex: Phi is actually the daughter of Diana and Sigma, and the latter is an employee of Akane, who is Junpei's Childhood Friend. One of Junpei's teammates in the first game got injured investigating Free the Soul, a cult which is led by minor character Delta, who is Phi's twin brother. Delta created an A.I (Q (Sean), who is one of the main 9) and based the A.I's thought patterns off of the original Sean who died from an illness that he could have survived, if the surgeon who was supposed to operate on him hadn't hired a taxi which would then get in a fatal car crash. Now, the surgeon was only able to hire that taxi in particular because someone else- Akane's father- had called it to their neighbourhood for his own use, but was arrested before he could enter the taxi. That man was arrested because the police wrongfully blamed him for the murder of Eric's mother, which was really perpetrated by Mira. Much later, Mira worked with Delta (alongside Q!Sean), and started dating Eric. Hilariously, Zero (Delta) actually retroactively explains most of these connections in his anecdote at the start of the game.
- Nearly everyone and everything in Homestuck is connected to some degree. Overlaps with Everyone Is Related and Tangled Family Tree.
- In Questionable Content, Marigold, the owner of one of Pintsize's robot friends, who repairs Pintsize when he overloads himself, is the roommate of Angus, the guy who's always in Coffee of Doom trying to get insulted by Faye.
- There was another case in which a girl asked Marten out (after he'd gotten with Dora), was declined, and went to Dora's coffee shop, where she found out. Dora goes Clingy Jealous Girl on Marten for not mentioning that he got asked out, and they argue about it, reconcile, and go out to dinner, where the girl is their waitress. A few strips later, Steve has an unrelated chance run-in with the same girl, and winds up trying to track her down before realizing what he was doing could constitute stalking; leaving the building he's in when he realizes that, he runs into her again. They're now dating.
- Sluggy Freelance has way too many characters for them all to be connected, but there are many examples of completely random connections, especially between the different alternative realities. This is partly justified in that the dimensions are indeed parallel and often have many similarities, but only partly. Often it's more that the reader can notice the coincidences, not so much the characters, because different people meet different people.
- The story "Oceans Unmoving" featuring Bun-bun but none of the other main characters features several characters who have been blasted out of time itself, mostly by failed Time Travel devices. A later story shows how one of them got there in the first place and refers to another having got there the same way. Some other main characters see this, but they have no idea Bun-bun has encountered these people, and he himself isn't present at this time to notice the connection (and might not anyway).
- At the end of the second volume the strip had a flowchart describing all the major characters and how they all interacted with each other, with Torg at the center. Everyone was one degree of separation from Torg.
- In the Ciem Webcomic Series, we have Candi. Her sister Miriam is the notorious Sniperbadger, who is being targeted by Captain Aardwulf. Meanwhile, her boyfriend Donte McArthur has a half-brother whose wife has a sister who is married to Musaran. Milp got inside Candi's head and tormented her for years, but was defeated by Angie, Candi's daughter with Denny. And Milp also had an affair with Duke Arfaas, who has put the hit on Candi. Speaking of Denny, Candi has to rescue him from Gunner Soorfelt, who works for Duke Arfaas and who also is Erin's murderer.
- In El Goonish Shive Elliot was one degree of separation away from almost all of the main cast before the story began. Tedd is his best friend, Sarah is probably his oldest childhood friend, Nanase was his girlfriend at the beginning of the story, Justin was saved from bullies by him, and Ellen is his Opposite-Sex Clone. Only Grace and Susan were not initially linked to Elliot; Grace never met any of the main characters before and Susan was initially planned as a supporting character with direct links only to Sarah and Nanase. Several other connections between main cast members before the story started were that: Susan and Nanase became magic users together, Nanase is Tedd's cousin, Sarah and Susan are in the same school club, Justin and Nanase became friends shortly after Elliot saved Justin, Susan taught Sarah how to use Hyperspace Mallets, and Tedd had transformed Sarah before.
- Ménage ŕ 3 features three flatmates, Gary, Zii, and DiDi, with no obvious connections. Except that Zii turns out to have been at school with Gary's favorite porn star, Amber, and Gary's former flatmate, Dillon, ends up working and then sharing an apartment with Amber when she gets into straight acting, while Dillon's bisexual boyfriend Matt turns out to be having an affair with DiDi's workmate Sandra. Rather later, Matt also meets another character with a connection to the main cast, Kiley, at a ranch that may or may not belong to Zii's former boyfriend's family... And that's just the central set of coincidences; there are more, some of them even less likely, such as Gary bumping into Sandra completely at random in a videogames shop in France.
- Rain: Where should we start? Rain, back when she was Ryan, and Gavin attended the same elementary school and were best friends. After she moves to a new town with her Aunt Fara and starts attending a new school, she runs into Gavin once again. In that time, Gavin befriended Rudy, who dates Rain for a while, and became The Beard for his sister Maria. They eventually break up and Maria starts dating Chanel. Emily, the school's Lovable Alpha Bitch, used to date a much older guy named Chase. Chase is revealed to be both Rain's older sister Kellen's ex-fiance and the father of Emily's child, while Emily also used to date Maria and later becomes good friends with Rain before they start dating as well. Meanwhile, Rain's older brother Aiken was engaged to Jessica, whose therapist, Vincent, is revealed to be Fara's ex from years ago, back when Vincent was Vivian. Jessica later stays with Rain and Fara, befriending their downstairs neighbor Heather, whose younger sibling Ky is another member of Rain's friend group. Later on, Drew, who goes to the same school as Rain and Gavin, falls for Ky.
- A Creepypasta story called "An Egg" follows a man who dies and meets God in the afterlife. God prepares him for reincarnation, and tells him that in his next life he will be a Chinese girl in the year 540 AD. The man is surprised that he is going to be reincarnated in the past and asks if this means that if two or more incarnations of the same person have ever existed at the same time, and if so, whether or not they've interacted with each other. God tells him that of course they have, because everybody is a different incarnation of the same person.
- Several in The Venture Bros.. Rusty Venture, the Monarch, Baron Underbeiht, Pete White, Brock Samson and Mike Sorayama all went to the same college at the same time. We later discover that Brock and Hunter Garthers sent Billy Quizboy to spy on Professor Fantomas which resulted in the professor being turned into Phantom Limb. While at the college Dr. Girlfriend was one of Phamtom Limb's student. Richard Impossible was also a teacher at the college.
- Another example is that the Monarch and Henchman 24 used to be a henchmen for Phantom Limb.
- Another example is that Dermott the only kid that Hank ever befriends is his and Dean's half-brother.
- Another example is that the Monarch and Henchman 24 used to be a henchmen for Phantom Limb.
- Kim Possible's Arch-Enemy Dr. Drakken was a college friend of her father. Tasked with finding dates for their friends, he built crude robot girls instead. The resulting mockery led to his Start of Darkness, storing up trouble for Dr. Possible's future daughter.
- Phineas and Ferb... Perry's arch-nemesis is Professor Heinz Doofenshmirtz, formerly married to Charlene Doofenshmirtz, who goes to the same cooking class as Linda Flynn, Phineas and Candace's mother. Doofenshmirtz's daughter, wife, and himself have also met Phineas and Ferb (and Candace, besides Doofenshmirtz note ) but Doofenshmirtz is still not aware that they are the owners of Perry (He actually became aware in the movie but his memory of this was erased - In fact, that was Clark Kenting taken to a new extreme: knowing their pet platypus was named Perry and could fight weren't enough clues for him - Perry still needed the hat to be recognized by Doofenshmirtz). Doofenshmirtz also at one point dated Linda Flynn, and in one episode, he states that he wants to see her again.
- And now, as of 'Fireside Girl Jamboree', Doofenshmirtz and Candace have met, as she delivered his cupcakes. Also, Doofenshmirtz's daughter Vanessa seems to be friends with Candace, and Ferb has a crush on her.
- Doofenshmirtz once took music lessons from Jeremy (Candace's boyfriend) and in another occasion hired Buford (The Bully who occasionally joins Phineas and Ferb) to bully people for him. In both cases, Perry waited until they left before stopping Doofenshmirtz.
- This occurs throughout Robotech as a way of tying together the different groups of characters in the different (and originally often unrelated) sub-series. Max Sterling and Miriya Parina, of the Macross cycle, eventually have two daughers: Dana and Maia Sterling, who star in the Robotech Masters cycle and Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles movie, respectively. Likewise, Claudia Grant of Macross is eventually revealed to have a brother, Vince Grant, who is one of the stars of The Sentinels and who appears in The Shadow Chronicles along with his wife, and whose son, Bowie Grant, stars in the Robotech Masters cycle. Marcus Rush, another of the stars of The Shadow Chronicles, is the younger brother of Marlene Rush, a bit character in the New Generation cycle.
- The Wild Thornberrys provides an In-Universe example: when the family learns that Donnie's biological parents were primatologists killed by poachers, Nigel and Marianne actually recognize their photo, having met them once years before. They take this as a sign that they were meant to be the ones to find Donnie and adopt him.
- The Roman Empire in the first century (CE or BCE). Rome and I, Claudius get this down to a T. Not only are the entire aristocracy of Rome related six different ways, but they know, grew up with, nearly married, killed the brothers of (etc.) the rest of the important people in the ancient world.
- May be Truth in Television, just because over the course of anyone's lifetime, they'll have plenty of these odd run-ins. Not quite as extreme as everyone being related to everyone else somehow. As they say, it's a small world.
- By extension, the likelihood of such odd run-ins may be increased depending on the area. A city like London is not only very populous, but it also has a large number of tourists visiting each day. If you're from another area of the UK, there may well be other people from your hometown visiting (or even permanently residing in) London at the same time you choose to visit.
- Braddock's expedition (French and Indian/Seven Years War 1755). In a force of a bit less than 2,000 men we have: The leader of the coming revolution and the next two ranking generals (George Washington, Horatio Gates, and Charles Lee, the latter two in the British army at this time), the military govenor under whom the revolution blows up (Thomas Gage the vanguard commander). AND in the baggage train we have another future general (Daniel Morgan), and a future famous explorer (Daniel Boone) driving wagons. How has this not been made into a movie?
- Try playing the handshake game - pick a person, and work out how many people whose hand you have shaken, or had similar interactions with, that it would take to connect you to that person. It's usually not a great deal more than six.
- Brett Tjeren, a computer science researcher at the University of Virginia, worked out that the average degrees connecting any two Hollywood stars is 2.87. For some it's higher; others, it's lower. The lowest? Rod Steiger, who can be connected to anyone else in Hollywood by an average of 2.11 degrees.
- The professional sports version of this is a Sillinger number, after journeyman ice hockey player Mike Sillinger. No player in the National Hockey League's more than 90-year history is more than six degrees from Sillinger, and at one point in the 2007-08 season, every single player in the then-30-team league had either played with Sillinger or had a teammate who had played with Sillinger. It's commonly believed that you can connect Sillinger to Kevin Bacon (here's how it works: Bacon was in Sleepers with Ron Eldard, who was in Mystery, Alaska with Tie Domi, who was on the Toronto Maple Leafs with Petr Svoboda, who was on the 1997-98 Philadelphia Flyers with Mike Sillinger), but in fact, the Petr Svoboda who played with Domi and the Petr Svoboda who played with Sillinger are different people. However, Domi was on the Toronto Maple Leafs with Eric Lindros in 2005-06, and Lindros played with Sillinger on the 1997-98 and 1998-99 Flyers. Sillinger's Bacon number is 4.
- Another possible professional sports version, though it can't be worked out rigorously, was posited by veteran sportscaster Bob Costas in a 2016 ESPN piece on Vin Scully, who at the time of publication was less than two weeks away from retiring from the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcast team... after having called Dodgers games since 1950, when the team was still in Brooklyn.
Six degrees of Kevin Bacon? It's probably two, and no more than three, degrees of Vin Scully — to connect you in some way to everything in baseball history. Everything. He had to have known somebody ... who knew Cy Young.note He had to have known somebody who probably met Ty Cobb.note Ty Cobb lived until 1961. If he didn't know Walter Johnson, he sure as hell talked to somebody who batted against Walter Johnson.note ... So there is no significant baseball personage that Vin Scully either didn't know or potentially knew someone who knew them.
- In mathematics, the equivalent to the Bacon number is the Erdos number. Paul Erdős has Erdős number 0. Everyone else has an Erdős number one greater than the minimum Erdős number among the people with whom they've published a paper. So Erdős's coauthors have number 1, their coauthors have number 2, etc.
- If you are in a career with a small enough population of occupants, especially one where they often get shuffled around to different locations (say, if you are a specialist in a small enough career field in the armed forces), you quickly find that everybody seems to know everybody else. Alternatively, if you have a job where you get to know a wide range of people (like, for example, a church minister, who often also works in multiple places over the years) you often run into people you know, or who know people you know, especially if you often do things that have some connection to your job in your free time.
- Michael Caine claims that everyone he knew as a struggling actor in London during Sixties ended up becoming famous like him:
I was friends with Stan Getz, and Lionel Bart, who wrote Oliver! The painter Francis Bacon lived next door. He always tried to get me into his studio to paint me, but he was very gay and I thought, “I’m not going up there.” An actor called David Baron said he was going to write a play, and I said I’d act in it. He called it The Room and he did it under his real name, Harold Pinter. In the sixties, everyone you knew became famous. My flatmate was Terence Stamp. My barber was Vidal Sassoon. David Hockney did the menu in a restaurant I went to. I didn’t know anyone unknown who didn’t become famous.
- This happened to Alex and Donna Voutsinas, which they discovered after they got engaged and she was showing him family pictures.
- In talking to just about anyone over 40 involved in the boxing/fighting community in New York's Capital Region you might get the impression that everyone knew Mike Tyson before he was famous in one way or another. Ask around any gym in the area and there's a good chance someone trained with, promoted, interviewed, or fought Tyson before he was a household name.