"Your very existence is... cheating. Yes, that is the word. Simply by walking this earth, by living and breathing and acting, you warp the rules of the universe and bring them to their knees."There are certain people who have been brought into the world that seem to defy it by their existence alone. They don't exist within the natural order and often weren't planned by any of the Powers That Be that keep cosmic order. This might be because they weren't meant to be here in the first place or aren't truly here. Their otherness is a characteristic trait, but not holding a right to this world doesn't necessarily make them harmful. A subtrope of Liminal Being. For the more dangerous variants that are of the grotesque and harmful kind, see Eldritch Abomination or Eldritch Location. Compare Ret Gone, which might be the state these characters enter. They're almost guaranteed to be Immune to Fate.
— Huey Laforet, Baccano!
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Anime and Manga
- At the end of Bleach: Memories of Nobody, Rukia tells Ichigo about their friend Senna, who was really just a person called Memory Rosary holding different memories of "Blanks" and was only created because so many blanks lost their memories.
Rukia: One can't remember something that shouldn't have existed in the first place.
- Jack Rakan in Mahou Sensei Negima! is a character of this type, though it's explained he just did ridiculous amounts of hard work. He even comes Back from the Dead with willpower alone.
Chisame: Weren't you meant to be a freaking broken character with infinite cheats...? this being said after Rakan disappears completely to Cosmo Entelecheia.
- Homura Akemi in the end of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. By the nature of her success, everything that motivated her or developed her character never happened, which changes the nature of her magic. However, she still remembers the original circumstances even if no one else does.
- By definition, Servants in Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night. They are the souls of heroes of mythical past given body to exist in this world. Since dead people are supposed to stay dead, the world will try to crush this contradiction, which means that Servants disappear if they aren't channeled with Mana. Except those who get doused by the corrupted Grail's mud and consequently gain a physical body, like Gilgamesh (who, atypically, has enough of a colossal ego to resist the actual corruptive effects of such a transformation).
- Doubly so with Assassin, a Servant summoned by a Servant from a spirit who never existed.
- Ao Fukai at the end of Eureka Seven AO due to the final use of the Quartz Gun possibly erasing him from history.
- Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- and its sister series Xxx Holic have one of the most convoluted examples in manga, with both Original!Syaoran and Watanuki, his time travel duplicate who were born out of a wish to keep a certain person alive. Much of Xxx Holic is eventually revealed to be an attempt to anchor that character to reality so they won't disappear when the paradox eventually catches up. Watanuki's ability to attract spirits is eventually revealed to be a subconscious wish to die because of their nature.
- Dragon Ball Super: Goku Black's entire existence is paradoxical. Dragon Ball utilizes Alternate Timelines, so that any changes made in the past would create a new timeline and leave the original future untouched. That is until Super introduced Time Rings allowing "acausal time travel" that did not create timelines. Goku Black was created as the result of Present Zamasu using the Super Dragon Balls to steal the body of Goku, before traveling to the future. However, Beerus had taken the liberty of destroying Zamasu in the present, yet Goku Black still exists in the future. Black explains wearing the Time Ring allowed him to evade being erased from existence and preserve his own history. It gets even more complicated in Episode 67, where it's revealed Beerus' actions did create a Time Ring (and by extension a new timeline) after all.
- John Constantine is noted as a "glitch" in the universe, thus making him able to abuse the rules of the universe (via his Synchronicity Highway). As it was once put, "circumstances, people, events, even time and space, just line up for him".
- Adam Warlock has become something akin to this, a being who stands outside and is not affected by otherwise universal forces of chaos and order or life and death. His sometime enemy the In-Betweener was similarly described in his first appearance, but has since been treated as a creation and servant of the Anthropomorphic Personifications of chaos and order. Adam's ally Gamora was plucked from the timeline to make her into such a being, but it didn't take.
- Another Marvel Comics cosmic being, the Anomaly, is essentially the embodiment of Things That Should Not Be.
- The Anti-Hero version of the DC Comics character Chronos, Gabriel Walker, erased his own history to protect his mother from time-traveling enemies. Technically, he should not exist and has no "real" history to alter.
- In Flashpoint, it had been established that Professor Zoom cannot kill Barry Allen, because due to their relationship to the Speed Force, Zoom would cease to exist if Barry died. So what does Zoom do? Make Barry save his mother back when Zoom tried to kill her. The resulting Alternate Timeline would make Barry into a living paradox, thus allowing Zoom to kill him.
- X-Man from the X-Men franchise is one of the few survivors from the Age of Apocalypse timeline which no longer exists.
- So are Dark Beast and Blink. However, the AOA exists again. Don't ask.
- The Samaritan from Astro City. Came back through time from the future in order to prevent an apocalypse, and in successfully doing so managed to erase the timeline from which he came... meaning technically he's never going to be born.
- Thorgal Aegirsson.
- The 3rd Loki tried to do a Heel–Face Turn and failed, becoming King Loki, but their turning back to evil came too late to do the damage they wished for so they travelled to the past to put their younger self on the right path sooner. Unfortunately said younger self would rather burn virtually everything that belonged to their past selves (which may or may not count as dying, cats and boxes and all) so instead of King Loki they became Loki the God of Stories... making that future an alternate timeline and both of them this trope by virtue of temporal paradox and being goddamn confusing.
Films - Animation
- Vanellope von Schweetz in Wreck-It Ralph is The Missingno. in the video game Sugar Rush, making her a paradox person within the world of the game. She used to be a legit character — in fact, she was originally the princess of the game world — but she got Dummied Out by a character from another game who invaded Sugar Rush and crowned himself king. After the usurper is defeated, Vanellope returns to rule (but as a president this time) and becomes a beloved Ascended Glitch.
- Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
- Becoming a Paradox Person by abusing Time Travel is the basic membership qualification in the Doctor Who spinoff group Faction Paradox.
- Over in the Eighth Doctor Adventures, there's Samantha Jones. Her timeline had been rewritten, so when she encountered a temporal anomaly, she got 'restored' to her original timeline... where she'd never met the Doctor. The original Sam ended up jumping into the anomaly again to save the Doctor, rewriting her timeline so she became the Sam who'd met the Doctor, and making her the person who rewrote her timeline in the first place.
- The protagonist of Robert A. Heinlein's short story "—All You Zombies—" who is his/her own mother, his/her own father, and the person who recruited him/her into the Time Police.
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's mythology:
- Dwarves were not created with the world and therefore should not exist. They were created when Aulë, the smith god, grew impatient for the first of Ilúvatar's children (the elves) to awaken; he decided to create creatures for himself. However, because he didn't have the power of true creation, they were originally little more than automatons, with no free will. Ilúvatar was initially angry at Aulë for stepping outside the plans for the universe as well as for creating such a mockery of real life. Aulë repented and was sorrowfully preparing to destroy the first dwarves when Ilúvatar, seeing Aulë's grief, relented and gave the dwarves free will. As a result, the dwarves exist in Tolkien's world, but they occupy a strange place in it: they are like the Children of Ilúvatar (elves and humans), and yet separate from them.
- Gandalf mentions the existence of beings (plural) even older than Sauron... despite The Silmarillion establishing that in the beginning, there was only Eru Illuvatar, and the first things he created were the Ainur, of which Sauron is one. This means the beings Gandalf spoke of must have been created in the time before Creation!
- In David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself, the eponymous time traveler also manages to erase his own birth at least once...but by then he's created so many alternate timelines that there's thousands of him lurking around, all of whom are outside of the timeline and thus should not exist.
- Cassie is described as something like this in one of the Megamorphs books.
- Young Wizards has the Transcendent Pig, an immortal being whose existence transcends space and time. He counts as a paradox person because none of the Powers That Be, who collectively created Reality itself, can remember creating him (a fact about which the Powers are rather embarrassed).
Live Action TV
- This seems to be the state of Peter Bishop on the series Fringe, if the dialog of the Observers is any indication.
- Doctor Who:
- The Doctor's reference to 'The Could-Have-Been-King with his army of Meanwhiles and Never-weres' suggest that some of these were fighting as part of the Last Great Time War.
- There are plenty of time headaches in the main cast. To wit:
- Rose saved the world by following the clues that were left by...herself, when she saved the world. Her two minutes or so of absolute power are felt throughout history. Most notably...
- ...Jack Harkness is a 'fact' of time and space thanks to Rose: he's immortal due to the fact that his body will always revert back to the way it was on Satellite Five. The TARDIS ran to the end of the universe rather than let him inside.
- Amy Pond grew up in close proximity to a crack in time, and can remember things erased from time: Rory and later the Doctor himself were restored from her memory. Amy's own parents were also among those erased pre-series, and yet Amy still exists.
- Clara Oswald exists in multiple places and times, due to dispersing herself along the Doctor's timeline.
- Clara also exists a heartbeat from her own fixed-point-in-time Heroic Sacrifice, thanks to the Doctor abusing Time Lord technology to try to save her life. This leaves her functionally immortal, but also renders the Universe in danger of coming apart if she doesn't eventually repair the paradox by returning to her moment of death.
- The Flash (2014):
- Eobard Thawne/the Reverse Flash becomes this throughout the show. The first season ends with him being retroactively erased from history thanks to the Grandfather Paradox. Then a younger version of him shows up in season two, apparently protected by the Speed Force "until" all that other stuff happens. By the time he appears on Legends of Tomorrow, he's become such a timeline headache he has a unique form of Clock Roach gunning for him specifically. Strangely enough, the younger version of him still has the memories of his alternate self.
- At the end of Season 3, Savitar becomes this, after failing to kill Iris. With the Stable Time Loop broken, he only has a few hours to live, so he has to go with his plan B - having Cisco modify the Speed Force Bazooka into a quantum splicer, which will turn Savitar into a god, thus sparing him from being Ret Gone.
- At the end of Season 2 of Legends, the titular team itself willingly becomes this trope in order to stop the Legion of Doom. Most of them end up being killed anyway, while Sarah vanishes into thin air after the Black Flash kills Thawne.
Radio and Audio
- This was already being done in Big Finish Doctor Who before the TV revival. Charlotte Pollard is a literal paradox person. When the Doctor saves her from the R101 where she was supposed to die, she becomes a living paradox and gateway for anti-time, meaning history starts breaking down.
- This is the whole point of Promethean: The Created. Reality itself rejects your existence and staying in one place for too long causes the location to decay.
- For other examples from The World of Darkness, there's the Cult of the Doomsday Clock from Mage: The Awakening. A Left-Handed Legacy, they were born when a fight between two mage factions in a sensitive location ended up completely disrupting the time stream. They should have been wiped out of existence... but weren't. And now, they're not planning on leaving the timestream unless they can take everyone else with them...
- In Continuum, the players (as well as enemy time travelers) can become Paradox People through the accumulation of Frag, representing how out-of-sync their recollections are with history. It's not a pretty sight: the symptoms start with nausea and disorientation, leading up to gradual physical disintegration, after which the unfortunate time traveler becomes a barely sentient ghost. Doing this on purpose is called "Time Combat".
- All characters are Paradox People in the card game Chrononauts, and un-paradoxing yourself (by changing history so that your birth happened) is one of the ways a player can win. Other players may come from different incompatible versions of history though, so they'll try to stop you, in order to prevent them becoming an even more impossible Paradox Person.
- In Exalted, there is the Yozi Oramus. The first of the Primordials to awaken was Cytherea—yet when she did, Oramus asked what took her so long, because Oramus is the embodiment of paradox and the impossible. Unable to hold him in any lesser prison, the gods stitched Oramus' wings together and bound him within himself.
- Kingdom Hearts: Nobodies are the remains of a person's body and soul after they lost their heart (which becomes a Heartless), animated by their strong will. They lack the ability to truly feel emotion due to lacking hearts, but their memories allow them to act out the appropriate emotions in the right situations. They are said to defy the laws of the universe to the point that neither the Realm of Darkness nor the Realm of Light accept them, and thus don't truly exist.
- Ciel from Tsukihime is a walking, talking paradox because she cannot live and cannot die at the same time, making her effectively a perfect immortal.
- In BlazBlue Noel Vermillion never existed in previous timelines (as the result of being an Artificial Human Attack Animal of some sort). Terumi is able to use this knowledge (combined with the fact that that Tsubaki would have Jin to herself and withholding the fact that in the prime universe, she'd be dead and Jin would become Hakuman) to More Than Mind Control Tsubaki, Noel's best friend into a Face–Heel Turn.
- Serge of Chrono Cross, at least after falling into an alternate timeline where his counterpart died ten years ago. While this naturally disturbs everyone in that timeline's version of his hometown and leads to interesting conversations with a fortune teller ("You're not dead or anything are you? [...] You just might be the key to the destruction of this entire planet"), it also renders Serge vital to the plans of numerous forces hoping to use him to their advantage.
- Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite. Being born of another universe and split between the two, she can access virtually any conceivable universe.
- In Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker, Miyako Hotsuin, aka Cor Caroli, was created by the divine being Canopus as a replacement for Yamato Hotsuin after his data in the Akashic Records went missing. However, he is eventually brought back into the world, making Miyako this. Just trying to process the paradox of their simultaneous existence is enough to make the supposedly-invincible Canopus freak out so hard it becomes vulnerable.
- The Player Character is himself a paradox in storyline of Record Breaker as his data was erased in the second world, and in the current third world there are moments where he will still temporarily flicker out of existence while his data is being simultaneously repaired by Yamato and attacked by Canopus.
- In the Persona 2 duology, Tatsuya Suou participated in the destruction of his world via the Oracle of Maya's prophecy, leading to the end of the Innocent Sin timeline. While Philemon rewound time to separate the True Companions to avert the Oracle by creating a new world (the Eternal Punishment timeline), everyone else in his group allowed themselves to forget each other. Tatsuya, however, refused to forget Maya, and his stubbornness instead sent him into the EP world's Tatsuya. Ironically, in his attempts to protect Maya, he wound up ensuring a repeat of many of the events of the IS world.
- In Injustice 2, Reverse-Flash can't return to the future due to the fact that Superman's Regime in this timeline killed one of his ancestors, thus making him a paradox.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, Mephala is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation and the themes of murder, sex, and secrets. All of these themes contain subtle aspects and violent ones (assassination/genocide, courtship/orgy, tact/poetic truths); Mephala is understood paradoxically to contain and integrate these contradictory themes. It's rather fitting then that Mephala has associations with Sithis, a primordial force representing chaos, change, and limitation. Sithis is described as an equal but opposing force to Anui-El, "the soul of all things", making Sithis is the antithesis of all things. Sithis Is Not.
- In Blip, the protagonist K is someone whose existence Heaven never predicted, so there's no place for her in the divine plan.
- Sluggy Freelance:
- Chaz — a sword but a Talking Weapon so he's also a person — is stated to be from outside the Fate Web, which is why he's able to kill a god and why even the King Of Gods is unable to destroy him. Though the details remain sketchy, he was brought into the world from the hellish dimension the Never, by Satan.
- Oasis the immortal gymnastic assassin is also said to be one of the few things that operate outside the Fate Web, though that doesn't go a long way towards solving the mystery of what she is.
- Jones from Gunnerkrigg Court. A human (sort of) who already existed before the beginning of life on Earth. Nobody knows where she came from, not even herself. Her existence even predates the one of gods, who only exist in this universe because they were imagined by humans. The gods themselves don't seem to know what the deal is with Jones either.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has the sentient beings composed of literally nothing who form the population of the Nothingverse, where it is impossible for anything to exist.
- In the multiverse of Global Guardians PBEM Universe, one being in each universe is unique to that dimension. These beings are indestructible, immortal, and "stand apart" from the world they were born in.
- Every human(ish) SCP of the SCP Foundation, by dint of not complying to how reality (as we know it) works.
- In Doctor Whooves Adventures, Penny Dreadful's parents met in an aborted timeline. She exists solely because the universe has overlooked this fact while the timelines, in Doctor's words, are "boiling". Fixing the universe has to involve erasing her.
- Ben 10: Alien Force: A monster from 50 years in the past that accelerates time is destroying a town, and Ben and the gang is told the creature does not hold order in the time stream.
- Futurama: Fry became his own grandfather, thanks to some mixups sending the crew to 1947. Because he is a paradox himself, he lacks a delta brainwave, which becomes a plot point later on.
- Adventure Time: In "Gold Stars", the Lich mentions that before time started, there was nothing, and then mentions the group of monsters who were around before that nothing. Orgalorg (AKA Gunter) was one of them, the Lich and Marceline's father may be others.