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Seasonal Baggage
aka: Seasonal Motif
In India, 'cold weather' is merely a conventional phrase and has come into use through the necessity of having some way to distinguish between weather which will melt a brass door-knob and weather which will only make it mushy.

In most media, either It's Always Spring whenever it isn't Arctic Winter, or else there will be Four Seasons — regardless of the climate the work is set in.

The "standard" seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn (a.k.a. Fall)) may be employed as a device. Or a close-up on falling leaves, snow, flowers, etc. will be used as a seasonal Motif, to establish what time of the year it is; Compare Blade-of-Grass Cut. Or you can tie the plot to the seasons as if they were Elemental Powers of some sort.

Alternatively, this will often be a Seasonal Montage, actively flipping between the seasons to show the passage of time in a story. Examples can be divided into the categories:

  1. Seasonal Motif: Stock seasonal setting employed as a device to establish mood, etc.
  2. Seasonal Montage: Flipping between the seasons to show the passage of time in a story.
  3. Bizarre Seasons: Regular seasons other than the standard four season climate. These are less common in fiction.

The opposite of where It's Always Spring.

Compare Temporal Theme Naming, Dreaming of a White Christmas, First Snow, Heat Wave, Indian Summer, Kigo.

Examples of Use as a Motif:

Film
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring. Go figure...
    • The movie cycles through the seasons in the same order as the title. The seasons cover not one year, but several, each devoted to a different time in a boy's life: boyhood, teenage years, young adulthood, adulthood, and old age. With each division, the young monk learns new life lessons, often the hard way, until he eventually finds peace in the simple life his master originally laid out for him.
  • Requiem for a Dream uses the seasons summer, fall, and winter to represent the three act structure of the movie, as well as a parallel for the destruction that drugs are doing to the lives of the characters.

Literature

Music
  • Folk rock band Sodagreen's Vivaldi Project is a musical project of four albums, each based on one of the four seasons. Daylight of Spring is set in Taidung, Taiwan, and contains bright folk songs. Summer/Fever is set in London, England, and contains Britrock-inspired melodies. Autumn: Stories is set in Beijing, China, and features ballads and traditional Chinese instrumentation. The Winter album will be set in Berlin... and it hasn't been released yet.

Newspaper Comics
  • Most comic strips that aren't set in a specific part of the world take place in this environment. At the very least, it will usually be winter all winter long, even if the other seasons tend to blur together.

Tabletop Games
  • The courts of Changeling: The Lost by White Wolf would count as a motif. Spring is defined by desire, healing, and getting back into something approaching normal life (themes of regrowth); Summer is defined by wrath, strength, and martial prowess (high heat and scorching sun); Autumn is defined by fear and exploration of the occult (lengthening night); and Winter is defined by sorrow and secrecy (long nights and cold).

Video Games
  • The Legend of Zelda Oracle games (Seasons).
  • The Click Clock Wood level of Banjo-Kazooie is split into four versions of the same area based on the season, complete with puzzles that start in spring and continue through all the seasons.
  • MouseHunt has a Seasonal Garden where each season lasts about 50 hours before switching to a new one. Winter is snowy/icy; Spring is rainy; Summer is hot and green; Fall is dry and a bit spooky. Each has its own set of mice.
  • Reflec Beat colette has four different seasonal phases depending on the current real-world season, each with its own set of new songs and unlock systems.
  • Starting with Pokémon Black and White, the four seasons rotate each month, meaning they all last around 30 days apiece. The Pokemon Deerling and Sawsbuck were also shown to have different Forms in different Seasons, and some routes and cities even have different routes/paths/items depending on Season.
  • Downplayed in Pikmin 2 and 3. In both games, each of the four seasons is present within one particular area, rather than all seasons appearing in a cyclic fashion through all areas. In the second game, Valley of Repose is set in winter, Awakening Wood is set in spring, Perplexing Pool is set in summer, and Wistful Wild is set in autumn. The third game has it like this: Tropical Wilds (summer), Garden of Hope (spring), Distant Tundra (winter) and Twilight River (autumn).
  • Used to excellent effect in Proteus; the seasons cycle gradually as you play and each one brings different visuals and sounds, resulting in much candy for your eyes and ears.
  • Harvest Moon games always have cycling seasons, which usually determine which crops you can grow, what you find in the wild, and what events can be triggered.

Web Animation
  • RWBY themes its four protagonists after the seasons. Ruby, being Spring, is idealistic and surrounded by flurries of rose petals, Weiss is stern and wears a snowflake emblem, etc.

Western Animation
  • One episode of Samurai Jack was called "The Four Seasons of Death", and consisted of four vignettes, each set in one of the four seasons where Jack faces a threat related to the season's characteristics. In fall, a Mad Scientist collects special leaves to concoct a poison to put into the water of a nearby well. In winter, a mountain-dwelling warrior race forges a powerful sword and gives it to their greatest champion to guard their territory. In summer, Jack is accosted in the desert by spirits of the wind-whipped sands. In spring, a nature sprite attempts to seduce Jack into staying with her forever.
  • Each TV season of Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place during a different climate season that reflects the Elemental Nation that's featured: the cast travels to the Northern Water Tribe in winter (season 1), goes through the Earth Kingdom in spring (season 2), and infiltrates the Fire Nation in summer (season 3).


Examples of use as a Montage:

Film
  • There was a shot of the courtyard outside Thomas More's prison cell like this in the original A Man for All Seasons. Go figure.
  • Played straight in the film Notting Hill. Hugh Grant's character walks left to right, and goes through Fall, Winter and Spring to the tune of "Ain't No Sunshine (When She's Gone)."
  • There's one in The Time Machine (1960), to indicate how fast the Time Traveler is going through time. Watch it here.
  • The third Harry Potter movie showed time passing and seasons changing using a shot of the Whomping Willow with the clichéd effects of the season in question affecting it.
  • Parodied (of course) in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    Narrator: A year passed. Winter changed into spring, spring changed into summer, summer changed back into winter, and winter gave spring and summer a miss and went straight on into autumn.

Video Games
  • In Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol.3: Tabidachi no Uta, this is done at the beginning of the "Nijiiro no Sotsugyoushiki" storyline, to show the passing of time between the events depicted in the 1st Drama Series game, Nijiiro no Seishun, and this Tabidachi no Uta storyline (which acts as the true conclusion of Nijiiro no Seishun). The only element that doesn't change throughout the seasons' montage is the venerable Legendary Tree.
  • Mega Man has just defeated Dr. Wily for the second time; it's time to go home. And so the player is treated to a seasons montage, with Rock's colors and the environmental conditions both matching one of his previously-acquired weapons. First, Mega turns red and gold (Atomic Fire) while leaves fall (Leaf Shield). Next, he turns white and gray (Bubble Lead) while snowflakes drift down (Metal Blade). Spring brings the blossoming of cherry trees, with petals falling (Quick Boomerang), so he turns pink (Quick Boomerang again). Finally, summer brings rain (buster shots) which turns him blue-on-white (Air Shooter).

Web Original
  • Type 2: Doctor Horrible being beaten up by Captain Hammer shows the seasons passing.

Webcomics
  • In Penny and Aggie, when Sara tells Penny her enmity with Aggie is nothing more than thinly disguised Foe Yay, Penny stands stunned, in the same spot, as day turns into night and winter into spring.

Western Animation
Indian SummerTropes of NatureSpring Is Late
Rainbow MotifMotifsSunny Sunflower Disposition
Right on the TickTime TropesSpinning Clock Hands
Rain, Rain, Go AwayWeather and EnvironmentSitting on the Roof
Scissors Cuts RockElements of Nature    

alternative title(s): Seasonal Motif; Four Seasons; Seasonal Montage; Four Seasons Montage; Stock Seasons
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