In which two episodes of a series, usually (but not always) right next to each other in broadcast order, are shown by overlapping scenes to occur at the same time. At times has subtle differences based on which character is the focus in which episode, relating it to The Rashomon. Compare Arbitrarily Serialized Simultaneous Adventures, a Video Game-specific subtrope where the player can decide in which order to play through the synchronous levels. Pretty much the same thing as Simultaneous Arcs.
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Anime and Manga
- K-On! does this in the second season, when the older girls go on a class trip, leaving Azusa behind.
- The end of episode 22 of Mai-HiME is synchronous with events within the first few minutes of episode 23, with the former scene of the former repeating about four minutes into the latter.
- Persona -trinity soul- uses three repeated scenes to establish episodes 9 and 10 as simultaneous; one follows the main protagonist, while the other follows what the other major characters did during that day.
- The entire fourth disk of Wolfs Rain is just four recap episodes, each rehashing the plot up to that point, each from the point of view of a different character. There are a few additional or revised scenes, so watching those episodes might not be a complete waste of time...
- Episodes of Sgt. Frog usually have two separate 11-minute stories, but episode 44 involved two concurrent stories. The first story has Keroro and Fuyuki competing in various winter sports while mysterious accidents occur, and the second shows that all the accidents were caused by Aki and Kululu testing out a giant robot.
- Every single episode of Boogiepop Phantom is this. Each episode is the story of the same events, told from the perspective of a different character. Since not everyone was present for every major event in the story, only by watching all the episodes can the viewer piece together what had actually happened.
- Mekakucity Actors: Episodes 2 and 3 introduce and expand on the story of Shintaro's sister, Momo, and also explains the presence of Kano, Seto and Kido during the action sequence at the end of Episode 1. After they're both shown alive... briefly at the end of Episode 5, it becomes clear that the events surrounding Hibiya and Hiyori in Episode 4's second half are happening off-screen while Ene is telling everyone else her back story in Episodes 6 and 7.
- The Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works anime adaptation does this with its prologue and first episode, showing us events from Rin's and Shirou's perspective, respectively.
- Two issues of Invincible depict Omni-Man telling his son about where he came from. The first time, he'd lied to him, and said his home planet Viltrum was a peaceful place, and that he'd been sent to keep order on Earth. The second time, he told the truth: He's a Galactic Conqueror, just one of millions in the Viltrumite horde. They both show the same setting (scenes on Viltrum share the same characters, but while they were all talking joyfully in the first story, they were fighting for supremacy in the second, etc.). In a neat bit of work with the medium, the second story is shown using basically the same page layouts as the first as well, making the distorted echo effect even more obvious.
- ElfQuest does this with two entire subseries, Shards and the latter part of Hidden Years (featuring different characters and locations). The two series don't technically share scenes, but there is a lot of overlap, with characters in the one story learning about what happened to their friends in the other. In the European version, they were published together in extra thick comic books which contained one episode of each, happening simultaneously.
- The short in issue #4 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), "In the Interim" takes place while the events of issues #2 through #4 occur.
- In the short story in My Little Pony Micro Series Issue #3 Hayseed attempts to woo Rarity a second time right before the big Canterlot show from the main story of the same issue, as Rarity is in the same dress and preparing for the show.
- Issues 18, 20, and 21 of Transformers: Robots in Disguise all take place at about the same time and focus on the Autobot, Decepticon, and NAIL reaction to Starscream's seizure of Iacon.
- This was the concept of Vantage Point.
- Saw III and the bulk of Saw IV are revealed at the end of IV to occur at the same time, when the protagonist of IV crashes into the sole survivor of III.
- The latter half of Back to the Future Part II overlaps the events of Part I that were set in 1955.
- In Iron Man 2 scenes from The Incredible Hulk can be seen on a TV news report. This establishes that the events of the two films take place during roughly the same time frame.
- Night Watch starts right in the middle of Thief of Time.
- A Song of Ice and Fire had two books - A Feast For Crows and the first volume of A Dance With Dragons overlap in time, each following half of the POV character cast. George Martin initially drafted them as one single book but then it occurred to him he had written far too much for a single book; the two books are divided not chronologically but geographically.
- An author's note reveals that a less dramatic version of this was also the case with the second book, A Clash of Kings, and the third, A Storm of Swords: the beginning of Storm overlaps with the end of Clash.
- The Honor Harrington series and its two main spinoffs focused on the Talbott Quadrant and the planet Torch all run concurrently. Occasionally scenes from one book will be pasted in the others verbatim as a way of letting the reader know just where in the timeline a particular book or scene is occurring.
- In the Dragonriders of Pern series, Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, the first two books in the Harpers subseries, are set simultaneous with Dragonquest, the second book in the main series. Dragonsong shows the Hatching where Jaxon Impresses Ruth from Menolly's perspective, and Dragonsinger is connected to Dragonquest's climax.
- The two Lexx episodes "The Web" and "The Net" are particularly ingenious/egregious examples of this. The first episode sets up a mystery that's explained in the second, but in the process roughly 75% of the second episode consists of Stock Footage from the first.
- Farscape: "Mental as Anything" was a filler ep that focused on the male characters of the show visiting a psychic boot camp to prepare themselves to take on the Scarrans and their infamous heat torture; simultaneously, the girls of Farscape- including the two female big bads at the time- had a particularly stand-out Day In The Lime Light episode called "Bringing Home the Beacon," which involved them infiltrating and attempting to derail a secret negotiation between Scarran and Peacekeeper forces on a commerce planet.
- The first few episodes of season 2 of Lost did this, with Jack, Kate, and Locke's entrances into the hatch playing out over the course of three episodes. Other episodes focus on the goings-on at certain parts of the island, with adjacent episodes showing the same time periods in different locales.
- The flashbacks of "House of the Rising Sun" and "...In Translation" are also synchronous. Those episodes aired half a season apart.
- Been happening a lot during Season 5 with its Time Travelling. Specifically in 'The Little Prince' and 'Do No Harm/Deus Ex Machina'. Recently 'Because You Left' and 'Follow the Leader' had the same scene from different perspectives too.
- How I Met Your Mother does this a lot, but usually so subtly you don't catch it the first time. The most obvious is in season three with the episode "Ten Sessions" (with references to other episodes that already had or were going to happen during those ten weeks) but a particularly brilliant usage comes at the end of season two when Ted and Robin secretly break up three episodes before the wedding, but decide not to tell anyone until after the wedding. The story of the breakup is told in flashback, but is obviously happening at the same time as a previous episode, with many references back and forth.
- The season 1 episode Life Among the Gorillas ends with Robin giving Ted what amounts to a booty call. The next episode Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M. starts with showing what she was up to during the previous episode, detailing the emotionally draining day (including coaching Ted on his girlfriend problems) that led to her making that call.
- Not actually different episodes, but there's one episode where the same central events are shown from the perspective of three different people in succession. They frequently intersect, but each portion gives a little more context to the overall story, so that in the third retelling it finally becomes clear why a man in a flaming beekeeper's outfit runs through the party (and who it is), and the story continues forward from there.
- Battlestar Galactica. After the basestar leaves with Roslin and Baltar on it, we first see how the fleet reacts, focusing on Lee Adama. The next episode takes place at the exact same time, but from the perspective of the people on the Basestar. Notably, we see the aftermath of the Battle of the Resurrection Hub before we see the actual battle.
- The movies. Razor shows what the Pegasus crew were doing between the Cylon attack and meeting up with Galactica. The Plan shows the first two seasons from the perspective of the Cylons. Both movies and the series show different parts of the Cylon attack.
- The daytime soap The Young and the Restless does this with a few scenes from the end of the previous episode played at the start of the next to keep the viewer current without disrupting flow.
- Technically different shows, but one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed Spike's victory over his first Slayer and Angel congratulating him. Then the episode of Angel shown immediately afterward revealed that Angel had his soul at the time, and the tone of his congratulation took on a very different interpretation.
- The same two episodes also showed the day Spike was first sired. In the Buffy episode after being humiliated minutes earlier a pre-vamped Spike was shown running into trio of strangers and bitterly told them to watch where they were going, and then the Angel one revealed it was Angelus, Darla, and Drusilla he had run across, and Dru almost immediately chose to turn him after their encounter.
- EastEnders once depicted a two-hander featuring Peggy and Pat at Pat's house which ended with their fight being interrupted by a ringing doorbell. The following episode was another two-hander featuring Pat's husband Roy and Peggy's fiance Frank (who was also Pat's ex husband). The plots of the two episodes came together at the end when Frank and Roy returned to Pat's house and and rang the doorbell just as Peggy and Pat's fight from the previous episode was in full flow.
- The Leverage episodes "The Girls' Night Out Job" and "The Boys' Night Out Job" happen simultaneously, the former following Sophie, Parker, and Tara as they investigate a thief who's trying to steal secrets from the Venezuelan government and sell them to the highest bidder, the latter following Nathan, Hardison, and Eliot as they try to help out a former mark turned good who's inadvertently gotten roped into what appears to be a drug smuggling plot (again).
- The finale season also included a pair of episodes where Elliot, Hardison, and Parker get drawn into foiling a terrorist plot in D.C. while Nate and Sophie are off taking care of some personal business (and end up having to match wits with Sterling again).
- With Doctor Who being a time travel series, the TARDIS occasionally lands in a time period the audience has already seen it land in before. A famous early example is "The War Machines" and "The Faceless Ones" both taking place in London on the same day.
- The spinoff Torchwood gets into the act as well, with "End of Days" leading directly into the Doctor Who episode "Utopia" and a flashback scene in "Fragments" taking place simultaneously with the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. Also, there were three simultaneous Jack Harknesses in the UK at a few pointsnote , but sadly we never see Jack interact with himself because 21st century Jack is aware of the implications of meeting his past self.
- The first chapter of Gears of War 3 is split into two segments that happen concurrently and focus around defeating a Lambent Leviathan. The first half is played by Marcus, Dom, Anya, and Jace as they defend the Raven's Nest and use it to push the Leviathan under a bridge. The second half is played by Cole, Baird, Clayton Carmine, and Sam as they locate and deploy a sufficient explosive at the Leviathan from atop the bridge to, as Cole puts it "blow its brains out its ass."
- The Swamp Camp section in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey is seen through the eyes of all three protagonists, who arrive at different times but all come together by the time the Azadi troopers storm the camp. The visual clue and the synchronization point is the flare signal seen by every protagonist as the approach the pier.
- Happens in the "Rebirth" mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops You at first infiltrate the Soviet base as Mason, the main character in the game. After his portion is done, you then play as Hudson, who was also on the island, and what he did while Mason was storming the base.
- The sequel, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, does this for several levels as well. You'll play one character's perspective, then after some time you then play a different character, and see things from their point of view, such as the level "Time and Fate".
- In Sly 2: Band of Thieves, Operation Thunder Beak, final mission of the first level, has this for the first half of the mission. While Sly knocks down a peacock sign on a nightclub, Bentley and Murray steal a tow car.
- The "Emma and Lilith" find-the-difference games come in paired sets, one for each girl's perspective of the same story. The scenes in Lilith's games are highly detailed paintings with a dark-ish color palette, while Emma's resemble childrens' book drawings and are colored in bright pastels.
- Like most gaming groups on the site, the Whartson Hall Gamers at RPGMP 3.com usually play (and record for upload) one game at a time. However, they once played a pair of games (Cold City and Traveller) in two separate groups, with two separate recorders, in the same room. The games have nothing to do with each other, except for once in a while when an in-joke gets shouted across the room.
- Duck Talez has episodes 4 through 7, with the first three each focusing on one of the nephews, and the seventh focusing on Scrooge and Vegeta. A glipse at Scrooge and Vegeta's plot occasionally appears in the background of the nephews' episodes.
- South Park had the three-party Meteor Shower Trilogy taking place on the same night: the first episode had Cartman babysat by Stan's sister Shelly while his mom was at a party; the second part showed Stan with his parents at that party, which the government thought was a Heaven's Gate-style cult meeting; and the third had Kyle and Kenny at a camp for Jewish kids, where a villain tried to summon an Eldritch Abomination Biblical Bad Guy.
- The Fairly OddParents had an episode concentrating on Timmy's friends investigating him which was set during an early episode, "A Wish Too Far", in which Timmy had been trying to become popular. There were overlapping scenes, and partially overheard conversation, from the earlier episode.
- "The Wrong Address" and "The Wrong Customer" on Chowder
- Phineas and Ferb has done a few episodes like this:
- "Unfair Science Fair" has Phineas and Ferb helping Baljeet build a working portal to Mars for a science fair. "Unfair Science Fair Redux" has Candace getting sent to Mars while helping the boys test their invention out.
- "Bubble Boys" revolves around Phineas and Ferb making a super-durable bubble in which they and their friends can fly around, while "Isabella and the Temple of Sap" shows the crazy misadventures the Fireside Girls went through to get one of the ingredients for the bubble formula.
- "Bee Day" and "Bee Story".
- Transformers Prime had four of these in the second season as portions of an epic Fetch Quest:
- Tunnel Vision, following Arcee, Bumblebee, Jack, and Miko in the subway tunnels of New York City
- Triangulation, where Optimus, Dreadwing, and Starscream race against each other in the Antarctic
- Triage, featuring the return of Wheeljack and his epic one-on-one with Soundwave
- and Toxicity, in which Bulkhead takes on a swarm of Insecticons lead by the vicious Hardshell
- These all converge in episode 2-16, Hurt.
- Season 3 had the episodes Project Predacon and Chain of Command which featured another fetch quest for Predacon bones.
- Two The Venture Bros. episodes, Everyone Comes To Hank's and Bright Lights, Dean City, follow both of the titular brothers during a particular summer as Dean gets a science internship in New York while Hank solves the mystery of Dermott's parentage.
- Another instance occurs with the Halloween Episode, A Very Venture Halloween, and the first episode of season 5, What Color is Your Cleansuit? The Halloween episode takes place chronologically within the first "commercial break" of the Cleansuit episode, which itself is an episode which takes place over the course of several months.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has two episodes, "Just for Sidekicks" and "Games Ponies Play", in which the Mane Six head to the Crystal Empire to check on preparations for the Equestria Games (latter), while Spike tries to take care of their pets back in Ponyville (former).
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 had a five-part storyline that focused on the turtles being sent to other realities that took place at the same time, with each episode spotlighting one turtle and the reality he'd been sent to. The first four even had the same opening scene, but taking place from the viewpoint of that episode's spotlight Turtle. The first focused on Michelangelo, the second on Raphael, the third on Donatello, and the fourth on Leonardo, with the fifth and final one showing the foursome getting back together and returning to their reality.
- Adventure Time did a rather strange variation: Episode 4-17, BMO Noire, was a cute little stand-alone giving viewers a glimpse of what Finn and Jake's semi-sentient game console does at home when they go out. An entire season later, episode 5-18, Princess Potluck, shows us where Finn and Jake were going that day.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has "Appa's Lost Days", an episode which shows what the lost Appa was doing during the episodes between where he was kidnapped and the Gaang's arrival in Ba Sing Se.
- Ben 10: Omniverse has "Mud is Thicker Than Water" and "OTTO Motives", the former showed Ben and Gwen teaming up with their cousin Lucy during a Plumber mission on Earth. The latter has Rook and Kevin going to an intergalactic auto show on a different planet at that was occurring at the same time (they were seen in the beginning of the former leaving Earth) where they end up confronting OTTO, someone from Kevin's time in the Null Void.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has "The Little Peas", a retelling of the events of "The Big Cheese" from the perceptive of Peas, a character which was revealed to have an instrumental part in the events of the previous episode.