They Walk Among Us
sci-fi / fantasy trope. Let's say, for instance, that you are a perfectly normal human being living in a perfectly normal house in a perfectly normal urban community. Every day you wake up, you go to work or to school, you come home and have dinner. You have perfectly normal friends and family you enjoy doing perfectly normal things with. Also, your neighbor is, say, a robot. And your robot neighbor lives in the perfectly normal house right next to yours. He also gets up every morning and goes on with his robot affairs. And as the both of you walk down the street, side by side, you meet other humans just like yourself, sure, but the robot community is there as well, minding their own business just like you do. And nobody thinks it's weird because, you see, they walk among you. That's the main gist of this trope: in an otherwise normal world not too different from our own, humans share the world with something distinctly nonhuman, or at least abnormal or fantastic; another sentient species, or a different kind of being altogether. Their presence in the world is not regarded differently in any way from how we look at all the different races and ethnic groups here. Needless to say, Fantastic Racism tends to ensue, but though this is a common staple, it's not a necessity. Related tropes include:
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight
- Roger Rabbit Effect
- Fantastic Racism
- Five Races
- Mundane Fantastic
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- Modern-day cavemen in the famous GEICO commercials.
- According to Yuki, Data Interfaces, time travelers and members of the Organization have completely infiltrated North High because of the titular character, Haruhi Suzumiya. Proven in the eight novel, where the Student Council President is a representative from the Organization, and the secretary is a Data Interface named Emiri Kimidori.
- The wolves from Wolf's Rain.
- Vampires in Trinity Blood.
- Transformers bounces between this and The Masquerade depending on the incarnation, where they are in the timeline, and what's more convenient for the plot. Transformers Animated completely threw it out the window and everyone knows of their existence from the first episode.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog characters in Sonic X
- Nation-tans in Axis Powers Hetalia
- Persocoms in Chobits
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, pretty much any clones, programs, cyborgs, etc. are politically considered people and therefore blend into society to the extent that most of the active characters aren't even regular born humans.
- Not only are the titular critters all over the place in Pokémon, but they often appear to have replaced every sort of real animal.
- Any Macross series that takes place after Super Dimension Fortress Macross is likely to include some thirty-foot tall Zentraedi walking around and nobody really blinking an eye. Macross Frontier even has a mixed-size shopping mall, where some human characters hang out with a Zentraedi friend by being on the third floor, equal to her eye level.
- Mutants in X-Men. Even Nightcrawler can walk around undisguised and few people seem to care. (One issue has him and Wolverine walking around in public and 'Crawler worried about it... only for a pretty girl to slip him her phone number.)
- The Bone Cousins in Bone. People remark that they're funny looking a few times but it seems to be more of a case of them being from another part of the world.
- All manner of bizarre creatures in Hellboy.
SuperheroesCostumed Heroes in Watchmen.
- Funny animals in Midnite, the Rebel Skunk
- The titular characters in Elephantmen— Half-Human Hybrids of hippos, elephants, and various other African megafauna.
- Anthropomorphic dinosaurs in Theodore Rex.
- Vampires and
werewolvesLycans in Underworld Rise Of The Lycans. The first two had The Masquerade, complete with shadowy corporate intermediaries and both in-house and third-party cleaner squads.
- Toons (living cartoon characters) in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Ditto Cool World. (but there they're called "Doodles")
- Supers, people with super-powers, in Pixar's The Incredibles.
- The crustacean alien "prawns" in District 9, pictured above.
- Thursday Next blatantly plays with the Fantasy Kitchen Sink. The first of its two main "gimmicks" is that genetic engineering has allowed humans to resurrect several extinct animals, and as a result, mammoths migrate through Swindon, dodo birds are the popular pet of choice, and Neanderthals fight discrimination from humans and live in their own separate, politically anarchic (but peaceful) communities. The second gimmicks involves living literary characters. It's complicated.
- In Who Censored Roger Rabbit?? humans and toons coexist.
- Fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters in Nursery Crime.
- Monsters and occult powers in the Anita Blake series.
- Robots in Isaac Asimov's science-fiction.
- Discworld. Particularly in Ankh-Morpork, which is inhabited by humans of many ethnicities, trolls, dwarves, gnomes, vampires, golems, small gods, the occasional talking dog ...
- Vampires in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries and later weres.
- In Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet by Kirk Scroggs, Danvers can't remember if the entire cast of The Muppet Show always lived in his home town, or if it just happened after his transfromation. No-one else seems to find it odd.
Live Action Television
- Vampires in True Blood.
- Humanoid Cylons in the last season of Battlestar Galactica.
- Any of Jim Hensons' works involving the Muppets, but the effect was not handled the same way in every case. In Sesame Street, for example, humans and "monsters" recognized each other as different, but in The Muppets Show there were instances where ordinary humans and the Muppets were in perfectly equal standing. (As in, a humanoid muppet and a real human were both "human")
- The world of Special Unit 2: All sorts of supernatural creatures still live among the humans. There is no organized Masquerade; most people don't realize they're there but the Chicago Police Department has established SU 2 to deal with them.
- The Newcomers, a.k.a. Tenctonese, in Alien Nation.
- Puppets in Greg the Bunny.
- Power Rangers S.P.D. has aliens and humans living side by side in 2025. However, humans with powers are discriminated against, at least at the grade school level. By the year 3000 of Power Rangers Time Force, it went From Bad to Worse, with aliens still around, but humans' treatment of the mutants that are born when humanity's Designer Babies habit doesn't yield such good results revolting, traveling to the present, and becoming the villains of the series.
- Power Rangers Ninja Storm had a Mirror Universe where monsters were good and Rangers were bad, and Tori had to get the civilian versions of the villainous generals to rise up against the evil Rangers. Was it the fault of the Monster of the Week back in the main universe, or did Tori just dream it when she was injured? Yes, it's definitely one or the other.
- Power Rangers Mystic Force ends with integration between humans and the magical creatures who'd previously kept to their side of the dimensional barrier in the forest, after humans and magical creatures come together to restore the Rangers' powers via Clap Your Hands If You Believe.
- Sonic the Hedgehog, especially in the newer games.
- The Gurhal System in Phantasy Star Universe really doesn't care if you're human, newman, beast, or CAST, because they're all on equal standing. Though the four races have planets (or a space station) to themselves, other races can and do live there with equality (excepting those bigots that no amount of time will erase).
- You could probably count the human characters in Touhou on your fingers.
- Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2 have reached this status. No one bats an eyelid at them (except the Combine who harass them just as much as humans).
- The Orion's Arm worldbuilding project includes every possible kind of being in a science fiction setting (genetically modified humans, uplifted animals, robots, cyborgs, sentient vehicles, etc.) co-existing in the same interstellar civilization.
- Due to the Mega Crossover nature of the PPC, it is not exactly uncommon to see a protoss, an earth pony, and a World-1 human walking the same halls.
- As the nature of megacrossovers this is the norm of the Buildingverse so for a perfectly muggle waitress to see Thor chasing Nyan-cat down the street is a Monday. There are some works that allude to some kind of a Masquerade, but it can't be too serious if aforementioned waitress can turn around and date an elf.
- Magical creatures in American Dragon: Jake Long.
- Toons again in Bonkers.
- The titular creatures of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
- Aliens, robots, and other science-fictiony things in Futurama.
- Gargoyles in Gargoyles.
- Magical creatures in The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.
- Robots (most of them capable of human emotion) in My Life as a Teenage Robot.
- Ugly Americans is all about this trope. Earth is populated by all the strangest creatures the writers and artists can imagine, many of them from myth and folklore. The main character, Mark Lilly, is an employee of the US Department of Integration; his job is to aid the creatures at finding their way in American (and human) society.