Thirteen Is Unlucky
"The hotel I'm staying in has no 13th floor 'cause of superstition. But people on the 14th floor: You know what floor you're really on. What room are you in? 1401? No, you're not! If you jump out that window, you will die earlier."Similar to how Four Is Death and 108 is significant, the number thirteen is often considered an unlucky number in the western world. There is some debate over the source of fear towards the number thirteen, though the writer Nathaniel Lachenmeyer has argued that the original 'unlucky thirteen' superstition was the 19th century belief that if thirteen people sat at a dinner table one would die before the end of the year. (Presumably he hadn't read the Greek myth using the trope.) Certainly it was established by the early 20th century when the word triskaidekaphobia was coined to describe an irrational fear of the number thirteen, a fear which has become so prevalent that many buildings in America will not have a 13th floor. If it is not particularly subtle it's the writers beating you over the head with symbolism. Some will cite thirteen as being the number of Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve Disciples of Jesus in The Bible and the one who betrayed him, leading to his death on a Friday (he was replaced by Matthais; who became the new 12th Disciple, thus making Judas number 13). Another myth was that Loki, the Norse god of trickery who betrayed all the others, was the 13th of the Aesir (battle gods). Friday the 13th was unlucky because Friday means "Freyja's Day," and Freyja (the goddess of love [and war and death]) was known to be hot-tempered and had a grudge against Loki. Often writers will associate someone or something to the number thirteen to show that they are dark, evil, unnatural, or just unlucky. Maybe the Butt Monkey or the Cosmic Plaything was born on the 13th. Friday the 13th is believed to be a particularly unlucky day, and has even spawned a movie franchise. Weirdly the idea that Friday the 13th is especially unlucky apparently appeared relatively late — in the 19th century both thirteen and Friday were separately unlucky. Another theory about the miasma attached to 13 places its roots in numerology. Twelve is a multiple of several important numbers — two, three, and four (six only having significance as two times three). The number thirteen, however, is prime. A number with no connections at all after such a divisible one? That couldn't have been good! Note: This is not a repository for every time the number thirteen just happened to appear in history (we're looking at you, Apollo XIII and the thirteen stripes on the United States flag), this is for when writers use the number thirteen to denote something bad, or just really unusual.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The eponymous Golgo 13 has a Mysterious Past, but is not unlucky himself. He is bad luck for whoever his target is.
- Fullmetal Alchemist has "The Mystery of Warehouse 13" — which turns out to be a misreading of Warehouse B. It is a very bad place.
- Train from Black Cat has the number 13 etched on the side of his custom-made gun. Like Golgo 13, it's usually bad luck for the person fighting him (he can even use his gun to deflect bullets). He also has the number 13 tattooed on his collar. Not to mention that his catch phrase is "I'm here to bring some bad luck."
- Hellsing has a secret Vatican organization known as Section XIII: Iscariot. They're a creepy bunch.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Treize Khushrenada, the closest thing the show has to a Big Bad, is named for thirteen.
- In Death Note, Light Yagami was trying to invoke this trope when he had Ryuk add a fake rule to the Death Note's directions. The "thirteen day rule" stated that anyone who wrote a name in the Death Note and did not keep writing names would die after thirteen days. This retroactively "proved" Light's and Misa's innocence after their confinement, and Light was noticeably angered when Mello disproved it. He considered it critical enough that he was willing to murder his own father to preserve the illusion.
- This trope is invoked in Legend of Galactic Heroes. The Alliance's 13th Fleet, under the control of Yang Wenli, is a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, originally only half the size of other fleets and composed of raw recruits and remnants of devastated forces. However, they're anything but unlucky due to Wenli's tactical genius.
- Meldy marked Juvia as the 13th member of Fairy Tail to kill, due to viewing her as a weakling. Then Meldy says that Gray, Juvia's crush, is the one she wants to kill most of all because he hurt Ultear. Oops.
- In Natsume Yuujinchou, Taki's curse involved the last 13 names she said being killed (which Nyanko comments it to be a merciless number).
- The DC Comics character Doctor Thirteen is a paranormal investigator. His daughter Traci Thirteen is a sorceress. Neither one is a particularly bad sort, though Doctor Thirteen is a Flat Earth Atheist suffering from Arbitrary Skepticism.
- Spirou Magazine hasn't had a page 13 for fifteen years or so. It has a page 12, 12bis, and it goes on to 14.
- House of Mystery
- In DC Comics old horror anthology series House of Mystery, the 13th page of every issue always broke from whatever story was being told to foretell some gruesome event in the reader's future/fake a misprinted page because "that's just what happens when you try to print something on page 13."
- In homage to this, the current series made #13 an "Aniversary Issue" with three "13" related stories (reflecting its anthology roots), and an activity page by Siergo Aragones (returning to Cain and Abel some 23 years after Plop!). The latter was supposed to be page 13, as a direct homage, but they couldn't get it to work, so instead they numbered every page 13.
- A Thomas the Tank Engine comic story had an engine named "Unlucky no.13" who had bad luck.
- The comic book series and videogame XIII, which is about a man with amnesia, the number XIII tatooed on his back, and a knack for using weapons.
- In ABC Warriors, during the Volgan War arc, Volkhan recruits thirteen (well, twelve plus Mek-Quake) disciples.
- Sweet Chastity has Vincent, 13th baron von Frankenstein. 'nuff said.
- Spy Boy skipped the 13th issue, but eventually it appeared as a miniseries that is numbered as 13.1, 13.2 and 13.3. Very bad things happen to a cast member on it.
- In Fables, all the witches from fables live on the thirteenth floor of the Bullfinch building in Fabletown. They're not entirely evil, more Chaotic Neutral.
- 13 was a Golden Age superhero (later revived in Project Superpowers) who always had spectacularly bad luck whenever he had anything to do the number 13. He ultimately adopted 13 as his crime-fighting alias and sought to bring bad luck to evil doers.
- Captain America: Steve Rogers' sometime love interest Sharon Carter was known as Agent 13 during her time with S.H.I.E.L.D.. She was presumed killed during an investigation of a white-supremacist group called The National Force, but later discovered to be alive and involved in a deep-cover assignment for SHIELD, held prisoner by a dictator and after escaping became a mercenary.
- In The Multiversity, Earth-13 is a Vertigo-y Dark Fantasy world where the greatest superheroes are Super-Demon and Hellblazer.
- As everyone knows, Garfield hates Mondays. Slightly less known is the fact that he hates February. One strip had him take Jon's announcement that it was February and Monday in stride... only to scream when Jon points out that it was also the 13th.
Films — Animation
- In The Rescuers movie, Bernard is afraid of the number thirteen, especially when it comes to the number of steps on a ladder or stairs. The movie also ended on a Friday the 13th, if you look at the calendar shown.
- Thirteen tends to come up a fair amount in Frozen, some times more subtly than others.
- Elsa is the thirteenth Disney Princess, and has the most traumatic back story of any of them.
- The incident in the start of the movie, in which Elsa accidentally strikes her sister Anna with magic, resulting in their parents isolating Elsa in a failed attempt to help Elsa control her powers, happens when Elsa is 8 and Anna is 5 (8+5=13), 13 years before the main story.
- Prince Hans is the thirteenth son of the King of the Southern Isles, and has been mistreated by his older brothers. He's also the villain, referencing his status as thirteenth child as proof that he'll never get the throne, and Anna having fallen for him is very bad luck for her.
Films — Live-Action
- Buster Keaton used this trope a few times.
- The movie Thir13en Ghosts is about a machine powered by ghosts to see into the future. The number of ghosts needed was probably not a coincidence.
- Room 1408 takes place on the thirteenth floor. And its room numbers add up to thirteen. Every numbers in the movie add to 13. The room's key lock has "6214" etched into it, the first death was in the year 1912, the hotel is mentioned to be at 2254 Lexington Street in New York City, "this is 5" then "this is 8", Mike opens the room's Bible at random to Chapter 11 of book Samuel 2, and the movie was released in the US in June 22, 2007. The normal DVD version's runtime is 104 minutes, 8 seconds. The director's cut is 112 minutes (1 + 12...)
- As stated before, the movie franchise Friday the 13th, which is about Jason Voorhees (who drowned on Friday the 13th) coming back on Friday the 13th to murder teenagers.
- Apollo 13: Both the movie and the real mission went badly. However, the film actually deconstructs this trope twice before the mission takes place.
- First, Marilyn's reaction upon hearing that Jim has been bumped up is to note that it's number 13. Jim tells her that it comes after twelve.
- Second, while being interviewed by the media, Jim, Fred and Ken joke about having a black cat walk across a broken mirror under the lunar module ladder. Considering how things turned out...
- NASA itself wasn't going to be scared off by this superstition at first. The launch occurred at 1:13 PM ET (13:13 hours, military) on April 11, 1970 (4+1+1+7+0 = 13). The CSM/LM spacecraft were in lunar gravity influence on the day of the accident, April 13.
- Notably, while a lot of things went wrong, a lot of things also went right enough that they survived. For instance, the astronauts were damn lucky the explosion happened in the beginning of the mission when they had a full complement of supplies and equipment; they would have had no chance if it occurred at the moon or on the trip back.
- It's interesting to note that NASA has not had a 13 mission since. Even the STS-# designations for the shuttle missions leaves off at STS-9 and goes to a different designation system before picking back up at STS-26.
- District B13 is a very crapsack place filled with heavily armed gangs, drug dealers, and poor people that the president would rather nuke it than deal with it. Also doubles as a pun, since a stenciled B resembles a 13. The sequel ditched the B.
- In an eerie coincidence (or is it?), the 13th IMAX scene in The Dark Knight Rises (including brief shots) has Bane destroy a football stadium and take over Gotham, thus kicking off the city's Darkest Hour.
- First mate Bilson in The Mystery of Mary Celeste is unhappy that there are a total of thirteen people onboard the brig. What's worse, there's also a woman onboard and a black cat too.
- Thirteen, especially when you consider that the movie is basically supposed to prey on parents' worst fears.
- James Bond plays with this trope on two occasions:
- In From Russia with Love, when he and Tatianna break into the Russian embassy to steal the Lektor:
Tatianna: I thought this was for tomorrow. Today is the thirteenth, isn't it?
Bond: This is a hell of a time to be superstitious.
- In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, James Bond runs from Draco's goons and finds himself in Draco's office with a knife in his hand. When Draco greets Bond, Bond throws the knife at Draco's calendar. Draco looks at the date where the knife landed and quips, "The fourteenth, Mister Bond? Today's the thirteenth." Bond answers, "I'm superstitious."
- In From Russia with Love, when he and Tatianna break into the Russian embassy to steal the Lektor:
- In the 2009 horror movie Ghost Town, a gang of Satanic cultists wiped out an Old West town and then committed ritual suicide. The town then vanished into a pocket dimension. Every thirteen years, on Friday the 13th, the town reappears and traps any travelers who wander in, then the ghosts of the cultists terrorize and kill them For the Evulz. According to notes left by previous victims, if the travelers can't escape or break the curse by morning, the town will vanish, leaving them trapped for thirteen years and most likely killed by the ghosts long before the town reappears.
- In the Sagas of the Demonspawn series by J. H. Brennan, whenever Fire*Wolf is killed, you have to go to paragraph 13 of the book for instructions on how to resume the game from the start.
- The room number in 1408 totals 13, and the room is on the 13th floor.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events has thirteen books, which would fit with its macabre nature. Each book has thirteen chapters. subverted in that the 13th book contains the 14th book, which is a chapter long. Lampshaded in that it's called Chapter Fourteen.
- The Wheel of Time has thirteen Forsaken, the (literal) Dragons of the series.
- At the beginning of 1984, the clock strikes thirteen, which is an early indication of just how wrong the world has gone. An obvious hand-wave is that they've just changed the way people (and chiming clocks) tell the time so that afternoon hours keep adding up from twelve to twenty-four, but (a) such a change to such a mundane aspect of everyday life hints at a pervasive change to society at large (compare Hit So Hard the Calendar Felt It), and (b) the choice of thirteen rather than, say, fourteen is not a coincidence; the creepy significance is almost certainly deliberate.
- In Mostly Harmless, the evil Guide-bird was being kept on floor thirteen. Maybe lampshaded because Ford notices that the elevator doesn't have a thirteenth button, and he thinks that's weird because only humans have a fear of 13, and that's how he figures out the bird-thing was being kept there. It was The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Mk II, created by the Vogons as part of a multidimensional plot to finally and completely destroy Earth and put that final tick in the box and file the paperwork. It was only shaped like a bird for reasons not explained.
- Encyclopedia Brown has a friend nicknamed Trisk, (which is short for Triskaidekaphobia) who is terribly superstitious, particularly about his namesake.
- The Hobbit has a group of thirteen Dwarves — plus Bilbo, "the lucky number".
- The Dark Tower series contains Maerlyn's Rainbow, a multi-colored set of thirteen crystal balls that allow their possessor to divine various actions depending on the specific ball. None of them are terribly nice—the pink one, for example, only allows its user to see people at their absolute worst and eats away at their life—but the most dangerous of the lot is the Black Thirteen itself, which is said to allow the local Satan figure to look out of it and causes the September 11th World Trade Center attacks.
- The War Against the Chtorr. When the protagonist first encounters the Uncle Ira Group, they take him to the Missing Floor of a hotel (which is naturally on the 13th floor) and put him in Room 1313. He doesn't Have A Bad Feeling About This until he finds the door locked and his access to a terminal cut off. When the Uncle Ira Group does let him out, it's because they've decided to set him up to be killed.
- District 13 in the The Hunger Games gets destroyed.
- Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child. Though Eff's actual problem is that people expect a thirteenth child to turn out bad. (She's also the seventh daughter, as other characters point out.)
- In the Harry Potter books, Professor Trelawney has a fear of thirteen, and in particular mentions the superstition that when thirteen dine together, the first to rise from the table will be the first to die. In Order of the Phoenix, thirteen people have dinner together and Sirius gets up first. He dies at the end of the book.
- Inverted: 13 is an extremely lucky number — for humans, anyways. Seeing 13 of anything (or even hearing a 13-letter word) is a Brown Note for slithers, and one of the few ways to keep them from killing you if they catch you.
- Played straight when Rex the Darklings try to turn Rex into one of them. Although they are mostly unsuccessful, he finds that he is now repulsed and weakened by the number 13, just like the Darklings, though not as strongly because he is still mostly human.
- In The Dresden Files series, the pub used as a meeting ground is said to have thirteen column and thirteen tables as a way of dispersing magical energies. While not unlucky per say, it does rely on thirteen being a number intrinsically adversed to the workings of magic.
- In Replica the thirteenth Amy clone (who was not supposed to exist and accidentally off from the twelfth) is the only Amy who does not have the clone perfection.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the thirteenth commander of the Night's Watch, known only as "Night's King," enslaved the Watch with sorcery after marrying a "pale, unholy woman" and was the cause of atrocities for thirteen years before he was killed.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, Professor Maxon is convinced that Number 13 will be his successful experiment.
- In The Da Vinci Code, reference is made to the Knights Templar being targeted by a conspiracy between the king of France and the Church which accused them of heresy, bestiality, and other deplorable acts, for which the order was disbanded, all possessions confiscated, and every member they could get their hands on was burned at the stake. It is claimed that this took place on Friday the 13th and is thus the origin of the superstition.
- In his book Complications, Dr. Atul Gawande says that doctors tend not to be very superstitious, but there are a few exceptions. During his residency, none of his fellow residents wanted to work in the Emergency Room on Friday the 13th or on nights with a full Moon. They particularly dreaded doing ER shifts when the two things occurred at the same time.
- In Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, as befits its odd ways of doing everything, the circus's anniversery party is held not in the tenth year but the thirteenth.
- Ogden Nash's deliciously spooky "A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor" embodies this trope to a 'T'.
- Inverted in Emily The Strange as thireen is Emily's favorite number, her lists always number thirteen.
- A children's riddle:
"What time is it when the clock strikes 13? Time to fix the clock."
- House has a character commonly known as Thirteen who has Huntington's Disease.
- The Munsters live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
- In Lexx, Category 13 biohazards and Type 13 planets are among the most dangerous kinds of each.
- Robot Wars
- 13 Black had 2 huge spinning discs for massive destructive potential, and yet, it never lived up to its capabilities. Their motto was "unlucky for some..."
- And in season four, 13th seed Gravedigger coincidentally went out in the first round.
- Psych did an episode spoofing summer camp horror films, titled "Tuesday the 17th." It was aired on a Friday the 13th. This appears to be a Shout-Out to the episode of Ren and Stimpy below.
- Battlestar Galactica — Twelve tribes of man who founded the Twelve Colonies... plus one that "got lost" and inspired the survivors to go on a wild goose chase IN SPACE! to find a planet called Earth. Twelve Lords (gods) of Kobol... plus one who became the Cylon God. Also there are 13 human-like Cylons — five "originals" and their eight creations (numbered 1-8) — however only twelve survived long enough to be considered important, since #1 killed the #7s and then programed the others to ignore the gap between 6 and 8.
- Sarah Jane of The Sarah Jane Adventures lives at 13 Bannerman Road, but is not really that unlucky. Her life is just weird.
- On The Price Is Right, there is a game called Half Off, where is hidden in one of sixteen numbered boxes. To date, the cash has been hidden in fifteen of those boxes several times, but it has not once been placed in box #13.
- Warehouse 13 has the title warehouse, which does contain all sorts of magical artifacts.
- All That: A Good Burger sketch had the workers frightened of Saturday the 14th due to a haunting.
- Agent 13 on Get Smart is a character who always gets terrible assignments, that often go hilariously wrong.
- Rome shows why 13 is unlucky... to people not Roman. Legio XII Gemina, the 13th Legion was Caeser's Legion that crossed the Rubicon.
- Dexter has Lumen Pierce, also known as No. 13, the victim of a group of a murdering rapist/torturers. Who leads to the destruction of the entire gang after being rescued by Dexter when he kills one of the members right before she would have ended up as the thirteenth Barrel Girl.
- Both Masters of Horror and Fear Itself (both horror anthology shows) had 13 episodes per season.
- Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Dragon Knight involved thirteen Riders, and in Ryuki they're all trying to kill each other because There Can Be Only One. There are two good candidates for being the unlucky 13th one: Odin/Wrath, who is the most powerful and under direct control of the Big Bad; and Ryuga/Onyx, an unintended addition to the original twelve and Evil Twin of The Hero (though played with in Dragon Knight, as the Evil Twin takes over the title role instead and the Good Twin gets the Onyx gear in response).
- In Charmed, Barbas the demon of fear required the death of thirteen witches on Friday the 13th in order to gain his full power.
- On Doctor Who a Time Lord who is dying can regenerate into a new body. He can do this twelve times, but the thirteenth time, he'll die for good. Of course, there have been some exceptions to this rule.
- In Game of Thrones, the Council of Thirteen of Qarth. Things don't end well for them, eleven of them were killed by the warlock who was one of them, leaving Daxos as King of Qarth. Then the warlock gets killed by Daenerys's dragons, and Daxos is locked up in his own vault.
- Some artists intentionally "skip" track 13 on albums (usually by making track 13 a few seconds of silence). Or make the thirteenth an unlisted Hidden Track. Examples include:
- Alan Jackson's Who I Am skips from 12 to 14 by way of a silent track 13. Alan lampshades this trope on the liner notes, which say "That's right folks, I am just a bit superstitious."
- Similarly, the first disc of Garth Brooks' Double Live album uses a few seconds of applause as a "phantom" track 13, so that the track listing can skip from 12 to 14.
- Fantômas' self-titled album and The Director's Cut both have short silences as track 13. So far Suspended Animation is their only album to have an actual song on track thirteen, although Delirium Cordia was just indexed as one long track anyway.
- Steely Dan's "Black Friday" has a rather clever example of this:
When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And watch the grey men when they dive from the fourteenth floor...
- Wax actually added three silent tracks to an album with ten songs on it, just so they could somewhat justify calling it 13 Unlucky Numbers.
- Inverted with Taylor Swift to the point of being her personal Arc Number.
- The Danzig song "Thirteen".
- 70's musical icons Chicago titled their albums according to the order they were issued (Chigago II, Chicago III, Chicago IV, etc). They subverted this trope by naming their twelfth album "Hot Streets", and reverting to the numerical system with "Chicago XIII". "XIII" played the trope straight however, proving to be a commercial and critical failure, and the first album by the band to produce no significant hit singles.
Myths & Religion
- In Tarot, XIII is Death in the Major Arcana. While it usually does not mean physical death, it usually implies the end of something (relationship or interest).
- Most of the legends about The Jersey Devil claim it was Mother Leeds's thirteenth child.
- The mythological backstory for the Trojan War starts with a banquet of the gods... they only have 12 golden place settings, but Eris, goddess of Chaos, shows up uninvited with the Golden Apple. The source story for Sleeping Beautynote starts with a similar dinner, replacing gods with fairies.
- During his WWE tenure, Tazz wore the number 13 on his gear, symbolizing the bad luck that brought his opponent face-to-face with an unstoppable rage machine like him.
- Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
- In the episode of where the eponymous hero gets fired, the reason as to why was because he lost all his money whilst gambling, his last act being to put them all on no. 13 (you can guess how that turned out).
- An earlier episode featured Big Ben striking 13 (apparently due to the distance you are from it). At the end Scarlet says he considers it his "lucky number".
- Curve 13 at the Whistler Sliding Center at the Vancouver Olympics is nicknamed "50-50", because the first time people went on it there was a 50% chance of crashing, although the American bobsled driver who named it now wants to call it "100-100" because he and his team completely owned it to win gold.
- In Cricket, especially in Australia, a score of 87 (thirteen short of 100) is considered unlucky.
- Until 2014, there was no car #13 in Formula One for this reason. Pastor Maldonado started driving a car with that number starting in the season; Maldonado is Venezuelan, a country where thirteen is considered a lucky number. Unfortunately for him, the end result became rather catastrophic.
- Brazilian soccer coach Mario Jorge Lobo Zagallo is known for believing thirteen is lucky.
- On August 5, 2013, Major League Baseball handed down thirteen suspensions related to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Yankee number 13, Alex Rodriguez got a 211-game suspension, while everyone else got less.
- The iconic Hall-of-fame quarterback Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins is easily regarded as one of the best to play the position in the NFL for the 16 years he has played, setting all kinds passing records and setting the Single season Passing touchdown record in 1984 (Since surpassed by Peyton Manning in 2004). Unfortunately, he is also known and regarded as one of the best players to never win a Super Bowl, only reaching the Super Bowl with the Dolphins once in his career (1984 Season) and falling short many times afterward until he retired after the 1999 NFL season. What was his position number? 13 of course.
- In Warhammer, the evil, rat-like race the Skaven worship the number thirteen. Their strongest spell (one of the strongest non-storm of magic spells) is even called The dreaded 13th spell.
- Old World of Darkness has various thirteen things, like thirteen vampire clans and thirteen werewolf tribes, to fit in with its whole Crapsack World. In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Wyrm has Thirteen Urges which form the heads of the hydra, each of which is served by a Maeljin Incarna, who might as well be called the Thirteen Horseman of the Apocalypse. In Vampire: The Masquerade, the thirteen vampire clans were founded by the thirteen Antediluvians.
- In Exalted, the Neverborn's chief servants are the thirteen Deathlords, who are somewhat reminiscent of The Wheel of Time's Forsaken, except undead and indestructible.
- A recurring pattern in Eberron is to have 13 of something, with one of them lost or destroyed. There are 13 outer planes, one of which was cut off from the cosmology (and with good reason). 13 moons, one of which dissapeared. There are currently 12 calendar months (named after the moons), but it implied that there used to be 13 months. 13 nations on Khorvaire, one of which was destroyed in a magical catastrophe...
- In the Mad City of Dont Rest Your Head, every twelth hour brings a thirteenth hour, in which the characters can not leave the city and the Nightmares go hunting...
- The Dark Eye's religion (the most popular) features twelve good gods and the thirteenth Nameless One. And oh boy, you better not go around mentioning that guy unless you want to get serious trouble.
- Inverted in Once Upon a Mattress, where there are thirteen princess who wanted to marry Prince Dauntless. The first twelve princess failed the Queen's test; the twelfth is even said to have failed due to bad luck. Winnifred is the thirteenth princess, and she gets the Prince.
- Despite its title, Thirteen is an aversion. The characters aren't unlucky, they're just 13 year olds. And it sucks to be 13.
- The French play Treize à table is entirely about a superstitious housemistress trying her damnedest to avoid having thirteen people around the dinner table for Christmas Eve.
- Although all non-monster Gobots are good guys, that didn't stop Tonka from keeping 13 off the side of good. Hans Cuff (Patrol Car Robo) was marked MR-13 in Japan, but in America, he was reassigned to #12 as he was one of the Guardians... leaving #13 to a Renegade Gobot, Fly Trap (a recoloured Sanitation Robon MR-26)
- The Revenge of Cronos reissues assigned another designated Renegade, Tank MRB-13.
- Transformers: The original Big Bad, Megatron, was originally Micro Change figure #13.
- Such an unlucky number is featured on jerseys of top athletes in any toyline based on Creatures of the Night, Like Mad Balls and Monster High.
- Kingdom Hearts
- Organization XIII, which consists of thirteen (official) members who like to walk around in Black Cloaks and do not nice things, which is ambiguously justifiable in that they lost their hearts and are trying to reclaim them. The means of trying to reclaim their hearts, however, involves the distortion of the heart of all worlds. Pretty unlucky.
- And don't forget what happened to Number XIII himself...
- The X-Blade shattered into twenty pieces after the Keyblade War, thirteen of which are of darkness. This was also the reason why Xemnas gathered 13 strong Nobodies
- You have to look for it, but since the creator of Kingdom of Loathing avoids the number 13 and has gone out of his way to code the various numbering systems to skip it over. (Read more about Kol and 13 here.) 13 is also the minimum level you have to be to take on the Naughty Sorceress, the final quest you get before reincarnating.
- Subverted in The Longest Journey where 13 pops up continuously until you learn that it's actually a lucky number in the setting. And an Arc Number, to boot.
- Ridge Racer series has Soldat Crinale, one of the notorious machines whose number is 13. It's also nicknamed "13th Racing" for that reason. A badass-looking matte black Le Mans Prototype with a frightfully tremendous top speed, but it is very punishing to drive. Those who are able to control it, however, can easily make the competitors eat the dust.
- In Tokimeki Memorial 4, you need to ask out Okura Miyako on a date 13 times before unlocking her route, at which point she shows her true, dark side that will stalk you, chase her Robbie the Rabbit doll after you if you ''dare'' to go out with another girl and overall proves to be quite... unstable...
- Ace Combat
- Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation has the Strigon Squad, a Rival Ace Squad to the player in the game. It is noted in Toscha Mijasik's (a.k.a. Strigon 12) Assault recored that he retained the team's number 12 since the prelude because of his Triskaidekaphobia (aka a fear of 13). Ironically, the person he looked up to was killed and the city they occupied since day one was liberated on Mission 13!
- Mission 13 for Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies is a That One Level involving annoying Pixel Hunting.
- Also in Shattered Skies, and combining this trope with Four Is Death: Among the Erusean pilots, Yellow 4 and Yellow 13 are constant companions, both in the skies and (implied) off-duty. During the course of the game, the player shoots down and kills Yellow 4, leaving Yellow 13 heartbroken.
- BlazBlue: Nu-13 causes the End Of The World repeatedly when awakened underneath the 13th Hierarchical City, Kagutsuchi.
- God of War III: Hercules takes on Kratos, declaring his defeat of the Ghost of Sparta to be his thirteenth labor. Kratos ends up turning the tables on him and smashing his face in with the Nemean Cestus.
- King Ashnard from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is the 13th King of the Daein Kingdom. While it's not known how the previous Kings behaved, Ashnard ignites a world-wide war just to awaken a Dark Goddess and shape the world into a Social Darwinist philosophy and wrecked havoc on both neighboring kingdoms and his own kingdom.
- Thanks to being one of Hojo's intended recipients of Jenova cells, and therefore (presumably) a future Sephiroth-clone, Nanaki of Final Fantasy VII was given the tattoo "XIII" and even called Red XIII. He is also apparently the last (or next-to-last) of his race; had his father petrified while facing off with the Gi; was held prisoner by Shinra, experimented upon, and was slated for interracial breeding with Aeris; and loses his grandfather during the course of the story. On the other hand, at least he lives all the way through, is still around 500 years later, and is one of the party's better balances between magic-user and brawler, if properly equipped and leveled. And he certainly seems to bear his misfortunes with dignity and fortitude. On the other hand he's a flea-ridden dog thing, so...
- Subverted in Fallout, the population of Vault 13 turns out to be one of the luckier of the series of 120 or so long term nuclear fallout shelters in the continental U.S., given the outcome of most of the other vaults which range from grisly to Fate Worse Than Death. It's also the home of the main character of the first game, the ancestral home of the second's main and the number 13 has become iconic in the Fallout series.
- Inverted in Minigore. The player collects Four Leaf Clovers to gain brief spells of invincibility, the first of which always appears when the player's score reaches 13.
- Reila of Valkyria Chronicles III has had name erased from the records and replaced with the title "Number 13." This number was likely chosen because she is the Sole Survivor of several army squads and is viewed as The Jinx.
- Played straight and inverted in Punch-Out!! Mr. Sandman manages to beat twelve boxers from the WVBA and becomes World champion. Little Mac, the 13th opponent, beats him and renders his victory track imperfect. The inversion comes from Mac, likewise, having defeated 12 boxers and then Mr. Sandman to become the champion. This is further symbolized with the following elements: Little Mac has 13 hearts of stamina in both fights against Sandman (the rematch is in Title Defense mode, where the latter is once again the 13th opponent), Sandman's Contender introduction cutscene is 13 images long (the other boxers only have four-image-long cutscenes), he has to be hit 13 times (in case Star Punches aren't used) after the Berserker Rage is over to be definitely defeated, and even his stats (age, fight record, height) provide nods to number thirteen as well. Something interesting to note is that he, during his World title hold, has the highest rank in the World Circuit, while Aran Ryan (who embodies the Lucky Seven trope) is the lowest in the same circuit.
- In both the Super and Real paths of Battle Moon Wars, mission 13 features the first major boss battle in the game, against Nrvnqsr Chaos, as well as being the hardest mission up to that point (assuming one isn't aiming for the Battle Masteries).
- One game's title says "Brain Dead 13". Also, it can be unlucky because of the many death scenes.
- The unlockable 13-Ship Mode in RayStorm gives you thirteen ships for one credit. Basically, you cycle through four different ship types — if you lose three of one type, you go on to the next. Ship thirteen... is the prototype, bereft of super attacks. And if you destroy Yggdrasil in this mode...well, Secelia's no longer a threat. But Earth was destroyed anyway. (At least the other colonies can go on.) Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that if they sent the inferior prototype, then Earth must have sent all its R-Grays to Secelia. Leaving nobody to stop another fleet's Hannibal from causing an EarthShatteringKaboom...
- In Fallout: New Vegas, you find your would-be murderer Benny on the thirteenth floor of the Tops Casino.
- Inverted in Resident Evil: Project W test subject No. 013, whom we know as Albert Wesker, was one of two subjects (from hundreds), who (kind of) survived the experiment. And got superpowers.
- White Day: A Labyrinth Named School takes places on March 13th, on the night before White Day — a holiday similar to Valentine's Day in Western countries — and the protagonist enters the school in the dead of night to deliver candy to a girl he likes. Cue the entire school becoming more and more of a hellish nightmare.
- A rom hack of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, based on the "Sonic.exe" meme, plays like a regular Sonic game at first. Once thirteen seconds elapse, however, the level Sonic is in will turn into a hellscape with invincible enemies. About thirteen more seconds afterwards, Sonic gets chased by a flying demonic clone.
- Terranigma has a symbolic clock whose face is numbered to 13:
"If earth's history is likened to a clock, the hour hand points to 13. A time that cannot exist... No, a time that must not exist."
- Survival of the Fittest v4: Reiko Ishida is Female Student no. 13. She's also a Psycho Lesbian and multi-murderer.
- The thirteenth song in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog? Everything You Ever : A lament on Penny's death and Dr. Horrible's Start of Darkness.
- In We're Alive, the Tower has no thirteenth floor because of this.
- It's parodied to some extent in the Mystic Island series. Sam complains that it's "real bad luck" to have 13 people on an island together, to which Dennis responds by saying, "Well, you can't just kill one of them, it'd be bad for morale." Norm then comes up with a solution; killing the thirteenth survivor and carving his head into a festive jack-o-lantern, which he believes will offset any reduction to morale.
- The SCP Foundation has a funny story with this; originally, there were twelve overseers, but Clef's SCP-001 proposal had a secret O5-13 in charge of monitoring it, with the purpose of alerting the Foundation to the imminent end of the world. However, other contributors started referring to a thirteen-member O5 council because that let there be a tiebreaker vote, so Clef changed the reference to O5-14.
- Donald Duck:
- Donald's car is the "313" — it's known for being extremely unreliable. (It's also the area code for Detroit.)
- Donald Duck was also born on Friday the 13th, according to some sources. Notably, in The Three Caballeros, Donald's birthday gift from South America notes his birthday as "Friday the 13th". Subverted in this case as his birthday gift that year was a magical tour of Mexico and South America. A bit trippy, but not anything unlucky or unpleasant at all.
- One cartoon, Donald's Lucky Day, has a very superstitious Donald delivering a package on Friday the 13th to 1313 13th Street. Naturally, the package is a bomb.
- Eugene, the Chew Toy in Hey Arnold!, was born on a Friday the 13th.
- The Fairly OddParents Anti-Fairies escape to cause bad luck on Friday the 13th.
- Codename: Kids Next Door
- Numbuh 13 is ridiculously unlucky. And a dork.
- Also, 13 is the age when a kid becomes a teenager. In this series, if a KND member becomes 13, they must go through a Laser-Guided Amnesia process; forgetting that they ever joined the team. This is bad because afterwards, the teen will most likey go through a Start of Darkness, and join other teens to fight against the Kids Next Door. For at least one teen, though, this is not the case.
- On The Simpsons, the Treehouse of Horror story "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace" starts "on the thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day of the thirteenth month" with a meeting to discuss the misprinted calendars bought by the town.
- The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo is about Scooby Doo and Shaggy releasing the thirteen most terrifying ghosts ever from the Chest of Demons and trying to put them all back. The really unlucky thing though was that we never got a chance to see them finish, as the show coincidentally only lasted thirteen episodes.
- In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko and Heffer board a plane with flight number 1313. All kinds of misfortune occur on their flight.
- One episode of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? took place on Friday the 13th. It starts off with Zack losing his lucky rabbit's foot and things go downhill from there.
- Johnny "13" first appears in the thirteenth episode of Danny Phantom, and fittingly enough the episode's title is "13". He claims to have a "reputation for being unlucky." He can also summon a Living Shadow that is also unlucky. Johnny's bad luck also seems to affect his Biker Chick girlfriend, Kitty.
- The Top Cat episode "Rafeefleas" has T.C. collecting money for a pizza from the gang (as part of a scheme to get free pizzas for each of them), and Brain has thirteen cents.
T.C.: Thirteen is an unlucky number. Get rid of that hoodoo! (Brain drops the money in T.C.'s hat)
- Transformers: The thirteenth original Transformer is Megatronus Prime, who actually betrays his twelve brothers to serve Unicron, hence his new title, The Fallen.
- Stunt Dawgs: While the heroes really suffered bad luck in that day, Lucky, who's usually unlucky, was extremely lucky that day.
- A classic Popeye short had Bluto ripping a leaf from Olive Oyl's calendar so she'd think it was "Fri 13" instead of "Thur 12".
- In Slimer and The Real Ghostbusters, the thirteenth floor of Hotel Sedgwick is reserved for dwelling ghosts and their guests.
- Parodied in The Ren & Stimpy Show. Ren was born on Tuesday the 17 (which would follow a Friday the 13th) and is, as a result, extremely unlucky.
- In a song sequence from U.S. Acres, Orson jumps on the numbers 11, 12, 13, and 14 while singing "Don't be suspicious, it's all fictitious!", and once Orson is done walking, Wade hops over the number 13, thinking it's bad luck.
- An episode of The Care Bears Family centered around Friday The 13th being a day of bad luck.
- Subverted for Tom in Tom and Jerry. Fittingly enough for him, thirteen is the exact number of shorts he got to defeat Jerry.
- In Young Justice, the Justice League gives authorized designation numbers to anyone using their Zeta Tube transports or who needs to get into one of their hideouts. There are separate subcategories for the League (no prefix), the Team (B-), Authorized Guests (A-), and pets (C-). The pet subcategory doesn't go up to 13 yet, the League's 13 is unremarkably Black Canary, and A-13 is the similarly unremarkable retired original Flash, Jay Garrick. However, the Team's B-13 is the second Robin, Jason Todd, who is implicitly the first member of the team to die. Metatextually, Jason is famous in the original comic books for being disliked enough that DC staged a publicity stunt where readers got to vote on whether or not The Joker killed him — and the pro-death side won.
- Also in DC animation: in Challenge Of The Superfriends, the Legion of Doom had thirteen members.
- Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death: twelve bakers have been murdered, and Wallace appears destined to be the thirteenth victim. Especially since his new fiancee Piella is the killer.
- The number 13 has popped up a few times in Detentionaire. For example, Wing 13 of the Green Apple Splat factory is a creepy, dark, seemingly haunter corridor, and it's where the survivors of the old factory's meltdown were kept, since they all went insane because of the fumes. Of course, the protagonists have to go through it to escape the second meltdown. Also, students are periodically called down to Room 113 B, which actually leads to the underground brainwashing rooms.
- The Code of Hammurabi has no 13th rule for this reason, making this trope Older Than Feudalism, if not Older Than Dirt.
- In the 13th day after he assassinated Oda Nobunaga, Akechi Mitsuhide was utterly trounced by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the Battle of Yamazaki and got his Karmic Death. He's eventually known as the '13-day ruler', probably the shortest period in the Sengoku Jidai.
- The South Australian Department of Transport puts reverse parallel parking as task 13 in the Driving Companion. Not good for superstitious learner drivers.
- MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha), a notorious Latino gang operating primarily in Central and North America.
- The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose contains multiple thirteens: thirteen steps, thirteen candles in a candelabra, and so forth. Since Sarah Winchester built (and built, and built ...) the house to confound the spirits of those killed by the Winchester Rifle, perhaps the multiple thirteens were meant as bad luck for ghosts.
- George Carlin joked about how he'd been on airplanes that didn't have rows numbered thirteen. He said that knowing the airplanes' designers had been so superstitious they thought that might save someone's life didn't make him feel all that safer.
- Averted with the "Baker's Dozen", which is 13. The reason was that back in the 13th century, if you cheated someone out of their goods, you would be severely punished (often losing your hand). Thus, to instill confidence, bakers sold 13 for the price of 12. It also had the side effect of you could lose one item and still be safe and that 13 fits nicely in a box in a 3:2:3:2:3 configuration.
- NASA renumbered several Space Shuttle missions, beginning with STS-11 and ending with STS-25, to avoid having a mission publicly numbered with the number 13. For public consumption, these missions began at STS-41-B (which was actually the 10th Space Shuttle mission due to the reschedule and eventual cancellation of STS-10) and ending with the ill-fated STS-51-L. Internally, missions STS-26 through STS-33, which were actually flown starting in 1988, were designated with the letter R (for Reflight).
- The Madrid Metro Network names its lines after numbers (Line 1, Line 2, Line 3, etc.), except for one, Line R. For decades, it stood in the third place in the network list between L2 and L3, as it was the third line to be ever built, back in 1925, as a branch of Line 2. That is, until a Line 12 was finished and plans for a new line arose — then, Line R was immediately demoted to the 13th place in the list, and the new one was given the name of "Line 14", making 13 the only number not represented in the network..
- Each modern version of Microsoft Office, prior to being titled with its year of release, is codenamed by its technical version number. For example, Office 2010, version 14.0.4760.1000 was codenamed 'Office 14' while in development. However, there was never an 'Office 13', Office 2007, the version prior to 2010, was version 12 and codenamed 'Office 12'. Microsoft have even stated this was for superstitious reasons. This might be a Hand Wave, since Office 2010 is actually the 14th iteration of Microsoft Office, if you include the Mac editions. Office 2008 for Mac was the 13th iteration. But it doesn't help that Microsoft started weird numbering conventions (The first version of Office for Windows for instance, was 3.0)
- Irish car number plating went by year (eg. 09, 10, 11, etc) until 2013. In 2013, the government decided to change this method in 2013 to 131 and 132. Of course, the offical reason was "to boost car sales mid-year", but we all know this trope is in effect and many speculate that the system will revert in 2014.
- Inverted by the vikings, who believed 13 to actually be a lucky number.
- Many American buildings greater than 13 stories tall will refer to the thirteenth floor as anything except the thirteenth floor. 12A, 14A (the fourteenth floor being 14B), skipping straight from 12 to 14, you name it. A fairly common one in really large buildings is to have the thirteenth floor be a a maintenance/mechanical floor.
- Lifeboat 13 on the RMS Titanic. As the boat reached the water, it was hit by a stream of water coming from the ship, which was from the pumps futilely trying to curb the flooding. It drifted right underneath the oncoming Lifeboat 15, and despite the screams of both boats, 15 was continued to be lowered right on top of them. Luckily, 13 was able to cut its lines and get away before 15 reached the water.