Playing With: Ret Gone

Basic Trope: A character travels back in time and erases someone from existence, either intentionally or accidentally.
  • Straight:
    • Bob kills his grandfather in the past and stops existing.
    • Bob travels back in time with the goal of erasing Charlie (a bully) from existence. He tracks down Charlie's parents when they were dating, and breaks them up, thus preventing Charlie's conception.
    • Bob breaks his paternal grandparents up after his father is born, thereby erasing his unloved aunt.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob kills or separates the ancestors of everyone he dislikes.
    • Several characters do this, and some erase each other in the process.
    • Bob kills the ancestors of the entire human race.
    • Bob manages to not only to never exist, but doesn't exist in any timeline or parallel universe. Wait, who's Bob again?
    • Bob prevents the Big Bang itself!
  • Downplayed: Bob prevents the trauma that causes Alice to develop Carol as a split personality, effectively "killing" her but no one actually dies.
  • Justified: Bob was never supposed to exist, and by killing his grandfather he can create a Stable Time Loop that restores the original timeline.
  • Inverted:
    • Before his trip to the past, Bob was an only child. When he returns to the present, he discovers that he now has a seven-year-old younger sister that he didn't have before.
    • Bob accidentally creates Alice ex nihilo; she just exists from a certain point onward with no explanation.
  • Subverted: Bob kills his grandfather, thinking he will cease to exist, but doesn't.
  • Double Subverted: ...until Bob discovers he starts to slowly fade out of existence.
  • Parodied:
    • "This armband makes you temporal paradox-proof."
    • My Own Grampa, with incest jokes all around.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice, Bob, and Charlie fade into and out of existence as various other characters travel through time repeatedly.
  • Averted:
    • Time travel is shown as having no consequences.
    • There is no time travel in the work.
  • Enforced:
    • The writer is a fatalist and views time travel as mocking God.
    • It's a setup for an Alternate History.
  • Lampshaded:
    • "Oh no, I know how these things work. I'll probably end up killing my grandfather and stop existing or something."
    • "So, gang, I snuck into the time machine when Dr. Mad had her back turned. Then I went 35 years back in time, found Charlie's parents, and broke them up." "Who's Charlie?" "Oh, that's right. He no longer exists."
  • Invoked: Bob wants to commit suicide, and one of the things holding him back is the amount of grief he'll cause his family and friends if he does it. He goes back in time to before his conception and breaks his parents up, thereby erasing himself without causing his loved ones any grief.
  • Exploited:
    • Bob manages to arrange events such that if he ever is the victim of a Ret Gone everyone would be doomed.
    • Diane's dream is to murder Bob's grandfather, so Bob takes her with him when he travels to the past.
  • Defied:
    • Bob doesn't kill his grandfather.
    • Bob takes precautions when traveling in time so he won't be able to kill anyone, even by accident.
    • Aware of the potential consequences of altering the past, Bob only uses his time machine to visit the future.
  • Discussed: "Sometimes I wish I could time-travel. Then I could go back to before Charlie was conceived, and break his parents up so he wouldn't exist."
  • Conversed: "Hey, do you remember who Bob was going back in time to kill again?" "Yeah, Chris." "Wasn't that his grandfather's name?" "Come to think of it, yeah, he actually is Bob's- ...wait a second..."
  • Implied: In one episode, Bob travels through time. Charlie is never seen or mentioned again.
  • Played For Laughs:
    • Bob talks nonstop about how he killed Charlie. Because Charlie no longer exists, no one knows what Bob is talking about.
    • Bob forcibly separates Charlie's parents by sending them to different time periods.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Bob's grandfather was a big jerk that severely hurt and traumatized a lot of people, including Bob. Now Bob has the opportunity to erase all this and make many people's lives better, by killing him in the past, but is he right in doing so? And what will happen to Bob if he does?
    • Bob was meant to take down the Big Bad Emperor Evulz. Now that he doesn't exist, Evulz already rules the world.

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