Main Contrived Coincidence Discussion

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03:58:34 AM Feb 15th 2018
edited by Cifer
I've sometimes read that movies are "allowed" one coincidence to set up the plot. Stuff like "John Mc Clane visits Nakatomi Plaza at exactly the day it gets attacked by terrorists" - because otherwise there would be no movie. Does this necessarily fall under Contrived Coincidence or does the trope only apply when there's more than that?
04:17:38 AM Nov 13th 2015
How come Detective Conan isn't mentioned under "Anime & Manga" seriously ?
08:17:14 AM Nov 13th 2015
Because nobody's added it yet.
08:23:33 PM Oct 7th 2011
What do we call a coincidence contrived by the characters? (You know, a plot that's meant to resemble a coincidence.)
10:00:35 AM Jan 7th 2014
A lethal variant would be Make It Look Like an Accident.
07:23:24 AM Aug 1st 2011
These are general comments. The example section is for specific example works. Please see How to Write an Example, particularly the Keep It An Example: subsection.

  • Is there an anime or manga without a scene where two characters don't just happen to bump into each other? Tokyo isn't that small, is it?

  • Most gay romance novels (especially those with teenagers) are practically built on this trope, where the couples meet in contexts not necessarily related to gay people or finding a lover. This means they're beating a 90% chance that the other person is straight.
09:54:42 AM May 7th 2011
edited by VVK
I know I've seen an entry for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in an article in these lines, and I suppose it must have been this one. So I suppose it has been here and was removed. Can someone give a reason why? (It was about no-one being killed by the basilisk because everyone just happened to see it only in a reflection or something.)
04:53:26 PM Dec 6th 2013
What you're talking about falls under Theory of Narrative Causality (i.e. it happened that way because the author says it did). It only falls under "contrived coincidence" if it's ridiculously improbable (the article's example is "you just happen to meet one particular guy again on a battlefield involving over a million combatants"), and there's no in-universe explanation. Chamber of Secrets would only apply if say, the basilisk had been turned loose in the banquet hall at dinner with hundreds of people there, failed to kill anyone, and no one comments on it or provides an explanation for it. But the book sets up plausible reasons why the characters in each case were petrified instead of killed, so it's mere coincidence, not Contrived Coincidence, and that falls under Theory of Narrative Causality.
10:12:13 AM Jan 7th 2014
I had no idea this had already been raised before me so, less someone removes it again, I'd like to reinforce our point. The chances that three people (and one cat) all just happened to have some random interference occuring in the exact moment it would save their lives, and they all inadvertently happened to take advantage of that interferance, are infinitesmal. Thus Contrived Coincedences.
04:26:39 PM Dec 9th 2010
Removed a couple examples from the Contrived Coincidence page that I felt were faulty. Remember that this concept is being defined as "...a highly improbable occurrence in a story which is required by the plot, but which has absolutely no outward justification". With that in mind, the removed Back to the Future example and the Dresden Files example, and probably a lot of others I didn't address, do not fit.

The cited part from Back to the Future complained that it was too big of a coincidence that Biff went back to the same point that Marty went back to in the first movie. How justifiable this is could be debated all day, but the important fact is that what date, specifically, he chose was not terribly important to the plot.

The cited part from the Dresden Files involved the divine intervention that follows the Knights of the Cross; this divine intervention represents a concrete force at work within the novel, and so does not fall under the definition of having "no outward justification".

Many of these other examples should probably be looked at as well.
09:22:46 AM Jul 31st 2013
Actually, I'd say the date Biff chose is quite important to the plot, since one of the complications is that Marty has to get the book back without affecting the events of the first film. If Old Biff decided to visit the fifth of May 1964 and give himself the almanac, that aspect of the plot wouldn't be there.
01:25:00 PM May 14th 2010
Is it worth having one for the Crisis Core part of Final Fantasy VII?


He only meets Yuffie, Aerith and Tifa. He also works, in a sense, under Reeve (Controller of Caith Sith #Whatever). Now, the editor suggested that they didn't remember, but I wish to suggest that Yuffie was so hyper, she didn't think anything of it. Secondly, Aerith DID, in FFVII, make many references (though not in name) to Zack, even going out in tears when visiting his parents. Lastly, Tifa does seem to remember him, but, as we find out through the course of the story, she hides a lot of the knowledge of the past in order to keep Cloud happy.
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