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Effective Knockoff

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An imitation that still has at least some effectiveness like the original

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
WiseMan23753 on Jan 22nd 2018 at 10:22:19 AM
Last Edited By:
WiseMan23753 on Feb 14th 2018 at 6:13:07 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

"These are all imitations. As you say, these are all trifling swords. But there is no rule that says an imitation cannot defeat the original."
Shirou Emiya, Fate/stay night

Imitations of original products are a problem in the business culture. It results in lawsuits both by the companies of the original product and those who bought the fakes in the first place. Perhaps they were used with cheaper or low-quality materials or have functions and apps excluded from the original.

But just because something is an imitation doesn't mean it can't be just as good. In fact, it may be just as effective if not better in some areas. The main advantage mainly focuses on mass-production since they can be produced more cheaply or with materials on-hand. Even if they're not 100% as effective, the fact they're 75% or even half as effective is still better than current technology, which can be why customers wouldn't mind in the first place.

Contrast the Shoddy Knockoff Product, which is expected to be defective imitations nowhere near as good.


Examples include:

Anime and Manga

  • Bakemonogatari: In the Kizumonogatari subplot, the Central Theme that surrounds the story is whether or not a "fake" can be more real than the real thing. Examples of this include Tsukihi, who turns out to be not blood-related to Koyomi, but who is still his precious sister in his eyes and Kaiki Deishuu, a conman pretending to be a Blue-Collar Warlock, who actually manages to solve a supernatural case using his guile.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the Starter Villain Father Cornello is given a fake Philosopher's Stone to attract mindless followers into his religious order. However, it follows the same effects such as the apparent violation of Equivalent Exchange that it fools the Elric brothers into mistaking it for the real thing.
  • The GN Tau Drives in Gundam 00, respectively named "pseudo-reactors" by the original creators, are only slightly less effective than the actual solar reactors. Yet, they can be mass-produced and allow Earth's nations to compete against the Gundams. The manuals explain that the Tau Drives have everything except the TD Blankets, which can be only made with materials from Jupiter and is part of a production process that takes up to a full year to make.

Film - Live-Action

Literature

  • Discworld:
    • Part of The Reveal in The Fifth Elephant is that the Dwarf relic, the Scone of Stone was not stolen, but destroyed and that the supposed thieves are holding a replica instead. This trope comes into play when it's revealed that the Scone has been destroyed and replaced with multiple replicas already, as Dwarf bread doesn't last forever. The one recovered from the supposed thieves proves a suitably accurate replacement.
  • The Dresden Files: Death Masks features the Shroud of Turin as a central MacGuffin with potent healing powers. Much later in Skin Game it's revealed that Jesus's actual burial shroud is somewhere else, and that the Shroudof Turin is a forgery that ended up developing the same powers as the original because so many people believed in it.
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress: The guards of the Lunar Authority have laser guns. Chinese engineers are tasked with creating knockoffs of their laser weapons to arm members of the revolutionary forces. When the Rebellion begins, the copied laser weapons are used against the Lunar Authority's forces.
  • In The Tamuli the protagonists are given quarters in a replica of a castle - the empire in the book houses visiting diplomats in replicas of buildings from their own cultures architecture as a way of making them feel at home. As one character notes, the slavish way in which the replica was constructed meant they'd included many of the castles defensive features without even realizing they were there. This comes in handy later on when an armed rebellion against the empire kicks off.

Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40K. Ork technology is either looted from enemies or built in vague imitation of their weapons (especially bolters). It annoys and horrifies the Adeptus Mechanicus to no end that such arms built with no respect for the techno-theological rules can often surpass their own wargear.

Video Games

  • Assassin's Creed Origins has the "Imitation Siwan sword", a Cursed with Awesome sword that does triple damage as well as multiplying your critical hit chances but also caps your maximum health to one-third of your normal maximum. Your protagonist immediately spots it for the unconvincing fake it is and puts on a show of being duped by it... because the little girl whose mother sells it to you is...adorable?
  • The Excalipoor in Final Fantasy V is a crappy knockoff of the Excalibur, and a Joke Item that carries only a single digit damage. But if you throw the knockoff onto an enemy, it can carry a whooping amount of damage.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, Tails creates a fake Chaos Emerald. He plans to have Sonic give it to Dr. Eggman, after which it would destroy the Eclipse Cannon after he used it in place of the real one. Eggman catches on because he notices two energy readings of Chaos Emeralds, but it turns out that because it's such a good copy, Sonic can use the Chaos Control ability with it just as if it were the real thing.
  • Xenosaga: A Cosmic Keystone, known as the (original) Zohar, is a source of practically unlimited power. There are also several artificial constructs known as imitation Zohars, and while none of them even come close to the frightening omnipotence of the original, each one of them is a MacGuffin that grants great amounts of power to its wielder.

Visual Novel

  • The Unlimited Blade Works in Fate/stay night is all about creating an unlimited arsenal of Noble Phantasms that are knockoffs. Shirou states that they can not defeat the original Noble Phantasms, but are still able to imitate their abilities to a close second. Gilgamesh is defeated by this Noble Phantasm because even though he has all the originals, he merely uses them as throwing objects, never utilizing them to their full potential.

Web Original

  • In Schlock Mercenary, Schlock starts requisitioning knockoff BH-209 Plasguns from the ship's fabber after Strohl Munitions discontinues the model. They're about as prone to exploding as the original.

Western Animation

  • Volpina from Miraculous Ladybug is an Evil Knockoff of users of the fox miraculous created by Hawk Moth using the power of the butterfly miraculous. She has all of the same powers that the fox miraculous bestows, but she is able to create as many illusions as she wants. This is in contrast to Rene Rouge, the real owner of the Fox Miraculous, whose special power "Mirage" allows her to create one illusion before needing to recharge.

Real Life

  • The "Shanzhan" business practice is about creating obviously fake copies of original products, yet many cases show them to be just as good.

Feedback: 25 replies

Jan 22nd 2018 at 11:57:08 AM

Warhammer 40 K: Ork technology is either looted from enemies or built in vague imitation of their weapons (especially bolters). It annoys and horrifies the Adeptus Mechanicus to no end that such arms built with no respect for the techno-theological rules can often surpass their own wargear.

Jan 23rd 2018 at 12:59:13 PM

In The Tamuli the protagonists are given quarters in a replica of a castle - the empire in the book houses visiting diplomats in replicas of buildings from their own cultures architecture as a way of making them feel at home. As one character notes, the slavish way in which the replica was constructed meant they'd included many of the castles defensive features without even realising they were there. This comes in handy later on when an armed rebellion against the empire kicks off.

Jan 23rd 2018 at 6:22:29 PM

In Sonic Adventure 2, Tails creates a fake Chaos Emerald. He plans to have Sonic give it to Dr. Eggman, after which it would destroy the Eclipse Cannon after he used it in place of the real one. Eggman catches on because he notices two energy readings of Chaos Emeralds, but it turns out that because it's such a good copy, Sonic can use the Chaos Control ability with it just as if it were the real thing.

Jan 24th 2018 at 12:00:53 AM

Literature

  • The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. The guards of the Lunar Authority have laser guns. Chinese engineers are tasked with creating knockoffs of their laser weapons to arm members of the revolutionary forces. When the Rebellion begins, the copied laser weapons are used against the Lunar Authority's forces.

Jan 24th 2018 at 9:21:09 AM

See also Variant Power Copying.

  • Bakemonogatari: In the Kizumonogatari subplot, the Central Theme that surrounds the story is whether or not a "fake" can be more real than the real thing. Examples of this include Tsukihi, who turns out to be not blood-related to Koyomi, but who is still his precious sister in his eyes and Kaiki Deishuu, a conman pretending to be a Blue Collar Warlock, who actually manages to solve a supernatural case using his guile.

  • Xenosaga: A Cosmic Keystone, known as the (Original) Zohar, is a source of practically unlimited power. There are also several artificial constructs known as imitation Zohars, and while none of them even come close to the frightening omnipotence of the original, each one of them is a Mac Guffin that grants great amounts of power to its wielder.

Jan 24th 2018 at 9:34:19 AM

  • In Sonic Adventure 2, Tails makes a copy of a Chaos Emerald. He describes it as having the "same wavelengths and properties" as the real deal, as well as looking identical. The only major difference is that it reverses the normal effects of a Chaos Emerald (which Tails did intentionally). Sonic is even able to use the fake emerald to use Shadow's Signature Move, Chaos Control, which normally requires a real Chaos Emerald.

Jan 24th 2018 at 11:36:46 AM

Jan 24th 2018 at 11:38:44 AM

How does this relate to Dueling Works regarding products?

Jan 24th 2018 at 12:11:53 PM

  • In Schlock Mercenary Schlock starts requisitioning knockoff BH-209 Plasguns from the ship's fabber after Strohl Munitions discontinues the model. They're about as prone to exploding as the original.

Jan 24th 2018 at 12:22:29 PM

^^^ Whooping should be whomping. Whooping is a brief, but loud yelling sound.

Jan 24th 2018 at 12:53:34 PM

  • Superman: Zigzagged Trope. Various parties (including Mr. Mxyptlk, Batman, Lex Luthor, and others) have often made their own synthetic version of Kryptonite. The vast majority of them are less deadly to Superman and other Kryptonians, but still do serious harm to them, but some simply change their mood/personality, some are harmless to Kryptonians but not other species, and some even have beneficial effects (such as Orange and X, which give superpowers to normal animals and humans, respectively).

Jan 24th 2018 at 2:38:35 PM

Jan 24th 2018 at 2:51:02 PM

  • Assassins Creed Origins has the "Imitation Siwan sword", a Cursed With Awesome Sword that does triple damage as well as multiplying your critical hit chances, but also caps your maximum health to one-third of your normal maximum. Your protagonist immediately spots it for the unconvincing fake it is, and puts on a show of being duped by it... because the little girl whose mother sells it to you is adorable, I guess?

Jan 25th 2018 at 3:03:35 AM

^ x 7, ^ x 4: It's most likely that alnair20aug93 meant to write "whopping".

Jan 25th 2018 at 8:08:10 AM

  • Part of The Reveal in The Fifth Elephant is that the Dwarf relic, the Scone of Stone was not stolen, but destroyed, and that the supposed thieves are holding a replica instead. This trope comes into play when it's revealed that the Scone has been destroyed and replaced with multiple replicas already, as Dwarf bread doesn't last forever. The one recovered from the supposed thieves proves a suitably accurate replacement.

Jan 25th 2018 at 5:37:07 PM

Jan 26th 2018 at 8:52:11 AM

I'm confused what this is about: a YMMV meta-trope where the rip-off work is just as acclaimed as the original, or an in-universe trope where a replica of something works just as well as the original (like some kind of Magic Feather)?

Jan 26th 2018 at 4:35:15 PM

Does this trope count if the knockoff is superior to the original or only if it just gets the job done?

Jan 26th 2018 at 10:14:00 PM

Should the Fate/stay night example be under Anime, or Video Games?

Jan 27th 2018 at 7:13:59 AM

Jan 29th 2018 at 10:31:35 AM

Western Animation

  • Volpina from Miraculous Ladybug is an Evil Knockoff of users of the fox miraculous created by Hawk Moth using the power of the butterfly miraculous. She has all of the same powers that the fox miraculous bestows, but she is able to create as many illusions as she wants. This is in contrast to Rene Rouge, the real owner of the Fox Miraculous, who's special power "Mirage" allows her to create one illusion before needing to recharge.

Feb 3rd 2018 at 12:49:41 AM

Feb 3rd 2018 at 7:39:56 AM

The Fate example would go under Visual Novel.

Feb 3rd 2018 at 3:11:18 PM

How is an imitation imitating the purpose of what it imitates a trope?

Feb 14th 2018 at 6:13:07 PM

The common interpretation is that if something is a copy of the original, then it will be nowhere as good as the original, lacking the quality, features, or abilities that the original has. But there are times where copies can still be a close second have some advantages over the original such as being more practical.

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