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All Just A Dream / Anime & Manga

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Stories that are just dreams in anime and manga.

  • 7 Seeds exploits this trope in the Ocean/Mountain arc. A few characters end up in situations that make it appear like the events of the series were just a dream or simulation, but not until after it's been mentioned that the location was filled with spiders that could cause hallucinations in people. The characters in their 'dreams' realize that the post-apocalyptic world they are in is the real thing and force themselves to wake up, albeit coming to terms with their past in the process.
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  • Alien Nine has main character Yuri doing this Once per Episode, each dream focusing on her fear of aliens, and getting more and more horrific until the Mind Rape sequence in the final episode.
  • Attack on Titan: The manga begins with Mikasa telling Eren that she'll see him later. Eren wakes up saying he had a really long dream and is mysteriously crying. The anime noticeably changed this to a sequence of various scenes including the attack on Zhiganshina. What exactly the scene means is a matter of furious debate.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, Japan tries to convince himself that the "Private Lesson" with close friend Greece was All Just A Dream. Even when he woke up naked—or at least shirtless—next to him.
    • Estonia is relieved to find out that he wasn't really sent to a universe containing gender-reversed nations.
    • England has a dream at one point where he is forced to play Cloudcuckoolander's Minder to America in Africa, trying to keep him safe from poisonous lizards, snakes, and poisonous plants. He's glad that it's just a dream. And then America shows up for real...
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  • Baki the Grappler has a humorous example: the fight between Oliva and Guevara ends with Guevara the winner, then being introduced to the president of the United States, who begs him for forgiveness, and Yujiro, who tells him he's the strongest warrior in the world. He marvels, at this, saying it all seems like a dream...which it is. A dream he had after Oliva knocked him out with a punch that embedded him in the ground.
  • In Battle Spirits Shonen Toppa Bashin, the majority of episode 44 turns out to be Striker's dream, after he nearly drowned at the beach. Before then, it was a trippy episode even for the show's standards, involving Striker generating an Unwanted Harem involving several of the female characters, including a case of Interspecies Romance with Okyou, a cat.
  • Inverted in Berserk. In the midst of the massacre under the Eclipse, Corkus becomes convinced that the entire plot of the series was just a dream. After all, (present horror excluded) it was much too good to be true. His absolute certainty did not prevent his brutal death.
  • Bleach:
    • Episode 287 has a twist. The viewer is initially led to think that it's Ichigo's dream but it turns out to be a Dream Within a Dream of Isane Kotetsu's.
    • Done again with episode 304, although this time, it's Komamura's.
    • Happened straight in the comic that came with UNMASKED. Ulquiorra dreams up the memories of his past.
  • Cowboy Bebop:
    • "Toys in the Attic" is implied to be this. It's a bizarre episode that involves a blob monster emerging from a broken fridge and nearly killing most of the crew. The next episode opens with Spike waking up from what appears to be have been a very bad dream.
    • Played with for Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door, as it could be a dream Spike has, as the movie starts with him napping and ends with him waking up.
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys:
    • The last skit in the anime, High School Boys and ..., was Tadakuni's dream which contained many of the fandom's desires. Interestingly enough, this has generated a fair bit of discussion [1], as the punchline to the skit as presented in the anime (incredibly similar to the start of a skit way back in episode 4) makes it seem that 9 of the 12 episodes of the anime never happened, invalidating all of the characters introduced since then.
    • In the un-animated skit High School Girls are Funky — Tolerance, Yanagin again dared NAGO to test how long can they stay in the sauna. While most of the skit showed Yanagin won over NAGO... it turned out Yanagin fell unconscious earlier than NAGO, Ikushima and Habara; what we saw for the previous pages were just her dream while she was unconscious.
  • The first Detective Conan OVA has the main character work out that he is in a dream while he is still in it. Used more gratingly in the 13th movie where a scene used prominently in early promotions turns out to be a dream at the start of the movie.
  • In the tenth Dragon Ball Z movie, Gohan and Goten are getting overwhelmed against Broly, who is still immensely powerful despite Gohan being a Super Saiyan 2. Goten begs for Shenron to help them and Goku arrives, allowing the Son family to deliver a powerful triple Kamehameha. When the dust settles, Goku is long gone, making the brothers wonder if Goku really descend from heaven to help them or if it was them all along.
  • One of the DVD specials for Durarara!! cleverly inverts this trope. The opening scenes show downright absurd scenes, like UFO sightings. As these are shown, Walker muses that most people would call his fantasies a pipe dream. The rest of the episode is narrated chronologically backwards, revealing that the strange occurrences at the beginning of the episode are not part of Walker's fantasy.
  • Repeatedly used in several episodes of the anime series Ergo Proxy, due to the proxies, god-like beings who can shape-shift and invade human minds with horrifying ease. Several characters are subjected to this trope, but none more so than the main character, Vincent Law, to the point that when unexpected things happen in reality he assumes it's yet another dream. Half the time he's correct. Other times he's outright told he's being subjected to a dream, or is it a dream within a dream, or has it been reality all along? It's a wonder this show made any sense at all.
  • The Season 2 opening of Genshiken starts with Sasahara opening a book... and then goes into an opening for a Mobile Suit Gundam-like series starring the Genshiken characters, including a helmeted Madarame as the antagonist. Then Sasahara wakes up and we see that he was looking at a sketch of the club members.
  • Get Backers:
    • Ban Mido uses his Jagan to produce hallucinations for exactly one minute. At many points, the audience also sees what the person is dreaming. Typically, this happens each time the audience is led to believe that the heroes have been killed. Once the minute ends, the dream "shatters," and all is well.
    • The entire series turns out to be just a virtual dream in the end.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Episode 18 revolves around Yu, a teenager who has been turned into an assassin by having his late father's mind downloaded into him. Yu is incapacitated by the Major before he can stab the politician he is targeting, but then activates an explosive device, seemingly killing everyone in the vicinity. It's then revealed that this was all a false memory that had been digitally written into Yu's cyberbrain, as tricking him into thinking the assassination was successful was the only way to get rid of the father's memories.
  • The third-to-last episode of GUN×SWORD implies the series so far was a dream of The Rival Ray, with him waking up back home. Actually THAT is a dream he's having as he dies.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • Inverted in the sixth episode (chronologically). Kyon falls asleep, complete with explanations of REM- and Non-REM sleep and colorful visuals. Just at the climax of the episode, with Haruhi and him kissing, it abruptly cuts off and he falls off his bed. He then rants "What kind of dream was that? Sigmund Freud is gonna be laughing at me!" The next day, he meets Haruhi wearing a ponytail which he told her in the dream, looks good on her. After she also claimed to have had a bad dream, it is entirely obvious that it wasn't a dream.
    • Koizumi suggests this trope as an ending to Haruhi's movie that will subconsciously convince her that the events of the movie are fictional. This suggestion is met with blank stares from the rest of the Brigade. They go with a variant of Our Lawyers Advised This Trope instead.
    • Snowy Mountain Syndrome is a complicated and strange experience involving a massive blizzard and a mysterious mansion where the brigade seeks shelter, and are then trapped. When they escape after several hours, they end up back on the sunny ski-slope, and not ten minutes have passed. Kyon and Koizumi planned to just feign ignorance when Haruhi brought it up, which would lead her to believe it was a dream, but Mikuru screwed up that plan by admitting she remembered everything as well. Koizumi had to BS something about a mass hallucination, which made no sense, but Haruhi believed it anyway.
  • The 2nd special episode of High School DXD where Issei has an erotic dream of Akeno giving him a private lesson. Upon waking up, he finds himself hugging Asia, which prompts an angry response from Rassei.
  • In InuYasha, Kagome gets tricked into dreaming she is living a normal school life on two distinct occasions. The first is during a battle with Tsubaki, and the second was one of the battles with Naraku. The Tsubaki episode is interesting, since she sees many of her friends as Real Life personas (Kikyou for instance is her archery instructor at school).
  • Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: In the movie, the lengthy wedding of the official couple deal before the opening credits. Bits to make the trope less of a foregone conclusion are present, such as moderation in pandering to either of characters' agendas, or a momentary narration by character other than the dreamer.
  • A manga chapter of Mahoraba went from mild out-of-character moments for the other characters to intensely bizarre rooftop battles against a giant monster. At the end of the chapter, there is a chart which grades the reader based on when they figured out that the chapter was in fact a dream.
  • One episode of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch was a very, very strange New Year's dream in which Lucia uses her Idol Singer powers to become famous.
  • The Sunny-Side Battle! OVA of Naruto turns out to be Sasuke's dream, throughout which Itachi was trying to tell him something important. Sasuke figures it out at the end.
  • One of the great many interpretations of episodes 25-26 of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The episode 26 AU started with this... then it turned out that the AU was the dream, created to see if Shinji has a future without piloting his Eva.
  • Frequently subverted in Nightmare Inspector, though grandly played straight in the end when the characters learn that not only is Mizuki's brother Azusa, vessel for the Baku Hiruko before Chitose took over, still alive, he's been concocting the biggest, darkest, and most twisted nightmare ever, hoping that it will consume him and he can finally rest in relative peace. Turns out? Chitose was a figment of his imagination. Everything that happened since Chitose took over was all just Azusa's nightmare, that Mizuki and Hifumi were trapped in.
  • One Piece:
    • The short "Jiginai Time" (or "No Respect Time") apparently takes place entirely within the dream of an incredibly bored, talking moai, much to the main characters' chagrin.
    • The 2008 film Episode of Chopper Plus: Bloom in Winter, Miracle Sakura is based on the Drum Island arc, but significantly altered from canon to have Franky, Robin and the Thousand Sunny in place of Vivi, Carue and the Going Merry, and adds Wapol's older brother Musshuru to the villains. It was re-released in 2014 with a new ending added on, revealing the whole thing had been a dream Chopper was having after the crew got back together post-timeskip.
  • The episode "Haruhi in Wonderland" of Ouran High School Host Club is all Haruhi's dream, but it's obvious from the beginning that it is either a dream or at least a nonsense episode based on Alice in Wonderland. What makes the episode really neat is its use of dream logic and the way she wakes up by slowly realizing that people and places are not exactly as they are in real life. The final realization that causes her to awaken is trying to hug her mother who was already dead when the series began.
  • Two episodes of Patlabor. In the first, Shige gets knocked out and dreams that he moves to New York to become part of a team of Toku heroes. In the second, it looks like Noa dreams that she's the hero of an Ultraman parody... but it turns out it's her teammate Asuma who dreamed it when he fell asleep listening to Shige talk about his aforementioned dream sequence in the hospital.
  • In Ranma ½, Ranma dreams that Jusenkyō dried up and wakes up terrified that he won't be able to lift the curse. He, Genma, and Happōsai then use a Magic Mirror to Time Travel. They first visit a future where Ryōga and Akane are married with children, then visit Jusenkyō to prevent their past selves from falling in the spring in the first place, but Happōsai sabotages it after he's left behind. Then Ranma wakes up again — the entire episode was just a dream, and the intro was a dream within a dream. He's understandably paranoid that he hasn't really woken up yet.
  • The first episode/chapter of School-Live! follows the wacky antics of a group of schoolgirls chasing a dog through the hallways. It is then revealed that the school is actually dilapidated and barricaded, that the main characters are the survivors of a Zombie Apocalypse, and that the scenes of normal school life are the delusion Yuki's mind has created to shut out the trauma.
  • Junji Ito's first two stories involving Souichi and the Tsujii family, Secret of the Haunted Mansion and The Souchi Front, were both Retconned into being a dream. This was largely done because the characters underwent a massive Genre Shift from outright horror to Lighter and Softer Black Comedy, with Souchi portrayed as a relatively harmless nuisance (in contrast to the original stories, where he was essentially a mass murderer).
  • The second season of Shakugan no Shana starts with Yuji trapped inside a dream (created by the real first villain of the season). Yuji picks up on some deja vu, but when complete scenes and defeated villains from the first season start showing up, then he knows something's wrong. No one will listen to him or tell him anything he—the one the dream is based on—doesn't already know. The dream falls apart once he pieces everything together, and he wakes up in the middle of a battle with that villain.
  • Parodied in Sketchbook, when Tsukiyo hands in a manga she's written, only to be told by the editor that she has to rewrite the ending, since having it be All Just A Dream is bad writing. Then she wakes up in her bed.
  • Sorieke! Anpanman:
    • Any episodes that feature Akubi-dori will be the results of this trope. Whenever she yawns, she'll send the main character of the episode in a long sleep and into a dream. Most of these would be nightmares, (Creampanda's case), or they'll be good for so long until something bad happens (Dokinchan's case when she was about to kiss Shokupanman). The only way to get out of the dream is to find Akubi-dori, go inside her, and pull any of the mood ropes to make her sneeze. After that, all of the characters would wake up and none of them (except for the main character) will remember the events that happened in the episode.
    • Another episode was in 899 when Baikinman wonders why he can't be stronger than Anpanman, and a small purple guy named Nazobo says he'll take him, Dokinchan, Horrorman, and Anpanman to the dream world. There, the main three bad guys meet Princess Hatena, who can grant Baikinman's destiny by giving him a cape and a staff, with which he succeeds in defeating his nemesis, but he doesn't know if this will be his choice. Then it turned into a nightmare when Princess Hatena traps the three with the staff she gave to Baikinman and coils around them. however, they were rescued by Anpanman when he came to stop them. Unlike the Akubi-dori example, it's debatable whether the events of that episode actually happened or not.
  • Twice in the anime-only first series of To Love-Ru:
    • Episode 10 begins with Rito accidentally seeing Haruna changing out of her tennis uniform, he tries to look away but starts coming on to him and wanting a kiss. It turns out the whole thing was a dream as he wakes up and finds a naked Lala next to him (who was apparently dreaming of him), to which he freaks out and faints.
    • Episode 23 has Saruyama becomes jealous of Rito's popularity and wishes he was a noble in Edo Castle. He then has daydreams of his many adventures as the ruler of Edo Castle, where all his friends make appearances.
  • Many episodes of Urusei Yatsura were dream sequences, usually obvious in that the episode was occurring in the past or with historical characters.
    • In one episode, Kitsune watches a movie about a fox who uses magical nuts to turn the human woman he loves into a fox. Kitsune does the same to Shinobu (as well as Lum, Ataru, Cherry, and Kotatsu-Neko, by accident). In the end, however, he wakes up to finds himself in the open field where he saw the movie, revealing that the night he turned Shinobu into a fox was just a dream.
    • Played with very cleverly in the second movie.


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