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All There in the Manual

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"The name of this world is Nalthis, by the way. Mistborn takes place on a world called Scadrial, and Elantris on a world known as Sel. See the fun things you learn by reading annotations?"

Information not mentioned within a specific work, but only found in supplemental material or in other works within the franchise. The significance of the info varies; it can be anything from little backstory details that clarify minor points, to information that is critical to understanding the plot.

For example, many anime OVAs based on a manga begin In Medias Res and rarely explain themselves under the assumption an OVA (being an occasional test run for a series) will typically be watched by someone who has read the original manga.

Other information can be found in text novels, video games, radio dramas or image songs, as the entire franchise is treated as a package. Though, if you don't have the money for all that, there's always TV Tropes and That Other Wiki.

Fairly common in anime and mostly unknown in American shows, although it seems to be steadily picking up speed with shows like Lost. However, it's very common in American comic books because of the assurance that the stereotypical fan is obsessive enough to collect supplemental material (see Ultimate Universe). This also applies to the elaborate backstories many video games of the 1980s provided in accompanying comic books or novellas.


A common response to people who complain about The Film of the Book not making sense is that they should have read the book. Naturally there is disagreement on whether this is fair; some believe that a movie should stand on its own, while others feel that those who care enough to complain should care enough to read.

Another issue that arises is when ancillary material is used to plug a Plot Hole after the main media is released (often in response to complaints), since for some people this means that writers can be lazy and ignore plot holes because they can be filled in later by other sources.

Related tropes include:

  • All There in the Script is a closely related trope for when the names of characters or other things are not revealed within the work, but can be found in other materials such as production scripts, credits, supplemental material, closed captioning, etc.
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  • All There in the Stinger, where an important plot detail (often a Sequel Hook or a Twist Ending) is only revealed after the credits and is easily missed if you don't know it's there.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication, where an element from an adapted work is kept, but the explanation for it isn't.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole, when a Plot Hole in an adapted work results from the omission or misinterpretation of some information from the source material.
  • Deleted Scene, in cases where plot holes and such are caused by the relevant information being in a scene that was cut for time or other reasons.
  • Guide Dang It!, when it's nearly impossible to progress in a game without information that's difficult or impossible to find in the game itself, and must be looked up from a guide or other external source.
  • Word Of God, where information not given in any part of the franchise is stated by the creator using some out-of-universe format, such as an interview or a personal blog.

So named for video games up until the late 90s, which had less ability and budget to actually tell a story in most genres. To compensate, information like backstories and character profiles were often included in the manual, although whether this was written by those who wrote the game was a crapshoot (not to mention being different between regions, like in the older Sonic the Hedgehog games). Not to be confused with Read the Freaking Manual, which refers to the oversight of not reading the manual despite it containing important practical information.


  • The only way to know without a doubt who is who in The Last Supper is to look at Leonardo da Vinci's notes that specified which names of each individual in the painting. Sure, Jesus was easy to spot out, but it's harder to tell the androgynous figure next to Christ is John without Leonardo's confirmation.
  • 20th century Czech pulp and scientific illustrator Zdenek Burian's images of dinosaurs and other prehistoric fauna and flora are among the most widely reproduced pieces of paleoart ever made. A lot of his early works were companion pieces to short stories written by his scientific mentor and consultant Josef Augusta, published in books reaching back to the 1930s, after which they were generally reproduced with purely scientific text. Burian's famous painting of an Iguanodon standing among scattered bones for instance accompanied a story of an old Iguanodon's final journey to a dinosaur graveyard. Knowing the stories helps explain certain details seen in Burian paintings, revealing their subjects to be special individuals rather than just generic representations of animal species.

Alternative Title(s): Its All There In The Manual, All In The Manual