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Alleged Lookalikes
aka: Non Identical Twins

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I'm pretty sure they are both bears.
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Characters who have an enigmatic connection of some kind will often be similar in other ways. Usually this means they have similar movesets, or something, but sometimes that's impractical or the writers decide they need something that people can notice without seeming goofy.

That's when the goofiest similarity of all crops up, the Alleged Lookalike. This is when the cast has difficulty telling two characters apart, or otherwise notes physical similarities between them - but to the audience, they don't look any more alike than any other pair of characters. This can be a side-effect of Only Six Faces, or Generic Cuteness.

This only covers cases where two characters are compared in a way that to the audience is clearly not appropriate; just saying You Remind Me of X doesn't count. See also Easy Impersonation, when it's a villain being mistaken for a hero.

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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • In a commercial for the Seattle Mariners baseball team., Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt as the "doubleplay twins" dress identical, and get a song about how "you're seeing double," but look absolutely nothing alike.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In InuYasha, everyone initially compares Kagome to Kikyo, of whom she is the reincarnation. They may technically have the "same" face, but the series suffers from Only Six Faces, so they don't look any more alike than any other two random characters you could pick out. The anime makes this even worse than the manga, as there Kikyo and Kagome purposefully differ in many ways: their hairs' style, texture, and color; habitual facial expressions including nose and eye shape, skin tone, and figure — to the point where they're two of the most distinct characters of the same sex and similar age group.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, no-one ever seems to see a difference between short, moe, Tareme-eyed, soft-voiced Yugi and his not-quite-so-short, bishonen, Tsurime-eyed, deep-voiced alter ego. Some fans have tried to explain the (apparently not so) obvious changes as audio-visual cues to the audience that do not actually exist in-universe. Since every once in a blue moon somebody will mention one of the changes in passing, this explanation has not been widely accepted. Maybe the others just can't stop staring at the hair. The manga averts this, actually. They all notice the switch between Yugi and his alter ego or at least they notice that he changed. It gets more ridiculous in Season 5, when the gang travel to Ancient Egypt. The anime adds a scene where the gang meet Atem's childhood friend Mana. She promptly mistakes Yugi for Atem, but now there is not only a height difference but a difference in clothing and also skin colour.
  • Similarly, in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Yuya, Yuto, Yugo and Yuri, being dimensional counterparts of each other, are all said to look extremely similar, and are frequently mistaken for each other - despite having wildly different hair, voices, heights, eye-colors, clothes and mannerisms. Their Distaff Counterparts (Yuzu, Ruri, Rin and Selena) get a similar treatment. For comparison purposes, here is a picture of all the lookalikes.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura:
    • Sonomi comments on how much Sakura looks like her mother, to the point of being surprised at the resemblance before she even knew who Sakura was. Yet there is no noticeable resemblance between them (Touya actually looks much more like their mother than Sakura does).
    • Yue, and Yukito, a entity the former created to hide inside are noted by another character to be "just alike," when in actuality they have almost nothing in common whatsoever, despite technically being the same person in a odd way. They are functionally in effect completely separate characters with contrasting personalities and distinctly different appearances.
  • In Digimon Frontier, people marvel at the near-identical Koji and Koichi, who—like Kagome and Kikyo—only share points of similarity that everyone else shares due to the art style. Maybe you could handwave the totally different skintones as one spending more time in the sun than the other. It leads up to their being revealed as each other's long-lost twin. Fraternal twins do exist, but again, we get "they look exactly alike!" Once an Episode. The only noticeable thing that it can truly be chalked up to is that they're the only two of the main cast who have Tsurime Eyes.
  • An interesting case happens in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure because of the artist's style changes. Part 3 protagonist Jotaro Kujo is supposed to look identical to his grandfather Joseph Joestar in his 30s, to a point Joseph's mistress Tomoko Higashikata mistakes him for her lover in Part 4. Jotaro's appearances in every Part he appears in are all during periods of Art Evolution, meaning that Jotaro never looks like Joseph in the slightest to the readers (unless you count Araki's recent redesigns, which suffer from an extreme case of Only Six Faces).
  • In Samurai High School, the main protagonists Kou and Tsukiko are presented as Half-Identical Twins who can pull a Twin Switch without anybody noticing, despite their vastly differing heights, eye shapes and colours.
  • Super Gals: When Ran visited Taiwan for a study tour, she was mistaken for actress Vivian Lin, who apparently looks a lot like her. However, due to the series' Only Six Faces art style, they look no more identical than any other pair.
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: While Illya and her magically-generated clone Kuro do naturally look very similar, in-universe this trait is greatly exaggerated. They're suggested to be nearly indistinguishable, to the point that Illya's friends and even her brother mistook Kuro for Illya the first time they saw her. However, to the viewers it's always obvious which is which, since Kuro has brown skin, pink hair, and bright orange-red eyes, while Illya has white skin, white hair, and dark red eyes.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, we have Rei, the blue-haired, red-eyed, inhumanly pale clone of Shinji’s late, brown-haired, dark-eyed mother, Yui. Their alleged resemblance is apparently so great that Shinji’s father destroyed all photos of Yui in order to prevent him from noticing.
  • In The Quintessential Quintuplets, the Nakano sisters are frequently mistaken for one another due to their similar faces. This would be fine enough if it weren't for the Generic Cuteness seen with other female characters, in addition to the variant styles, cuts, and colors each sister's hair has. The anime ups this by giving them all distinct voices, only getting around the confusion over who the bride is in the first episode's intro by muting her dialogue.

    Comic Books 
  • In-Universe in the Harley Quinn comics. The third issue has a man who says he can never hold down a job because he looks just like... The Joker (Harley had guessed Al Gore with a bad haircut.) He doesn't and is clearly delusional, eventually leading to his own death out of sheer idiocy.
  • Vertigo Comics' Moonshadow #9 has the Tittletat Twins, who are visually different (in height, weight, hair color and style, etc.) but claim to be identical in all those aspects. They were born of different parents in different years, but when they met they decided they were clearly twins. The protagonist decides to not discuss the subject with them.
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    Films — Animation 
  • In The Breadwinner, protagonist Parvana pretends to be a boy while wearing her deceased brother Sulayman's clothes. It's mentioned several times that she now looks just like him. The thing is, assuming his depiction in the Story Within a Story is accurate...she doesn't, really. Then again, it's usually their mom making the comparison, and she's shown to be in a pretty frail state emotionally, both about Sulayman's death and the family's current situation.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens in Kamen Rider: The First, where the woman only spots one of the two Hopper operatives in night time, making it harder to distinguish their Palette Swap. On top of that, she's seen Hopper no. 1 without the helmet once, but because of aforesaid problems with color perception, she doesn't know that it him who saves her later since he keeps the helmet on this time, AND she comes across Hopper no. 2 in the daytime and thinks that's the one who saved her. That would make sense in the show, where for the longest time, only small details kept them from being 100% identical. But this being the big-budget remake, the producers knowingly pimped out the suits with heavy detailing just to make sure you weren't counting arm-stripes to tell them apart.
  • In the very goofy 1991 movie Mystery Date, everyone confuses Ethan Hawke with Brian McNamara (playing his older brother), despite the fact that the two bear next to no resemblance to each other. Seriously. They even claim to give Ethan Hawke the same haircut, but he still has that bowlcut style haircut he had in every movie he made in the early 90s. It's ridiculous.
  • In Gattaca, the fact that Vincent is able to disguise himself as Jerome using his DNA samples is believable, but, looks wise, they aren't that similar. Jude Law and Ethan Hawke just don't look alike, at least not enough to confuse one for the other. This is handwaved in the movie as people (especially cops) being so confident in their genetic analysis material that "who looks at the face, nowadays?" The only person to notice is the Love Interest who's surprised when she meets the real Jerome and a random doctor who realizes the urine samples "Jerome" is providing are actually coming from a hidden pouch but keeps it to himself.
  • A big plot point in The Black Dahlia is that Madeleine Linscott and the murdered Elizabeth Shortt looked alike. Kay is even able to spot the resemblance from several feet away on the lawn. Actresses Hilary Swank and Mia Kirschner look nothing alike.
  • In Repo! The Genetic Opera, Mag comments that Shilo has her "mother's eyes, her hair" — the eyes are debatable, but the hair looks nothing alike, Marni's hair being slightly lighter and curly. Especially noticeable since Shilo's "hair" is a wig supplied by her father.
  • In the Harry Potter films, Harry is still said to have inherited his mother Lily's bright green eyes; they even changed Snape's last words to "You have your mother's eyes..." The problem, of course, is that Daniel Radcliffe's eyes are bright blue, while Lily had brown ones. So not only did neither match the book, they didn't even match each other.

    Literature 
  • In Doris Egan's "Two-Bit Heroes", narrator Theodora is constantly mixed up with Cantry, the ladylove of the biggest criminal in the area she's visiting. Theodora finds this especially ridiculous because she's a redhead and Cantry is a blonde, but since the two of them are from other planets and the planet they're both living on, Ivory, is populated with dark-skinned brunettes, it's maybe natural that Ivorans wouldn't somehow notice/pick up on that. Eventually the two of them get caught up in a scheme to have two "Cantrys" showing up at the same time.
  • Inverted in Warrior Cats. Many characters look virtually identical to other cats, but this is only referenced when they have a very Strong Family Resemblance. Apparently, cats look less similar to each other than they do to humans.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of NewsRadio had this as part of the plot. Matthew's 'twin brother', played by pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart, came to visit. He looked nothing like him, but they both kept playing 'look alike' games. Eventually Matthew's brother says that it was a stupid idea of his parents in order to misdirect Matthew from thinking he was adopted. The rest of the cast is shocked, as this is incredibly stupid, even for Matthew. It turns out that the deception was the other way around. Matthew was the biological son, and he was simply playing stupid in order for his brother to not think he was adopted.
  • In Sykes Eric and Hattie insisted they were identical, despite not only being the opposite sex but also being completely different body types (Eric being taller, thin, and rakish and Hattie being shorter, heavier set and baby faced).
  • In an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle and Aphrodite have to infiltrate a twins bar run by the Gemini twins, despite not remotely looking alike (Aphrodite is a good deal taller than Gabrielle, for starters).
  • Metastises horribly with an Obvious Stunt Double in the Doctor Who story "The Chase", in which the Doctor's Evil Knockoff is played by William Hartnell's stunt double even in scenes when only one character had to be shown. The evil Doctor is said to be indistinguishable from the other in every way, which is reaching. The two actors do look very similar, but still readily distinguishable.
  • In Switched at Birth, several characters have said that Bay looks like her biological mother Regina, a clue that she was switched at birth. While Bay doesn't look much like the parents she was raised with, she doesn't look much like Regina at all. On top of that, it's been said many times that her parents assumed she got her "colouring" from a distant Italian relative (Bay's biological mother is Latina), when Bay really just has pale white skin but with brown hair, something that isn't that weird considering her "dad" has medium brown hair anyways.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • There's a Professional Wrestling duo named the Dudley Boys/Team 3-D where one of the "twins" is white and the other's black. The official explanation is that they are "Brothers from Another Mother". They even managed to once pull the switch-places-when-the-ref-isn't-looking trick.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Great Muppet Caper had a running gag in which Fozzie and Kermit were supposed to be twins and they can only be told apart when Fozzie has his hat on. Gets even funnier when they get each other confused while simultaneously acknowledging their obvious physical differences:
    Fozzie: You're lucky. You have fur.
    Kermit: No, Fozzie, you're the one with the fur. Turn on your light and see for yourself.

    Theater 
  • Swan Lake: The daughter of the Bad Guy goes to a dance disguised as the white swan. We know it's her because she's dressed in black.
  • Les Misérables: Champmathieu is supposed to look exactly like Jean Valjean, but in practice the actors are seldom identical.
  • The Comedy of Errors: Two long-lost identical twins end up in the same town. In some productions, the twins are played by different actors, and even, if the production wants to play this trope for laughs, different races and/or genders.
  • In the Twelfth Night, Viola and Sebastian are supposed to be Half-Identical Twins, impossible to tell apart when Viola is dressed as a man. Needless to say this, it is very difficult to find a suitable male and female actor who are even the same height, let alone actors who look enough alike to be mistaken for each other. Even when the play is performed with an all male cast, as when it was originally performed, actual male twins are rarely cast. One television production from 1969 simply used Double Vision movie magic to have the lead actress play both roles.
  • In Blood Brothers, Mickey and Eddie are supposed to be identical twins. This has not stopped some productions from casting actors who have very different appearances.
  • In The Woman in White, Laura Fairlie and Anne Catherick are supposed to look similar, but are often played by actresses who look different from one another.

    Video Games 
  • Samuel in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem is a copycat of another character, the famed swordsman Navarre. In the original game, they looked quite similar; however, Navarre had his design updated in the 2010 remake that changed his hair color and outfit. Samuel, on the other hand, went through none of these changes, making the similarity between them much less apparent.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, members of Organization XIII either claim Sora looks like Roxas or just call Sora "Roxas". This is... confusing, since to some degree they seem to actually believe he is Roxas, but they're also messing with his head, and it's hard to tell which is happening. Sora and Roxas do have the same face, but they also have completely different hair, mannerisms, and voices, so it's kind of hard to actually confuse the two. Later human/Nobody pairs are basically identical, (for example, the only difference between Axel and an adult Lea is the facial markings on the former and Axel/Lea is basically treated as one singular person anyway, to the point that the names are interchangeable.), making it seem even weirder. With later revelations about the nature of Roxas and nobodies, the Organization had reason to believe that Roxas could become the dominant persona. However, as Roxas had personal reasons to hate the Organization, getting him to take charge would have been bad for them.
  • In Onmyōji, the protagonist Seimei has an Evil Counterpart who goes around causing troubles and all the latter's victims mistake the former for the perpetrator. While the two of them do have use the exact same character model (the Evil Counterpart can even be unlocked as an alternate skin for Seimei) their colour schemes are radically different, including highly distinctive face paint on the evil twin that player Seimei lacks. Like, we know they are separated from a single person, but come on.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic and Shadow are both consistently mistaken for the other. It's reasonable in the real world for people to have difficulty telling animals apart, but this isn't the real world. Sonic is bright blue with spines that arc downward, while Shadow is black and red with spines that turn upward. Their only similarity is that they're both hedgehogs. Even Sonic's self-proclaimed girlfriend Amy Rose gets them mixed up, and that's when Shadow is standing still in broad daylight.
    • In Sonic Generations, the game is about Sonic meeting with himself from the Genesis/Mega Drive era. Originally Sonic was shorter, had shorter legs, black eyes and was pudgy, but in the Sonic Adventure, he was redesigned being taller and having longer legs, green eyes and was more slim. Despite this all of Sonic's friends don't seem to notice much difference between the two, even both Sonics don't notice when they look at each other through a glass and think they're looking at a mirror.
  • Played for all kinds of laughs in Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. Shantae, Risky Boots, Sky, and Rottytops are all mistaken for the missing princess of the Tan Line Temple and held against their will. Mind you, these are four very attractive women, though with their different (and often fantastic) skin and hair colors, they're not even particularly easy to mistake for each other. The actual princess? Short and dumpy, not even slightly similar in appearance to any of the four. Risky threatens the High Priest with violence after realizing who she's being confused with. The townspeople only seem to notice after the princess returns (she was just shopping), and the High Priest remains confused even then.
  • In Breath of Fire IV, Ryuu and Fou-Lu are said to look very similar, at least by the residents of the village of Sonne. Their facial features, however, look almost nothing alike, even if you ignore their completely different hair styles and colors, their completely different eye colors, and Fou-Lu's horns.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, people constantly mistake Mario for Shadow Mario, and insist that Mario is the one responsible for polluting Isle Delfino; even when they are seen together, characters (including Princess Peach, who's spent more time around Mario than anyone else besides Luigi) insist that they look identical. This despite the fact that Mario has his normal color scheme, while Shadow Mario is uniformly blue from head to toe and appears to be made of water.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in Sonic Shorts with one short featuring Sonic being increasingly frustrated for being mistaken for Metal Sonic, Shadow and Silver, culminating in him ripping his own ears off.

    Visual Novels 
  • Tokimeki Memorial 4: It's certainly true that Rui Nanakawa looks like Tadashi, but she's still a girl. Even when in his clothes, Rui is a head shorter, has a higher pitched voice, lighter skin, and certainly isn't lacking in the bust department. No one seems to notice these differences except the Protagonist.
  • Phoenix Wright and Furio Tigre in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations. Played for laughs since the only thing Furio shares with Phoenix is a hair style. They differ in build, temperament, facial features, and skin tone, yet Tigre successfully managed to impersonate Phoenix in court using a fake badge made of cardboard, although it should be noted that the game goes full-out with this and uses Phoenix's sprite in this scene. Phoenix spends the entire case wondering how anyone could think Tigre looks like him.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Exaggerated in Family Guy in the episode "German Guy" when Chris gets in a Spot the Imposter situation with Peter and an elderly Nazi. Peter remarks that they don't look anything alike, but it doesn't help.
  • Played for Laughs in Back at the Barnyard. The other dog who was impersonating Duke looked nothing like him.
  • In one episode of Kaeloo, Kaeloo says that fraternal twins Pretty and Eugly resemble each other. Pretty is not amused.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Triple Threat", Princess Ember (a dragon) has difficulty telling Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer apart, since they're "both purple ponies with purple hair", and they "both have cutie marks with sparkly things". Doubles as Leaning on the Fourth Wall as fans have often pointed out the similarity between the two names.
      Starlight Glimmer: Mine's more of a glimmer.
      Ember: How is that different?
    • In "Sweet and Smoky", Ember mixes up Fluttershy with Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie, even though they are all different colors and the latter two don't have wings.

Alternative Title(s): Non Identical Twins

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