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"It's like poetry, sort of. They rhyme. Every stanza kinda rhymes with the last one."
George Lucas regarding his own series

Most works, especially the more populous ones, feature many recurring characters who interact with the protagonists under different circumstances, and who thus wouldn't be expected to know each other. Or, if they do know each other, you wouldn't expect them to have a history together apart from what you see.

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Sometimes, though, these characters turn out to have been Connected All Along: they actually have met or crossed paths at some point, or share some other sort of unexpected connection. There are times where it would make sense, they might run in the same circles, even if the topic never came up around the protagonists.

It's likely the characters themselves won't remember the encounter, making The Reveal as much of a surprise to them as it is to the audience.

This is a Super-Trope to One Degree of Separation, Long-Lost Relative, You All Share My Story, Already Met Everyone, Luke, I Am Your Father, Luke, You Are My Father, Your Son All Along, and Not So Episodic.

Sister trope to Chekhov's Gunman, which most of the examples here will also be examples of, and Forgotten First Meeting. Compare Ambiguously Related, which may precede this trope.

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A secret connection between two characters is usually a surprise, so Spoilers Ahoy! There will be unmarked spoilers on here.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • This happens in the first two seasons of Digimon. In the first season, the DigiDestined learned that they all used to live in the same apartment complex, and witnessed a battle between Greymon and Parrotmon before moving away. In the second season, we learn that all of the new kids were partly recruited because the Digital World touched their lives in a big way.
  • In Durarara!!, Mikado was the secret leader of the Dollars all along. The Naritaverse is well-known for its cameos and interlocking background, which is fitting since they all take place at different times and places, within the same world. Celty of Durarara!! is friends with the demon Ronny Schiatto who gave the alchemists of Baccano! their Grand Panacea and Isaac & Miria make guest appearances as members of the Dollars. A pair of succubi from "Vamp" encounter Shizuo Heiwajima of Durarara. Shinra and Celty are in some way involved with a political scandal in the construction of Etsusa Bridge Much of this is only found in supplemental material or brief Shout Outs.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, it turns out that Ruby and Sapphire had met once before, but even they aren't aware, because they were so young that they don't remember each other's faces.
  • Project A-ko: A-Ko and C-Ko act like they've been lifelong friends. Then B-Ko reveals that C-Ko used to be her friend...
  • One of the big twists in the final episode/chapter of Your Lie in April is that Kaori was the little girl sitting next to young Emi when Kousei first played piano, meaning Kousei's first meeting with her isn't actually her first time meeting him.
  • While the two of them never learn it during the story, the accident that caused the male lead in RaButa to become Gonk is the same one that killed his girlfriend's parents.
  • Supplementary material in Lyrical Nanoha heavily implies that Signum was Agito's original lord, but nothing is ever confirmed one way or the other.
  • In My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, it's eventually revealed that the main characters all had some brush with each other before the story began. Hachiman saved a dog from being hit by a car, getting injured in the process. Turns out, Yui was the dog's owner, and Yukino was riding in the car's backseat.
  • In Attack on Titan, it turns out that Eren, Mikasa and Armin were in the same refugee center as Annie, Reiner and Bertolt after the fall of Wall Maria, although the latter three were the ones responsible for the whole event. This unknown crossing of paths is depicted on the cover of volume 24.
  • In Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Moriko and Sakurai were actually very close friends and confidants in another MMORPG some six months or so before the beginning of the story. They do figure out their connection after Moriko creates an alt character in their current game that looks like an aged-up version of her previous character, which makes Sakurai wonder and leads to his asking her point-blank during a phone conversation.
  • Most of the teenage cast in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War know each other due to the series' primary setting being an Elevator School, but outside of that:
    • In chapter 98, it's revealed that Kaguya and Maki are actually distant relatives (more specifically, they're second cousins twice removed).
    • In chapter 147, it turns out that Dr. Tanuma is the grandfather of Kashiwagi's boyfriend.
    • Gigako mentions in chapter 202 that the principal is her grandfather.
    • Chapter 209 reveals that Shirogane's father's company was stolen by the Shinomiya Zaibatsu (meaning that Kaguya's family is directly responsible for her boyfriend growing up in poverty and his mother abandoning him). And Shirogane (presumably) knew the entire time.
  • In Detective School Q, Kyuu's idol and mentor who saved him from some kidnappers is not only his Disappeared Dad (who had a good reason not to reveal his connection to Kyuu and his mother) but was also Morihiko Dan's partner and first protégé. Meanwhile, Ryu's heritage as grandson of King Hades is spelled out from the start, it's later revealed that King Hades is in fact Dan's Evil Former Friend as well as the illegitimate son of Kuzuryu Takumi, a genius artist whose various riddle-laden artworks are central to various cases that Class Q tackles.
  • Sailor Moon: In the 90's anime, Usagi didn't even suspect that her two crushes, Motoki Furuhata and Mamoru Chiba, knew each other until the episode where the three characters have a chance meeting.
  • One Piece: The Wano Arc reveals that all of the Four (or Five) Emperors are personally connected to each other. Whitebeard, Kaido and Big Mom served together in the Rocks Pirates and fought Gol D. Roger and Garp 38 years ago. Shanks would later serve under Roger while fighting Whitebeard, and Blackbeard served under Whitebeard and personally scarred Shanks during this time, until he made his move. Shanks in turn personally influenced Garp's grandson Luffy, the "Fifth Emperor", to pick up the path of piracy.
  • Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!: Fujio is introduced as a personal trainer at a new gym Shinichi is trying out. Then he goes home, and we find out he's Hana's father! The two of them get to discussing relationships, and Shinichi mentions his complicated situation with Hana, without saying her name, while Fujio mentions that his daughter has someone she likes. It's not until Shinichi goes over to the Uzaki house for Christmas that they realize the other's relation to Hana.
  • One 4-panel gag strip of Kengan Ashura reveals that the four stooges (Rihito, Okubo, Kaneda and Himuro) had crossed paths before any of them became a fighter: a then college-aged Okubo noticed Rihito getting into a fight with Sawada and went to cheer them on, weirding out Kaneda and Himuro, who were walking by. Nogi was also there at the time, although he took no notice of the idiots' hijinks.
  • Idolmaster: Xenoglossia:
    • Yukiho Hagiwara turns out to actually be Chihaya Kisaragi's friend, which also spoils her being a spy for Turiavita and a False Friend for Haruka Amami.
    • R.I.F.F.A was created from Azusa Miura's egg cells, basically making Azusa her mother.
  • The Jojos Bizarre Adventure Spin-Off Crazy Diamond's Demonic Heartbreak reveals that Noriaki Kakyoin grew up in the town of Morioh, the setting of Diamond is Unbreakable.
  • The last arc of Bodacious Space Pirates introduces us to Ironbeard, captain of the Parabellum. The final episode reveals that he is actually Marika's father (who was previously stated to have died before the beginning of the series), although Marika herself never finds this out.

    Comic Books 
  • In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel), it's established that Snake-Eyes' family was killed when their car was hit head-on by a drunk driver (who also died). It was later revealed the drunk driver was the brother of the man who would become Cobra Commander.
  • Zig-zagged in one of the possible endings of Meanwhile. Jimmy goes back in time and lives as all of the characters in the story: the ice cream man who gave Jimmy ice cream, the scientist, and Jimmy's own father. He raises his child self as his son.
  • In the final arc of Batgirl (2000), it is revealed that it was Ra's al Ghul who sponsored Cassandra's father in his experiments to make her a perfect assassin, rather than him doing it for his own freelance mercenary work.
  • The long-forgotten Marvel Universe mini-series Conspiracy implied that most of the Freak Lab Accident and Million-to-One Chance-based Origin Stories from the Silver Age were actually the work of a shadowy government cadre called "Control." So any silly story conceits that could be dismissed as a Plot Hole or Theory of Narrative Causality were actually implied to have been caused deliberately. The reason Reed Richards and his friends were easily able to sneak into space, as well as the reason their rocket didn't have proper radiation shielding? Control. The gamma bomb test that transformed Bruce Banner into The Incredible Hulk? Control. The wildly unsafe radiation experiments witnessed by a certain schoolboy from Queens? Control.
  • In the same vein as the above, the Earth X trilogy reveals that pretty much every Marvel character is actually a mutant, whose X-gene was catalyzed by whatever origin story they originally had. That's not even going into the wackier connections, such as how Wolverine is distantly related to Moon-Boy, or how Belasco was actually Nightcrawler, or how Mister Sinister was really Colossus. Basically, everyone and everything that ever was a part of the Marvel Universe was secretly tied to something else.
  • Batman finds out that the Court of Owls is behind everything
  • The ending of All-Ghouls School reveals Becca's aunt Dora is Elle's mother, making them cousins.

    Fan Works 
  • In Inheritance (Worm), when the current Butcher is killed their powers and a copy of their mind are transferred to the killer. When Sanguine killed the original Butcher, the two were surprised to realize that, outside of being rival capes, they'd regularly played Warframe tabletop games together.
  • Ruby and Nora
    • Atlas reveals that Jacques Schnee is allied with Salem. It's also turns out that Raven Branwen and Little Miss Malachite are as well.
    • While it had already been established that Flynt Coal's father's Dust shop was run out of business due to Jacques' business practices and he was later arrested for stealing and selling Dust illegally, Cold reveals that Jacques actually framed him for the crime, meaning Jacques personally knew and met with Flynt's father.
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    Films — Animated 
  • Back to the Outback: Early in the film, the group offhandedly learns from Jacinta that an unseen dung beetle they knew from the zoo named Duncan had been eaten by a seagull one month prior, after being released back into the wild. Later in the film, the group gets help from some dung beetle U.S.S agents to get past some human cattle ranchers. It later turns out the leader of the dung beetles is Duncan’s brother, and recognizes Chaz as the human who took him away, leading to him organizing the other dung beetles to roll boulders into the chasm Chaz is chasing the protagonists in, in an attempt to avenge his brother.
  • Coco: Miguel's great-grandmother, the movie's titular "Coco" (her real name is Socorro), is Hector's daughter—which means that Hector (not Ernesto de la Cruz) is Miguel's great-great-grandfather.
  • In Flushed Away, it's revealed near the end of the movie that Rita knows Sid, much to Roddy's dismay.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
  • Parodied in Hot Shots!, when it's revealed the entire barracks is in some way either connected directly to the events in which Topper's father, Buzz, got his RIO, Mailman, killed (Mailman was Kent Gregory's father), or somehow related to one of the characters involved (Wash Out's father was the hunter who actually shot him, and everyone else is related to Wash Out, or has some connection to Eagle River).
  • Final Destination 2 reveals that the survivors of the highway pileup somehow cheated death thanks to the deaths of the Flight 180 survivors of the first Final Destination film.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter finds out that the father of his date to homecoming is Adrian Toomes (The Vulture), the criminal he's been chasing the whole movie. Toomes figures out Peter is Spider-Man on the way to the dance, thanks to recognizing Peter's voice and Liz remarking that Peter was always away when dangerous things happened and Spider-Man saved the day.
    • Im Spider-Man: No Way Home, it's shown that the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus of the Spider-Man Trilogy knew each other, and that the Lizard and Electro of The Amazing Spider-Man Series not only worked at Oscorp, but likewise knew each other. Amusingly, given Spider-Man 2 established that Otto also knew his universe's Curt Connors, neither he nor their universe's Peter, a student of Connors who also ended up in the MCU, question why the Connors they see in this movie is a monster with a British accent, nor do Electro or especially the Lizard (given what's shown in the Amazing films suggests that he'd likely have known their universe's Osborn personally) question why the Green Goblin looks very different from their Norman Osborn.
  • Parodied in Spaceballs, where during the climax, Dark Helmet reveals to Lone Star that he is his father's brother's cousin's nephew's former roommate, which he says makes the two of them absolutely nothing.

    Literature 
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: Myne meets all sorts of people from all walks of life during the story. One of those people is Freida, a wealthy young girl around Myne's age who, for various reasons, is going to become a nobleman's official mistress as soon as she reaches adulthood. Later in the story, Myne's first bodyguard is Damuel, a knight from an Impoverished Patrician family. As the bodyguard job is basically court-ordered community service for Damuel, Myne gets curious and finds out that he couldn't afford a hefty fine he had to pay as part of his sentence and had to borrow money from his older brother's mistress' family. The mistress turns out to be Freida.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it's revealed that Snape was in love with Lily, and that they were actually friends as Hogwarts students. And while Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had revealed that Dumbledore had a brother named Aberforth, Deathly Hallows revealed that he was the unnamed owner of the Hog's Head.
  • In The Curse of Chalion, protagonist Cazaril had saved a young slave boy from being raped, at the cost of being beaten almost to death. Near the end of the book, when he's sent to a neighboring country to negotiate an alliance, its prince excitedly demands Cazaril display his scars, then embraces him as the one who saved him when he was enslaved. Diplomatic matters are rather swiftly resolved.
  • It is revealed pretty late in Wolf in Shadow by David Gemmell that outlaw gang leader Daniel Cade is the hero Jon Shannow's brother, and that Jon Shed the Family Name.
  • In Question Quest, the backstory of Good Magician Humfery is revealed, including his connections to several characters. One of them was Crombie, a supporting character from the first trilogy, who it turns out was Humfrey's estranged son. This retroactively connected him to the protagonists of Ogre, Ogre (which featured Crombie's daughter, Tandy) and Vale of The Vole (starring Tandy's son, Esk).
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford Prefect is introducing Arthur Dent to his semicousin, Zaphod Beeblebrox, when Arthur reveals that they met once at a party, surprising the hell out of Ford. It was at that same party that Arthur met Zaphod's companion, Trillian, whom he knew as Tricia McMillan.
  • In the Fairy Oak sequel series, we learn that Jim's grandfather is actually Charles Bullet, a pirate, friend of Captain Talbot. Bullet accidentally attacked the Isabella II, the Captain's ship, taking the cargo with him. The Isabella II sunk shortly after, and the Captain lived in Fairy Oak as an amnesiac vagabond. Many years later, sorry for his actions, Charles looked for him, found Fairy Oak, mapped his journey, and returned him many of his things to help him remember his glorious past. Because of this, Talbot started telling stories to the village's children. Bullet kept the jewelry, toys and books, which Jim picked up while growing up. Some years later, the teenager found out about his grandfather's past life, which prompt him to run away, using the map to Fairy Oak as his only guide.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Arrow, it's revealed that Adrian Chase, the Big Bad of Season 5, is the illegitimate son of one of Oliver's targets from back in Season 1.
  • On Community, it's revealed in one episode that Shirley once bullied Jeff as a child.
    • A fourth-season episode exaggerates this. It turns out Annie's drug-fueled nervous breakdown involved making a speech that convinced Troy to fake his injury. The Dean discovered his love of women's clothing because of a slinky dress Shirley couldn't return to the store, which she only tried to do because a bitter and recently disbarred Jeff convinced Andre to cheat on her, which he could only do because Abed harassed the Bennett boys for trying to watch The Phantom Menace. The incident got Abed sent to a therapist, where he got Annie sent to rehab. Meanwhile, Jeff's legal defense of Mysti (the stripper Andre cheated on Shirley with) was viewed by Britta's feminist anarchist collective as a triumph, and a good reason to disband on a happy ending. This caused Britta to strike out on her own as an activist. Britta liberated a lab monkey, which would later become Troy's pet. It would then bite and scratch Chang, turning him gradually crazier with experimental monkey fever. It turns out Chang is the reason the entire study group (except Pierce, who was there for 10 years prior) enrolled in Greendale, as they were all at the mall on the same day Chang was handing out flyers.
  • In Dog with a Blog, both of the parents actually met before when Tyler's toy car bumped into Avery's stroller, and both had a quarrel. Of course, in the show they never find out.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, the entire reason Ted starts the story 8 years before he met Tracy is because of this. The seemingly random events, even stuff we thought got settled all those years ago, it all informs the story of that last weekend and everyone's lives. That's why the story had such a long scope.
    • It's revealed throughout the course of the show that Ted and Tracy crossed paths numerous times throughout the series: Ted accidentally taught the wrong college class once, and Tracy was in it; Tracy was at a St. Patrick's Day party that Ted attended; etc.
    • It's also revealed that Lily, Marshall, Barney, and Robin all met Tracy before Ted did.
    • Downplayed with Barney and Robin. They find out they have the same cousin Mitch shortly before their wedding, and they panic, but they then find out that Robin isn't blood-related to Mitch.
  • On Superman & Lois, it's revealed that Morgan Edge is actually a Kryptonian named Tal-Rho, and is in fact Kal-El/Clark/Superman's half-brother.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, when Howard sees Raj's date Emily, he realizes that he and she have met before in a very bad way. Later in the episode, it's revealed that he once went to her apartment after a blind date with her, clogged the toilet, and went out through the bathroom window.
  • The Barrier:
    • Emilia and Daniela, two characters without any sort of regular interaction prior to the beginning of the series, turn out be acquainted with the two same members of La Résistance.
    • A character who has been around since Episode 1 turns out to be married to a woman who is introduced in Episode 9.

    Podcasts 
  • Plumbing the Death Star identifies the "idiot detective", a phenomenon where movie-goers will experience a brief rush of satisfaction upon seeing a previously established character, even if the character has no reason to appear or any connection to the relevant characters. This is the best answer they have for the question "Why Does Your Snoke Theory Suck?", referring to theories that the new Star Wars villain was an alien rabbit, Darth Vader's butler, or Samuel L. Jackson.
  • The Adventure Zone: Balance, at the end of Reunion Tour, reveals that Tres Horny Boys have known each other far longer than their previously established first meeting, when they regain their lost memories of a vast period of their backstory. The truth is that they, along with Lucretia, Barry Bluejeans, and Davenport, were actually interplanar astronauts. Magnus, Merle, Taako, Barry, and Davenport had a whole century of their memories blocked out by Lucretia to make it harder for the Hunger to hunt them down. The Reveal also revealed that Taako had had a twin sister named Lup who perished on their journey and so all memory of her had been blocked from their minds as well.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate has some:
    • Shar-Teel is the abused and disgruntled daughter of Angelo Dosan, one of the reasons she became a man-hating evil fighter. Despite her despise for him, Angelo has still affection for his daughter. If she's in the party when you get framed and captured in chapter 7, he can decide to let you go free. Once.
    • You considered Imoen simply as a childhood friend that happened to travel with you? Well, in the sequel you will discover that you are more connected than you thought.
    • In Baldur's Gate II, during the final confrontation against Firkraag in his sidequest, he reveals that he was targeting you because he had an old grudge over your foster father Gorion, and he is curious to look how your struggle with Irenicus (whom he knows very well) will turn out.
  • When assaulting Telestrian Industries in Shadowrun Returns, you can hack personal files that reveal its CEO is the half-brother of local alcoholic Sam Watts.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, most of the main cast discover that they grew up in the same orphanage and knew each other as kids (but they forgot it due to phlebotinum-related amnesia). It is also heavily implied that a major secondary character is the protagonist's estranged father.
  • Happens repeatedly in the Dark Parables series, since each new installment has a tendency to reveal new details about characters or situations encountered in previous games. To give the earliest example: the very first game, Curse of Briar Rose, pretty much only resolved the story of Sleeping Beauty. Since then, the player has learned that Briar Rose had a sister named Ivy, who was the wife of The Frog Prince; that Briar Rose is one of the specially selected Handmaidens of the nature goddess Flora, blessed with immortality and magical control over briar plants; and that she's a member of a warrior society called the Red Riding Hood Sisters.
  • Jade Empire: The Big Bad finds out that Dawn Star, a student he'd taught for 20 years, was actually his daughter. His reaction is essentially "Interesting, but irrelevant."
  • In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, it's eventually revealed that the party members (sans Yukino) all knew each other briefly when they were kids. Major villain Joker was also a member of this group, and remembers their last day together very differently to how the party remembers it.
  • In Persona 5, all of the targets that the Phantom Thieves had changed the hearts of turn out to be connected to The Conspiracy led by Masayoshi Shido. The conspiracy reaches far and wide, encompassing even more people than the heroes can fathom at first:
    • Suguru Kamoshida, the Phantom Thieves' first target, is distantly related to the conspiracy due to his change of heart prompting Shido to pressure Principal Kobayakawa to investigate the Phantom Thieves and their relation to Shujin Academy.
    • Ichiryusai Madarame and Junya Kaneshiro provided more direct aid to Shido by using money from their art forgeries and drug trafficking (respectively) to fund Shido's political career.
    • Kunikazu Okumura, a business magnate and aspiring politician, was also in on the conspiracy as the one who contracted Shido's personal assassin, known as the "Black Mask", to institute mental shutdowns in Shido's enemies, only to be assassinated himself when he proved to be more troublesome to Shido's ambitions than helpful.
    • The "Black Mask" is revealed to be Goro Akechi, who joined the Phantom Thieves briefly as The Mole for Shido. Akechi is also Shido's illegitimate son.
    • While not a part of the conspiracy, Futaba Sakura was a victim of it: her mother, Wakaba Isshiki, was a researcher who studied "cognitive psience", which Shido wanted to use for his ambitions. To that end, Shido had Wakaba suffer a mental shutdown and appear to be Driven to Suicide, then had the blame for her death pinned on young Futaba to evade suspicion.
    • The director of the Special Investigations Unit is also an associate of Shido, who used his position to convince Makoto Niijima's elder sister, public prosecutor Sae Niijima, to rig court cases involving Shido in his favor, all without her even realizing it.
    • At the very top of the conspiracy's totem pole is Yaldabaoth, the fake "Igor", who influenced Shido as part of a social experiment that the Player Character and Akechi were also wrapped into.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, it turns out that Rean and Alisa have met each other as kids when Alisa got lost at Ymir and Rean gave her a present and helped her get back to her parents.
  • Sdorica
    • The Watchers are strictly uninvolved with the events of the story. Should the player meet certain conditions in the second arc, Rei reveals that the villain was her former mentor.
    • Many character stories reveal connections between characters that the main game does not. For example, in Miranda's, she mentions she's looking for a killer who nearly wiped out the Stone Tiger Tribe, while Izumi's SP splash art has involves a black-furred tiger being skewered...
  • In Diner Dash Adventures, Mr. Big mentions that Flo's mom is a distant cousin of his, making Flo related to the Big family.
  • In Hitman (2016), Diana and Agent 47's partnership is sort of a mutually interdependent mobius strip: Diana recruited him to work with her at the ICA, but she only joined the ICA because of her parents' assassination, which was perpetrated by 47, under orders from an amoral monster not entirely unlike Diana's future self. Neither of them knew this; the world of assassination is just very small, apparently. For this reason, Diana eventually gives up on trying to figure out who's liable for what and just says that if 47 wants to keep working with her, he can.
  • Octopath Traveler: All eight characters' stories involve the cult of Galdera, specifically Lyblac's machinations to unseal Galdera himself. To list them off:
    • Ophilia: Mattias needed the Sacred Flame weakened in order to power the Dark Flame of Galdera. Mattias intended on only doing it a little to gain Galdera's power and not actually free him, but Lyblac wanted otherwise.
    • Cyrus: From The Far Reaches Of Hell contains the actual ritual needed to unseal Galdera.
    • Tressa: The journal Tressa found belonged to Graham Crossford and was stolen by Esmeralda to try to find any clue to his location, or his son Kit.
    • Olberic: Hornburg was destroyed because the Gate of Finis, beyond which lies Galdera, was buried deep below the Castle.
    • Primrose: Her father was killed because he had learned too much of the plan to revive Galdera and needed to be silenced.
    • Alfyn: The apothecary who saved his life was none other then Graham Crossford himself.
    • Therion: The Dragonstones were essentially the "key" to the lock that held Galdera prisoner.
    • H'aanit: Redeye is actually Graham Crossford, transformed into a monstrosity due to Lyblac's first failed attempt to try to free Galdera.
  • Kingdom Hearts: III reveals this was in play for the incarnation of Organization XIII from II. Xemnas chose each of the members because they all had some importance. The first six members were Ansem the Wise's apprentices who researched the Heartless. The seventh and eighth members, Axel and Saïx, were recruited because they were snooping around Ansem's lab during those experiments. The thirteenth member, Roxas, was Sora's Nobody and could wield the Keyblade, which Xemnas needed for his plans. But what about members nine through twelve? It turns out that they were chosen not just because they had powerful hearts that could fill the ranks, but because they're all related to the Keyblade War.
  • Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed, has several of these, with Rin turning out to be Shizuku's younger sister, Soga, the Big Bad, turning out to be their older brother, and Zenya Amo and Koma Sakaguchi both being associates of him.
  • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, Lusamine, the president of the Aether Foundation, is revealed to be the mother of both Lillie and Gladion, that Team Skull have been assisting her in getting Cosmog back, and that Mohn, the caretaker of the Poke Pelago, is her missing husband.
  • In Code Vein, there are allusions to the existence of "Horrors", horrible man eating monsters that the Revenants were created to fight in the first place. After Mido takes down the massive barrier of red mist trapping all the Revenants in the city, it was revealed that it wasn't designed to keep the Revenants in, but to keep the Horrors OUT. The Horrors? Turns out they're Aragami, setting the game within the God Eater universe. Revenants were but one of the human bioweapons created to combat Aragami alongside the more successful God Eaters.
  • Dragon Age likes to do this:
    • At the end of Dragon Age II, the player is treated to the surprising reveal that Cassandra, the Audience Surrogate character throughout the entire game, is acquainted with Leliana, one of the Warden's companions from the previous game, and they're actually working together. Until this revelation, there's no reason to think the two women have ever even met. Dragon Age: Inquisition expands on this by revealing that they're of equivalent rank within the Chantry, being known as the Hands of the Divine.
    • In Inquisition, one of the war table operations reveals that Varric is acquainted with Jerrik Dace, one of the primary participants in the Origins DLC Golems of Amgarrak. In fact, Varric was the one who loaned Jerrik the money so he could go on the expedition which forms the basis of that DLC.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In the first game's fourth case, we encounter Phoenix's friend Larry, who was the defendant in the first case. When it's mentioned that the defendant in this case is Miles Edgeworth, Phoenix's rival prosecutor, it turns out Edgeworth and Larry are actually good friends. (Phoenix knew that, the audience didn't.)
    • Iris from the last case of the third game turns out to be the daughter of Morgan Fey, the mastermind of the second case from the second game. Also her connection to Phoenix is a Double Subversion. When she knows who he is before he introduces himself, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that "Iris" is an alias of Dahlia Hawthorne, Phoenix's ex-girlfriend, who tried to kill him. Wrong; Iris was Dahlia's twin sister. This in turn leads to the conclusion that Iris doesn't have a direct connection to Phoenix after all, only knowing him through Dahlia. Wrong again; Iris was Phoenix's girlfriend at that time, not Dahlia (though it was still Dahlia who tried to kill him).
  • In Double Homework, Lauren and Morgan spend lots of screen time arguing and generally putting each other down. As it turns out, Lauren used to be part of the gang led by Morgan.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Nine of the eleven characters introduced before the reveal were involved in some way with a previous Nonary Game held nine years ago, and the two exceptions (Junpei and Lotus) are tangentially connected to that game in other ways.
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • At the start of the game, Akira helps a girl in Gothic clothing scare off a mohawked man that was harassing her. It later turns out that Akira actually has pre-existing connections to both of them that he didn't know about; the man serves under his best friend, while the girl is friends with his younger cousin.
    • The spirits, at first, don't appear to have any connection to each other or to Kakuya. This becomes increasingly less the case following the Screaming Author case - the man who created the Screaming Author is directly tied to Kakuya. He was also acquaintances with the man who would become Demon Tsukuyomi, who in turn was pursued by the woman who would turn into Killer Peach.
  • During Chiaki Nanami’s Free Time Events in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, she mentions that her father was a genius programmer and later says that she gets her personality from her father and older brother. The sixth trial later reveals her father and older brother are actually Chihiro Fujisaki and Alter Ego from the previous game, as she was an AI created by Chihiro.
  • In the 6th Chapter of Super Danganronpa Another 2, Monocrow reveals that most of the students were selected because they had some type of relation to the students in Danganronpa Another.
    • For Yuri, his family initially hired Akane as their maid and it was her tragic life that resulted in the boy wanting to protect all women.
    • For Kokoro, she was the mother of Mikako whom she gave birth to as part of her experiments.
    • For the Otonokoji Twins, they were targeted by Kinjo who was suspecting that they (Kanade) were involved in a series of murders.
    • For Shinji, he was the one who rescued Kanata from a car crash.
    • For Yoruko, her senpai was revealed to be Minako Tomori, the mother of the Ultimate Cheerleader Kizuna.
  • In Memory's Dogma, Kuroda Renjuro turns out to be the one behind the MRD-based torture incidents that lead to the creation of the Japanese Connect Organization (so it could be used as a front for his experiments) and the death of Reina's mentor Makoto, the man who came with the idea for e-memory, meaning everything pertaining to e-memory is connected to him.
  • Nanairo Reincarnation has at least two of these:
    • One of the murdered girls turns out to be the daughter of the sex masochist whose ghost the main characters had to exorcise.
    • Kotori Takigawa turns out to have been the killer's third victim (and thus Dead All Along) while her pet dog, Kotaru, was killed by the same person.
  • In Parquet, Hashihime turns out to have met Tsubasa Kido before she died and learned everything about BMI from her. In addition, it was Hashihime that grafted Tsubasa's mind and personality onto Rino Ibaraki's body. On top of all this, she has an accomplice that turns out to be the researcher who spearheaded Kanato's creation and also the one that provided the Dream Dive establishment with the tech (which was developed by Hashihime) that they used on customers.
  • Riddle Joker has a couple of these:
    • Satoru and Mayu lived in the same orphanage when they were kids.
    • Satoru turns out to have saved Hazuki from anti-Astral bullies when they were younger.
    • Mayu is the best friend of Principal Ise's daughter, Kotori.
    • Ayase is revealed to be the illegitimate daughter of Principal Ise, which also makes Kotori her half-sister.
    • Kaori Kakimoto (who turns out to be the Big Bad) is revealed to be a member of the anti-Astron group that tried to abduct Ayase earlier in the story.
  • In Sabbat of the Witch, Toko is revealed in her route to actually be an alp that became human, and in fact was Shuuji's mother's alp, making her indirectly responsible for Shuuji's abilities.
  • In Saku Saku: Love Blooms With the Cherry Blossoms, Ann Jinpou turns out to be half-Soul Reaper and is not only Tina's guardian, but also knew the Soul Reaper that saved Yuma's life, who turns out to be Rina, Tina's "older" sister. It's also revealed that Ann was there when Yuma's life was saved by Rina, and the reason she wanted to make Yuma smile was because she made a promise to Rina. On top of all this, Hyberion personally knows Ann (or her Soul Reaper half of Eleanora).
  • In Seven Days, it's revealed that Chiyako is the granddaughter of Jirou Mikanagi, the man responsible for the deaths of the seven girls.
  • In If You Love Me, Then Say So!, the Manager of Naturalé turns out to be Yuuki's father, who was otherwise said to have died. It turns out his father-in-law (and Yuuki's grandfather) hated him and after her father gave Yuuki to her grandfather shortly after her mother died of illness, her grandfather had him driven away and forbidden from ever seeing Yuuki again.
  • Grisaia: Phantom Trigger's Volume 6 has three of these:
    • Haruto's backstory is revealed, with him turning out to have been created by cloning. As it turns out, one of two people whose DNA was used to create him happens to be Yuuji from the main series.
    • After his Face–Heel Turn, Enishi joined up with (and possibly eventually led) a cult which turns out to have eventually became The Fatal Answer, the antagonists from Volume 4.
    • The end the volume reveals that every mission the group went on in each prior Volume is somehow linked to finding Enishi.
  • In Hello Lady, the end of the prologue reveals that Shinri Narita is the last member of the Mikado family and that Kurofune Mikado (who turns out to be the Big Bad) was the one who massacred the family, his surname having previously been Genma, also revealing he actually took the Mikado name for himself.

    Webcomics 
  • The cast of Weak Hero is split between the various high schools of Yeongdeungpo area. Julie Chae, a mysterious girl with an unknown past, is first introduced as an acquaintance of Jared, a student from Ganghak High. It's then revealed that she knows Lily from the Hero Cram school, who seems to have been friends with her in the past. Then it's also revealed that she once went on a group date with Jack from Yoosun High, meaning she's connected to a significant amount of the various cast herds despite being a relatively minor character.

    Web Video 
  • In Caper, all four heroes turn out to have a huge personal stake in the contents of the vault they're planning to steal beyond money (see Chapter 8)
  • Episode 15 of Dingo Doodles recapping the Fool's Gold roleplaying campaign done with friends reveals that the main player trio have a significant common factor in their backstories. Erina's homeland of Kylandria uses special crystal fragments to empower its citizens, said fragments come from a being that wiped out the rest of Gothi's race, and Sips has a huge chunk of that being lodged in his brain.
  • The Monument Mythos reveals that Cornerfolk (the titular entities of a separate series also housed on ALEXKANSAS' channel) are the survivors of the Horned Serpent's emergence, and the Deanverse's subsequent destruction.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, it's revealed that the Ice King (prior to his descent into madness) acted as a father figure to Marceline when she was a child, as her mother died in the fallout of The Great Mushroom War and her demon father was a jerkass who barely cared. By the end of the series, it turns out that Finn, Jake, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline and Ice King are all connected in some way: In "Simon and Marcy," Simon and Marceline are helped by the semi-sentient mass of bubblegum that would later form Princess Bubblegum, and in "Everything Stays" Marceline protects a group of humans that are later confirmed by "Min and Marty" to be Finn's ancestors.
  • Season 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender reveals that Avatar Roku is/was Zuko and Azula's great-grandfather.
  • King of the Hill: In "Life in the Fast Lane, Bobby's Saga", Bobby complains to Hank that how his new boss, Jimmy Wichard, is treating him cruelly, but Hank thinks he's just whining and tells him to deal with it. But when Hank mentions the issue to Dale, he mentions that he knew Jimmy in his gun club and that he went insane from looking up at the sun too long (and couldn't have been all that smart if he did so in the first place), and only then does Hank start to worry his son might be in trouble.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "The Cutie Mark Chronicles," the Mane Six discover they all got their cutie marks due to the exact same event, that being Rainbow Dash's first Sonic Rainboom as a filly.
    • Season 5's "Slice of Life" reveals that Steven Magnet, a sea serpent seen in the series premiere, is close friends with recurring supporting character Cranky Doodle Donkey.
    • Throughout Season 7, there were three separate episodes ("Campfire Tales", "Daring Done?", and "A Health of Information") that told stories of five legendary heroes from across Equestria (Rockhoof, Mistmane, Flash Magnus, Somnambula, and Meadowbrook). The season finale "Shadow Play" revealed that these five heroes, plus Star Swirl the Bearded (another legendary figure established since Season 2), traveled Equestria together fighting evil.
    • Also in Season 7, Starlight bumps into Pinkie's sister Maud in "Rock Solid Friendship", and Starlight recognizes her, much to Pinkie's shock. It turns out that, back in her villain days before her Heel–Face Turn, Starlight ran across Maud once and Maud unknowingly gave her advice that led to her forming her Evil Plan. Pinkie awkwardly laughs it off and says that Maud might want to keep this particular connection quiet.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • It's revealed that Manly Dan, the local lumberjack, is Wendy's dad.
    • In "Blendin's Game", Robbie is revealed to have gone to Soos's 12th birthday party when he was 5.
    • In "Society of the Blind Eye", the members of the eponymous society include [the man who married a woodpecker in "Irrational Treasure", Toby Determined, Bud Gleeful, Farmer Sprott from "The Time Traveler's Pig" and the bouncer from "Headhunters". The episode also revealed Old Man McGucket and the Author collaborated on the journals 30 years ago. A freak accident involving an experimental interdimensional portal led him to create the Society of the Blind Eye and subsequently go insane from trying to erase his memories of the strange and terrible things he saw working with the Author.
    • The ending to "Northwest Mansion Mystery" implies that the Northwest family might have some kind of connection to Bill Cipher, but nothing came of this outside of Preston Northwest offering to become The Quisling in "Weirdmageddon".
    • "Not What He Seems" was one of the biggest bombshells in the series when it first came out, because it revealed the Author of the Journals was Grunkle Stan's long-lost twin brother, stranded in the multiverse for thirty years.
  • The Owl House:
    • "Through the Looking Glass Ruins" revealed that Recurring Extra Braxas is actually the son of Warder Wrath.
    • Downplayed with Alador and Eda. While a Freeze-Frame Bonus in the season one finale had already shown that the two attended Hexside at the same time, "Reaching Out" revealed that the two are personally acquainted with each other and don't seem to get along (though we aren't given any specifics at the time).
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • A flashback in "What Do It Do?" revealed that Linda dated Dr. Doofenshmirtz once.
    • The season 4 premiere "For Your Ice Only" confirmed that Stacy and Ginger are sisters.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Mid-Life Crustacean", it turns out that Spongebob and Patrick do panty raids at Mr. Krabs' mother's house all the time. They take Mr. Krabs along for a panty raid at her house, without telling him whose house it is. Unfortunately for Mr. Krabs, his mother turns on the light and sees all 3 of them. Mr. Krabs asks them why they didn't tell him, and Spongebob answers, "You didn't ask.".
    • In "Rule of Dumb", Patrick and Gary are revealed to be cousins.
  • On Kim Possible, it turns out Dr. Drakken and Motor Ed (both voiced by John DiMaggio) are cousins.
    • Similarly, Dr. Drakken and Mr. Dr. Possible went to college together, though this was revealed pretty early.
    • Monkey Fist's genetically mutated monkey hands and feet were performed by DNAmy, and they may or may not have had a relationship (Amy claims they did, and we see a clip of him presenting flowers to a picture of her, but the only time they interact on-screen is when he's trying desperately to flee her, so it might have been all in her head).
  • The Simpsons: In "Curse of the Flying Hellfish", Grandpa Simpson turns out to have been Mr. Burns' superior officer in World War II.
  • Futurama:
    • In "Lethal Inspection", Hermes is revealed to have worked at Mom's Friendly Robot Company and was Bender's quality control inspector.
    • Before that, we find out Zoidberg had met The Professor when they worked together on a yeti hunt for Mom. Before that, Igner found out The Professor was his father. And before that, The Professor and Mom were revealed to be in an on-again off-again relationship.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: In the beginning of Season 3,both Shadow Weaver and Light Hope tell Adora that Hordak took her from her original world through a portal when she was a baby. But at the end of the series, it is revealed that he just found her in the meadows when he was trying to return to Horde Prime, and he actually saved Adora's life. Although it is not explicitly stated, it's hinted that it was Light Hope who kidnapped Adora, in order of having a new She-Ra. And probably it was she whom kidnapped Hordak, too.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In the third season, it's revealed that Miss Heinous is actually Eclipsa's long-lost daughter Meteora.
  • In Steven Universe episode "Onion Friend," it's revealed that Vidalia is the mother of both Onion and Sour Cream, who up until this point were not confirmed to be related; Vidalia is also an old friend of Amethyst and Greg. A later episode confirms that Marty is Sour Cream's biological father. "Horror Club" reveals that Lars and Ronaldo were childhood friends who had a nasty falling out. "Sadie's Song" reveals that the mailwoman, Barb is Sadie's mom.
  • South Park:
    • Henrietta of the Goth Kids and Bradley, who had pretty much been a Living Prop until the "Coon and Friends Trilogy," turn out to be siblings. Bradley was apparently adopted, since he's actually Human Aliens.
    • Season 19 has a Running Gag of PC Principal shouting at a student named Leslie for talking during his assemblies, but the ending to "Naughty Ninjas" shows a picture of PC pushing Leslie on a swing, implying a larger connection. After that, "Sponsored Content" reveals that they're both living advertisements.
    • Scott Tenorman's father was Eric Cartman's father as well.
  • Tangled: The Series: The season 3 premiere "Rapunzel's Return" reveals that Cassandra's biological mother is Mother Gothel.
  • The Mighty Magiswords episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bothered Some More" reveals that Helmut and Flonk, Vambre and Prohyas' bullies from their childhood years, are brothers.
  • Infinity Train: Grace's first appearance revealed that she has some sort of history with The Cat, but it wasn't until season three's "Le Chat Chalet Car" that we find out she has a prominent role in Simon's Dark and Troubled Past.

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