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Mage in Manhattan

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Not the green light you want at rush hour.
A Mage in Manhattan situation is where an evil character from a Magical Land enters our own with the intent of causing destruction. Hilarity ensues. Villains Blend in Better, but they do still want to Take Over the World, so such an appearance has a tendency to blast any masquerade to pieces. If they were unwillingly sent there in order to protect their home realm from them, then they are a Sealed Evil in Another World.

When the "Mage" first arrives in "Manhattan", you can expect Mugging the Monster to ensue. If it works though, expect that Muggles Do It Better.

Not involving J-Lo in any way, unless she's playing the person doing it. Compare Real-World Episode, Refugee from TV Land, and Aliens in Cardiff (if they land in a less spectacular city). Contrast Your Magic Is No Good Here. Usually involves Save Both Worlds. Not to be confused with Urban Fantasy.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Curse Words starts with a wizard from Another Dimension appearing in New York, on a mission to destroy the Earth but decides the Humans Are Special and stays living there as a sort of superhero. Sadly his boss cuts off his magic and sends more wizards to stop him and finish the job.
  • The DCU:
    • Villainess the Queen of Fables is the Wicked Stepmother from Snow White. The twist is that in the DCU, (a bloodier version of) the events of the fairytale actually happened, but then Snow White used a magic book to Ret-Gone the whole thing into fiction, so the Queen is also a sort of Sealed Evil in a Can. When the magic book is reopened, the Queen takes over Manhattan and becomes convinced that Wonder Woman is Snow White.
    • There is Brother Grimm, King of Eastwind, who antagonizes The Flash and lusts after Flash's wife, Linda Park West. He has similar powers to the Queen of Fables, and can somehow detect and attack someone who is using Super-Speed, making him a tough foe for Flash to face.
  • Doctor Strange is an inversion: a good man who uses his arcane magic skills to help mankind ward off the evils of the mystic beyond in a modern world long separated from the age of such things.
  • Inverted in Bill Willingham's Fables, in which fairy tale characters have fled from their magical homelands, which were conquered by the evil Adversary, to the mundane world, with most settling in New York. Eventually played straight when the Adversary sends the witch Baba Yaga leading an army of wooden soldiers to New York to conquer Fabletown. The Mundies never notice, because they think they are marching young Republicans.
  • Mark Millar is a fan of this trope;
    • The whole premise of Marvel 1985 is Marvel villains showing up in the real world.
    • Superior is about a teenager being transformed into a metafictional superhero in exchange for his soul. When he rejects the offer, the demon turns himself and a school bully into villains from the superhero movie and wreck New York in order to motivate the protagonist to accept the deal.
    • The Big Bad of Reborn builds a machine that will allow him and his Legions of Hell to come back to Earth in their new demonic bodies. Luckily he's defeated before he manages to get all the blood he needs to lower it.
  • Red Sonja's enemy, the evil wizard Kulan Gath, attempted to conquer Marvel Comics version of New York City in an issue of Marvel Team-Up in the 1970s. Spider-Man and Red Sonja (in Mary Jane Watson's body) managed to drive him back. He tried again in 2007, brainwashing the population and remaking the city as a bronze-age nightmare.
  • In Don Rosa's Scrooge McDuck story The Quest for Kalevala, the witch Louhi and the sea monster Iku-Turso from Finnish mythology wreak havoc in 20th century Helsinki.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Chrysalis Visits The Hague features this, but with a twist: The powerful, magical and tellingly socipathic Changeling Hive Queen Chrysalis is brought to the modern-day Netherlands so she would stand trial for her various crimes back home. The fic details the attempts of her defence to set her free.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The climax of Blood & Iron by Elizabeth Bear.
  • At the end of Constance Verity Saves the World', an interdimensional portal opens up across the street from Connie, Byron, Tia and Hiro's day at the park, an undead Evil Sorceress proclaiming that the world belongs to her's, intending on conquering the world with her army of the undead.
  • At first, the alien needle monsters in Eden Green only appear in abandoned areas of a single Arkansas city, but right as the main characters are trying to figure out how to deal with them, a swarm takes over the heavily-populated center of the city and blows the problem into an internationally-known incident.
  • A large part of the series Everworld: Loki's dream is to use Senna's powers to transport himself and the other gods back to this world to escape from Ka Anor. Given gods like Huitzilopoctli, who eats thousands of human hearts in a sitting, horror may ensue. Of course, this is inverted with Senna's own plan — to conquer Everworld by bringing modern humans there with guns and other weapons.
  • Bluebeard (Caster) from Fate/Zero, so much so that the supervisor temporarily put the war on hold and offered a reward of an extra command seal to whoever killed him. Then he summoned a giant monster made of slugs and the JSDF called in some F-15Js. One gets eaten by supersonic tentacles, the other gets hijacked by an epic hero summoned from beyond the grave, and proceeds to have an aerial dogfight against another epic hero flying a magitech airplane. Somehow The Masquerade survived.
  • In In Search of Dorothy, the Wicked Witch eventually follows Scarecrow to Kansas to find Dorothy and the Magic Shoes, which she needs to fully resurrect.
  • In the Kingdom Keepers books, the protaganists are holographic theme park guides (based on real teenagers) who battle Disney villains, known collectively as 'Overtakers', after dark, usually at Disney Theme Parks. The series starts off at Walt Disney World, Florida.
  • Mercedes Lackey's modern fantasies usually involve some version of this, with the monster usually being one of the Unseleighe Sidhe (Dark Court Elves). Most representative of this trope is Mad Maudlin, in which Aerune, self-styled Lord of Death and Pain, tries to open a Nexus to Underhill in Central Park and a Sidhe driven mad by the presence of cold iron turns into a literal Bloody Mary, murdering people left and right.
  • A lift of this occurs in The Magician's Nephew, C. S. Lewis's prequel to The Chronicles of Narnia. Jadis, a former empress from a world that she herself destroyed, invades London in roughly the same era as The Story of the Amulet. Or at least she tries. Magic is inherent to a dimension here, and so she has no power in our world, though she does have Super-Strength. She threatens to invade our world in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—by which point she's known as the White Witch—but that's a clear bluff.
  • In Phenomena evil wizards travel back and forth between Trondheim and Aldra. In the 3rd book our heroes are going to Trondheim too.
  • The Fair Folk in The Science of Discworld II: The Globe and the Auditors in The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch. Both set to slow down human progress so that we can't create a colony ship before the world becomes a giant snowball again.
  • Queen Redd arrives on Earth in Seeing Redd, the sequel to The Looking-Glass Wars.
  • The climactic end battle from So You Want to Be a Wizard. The Lone Power comes to New York and tries to turn it evil. When they try to stop It, It puts out the Sun. It helps that they have the canonical copy of reality in book form as their weapon.
  • This trope is Older Than Television, occurring in Chapter 8 of the 1906 children's novel The Story of the Amulet (E. Nesbit's second sequel to Five Children and It). A queen from ancient Babylon (who doesn't have magical powers, though they do exist in the novel) time travels to London during The Edwardian Era.
  • The main plot of the third arc of Touch involves a duo of elves entering New York from another reality in an attempt to kidnap people with powerful enough magical potential.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 

  • In Shiawase Awase, two cat witches from the fairy tale world come into real-world Tokyo, but it ends up being a subversion. They don't want to hurt anyone, they just want to learn about happiness, and whether witches can get a happy ending, too.

    Video Games 
  • Inverted and played literally in Dungeon Fighter Online. The Mage class's backstory starts her off being chased down by evil acolytes in Brooklyn, leading to Central Park, where the Mage eventually finds her way into the world that the game takes place in.
  • At the climax of Viewtiful Joe 2, the villain Jet Black escapes from Movie Land with the power of the Rainbow Oscars, resulting in a final showdown at an awards ceremony. Subverted in that Jet Black was from the real world in the first place.

  • In Witches Among Humans, this is inverted: Luz is transported from the Boiling Isles to the human world. In fact, the city she ends up in heavily resembles Manhattan.

    Web Original 
  • Extremely commonplace in the first book of Dimension Heroes, with evil Dark Overlord Clonar and his various brainwashed minions crossing over from Creturia to Earth in order to conquer it.
  • The base premise of this blog.

    Western Animation 
  • Semi-interestingly done in Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, where the evil character who enters the "real world" is a computer virus. Who then chases the characters into a video game, and then proceeds to cause havoc in each level of the video game world.
  • Though it featured dimension-hopping villains quite prominently, it was never more so than in the season 2 finale of W.I.T.C.H., when a super-sized Cedric invades Heatherfield with the intent of conquering Earth. The Masquerade was preserved, mostly, through the use of some reality warping powers.


Video Example(s):


Hello, Worthless. Miss Me?

In "Enchanted," Giselle and Robert's daughter Morgan discuss the fact that after Robert gets married, she will have a stepmother. Giselle tells her not to worry, that Edward (her boyfriend) has a stepmother and that she hasn't met her but she's sure she's lovely. Cue Narissa emerging into New York, showing just how "lovely" she is as she proceeds to find Nathaniel and tell him "Hello, worthless. Miss me?"

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