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Motif Merger

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A Motif Merger is a stylistic 'beat' sometimes used during a crossover. It's when both 'sides' have certain things that are their trademarks, and (during the crossover) there's a symbolic moment where the two motifs are either swapped or combined.

Particularly done with characters whose insignia is superficially similar in some way, although as the above example shows this doesn't have to be the case. Can lead to a "Not So Different" Remark if done with characters who play vastly different roles in their original narratives: intentional or otherwise. Very easily leads to Unfortunate Implications if the characters whose symbols get combined come from works that are dramatically different on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Fan Dumb is likely to lead to people reading more into this than is actually there, especially when the two franchises are very well established and have massive fanbases.

A leading cause of Epileptic Trees, particularly of the "all franchises are connected" variety. All Your Powers Combined may come with a Motif Merger.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Dresden Files fic Restitution, Lash (a redeemed Fallen Angel) merges her hourglass sigil with an infinity sign, symbolizing her reconciliation with God.
  • Son of the Sannin: After being appointed as Kiri's ambassador to Konoha, Haku wears two forehead protectors to symbolize his loyalty to both villages. It's unclear if he is the first person to do this, but by the time of the epilogue it has become an official practice for any ambassador to wear the symbols of both the village they represent and the village they're staying in.
  • Undocumented Features: After becoming a Transformer, Martin Rose uses an Autobot logo superimposed over a Wedge Defense Force logo on his clothing.

    Films — Animated 
  • The exact logo at the top of the page also appears in-universe in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies on the chest of a giant robot that Toyman, Japanese wunderkind Hiro Okamura, built to destroy a Kryptonite asteroid that would hit Earth. Cut him some slack: he designed it when he was seven.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Animorphs: During the alternate history arc, one of the first signs that D-Day isn't happening as it should be is that the defenders appear to be a new country consisting of France and Germany, as shown by their flag showing the French tricolor and the Imperial German eagle (that, and Adolf Hitler is just a military chauffeur). They also aren't around long enough to know whether the Holocaust happened in this timeline either.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The shows Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order , which had distinctive ways of sequeing from one scene to anothernote , crossed over once. During the crossover, the scenes in New York City (L&O's turf) were filmed with Homicide's transitions, and those in Baltimore (Homicide's setting) had L&O's transitions. (That is: Cut to black, glun-glung, text: "Baltimore Homicide Division, 10:30 AM.", fade in.)
  • Quite common in Super Sentai teamups, with the team's logos merging. For example, Juken Sentai Gekiranger vs Engine Sentai Go-onger ends with the Geki triple-claw emblem on top of the Go-onger "G" speedometer.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrowverse crossovers will often switch up the title cards and commercial-break scene wipes of the series involved. For instance, in the first two part crossover between Arrow and The Flash (2014), "Flash vs. Arrow" had one of Ollie's arrows take the place of Barry's lightning bolt, and the reverse happened in "The Brave and the Bold".
    • Appears in-universe in Elseworlds (2018). After Amazo scans the heroes, the House of El's S-shield appears on its chest, followed by an arrowhead and the Flash's lightning bolt.
  • Kamen Rider, starting with Kamen Rider Gaim, has begun exploiting the Swiss-Army Hero trope so that during crossover movies and other special occasions, the Riders will gain special alternate forms that mimic the powers and appearance of other Riders.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Sometimes two wrestlers forming a tag team will have their respective theme tunes and entrances "mashed up". Examples: Luger & Smith, the Allied Powers; Kane and Hurricane Helms as HurriKane, or the Corporate Ministry (The Undertaker's "Ministry of Darkness" and Vince McMahon's "Corporation" stables, merged) using a remix of the Corporation's theme in the style of the Ministry's theme.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Guilds of Ravnica all have their own sigils, that are, abstractly, combinations of the mana symbols for their colors. For example, Selesnya's symbol, combines white's sun with green's tree to make a mostly circular tree with sunbeams coming out of it, while Rakdos's is a flaming skull.
    • The War of the Spark set, seeing Ravnica as a whole unite against the threat of Nicol Bolas and his army, sees a cycle of five "Bond" cards featuring members of two guilds that share a color (one ally pair, one enemy pair) cooperating. Each one's art features a glowing sigil combining the two guilds' sigils into one—for example, Bond of Passion's sigil shows the Gruul's burning tree with the Boros fist in its center.

    Video Games 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): Mephiles has a sinister-sounding piano leitmotif (with a techno remix as his boss fight music). Iblis is accompanied by a bombastic, orchestral score. When the two fuse together to form the True Final Boss Solaris, the phase 1 boss music is Mephiles' leitmotif, performed by Iblis' bombastic orchestra.
  • The standalone version of Sonic & Knuckles featured a stylized logo with both title characters' faces together in silhouette.
  • The DS version of Mario & Sonic At The Winter Olympic Games has Blizland, half of which represents Dr. Eggman's factories while the other half represents Bowser's Castle.
  • In Angry Birds Star Wars, the Alliance Starbird incorporates the omnipresent slingshot that the birds use, while a pig's snout is added to the Imperial crest.
  • FreeSpace 2 borrows the style for an early short video discussion backstory, showing the Galactic Terran Alliance and Parliamentary Vasudan Empire emblems merging into the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance emblem. In general, the GTVA emblem counts as this trope just as much as the Union Flag does, being a combination of the symbols most representing the Terran and Vasudan peoples.
  • A variant in BlazBlue: every character has a special "crest" that represents them (you can see them when they perform their Limit Break or Finishing Move). One certain character's crest is a combination of two others'. It's the Black Beast's, whose crest is a combination of Ragna and Nu-13's.
  • Dragon Age: The Inquisition symbol combines the "Eye in a Sunburst" of the Seekers of Truth and the "Flaming Sword" of the Templar Order. Justified as both factions derived from the original Inquisition and apparently adopted their preferred aspect of the logo when they broke off.

    Web Comics 
  • In-Universe in Madame Outlaw. In the first chapter, the family crests of the Dumont ("D") and Montesquieu ("M") families are merged into one with a "D-M" design to signify the marriage of Estelle Dumont and Thaddeus Montesquieu.
  • Sleepless Domain: For their Sigils, the members of Team Alchemical have the triangular symbols used for the four classical elements in old world alchemy. Their fifth member Alchemical Aether, however, has a unique symbol made up of two interlocking triangles that combine all four of her teammates' Sigils into one.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has circumstances that force Reynard to become Annies' Familiar. When the process completes, the symbol that represents Annie and the symbol that represents himself are melded together.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The crossover between Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and Generator Rex, Heroes United, had Ben 10's Omnitrix at the center of Rex's gear logo.
  • Similar to the above, the crossover between The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Codename: Kids Next Door combines elements from both openings for its own. Such as Billy, Mandy, and Grim getting into position for the title, as well as Sector V having bone-to-flesh transformation sequences. It even mixes the names of the shows' respective creators, thus giving us "created by mr. atoms and maxwell warburton".
  • The Hexside school uniform in The Owl House has different colored sleeves and leggings depending on what track a student is taking. When Principal Bump begins allowing the study of multiple tracks at the same time, students who chose to do so have the uniform changed to display every corresponding color (Luz in particular having each limb be a different color).
  • The Simpsons episode "In Marge We Trust" has an In-Universe example. Homer discovers that a Japanese dish detergent has a mascot named Mr. Sparkle who looks eerily similar to him. When he investigates, he eventually finds out that the Mr. Sparkle company was formed by the merger of two companies, a fishworks and a heavy manufacturer; they combined their logos (a grinning fish and a lightbulb), which resulted in Mr. Sparkle, revealing that the whole thing was a crazy coincidence.
    Bart: There's your answer, fishbulb.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Nearly every Gem has a leitmotif, and when two Fuse together, the result has a theme that has elements of both components'. This is also used to form most Fusions' weapon of choice. Opal, for instance, has a theme that turns Pearl's elegant piano wild, and makes Amethyst's off beats straight. Her weapon is a bow, with Pearl's spear acting as the grip and handle and Amethyst's whip as the string.
    • "Lars of the Stars" features a custom Space Fighter called the "Star Skipper" whose cockpit is marked with the Crystal Gem's star behind the ship creator's own personal logo, a skull with a slash across one eye.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "World's Finest" (which is a crossover with Batman: The Animated Series), the Bat Signal (Batman's emblem) is broadcast onto the globe on top of the Daily Planet building (Superman's).
  • Transformers: EarthSpark: Cybertronians allied with G.H.O.S.T. wear a new insignia that's their old faction insignia merged with that of the organization, though the G.H.O.S.T. elements dominate the insignia instead of the two being equally prominent.

    Real Life 
  • Quite common with national flags and coats of arms. The Union Jack was originally (in 1606) a combination of the flags of England and Scotland. In 1801, the Irish parliament was dissolved and the Kingdom of Ireland merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain, so "St Patrick's saltire" (the red X) was added to create the current form of the flag.note  Wales is notably not represented on the flag, as it was brought into legal union with England under Henry VIII in the 16th century, before "national flags" came into existence.
  • The Australian Coat of Arms includes a shield divided into six with the arms of each of the states on it. Originally they developed a unique federal arms, but they subsequently developed a new set including the arms of each state, inspired by...
  • Canada's royal arms of the time (around 1910), which included the arms of each province. This however was terribly cluttered; Canada had at that point nine provinces, which was deemed to be too complicated to be useful. The Canadians then adopted the first form of their modern arms by taking the British royal arms, switching the extra England quarter with royal French fleurs-de-lys, adding three maple leaves on white in the base, and having the lion and the unicorn carry flagpoles bearing the Union Jack and a blue flag with fleurs-de-lys, respectively.note 
  • Following Wars of the Roses, Henry VII created the Tudor Rose, which was the White Rose of the House of York within the Red Rose of the House of Lancaster, representing the merging of the two houses (His mother was of the House of Lancaster and his wife was of the House of York).


Video Example(s):


Heroes United

A crossover between Ben 10 and Generator Rex. The logo shows Ben's Omnitrix symbol overlaid on top of Rex's gear symbol.

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Example of:

Main / MotifMerger

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