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"This is so non-canon it hurts."

Non-Serial Movie is related to The Movie.

Very popular anime series occasionally spawn not only OVAs, but also theatrical movies. One problem with this is sometimes the movie is being made while the series is still ongoing. While they generally have enough sense not to ignore anything that's happened up to that point, by the time the movie is released a show may have introduced very different facts into canon since the movie began production. This is an especially big concern with very long series which in turn spawn many short movies. On the flipside, while it is possible to set a movie before the current storyline and have it fit into continuity, this results in the movie feeling outdated due to the character having their situations and abilities being So Last Season.

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The easy way out of this is to make sure the movie is officially out of continuity. Nonetheless, fans sometimes establish a general sense of when a movie should logically take place, with various degrees of shoehorning. The only real rule is Non Serial movies usually have a "feel" for whatever season they were closely released in, which also helps viewers who don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of a series. Many of these films, especially in anime, serve less as self-contained narratives and more as an advertisement for their current slate of properties, often being screened at festivals or conventions. Often, the storyline in progress in the series will begin with a certain status quo and end with a new status quo, but the movie will use the status quo during the middle of the storyline. If the series is on the episodic side of Season Fluidity,note  it could be considered Loose Canon so long as there are no contradictory elements. Otherwise, it's as if during the middle of the story, the characters went on vacation during an end-of-the-world crisis.

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There are a few bonuses to this technique. The movie is designed so those with only a basic sense of the series can still enjoy it, minimizing the risk of Continuity Lockout. It also allows for the inclusion of more creative and fleshed-out one shot characters in the story (especially a Filler Villain). The right director can put a creative spin on a series with an otherwise strict concept. And of course lots of gratuitous Big Budget Beef-Up.

A major negative of not being in continuity is it is usually not referred to in the show's later episodes to avoid plot conflicts, nor can it make any long-term changes (e.g., Killed Off for Real) to any characters not original to the movie. One way around this is to make the story a backstory, flashback, or prequel of some sort. Another is to do a plot that is stylistically similar to the ongoing one but clearly divorced (which may be a What If?). Another complication can arise depending on the original (for a given value of "original") creators' personal influence in the story, or lack thereof, causing creators to distance their own continuity from the work or admit they aren't concerned about its canon. In extreme or badly-received situations, the fandom may even symbolically reject the work even if it could reasonably fit into canon.

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A feature-length Bizarro Episode can also be considered a Non-Serial Movie.

Compare Overtook the Manga, when a storyline is created that really doesn't fit into the main series narrative.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach follows the DBZ pattern of only halfway caring where things fit.
    • The OVA The Sealed Sword Frenzy is set between the Soul Society and Visored/Bount arcs, despite the show stating there was all of one day between said arcs. Also, after Ichigo's battle with Byakuya he was having trouble controlling his inner hollow, and his very next battle he almost went out of control, leaving him weak until his Vizard training. This plot point seems to be put off for as long as they are introducing filler, it seems.
    • The movie Memories of Nobody apparently goes in the same one-day gap. Interestingly, we now know something like this movie happened in canon — there really are Kyogoku (Valleys of Screams) between dimensions, and Ichigo mentions having been to one. But this creates even more problems since the manga's version of Kyogoku isn't much like the movie (for starters, in the movie there's only one).
    • The second and third movies, The DiamondDust Rebellion and Bleach: Fade to Black, both show Ichigo able to use Hollowfication comfortably. The writers probably assumed the Hueco Mundo storyline would end with a restored status quo in which the movies could fit — little did they know Ichigo would lose his powers beating Aizen! This puts a definite endpoint on where the movies can go, and Ichigo is extremely busy in canon the whole time he knows Hollowfication. (Nor can the movies go after Ichigo gets his powers back, since he gets a new outfit at the same time, and Rukia's rank and haircut have also changed by then.)
    • Bleach one-ups most of the examples here by having non-serial arcs in the main anime: the New Third Captain arc, and the Zanpakuto Rebellion arc.
      • The New Captain arc lampshades this in the first episode by quite openly saying it happens directly after Ichigo's fight with Grimmjow and that the story will return to that point after this story.
      • In Bleach, whenever the anime started to catch up with the manga there was little choice but to insert a non-serial filler arc, as Kubo tends to write very long story arcs which occur one right after another without any space to fit a filler between them. So from the New Captain filler arc onward it became standard for each filler to be a "yeah, this blatantly isn't canon but enjoy it anyway" affair.
  • Case Closed:
    • Case Closed has gotten one of these per year since a couple years after the show first started airing. Due to the relative scarcity of arc-based stories in the mostly-picaresque TV and manga series, the movies do not usually pose story-based continuity difficulties. They do involve a number of considerably different elements to the main series, however, which sometimes makes it a little hard to reconcile the two.
    • The movies are considerably more action-packed, giving Conan a lot more physical things to do (and putting him in a lot more jeopardy). Over the course of the various movies he has crash-landed a helicopter, rocket-skateboarded the length of an amusement park (including along a roller coaster track), parasailed, jumped a car from the top floor of one skyscraper to the roof of another, been shot at by a helicopter gunship on the roof of the Tokyo Tower, fallen out of and jumped out of a helicopter onto a blimp, and more. His secret identity should have been blown by now from the things other people saw him do alone.
    • The capabilities of his gadgets are always pushed to their logical limit, and then one inch further, so that between the rocket skateboard, the super-kicking shoes, and the bungee suspenders, Conan can practically fly in every movie. In the main series, any single facet of what's combined to achieve this would make the characters present suspicious. In the movies, such concerns are usually completely overtaken by a cascade of insanely high-stakes situations and awesome.
    • Events that take place in the movies may be referenced in other movies, but are never brought up in the TV series. Also, the movies only rarely mention events from the TV series except in general terms. (An exception being the 13th movie, Raven Chaser, which built heavily on earlier Black Organization arcs.)
    • Two more points are also disputed by the fandom: should the Backstory between Kogoro and Eri in the second movie be considered canon? And should Noah's Ark be listed under the people who knew the truth?
    • It does look like the movies may begin lining up more with canon from now on, however. The 2016 movie, Darkest Nightmare, again featured the Black Organization... and the 2017 movie Crimson Love Letter heavily featured Heiji and Kazuha's Childhood Friend Romance, including Heiji's manga Self-Proclaimed Love Interest Momiji Oouka.
  • Digimon is a bit complicated.
    • Digimon Adventure, the first season, has two movies. The first movie actually averts this trope, as it's both a Prequel and was released before the first season aired. The second film was released while the first season was airing. However, it explicitly takes place after the events of Adventure and is referred to in the second season...
    • Digimon Adventure 02 also has two movies that were released while it was airing. The franchise's third movie is difficult to fit in the canon, but the characters of this movie have a cameo in Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna (and there was a previous appearance in a Drama CD). The franchise's fourth movie was released during the last few episodes of Adventure 02. It takes place after the events of the season (but before the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue) and acts as a direct sequel to the second Adventure movie. Obviously it was never referenced in canon, but nothing has ever said it wasn't canon either. There were a couple of evolutions that could be considered continuity snarls but they can be easily explained. In English speaking countries, the first three movies were dubbed and released together as a Compilation Movie entitled Digimon: The Movie. The dub of Adventure 02 also added references to the third movie (that doesn't exist in the original version).
    • Like its predecessors, Digimon Tamers had two movies released while it was airing. The franchise's fifth movie is referenced in the anime proper when one of its characters appear in the anime. The franchise's sixth movie takes place after the end of the season, which causes problems, since the Digimon ended up returning to the Digiworld at the end of the series, but they still appear in the movie. This, combined with the fact that certain members of the anime's staff were not involved in the movie's creation, makes many say it cannot be canon. Both movies were dubbed in English well after the Tamers dub ended.
    • The Digimon Frontier movie has trouble fitting into the show's timeline due to some minor details, but doesn't contradict too much despite being non-canon. Again, it was also dubbed into English after the series aired.
    • Digimon X-Evolution, the franchise's eighth movie, is in its own canon and is based off the Digimon Chronicle setting (which didn't have a consistent canon to begin with).
    • Finally, the Digimon Data Squad movie is non-canon.
    • Averted with Digimon Adventure tri., a series of six movies that are canonical and take place into the Time Skip before 02's Distant Finale. Also averted by Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna, a sequel to the Tri movies.
  • Dragon Ball: Nearly all the movies based on the series exist in a bubble, usually retelling previous stories or otherwise heavily borrowing plot elements and villains from the concurrent story, and trying to fit most of them into the highly serial manga/anime story creates a number of Plot Holes if not an outright Continuity Snarl.note  This is most likely due to the movies being made as hour-long hype pieces for the franchise as a whole, designed more to look cool than to tell a good story. The newer movies, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and so on, are aversions as they had Akira Toriyama's personal involvement, and thus take greater efforts to fit in. The Dragon Ball Xenoverse games consider the vast majority of the films listed below to be alternate timeline(s), which is how most fans view the movies these days.
    • The four Dragon Ball movies are completely separate from the show's continuity, retelling the story in Broad Strokes, with the same protagonists and similar situations but unique villains and settings. Interestingly, the original three are the only ones to attempt any sort of through arc, that being Goku's training with Master Roshi.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone: Taking place shortly before Dragon Ball Z begins, the general story could still fit as Piccolo still has his rivalry with Goku and were unaware of Gohan's power, but Krillin did not meet Gohan until the start of Z, and Piccolo and Goku have a conversation about their weighted clothing near-identical to the one before they fight Raditz. Interestingly, the villain later appeared in the Z anime series proper during a Filler Arc, which appeared to accept the ending of this movie in Broad Strokes but otherwise doesn't explain its predecessor.
    • Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest: Generally takes on attributes of post-Saiyan Saga/pre-Frieza Saga as Gohan is now trained and Goku utilizes Kaioken and the Spirit Bomb, but Piccolo is still alive so that the Dragon Balls can be used at the beginning. In the manga, Piccolo and others are dead by the time Goku returns to Earth with these techniques.
    • Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might: Similar to World's Strongest, Piccolo, Yamcha, Tien and Chiaotzu show up alive while Goku uses Kaio-ken and the Spirit Bomb on Earth.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug: Implied to take place while Frieza is still alive (King Kai says that Frieza can't (present tense) beat a Super Namekian), but the characters are suddenly on Earth and Goku seemingly goes Super Saiyan but doesn't actually look the way he does in other works.note 
    • Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge: One of the least contradictory films in principle, as the series featured a three-year Time Skip waiting for the Androids shortly after the movie came out, where it fits in relatively seamlessly. Still, Gohan has his bowl cut from the Namek Saga and his tail is back (which could have easily regrown and been removed in the passing three years), plus Goku transforming into a Super Saiyan is depicted as requiring extreme rage as it did with Frieza (by the time Goku returns to Earth, he can do it on command). Xenoverse 2 implies that while this movie's events didn't happen in the main timeline, Cooler still exists, as Frieza recognizes him when he appears on Namek.
    • Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler: Blends the same Time Skip with Cooler's Revenge but with elements of the early Android Saga. Dende is the new Guardian of Earth (which wouldn't happen for a several months in the manga, interestingly enough), meaning Piccolo fused with Kami and should be about as powerful as everyone else. Gohan is also older than he should be as he hadn't gone into the Room of Spirit and Time yet.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!: Is supposed to take place during the Imperfect Cell period of the Cell Saga (Trunks has short hair), but no one had any free time for it as depicted in the film. They went straight to Kami's Lookout after Goku recovered from the heart virus and they took turns training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in order to face Cell, after which the Cell Games happen.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan: Takes place during the 10 days before the Cell Games, stated as such in the Japanese version and could theoretically take place then, but both Gohan and Goku are shown in their base forms, whereas in the manga they never left their effortless Super Saiyan state. The general backstory of Broly and Paragus would later be adapted as Canon Immigrants for Dragon Ball Super: Broly, a follow-up to Dragon Ball Super's first batch of arcs. Even before that there was the issue of Kale, a character from Super who is able to use the Legendary Super Saiyan form. When she uses it, nobody brings up Broly, implying that those events never happened for them. Additionally, a lot (but not all) of official material in the Super era heavily downplays the "Legendary Super Saiyan" terminology for these forms, either generally referring to the transformation as a "Full Power Super Saiyan" or—for Kale specifically—calling it a "Berserker state."
    • Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound: Is one of the few that actually fits snugly: the Japanese dialogue has Bulma mention that Trunks is back from his future after defeating the Androids (a detail not retained in Funimation's dub). Considering Trunks has his own time machine, it easily explains why his hair is long again and why iconic vest has its sleeves ripped off. That said, a dead Goku briefly leaves Other World with Instant Transmission to sock Bojack in the face and save Gohan, something that's not exploited again when a bad guy wreaks havoc while Goku is dead in the Buu Arc.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Broly – Second Coming: Takes place shortly before the Majin Buu Saga kicks into gear, so Gohan should have been unaware that Goten can go Super Saiyan. Goku also did not return to Earth until the World Tournament.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly: Took place during the World Tournament but the Z-Warriors went on to fight Babidi and his crew, plus Goku was still around when the tournament was going on, and at the end, the film shows him back in the Other World.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn: Takes place during the Other World Tournament, retconning in a break during Goku and Pikkon's fight. The tournament itself was supposed to take place shortly after the Cell Saga, but the status quo includes many aspects of the middle of the much later Buu Saga (which had a seven year Time Skip). Goku should not be able to turn SS2 or SS3, Vegeta is dead, Gohan can reach Ultimate Level and Fusion is introduced really early. Goku even mentions Majin Buu to Janemba, but should not have known anything of him until much later.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon: Takes place after the Buu Saga so the basic story holds up, but includes an origin story of the sword Future Trunks used that runs contrary to the prior canon (the sword is mystically powerful and used to defeat a creature that can challenge the SS2 level transformation, the original sword is said to be ordinary and there was no way Future Trunks was powerful enough to defeat that creature).
    • The TV special Bardock: The Father of Goku, while not strictly canon, does fit in with the destruction of Planet Vegeta mentioned in the manga. Bardock gets a cameo in the manga later on, and the Re-Cut series Dragon Ball Z Kai even splices in footage from the Bardock special, including Bardock himself, as part of a prologue in the first episode. However, Akira Toriyama's own interpretation of Bardock in Dragon Ball Minus contradicts Bardock's characterization in the special, showing him sending Kakarot to Earth to protect him rather than dismissing him as weak.
    • The other special, The History of Trunks, is an expansion of a bonus chapter of the manga. Unlike in the special, Teen Trunks is already a Super Saiyan training with Gohan in the manga and in the Future Trunks arc of Dragon Ball Super.
    • Downplayed with the GT film, Dragon Ball GT: A Hero's Legacy, which takes place after the 100-year Time Skip. The movie takes place before the tournament battle between Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr, with the former going from crybaby to capable fighter and unlocking the Super Saiyan transformation along the way. In addition, Pan is the only past character shown to still be alive, which makes sense as everyone else has passed on (with the possible exception of Bra). Within GT itself, its placement is rather seamless. However, as GT has been labeled as an Alternate Universe separate from the manga and Dragon Ball Super, it's non-canon on that basis alone.
    • Tarble, Vegeta's younger brother from the Jump Super Anime Tour special Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! gets a mention in Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, though this was left out when Battle of Gods was adapted as an arc in Dragon Ball Super, only to be mentioned again in the Broly movie. Yeah...
    • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods was a new canon of the events following Dragon Ball Z, eliminating the anime-only Dragon Ball GT story. It ends with a Sequel Hook of more powerful enemies for Goku and company to find, and unique for the first time the heroes actually lose. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is a direct sequel, featuring the return of Frieza, and the success of both movies led to the Dragon Ball Super series. Following the conclusion of the Tournament of Power, there'd be another theatrical continuation in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, which turns Broly into a Canon Immigrant and builds exclusively on major events of the entire franchise (Bardock, King Vegeta, destruction of the Saiyan homeworld, Frieza's second resurrection in Super).
    • Naturally lampshaded in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. Lord Slug kills anyone comparing him to King Piccolo, and Cooler begins to fly off the handle whenever his cunning plans are compared to those of his more-regarded brother.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • The movie Phoenix Priestess seems to fit somewhere between the Grand Magic Games arc and the Tartaros arc, ignoring the minor details of Elfman somehow losing all his bulk from the training he did at the start of the tournament, and Juvia and Bickslow returning to their long-disused initial designs. Seeing how the tournament was still ongoing when the movie debuted, fans debated how the movie fit in the series at the time because the movie featured the guild back in their old guildhall during the Post-Time Skip setting, which hadn't happened yet in the manga. To make matters more complicated, the titular Canon Foreigner Eclair makes a cameo in Fairy Tail ZERØ and in Natsu's personal heaven in the manga's sequel.
    • The second film Dragon Cry seems to fall somewhere between the Avatar arc with the guild back together, but before the mission to rescue Makarov from Alvarez begins. The Stinger gives Acnologia an expanded backstory that is taken as manga canon, and a tie-in novel explains that film character Sonya snuck through the Eclipse Gate along with the five Dragon Slayer kids, making her responsible for scattering them across Fiore. It also introduces a fourth "generation" of Dragon Slayers just for Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest to establish a fifth generation. What keeps it from meshing perfectly with the manga canon is that a.) witnesses of the Eclipse event only saw the five children and not Sonyanote , and b.) Zeref is seen in his imperial robes, which he didn't choose to wear until after his first battle with Natsu halfway through the final arc.
  • The original Fist of the North Star movie (the animated one, not the Live-Action Adaptation) roughly qualifies, as it was made while the manga and TV series were both still running in Japan. It doesn't actually introduce any new characters to the story though, but instead retells key events from the first nine or ten collected volumes of the original manga and then changes the order of events and how they transpire in order to tell a more condensed storyline. For example, in the original manga and TV series, Kenshiro and Rei fought against the Fang King in order to save Rei's sister, whereas in the movie the Fang King and his clan are challenged by Raoh and his army for possession of their territory instead.
  • Hunter × Hunter has two, both released in 2013. They also follow the Loose Canon model.
    • Hunter x Hunter: Phantom Rouge seemingly takes place between the Yorknew and Greed Island arcs, but with its own Big Bad. It's actually loosely based on a non-canonical, unpublished manga story Yoshihiro Togashi drew ten years earlier, and has a two-shot manga elaborating on Kurapika's backstory to tie in with it.
    • Hunter x Hunter: The Last Mission seemingly takes place between the Greed Island and Chimera Ant arcs.
  • For the Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? anime, you have the movie Arrow of the Orion. Technically, it is possible to fit it in the anime timeline since Bell and his Familia are still residing in their old abode so logically, it would take place sometime after the first season but before the events of the second season where Bell participated in the War Games. However, the author himself has stated the film is not intended to be part of the canon, but just a way to have fun.
  • Jewelpet the Movie: Sweets Dance Princess is much like Digimon X-Evolution, in that it has its own canon instead of being connected to any anime season.
  • NONE of the Lupin III movies or specials feature any continuity with any of the five TV series (who barely even bother with continuity with each other), any other film in the series, or even the Manga. It's part of the reason why they work so well though, as they can still feel pretty timeless even with outdated clothing and technology. There's a general sense of Origins Episode era, active period, and retirement (The Castle of Cagliostro mostly), but the creators prefer the flexibility of Mythology Gag to Continuity Porn.
  • Played with for the first two Lyrical Nanoha movies, remakes of the first and second season which are, in-universe, films produced by the TSAB.
  • Macross:
    • Macross Frontier got a movie started after the series ended, but even this trope and Alternate Continuity couldn't fit everything into only a single movie, so they made two: The False Songstress and The Wings of Goodbye.
    • The production team for the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross decided not to go the Compilation Movie route for the inevitable theatrical release (ala Gundam and Yamato) and instead produced a movie (Macross: Do You Remember Love?) that is in a parallel continuity with the TV series, presenting basically the same events as the series, but often in new ways. Word of God says that Do You Remember Love? is itself a movie within the Macross universe, and that the differences between the two are for dramatic purposesnote 
  • Maison Ikkoku: The Movie takes place in the space of time covered by the commercial break in the last episode of the TV anime series, and has all the voice actors from the TV anime — except that it takes place in the Alternate Continuity of the manga instead of the anime.
  • Averted in Rockman.EXE Stream, the Japan-only third season of Megaman NT Warrior. The Movie "Hikari to Yami No Program" (Program of Light and Shadow) is explicitly referenced once as "the Nebula Gray incident" and in the final episode, Bass finally kills off Invincible Villain Slur using the powers he absorbed from Nebula Gray at the movie's end. It's also where Lan meets Barrel in person for the first time, explaining how he suddenly seems to know him mid series.
  • Seemingly averted for two of the three (so far) My Hero Academia movies, as the manga's creator Kohei Horikoshi has a lot of input in them:
    • The first movie, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, is placed at an explicit point in the canon story (between the End of Term Exams and the Training Camp arcs). The manga also had a special tie-in comic showing when All Might lost his master and when he met Melissa Shield (the daughter of his friend and old sidekick David Shield, who is a major player in the movie itself), and the anime's third season adds an extra episode to set up the trip. The movie itself also doesn't contradict any of the plot elements from the main story, although some Fridge Logic does pop up.
    • The second movie, My Hero Academia: Heroes: Rising, takes great pains to not contradict the larger ongoing story of the manga, to the point of being set after the manga's by-then completed Endeavor Agency arc when the anime was easily an entire seasons' worth of content behind.
  • Naruto has had eleven feature films so far, each taking place sometime during the manga's TV adaptation storyline. Of these, only two movies (The Last and Boruto) avert this trope because they are canon with the manga, in large part due to Masashi Kishimoto's personal involvement.
    • Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow (the first movie) happens after Naruto learns Rasengan and before Sasuke's defection, somewhere around the "Land of Tea" filler arc. The other two pre-Time Skip movies can be neatly placed within the infamous 80-week filler season with no difficulty.
    • The first Shippuden movie is most likely set after the "Rescue Gaara arc", the second after the "Sasuke and Sai" arc, and the third following the "Hidan and Kakuzu" arc. There are still some continuity problems though. Kakashi is incapacitated during the "Rescue Gaara arc" and doesn't recover until the beginning of the "12 Guardians arc", though he appears in both the first and second Shippuden films in complete health. And the "Hidan and Kakuzu" arc ends with Naruto's arm badly injured, and it doesn't recover until the "Three Tales" arc is already underway. And that arc leads straight into the next arc...
    • The fourth Shippuden film, The Lost Tower, is set sometime in between the death of Jiraiya and Pain's attack on Konoha, with the former even being mentioned by Naruto, despite the fact that in canon Naruto immediately left to train with the toads on Mount Myouboku after learning of his death, and didn't come back to Konoha until Pain's attack had already begun. A flashback also contains various minor continuity errors.
    • The fifth Shippuden film, Blood Prison, is implied to take place after the Turtle Island arc and before the Fourth Shinobi World War arc, given that Naruto already knows Killer Bee. However, canonically speaking, Naruto and Bee don't leave the island until the Fourth Shinobi World War is well underway, making the events of the film impossible to fit into the manga's timeline. There are a number of other continuity errors as well, such as A still having both his hands. Nonetheless, Kakashi Hiden semi-canonized it (likely because its author also wrote the screenplay for Blood Prison), though the film's specific events are implied to have played out somewhat differently in canon (for one thing, they seem to have happened at a far earlier date than what the movie was trying to imply, and Naruto apparently knew all along that his being sent to the prison was an undercover mission). Whether this means something vaguely approximating the events of the other movies is also canon has yet to be revealed.
    • The ninth overall film, Road to Ninja, also takes place in the same time frame as Blood Prison, after the Turtle Island arc and before the Fourth Shinobi World War arc, because Naruto has already "met" his mother Kushina, all of Akatsuki except for Tobi and Zetsu have been defeated, and Tobi hasn't yet gotten his Rinnegan or changed into his new uniform. Again, the film doesn't fit into the canon timeline because it depicts Naruto in Konoha, even though the Fourth Shinobi World War begins while Naruto is still on Turtle Island and Naruto then heads directly to the battlefield without making a stop at Konoha since the bulk of the fighting took place at the Land of Lightning, which is nowhere near Konoha.
    • Averted with the tenth overall film, The Last, because it's the first one in the franchise to be explicitly canon with the manga, since it's the bridge between the penultimate chapter and the Distant Finale, set two years after the manga's conclusion. Masashi Kishimoto was also heavily involved with the film by joining the writing staff as chief story supervisor.
    • Also averted with the eleventh film, Boruto, because it's explicitly canon with the manga, is the direct sequel to The Last, and takes place fifteen years after the manga's conclusion. Masashi Kishimoto was also heavily involved with the film by writing the screenplay and serving as chief production supervisor.
  • One Piece has had several non-serial movies, starting with the OVA "Defeat The Pirate Ganzak!" (which actually predates the TV series), and going on to include fifteen feature films as of 2022. At least one of these features a cast list that never existed in the series continuity.
    • The first movie takes place not long after Usopp joins and the crew have received the Going Merry.
    • The second movie could be set sometime after the Arlong arc, as Sanji is with the crew but they haven't entered the Grand Line yet.
    • The third movie has almost nowhere to put in canonical-wise, as Chopper is in the crew but not Vivi or Robin. Chopper was introduced when Vivi was in the crew and she remained as such until Robin joined, with a very slim amount of time in between.
    • The fourth movie is put right after the Alabasta arc, as Crocodile is mentioned and Luffy's bounty has reached its first increase. The fifth and sixth movies are likely before Skypiea, but there's no real indication of it.
    • The seventh movie is before Water 7 as it gives an explanation on the origins of Luffy's Gear 2nd technique.
    • The tenth movie One Piece Film: Strong World is a zigzagged example. Shiki and his backstory showcased in a special chapter of the One Piece manga (known as "Chapter 0") are considered canon (and he has been referenced a couple of times unrelated to the film in the manga including eventually being revealed to be a former member of the Rocks Pirates, thus making him a very important figure in the backstory), and the film was written by the creator, with its official title even calling it the "One Piece Film". However, the canonicity of the film itself is heavily debatable, as it showcases definite inconsistencies from the manga, most notably Zoro (having suffered injuries in Thriller Bark, with the timeframe between the Thriller Bark and Sabaody Archipelago arcs being the only point in time that the film could have possibly taken place during) being able to fight at full health, despite his wounds reopening very quickly at Sabaody under similar circumstances. The events of the film itself have also never been brought up in the manga, even in passing. However, the anime added a four episode mini-arc meant to lead up to it, which is widely considered non-canon.
    • The twelfth movie, One Piece Film: Z had its creation personally overseen by Oda, but it is not canon.
    • One Piece Film: Gold cannot fit anywhere in the manga or anime without continuity problems. The most obvious example being that the crew have their bounties increased during Dressrosa but not those from Whole Cake Island, even though the crew were separated for the entire time between those two events. For extra confusion, the anime added a prequel story arc immediately after Dressrosa.
  • Pokémon: The Series tends to zig-zag this trope.
    • The first few movies were explicitly in canon with the series, with Pokémon: The First Movie being built up to within the show and having Mewtwo wipe everyone's memories of the events. Later movies are ambiguous, having the cast forget having seeing the focal Pokémon of that movie, but still referencing locations, items, and occasionally plot points from said films.note  In addition, each film has the same team lineup as the most recent episodes of the time. According to Bulbapedia, most of the movies are considered canon to the series, taking place between the episodes they air, and fulfill the same purpose as Filler, as no Pokémon are caught or evolve/ learn new moves.
    • The fourteenth movie, Pokémon the Movie: Black/White, is the only movie prior to the 20th that is explicitly not canon to the series, as the Episode N arc of the anime states that the heroes haven't met Zekrom and Reshiram. Granted, the movie had two versions that were mutually exclusive, so any attempt to refer to them elsewhere in either anime or movie canon would have required looser Broad Strokes anyway.
    • Pokémon: I Choose You!, Pokémon: The Power of Us, and Pokémon: Secrets of the Jungle are loose, Alternate Continuity retellings of the Indigo League and Johto League seasons of the show, featuring entirely new characters and plot elements.
  • According to the Pretty Cure trope page "most seasons have at least one movie that makes no canonical sense (most of the time) but can't be thrown out because of something really awesome happening in it. There are usually two per year: one is a mega-crossover involving every Precure that has ever appeared against a new Big Bad, who is a rather impersonal manifestation of badness not strongly tied to any of the existing continuities. Another is a movie that features only the characters of that year's Precure series, and the plot is usually strongly tied to those characters. New characters introduced in either movie won't appear in that year's TV series, except as a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo (such as Cure Angie from the Heartcatch movie).
  • Ranma ½ got two of these, both based on anime exclusive storylines. The first one, which revolves around Akane being abducted by a Chinese martial artist who has mistaken her for his fiancee, could be set anywhere after the first five episodes of the 4th season (Ranma uses the Hiryu Shoten Ha to defeat the Big Bad, and all of the series main characters have been introduced). The second one, which has the crew shipwrecked on a tropical island and a bratty young noble kidnapping all of the women to pick a bride from their number, is definitely set after the late 7th season (Ranma and Ryoga use their Ki Manipulation, the Shi-Shi Hokodan and the Moko Takabisha). It also got 9 OVAs, one of which was released in Japan as a third movie- of these, three were anime specific (one Christmas story, one two parter), and the other six were adaptations of manga stories that came out after the anime series was cancelled.
  • Sailor Moon has three non-serial movies tied to three of its five seasons with various degrees of success (though they do have a common problem of the current season's regular villains apparently deciding to take a short break).
    • The Sailor Moon R movie includes the main cast up to the later part of the second season, but has no trace of the main couple's breakup, ignorance of anyone's secret identity, no hint at Chibiusa's unusual origin, and both even take place during a different literal season of the year. In addition, a prominent flashback between two characters seems to contradict the age gap originally created by the show. Interestingly, this isn't a gaffe from adaptation troubles, as this was the only movie *not* initially from the manga nor with heavy involvement of the creator, Naoko Takeuchi. Despite this, it's regarded as the series' most popular movie.
    • The Sailor Moon S movie is based on a manga side story, partially explaining the difficulty of fitting it into the anime version cleanly, creating a mix of both. Sailor Moon still has the seasonal MacGuffin she'll eventually lose, but also has a formerly dead ally casually appear without comment on a suddenly much more amicable version of the secondary team.
    • Sailor Moon SuperS involves a manga story adaptation with minor compromises to anime continuity, such as a character getting their upgraded weapon from the show but also completely ignoring the apparent sabbatical taken by the Outer Senshi, whose reintroduction in the show wouldn't come up till a season later.
  • Sgt. Frog has five movies, in addition to several shorts. The shorts are all clearly in continuity, and three later movies have received small references from the tv show. In addition, the first three movies are all part of a clear trilogy of sorts, with direct references to past events, so they're presumably all in continuity. Yet, their specific timeline isn't known in relation to the series' episodes and there are references to events and recurring mechas in the movies that never appear in the tv show. They all can roughly fit after each season, starting with the second one. It's especially obvious with the third movie, which introduces new looks for the human cast which are carried over to the fifth season, but there's no actual official placement for them.
  • Slayers:
    • The series has five movies; four of them, along with six OVA episodes, are adaptations of the Slayers Special novels, which is a prequel series to the main novel line. According to the movie director, the Slayers Excellent OVA is chronologically the first, with four of the five movies and the Slayers Special OVA following it, though without any given order. The fifth movie, Slayers Premium, is the only movie set during the tv series, but it's a conundrum as to where it fits (fan interpretation has placed it after the second season of the anime and before the third).
    • Premium takes this up by being subjected to Continuity Snarl; a radio drama that details what happened before and after the movie stated that it had been five years since the protagonists had gathered together, yet it's made clear in the tv series that each season is set from several months to one year after each.
  • A theatrical film for Trigun (titled Trigun: Badlands Rumble) was released about a decade after the anime series, apparently taking place sometime during the more light-hearted portion of the series, and is basically a side story (much like the earlier episodes) about Vash and friends encountering a fearsome bandit in an Adventure Town.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light has an altered version of canon post-Battle City and pre-Millennium World, and a spinoff season, Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, taking place between the KC Grand Prix and the Millennium World. There was also a non-serial manga spinoff of the original series, Yu-Gi-Oh! R, taking place after Battle City.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time averts this. Paradox cameoes in 5Ds, and Jaden is picked up from a point in time after his series ended. Fitting Yugi and Pegasus into the mix is a bit harder, but there were several small timeskips between Yu-Gi-Oh!'s original arcs during which these events could have happened.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions takes place after the manga, but also retains the anime's designs and characterizations, leading to a Broad Strokes universe similar to the Yu-Gi-Oh! video games. The dub is canon to the TV series, using the English dub names for the sake of familiarity.
  • YuYu Hakusho: The Movie gave some mild character introduction and didn't have any impact on the main plot. Which was a good thing for anime fans outside Japan, the movie was licensed a few years before the actual TV series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Power Rangers:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie was an example of a Non-Serial Movie with a Big Budget Beef-Up to go along with it; specifically, all of the cheap sets and spandex costumes (plus the stock footage) were replaced with expensive, high quality sets and plasticized, form-fitting body armor, respectively. The film's plot was also a change from the series' norm at the time. The movie's lead villain, Ivan Ooze, was never seen in the series either. The movie is not part of the series canon, since it basically tells the same story as the third-season premiere multiparter (Rangers lose old powers, must earn new ninja-based powers), but with major changes (for instance, the Rangers get their ninja powers from the scantily clad Dulcea of the planet Phaedos rather than the robotic Ninjor, and the new villain is Ivan Ooze rather than Rito Revolto).
    • Power Rangers (2017) was a retelling of the origins of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers with younger actors and had no connection to the continuity of Power Rangers Ninja Steel that was on TV at the time.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Almost every Rider show has had at least one film. The Showa era series almost always averted this since, both in terms of runtime and stakes, their films were essentially TV episodes that were lucky enough to be shown on the big screen. One exception is Kamen Rider X Five Riders vs King Dark. It is supposedly in continuity due to bringing back Riderman, but can't fit well into the series at any point. X-Rider still hasn't been upgraded in the movie, but already knows the Riders, while in the TV show he only meets Rider 2 for the first time after getting his upgrade.
    • Kamen Rider Agito, Kamen Rider Hibiki, and Kamen Rider Decade: These shows have movies that are canon to the series, but it's difficult to place exactly when they happen and they may have minor contradictions with the series. Decade sidesteps this with his second movie by having it serve as the Finale Movie for the series.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Kabuto: Both of these shows have films that take place in previous iterations of a time loop, meaning the events themselves have been erased from history but did canonically happen at some point before the show.
    • Kamen Rider Faiz, Kamen Rider Blade, Kamen Rider Kiva, Kamen Rider OOO, and Kamen Rider Zi-O: Straight examples. OOO is the last time that non-serial movies would be considered typical, as almost every show afterward integrates its movies into the show, while Zi-O does some Leaning on the Fourth Wall to acknowledge the impossibility of reconciling its films as canon, instead going the Broad Strokes approach as some parts of the movies did happen but not in the way shown in said movies.
    • Kamen Rider Den-O: Whatever they feel like from film to film.
    • The Movie Wars crossover films are a special case where almost all of them are canon to each other and to the older show in the crossover, but not necessarily canon to the newer one. This is only particularly noticeable with the Drive and Ghost crossover, which fits fine into Drive canon but ignores much of the plot of Ghost in order to happen.
  • Super Sentai movies are different - they're hard to place in show continuity, typically don't touch the series' plot, and are rarely referenced thereafter, but they're almost never contradictory, unlike the turn-of-the-century Kamen Rider movies that were What If? stories from the get-go.
    • Strangely, in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, Tricondor is recognized by the team because of the movie's events, but there doesn't seem to be any reason for Oboro to have made a machine that looks exactly like the first Tricondor.
    • Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger - The evil Palette Swap mecha from the movie makes a brief appearance near the end of the series. There's also a Running Gag of mentioning Abarangers's curry house in teamups if that teamup doesn't have at least one Abaranger character appearingnote , suggesting every Sentai succeeding the Abarangers has at least someone who has it as a favorite hangout; you won't see evidence of this in their series.
    • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger's movies don't get mentioned in the series, but do mention each other — an Algolian (the summer movie villains) is involved in the Dekaranger vs. Magiranger teamup.
    • At first it seems like the Juken Sentai Gekiranger movie was this with its special combination "Geki Rin Tohja," a mecha formation made from the show's first mecha and the 2 mechs of the "evil" Rin Juken users Rio and Mele but in episode 33, when the first 3 Gekirangers along with Rio and Mele get stuck in the past, they have to fight a giant monster; Rio suggests using Geki Rin Tohja, making the movie canon. Then later they use Geki Rin Tohja Wolf.
    • Engine Sentai Go-onger's, however, has Samurai World mentioned often, and Retsutaka and Engine Daishogun return.
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger does have the appearance of Hyper Shinken Red and the Kyoryu Origami in the TV show, a form and weapon that originally debuted in the The Fateful War movie.
    • The two Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger team-up movies are canon.
      • The first one (with Tensou Sentai Goseiger), set between episodes 16 and 17, sees the Gokaigers unlocking 11 Ranger powers at once and and while the events of the second one (with Space Sheriff Gavan) are not referenced in the show itself, the Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters Early-Bird Cameo scene is a foreshadowing of Basco's final and most nefarious move against the Gokaigers in episodes 47/48, setting the movie before that two-parter.
      • Gokaiger also includes numerous references to previous movies in its series, with identical relatives of previous team-up villains appearing. Episode 40 even shows their Early-Bird Cameo in the Shinkenger-Goseiger teamup in context (how'd they have their suit-changing gimmick, gained from the lost powers of all past sentai, while Shinken and Gosei were active? The short version is, Time Travel was involved.)
    • On the case of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, Ene-tan and the Megazord Epsilon from the summer movie and the Megazord Omega from the Gokaiger team-up returned in the show after their movie debuts.
    • The events of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger's summer movie are shown in flashback in episode 29 of the series and later explicitly followed up on in episode 39. Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger Vs Kyoryuger The Movie fulfills a plot point mentioned only in the finale: The appearance of the villain behind the Deboss Army, whose existence Deboss revealed to Daigo during the final battle.
    • Ressha Sentai ToQger's movies don't get mentioned in the series, but they do share a common plot element in the Galaxy Line, a cosmic analogue to the Rainbow Line.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The two Dalek films made in the 1960s, Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. are completely out of continuity with the TV show Doctor Who, and deliberately so: the cast is completely different, the lead is a human scientist called Who, and only the basic design of the Daleks is carried over. The fact that the plots were adaptations of TV stories cements their non-canon status. Averted with the 1996 film, which was intended to be a bridge between the 1963-89 run and a planned revival which wound up in Development Hell for various reasons until the BBC renewed the series in 2005, and is as canon inasmuch as Doctor Who has a canon (the Eighth Doctor occasionally makes appearances in flashbacks).
    • The revived series took a Broad Strokes approach to the '96 movie: the Eighth Doctor was repeatedly shown in flashbacks before making an in-person appearance in an online episode, and when the Master returned, we (uncharacteristically, actually) got a real explanation for his resurrection (which of course would be unneeded if he was last seen alive, meaning his death in that movie - and thus the rest of it - likely still happened.) The points that really stick in the fans' craw have so far not been carried over - one season finale outright states that a Time Lord Half-Human Hybrid is impossible, which blows "I'm half human on my mother's side" right out of the water. A later finale suggested it might not be off the cards after all, but avoided saying anything definite.
  • Inverted and subverted with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which the films are the prime continuity, and the spinoff shows are, in a sense, Non-Serial Series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Jessica Jones (2015), Daredevil and so forth are officially part of the MCU, and repeatedly confirmed to be so. At the same time, however, the events of television productions have almost no impact on the direction of the films and their Myth Arc. This has caused significant friction between the two studios, especially as the films can upset the status quo of the world at any time, and the showrunners are often left scrambling to keep up.note  Meanwhile, it's been made clear numerous times that the films have no intent on using or referencing developments from the television side of things.note  Avengers: Endgame marks the first time the series are acknowledged, however briefly, as Edwin Jarvis (previously only a secondary protagonist in Agent Carter) gets to make a short cameo.
  • In the Loop takes place in a separate but very similar universe to The Thick of It. Most of the cast from the show is present, making it something between this and Alternate Universe. It does this so that it can tackle something beyond the time period of the show (Namely, The War on Terror) and so it can have a character cross the Moral Event Horizon without making him completely unsympathetic on the show.
  • Star Trek (2009) and its sequels are set in an alternate continuity from the rest of the shows and movies in the Star Trek franchise. Interestingly, the two universes are connected. The movie verse was created by a man from the main continuity travelling back and splitting the timeline.
  • The Next Step, a Canadian Dramedy Mockumentary has a two-part Yet Another Christmas Carol Christmas Episode that aired in December 2019 as part of Season 7. Although it makes Continuity Nods to the series, with many an occurrence of The Bus Came Back, it's also hard to fit into the official timeline for several reasons:
    • Since the time span between Season 6 and Season 7 is a few days, it makes little sense that The Next Step Dance Studio would celebrate Christmas in April. Seeing as Kingston, Ozzy, Summer, Kenzie and Finn are present and Noah and Jacquie are absent, it cannot be set after Season 4, which would chronologically make the most sense in time. Therefore, these episodes are likely set out of the show's timeline, like the Halloween special.
    • If the episodes are set within the regular timeline of the show, then, due to Amy's presence and Michelle saying in a later episode that she had not seen Emily since she informed her that she would not be buying the studio with her, these special episodes would be set between "The Return of Amy" and "We Need to Talk".
    • In Season 4, a reference is made to the 30th anniversary of The Next Step Dance Studio's opening, but as the episode "Only You" in that season referred to the first dance captain technically being in 1984, it should be the 33rd anniversary, but it is never actually confirmed that The Next Step was an established business at this point, meaning that before the studio was officially founded, it may have still existed as a dance education facility that made use of a dance captain.
    • Although part of Season 7, it's Loose Canon at best, if not Schrödinger's Canon, but Word of God on its canonicity from Frank van Keeken the creator of the series has never been mentioned.
  • Red Dwarf nearly got a movie that ignored the eighth season. The Bolivian Army Ending of Series VIII was Doug Naylor attempting to Torch the Franchise and Run so the TV continuity couldn't be continued. The movie was scrapped when the only financial backers wanted to replace the cast with more successful actors leading to the show continuing with the ship having an Unexplained Recovery.

    Web Original 
  • TVTome Adventures: The Movie is actually a subversion of this. It has all the hallmarks of a Non-Serial Movie: The heroes fight against Filler Villains, it has no effect on the plot, the events are (seemingly) never mentioned again, etc. Unlike most Non-Serial Movies, things such as Giga attacking them, references to the X-Games, and Zetto still running around doing whatever he wants instead of being under arrest make it clear when it takes place: right between the X-Games and Infiltration Arcs. There is, however, one far more important difference: The Filler Villain is defeated by Alpha and Zetto Fusing together to form "Alphazet." This is never mentioned again... Until the Season 3 Finale where, with no warning whatsoever, Alpha and Zetto do it again to save the day. Oh, and that Filler Villain? Turns out that he was (Probably) one of the super-intelligent viruses made by the Big Bad.
  • Parodied in this skit from ProZD, where a crossover movie between Chairem Anime and King Dragon is declared non-canon and Archibald is confused.
  • Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie has a very loose relationship to the web series it spawned from, due to it being written in 2007, teased in the series in 2012, and released in 2014, meaning it doesn't directly fit into the continuity at any point (insomuch as the show even has continuity.) Unlike in the series, all the games the Nerd reviews in the movie are all either Bland-Name Product counterparts to real games or completely fictional, and none of the movie's supporting characters ever appear in the series before or after. There have been instances of footage from the movie briefly appearing in flashbacks, but the actual plot appears to be either treated in a Broad Strokes manner at best.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10:
    • The original series and Alien Force each received live-action films. The first was originally firmly within this trope, with its events being non-canon until the franchise introduced The Multiverse, which depicts the "Race Against Time" as having happened in one of many alternate timelines. Meanwhile, the second live-action film was always considered canon, as the events of the film have repercussions in later episodes, despite it having numerous inconsistencies with the show.note 
    • The What If? episodes of the original cartoon also exist under this multiverse framework, with the Gwen of one of them playing a role in a later story arc.
  • An interesting variation: the movie Penguins of Madagascar does not take place in the continuity of The Penguins of Madagascar TV show, but rather in the continuity of the Madagascar film series, which the show was spun off from.
  • The second Winx Club movie, Magical Adventure. While the first movie, The Secret of the Lost Kingdom, was firmly within the show's continuity (taking place just after Season 3 and concluding the then-Myth Arc concerning Bloom's missing birth parents), Magical Adventure ignores much of Season 4 despite releasing after it (lack of Roxy, Nabu being alive, etc.). The fandom has come to agree that the film makes much more sense continuity-wise if you imagine the girls are in their third season Enchantix outfits as opposed to their fourth season Believix ones.
  • The LEGO Ninjago Movie is not in the same continuity with either the Ninjago TV series OR toy line; it is instead a spinoff of The LEGO Movie. However, it takes inspiration from the source's plot points and puts a new spin on them, such as Lloyd's relationship with his father and the robotic aspects of Zane.
  • In spite of sharing some characters, Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw is a separate canon from Pound Puppies (1980s). The most notable discrepancies include the Puppy Pound being run by Tammy and Jeff instead of Holly or Katrina Stoneheart and the film using a different art style and different character designs from the Hanna-Barbera show.
  • The Raccoons had four TV Movie specials:
    • The Christmas Raccoons: Officially, the First Appearance of Bert Raccoon and his family, and although it's treated as the pilot episode, it seems to contradict the actual series by having the humans (Julie and Tommy) meet the Raccoons, although this is taken in Broad Strokes for the series itself.
    • The Raccoons On Ice: A Christmas Episode, and it's Loose Canon if anything as characterization of the major characters is very close to the series itself but there are some things that make it go into Broad Strokes territory.
    • The Raccoons And The Lost Star: This is of uncertain canonicity but possibly outside the show's core timeline, yet doesn't seem to contradict anything outright.
    • The Raccoons: Let's Dance! is a Lighter and Softer Musical Episode that was Direct to Video, much like an OVA, yet did get some TV airings. But how canon it is to the series is debatable.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is non-canon to the series' timeline. It was written as the finale for the show, but as the franchise was hitting peak popularity at the time, Nickelodeon kept the series going instead of ending it. Future episodes would not reflect the movie's ending, where SpongeBob gets a promotion to manager at a second Krusty Krab location and Plankton ends up in jail. Stephen Hillenburg considered it to still be the canonical ending of the series and handwaved any issues by declaring that all future episodes (and even other films) are set before the movie. An imperfect fix, but SpongeBob is a series where Negative Continuity, Snap Back and Status Quo Is God are in full effect, meaning continuity was never strong anyway.

Alternative Title(s): Big Lipped Alligator Movie

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