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Non-Specifically Foreign

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Fez: That Tomas is shady. But have you noticed he never says what country he's from?
Hyde: [beat] What country are you from?

A character is obviously "not from around here", but where they actually are from is kept a mystery. They don't even name a No Communities Were Harmed pretend country like Qurac or Bulungi.

It's possible that it's All There in the Manual, but you won't get any hints in the show itself. Their name doesn't give any hints, it just Sounds Foreign, and their accent doesn't sound like that of any real country.

They're likely to talk about The Old Country a lot without ever telling you what it is. Can be played for drama to hint at a character having a Mysterious Past, but more common as a way to create the ultimate Funny Foreigner—you can use all the best stereotypes without offending anyone! Of course, if a home country is ever revealed or deduced, all of this becomes Misaimed Stereotyping and will probably continue to happen because of how it's still funny.

Other characters may have their own assumptions, but these will be met by conflicting evidence, disagreement from others and offended denials by the foreigner himself ("Hungarian!? The Hungarians are our mortal enemies!"). The author, if pressed, will probably respond with a Shrug of God.

A popular variant in the UK is the "Eurotrash" character, someone whose origin can be loosely classed as Central/Western Europe but no narrower than that, speaking fluent English with an accent that hopscotches between Swedish, French, German, Italian…

Their reticence to talk about where they come from may be an early hint that they're a Fauxreigner.

Compare Ambiguously Brown, which can overlap with this trope. Contrast But Not Too Foreign. See also Where the Hell Is Springfield?, for when it's the setting of the show that's ambiguously located. The real life version as applied to versatile actors is Plays Great Ethnics.


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  • Lampshaded with the GEICO Gecko, a tropical lizard with a Cockney accent — one ad centers on people asking where he's from, and it deliberately cuts off before he answers. To add to the confusion he was originally voiced by Kelsey Grammer in a very twee Northeastern American accent.
  • The UK mascot of the "Euromillions" European lottery, absurdly wealthy jet-setting millionaire "Hector Riva".

    Anime & Manga 
  • Trowa Barton in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Of the members of his Multinational Team, he's the only one without a listed ethnicity. The fandom presumes he's either Latin American or European, but even that is pretty broad. The name doesn't indicate anything, as he was born without being given one (or at least doesn't know his real name) and assumed the name of "Trowa Barton" from someone else.
  • Kaere/Kaede Kimura from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei went on an exchange program overseas and then back to Japan. To which country is anyone's guess. At first it seemed it was to America, until she started talking about some... unusual customs in whichever country it was.
  • Yotsuba&! has only ever referred to Yotsuba's birthplace as "an island to the left". Even in-universe, nobody has a clue what that means, and her appearance — green eyes and green hair — gives no hint.
  • The DWMA in Soul Eater has students and staff from all over the world, but the series' cast is pretty much either explicitly Japanese (Black Star, Tsubaki, Mifune, Azusa, Maka's mother) or potentially anything but Japanese. The Thompson Sister are American and two meister/weapon pairs (one of which is a Death Scythe) are Russian, but you can't really nail anyone else to a region more specific than a continent. Their names, mannerisms, and faces don't really give many hints. Witches especially seem to be ethnically ambiguous in-universe and supplant the culture of their birth nation with that of their Mage Species: one conversation in Soul Eater Not! has people assuming Kim is from everywhere from Korea to Spain.
  • Death Note: The Wammy's kids. L is later said to be a mix of Japanese, English, Russian, and either Italian or French. Mello's real name, Mihael Keehl, suggests a mix of Croatian and German although this is not confirmed. Matt's real name, Mail Jeevas, is quite a bit harder to pin down in terms of an ethnic background or a country of origin. Near's ethnic background is also unconfirmed. (The Light Novel L: change the WorLd does name a Thai boy as Near, but he does not appear to be related in any way to the Near from the series proper]].) Beyond Birthday is a self-chosen nickname, and Rue Ryuuzaki is just an alias.note 
  • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl: In the English dub, Nando has a name of Hispanic origin and a thick, vaguely European-sounding accent.
  • Olivia from Asobi Asobase has an English name and the typical blonde hair and blue eyes to mark her as a foreigner despite living in Japan all her life, but it's never stated where her family is actually from. Her classmates assume she's American, but she has yet to confirm this.

    Fan Works 

  • Serge in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise. What the heck was that accent supposed to be?
  • Janosz Poha in Ghostbusters II spoke with a non-specific (Eastern European?) foreign accent. When asked where he's "from," he admits only to living in "zee upper-vest side" of Manhattan.
  • Raoul Silva in Skyfall. Played by a Spanish actor who applies English "received pronunciation" vowels over his own accent, using a Portuguese name. His real name, Thiago Rodriguez, doesn't narrow the field any more.
  • Adrian Veidt in the film version of Watchmen, though he successfully hides it in public. This technically applies to the comic version as well, given a vague reference to "the year [his] parents arrived in America", though in that one he has no stated accent and never presents as anything but wholesomely all-American.
  • The Warrior's Way: Yang's country of origin is never clear and seems to be a general mish-mash of Asian cultures.
  • Nazo in Big Daddy. All we ever learn about him is that he's illegal, semi-literate, and is fond of "lamb and tuna fish" (yes, together). He's played by the half-Jewish, half-Filipino Rob Schneider.
  • The villains in The Dark Knight Rises are connected to some vaguely Middle Eastern country, but their ultimate origins are deliberately left a mystery.
  • In The Room (2003), Johnny has some sort of foreign accent and makes a single reference to arriving in the country years back, but never reveals where he's from. The actor, Tommy Wiseau, was himself this as he was known for going through great lengths to hide his Polish origins until a lawsuit forced him to reveal it.

  • Goran from Damned. Madison describes him as having thick, dark hair and a Transylvanian accent, but admits that she does not know where he's from. To her Horrible Hollywood parents who adopted him as a publicity stunt, it probably didn't matter.
  • Ax in Animorphs comes off as this in-universe in his human morph. As it contains DNA from four different people (two of them white, one Latino and one African-American), and he introduced himself as being from various countries, culminating in Canada ("I am from Canada. I am Canadese.")
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel Harvest of Time says the Delgado incarnation of the Master "looked foreign, but his accent was impeccably British", without explaining how someone can just look "foreign". Of course, he's actually really not from around here.
  • Cards on the Table: Nobody is actually sure where Mr Shaitana comes from — apparently all Englishmen who know him regard him as a "dago" whom they want to kick, but they have no idea "whether [he] was an Argentine, or a Portuguese, or a Greek, or some nationality rightly despised by the insular Briton..." It's later stated that he has family in Syria, although whether he himself is actually from there isn't stated.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fez from That '70s Show is from some ambiguous foreign country (probably from somewhere in South or Central America). His real name isn't even available as a clue to his origins. His nickname is actually a (quasi-)acronym, short for "Foreign Exchange Student." Complicating matters further, a fellow countryman visited in one episode, played by a white actor with an exaggerated English accent and when asked where they were from, they stated "It depends on whether you ask the British or the Dutch."
    • Some of the Wild Mass Guesses include the West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Suriname, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Virgin Islands, and the Falkland Islands.
  • The "Channel 9" broadcasters on The Fast Show were vaguely Mediterranean, but their language was a mixture of pure gibberish and British cultural references. Wherever country they were from, all we know is that the weather is consistently "scorchio".
  • In Game of Thrones, Tyrion asks Shae (played by German actress Sibel Kekilli) what kind of accent she has, and she simply replies, "Foreign." Cersei suspects she's from the Free City of Lorath, but Shae doesn't directly confirm or deny this. The fact that a different character with a German accent claims to be from Lorath does add some credibility to Cersei's deduction, however.
    • Likewise in House of the Dragon, Mysaria used to a slave from an unspecified part of Essos (Lys in the book).
  • Andy Kaufman's "Foreign Man" was like this originally. Then he became a regular on Taxi and got a name and backstory. He was from "Caspiar," an island in the Caspian Sea. It sunk.
  • Eric Kleig and Kaftan in the Doctor Who story "Tomb of the Cybermen". Non-specific accents, various ambiguous foreign cultural signifiers, a touch of Brownface and general shiftiness.
  • In one episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dennis decides he needs to meet some Europeans to improve his sex life, because Europeans Are Kinky. He meets a guy named Jan with a vaguely German/Dutch accent who is only ever described, by himself or others, as "European".
  • Ishboo was a recurring foreign exchange student on All That with an abundance of bizarre cultural traditions that he'd insist others join in. Whenever someone asked where he was from, he'd brush off the question. It was sometimes implied that he wasn't a foreigner, and was just messing with everyone.
  • The host characters of Viva Variety were originally supposed to be generically European; however, most viewers perceived Mr. and the former Mrs. Laupin to be French, and eventually it was implied that they were. Johnny Bluejeans' origins were left vague. It's also suggested at other times that they hailed from somewhere on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall, such as Mr. Laupin's comment on a crappy "Beach Blanket" film he and Agatha starred in: "To celebrate our success, we used the money from the film to buy some toilet paper and a cabbage... Good livin'." American blue jeans were also famously popular contraband in the Soviet Union.
  • One of the Danger 5 is Pierre, from an unspecified European country.
  • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk's girlfriend Vanessa speaks with a foreign accent and is in the country on a visa, but she never speaks her native language and we never learn what country she hails from. The actress is Israeli.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Shelter", after the crisis begins, Frank Henderson is continually racist towards the foreign-born Marty Weiss, describing him as a "pushy, grabby, semi-American" and later refers to "you and your kind." However, it is never stated what country Marty is from.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: both Adar and Arondir are elves from an unspecified part of Beleriand before it was sank.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Mr. Knack from Eureeka's Castle has a nondescript European accent. His puppeteer, Brian Muehl, was instructed to perform him as though he came from a country called "Ethnia".


    Video Games 
  • Dr. Vahlen from XCOM: Enemy Unknown, whose accent is an odd hybrid of French and German. The fandom's best guess is that she's from somewhere near the border between the two countries and spent a lot of time travelling back and forth between them in her youth.
  • Soma Cruz is introduced in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow as a Foreign Exchange Student currently studying in Japan. His ethnicity is anyone's guess: his first name suggests that he's Greek, his surname suggests that he's Spanish, a certain Tomato in the Mirror moment suggests that he's Romanian, etc... (This is, oddly enough, a case of Adaptational Nationality, or lack thereof: in Japanese he's unambiguously a native, with his name being "Kurusu Souma". Why the English version made him a foreigner is anyone's guess.)

    Western Animation 
  • Dr. Nick Riviera in The Simpsons. He also has a case of What the Hell Is That Accent?. The audio commentary for "Homer's Triple Bypass" states that his design is based on Gabor Csupo while his accent is a bad imitation of Desi Arnaz. "Vieira" is also a fairly common ethnic Portuguese name, while "Rivera" is common in Spanish, while The French Riviera is a place doctors retire to.
  • Rolf in Ed, Edd n Eddy. Wherever he's from (let's call it "Fictitioustan"), it's apparently a cultural mishmash of Western and Eastern European, with a little West Asia and a sprinkle of Romani on top.
  • Family Guy made a Cutaway Gag about two guys who don't really have much of an accent, but speak in a way that you can tell that they're not from the US. They've become occasional Recurring Characters
  • Parodied in the Futurama episode "Raging Bender" with the Foreign Wrestling Heel bit character, whose stage name is simply "The Foreigner".
    The Foreigner: I'm not from here! I have my own customs! Look at my CRAAAAAAZY passport!
  • The Johnny Bravo episode "To Helga and Back" has a foreign girl named Helga delivered to Johnny after he sends for the perfect woman. The end of the episode has her state in her own words that she is from an indeterminate country.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Kim the Invincible is one of two foreign villains who appears in the series, being a powerful hippo who's wandered the world, defeating its greatest warriors and targeting Po as his latest trophy. While it's made clear he's not from China, it's never explicitly established where he came from exactly. He does sound vaguely British but not even that helps to narrow things down because there are plenty of other villains in the franchise who are presented as being native to China but yet have an Evil Brit accent.
  • The mice from the My Life as a Teenage Robot episode "Pest Control". Sure, the joke is that the group is a Dirty Commies Expy, but at one point Vladimir calls Jenny an "infidel" which is a stereotypical turn of phrase from a decidedly different region.

Alternative Title(s): Undisclosed Native