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Offscreen Rebuilding

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"Hey, my sandwich is whole again! Cool!"
Crow T. Robot, Mystery Science Theater 3000

It's that place. You know the one. Maybe its the place where heroes gather. Chances are it's Tokyo. Every episode or sequel it gets destroyed by some attacking horrible monster, natural disaster, or maybe the writers just felt destructive. Either way, you've got Monumental Damage, and now the city is a complete wreck. At least everyone was evacuated, right?


But what's this? We come back the next week/film and the city is already rebuilt?! Only it now has to face the next big threat from the experiment gone wrong or the psychotic supervillain who wants to drop rocks. Rinse and repeat. Funny, everyone seems to remember that things happened, but everyone seems to forget that things were destroyed.

This does not always need to apply to a city or town, but may apply to smaller settings like rooms or even objects with a room. Perhaps one of the most famous examples are pots in The Legend of Zelda: pots destroyed by Link for the goodies inside are restored if he leaves the room and comes back.

Probably a subtrope of Plot Hole. Very similar to Negative Continuity, except that continuity is established, this may be a subversion of Negative Continuity. Not truly induced by an Alternate Continuity or Canon Discontinuity since it may happen within a regular continuity.


Similar to a Snap Back, except that the issues caused still seem to carry meaning, just that the physical consequences have been magically erased. Related to but definitely not a Reset Button, since characters and plot points still occurred. Probably the result of a recycled plot type

Not to be confused with New Neo City where the city was completely destroyed and then rebuilt into a Utopia or No Communities Were Harmed where a fictional city is (or might be) "destroyed" so that real ones are "spared." Compare with No Endor Holocaust, where collateral damage seems to have been averted. The Tokyo Fireball may be a Sub-Trope or a Sister Trope.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Namek Saga of Dragon Ball Z, Goku's space pod (the one that brought baby Kakarot to Earth) is completely rebuilt by Capsule Corp. offscreen into a much larger ship. Though the pod was destroyed by Piccolo in a filler episode, because the recovery and rebuilding of the pod is done completely offscreen, this particular filler isn't necessarily contradictory.

  • In Judge Dredd, given the number of extraordinary disasters that have plagued Mega-City One, as well as the sheer frequency of such occurrences, it's a wonder how the place is even remotely able to function as a society. What's really strange though is that following events in the "Apocalypse War" story-arc which roughly cut MC1's population in half, the city has somehow managed to maintain a population of around 400 million people ever since—even after 60 million people were killed in "Necropolis" a few years after this, followed by a few million more in a zombie invasion just a few months after that. To be fair though, reclamation and rebuilding needs are usually addressed as plot points in stories taking place in the aftermath of any disaster of that magnitude.
  • This trope has been employed by the Marvel Universe almost constantly since the Fantastic Four and the Avengers debuted in the mid-60s. For years, New York City streets were being torn apart in battles between superhumans, and then in the next storyline it's like all the devastation never happened. In 1989, after about 25 years of playing this trope straight, a mini-series called Damage Control was released, focusing on the construction firm that repairs the damage caused by your typical superhuman showdown.
  • Batman:
    • No matter how many times the bad guys pop up, Gotham seems to be in decent order. Subverted in the fact that Gotham always seems to have some kind of problem to upend the neighborhood.
    • Averted in Kingdom Come. Wayne Manor lies in ruins, and the Batcave is partially flooded.
    Superman: What happened to the manor?
    Batman: Once my identity got exposed? Bane and Two-Face happened to it.


  • The ship that carries the protagonists of Galaxy of Fear, called The Shroud, is damaged several times over the course of the series in order to create Closed Circles. Typically it's repaired by the end of the book and the characters take off in it. However, it crashes pretty spectacularly in Army of Terror and characters basically assume that this is it, it's so damaged they have to outright abandon it. In the next book, The Brain Spiders, there has been a Time Skip and they're flying The Shroud without comment. The Interquel, Death in the Slave Pits of Lorrd, or What I Did On My Inter-Term Break, addresses this by saying that Han Solo looked it over and offered to take the ship to someone he knew.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Eureka, no matter what experiment seems to destroy half the town, it always seems to be back in order for the next episode.
  • In Power Rangers, every episode has the Make My Monster Grow sequence followed by Humongous Mecha and People in Rubber Suits having a death match, often resulting in a great deal of demolition. Yet, the following episode always inexplicably has (a) a completely intact city, and (b) people actually still willing to live in it. Some of the cities were consistently full of Conveniently Empty Buildings that seemed to frequently spring back up, justifying the trope (though in an admittedly half-assed way).
  • This is a hallmark of Toku in general. The Ultra Series and Super Sentai Series (and, by extension, Power Rangers) are especially guilty of this.
  • In an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Deep Space Nine station had one of its upper pylons blown off by an attacking spacecraft. By next episode, the station's fully intact again.
  • seaQuest DSV ends season 1 with the titular submarine destroyed and the Captain saying they're going to have to build a new boat. Season 2 begins a few months later with the new sub completed and operational despite there also having been a significant redesign.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Most games (especially certain RPG games) provide some kind of structures, items, etc that can be destroyed only for it to reappear later on.
  • In the Grand Theft Auto games (or almost any major sandbox game that lets you destroy stuff) anything the player blows up, kills, damages, or destroys simply vanishes and/or fixes itself once the player leaves the immediate area and focuses the game camera elsewhere.
    • Subverted in Red Faction: Guerrilla where destroying buildings and property belonging to the Earth Defense Force plays an important part in the story, and such structures never repair once they're fully demolished.
    • Also subverted in Grand Theft Auto IV - at one point, early in the game, the bad guys torch Roman's taxi business and his Hove Beach apartment, meaning you have to relocate. These buildings are never restored and stay off-limits to you throughout the rest of the game.
  • In some The Legend of Zelda games, it is possible to return to a room where you broke all the jars or pots, only to have had more jars or pots replace them. Even if there is no one there to do so.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a boss destroys the dungeon it's located in. After the fight and subsequent event, Link is immediately informed that said dungeon is completely repaired.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Played straight for Colony 9, after the Mechon attack there. Averted for Colony 6; it only gets rebuilt during an ongoing sidequest that lasts 'till the endgame.
  • In Earth Defense Force 2017, feel free to raze the city to the ground with your explosive weapons (or let the aliens do it), it will be good as new for the next mission. Except for late in the game when the it's reduced to ruins by the plot.

    Web Comics 
  • Inverted in Looking for Group, where the neighborhood destroys you
  • In MegaTokyo, this is one of the duties of the Tokyo Police Cataclysm Division.

    Western Animation 
  • Lampshaded in Futurama where Fry notes (after the end of the episode where aliens had been trashing the city) the secret of a good episode is a Snap Back. The camera then pans back to reveal New New York in ruins. Of course it's been fixed by the next episode.
  • Jersey City, New Jersey in Megas XLR. Fortunately, most of it seems to be Conveniently Empty Buildings.
  • The Powerpuff Girls' City of Townsville always had its share of issues undone at the end.
    • It took the entire city being leveled and in flames for the Mayor to actually care about the damage, and of course it's fixed next episode.
    • One episode ("Paste Makes Waste") does show the girls helping to rebuild the city after one of their battles, so it's possible they do so all the time. And another episode featuring career day at the girls' school has one of their classmate's father, an insurance agent, mentioning that he's kept busy by the constant destruction in town. So at the very least, it's Lampshaded.
  • Averted in the first episode after the movie of The Simpsons where you can see rebuilding occurring during the intro.
  • South Park plays it straight, subverts, and probably even inverts the trope.
  • In Kim Possible, several of the villain plans are shown to cause serious world-wide damage (Wild growing plants, rampaging robots, worldwide earthquakes, etc). Nobody seems to remember it by the next episode. Kim regularly blows up Dr. Drakken's lair, but it's always rebuilt by the next time they meet.
  • In Biker Mice from Mars, Limburger's building is destroyed Once per Episode yet always manages to be rebuilt.
    • Subverted in one episodes, one where it's still being built in the intro and before it's finished gets torn down again.
  • Averted in Ben 10. In the first season finale, Mount Rushmore is the setting for Ben's battle with Vilgax, during which Vilgax proceeds to shatter one of the heads with one punch. In future revisits, the head is still shown as missing. Then, in the final battle with the Forever King, Ben destroys the rest of the heads and has Grandpa Max put up a hologram so no one notices.
  • In Transformers: Animated, Detroit always looks surprisingly intact after being trashed by giant robot battles just about every episode, although the people are irate enough to show that repairs are being done in-universe, and people are being inconvenienced. The Autobots are actually shown performing said repairs at several points.
  • In Adventure Time, Finn and Jake's treehouse is (partially) destroyed every other episode. It always ends up inexplicably rebuilt in the next episode it appears in, though it has to be said there are many signs of repairs to the house. Also, there's the implication Finn and Jake like to intentionally damage their home so they have something to do in repairing it.
    • But averted when Flame Princess destroys the Ice Kingdom. The Ice King spends the next season or so staying with Finn and Jake while Gunter borrows his crown to rebuild with.
  • In Bugs Bunny Rides Again, when Yosemite Sam says to Bugs "this town ain't big enough for the both of us," Bugs proceeds to build a sprawling metropolis behind the town in no time flat off-screen.