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Outside-Genre Foe

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"Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs"? I'd watch that.

"The end of the Mesozoic era... A herd of Chasmosaurs is unusually jittery! They now know they have more to fear than Tyrannosaurs! Now they face an even greater danger... Tyrannosaurs in F-14s!"

There are some things you just can't plan for. An opponent from completely outside your genre is one of them. A cowboy is not expecting to fight demons, a demon is not expecting to fight aliens. In more mild cases, this simply requires a readjustment of tactics, but more extreme situations (such as Cthulhu showing up on a Buddy Cop Show) are simply going to end quickly and messily.

Subtrope of Outside-Context Problem and Genre Refugee; supertrope to Vile Villain, Saccharine Show and Cosmic Horror Reveal. Often a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere if it's a video game Boss Battle.

Compare to Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Beastars: Part of what makes Melon such a dangerous antagonist is that he's a Fighting Series Starter Villain in a Teen Romantic Drama. He's someone even the weakest Stock Shōnen Hero would beat to a bloody pulp in two seconds, but because he's an Ax-Crazy Large Ham who does things For the Evulz in a setting where being able to break a ceiling with your bare hands is considered the apex of physical strength, he suddenly gets upgraded to a Final Boss-level threat.
  • The head writer of Digimon Tamers decided that the final boss would be neither Digimon nor human, something that neither the heroes or the audience could ever expect. The D-Reaper more than qualified; an ever-growing mass of red goo that aims to delete everything. Originally a mere data-management program, it absorbed so much data that it threatens to destroy both the Digital World and the human world. Even the strongest of Digimon can be wounded merely by coming into contact with the thing, and it takes the heroes multiple episodes to figure out how to even fight it. The D-Reaper is also rendered in 3D CGI, in contrast to the rest of the series being in 2D animation, just to further emphasize how wrong the thing is.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball was a martial arts/comedy series in a world with some futuristic sci-fi elements and many more magical elements, and Goku and company dealing primarily with armies, powerful martial artists, and the occasional monster. Then came "Demon King Piccolo" who was a force of pure evil who took the franchise to its darkest point (albeit, even though that was the original series' penultimate arc, that's still quite an early point).
    • Then Dragon Ball Z came and completely changed the direction into a strong sci-fi bent, with the first enemy being Goku's big brother, who revealed both of them were aliens. DBZ had practically changed genres into a martial arts/sci-fi show (though deities and the afterlife were strong elements), the final threat, Majin Buu, is an Eldritch Abomination, and nobody knows where it came from.
    • This swings back in the other direction when Dragon Ball Super featured a Doctor Slump crossover episode. By this point, Dragon Ball had evolved into a mostly serious Fighting Series so when Arale shows up looking for a play-fight, she ends up steamrolling Goku and Vegeta using the Reality Warper powers that come from existing as a gag-based manga character. Vegeta realizes early on that he has absolutely no chance against a gag-strip character.
  • In Hoshin Engi, which has been mostly Chinese fantasy, it turns out that So Dakki, the supposed villain, was working for the alien Joka all along. Joka, as the Signpost of History, has long been manipulating all of Earth to her whims.
  • In Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, you'd expect the next major villain to be a demon, since Neuro is a demon and all. Only one other demon is ever shown in the series and Neuro easily controls him. Instead, the series goes in a completely unexpected direction by making the first truly major arc follow a super powerful A.I. that can turn people into criminals and slaves via brainwashing. How do they top that? Six humans who are really, really evil. That evil is where they get their superpowers, in fact. A series about a demon detective never once goes the supernatural route.
  • The Greater-Scope Villain of Naruto is actually not a ninja at all, and not even a human. Kaguya Otsutsuki is a woman who came from the heavens above and created chakra. In other words, an alien.
  • The most memorable One Piece antagonists are the movie-exclusive threats who simply do not conform to anything considered a "normal" threat on the Grand Line. And considering the usual types of enemies that the Straw Hats face include enemy pirates, marines, fish people, sky people, cyborgs, and the myriad impossibilities that are Devil Fruit users, that's saying something!
    • The hidden Big Bad of Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island, Lily Carnation, is a Botanical Abomination that hungers for human flesh and whose myriad abilities include illusions, subtle mind control, creating telepathically-guided barrages of arrows, and producing near-perfect clones of the dead.
    • The titular villain of The Cursed Holy Sword is a cursed blade that can take over the mind and body of anyone dumb enough to try and wield it, and can even morph and mold its host's body, including regrowing severed limbs and drastically increasing their stature, muscle-mass and strength. It's also repelled by the "holy prayer" of the island's native priestess. All of these traits would be bog-standard in a Standard Japanese Fantasy Setting, but are completely at odds with One Piece's usual restriction to Devil Fruit and Haki. Even the setting's other Living Weapons are completely different, being instead weapons that were somehow fed Zoan Devil Fruits.
    • The hidden Big Bad of One Piece Film: Red, Tot Musica, is an Eldritch Abomination literally described as "The Demon King" and is said to be a creature born from humanity's negative emotions. It exists simultaneously in two dimensions, and can only be harmed and ultimately defeated if fighters in both dimensions can coordinate their attacks to strike the exact same point at the exact same moment. But even this won't kill it, merely banish it to somewhere else; so long as the musical score that summons it exists, it can be called forth again. This has absolutely no basis in any of One Piece's other magical worldbuilding.
    • The manga proper finally has its own outside-genre foes with the introduction of the Five Elders: At first glance, they seem to be Awakened Mythical Zoans, which is rare but par for the course, but they all have certain abilities in common (including not aging, a Psychic Link, and the ability to summon each other with a pentagram), which is not normal for Devil Fruits. This, coupled with the fact that their beast forms are named but not their Devil Fruits themselves, makes them seem like full-on evil sorcerers at best or the actual monsters their Devil Fruits let them become at worst.
  • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl: Ash and his friends once encountered an actual ghost. While there are many Ghost-type Pokémon, the one they faced was a human ghost that was going to drag them into its realm.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a Magical Girl show where the adorable, fluffy cat-weasel mentor for the protagonists is actually a villain ripped straight from a Cosmic Horror Story. Kyubey is really an alien known as the Incubator, a Manipulative Bastard adhering to Blue-and-Orange Morality; taking its self-stated goals at face value, it aims to use magical power to solve the scientific issue of cosmic entropy. It views the protagonists and humanity as a whole solely as potential resources, and the Incubator is perfectly fine with abandoning them all to an unimaginable fate if that's the most efficient way to generate magical energy.
  • Toriko has been a simple Black-and-White Morality story of the benevolent IGO vs. the monstrous Gourmet Corp, which is why a third power, consisting of hidden agents within both groups and collaborating with wealthy folk called NEO, takes everyone off guard. On top of that, NEO is controlled by the long-thought-dead Acacia possessed by an Appetite Demon from a different dimension brought to ours by a race of interdimensional and indigestible aliens called Nitros, several of whom populate NEO's higher ranks and who the GT Robos are based on. Considering most of the series is humans fighting giant animals, it really comes out of left field.

    Comic Books 
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld: Eclipso. Until his arrival, the entire plot of the series revolved around a political struggle between Mordiel and the rest of her family, with most Houses having various positions toward the whole thing. Then this ancient enemy comes back from Earth and proceeds to Mind Control two members of the house, essentially becoming the biggest threat and forcing Mordiel into an alliance with her family.
  • Atomic Robo:
    • Atomic Robo is an expert in insane superscience and regularly deals with stuff like Nazi mad scientists, vampires from another dimension, military superweapons and kaiju. But in Atomic Robo and the Shadow from Beyond Time, he's up against an Eldritch Abomination that exists outside of linear time. He spends several decades between its attacks researching it and trying to figure out what's going on.
    • In Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle, Robo finds himself blown back in time into the Wild West, when he had been thoroughly convinced that time travel was completely impossible. He's deathly scared of changing history or causing a time paradox, though it ultimately looks to be a Stable Time Loop.
  • Cable & Deadpool: In the "Burnt Offering" arc, Cable is kicking the collective asses of Deadpool and the X-Men. The authorities call in... the Silver Surfer, whom even Cable didn't expect, resulting in an epic beatdown and eventual semi-depowering (even though Cable breaks the Surfer's board). This is notable since the Fantastic Four and X-Men characters rarely interact, so the Silver Surfer (who rarely intervenes in Earth's affairs even within Fantastic Four storylines) appearing really was a surprise.
  • Deadpool: Deadpool himself becomes this in Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, as his Medium Awareness gets a boost, letting him subject the whole of the Marvel Universe to a Just Shoot Him scenario, where Plot Armor no longer applies.
  • Fantastic Four: Fighting (and beating) cosmic beings may now be passé in superhero comics, but in its original context, The Coming of Galactus fits this. The appearance of an all-powerful "villain" that was beyond good and evil, and who immediately put the protagonists in a literally helpless situation, was unprecedented in superhero stories at the time.
    Human Torch: We're like ants... just ants... ants!!
  • Lucifer: Fenris is known, vaguely, by many of the characters, but since the conflict and all of the big hitters are Judeo-Christian in origin very few of them take a minor character from a forgotten religion very seriously. Lucifer himself warns them not to underestimate the guy and still ends up getting outplayed and very nearly killed, and Fenris eventually ends up with the largest major character kill count and a very good claim at being the Big Bad.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: One comic has Freddy deal with this, when the teenagers he's after try to destroy him by summoning an ancient Mayan monster that can dwell within dreams like he can.
    Freddy: What the fuck?
  • Ramba: Storylines in the comic normally dealt with mobsters, drug dealers, mercenaries, etc. In "Vendetta from Hell", Ramba fights a black magic coven that summons a demon in an attempt to kill her. This was the only appearance of the supernatural in the series.
  • Resident Evil: The story "Wolf Hunt" from issue #3 of Wild Storm's run pitted Jill Valentine against a werewolf that had no apparent connection to the genetic experiments being conducted by the Umbrella Corporation.
  • Tex Willer: The comic is usually a straight western series... With a number of villains capable of using magic, hidden cities of Aztecs, Maya and others showing up once in a while, and a story arc including straight-up aliens.
  • Transformers:
    • In IDW's Transformers works, neither side is expecting the forces of the Dead Universe to appear, as shown by their curb-stomping any Autobot and Decepticon they encounter in the process of gathering up Jhiaxus' stuff for their own ends. The fact that before they became champions of an Eldritch Abomination they had been missing, presumed dead for several million years, helps.
    • The Revolution crossover, meanwhile, has both the Autobots and most of the humans caught off guard by the appearances of Baron Karza and the Dire Wraiths, neither of whom they knew about (excepting Miles Mayhem, who had been working with both, and some of the members of G.I. Joe and the US government who had been replaced by Wraiths some time before).
  • The Ultimates: The team was used to dealing with normal threats, like mad mutant terrorists, shapeshifting alien Nazis, and super-soldiers gone wrong. They're completely blindsided by an actual, factual god like Loki.

    Fan Works 
  • Abyssal Plain has made it apparent that the Others (Boogeymen) of the Abyss, while deadly and vast in their horror, are not used to a large group of combat experienced and battle-hardened superheroes and villains with abilities that Magic can't completely replicate.
  • Akko Kagari and the Evil Within sees the staff and student of Luna Nova, a Wizarding School, fighting against a bioweapon with a purely scientific origin.
  • The Baleful Bureau: The Baudelaire Orphans are the protagonists of a Conspiracy Literature series, with most of their opponents being mundane human villains. The arc villain of their visit to the Oldest House, however, is the Foundation Dweller, an insect-like abomination out of a New Weird setting. The Baudelaires have trouble figuring out how such a creature can even exist, unaware that this kind of creature is an average opponent for their aunt, Jesse Faden.
  • The Bridge: Several pony characters remark on how nothing could have prepared them for a Kaiju. Likewise, numerous kaiju characters find themselves at a loss against some of the Equestrian villains. Xenilla has to seek out a unicorn expert just to figure out anything about King Sombra. In a case of Dramatic Irony, almost all of the characters have no idea the Big Bad Bagan even exists. The few who have heard of him think he isn't due to arrive for another 30,000 years, leaving them unprepared as they don't know the sealing magic has failed.
  • Citadel of the Heart has the fic most noteworthy of this being Digimon Re: Adventure. An OC Omegamon utilized elsewhere in the series, when her Fusion forcefully ends, her undying will to maintain her Fusion permanently comes to life as an Omegamon Zwart D known simply as "Blackheart". Digimon Re: Adventure is under most circumstances a Porn with Plot with a Slice of Life type of tone, even though the partner Digimon still exist, and enemy Digimon do indeed exist elsewhere in the story. However, the jarring part about this is just how utterly bloodthirsty Blackheart is and her desire for genocidal war in contrast to every other villain wanting the protagonists alive if captured, not killed. Blackheart, and the Black Digitron which leaks from her entire frame, is the go to Knight of Cerebus for the entire fic, and is considered a Vile Villain, Saccharine Show due to how out of place she is within a Porn with Plot fic, even in spite of her being the central catalyst to the Myth Arc that actual plot utilizes.
  • Code Prime: A Downplayed example, in that while the Decepticons are robots in a mecha show, it's their morality that sets them apart. Whereas Code Geass is a Real Robot show with Grey-and-Gray Morality, in comes a remorselessly evil force from the stars that fits a more idealistic Super Robot show, albeit a slightly darker one. Besides, what's a human empire that utilizes Earth-made resources that fares well against transforming alien robots?
  • In the The Culture/Harry Potter crossover Culture Shock (Ruskbyte), the Culture finds it hard to believe that Potterverse wizards, for all they appear primitive, can manipulate both layers of the Grid simultaneously, something only an even more advanced faction had previously demonstrated, nevermind things like the moving paintings that they can't even explain.
  • In Dangerous Tenant, the Resident Evil series, which is basically a shooting game as characters fight their way through hordes of zombies, finds a new hero in the form of the Tenth Doctor (Doctor Who) after he arrives in their world by accident. Where his allies could only shoot down the attacking zombies and try to stop the virus being released to create more, the Doctor is able to scientifically analyze the available information about the T-virus and devise a new version that will be perfectly harmless to humanity but render them all immune to the mutative effects of the T-virus from then on.
  • Death Note Equestria: Thanks to the powers of the Death Note (which even she doesn't fully understand), Twilight Sparkle as Kira becomes this to the entire Equestrian government. That said, just as L is figuring out the limits and rules of her powers, the golems suddenly show up, taking both sides by surprise.
  • A certain untitled Draconia Chronicles fanfic has a human space colony ship put down in the No-Woman's Land between the Draconic Empire and the Tiger Territories. When the dragons attack, they're ground into hamburger by AA cannons. When the tigers attack, they're shitstomped by Space Marines with Powered Armor and laser guns. Both factions decide to leave the humans be, because if this is what they're like defensively, what'll it be like when they're mad?
  • Equestrylvania: The reason Dracula's forces are so effective against Equestria's military is that they come out of nowhere, and are like nothing the ponies have ever faced before.
  • Fate Genesis: Dr. Eggman is this for participants of the Holy Grail War as his machines are more than capable of keeping up with Magecraft and magic. Notable since many magi believe it to be impossible for technology to match magic.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: Discord, due to not acting like a normal Chaos Daemon. Not even the Chaos Gods know what he is or where he came from.
  • Goin' KABOOM!: Katie Kaboom starts out as one for Danny, being a Dogged Nice Girl who can transform into a raging monster whenever her Hair-Trigger Temper goes off. It takes time for him to learn enough about her situation to figure out the best ways of dealing with her.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: Darth Nihilus is this to Beacon Academy. Keep in mind that Remnant's civilization hasn't even discovered space technology, let alone the existence of alien life; and the heroes of RWBY are generally used to fighting Grimm, human criminals, and Faunus terrorists. Nihilus, on the other hand, is essentially a psychic Undead Abomination from outer space who seeks to devour all life in the cosmos. The fic basically takes a cosmic horror villain from a space opera, and inserts him into a fantasy-inspired setting about a school that trains teenagers to slay monsters.
  • Arturia Pendragon is as such in A Knight's Tale as Inquisitor ever since she landed in Thedas, with this trope being one reason why she's so efficient in dealing with the (most recent) clustermess that is plaguing the world. In a land of Dark Fantasy so used to dragons of various stages, the occasional Blight, in addition to the religious zealots and vicious nobles regularly roaming around and about, positively NO ONE foresaw an unusually competent teenager (who is not at all a teenager) that wields the holy sword to end all holy swords, which none of the resident Standard Fantasy Races (who are much more accustomed to the Low Fantasy their world tends to lean into more often than not) have at all bore witness to such an degree up until the point of Arturia's arrival, all while she easily no sells any magic that doesn't belong to an Archmage due to having such high Magic Resistance thanks to herself essentially being the reincarnation of a dragon. This only increases as the Anchor begins changing Arturia into something even she's not sure of anymore.
  • Left Beyond: An odd case in which the arguable protagonist is one of these (no, it's not an isekai). Turns out that the best way to derail a piece of apocalyptic Christian fiction is to throw a slightly more benevolent version of the MCP from Tron at it.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Darkseid was this to NERV. Giant aliens? Sure, we can deal with it. An ancient, malevolent, overwhelming powerful alien God of Evil? Hell, no.
  • Deoxys in Latias' Journey, an Eldritch Abomination of Warhammer 40,000 proportions... in what starts out as a pretty straightforward Pokémon story.
  • The Master of Death: Outsiders are this by definition, but even discounting what Potter specifically can do, Potterverse spells can do things like transfiguration that the Dresdenverse has no conception of.
  • More than Meets the Spy: Beyond the Autobots and Decepticons being literal aliens intruding on Operation STRIX due to Bumblebee's mission, they're also tonal outliers compared to Ostania and Westalis - while Spy X Family is a lighthearted series, the overarching plot emphasizes how conflict is never something black and white. The main conflict of Transformers, however, is one of the shining examples of Black-and-White Morality in fiction, with the Autobots being extremely heroic and the Decepticons clear cut villains. A shining example of this is how the Ostanian State Security Service is given humanizing moments in the main story while the Camien Odyssey sidestory has the Decepticon Justice Division cross the Moral Event Horizon with glee.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: While canon has some fantasy elements, it's primarily a sci-fi setting, as this Series Fic also is. However, one of the main antagonists of Season 1, Norlock, is a magic-wielding vampire.
  • A Second Chance: One Eye, as he’s not a human and not even the protagonists fully understand how he ticks, along with the fact that his main motive is to brutally kill them, thus raising the stakes whenever he shows up. The same is true for the Loud sisters and Bobby during their brief stint as flu-zombies.
  • Senran Persona: Ninjas of Hearts: Asuka and Homura are introduced to Shadows and find out the hard way that their Ninja Arts have no effect, causing them to eventually awaken Personas. On the other end, the Phantom Thieves of Hearts later find themselves under the attention of Shinobi, both Good and Evil, because their special ablity could affect Shinobi Society, and they are ordinary high school students for the majority of the time. Homura puts them through Training from Hell in order to prepare them for any Shinobi that might come looking for them.
  • The Superwomen of Eva series: the appearance of true-to-Kami-no-it's-not-an-Angel-plot-no-it's-not-something-you-drank-no-we-are-not-making-this-up superheroes (or rather, superheroines) hits every single person good and bad within the cast that already had some issues from living in the world of one of the archetypical "Super Robot with Dysfunction Junction" anime shows like a brick to the face, and the start of their Character Development (or their Start of Darkness) is their struggle to wrap their minds around this fact.
  • In Temporal Anomaly, the Dark/Low Fantasy medieval setting of Drakengard is turned upside down by the arrival of Oma Zi-O - a post-apocalypse Evil Overlord in Power Armor who can completely control time in any manner he wishes - an ability that has never existed in that world's history until now.
  • The adult fanfic Wandering Pilot gives the feminist world of Queen's Blade the main protagonist of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Because of how he's from a world different from their own (Humongous Mecha with psychological horror for the best examples) in addition to being a very unusual kind of boy, every badass woman has her eyes toward him. Of course, this is more than just a mere harem fic as he's only interested in helping people, yet his insertion and new unique powers he himself can't comprehend causes changes and problems for everyone.
  • We Are Nothing has Freddy Krueger go on a killing spree at Hogwarts during Harry's fifth year. Since Harry Potter antagonists are typically British wizards/witches or fantasy creatures based on European folklore, none of Hogwarts' students and staff (nor anyone else from the Wizarding World for that matter) are prepared for an undead American serial killer who murders his victims through their dreams. It takes 3/4 of the story for anyone besides Harry to even figure out how Freddy is slipping past Hogwarts' magical defenses and killing the students, let alone actually come up with a way of stopping him since the Potterverse wizards are unfamiliar with how the Dream World works.
  • Zero vs Kira: Thanks to the Death Note, Light is this to the Britanians and Black Knights alike.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney): Meta-example. Judge Claude Frollo is a marked contrast with most other Disney villains because he is played completely seriously (no Laughably Evil antics here) and he breaks a lot of moral taboos that other Disney villains don't really touch - he is blatantly racist, genocidal, perverted and a religious fundamentalist. Also unlike many other Disney villains, there's no supernatural element to his nature: he's no demon or evil magician, he's just a medieval judge who abuses his power and authority to wicked and immoral ends.
  • The Wolf in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is a supremely capable bounty hunter who easily trounces Puss the first time they meet, even drawing actual blood. He relentlessly stalks Puss, relishing in the feline's fear, and is played so deadly serious the whole movie turns into Slasher genre whenever he shows up. The reveal of his identity and motivation actually ramps this up into Cosmic Horror Story, given he is unambiguously, literally, Death itself, an entity old beyond comprehension and can only be delayed, never defeated.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The MST3K-covered The Beast of Hollow Mountain appears to be a standard Western, with an American rancher trying to deal with disappearing cattle, his love for a local Mexican woman, and his rivalry with another rancher in his Mexican village. Then, later in the film — probably much too late for some - it turns out his cattle are vanishing because there's a T. rex running around.
  • Blood Red Sky sees a group of criminals initiate a carefully planned plane hijacking, only for one of the hostages to survive being shot and turn out to be a vampire.
  • The British film The Cottage is about a man who masterminds the kidnapping of a London mob boss's daughter, dealing with his bungling henchmen (including his brother) and a pair of hitmen sent to retrieve the daughter. So naturally, the film's biggest threat is...a psychotic deformed farmer who shows up a third of the way in and starts slaughtering everyone.
  • This is how the aliens are viewed in Cowboys & Aliens. As a result, they're initially referred to as "demons", something the cowboys do know about. Ironically, while the aliens and their technology are inexplicable to the Wild West, their motives are not: they're here to mine gold.
  • Simon Phoenix in Demolition Man, a Human Popsicle from the 20th century awoken in a future of Perfect Pacifist People; to counter this threat, they unfreeze an old-school cop familiar with violence. OK, Dr. Cocteau probably did expect him, just not that he would find a way around his Restraining Bolt and take over.
  • At the climax of Gangs of New York, the opposing gangs are facing off ready for a mass street fight according to the "ancient rules of combat", armed to the teeth with knives, clubs, and axes. Then, just as they're about to begin, they're hit by artillery fire, and the army marches in and starts shooting everyone. Suddenly the long blood feud is forgotten as the two sides unite in the struggle to survive.
  • Hannibal Lecter has elements of this trope. Where most of the villains in his stories are serial killers whose crimes are portrayed in a grounded and realistic manner, Hannibal is a much more over-the-top and theatrical caricature of an Evil Genius who wouldn't be out of place in a Universal Horror monster movie.
  • Heathers starts off seeming like a typical '80s teen movie, with all of the characters being familiar genre archetypes. Then J.D. starts his killing spree.
  • Horror films are fond of this trope, especially when starting off as crime thrillers, often resulting in an Enemy Mine situation:
    • The House On Willow Street features a kidnapping gone wrong due to Demonic Possession.
    • Splinter starts off as a carjacking before the monster turns up.
    • From Dusk Till Dawn could easily be mistaken for a crime caper movie for the first hour until the vampires show up.
    • Frontier(s) has a caper gang exploiting civil unrest in Paris to commit a major heist and taking shelter in the countryside, in which they run head-first into a French Neo-Nazi copycat of the Sawyer family.
    • Them! starts out as a Dragnet-style police procedural murder mystery, before the murders are eventually revealed to be the work of giant mutant ants.
  • I Come in Peace: The alien drug dealer arrives in the middle of a botched sting operation to kill the human gangsters. Later, he kills more of them when they arrive to kill protagonist Jack Caine.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Mola Ram and his Thuggee cult aren't out of the ordinary for the archaeology/adventure genre as a whole, but they stick out among Indiana Jones villains. The typical villains in these movies are soldiers of a modern government, usually one at odds with Indy's own United States (Nazi Germany in the first and third film, the Soviet Union in the fourth one), that are trying to obtain long-lost artifacts and use them to help them Take Over the World. The Thuggee, by contrast, are a long-extinct cult and secret society, recently resurrected by a charismatic guru who follows a Religion of Evil (a twisted and ultimately false version of Hinduism), and who, while he's also looking for an artifact to help him take over the world, already wields dangerous occult powers of his own.
  • James Bond:
    • For much of his first adventures, James Bond was tasked with defeating world-domination oriented plots of European and/or Asian villains, or at least very high-stakes criminal or spying plots, always with the Cold War as backdrop. In Live and Let Die, Bond finds himself facing off against a Caribbean-based drug ring, led by a dictator with Hollywood Voodoo connections and a truly terrifying (and possibly supernatural) Dragon, and nothing relating it to the Cold War whatsoever. In the same movie — though "foe" is something of a stretch in this case — J.W. Pepper is your typical Smokey and the Bandit/The Dukes of Hazzard-style Southern sheriff who suddenly finds himself caught up in Bond's wake.
    • Licence to Kill has Bond going after a powerful drug lord, although this time It's Personal and not a mission. Not a world domination or high-stakes spying plot, and unrelated to the Cold War, again.
  • The medieval society of Krull is woefully unprepared for the arrival of The Beast's interstellar, teleporting base of operations, a seemingly infinite army surplus of Slayers with laser spears, which promptly proceeds to curb-stomp battle the last remaining, desperate alliance of men at the beginning of the film, leaving only the Hero and his abducted bride-to-be as the sole survivors of the relentless slaughter.
  • Little Shop of Horrors begins by setting up the main character's situation as a loser who lives on the Wrong Side of the Tracks, works for his abusive father figure in a failing business and has an unrequited crush on his attractive coworker who is regularly beaten by her scumbag boyfriend. Then a talking alien plant shows up.
  • The Long Good Friday is about a London gangster whose operations suddenly come under attack from an unknown party. He assumes that it's a rival mob trying to take over his territory, but eventually discovers that it's the IRA. He has no idea why they're after him, and his advisers warn that they operate in a completely different world than him.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In The Avengers, Loki is, as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanov (a.k.a. Black Widow) puts it, "nothing we were trained for" — most of the eponymous Super Team are used to terrorists with fancy weapons, not mad physical gods from another dimension. Fortunately, Loki's elder brother Thor has dealt with his crap before and joins the human heroes.
    • Thanos, the alien warlord with god-like powers granted by the Infinity Gauntlet, is this to many of the heroes he fights in Avengers: Infinity War. While Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy aren't necessarily strangers to alien threats, Doctor Strange is sworn to fight against magical dangers, Spider-Man confronts street-level criminals, Captain America and Iron Man handle dangerous terrorists and Black Panther guards Wakanda from invaders. Thanos is unlike anything they had to contend with before, and even Thor and the Guardians are shown to not be enough to fight him either.
  • Common in Marx Brothers movies, such as Duck Soup, A Day at the Races (1937), A Night In Casablanca, etc. These flicks were populated by characters out of straightforward melodramas, such as earnest young lovers and nefarious villains ... except for the Marx Brothers, who were vaudeville sketch comedy characters. This throws the villains' plans awry, since it's hard to manipulate people who will do completely random things for the sake of a gag and will pull off stunts that shouldn't work but do because of the Rule of Funny.
  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning: Compared to the likes of the other villains of the film series, all of whom are either terrorists, rogue agents, or arms dealers, The Entity feels more like a villain you'd see in either Terminator, The Matrix, the MCU or Mega Man X due to it being a sentient, rogue A.I.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Lord Cutler Beckett really stands out given the fantastical nature of the series. The franchise's other villains include a crew of pirates cursed by the gold they stole to be undead for eternity, a creature that's basically the seafaring version of the devil, a sorcerer who practices Hollywood Voodoo, and another crew of undead sailors. Beckett, by contrast, is an utterly mundane (if very successful) businessman, and director of the East India Trading Company, who nevertheless manages to be at least as great a threat as any of the others. What makes him scarier is that despite not being a part of it, he's perfectly aware of the supernatural world. He just treats it as another economic sector to be taken over, identifying all the important actors in it, looking for the pressure points that will allow him to coerce them into serving them, eliminating them if that can't be done, and playing them all against each other.
  • Predator:
    • Predator: It starts off as a war/action movie, with experienced soldiers going on what looks to them and the audience like another jungle skirmish, to fight some local guerillas. Then the hyper-advanced alien comes in, hijacks the plot, and turns the movie into a completely different genre. The characters go from seasoned soldiers on a mission to the playthings of something that sees hunting them as an enjoyable hobby, and couldn't be more confused about it.
    • Predator 2 opens like a late-'80s Dirty Harry-style crime-action film, with rival gangs shooting up the streets of Los Angeles and the LAPD struggling to handle them. Then an alien hunter shows up and becomes a bigger problem. Even the alien-hunter hunters aren't fully prepared for what they're up against.
    • Prey does the same again, in the eighteenth century American Great Plains. The main characters are Comanche warriors and French trappers who, as in the first two movies, find themselves completely caught off-guard by the appearance of an alien hunter.
  • The aliens from the beginning of Transformers: Age of Extinction, when they appear 65 million years ago. The dinosaurs have no idea what is going on when they show up en-masse and proceed to turn the planet's surface into metal.
  • The Valley of Gwangi has a gang of cowboys stumbling upon a Lost World full of Living Dinosaurs.
  • Nick, the protagonist of Gone Girl, looks and acts like a protagonist of a romantic dramedy about a former fratboy dealing with an early onset of midlife crisis, but with the disappearance of his wife he's thrust into a psychological thriller. For the perpetrator of the disappearance, in turn, the only people who get the drop on them are two petty criminals straight out of a kitchen sink drama.

  • The entire Kid Detective genre (Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, anything by Enid Blyton) essentially runs on this. The criminals in these novels are prepared for cops, spies, the occasional Great Detective, and anyone else they might run across in a more ordinary crime thriller. What they're not expecting at all is to be thwarted by a small-group of pre-teenage children, so they usually end up completely blindsided when it inevitably happens.
  • Blood Meridian is, for the most part, a mundane (if tragic and horrifically violent) work of historical fiction. The only exception is the enigmatic figure Judge Holden, a villain transplanted from a Cosmic Horror Story. Killing him appears to be a complete impossibility, and people who attract his attention never seem to survive in the long run. The implication seems to be that he is either an unknown Humanoid Abomination, Satan, or the abstract concept of war given human form.
  • In Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Space Hotel USA is invaded by Vermicious Knids, carnivorous aliens who have destroyed several planets' populations but cannot invade Earth itself (they burn up in its atmosphere). Humanity is almost completely unaware of their existence, and the crew and guests of the hotel can only run for their lives when they attack. Luckily, an exception to humanity's unawareness is up there with them — Willy Wonka, who knows all about the creatures and whose Great Glass Elevator is actually Knidproof. Although it takes some doing, he manages to rescue the remaining crew and guests.
  • The Vord in Codex Alera come as a nasty shock to the Alerans, who are more or less Roman Legionaries with Elementals powers. They're use to dealing with the Marat, the Canim, the Icemen, and each other. These other races are (as the books explore) not all that different from the Alerans when you get down to it and would fit more or less into another fantasy setting. The Vord, meanwhile, are basically the Zerg from StarCraft or Warhammer 40,000: Tyranids even to the point that it's implied they are a space-faring race. The only information about them the Alerans have is bits of nearly-forgotten Marat folklore from the last time they almost ate the planet, and they certainly seem like they found their way into the wrong series.
  • Demigods & Magicians:
    • Percy Jackson is not able to defeat the Son of Sobek because it comes from Egyptian mythology rather than Greek, so he needs Carter Kane's help dealing with it.
    • Annabeth, with all her knowledge of Greek monsters, has no idea what to make of the head of the staff of Serapis when she sees it, particularly since it's incomplete at the time. After she meets Sadie and finds out about the Egyptian side she's able to start making connections, and even figures out who the staff belongs to, but still Serapis, a god born of the melding of Greek and Egyptian legends, makes her feel as though he turns her entire world inside out simply by existing. Then she finds out that he was set loose by Setne, a master of a form of magic she's never encountered before. This is mitigated somewhat by the presence of the Kanes, who are familiar with the Egyptian side, and help bring Percy and Annabeth up to speed.
  • In "The Depths of Shadows" by Jack Butler, a hardened team of heavily armed, heavily cybered up street samurai walk right out of a William Gibsonesque world into a Dwindling Party nightmare when they encounter an honest to God vampire.
  • Discworld: In Sourcery, Coin the Sourcerer walks into Unseen University and starts altering the whole world with limitless magical power, the first sourcerer to show up in centuries. Discworld's wizards normally have to work within fairly consistent rules and limits, largely because they can only draw upon and channel natural background magic that already exists in the environment; sourcerers can generate magic — or at least draw it in from Somewhere Else where it's functionally infinite — completely at will, meaning that they can brute-force reality itself by sheer power until the only explanation for what they do is A Sourcerer Did It. This is highlighted by the fact that even Lord Vetinari is caught completely off-guard and spends most of the book as a small lizard. His credentials as a schemer and anticipator have not yet been established at this point in the series, but even if they had, there's no reason he would ever have anticipated this.
  • Happens in The Elric Saga. Elric's main foes are various evil wizards and the gods who are embodiments of chaos. In the novel Sailor on the Seas of Fate, he is suddenly summoned to join a host of other warriors to combat an enemy that threatens the entire universe, a pair of alien sorcerers from another universe that popped in from a science experiment from billions of years in the future and aren't bound by the laws of Elric's cosmos. He himself is revealed to be an incarnation of the cosmic Eternal Champion and he's to merge with three other Eternal Champion incarnations to fight the alien sorcerers on their own terms, the other warriors were simply recruited to be cannon-fodder. Nowhere before was it ever indicated that Elric was anything other than a med-dependent, bookish albino prince and later in other novels outside a few ancient immortals, almost no-one on Earth is shown to have any knowledge of the Eternal Champion.
  • Frederick Forsyth is fond of this.
    • The Day of the Jackal gives us the title character. The OAS, a terrorist movement that's struggled unsuccessfully against the French government for years, is at this point completely infested with moles and informants and no longer able to make a move without their enemies learning about it. Therefore, three of its leaders decide (without involving any of the other members) to go completely outside the system and recruit a foreign Professional Killer to assassinate President De Gaulle. (Ironically, it's only by relying on the most conventional means of the genre that the Outside Genre Foe is ultimately defeated: while the special action units, intelligence agencies, and friends recruited in the underworld that have been so effective against the OAS all come to nothing, Commissioner Lebel is ultimately able to track down the Jackal through mundane but thorough detective work).
    • The Odessa File: The ODESSA is a fraternity of former SS members that look out for one another in the post-Nazi era. As such, they have long experience dealing with Israeli spies, Nazi-hunters, and the occasional investigators from former Allied governments. What's much more mystifying to them is to find themselves relentlessly investigated by Peter Miller, an ordinary German journalist, who isn't a Jew, isn't a member of any other group targeted by the Nazis, and other than sharing his generation's revulsion for the Nazi past, not even particularly political. (The occasional Nazi-hunters who lend Miller a hand are similarly baffled). Only at the end of the book do they (and the reader) find out that Miller is the son of a German officer murdered during the war by former SS officer, and current ODESSA member, Eduard Roschmann. Roschmann had commandeered a ship assigned to evacuated wounded soldiers so that he and fellow SS could use it to flee the Soviet advance, while leaving the remaining soldiers to fight to the death, and murdered Miller's father when he tried to prevent this.
  • InCryptid is mostly Urban Fantasy, with the foes ranging from dangerous cryptids to human mages and monster hunters to even an Eldritch Abomination in one book. In the short story "Survival Horror", Antimony and Artie are trapped in a magic video game that tries to kill them. Despite the game relying on Runic Magic, it leans much more towards science fiction than most of the rest of the series. A non-enemy character, Annie's grandfather Martin Baker, is a Revenant Zombie presumably created with Mad Science, which is never mentioned elsewhere in the series.
  • Jack Ryan:
    • The Jack Ryan novels trend firmly towards the Stale Beer brand of Spy Fiction, with most of their villains being members of real-life terrorist groups, criminal organizations, or governments hostile to the United States. Rainbow Six, however, pits the heroes against what are effectively James Bond villains (it's even lampshaded in the narration): a small cabal of rich people trying to release a virus that will wipe out almost all of humanity so they can live in a world that conforms to their environmentalist ideology. There's some effort to cushion the blow by tying them to real-life green radical movements and (at first) making them use ordinary terrorist groups as proxies, but it's still a hell of a genre shift.
    • The Ulster Liberation Army from Patriot Games is this from the point of view of the British and American analysts trying to figure them out. They're an Irish republican terrorist group, so far so good, but everything else about them is incomprehensible: they don't announce their existence to the public or claim operations (which is the whole point of terrorism, to scare the public into giving in to political demands), they carry out operations that risk so much backlash that the other movements declared them off-limits long ago (like targeting the British Royal Family or carrying out operations in America), and they identify themselves by the prefix "Ulster" rather than "Irish" ("Irish" is the identity preferred by Catholic/Republican groups, "Ulster" by Protestant/Loyalist groups). It turns out that most of this is because their real target isn't the British or the Loyalists, but the IRA itself, which they're trying to seize control of after overthrowing its leadership. Remaining secret means that their terrorist actions continue to be attributed to the IRA, weakening its public support and emboldening radicals more in line with the ULA's goals, in addition to making it easier for them to hide from IRA vengeance.
    • John Kelly/Mr. Clark becomes this in Without Remorse. The villains are Baltimore drug dealers and human traffickers who effectively think they're living in a season of The Wire: when their members start turning up murdered, they assume it's all part of a power play within the Baltimore underworld, eventually settling on a disgruntled underling as the likeliest suspect. It's not until the very end of the book that they discover they're actually being assassinated one by one by a pissed-off, revenge-driven, Navy-SEAL-trained Vietnam veteran, and ex-boyfriend of a prostitute they murdered when she tried to run away from them.
  • In the Mistborn series, up until the end of the second book, everyone has been dealing with understandable threats: The Lord Ruler was a badass but defeatable foe in the first book, while the various kings struggling for power, including the army of koloss, were predictable and understandable, if dangerous and well-armed, foes. Then in comes Ruin, who is a literal god of destruction and unmaking.
  • Legrys Mor in Murder at Colefax Manor is a a Lovecraftian Eldritch Abomination inside an otherwise fairly normal murder mystery.
  • From the point of view of the bad guys (and readers), this is what happens in Weber's Out of the Dark. So you got your typical science-fiction alien invasion of Earth opposed by assorted teams of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, but there's really no way humans can win, since genocide by biological warfare would be fairly easy for the aliens if things get too out of hand... and then a ludicrously overpowered to the point of ridiculous Dracula decides he's getting tired of all this alien invasion shit.
  • Paradise Lost:
    • Mythical gods do appear despite Paradise Lost being a Christian work, but reimagined as demons whom humans mistake as deities. However, in this cosmology, the space between Heaven, Hell and the mortal world is a huge and possibly infinite realm called Chaos, ruled by a figure also called Chaos, his consort Night, with a court including Chance, Rumour, Tumult, and Discord. They're opposed to God, but they're not fallen angels, and we don't know where they came from. Admittedly they don't really affect the plot, other than allowing Satan passage through their territory.
    • Sin and Death, to a lesser extent. They're allegorical characters created by Milton, rather than being from demonology or paganism. They presumably don't count as fallen angels either: Sin was born from Satan's head, while Death is their incestuous offspring.
  • Morgarath from Ranger's Apprentice has an army of non-human minions which he controls through telepathy and is able to hire assassins from a second non-human race, in a setting that otherwise has absolutely zero supernatural or paranormal elements.
  • The main characters of Relativity are all superheroes. The villains are all, well, supervillains. Both sides are pretty evenly matched, all things considered. Then along comes Phanthro, who can travel through time and alter history...
  • The Reynard Cycle: If the backstory is to be believed, the Demons "fell from the heavens" and enslaved the entire world in seven days. Even though there were only seven of them.
  • Second Apocalypse plays with this: In an otherwise High Fantasy setting, an alien invasion would be completely outside genre... but the Inchoroi crashed in the world since before history was recorded and most of the wars have been against them, so they essentially made themselves part of the setting. Then it turns out that Damnation is a physical and metaphysical reality and the gods are real eldritch abominations, pushing the High Fantasy setting straight into cosmic horror.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a few examples usually based on a relatively mundane, Low-slash-Historical Fantasy getting invaded by High Fantasy:
    • The Targaryens were this in the backstory. Aegon and his two sisters arrived from Valyria and conquered Westeros in short order because no one knew how to deal with their dragons. Of particular note is Harrenhal Castle. It was a massive fortress whose construction nearly bankrupted the Riverlands, and it was made to be the strongest, most defensible castle in Westeros... against a ground assault. Then comes Aegon the Conqueror on the back of Balerion the Great, and he just flies over the ramparts and torches the castle and all the defenders, leaving it a burned out wreck.
    • The Others are a race of unearthly humanoid abominations from the uttermost north, capable of bringing snowstorms and raising the dead, and who blanketed the world in The Night That Never Ends the last time they took power… against a Low Fantasy continent primarily concerned with the civil war and associated political maneuvering that's ravaged the land. Magic has been in decline so long that most people don't even know it existed, and Westeros has forgotten the gigantic Wall it has up north was built specifically to guard against the Others.
    • To a (so far) lesser extent, Euron Greyjoy, particularly as seen from the perspective of Asha Greyjoy. The plotline involving the Iron Islands and the Kingsmoot, begins as a down-to-earth political maneuvering within a viking-like society of seaborne raiders, where Asha is the Only Sane Man who has to overcome her competitors and their short-sighted visions for the future of the Islands. Enter Euron, who rather than another rival warlord, is a larger-than-life figure more akin to an evil twin of Conan the Barbarian with a mysterious collection of magical artifacts, and grand designs better suited for a supervillain than a practitioner of medieval Realpolitik.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The most dangerous threat of the post-Palpatine galaxy was the Yuuzhan Vong, religiously sadomasochistic alien zealots who are also immune to the Force, a very different enemy than anything else in the franchise.
    • A smaller-scale example is the Ssi-ruuk from The Truce at Bakura. Like the Yuuzhan Vong, they're an empire of Scary Dogmatic Aliens from outside of known space wielding unfamiliar tech who launch an invasion of the galaxy shortly after the Battle of Endor (though their threat is resolved in much shorter order). The event catches the Rebels and Imperials off guard enough that they temporarily set their differences aside and join forces to stop the aliens.
    • Abeloth, an Eldritch Abomination as the Big Bad for a Star Wars book.
    • A duology of books by Joe Schreiber (Death Troopers and its prequel Star Wars: Red Harvest) both revolve around Zombie Apocalypses happening in the Galaxy Far, Far Away
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Ungoliant. Tolkien's Legendarium is a High Fantasy setting where Eru Ilúvatar and his angels created everything; thus, most of the antagonists are Fallen Angels like Melkor and corrupted races like the Orcs. Yet one of The Silmarillion's antagonists is an Eldritch Abomination who appears out of nowhere, briefly teams up with Melkor, then wanders off as mysteriously as she arrives. Ungoliant is so alien to the setting that her power over "Unlight" is capable of disorienting the Valar themselves. She may be a Fallen Angel too, or she may have emerged from the Primordial Chaos; not even Tolkien himself could decide.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Arrowverse has a habit of introducing these:
    • Season 2 of Arrow introduces Mirakuru, a Super Serum used by a cult to create insane and violent Super Soldiers. Up until now, the protagonists had only fought ordinary criminals and corrupt businessmen. This is their first encounter with genuine superhumans.
    • In Season 4 of Arrow, Oliver has to fight against Damien Darhk, whose powers are mystical/magical in nature. Darhk can siphon a person's life force with his touch, and he can stop bullets (and arrows) in midair with a simple gesture.
    • In The Flash, a young Barry Allen watches his mother being murdered by what appears to be a fast-moving man shrouded in lightning. Barry's unbelievable story results in his father being imprisoned for the murder. Fourteen years later, a particle accelerator explodes, creating other "metahumans" with similar powers. However, that doesn't explain how a metahuman could exist before the particle accelerator explosion. As in the comics, the murderer's origin turns out to be even more bizarre: he's a time-traveller. Later on, the show adds alternate dimensions and aliens into the mix. Season 4 adds an honest-to-God vampire to the show.
    • For the first two seasons of Legends of Tomorrow, the Legends go up against enemies who are mostly technology-based or metahumans. Season 3 throws magic into the mix as the time demon Mallus is the Big Bad of the season, with Season 4 introducing more magical enemies and Season 5 having various damned souls escaping Hell and into history.
    • The yearly crossover events run on this. The second one, Invasion, has an antagonistic race of aliens known as the Dominators invading Earth to eliminate metahumans, causing Team Arrow, Team Flash, the Legends and Supergirl to team up and take them down. Crisis on Earth-X has an army of actual Nazis (from an alternate Earth, Earth-X, where they won World War II) crashing Barry and Iris' wedding, backed up by evil versions of Arrow and Supergirl and the Reverse-Flash. The third, Elseworlds, has the heroes (minus the Legends, but including Superman) against both a rogue android designed to copy superhuman abilities, as well as a mad doctor with access to a reality-altering book. Elseworlds served as a prelude to the latest event, Crisis on Infinite Earths, where every hero possible is called in to combat the threat of the Anti-Monitor and his antimatter wave from wiping out the multiverse.
  • Blake's 7 very nearly had this happen in Series 2, where at one point the intention was for the arriving alien force in that series' cliffhanger to be the Daleks.
  • Breaking Bad is a drug themed crime drama, but one of the final villains is a ruthless gang of Neo-Nazi mercenaries who routinely deal with problems with extreme force and heavy fire power. They're so dangerous that no one even tries to fight them outside of two DEA agents and a small band of much smaller time crooks. Both efforts fail because they're unbelievably outgunned by a death squad straight out of an action movie.
  • Charmed:
    • Whitaker Berman from "Dream Sorcerer" was a science-fiction villain (he used advanced technology that let him kill people in their dreams) in an Urban Fantasy show.
    • Barbas (the demon of fear) invokes this in "Ms. Hellfire"; since the Charmed Ones have thus far thwarted every magical attempt on their lives, he opts to try something different by hiring The Mafia to kill the Halliwells.
  • In the Community episode "Epidemiology", Greendale deals with a Zombie Apocalypse. Unlike every other Genre Shift in the show, this isn't just people playing pretend or taking things too seriously; it's a real effect of eating meat infected by an experimental virus. In the end, the plot is resolved by The Men in Black, who never appeared before and never appeared again.
  • Given that the premise of Doctor Who allows writers to play with any number of genres, it isn't uncommon for the Doctor to encounter threats that vary from madmen from James Bond to supernatural threats like witches and the actual Devil. In regards to the latter the Doctor usually explains that magic is another form of science and powerful entities are not literal gods, but that never really changes what the threat is.
  • Maldis from Farscape is an Evil Sorcerer in the middle of a Space Opera.
  • In Game of Thrones, the Night King and his army of the dead are this to any character that's not either a member of the Night's Watch or a wildling. The White Walkers are just considered children's stories, since they haven't been a threat for thousands of years. Much of the characters spend time fighting amongst each other over who will sit on the Iron Throne, unaware of anything supernatural. Much of season 7's plot deals with Jon Snow trying to convince others that the threat is very real.
  • Kamen Rider deals with this during recent years, as the titular heroes cross over into other series more frequently.
    • Kamen Rider Decade deals with this during their teamup with Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. A Monster of the Week from that Sentai gets his hands on a Transformation Trinket that allows him to turn into a monstrous Kamen Rider. This turns this monster into an Outside Genre Foe to both the Riders and de Shinkengers, as the former never dealt with a Sentai monster, while the latter never dealt with a Kamen Rider.
    • The finale of Kamen Rider Drive has Shinnosuke, AKA the titular Kamen Rider, deal with actual ghosts, to set up the next series; Kamen Rider Ghost. In his own series, Shinnosuke fought against sentient androids who tried to incite a Robot War. Nothing prepared him for an encounter with the paranormal.
  • In Lost Girl, the Garuda catches everybody by surprise because it predates the Fae. There was no myths or legends of it, so there is nothing to reference. However, a few people like Lachlan knew about it and had been preparing.
  • Security Chief Gandía in Money Heist is a trained assassin and experienced commando. Once he escapes the robbers and starts covertly hunting them (disabling the cameras, moving through the vents and secret passages the robbers don't know about, trying to score stealthy kills against them...) he becomes a Slasher Movie villain in a heist show.
  • The Monkees usually outsmart normal antagonists like foreign spies, con artists or arrogant jerks. In the second season, they start dealing with more magical or alien bad guys. The best example is The Devil and Peter Tork.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): In "The Miserable Mill", Olaf's crumbling alliance with a local villain sees him openly dismissing Dr. Orwell's "high-concept science fiction gimmicks".
  • Supernatural is an Urban Fantasy series with villains that consisted mainly of ghosts, demons, monsters, witches, angels, Gods, etc. The one-off villain Doc Benton from the episode "Time Is On My Side" was a notable outlier, though, being a normal human man who somehow attained a crude form of immortality without the use of magic or anything paranormal, just "very, very extremely weird science."
  • Crossovers in Super Sentai and Power Rangers can play out like this, as each series in these franchises has a particular theme they stick to, which can really conflict when crossing over with another series. However, this phenomenon can also exist within their own self contained series.
    • Choujin Sentai Jetman has this trope within their own series. During a short arc in the second half of the show, the Jetman team has to deal with a group of ancient demons, while their usual foe are an interdimensional alien empire.
    • The crossover trend started with the crossover between Ninja Sentai Kakuranger and Chouriki Sentai Ohranger. The former deals with ninja's using Supernatural Martial Arts to fight magical demons, while the latter is a military organizations who deals with an Alien Invasion of sentient robots. When the Ohrangers fight an average monster the Kakurangers deal with easily, it was impervious to everything they throw at it. And they need the help of the Kakurangers to finally beat it. Power Rangers uses footage of this team up, but since all villains are aliens at this point in the show, the encounter does not feel as contrasting compared to the Sentai version.
    • In Mahou Sentai Magiranger vs. Dekaranger, the police themed Dekarangers, who normally only fight tech using alien criminals, are suddenly confronted by a magical demon, which are normally faced by the Magirangers. The Magirangers, on the other hand, are introduced to the aforementioned alien criminals.
    • Engine Sentai Goonger features several supernatural monsters, despite their usual foe being a race of polluting sentient robots. Almost all of these supernatural occurences are from the the parallel dimensions established in the series lore. There is even a dimension based on feudal Japan that is ruled by an evil sorceress.
    • The aforementioned series also encounters this trope during their crossovers. Both Juken Sentai Gekiranger and Samurai Sentai Shinkenger have fantasy themes, while Go-onger is more sci fi themed. The teamup with Gekirangers involved the Go-ongers fighting an immortal dragon god, while the teamup with the Shinkengers made the Shinkengers fight sentient robots, with them normally fighting demons from Japanese folklore.
    • Azazel from the Direct-To-DVD Tokumei Sentai Gobusters Returns Vs Dobutsu Sentai Gobusters is this. He absolutely does not fit into the Go-Busters universe. The enemies of the original series are all made from data and therefore fit a robotic/technological theme, while Azazel is a supernatural demon, despite demons not being an established part of the Go-Busters universe. Also, this is a standalone Go-Busters film, not a team-up with someone who usually does fight such foes.
    • The setting of Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger takes place in is more or less a Heroic Fantasy with political thriller elements. The second arc reveals that the Greater-Scope Villain that makes himself fully known to the world is a being more akain to something from a Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Tokusou Exceedraft is a futuristic Rescue Cop Show with some grounded science fiction elements, such as the Powered Armor its heroes wear. As such, it's likely no one expected Satan to be the Big Bad for the final stretch of episodes.
  • Zero Zero Zero charts the various organized crime outfits responsible for buying, selling, and transporting a massive shipment of cocaine from Mexico to Italy. However, while the shipment is making its way through Africa under the watch of experienced drug brokers, it gets waylaid by Moroccan jihadists who have seized control of the area. The drug brokers are at a loss on how to deal with the jihadists, whose principles and objectives are completely alien to them.

    Music Videos 
  • Skrillex
    • The music video "First of the Year" has a child kidnapper very surprised when his victim summons a demon to kill him.
    • "Bun Dem": a corrupt police officer fraudulently evicting low-income households is thwarted by a Magical Native American boy who summons a Thunder Bird made of lasers when the cop tries to pull a gun on him.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The WWE has a history of vaguely demonic or otherwise magical characters (often Heels) with ill-defined supernatural powers, e.g. Kane, The Undertaker, Papa Shango and Bray Wyatt. The most famous of these, the Undertaker, was in turn based on a gimmick from AWA (a more original gimmick was planned but it was shot down by Vince McMahon, eventually salvaged with Kane, making him the trope twice over)
  • The Flood, really. A collection of Rudos from across time and space, including Kaiju Big Battel, is out there enough already but they were led by Jimmy Jacobs, who has never been of any real significance in Chikara and was seemingly tied down in a war against Ring of Honor at the time? As it turns out, he wasn't the leader, for those very reasons. The whole thing was orchestrated by the nebulous Titor Conglomerate.
  • Then there was the time Bart Gunn fought Butterbean at Wrestlemania XV. He did about as well as Johnny Knoxville did.

    Tabletop Games 
  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten: One of the expansion books, A Fistful o' Zombies, features a mini-setting, Singing Cowboys, in which (in-setting but "off-screen"), the director of The Western B-Movie that the Player Characters are part of decided to cash in on both the sci-fi movie craze and the Roy Rogers-style "singing cowboy" craze of The '50s and added a Zombie Apocalypse sub-plot into the film with nobody the wiser. As such, the rules enforce Lighter and Softer play proper to the "film's" time period... except when the players encounter zombies.
  • BattleTech is a Space Opera with Absent Aliens in full effect. It mostly focuses on wars fought between human colonists using Humongous Mecha and other machines. So throwing in coincidentally evolved dinosaurs is such a lurching shift of tone, even for soft science fiction, that players are often unprepared to consider how to even begin fighting a dinosaur that can severely damage Battlemechs.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The classic adventure Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, where the players find themselves in a crashed starship fighting pod people and robots.
    • Some fan guides and conversions to Red Hand of Doom suggest putting the adventure in Equestria of all places, just because it allows DM to play up the Hobgoblins as an utterly alien threat, effectively adding a horror level to the campaign.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Zendikar was introduced a standard Dungeons & Dragons-style Adventure-Friendly World, with Lost Technology and Floating Continents abundant. Then a planeswalker accidentally frees the Sealed Evil in a Can Eldrazi, and the setting becomes a scramble for survival as the plane is overrun by Eldritch Abominations. One of the Eldrazi later shows up on Gothic Horror world Innistrad, and serves as an Outside-Genre Foe there as well.
    • Pretty much any time Phyrexia shows up. Most notable are High Fantasy Capenna (and its present incarnation, the Art Deco city of New Capenna) and Norse Mythology-esque Kaldheim, which could not possibly prepare for biomechanical horrors more at home in a sci-fi setting.
    • The inevitable result of an antagonist planeswalker stirring up trouble on a foreign plane, such as the megalomaniacal dragon Nicol Bolas subjugating the Egyptian Mythology-esque Amonkhet (mortals and gods alike), or the demonic Ob Nixilis usurping the street-level gangsters of New Capenna.
  • Mutant Chronicles: The majority of the factions are Cyberpunk Mega Corporations fighting each other over control over the Solar System. Then the sudden appearance of the Dark Legion catches them all off guard, as they are an army of mutant zombies that plan to wipe out all life, and convert them into their mutant slaves. This forces them to temporarily team up and fight the unknown foe.
  • The titular threat of the Pathfinder adventure path Iron Gods (heavily inspired by the above Barrier Peakss) are artificial intelligences from a crashed alien spaceship attempting to attain mythic power and wipe out free will. In an otherwise renaissance-era fantasy setting.
    • Goes both ways in the Reign of Winter adventure path, with the players both encountering, and becoming, an Outside-Genre Foe. A portal transports the adventurers to a foreign, magic-dead world - Earth, circa 1918. Setting-appropriate foes such as ghouls and faeries are swapped out for tanks and Russian soldiers. It works both ways; gas masks and flak jackets do little to stop Cloudkill and stunning fists.
  • in Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Tyranids and later the Tau Empire are alien races that feel more at home in a straight sci-fi universe rather than 40k's Science Fantasy Warhammer IN SPACE! setting. Daemons fighting aliens is far from a rare occurrence.
    • Meanwhile, the Tau have no psychic ability, and so write off the humans' tale of horrifying daemons as the gibbering of madmen (to be fair, Chaos does have that effect on people) and the actual daemons they've fought as a particularly unpleasant alien species. In one case they managed to kill a daemon and proclaimed they had killed "Slaanesh", which is... not how it works.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue is a series rife with Shinto and Norse symbolism, but the big reveal of Chronophantasma is that Izanami herself is the Big Bad. Not a symbolically-named machine like the Susano'o Unit, the actual Shinto goddess of the underworld is out to destroy everything. Then Central Fiction takes it up a notch by revealing that the Susano'o Unit isn't a symbolically-named machine, it's the actual body of the god Susano'o. The spirit of said body? That's Yuuki Terumi himself.
  • In Bloodborne, The Great Ones, along with the Cosmic Horror Story, is completely unexpected for a Gothic Horror setting, their incomprehensible nature being the origin of the Beast Plague and how WRONG they look like makes them truly horrifying.
  • Code Vein: The game is about vampires born from parasites in their hearts struggling to survive and figure out what happened to their world after a strange cataclysm damaged it and left a shattered oasis surrounded by impenetrable mist. Then the forces behind the apocalypse are revealed to be Aragami, organic Grey Goo colonies that are the main antagonists in post-apocalyptic sci-fi game God Eater.
  • The classic real-time strategy game Command & Conquer: Red Alert is about a war between the Allies and the Soviets in an alternate universe where Hitler was killed before he could rise to power. It is a classic military game where you fight infantry, tanks, etc... but the Counterstrike expansion pack features some secret bonus missions where you fight giant ants. For no particular reason.
    • The expansion for Red Alert 2, Yuri's Revenge, brings this back for a brief moment in its Soviet campaign, where the first mission requires you to steal an Allied time machine to go back in time to undo the results of the previous war... but in the process of powering it up, you end up giving it too much juice and get sent far further back in time than intended, resulting in your 1970s-era Soviet soldiers having to spend a minute or two fighting off dinosaurs before the time machine powers up again to send you where you're needed.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn had a small set of secret bonus missions where you fight dinosaurs, and then fight as dinosaurs. Unlike in Yuri's Revenge, there's no time-travel involved, it simply starts off with you being sent off to investigate an island there's been report of anomalous incidents on and promptly seeing an island crawling with archosaurs straight out of Jurassic Park.
  • Darkest Dungeon's villainous factions are, for the most part, the collection of cosmic horrors, pig demons, fish-men, fungal monstrosities, apocalypse cultists, and shambling undead that one expects from a game billing itself as a "Lovecraft in the middle ages." The exception to this is the Brigand faction, a heavily armed goon squad of outlaws, highwaymen, out-of-work mercenaries, and all-around thugs, who use gunpowder weapons and brutality to compensate for their lack of supernatural powers.
  • First Drakengard game is ostensibly a game taking place in medieval-fantasy setting. So who's its True Final Boss? A space travelling, time distorting Eldritch Abomination named Grotesquerie Queen of course! And this applies in more ways than one: not only do you fight her in modern-day Tokyo, but while the rest of the game is Hack and Slash with RPG elements, said boss fight is a Rhythm Game (and fiendishly hard at that).
  • The cancelled team First-Person Shooter Dinosaurs Vs. Alamo, would have involved involved Wild West Cowboys facing off against zombie dinosaurs.
  • Far Cry, for the first couple missions, looks like a standard FPS with you versus a bunch of mercenaries hired by a Mad Scientist... then about a fourth of the way through, mutant primates with weapons grafted onto them force their way into the fight, turning several encounters into a three-way brawl between you, the mercs, and the mutants.
  • The faction in Fire Emblem: Three Houses known as "those who slither in the dark" are the descendants of Agartha, a technologically advanced and morally bankrupt ancient civilization, who use Lost Technology to create unusually powerful and portable weapons. This same technology affords them access to Humongous Mecha, electric cannons, and intercontinental ballistic missiles that they use to destroy strategically important locations after losing a battle for them. The heroes have no real understanding of what those things are, and refer to them as "controlled beasts" or "javelins of light."
  • Ghost Recon Wildlands and Ghost Recon Breakpoint both got limited-time events in which the Ghosts (Tier-One Special Forces operators in a somewhat-realistic "modern warfare" franchise based on the works of the father of "technothrillers") faced off against respectively a Yautja and Terminators.
  • Throughout the history of Grand Theft Auto, there's been very little variance on the types of enemies you face — other criminals, gangs, Dirty Cops, evil executives, etc. The Doomsday Heist update brings in several foes on a scale never seen before: a Corrupt Corporate Executive...'s murderous AI and his army of cyborg clones, some of which have the capability to turn invisible.
  • The most famous moment of beat-em-up Growl is when, in a game all about fighting against perfectly human poachers, you finally confront and defeat the leader of the poachers...only for a giant alien centipiede from the Darius series to burst out of his dead body to serve as the Final Boss.
  • Halo:
    • The Covenant were this for the UNSC. The UNSC is busy dealing with preventing a devastating civil war with their outer colonies, when suddenly a collective of alien races shows up, burns one of their planets to glass, and declares their intent to do the same to the rest of humanity. Despite this, the UNSC (while far from being on the winning side) adapts pretty quickly and lasts far longer than expected.
    • The Flood are this as well. While fighting aliens had become regular business for the UNSC, nobody expected space-zombies with a Hive Mind to enter the fray.
    • Even more so in the Forerunners' case. Going about their regular business, fighting humanity, when suddenly an alien parasite that claims to be the defective remnant of the gods their religion states favored them above all others arrives and attempts to assimilate their entire empire as retribution for committing genocide on them millions of years before.
  • The Hex has two In-Universe examples:
    • The final boss of the fantasy RPG Secrets of Legendaria is Irving, the suit-wearing Corrupt Corporate Executive of The Gameworks who first appeared in the fighting game Combat Arena X. He even changes the controls of the boss from turn-based combat into the fighting game mechanics from said game.
    • In the Waste World segment, one mod of the game introduces the Crypton aliens as enemies in what is otherwise a Fallout-esque After the End setting. This infuriated Lionel Snill, the In-Universe developer, so much that he started taking legal action against the modders.
      ALIENS? In a post-apocalyptic wild west.
  • The Festival of Blood DLC for Infamous 2 has Cole, a superhuman from the Cape Punk genre, being turned into a vampire and fighting the clearly supernatural Bloody Mary.
  • In Jagged Alliance 2, while clearing out an evil scientist's bunker, your team comes upon a huge area of even more huge mutant bugs to fight. This leads to some humorous comments from all your mercs who all have funny comments to say when confronted suddenly with a non-human enemy.
  • Fourth-wall observations aside, the setting of Kid Icarus: Uprising is very much a magical one with the main characters being various angels, gods, monsters, and nature spirits, with almost all technology capable of being explained away as Magitek...and then the Aurum show up in Chapters 15-17, and are basically a robotic Hive Mind Alien Invasion determined to devour all life on the planet.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: One side quest involves Link protecting a farm from aliens. They appear ghost-like, and NPCs even call them "ghosts", but their design is based on The Flatwoods Monster and their abduction of cows and a little girl emphasize them being aliens. This is the only time aliens show up in any of the fantasy-styled Zelda titles. The Greys do show up in the Spin-Off title Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, but that game is a lot less fantasy and a lot more whatever-goes.
  • In the final chapter of Live A Live, the heroes of a prehistoric comedic love story, a Wuxia tale, a ninja tale, a Wild West story, a modern martial arts story, a tale about psychics and mecha, and a science fiction horror story are all drawn into a fight with the demonic villain of a medieval fantasy story.
  • The Marathon mod "Devil in a Blue Dress" eventually reveals that the one behind the space pirates was none other than Morgaine Le Fey, straight out of Arthurian legend.
  • This was the idea behind The Redman in the first One Night at Flumpty's, being a genuinely eerie-looking red skeleton that completely does not mesh with the rest of the Creepy Cute (but genuinely deadly) enemies you've encountered yet.
    Jonochrome: I figured his arrival sometime after 3am in this game would be kind of an indicator that the game just got real since he's so completely out of place from everything else you've seen up until that point.
  • Red Dead Redemption is a game set in The Wild West. The Expansion Pack Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare just throws a Zombie Apocalypse in there, with the characters having no idea what's going on or even having a simple understanding for what zombies are since this is decades before the monsters have become part of pop culture.
  • Red Faction: Armageddon: In a series about a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits rebelling against tyranny, the last thing you'd expect was a bunch of insectoid aliens coming out from deep within Mars.
  • The hero from Rent A Hero looks like a Super Sentai character but his enemies are strictly human criminals, the only nod to those shows are two people dressed in monster costumes (one in an actual show to entertain children)... Until, near the end of the game, he has to fight against the spirit of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh that possessed the archaeologist who unearthed his sarcophagus. He treats it like any other of his jobs and gets paid accordingly.
  • The Chimera of the Resistance series. Taking place in an Alternate History where Russia's government was not taken over by followers of Lenin, Russia becomes an isolationist nation that is hidden behind the "Red Curtain". Following The Tunguska Event of 1908, Russia does not communicate with the rest of the globe, leading the other world powers to treat them as potentially hostile. About 40 years later the real nature of The Tunguska Event is revealed: it was the arrival of an alien invasion squad that has devoured Russia's population and now is turning their attention to the rest of Europe and the world beyond.
  • The story of Road 96 is about teenagers in an authoritarian nation called Petria attempting to escape to the border, avoiding law enforcement or supporters of the dictator who threaten to turn them in, while potentially becoming drawn into the conflict between the police and the Black Brigades. Then there's Jarod, an apolitical Serial Killer who doesn't care about the wider conflict in the slightest as he kills police, Black Brigade members, and potentially the player character in a campaign of revenge.
  • Saints Row IV: In a series about fighting enemy gangs, the cops and other realistic foes, who seriously expected alien invasion? Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell adds a new complication in the form of Satan being real and wanting the Boss for his daughter.
    • Before then, Saints Row: The Third had STAG, a military initiative designed to take down the gangs tearing Steelport apart....with a futuristic sci-fi arsenal, including laser rifles, hovercraft and an Airborne Aircraft Carrier.
  • In the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, the Big Bad of any game belonging to it is either a human, a demon, or an angel. Devil Survivor 2 then introduces the Septentriones, a group of actual space aliens as the main antagonists. Really, the demons (and angels) of almost any game in the franchise also count. Except for a few games, their existence completely blindsides everyone. Aside from (most of) the Persona and Devil Summoner games, they also usually accomplish the near or complete extinction of humanity.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has the Executioners, who roll into the galaxy and start destroying everything, apparently sent by masters from beyond our reality to destroy us all, and an order of magnitude more powerful than anything else faced up to that point in the game, with ordinary enemies rivaling bosses in difficulty—if they can be beaten at all. Eventually, the characters go to a Cool Gate to travel between worlds, using the overpowered magical abilities that their parents gave them to break their way out of our world and into the world of the Executioners' masters... whereupon they end up dumped in what seems to be an amusement park and fight some guards who you handily beat, them being little better than mooks compared to the characters. They discover that the world that the game has been taking place in is a video game made by people in 4D space, and the Executioners are nothing more than NPCs sent to clean up the errors which have been accumulating in the game world by deleting everything.
  • Tatanga from Super Mario Land is a space alien that kidnaps Princess Daisy and is defeated by Mario's own Outside Genre Fighter Airplane, which hasn't been seen before or since. Then the sequel implies that Tatanga was working for Wario to distract Mario.
  • Super Mario RPG: Played for Laughs and for a company joke with Culex, who looks like he belongs in a Final Fantasy-style JRPG, complete with being pixellated 2D sprite in a game composed mostly of prerendered 3D enviroments. He's even aware of it himself; he just came to your dimension as a scout and is about to return because he found it inhospitable to his kind, but is willing to stick around for a good fight before leaving.
  • Super Robot Wars Z has The Edel Bernal, who, unlike other SRW Original Generation Final Bosses, is a godlike being who is not seeking power or self-aggrandizement. He just started all the chaos in the game For the Evulz, and as the good guys chew him out during the final battle they actually freak out somewhat when they come to the realization that he just doesn't care, and it become dramatically clear that they are fighting a lunatic with no real goal except what entertains him.
  • The Sword Art Online games run an Alternate Timeline from the canon continuity, but still share the setting of a midly sci-fi, 20 Minutes into the Future modern day, with a focus on virtual reality. The antagonist of Accel World vs Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight? A time-travelling post-Despair Event Horizon Yui from 1000 years in the future. Time travel hasn't even been considered in canon, so Persona Vabel's problem feels out-of-place in an extreme way.
  • True Crime: Streets of LA is, for the vast majority of its runtime, a mundane, top-down GTA clone focused on a detective dealing with mundane street crime in Los Angeles, trying to unfurl a conspiracy... and then there's the level that's a full homage to Big Trouble in Little China, right down to the bit where your cop takes on an ancient Chinese sorcerer and his army of ghosts.
  • Undertale: In the Neutral ending, Photoshop Flowey is like nothing you've seen before in the entire game. He's animated like something from another genre, he changes the entirety of the battle mechanics, and he abuses save states in order to hit you with attacks that you've already dodged. The best part? Before changing to his God Form, Flowey crashes the game because the original game's engine isn't designed to handle him. He literally does not belong in the game.
  • Urban Chaos is a game about a police officer fighting crime, that is, until she starts fighting a cult of tuxedo-wearing cyborgs with pocket-sized miniguns who levitate and explode when they die. If that wasn't enough, the Big Bad reveals himself to be a 1000-year-old ancient warlock, and he summons a demon from Hell to wreak havoc on Union City.
  • Nobody in Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria expected that Lezard Valenth was actually a time-shifted version of himself from the future. By the time anyone figured it out, he had outwitted everybody, forcing the survivors into an Enemy Mine to beat him.
  • While the Wolfenstein series tends to deal with Those Wacky Nazis dabbling with the occult and advanced technology on a regular basis, a special mention has to go to the end of Wolfenstein 3-D's prequel, Spear of Destiny. B.J. Blazkowicz has seized the titular artifact from a Nazi stronghold... only to get teleported to Hell, where he is forced to battle ghosts and a demon known as the Angel of Death.

  • Girl Genius: Klaus Wulfenbach seemed to have inadvertently summoned one when he stops time in Mechanicsburg to contain the Heterodyne. Something with a different perception of time noticed that something is amiss... and it is coming to investigate. The Other does not quite qualify, because even though it did not play by the "rules" of the Long War between the Mad Scientist Sparks, it/she mostly just seems better at established practices. Extradimensional aliens have nothing to do with mad scientists.
  • Hooves of Death gives an inverted example. Amidst a Zombie Apocalypse, humanity escapes complete annihilation thanks to unicorns emerging from The Masquerade to lend a hand (or hoof?). Their four-legged saviors make perfect shock troops against the undead hordes thanks to the natural immunity, magical powers, and razor sharp horn, and even a zombie's most powerful weapon, its disease-spreading bite, only gives a unicorn a mild fever. Played straight later, as actual Hellhounds start to appear, and not even the unicorns were aware of gnomes existing at all, much less zombified versions of them.

    Web Original 
  • Worm has Scion, after he discovers he enjoys killing people as an unusual example; this enemy didn't appear suddenly, he'd been around for a while and everybody knew who he was, but the discovery of what he actually is serves as the Cosmic Horror Reveal in what was previously a superhero setting (albeit a very dark one). However, even though the set-up was unusual, once he starts attacking the trope then gets played straight, as the protagonists have no idea what the hell they're going to do against that kind of unimaginable power, and all their previous experience and strategies only postpone the inevitable.
  • It's hard to find something that's outside the kitchen sink of the SCP Foundation, but series of scips nicknamed the Kaktusverse (SCP-2254, 4812, 4840, 6666) switch the setting from its standard Sci-fi horror to High fantasy, with biblical element. The primary threats of the stories are the Three Profanities, ancient monsters conjured by a faerie princess, the Four Knights, once heroic knights that are now cursed into becoming monsters, and Titania, an ancient goddess of the fae.

    Web Videos 
  • Hitler Rants: Both Der Disneygang and Battle for the Bunker deal with this trope, albeit in reverse. Der Disneygang features the animated Disney realm having to deal with a Nazi occupation. The sequel, Battle for the Bunker, has Nazi Germany being attacked by a horde of vengeful cartoon and anime characters, who are able to completely ignore the laws of physics like they do in their own medium. This takes the Nazis completely by surprise. Bunker then adds another Outside Genre Foe, in the form of an alien invasion, which both the Nazis and the Cartoons are unprepared for.
  • Too Many Cooks is a Genre Roulette to begin with, but The Killer is the only character who seems to come from a horror movie.

    Western Animation 
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Most of the primary antagonists are of Chinese origin, and so can be reliably countered with Uncle's magic. So, come Season 4 when Tarakudo, lord of the Japanese Oni, is the main enemy to be faced, Uncle's magic is largely useless. Good thing that Tohru's mother had regaled him with bedtime stories of the Oni and their weaknesses in his childhood.
    • In-Universe, Bartholomew Chang could be considered an inversion, in that he's exactly the sort of mundane, non-magical international criminal that Section 13 is supposed to be dealing with, even though by the time he shows up they've already been pitted against demon sorcerers and other magical villains.
  • Legend Of The Dragon is based around mysticism, but the villain of the episode "Hair of the Dog" is a misanthropic, canine-obsessed Mad Scientist who had mutated himself into a Wolf Man-like beast.
  • Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) has "Curse of the Lion Men", which has... Lion Men invading the world and turning other people into Lion Men with eye beams. Another episode also has a genie.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment" has Rex Banner, who is sent to Springfield to enforce the dry law. Played for Laughs as he's an animated copycat of Elliot Ness as interpreted by Robert Stack in The Untouchables and someone who definitely would have done a better job at keeping law and order during the time of the Hays Code (where he would have been handed victory just because he's a lawman) than on the modern (and incompetent) Wretched Hive that is Springfield.
    • Similarly, there's Frank Grimes from "Homer's Enemy", who arrives in Springfield for a job at Burns' power plant, and quickly proves himself to be the Only Sane Man, until it finally causes him to suffer a psychotic break that leads to him accidentally electrocuting himself.
    • While he's never a foe to Homer (if anything, he's the best Benevolent Boss he's ever had), Hank Scorpio from the episode "You Only Move Twice" stands out because he's a James Bond villain in a series that doesn't usually have people trying to Take Over the World (C. Montgomery Burns would eventually demonstrate he has the resources and drive to pretend to be a Bond villain, but his aims are much more petty in scope, like dumping toxic waste in places he doesn't likes or forcing the town to pay bigger electricity bills).
    • "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner" is a somewhat contentious example from the show's later seasons, as it has Kang and Kodos serve as direct antagonists to the Simpsons outside of the horror-themed Treehouse of Horror episodes.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: The show is a comedy/action western series, with season 4 focusing on a Big Bad that is a deranged, PTSD and racism driven former knight of the kingdom, while the main character deals with questioning what to do after her main goals have been more or less solved. The episode of that season "Gone Baby Gone" has the villain Wyscan the Granter, an elf-like Bishōnen Sissy Villain that was clearly inspired in both design, battle style and mannerism by some of the male villains from the early days of Sailor Moon.
  • One episode of Superman: The Animated Series inverted this. Bane, The Riddler, and the Mad Hatter come together to create the "perfect team" to defeat Batman, and with perfect timing Batman comes knocking. Only problem is, it's actually Superman posing as Batman while the real Batman is missing, so "Batman" suddenly pulls out impossible strength to overpower the Riddler's inescapable trap and Bane in a one-on-one fight through sheer brute force, and the Hatter's attempt to escape afterwards is foiled by "Batman" moving quickly enough to block off both ends of a hallway on his own.
  • One episode of SWAT Kats, "When Strikes Mutilor", had a non-kat villain in the form of a multi-armed, vaguely lobster-ish alien named Mutilor, who planned to suck away all the water from the SWAT Kats' planet and sell it to a desert world. He's the only such villain to appear in the show.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) has the turtles mostly fighting the Foot Clan and Kraang and the various humans, mutants, robots, and aliens that entails. When the ghost of the Chinese Evil Sorcerer Ho Chan shows up, they've never faced a supernatural foe before and therefore have a difficult time fighting him. Note that supernatural phenomena are slowly phased into the series as it goes on, so this label becomes less applicable the further you go.)
  • Winnetoons was a Western, yet the villains of the episode "The Big Plague" were Pirates who were reduced to conducting their plundering on land after becoming shipwrecked in the Gulf of Mexico.

Alternative Title(s): Outside Context Villain