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aka: The Rashomon

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Marge: Come on, Homer. Japan will be fun! You liked Rashomon.
Homer: That's not how I remember it!

A Rashomon-Style story is where the same event is recounted by several characters, and the stories differ in ways that are impossible to reconcile. It shows that two or more people can view the same event quite differently. The author invites the audience to hear them all out and then compare and contrast these divergent points of view. Sometimes the work provides no definitive answer as to what actually happened. Basically, it's a cast full of Unreliable Narrators. Other times, the audience might get the definitive true version of the story at the beginning or end of the episode; and usually both sides will be truthful about some things and exaggerate, downplay, or outright lie about others.

In reality, this condition is so common it's often said that if you have 12 witnesses to a crime, you'll often get at least 13 different stories of what happened. Police officers tend to use this to ferret out "real" witnesses from those whose story might be fabricated or staged with others, because two people will give different details of an event simply because of what they notice and where they were relative to where the event was, and if two (or more) people either give identical stories, match too closely or describe events in an identical fashion, it is extremely likely that one or more of them have been coached or is out-and-out lying.

Inspired by the famous Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon, in itself inspired by the short story In a Grove by Ryuunosuke Akutagawa. This influential early example is a sophisticated use of this and, unlike many later examples, provides no definitive answers as to what the truth is. Nowadays, the "Rashomon Episode" is a staple of sitcoms since it lends itself well to comedy.

A Sub-Trope of both Separate Scene Storytelling and Unreliable Narrator. See also: P.O.V. Sequel, Self-Serving Memory, Simultaneous Arcs, Perspective Flip, and Revenge via Storytelling. Compare A Tale Told by an Idiot.

Note that this is not simply "a work, or events in a work, that is shown from multiple character perspectives." Rashomon plots are about characters misremembering or outright falsifying details of what happened, and the "facts" of the different tellings of the story have to contradict each other in some way. If no contradiction is present, it's not this. Instead, it's Once More, with Clarity.


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  • An advertisement for a disposable camera showed a group of friends discussing a party they'd recently attended, only for their flashbacks to be in complete contradiction of each other. If only someone had had a camera with them...

    Anime & Manga 
  • Akahori Gedou Hour Lovege's 11th episode has comedy duo Love Pheromone recapping how they came to be while in the middle of preparation. Aimi's view of the events is centered around her and filled with romantic clichés. Kaoruko's view of the events reveals that Aimi's always been a bit self-centered, even as a kid.
  • The prophetic dream at the beginning of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is from Madoka's point of view. She sees Homura struggling against a powerful witch and crying out for help, Kyubey tells her she could save Homura by becoming a Magical Girl, and she wakes up on the verge of deciding to do so. Near the end of the series, the audience sees the same event from Homura's perspective and learns that it happened in the past, not the future, and Homura wasn't crying for help. She was trying to tell Madoka not to listen to Kyubey, who was tricking her into becoming an overpowered witch so he could collect a huge dose of energy. Madoka couldn't hear it, so she contracted anyway and turned into a witch almost immediately after making said contract, explaining why the dream ended at that moment.
  • There are three important factions interested in Haruhi from the beginning in Haruhi Suzumiya. Those are the espers, time travelers, and aliens. All of them offer different explanations for what exactly Haruhi is and what she did three years ago, as well as giving different explanations of their origins. The esper (Itsuki) says Haruhi created all three groups, is possibly a god, and remade the world three years ago. The time traveler (Mikuru) says time travelers came to investigate a problem Haruhi caused, that she's just a normal person with an odd ability and that she broke the time plane three years ago rather than remaking the universe. The alien (Yuki) spews a lot of big words that Kyon can't really understand, then later says she's not going to offer any more explanations because Kyon has no way of knowing if she's telling the truth while pointing out all three groups have good reason to lie to him. The implication is that all three are partially correct, but also either withholding information, mistaken or outright lying. It only gets more complicated from there.
  • In The Kindaichi Case Files, one case seemingly was connected to a story told about an insane doctor who butchered injured soldiers in his care and tried to sew the body parts together to create an ultimate warrior. Later, another person remembers the same doctor as a kind person who was arrested for refusing to do unethical work. Kindaichi later realizes that the "butcher doctor" story was a red herring, leading him to realize that the murderer was the person who told him the false "butcher" version.
  • Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho has one episode where Momoko and Sanae give differing views on how the swim club was formed. Sanae, known to be a liar and a storyteller, spins a web of student-teacher relationships and lesbianism, but Momoko's side discounts both of those. At the end of the episode, a sign is given that Sanae may not have been entirely lying...
  • An episode of Love Hina has the gang trying to figure out how the rent money was stolen, even though everyone seems to have an alibi.
  • Episode 12 of Simoun, in regards to the sexual encounter between Kaimu and Alti. Each of them claims that the other initiated the act.
  • An anime-only episode of Ranma ½, "The Case of the Missing Takoyaki" features the residents of the Tendo household giving various recounts of how the contents of a box of takoyaki were pilfered. The accounts are incomplete and slanted to cast whoever they accused as being the villain. In the end, Sasuke Sarugakure reveals that everything happened in the order the other cast members describes; they just each ate one takoyaki, which is how the box was emptied by the time Kasumi got back.
  • Tenchi Universe does this at least twice, with Ryoko and Ayeka telling wildly different versions of the same event, each one altering the story to make the teller seem morally superior to the other. i.e, there's their conflicting versions of how they met as little girls: Ryoko claims that Ayeka bullied the Hell out of her, whereas Ayeka says Ryoko was the real bully.
  • True Tears has this for the conversation when Shinichiro entered Hiromi's room.
  • One occurs during episode 12 of RIN-NE, when Ageha innocently holds Rinne's hands, with Sakura seeing it when she opens his door:
    • The first is with Ageha recalling the moment with Rinne. He looks a lot more handsome in her memory, prompting the narrator to state that her memory is slightly off.
    • The second occurs with Sakura recalling the scene. Except she imagines it as him holding her hands rather firmly, as if they were lovers. Like in the previous example, the narrator states that this is not what happened.
    • The third one is from Rokumon's point of view. He recalls it as Ageha and Rinne sharing a somewhat intimate moment together holding hands. Sakura then shows up, and both girls enter a hilarious staring contest at each other. The narrator once again states that this is totally wrong.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run has a case of this at one point. Turns out the (apparently) contradictory testimonies are all entirely accurate, due to some meddling by a villain with dimension-hopping powers.
  • In Fairy Tail, Aquarius's story of what happened between Grammi and Layla differs a bit from the time Brandish tells Lucy about what happened. First, Brandish implies to Lucy that Layla betrayed her and killed her for possession of Aquarius's key. Then, when Aquarius rescues Lucy from certain death, the former shows the wizards the true story: Grammi received the summons just as Layla was about to open the Eclipse using her remaining life force. She regretted it, but it was too late — Layla's death caused Zoldio to actually kill Grammi.

    Comic Books 
  • There was one Donald Duck story where Donald was called a hero for saving Daisy. Daisy, Gladstone and Huey, Dewey, and Louie tell their own versions of the story.
    • In Daisy's version, all six were canoeing when suddenly some bees attacked, causing him to lose control of the canoe and crashing into a rock. Bad things happen and Daisy ends up getting on a log, directly aiming at a waterfall. Donald tries to save her by catching her at a nearby tree but fails. Then he comes up with another plan — just before they are about to drop at the fall, he makes a particularly epic jump on the ground, holding Daisy.
    • In Gladstone's version, there are no bees, but Donald crashes into a rock because he is an idiot. Then he doesn't run into a tree to save Daisy, but to escape a lynx. And they are not saved from the waterfall by Donald's jumping abilities, but a particularly ridiculous Deus ex Machina; a ROCK SLIDE that stops the log.
    • In Huey, Dewey, and Louie's version, both bees and lynx are very existent, but the real kicker is that where the rock slide came from: It was caused by Huey, Dewey and Louie. It was intentional.
  • In Hero Squared, the superhero and supervillain from the destroyed comic book universe briefly recount to other characters how the universe was destroyed from their perspective. In the superhero's narrative, he's attempting to save reality from an evil Omnicidal Maniac who ends up destroying all of creation out of spite. In the supervillain's story, she's innocently going about her business when the superhero and his cronies burst in in a fit of self-righteous violence and ham-fistedly smash up her lab despite her protests, destroying reality through blundering incompetence. Curiously, we never find out the truth, but while the supervillain's protestations of innocence are clearly unreliable based on what we've seen from her, the superhero is also an Unreliable Narrator, as he's blinded by an overly simplistic Black-and-White Morality viewpoint and issues with the supervillain he'd rather not face up to.
  • One issue of Over the Garden Wall has Wirt and Greg describe the events of the previous night. In Greg's account, they followed a parade through a park and met some weird-but-friendly talking animals. In Wirt's version, they followed a funeral procession through a graveyard and were haunted by Animalistic Abominations. This was probably the more accurate take, since Greg's version notably has Wirt acting unusually chipper, while Wirt's had them both in-character.
  • The Phantom Stranger: "Secret Origins" features four alternate, contradictory origin stories and does not tell you which one is true. Assuming that any of them are...
  • The Question: Quarterly #5 is one of these. It starts with The Question punching the mayor in the face. Then several characters speculate on why he did it, with each version drawn by a different artist. Izzy O'Toole tells a standard Film Noir story, a pair of crackheads claim that The Question was a disfigured psychopath, and the Mayor herself finally explained that he knocked her out to prevent a desperate deal with a group of gunrunners to bring in some money to the city. The Question finally shows up and tells them they're all wrong. It turns out he went against his uncompromising nature and made the deal himself. He just didn't want Myra to meet the criminals face-to-face for fear they would double-cross her.
  • The first issue of WildStorm's Resident Evil Comic-Book Adaptation attempted to reconcile the contradictions in Jill's and Chris' respective scenarios by depicting them as different accounts of the same events by both of them.
  • In the first Sly Cooper comic, there is a part that talks about the night Carmelita and Sly first met. The tent poles of the story: Carmelita was on her first case for Interpol; Sly shows up, Carmelita ties up Sly, Sly gets away, a jewel that Carmelita was supposed to be guarding was stolen, then the thief (a stage manager) is found tied up. Everything else, well, let's just say it's your typical Sly-Carmelita conversation (during the Sucker Punch era, anyway). A couple lines between them sums up the trope nicely:
    Sly: I do seem to recall a dozen French cops playing "dog-pile on the raccoon."
    Carmelita: What? I got the drop on you and captured you single-handedly!
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) there was the story "Total Re:Genesis", in which Uncle Chuck tries to find out what happened between Sonic, Sally, Antoine, and a Combot army. The three Freedom Fighters attempt to paint a picture of what happened with them as the hero, but Chuck gets tired of it and asks NICOLE, Sally's handheld computer, to show the real events.
  • There is a Spider-Man story by Peter David, called Eye Witness (Spectacular Spider-Man #121), where Mary Jane, Peter, and J. Jonah Jameson tell the story of a bank robbery where they were present. Mary Jane describes the robber as a menacing thug, Jameson acting bravely, and Spider-Man as a hero. Jameson describes the robber similarly, himself as the hero, and Spider-Man as a coward and a criminal. Peter tells the truth (apart from him being Spider-Man); the robber was an amateur with a BB gun, Jameson acted cowardly, and he (as Spider-Man) didn't have to do much.
  • Immortal Hulk #3 has a story called "Points of View" in which Jackie McGee interviews several people involved in an incident where the former Leader henchman Hotshot took an old lady and a priest hostage, wanting the priest to exorcise his girlfriend, and the Hulk fought him. To the cop, Hotshot was a supervillain and the Hulk was a former Avenger coming to save the day. To the old lady, Hotshot was a Troubled, but Cute figure, who was acting out of love and looked "just like James Dean", and the Hulk was a monster attacking him without real cause. And to the priest, Hotshot was a threat, but the Hulk was the actual devil. Each version of events has an Art Shift to match the kind of story the witness thinks it is: the cop's version is in the style of Kirby's Hulk, the old lady's is equally Silver Age but more like a romance comic, and the priest's is full of dark shadows and viscera, like a horror comic. (There's also a bartender, but his only concern is that the Hulk wrecked his car. His flashback, such as it is, is in an indie style with emphasis on Talking Heads.)
  • Issue 3 of Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red revolves around three thieves telling stories about a Joker Gas heist that involves them fighting Harley Quinn. Each story depicts Harley from a different medium or era (the DC Animated Universe, the DC Extended Universe, and the New 52), and each thief claims to have defeated her. In the end, it turns out Harley faked her defeat so she could track down the thieves' client.
  • In Blue And Gold #4, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are on a talk show discussing how they first met as members of Justice League International. In Beetle's account, he was asked to show the rookie the ropes, and ended up in a fight with one of Booster's villains, who nearly decapitated the other hero before Ted managed to electrocute him. In Booster's version, he was recruited to show Beetle what a real hero could do, and their roles in the fight were reversed. (For added metatextual fun, Beetle's flashbacks are drawn by Kevin Maguire, who drew JLI, and Booster's are by Dan Jurgens, his creator and writer-artist on his solo book). Eventually Guy Gardner shows up to reveal that his ring recorded what really happened: They were both about to be decapitated when he electrocuted the villain, since Batman didn't trust either of them to be out on their own.
  • X-Men features this over two different comics. In House and Powers of X, we see a flashback from Moira's perspective, showing how she invented a mutant cure in one life. This lead to Destiny show up to destroy the cure and prevent mutants from being eliminated. Despite Moira saying she won't force the cure on anyone, Destiny and Mystque murder Moira's colleagues, taunt Moira and eventually murder the distraught woman by burning her alive. However, when we see the scene in Inferno (2021), several small changes paint the scene differently: Moira doesn't spare any words for her fallen colleagues, doesn't make any remark about not forcing the cure on anyone, and actively celebrates making a cure. Destiny is also doesn't taunt Moira in this version, and she kills Moira in the hopes of motivating her to change her ways in her next life. It's heavily implied that Inferno shows the true course of events, and that the original memories were just Moira's own edited and curated version of the events, told to Xavier in order to make her look more sympathetic.

    Comic Strips 
  • Tom the Dancing Bug parodies this trope in "Roshomon Comics". Max's Tale and Doug's Tale disagree. The Bird's Tale is no help, because the bird only saw the top of the speech balloons, matching both previous tales. The Toaster Oven's Tale provides nothing, as the toaster oven was in an entirely other location.
  • Calvin and Hobbes once had an amusingly meta example when the duo were recounting the "minutes" of their last G.R.O.S.S. ("Get Rid Of Slimy girlS") club meeting. President Hobbes acts as the secretary and reads the minutes about a fight he and Dictator Calvin had at the previous meeting, making it sound as though he was totally not at fault for what happened and that Calvin got his "comeuppance." Calvin in turn insists that Hobbes was being a Jerkass and that "I beat you fair and square!" Hobbes objects to being called a liar, and the two get in another fight over who started the first fight. (They immediately call a truce and make up afterward, fighting being one of their main activities as club members since they have little else to do.) We never do find out what actually happened, but from the strip's context, it can be reasonably guessed that both were lying.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Cure for Love there's an instance where Light/Kira has a big Pet the Dog moment when he calls up his Astraea contacts and chews them out for their attempt on L's life, obviously being very protective of L. Matt who is present for the meeting later relates to Mello that "Kira is bad news," that he's totally evil and compares him to Nazis. Makes sense since Mello and Matt ran away from Wammy's House, Matt may not care about L anymore and Kira was threatening Mello's mother.
  • Three Lies of One Truth, a Bungo Stray Dogs fanfic, is explicitly based on 'In A Grove'. The situation is that the protagonists find out that the museum they're paying a visit to, is built on the place where a mafia base used to be. They want to know what happened to the old base and ask around a bit. It soon turns out that the heating was turned up too high and caused the building to explode. However...
    • Dazai's story portrays himself as being respected by everyone as an executive; and frames Chuuya for the destruction of the base.
    • Chuuya's story tells of his 'angelic patience' (which he surely doesn't have) as an executive and frames Dazai.
    • Mori's story is fairly true as he recalls them both being executive, true to the events of the manga. However, it is still half-lied.
    • Kouyou finally tells the truth and doesn't enlarge her own image. Kouyou reveals that she was the one who found the manuscripts (that may or may not be from the actual Ryuunosuke Akutagawa) and gifted them to the government. The Stinger is that the character Ryuunosuke Akutagawa says to have been suffering from a deja vu the entire day, and he gets a feeling that he is somehow connected to this day, although he cannot say what it stems from exactly.
  • The episode "POV" from Calvin & Hobbes: The Series. The framing device is Elliot coming home to find that the gang have been trashing his house. Every member steps forward in turn to tell their version of events, either glorifying themselves, demonizing others, or both. Except for Calvin, who just turns the story into a spy drama, which then goes completely Off the Rails. The basic plot is that the gang was chasing down a mysterious, potentially sentient orb. Also, none of them explain whatever happened to the bathroom, though it was enough to leave Elliot in shock.
  • People who live in Arcadia Bay in The Matrix Rewinds routinely have their memories altered as part of the illusion it casts over its residents, often making them think they've always lived there or erasing memories of the red-pill's presence and replacing them with mundane explanations. This is also one reason why Rachel/Prospera refuses to pick up where she and Chloe left off since the last time they saw each other; their memories of themselves and each other might not match, so they may as well not know each other at all.
  • In The Monster We Made, each chapter is from the P.O.V. of a different character. The last chapter is from Twilight Sparkle's P.O.V. and shows her view of the events narrated in all the previous chapters.
  • Subverted in the Ponies of Olympus series — Ran Biao and Rarity both tell very different versions of what happened between Rarity and her first Love Interest Razorwing, but it's strongly implied that Ran Biao completely made her version up in order to paint Rarity in a negative light and drive a wedge between her and Spike. Ultimately double subverted. As it turns out, Rarity's version wasn't entirely accurate, and there was some truth to Ran's version.
  • Doubling as a Perspective Flip, we also have this with the fanfic Second Story Window with Satsuki and Ragyo's perspective as how the two girls exited the second-story window and the events leading up to it. Satsuki's point of view claimed Ragyo was psychotic and would be prone to lashing out violently and the fact that her little sister jumped, whereas Ragyo's POV states that Satsuki was psychotic, although not violent and, actually, dropped her little sister out of the window before jumping herself. The traits that remain true to both points of view is that the secretary committed suicide, the house they moved in, a missing little sister, the children being left in the care of a new family, and someone being mentally ill. Whether or not one of the points of view is correct is left up in the air for the reader to decide.
  • The Time Fixers: Nicktoons of the Future story, "The Great Zappy Case" features this when Tammy and Tommy are on trial after being accused of stealing the Zappy Award from Fairy World. Each character gives their accounts on what they were doing beforehand with Tommy's version portraying Tammy as a Valley Girl, Tammy's version making Tommy act like an Annoying Younger Sibling, and Junior's story making everyone act happy all the time. Interesting enough, the first two stories feature Junior crying and running away when he sees Tammy and Tommy fighting, but Junior's story features him coming over to stop them.
  • A variation of this occurs in the Stargate SG-1 fanfic series What You Already Know when Doctor Mackenzie conducts a psychiatric evaluation of Daniel Jackson and concludes that he is developing megalomania and frequently derives pleasure from using his powers against others, where Doctor Eliza White attended the same meeting and concluded that Daniel was a mentally stable man who only used what force was necessary to achieve his goal, proved his stability by choosing to publicly humiliate Ba’al rather than torture him, and was relatively controlled considering his history with Mackenzie, with Doctor White sending her report on to another psychiatrist who agreed with her assessment.
    • Granted, Mackenzie was all-but-explicitly identified as being a pawn of Senator Kinsey in his plan to get Daniel out of the picture, but the author has established Mackenzie as an incompetent psychiatrist in other stories where he would have had no reason to be Kinsey’s agent.
  • TRON: Since there are different versions of what exactly happened during the coup in TRON: Legacy, the Betrayal comic, TRON: Evolution, and TRON: Uprising, this is the explanation commonly used to reconcile the differences, since there's a different viewpoint character in each depiction of the event.
  • The Castlevania fanfiction In a Castle uses four retellings of the events of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, from Julius, Maria, Trevor, and finally Dracula himself.
  • Parents of Ponyville features four different accounts of what happened at the parent-teacher conference. The two parents both give obviously biased, self-serving accounts, while the teacher Cherilee gives a relatively plausible story, and the child Terry tells a nonsensical story about flying through space fighting aliens. It's later implied that Terry's story was the true one.
  • The Owl House fanfic I'd Be Your Memory is a "Let's Watch Our Show" Plot which is presented as Luz and company's memories being projected onto a television using an illusion mirror. Because this specifically involves memories, Luz's canon Flashback Fail moments are shown first, with other characters who witnessed the events in question pointing out her memories aren't correct and then showing what actually happened from their own memories.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman: Gotham Knight:
    • The short Have I Got a Story for You. Each of four kids recounts a sighting of Batman, giving different portions of the same events, while also giving different descriptions of what he is. The first kid makes him a Living Shadow creature like Ebon; the girl an actual humanoid bat creature; the third a Ridiculously Human Robot. At the end they see the reality; he's a guy in a suit. Which was based on the Batman: The Animated Series "Legends of the Dark Knight" which itself was based on a 1970s story from the comics called "The Batman Nobody Knows", by Len Wein. One of the kids' stories was what happened (according to his uncle), which was told in the style of comic book artist Dick Sprang and the Batman (1966) show, while the others are their own theories on what Batman looks like (with one of them being a retelling of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns). The other kid thought Batman was a bat-like creature that snatches criminals, similar to post Post-Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! interpretations of Superman's first encounter with Batman, whom he thought to be some kind of metahuman.
    • Interestingly Batman: Gotham Knight has the same effect overall, with different artists portraying the Caped Crusader in different ways — contrast Bruce Wayne's muscled Lantern Jaw of Justice-look in Deadshot with his Bishōnen appearance in Field Test.
  • Hoodwinked! is essentially a Rashomon version of Little Red Riding Hood, with the framing device of each character undergoing a police interrogation. When characters' stories cross paths, there are differences, some subtle, others major. A perfect example is Red's first interaction with the Wolf. In Red's version, it plays out more like the traditional fairy tale: the young maiden taking a perilous voyage through the deep dark wood and being stalked by The Big Bad Wolf. In the Wolf's version, it's more like a leisurely stroll through the trees, he corners her as he has good reason to believe she's carrying stolen goods, and many of his incriminating actions are given innocent explanations, such as his big roar actually being a cry of pain at getting his tail caught in Twitchy's camera.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rashomon is both the Trope Namer and the Trope Maker. In medieval Japan a husband and wife are accosted by a bandit. We see the story of the encounter only in flashback. Facts common to all stories: 1) The husband is overpowered and tied up by the bandit, 2) there is a sexual encounter between the bandit and the wife, and 3) the husband ends up dead. At the murder trial, each principal tells a different story of the incident that puts him/herself in a good light, but each confesses to the murder, so we don't believe anyone is outright lying just to conceal his/her own guilt. For the sake of getting the husband's story first hand, we are asked to believe that a local Shrine Maiden is able to summon his spirit to testify.
    • The bandit claims the sex was consensual and the wife wanted to leave her husband for him. He killed the husband in a spectacular sword fight between highly skilled warriors over possession of the woman.
    • The wife claims that she was raped. When her husband demonstrated a sneering contempt for her helpless submission to the bandit, she accidentally killed him with a knife in her shock at his betrayal.
    • The husband also claims the sex was consensual. In his story, the unfaithful wife wants to start a new life with the bandit but urges him to kill her husband. This disgusts the bandit, who offers to kill her to the husband, then releases him after the wife runs away. Overcome with sorrow and shame, he takes his own life (his story is told through a medium).
    • A woodcutter claims to have seen the whole thing. In his story, the sex is a rape, and both the bandit and the husband decide afterwards that neither of them actually want the woman. As she's about to be abandoned, the wife taunts the two into fighting for their own honor, if not for hers. The fight is a messy, haphazard brawl between ill-prepared cowards ending in the husband's death. Even the woodcutter's story is suspect, however. When his audience asks what happened to the wife's ornate dagger, he's accused of stealing it and looks guilty.
  • Basic centers on a pair of military investigators trying to figure out what happened during a training exercise in which all but two of a team of special-forces operatives died or disappeared, with both survivors telling conflicting (and frequently changing) versions of the story. It's an interesting version of the trope, as none of the stories are true, and we're never shown what happened. While the very end of the movie does have some reveals, exactly what happened to set up the opening scenes remains a mystery.
  • A subtle example in Pulp Fiction, at the beginning of the film when Ringo and Yolanda rob the restaurant, Yolanda says "Any of you fuckin' pricks move and I'll execute every motherfucking last one of you!" When said scene repeats at the end, it is told from Jules' point of view, and Yolanda's line is changed to "...and I'll execute every one of you motherfuckers!" specifically to emphasize the change in perspective.
  • In Courage Under Fire, Colonel Serling investigates the circumstances surrounding Captain Walden's death in battle, and whether she deserves to be the first woman awarded the Medal of Honor for a combat role. Most of the survivors can only paint a general picture of events or can tell what happened up to a certain point, but can't really give Serling the in-depth, firsthand detail he needs to make a fair judgement. The two soldiers who can give that kind of detail tell almost diametrically opposite stories: The Medic claims that Walden is just as heroic as everybody says and died holding off the enemy so the others could escape, but this story clashes with certain details from the secondhand witnesses Serling interviewed. Meanwhile, the macho sergeant claims that Walden was actually an incompetent coward who is currently benefiting from a good PR campaign by the Army, who want to use her as an inspiring figure for others regardless of the truth, but this version is also contradicted by other witnesses. Eventually Serling gets the truth: Walden's soldiers began to turn on her when she insisted on risking their lives to save an injured crewmate who seemed almost certain to die. The sergeant then shot her in the middle of a Stab the Scorpion situation where he thought she was going to shoot him. After this, they managed to work together for a while, but when Walden made it clear that she was determined to court-martial both the medic and the sergeant (and one other soldier involved) for The Mutiny, the sergeant responded by leaving her behind to die as a way to cover the whole thing up.
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is a unique example. Originally constructed as two separate movies (Him and Her) telling the story of a romance from different perspectives, the two parts were later consolidated into a third film Them, that alternates perspectives.
  • This happens in Narc where the protagonist first hears one version of how an undercover cop died from his partner, who is also investigating it and the protagonist was brought in to help wrap up the case. Along the way, things are not as they seem and when they supposedly catch the real killers, they tell a different version of what happened. In the final confrontation, the surviving partner is shot and gives what appears to be a deathbed confession of what really happened.
  • Elephant (2003) explores this trope so that the audience can know absolutely everything relevant to a school shooting except why it happened.
  • Flipped shows the events in the movie from the perspectives of both Bryce and Juli, which are quite different, especially at the start.
  • The Gal Who Took The West tells the story of the arrival of an opera singer from different perspectives. It predated Rashomon by a year, and may have been an influence on it since it interprets the same female character as strong, delicate, or cunning depending on who's telling the story, the way the wife in Rashomon is depicted.
  • The song "Summer Nights" in Grease is this, with both Sandy and Danny recounting the events of their summer romance. Danny's version is Hotter and Sexier; Sandy's is Tamer and Chaster. While Sandy's version is less outrageous, the likelihood is that neither of them is giving an entirely accurate account of events.
  • He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not, a French film, plays with this by having the first half or so of the film follow a girl who a man is apparently cheating on (and going to leave) his wife with her. However, he repeatedly fails to show up at all to their arranged meetings. Growing increasingly distraught, she finally attempts suicide. In the second half, it's from the man's point of view, and it's revealed that he's barely aware of her existence, and the entire relationship was the product of her being insane.
  • The Jet Li film Hero (2002) used a variation of this trope. It opens with a Qin soldier being granted audience with The Emperor to tell him of how he killed three notorious assassins. The Emperor, however, doesn't believe the details of the account, so he tells an alternate story of what he thinks happened. The soldier then admits that he wasn't telling the truth but states that the Emperor's story wasn't quite right either (although it's pretty good for what's essentially a guess), and recounts what actually happened. (Although in a last-minute plot twist, a certain aspect of the first story ends up coming true after the fact.) Each version of the story has its own Color Motif to differentiate it: red for the soldier's first story, blue for the Emperor's version, and white for the real tale. Director Zhang Yimou's Signature Style is the rich and symbolic use of color.
  • The Hole made use of this, but very early on in the story, it is made abundantly clear that one of the two accounts of the events in the titular hole cannot be accurate, and is not believed by anyone.
  • Hollywoodland features a detective investigating the death of actor George Reeves. He goes through the many possible (and ultimately conflicting) theories on what happened.
  • JFK is told largely in flashback as various witnesses recount various versions of events leading up to the Kennedy assassination. The role of Lee Harvey Oswald, in particular, is portrayed variously as lone assassin, innocent patsy, and part of a conspiracy, depending on the point of view of the person narrating that version of events.
  • A subtle example in Knives Out. Both Linda and her brother Walt give their own accounts of what happened at the birthday party of their late father Harlan. Both stories are mostly compatible, describing different events and conversations that took place over the evening. Each flashback ends with Harlan cutting his birthday cake, but in Linda's telling, we see her and her husband on either side of him, while Walt's account puts himself and his own wife sitting with Harlan. This discrepancy isn't pointed out in dialogue, but subtly reminds the audience that neither sibling is entirely trustworthy.
  • Once scene in La piel que habito: At a friend's wedding, Robert finds evidence that his daughter was dragged into the dark and raped. Much later on, Vicente's flashback shows that (although his actions were heinous enough) he didn't go all the way.
  • French movie L'Appartment and its English remake Wicker Park make heavy use of this trope.
  • In One Night at McCool's, three different male characters relate their often conflicting impressions of Liv Tyler's character Jewel, revealing the particular brand of misogyny present in each one.
  • The 2000 film Rules of Engagement is about a Marine colonel who's accused of killing innocent civilians outside an American embassy in Yemen, and it's up to his defense attorney to find out if the colonel's claims are substantial. In the end, it turns out every civilian present, including a young child, was actively attacking.
  • The entire premise of Vantage Point. The events leading up to an attempt to abduct the US President, told from eight perspectives, each revealing more information than the last. Only in the last telling do we have the whole story and the aftermath. Though in this case, none of the perspectives are objectively wrong; it's just that most of them are operating with incomplete information.
  • Wonderland depicts a true-life example, in which two different parties, one of whom is porn legend John Holmes, give detectives accounts of the events leading to a brutal multiple murder. Each party places the greater share of blame on the other, and as in real life, no definitive conclusion is reached; although a third account is introduced (again true-to-life, though it did not surface until after Holmes' trial) that indicates that not only was Holmes lying, he was (involuntarily) involved.
  • In Eve's Bayou, both Louis and teenage daughter Cicely's accounts differ on what happened the night after Louis had too much to drink after a heated argument with wife Roz, and Cicely went to sit with him. In Cicely's version, Louis got aggressive and tried to rape her, and when she resisted, he slapped her to the floor. This leads to Eve placing a voodoo curse on him. Later, we find out Louis' version of that night, where she was the aggressor, giving him a sweet peck on the lips then suddenly started kissing him "like a woman," and he slapped her to get her off of him. The movie ends without us ever finding out what really happened.
  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai has a minor case of this occurring during a Flash Back scene. Both Ghost Dog and Louie the mobster have a flashback to when they first encountered each other. In both cases, Ghost Dog is getting beat viciously by a group of thugs, and Louie comes over to end the disturbance. In Louie's version of events, the leader of the group hesitates a second, then pulls a gun and points it at Louie, at which point Louie shoots him in self-defense and the rest of his gang run away. In Ghost Dog's version, the guy points a gun at Ghost Dog, and Louie then saves Ghost Dog's life by pulling the trigger first, which adds much more onto the I Owe You My Life thing that Ghost Dog has going on towards Louie.
  • Valerie: This 1956 western begins with a shootout, which results in the arrest of a man (Sterling Hayden) for wounding his wife (Anita Ekberg) and killing her parents. At the subsequent trial, several people describe different points of view on the events leading up to the shooting, with the man painted as either a blameless cuckold or a brutal thug.
  • In Surveillance This is the non-linear style way David Lynch tells a story of a murder from the surviving dirty cop to the drug stealing criminals eventually the kid reveals(sort of)what actually happens.
  • This is the whole basis for the Gigi musical number "I Remember It Well".
  • Downplayed in Inside Man, which uses this as one component among many of its "pulling off the perfect bank robbery" plot. The story intercuts between activities in the Hostage Situation in the story's present to interviews with witnesses after it's resolved, some of whom are lying. The busty female hostage, for instance, is one of the bank robbers. We ultimately learn that taking hostages was merely a diversion and the real plan was to rob a safe deposit box, then hide Clive Owen's character in a hole dug inside the bank so he could simply walk out the front door with the loot after the bank resumed normal operations.
  • The Last Jedi does this with the retelling of Kylo Ren's fall to darkness, between two characters. First, Luke implies Kylo Ren destroyed Luke's Jedi Academy entirely because of the Dark Side. Next, Kylo tells Rey that he turned to the Dark Side because Luke tried to murder him in his sleep out of fear of his power. Finally, after Rey confronts him, Luke tells her the most complete version of the story: for a brief moment, he had a lapse in judgment and indeed had a moment where he intended to murder Ben in his sleep because he sensed a deep well of darkness in his pupil. Before he could do so, he realized the horror of what he was about to do and decided not to go through with it, but it was too late - Ben Solo saw his master's activated lightsaber and attacked. Luke views Ben's transformation into the dark Kylo Ren as his own fault and is racked by guilt.
  • In the movie Marshall (Based on a True Story of Sam Friedman and Thurgood Marshall's defense of a black chauffeur accused of raping and trying to kill his white employer), we first see her version of events—he raped her, tied her up, then threw her off a bridge. Then we see his—the sex was consensual and she tried to kill herself in a panic over her infidelity being discovered.
  • American Animals: The real perpetrators of the crime, who appear throughout the film in talking-head interviews, differ in their recollections of how they came up with the idea to rob the library. Both versions are dramatized by the actors portraying them. As the film cuts between the two versions, the actors occasionally make a comment that actually pertains to the other version of the events just before the scene cuts to it
  • Roughly the first half of Knives Out plays out in this manner. Different members of the Thrombey family are tasked with telling the story of the night of the family patriarch Harlan's 85th birthday (after which he died), and all do so in rather different ways. A notable example is the visual of different family members standing next to Harlan as he's presented with the birthday cake, depending on the story.
  • Tombstone Rashomon is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: the story of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona Territory as told from multiple differing perspectives in the style of Rashomon.
  • The Last Duel shows the lead-up to the titular duel from the perspective of all three parties: accused rapist Jacques Le Gris, his accuser Marguerite de Carrouges (nee Thibouville), and his opponent, her husband Jean de Carrouges. Events that two or more of them were present for are presented slightly differently via Self-Serving Memory. However, the film strongly implies that Marguerite's version is the correct one; Jean's and Jacques's segments are titled "The Truth According to..." while Marguerite's is simply titled "The Truth".
    • Jean and Marguerite's relationship. Jean sees himself as a gallant husband; Marguerite sees him as rough and distant. Jean remembers their wedding night as a tender affair; Marguerite remembers it as unpleasant. Jean remembers his return from the Scottish campaign as him dutifully and warmly greeting his wife and mother; in Marguerite's account, he barked at her for wearing a low-cut dress and called her a whore. Jean's memory of Marguerite confessing her assault is of him assuring her that Jacques will be dealt with, but in her memory, he yells, lashes out, and considers it an affront against him more than her.
    • Jean and Jacques's public reconciliation has someone say "Let there be no ill will among servants of the King". Jean's and Jacques's memories show them each saying the line, but in Marguerite's account, it was instead their mutual friend Crespin.
    • The supposed rape itself. In Jacques's memory, Marguerite acts much more ambiguously and does not protest as much; in her account, it was very clearly a rape, with her trying her best to resist him and sobbing sorrowfully after the event.

  • Demetri Martin parodies this in one routine with the story of a bee sting, told from various, progressively more bizarre, and unsympathetic perspectives: The person getting stung, a friend nearby, the bee, the newspaper the bee got swatted with, the chair that got hit with the newspaper, her friend's phone, the phone's battery, a squirrel in a nearby tree, the tree the squirrel was in, the ointment she put on, and finally, God.
  • A young woman, her mother, and two men (one of them being the boss of the other), travel on a train. The train enters a tunnel. The sound of a kiss is heard, followed quickly by a slap.
    The mother thinks: One of the men kissed my daughter, but she defended her honor.
    Her daughter thinks: One of the men tried to kiss me but kissed my mother in the darkness instead, and she slapped him on the face!
    The boss thinks: This idiot kissed the young lady and she tried to slap him, but she missed in the dark and hit me instead!
    The other man thinks: Haha! Gotcha! I made a kissing sound in the air and slapped my boss on his face!

  • Absalom, Absalom!: The true story of the Sutpens is pieced together from information given by three different tellings. Each of the tellers doesn't know the whole story and may be changing or making up some of what they say. They don't call it a precursor of the modern mystery novel for nothing.
  • Arthur Phillips' Angelica features the same (possibly supernatural) events told from four different P.O.V.s.
  • This can be seen in Harry Potter:
    • Dumbledore and Trelawney both tell different versions of the story of Trelawney's first prophecy, neither of which turns out to be exactly true.
    • The time when James saved Snape's life crop up several times, from a few perspectives. In the first book, Dumbledore mentions that James saved Snape's life, but does not elaborate. In the third book, Snape says that this was not at all heroic but rather the result of a Deadly Prank James had been intending to play on Snape, and he only backed out at the last minute to avoid the ramifications for himself. Later we finally get the full story from Lupin: Sirius told Snape the secret of how to enter the Shrieking Shack hoping he would encounter Lupin in his werewolf form there, but James heard of this and risked his own life to stop him. Snape had just convinced himself that James had been in on the plan from the beginning out of bitterness.
  • An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears is an excellent Rashomon. It features four Unreliable Narrators, all with his particular take on the same intricate series of events. As an added twist, each subsequent narrator is moved to write his own version after reading the earlier ones, so each subsequent testimony also includes clarifications, annotations, comments, criticism, refutations, and fillings of the blanks. There's no "definitive version of what really happened" either.
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner is told from the heads of something like fourteen narrators, and the only half-sane one in the entire book gets sent to an insane asylum for trying to burn his mother's steadily-decaying body in someone else's barn and while inside the asylum, goes crazy. Major points (and potentially a Ph.D.) to whoever can actually figure out who's reliable and what's going on.
  • The three holy books of the Abrahamic faiths have this to varying degrees.
    • The Christian New Testament begins with the four Gospels, each credit as being "The Gospel according to" a different author. There's some noticeable discrepancies between them which non-Christians sometimes cite as proof for it being inaccurate, making this trope Older Than Feudalism. One such example is how each Gospel portrayed Jesus: Matthew had him as an Expy of Moses and cited a myriad of Old Testament prophecies to really drive the whole Messiah thing home; the intended audience was probably Jews. Mark's gospel was Darker and Edgier and puts emphasis on Jesus' miracles because his audience was Christians persecuted by the Romans. Luke's gospel is Lighter and Softer, portraying a Nice Guy version of Jesus because he was targeting Gentiles who had/were considering converting. John's gospel is the most mystic-like of the four and writes a Higher Self version of Jesus to emphasize His divinity to committed Christians.
    • Paul's recollection of his own history and that of the Church is slightly different to Luke's, though both of them were summarizing a little.
    • The Old Testament features two different stories of Creation, one immediately after the other: the first being the famous "And on the Xth day, God Y." Which has humans created last, while the second account has humans created before animals, and has the whole Garden of Eden story. A likely reconciliation is that the second one starts with a summary before going into Eden; Chapter 1 was "He made X and then He made Y and then He made Z" while Chapter 2 was "Look at all the stuff He made, like Ys and Zs and Xes!" A few chapters later, the Book of Genesis includes two conflicting accounts of the Great Flood that are interleaved.
    • Many other stories have seemingly conflicting accounts between them, such as the story of David, and anyone from David to Saul to someone else to some random Israelite killing Goliath. The confusion about Goliath probably stems from there being two Goliaths. Goliath the Philistine whom David killed with the sling, and Goliath the Gittite who was killed by Elhanan at Gob.
  • Waved in the plot of Chronicle of a Death Foretold: the narrator is trying to reconstruct the weird circumstances surrounding the honor murder of a childhood friend, so he investigates the surviving witnesses and the court records. While not made in the traditional way, only the main facts remain with each retelling, as people can't even remember what weather was that day, and it goes down from there.
  • James Joyce: Finnegans Wake. This is one of the few things about this novel we're reasonably sure of.
  • Peter Matthiessen's Killing Mister Watson trilogy, recently revised into Shadow Country, relies heavily on the Rashomon effect.
  • The Lover, a novel by Israeli writer A. B. Yehoshua, is told from the viewpoints of the six major characters.
  • Mr. Hook's Big Black Box has a group of friends meet up at a college reunion, and end up discussing events that happened when they were students. All of the flashbacks are unreliable, and all of the narrators tried to double-cross their friends at least once.
  • Santiago Gamboa's Necropolis has the life story of a speaker who killed himself during a writer's congress retold three times by himself, his partner, and his wife.
  • Ken Kesey's novel Sometimes a Great Notion makes heavy use of this trope, weaving together the narratives of several warring family members and townspeople to illustrate the interpersonal conflicts surrounding a town-wide lumber strike. For added fun, sometimes POV shifts happen mid-sentence.
  • Jeff Rackham's The Rag & Bone Shop tells the story of Charles Dickens' relationship with Ellen Ternan from three different points of view: those of Ellen, Dickens' sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth, and his friend and colleague Wilkie Collins. All three suffer from various degrees of self-delusion, especially Georgina.
  • The Akutagawa short story that Rashomon is based on, In a Grove. Two people confess to the same murder, three if you count the dead man since he claims to have stabbed himself and would have bled to death anyway. Confusingly, "Rashomon" is also the name of an entirely different Akutagawa story, which is very creepy but rather less of a mind screw. Rashomon shares a theme with In a Grove — Self-Justification: An Old Retainer has been fired from his job and is under the Rashomon Gates contemplating suicide. Then he sees an old hag who is seemingly doing unspeakable things to some dead bodies. He feels so much fear and revulsion that he is willing to die before letting the hag do whatever she is doing. When he tries to stop her, the hag reveals she is robbing the corpses because she needs the money and they do not. The Old Retainer realizes that he was thinking first of suicide, then of dying for a good cause, and now he understands that his feelings are nothing more than a way to justify his acts, so he chooses to do the act that benefits him the most, and steal the goods from the old hag.
  • Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book, an epic-length series of dramatic monologues based on a real Italian murder case. Everybody involved chimes in, including the murderer and the victim.
  • Surprisingly, a picture book: Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne.
  • The first half or so of the Star Wars novel I, Jedi is one of these for the Jedi Academy Trilogy. It gives a contrasting point of view of the events of that series without actually contradicting any of it, while simultaneously filling in a variety of Plot Holes. The second half of the book tells the conclusion of the conflict that Corran Horn went to the academy to learn to deal with, which is related to, but separate from, the story of the happenings at the academy. Most consider it better than the trilogy.
  • Agatha Christie 's Five Little Pigs has Hercule Poirot solve a murder that took place sixteen years before by listening to the stories of the 5 people involved, who each provided a slightly different account of what had actually happened.
  • An odd variation on this concept is used in Quill's Window. Events are portrayed objectively as they happen- the important change, however, is that different characters interpret these events in different ways. We'll see the event in question from the point of view of one character in the book, but later on, it will be referenced by other characters as having had entirely different personal connotations.
  • Hoot has a variant. It's narrated in the third person, and as the story jumps between three main characters - Roy Eberhardt, Officer Delinko, and Curly Branitt - there are occasional narration overlaps. For instance, when Curly encounters the guard dog trainer Kalo trying to round up his dogs after the snakes are placed out, Delinko stops by and the event is described from Curly's point of view. In a later chapter that follows Delinko, a small summary of the same scene (from his perspective) is shown.
  • Used in The Bartimaeus Trilogy. All the narrators are unreliable, with Kitty being the closest to a reliable one.
    • Nathaniel's Badass Longcoat outfit at the beginning of the second book. Whereas Nathaniel thinks that it is, well, badass, Bartimaeus finds it completely ridiculous and Kitty proclaims it kind of stupid, though it is not clear if she just says this because she hates magicians in general or because the outfit really is stupid.
    • Bartimaeus' illusions of grandeur are dashed by the third-person (and therefore more accurate) narration of Nathaniel or Kitty, though of course he's always damn cool, whether he calmly asks the whiny boy to "please be quiet" or shrieks at him to "shut up!".
  • Spoon River Anthology has this as one of its main conceits. Unusually for this trope, we generally get an idea of what's true — for instance, a former mayor and moral crusader is clearly a Knight Templar and murderer.
  • The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas.
  • "The Moonlit Road" by Ambrose Bierce. Like Akutagawa's "In a Grove," which it may have inspired, it contains testimony from both the living and the dead.
  • This is explored in the Scottish novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. The story is divided into two main sections: one first-hand account of the life of a religious fanatic, and an editor's attempt to piece together relevant events a hundred years later. Essentially, both are unreliable narrators, but the Sinner's account is especially skewed towards portraying him as more noble and righteous. For instance, according to eyewitnesses, he killed his brother by stabbing him in the back from the shadows. He himself claims he shouted a warning and engaged in a duel.
  • This is parodied in Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing.... The characters briefly discuss how they got out of a particular jam. One remembers getting world leaders together to save the planet. Another remembers unicorns flying to their rescue. None are correct; their escape was only a simulation, and they're actually about to get blown up.
  • The prologues to each book of The Belgariad are an excerpt from an in-universe document that gives a piece of history relevant to the book in question—for the most part these are in accord, but the last one comes from The Book of Torak, holy text of the Religion of Evil authored by (or possibly ghostwritten for by one of his Disciples) the Big Bad. It retells many of the same events but puts a radically different perspective on them- and one that Torak seems to actually believe, which really hits home just how crazy he is.
    • The biographies of Belgarath and Polgara disagree on exactly how a lot of things went down.
  • In Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style, where the same story is told in 99 different ways, we have the subjective points of view of two protagonists.
  • The Doctor Who New Adventures novel Lucifer Rising has a version involving a futuristic surveillance system that makes only a basic record of what happens, relying on computer extrapolation to fill in the details when it's played back. It becomes both sides of a Rashomon Style dispute about what really happened in a certain conversation, producing two different extrapolations in which the speakers perform the same actions and say the same words, but the way they do it makes the difference between the version where one speaker was trying to help the other and the version where he was deliberately making matters worse.
  • Carrie by Stephen King contains many versions of the same events by different characters, and, in some cases, by newspapers.
  • Only Revolutions has one side of the story by one protagonist, the other side of the story by the other protagonist. Given the sheer length of time that the story covers, it makes sense for there to be discrepancies. However, there are more than just discrepancies, as both sides tell it in a way to make themselves look good at various points and have different recollections altogether of certain events.
  • The Egyptian novel Miramar (by Egypt's only Nobel Laureate for Literature, Naguib Mahfouz) is told four times in the first person from the perspective of four lodgers at a pension (a kind of boarding house) in 1960s Alexandria: the aging intellectual and former journalist Amir Wagdy; the young, wealthy, well-connected, and self-destructive scion of a once-noble family Husni Allam; the elegant broadcaster Mansour Bahi; and the factory manager and Party functionary Sarhan al-Beheiri. All four men pursue the young, uneducated, but plucky peasant woman Zohra, newly arrived from the countryside. All four stories end with the death — probably by suicide — of Sarhan. The narrators are biased but not really unreliable; they differ in their interpretation of character and motives, but don't disagree about facts.
  • Mahfouz used the same technique in Akhenaten: Dweller in Truth, which tells the story of Pharaoh Akhenaten's short reign and scandalous behaviour from the POV of more than a dozen different characters. Most of them agree on what happened, though why is another matter... The only thing most of them agree on is that this monotheism business died with the Pharaoh.
  • In his memoir Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens discusses Rashomon Style when recounting an event he shared with good friend Martin Amis, who had recorded his version in his own prior memoir.
  • In Sarah Waters' Fingersmith, the two girls involved give their sides of the stories and their narratives overlap as the book's twist unfolds.
  • When Don Quixote enters the Sierra Morena at chapter XII, First Part, he hears the account of the love of Chrysostom to Marcela from the shepherd Pedro. It seems Marcela, an orphaned rich girl, on a whim decided to be shepherdess, and she is so beautiful all his City Mouses suitors have become shepherds only to woe her. She never gives anyone any hope, so the Sierra Morena is full of Love Martyrs, and they are going tomorrow to the funeral of one of them, Chrysostom. Pedro describes Marcela as a good person. At the funeral, Ambrosio, Chrysostom’s best friends, accuses Marcela of cruelty against Chrysostom. When confronted by his listeners about Marcela’s character, he admits this was an Informed Flaw. Later, they read one of Chrysostom’s poems and he claims to be a Love Martyr and Marcela being cruel to him. At last, Marcela appears at the funeral and claims that she is So Beautiful, It's a Curse and, as a free, decent woman, she had the right to reject anyone. Nobody says, but everybody implies, Spurned into Suicide.
  • Not present through the whole text, but events in Dirge for Prester John are sometimes told from different, and conflicting, points of view. Namely John and Hagia's narration. And Sefalet's two mouths.
  • Professor Mmaa's Lecture is written from the termites' viewpoint, but the epilogue has the ending (and the backstory) presented from the viewpoint of humans living near the termite mound.
  • Age of Fire: The first three books are each from the POV of one of the three protagonist siblings, so the early events of the series (from their hatching until the raid on the egg cave and their scattering) get this treatment — with each book, the Copper becomes increasingly sympathetic while AuRon becomes less so; their parents AuRel and Irelia seem like completely different characters in each book; and recurring antagonist the Dragonblade has a slightly different personality in each (in AuRon's he's a one-dimensional dragon hunter, in Wistala's he's a Noble Demon, and in the Copper's he's a straight Knight Templar).
  • The history of A Song of Ice and Fire is filled to the brim with conflicting accounts of the same events thanks to gossip and biased historians. For example, Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories draws from three major sources about the Dance of the Dragons. Septon Eustace, was a Green (Aegon II supporter), Maester Munkun was a Black (Rhaenyra) supporter, and court jester Mushroom made fun of both equally but was prone to hyperbole and adding raunchy stories about all parties. Gyldayn's work compares and contrasts them and adds several notes to the point of "X source might be making this up."
  • In the Gotrek & Felix novel OrcSlayer, Gotrek's efforts to help Prince Hamnir retake Karak Hirn are hampered by the Prince having to resolve a dispute between the Stonemonger Clan and the Ironskin Clan over the possession of the Shield of Drutti. The Stonemongers claim the Ironskins stole the shield after giving it as a gift to the Stonemongers two thousand years ago for rescuing an Ironskin daughter from trolls, while the Ironskins insist that they had traded the shield to the Stonemongers in exchange for mining rights that were subsequently never given and had simply taken the shield back as recompense. Gotrek resolves this by taking the shield, hacking it to pieces, and throwing the pieces into the fire. It cancels the clans' grudges, in that they now have a grudge against Gotrek.
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio has six sections, told from the varying points of view of Auggie Pullman, the protagonist, Via, Auggie's older sister, Summer, Auggie's closest friend, Jack Will, Auggie's friend who later betrays him, Miranda, Via's best friend, and finally Auggie again. A sequel, entitled Auggie & Me, features three more sections offering the perspectives of Julian, the bully, Chris, Auggie's childhood best friend who later moved away, and Charlotte, a theater girl.
  • The Dark Maidens tells the story of a high school literature club whose president has apparently been murdered. The story consists of each club member's take on what happened leading up to her death and who killed her, leading to wildly conflicting narratives and accusations.
  • The Great Brain entry The Great Brain at the Academy is this for narrator JD. As he explains, his sources for what's happening at the academy are letters from brother Tom (both to the family and private ones for JD), letters from older brother Sweyn and reports from the Academy teachers. While Tom's letters are fank and detailed, JD knows better than to trust Tom not to embellish things to put himself in a more positive light. Likewise, Sweyn has his own biases and not know the details on Tom's actions. While the academy teachers are blunter on Tom's failings, they too don't know the truth of what he's up to. Thus, JD "had to be something of a detective" to piece together the varying accounts and fill in the blanks on what happened and even then acknowledges there are probably some details he got wrong.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock:
    • "The Rural Juror": Liz has a series of flashbacks where a flighty Jenna glows after receiving random compliments from Liz. Later on, Jenna recalls the same events, but in her version, Liz was being deliberately condescending.
      • Liz's implied visual recollection of "Ethan" in the same series of flashbacks also differs from Jenna's version of him, with Jenna recalling him to be much older.
    • "Reunion": Liz discovers she was not quite as lovable in her High School days as she thought.
  • In The Affair, the story of an adulterous affair between a married waitress and a married teacher is recalled from both self-flattering perspectives and are blatantly skewed in favor of the POV character. For instance, during Noah and Helen's divorce mediation, Noah remembers showing up in a proper suit, the divorce lawyer she hired being a goofball, and his wife being cold, spiteful, and mostly haggling over assets. Helen remembers Noah showing up in a leather jacket, the divorce lawyer she hired being extremely serious, and her husband being rude, crass, and making unrealistic demands for joint custody.
  • The Afterparty is centered around a murder that occurs at a high school reunion after-party, and each episode sees a detective questioning each suspect about their specific recollection of events leaving up to the crime. In a twist on the trope, each testimony is framed through a different film genre.
  • The Alfred Hitchcock Hour:
    • In "What Really Happened," a woman goes on trial for the murder of her husband. When her mother-in-law testifies, she describes two events that make the woman appear to be cheating and not caring at all that she was spending extravagantly, but when the woman testifies, she is much more sympathetic. She says she wasn't having an affair, and when she realized how much money she had spent she was ashamed and apologetic.
    • In "I Saw the Whole Thing" multiple witnesses testify how they saw the defendant fail to stop his sports car at a stop sign, hit a motorcyclist, and then left the accident scene. One witness is revealed to be an alcoholic who was drunk at the time of the accident and really did not see what happened. A woman is revealed to have been distracted because her date was late and thus she did not really see anything and was just parroting what other people said happened. A seemingly reliable retired army colonel is revealed to have a strong bias against people driving sports cars because his son was struck and killed by a sports car. The driver of the car behind the sports car insists that the sports car did not stop but is proven to be confused about his own actions at the time. In the end another witness comes forward who states that he saw the accident from a different angle and that the sports car stopped and it was the motorcycle who was going too fast and failed to stop. After the driver is acquitted, he reveals to his friend that he has no idea what really happened since he was not driving the car. His pregnant wife was and she went into labor soon after she drove home from the accident scene. It was a very difficult birth and she was still bedridden in the hospital so he confessed to being the driver to spare her the stress of being arrested. None of the witnesses actually looked at who was driving and simply assumed that it was a man.
  • In the All in the Family episode "Everybody Tells the Truth" Archie, Michael, and Edith recount different versions meeting the same Italian American plumber and his black assistant (a hilarious young Ron Glass). To Archie, the plumber acts and dresses like a Mafia Don while the assistant is a menacing, Black Power sign throwing street thug with a giant afro and chip on his shoulder. To Michael, the plumber is a submissive blue-collar flunkie while the assistant is a modern-day Stepin Fetchit; an archetype of Uncle Tomfoolery. Naturally, Edith tells the real story, which is that both the plumber and assistant were perfectly normal and professional while Archie and Michael were fighting over the work as they are normally act in the series.
  • On Beverly Hills, 90210, Steve is accused of Date Rape. His date's version of events depicts them struggling and him throwing her down on the bed, while in his, not only was the encounter consensual, she was the aggressive one who pulled him onto the bed. (She later recants after admitting that she never outright told him "no". Additionally, it's likely that she was just angry upon learning that he was cheating on his girlfriend with her).
  • The Blue Mountain State episode "The Fingering" has Thad interrogating the rest of the team to figure out who sodomized him during a play he made at practice. In a variation of this trope, most of the characters' versions of the play are correct (aside from Sammy recounting how the cheerleaders were with him) but none of them actually saw who did it, while Thad's is completely different from what actually happened. In the end it turns out Larry did it on Coach Daniels's orders so that Thad would be prepared for anything during their next game and lied about it to the other players.
  • Boomtown (2002) was built entirely around this concept, although it was abandoned shortly before cancellation. The hook was you needed everyone's perspective to know what happened, but once you had that there was no argument over what really happened. Boomtown would be better described as objectively following various characters in overlapping timelines rather than showing their subjective perspectives on a single event, as in Rashomon.
  • Coupling: In one episode Patrick recalls his first meeting with Sally, in which they had a conversation that didn't entirely seem to make sense. Sally's recollection is that Patrick was staggeringly rude to her overweight friend, who didn't even appear in his version; the implication is that he's such a Jerkass Kavorka Man that the existence of unattractive women doesn't even register. Likewise, Sally's recounting has her and Patrick making out to something from Madame Butterfly, whereas Patrick's account - somewhat more accurate even for the parts he wasn't there for - has them making out to the Spider-Man (1967) theme.
  • CSI: "Rashomama". This was a hilariously well-done episode. Nick's car is stolen — and with it all the evidence collected at a wedding where the groom's mother was murdered. The CSIs recount events to get their stories straight for when Internal Affairs questions them. Each start from listening to David the Coroner make a joke about the deceased and walking through an arch of flowers, and from there, things diverge. Sara injects her irritation with marriage, Nick thoroughly enjoys the atmosphere, Grissom waxes poetic about the floral arrangements, and Greg recalls events in film noir style. (Though the episode is actually Rashomon-style In Name Only; none of the investigators' memories or witnesses' statements actually contradict each other.)
  • Dawson's Creek features this device in the episode where Dawson first discovers that Joey and Pacey are together, retelling the same day from each of the principal characters' perspectives until the audience has seen the whole story of the day and how all three stories intertwine.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation uses this in the season 2 episode "Take My Breath Away." Manny and Craig are both relaying their date to their friends. Manny's version of the date shows it as the perfect romantic moment, with Craig as her real-life Prince Charming. Craig on the other hand saw it as a very uncomfortable evening with a childish girl who reminded him of his five-year-old sister. We never find out whose version of the date is more accurate, although the episode ends with Craig breaking up with Manny.
  • Used in the A Different World episode "The Cat's In The Cradle", in which Dwayne and Ron are arrested by campus police for brawling with three white students from another college. As usual, each party's version of the event pairs this with Self-Serving Memory, but there is a twist on the Rashomon style in that audience gets to see what happened right away and knows full well that they're exaggerating:
    • Both Ron and two of the white students said and did things to provoke each other, while the third futilely tried to keep the incident from escalating. The fight began when one of the white students spray-painted a racial slur on Ron's car, at which point Dwayne showed up and jumped in to help.
    • In Ron's version, the attack was completely unprovoked. He downplays his antagonistic comments, unfairly depicts the Token Good Teammate as just as aggressive as his friends, and when Dwayne arrives, he is seen meekly pleading for the attackers to "stop, stop".
    • Similarly, the white student who tells his story claims that THEY were the innocent victims, portrays Dwayne and Ron as stereotypical street thugs, and conveniently neglects to mention vandalizing Ron's car.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: "The Night the Roof Fell In." Rob and Laura recount two different versions of a marital spat that ends with Rob storming out. Oddly, we get the real story from their pet goldfish.
  • Diff'rent Strokes had an episode like this involving a burglary. Appropriately enough, the episode title was "Rashomon II".
  • Played with in Doctor Who stories featuring Omega, who blew up a star and gave the Time Lords the power source for time travel but was lost in the explosion. In the "Official" version Omega was lost accidentally. However other versions imply Rassilon, the founder of Time Lord society, was responsible. In Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama "Omega", it is claimed by Omega and others that Omega's assistant Vandekirian was responsible for the sabotage, but even Omega is unsure if Vanderkirian was working for Rassilon. During the same audio, Omega claims that he was responsible for murdering a race known as the Citellians when he destroyed their star, but it is ultimately revealed that this was the Fifth Doctor's "crime"; he was protecting another species from telepathic pirates and accidentally wiped out a race of pure thought in the process because he didn't know they were there, Omega inheriting the Doctor's memory of the crime due to him using the Doctor's biodata to restore his body..
  • One episode of The Donna Reed Show, has Donna and Alex both telling Mary the story of their disastrous first date. They each remember the other being perfect and themselves being a complete wreck.
  • The Drake & Josh episode "Foam Finger" has Drake and Josh recounting their first meeting and fight as children trying to buy the last foam finger at a Padres game. Josh remembers Drake as an unfriendly jerk who let a bunch of girls cut in line, deliberately bought the last foam finger to prevent him from buying it, and then thumped him over the head with it. Drake remembers Josh as an obnoxious jerk who accosted Drake for letting a dying British orphan cut in line and then tackled him for buying the last foam finger. Near the end, Megan brings in the guy who sold them the foam finger to tell them the real story: Drake and Josh got along really well when they met, allowed a couple girls to cut in line, and there were no hard feelings when Drake bought the last foam finger. But Josh tackled Drake, thinking he had thumped him over the head, not knowing it was actually a toddler-aged Megan who threw a cookie at his head.
  • Due South:
    • In the episode "Seeing is Believing", three of the main characters witness a murder and each tells the story from their preconceived ideas. It takes Fraser hypnotising them to find out the truth.
    • And a more subtle, easy to miss example in "Victoria's Secret": Fraser sees his old flame holding an open hand to him. Ray sees Victoria pointing a gun at Fraser. We only see Ray's perspective for a few moments, and at some distance away, so it's easy to miss.
  • Empty Nest:
    • Harry and Laverne recall their first meeting at her job interview in a dispute over whether she ever promised to wear a nursing cap. In Harry's version, Laverne is a naive country bumpkin, in Laverne's she is competent and professional (perhaps overly so) and a weak and indecisive Harry defers to her.
    • Another episode has the characters having dinner together and reminiscing about the time the oven caught fire. They begin discussing the incident from their own perspectives. Laverne recalls Carol upset over a recent breakup while Carol recalls the same breakup left her happy. Charlie recalls he was the life of the party that night but doesn't remember the oven catching fire. Eventually, we see what really happened from the perspective of the real culprit: Dreyfuss the dog.
  • ER:
    • "Four Corners" was hyped as being in the style of Rashomon, but ended up being more of a Perspective Flip, as rather than subjective perspectives on one event, the episode followed four separate characters (Kerry, Benton, Greene, and Carter) in separate storylines that happened to overlap at certain points. The different viewpoints were literal — if Kerry saw something from one angle, Mark saw it from another.
    • Played straighter with the lawsuit of Curtis Ames (Forest Whitaker). When Ames tells of his treatment at the hospital everyone seems like huge Jerkasses, but during Luka's testimony, everyone is professional and caring.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond had an episode in which Raymond and Debra both retold the events of an afternoon. The most notable thing about this is none of the events were actually changed in either retelling - both characters used the same lines, and the same things happened, albeit with different severity in both (example: In Debra's retelling, Ray opens a can of tuna and overreacts to a small amount of spillage - in Ray's, the can almost explodes and he's rather nonchalant about it). The tone used by the characters in each version gives the exact same lines entirely different contexts.
  • An episode of Fame involves a student being injured during a stage performance, and the teachers of the School of the Arts questioning different eye-witnesses. This was no mere Rashomon-style story; it mimicked the format and even camera angles of the classic movie. One teacher does a mystic "seance" to probe the thoughts of the unconscious victim, and two teachers wait outdoors, questioning if they would ever know the truth, and shelter from the rain beneath a theater marquee displaying an Akira Kurosawa Film Festival.
  • An episode of The Famous Jett Jackson opens with Jett, J.B., Kayla, and Booker having foiled a bank robbery. Each gives testimony painting themselves as a perfect, shining hero, and the other three as hopelessly incompetent, much to each other's irritation (and the amusement of the robbers listening from their cell). They also disagree strenuously on whether the male robber's name is Larry, Harry, or Barry. In an interesting take on this trope, at the end of the episode, it's revealed that parts of all of their versions were true...except for the male robber's name, which turns out to be Sylvester.
  • Farscape, "The Ugly Truth", in which Crichton, Aeryn, Zhaan, D'Argo, and Stark have to give their testimony of a conversation with Crais that ended up with a Plokavian merchant ship being blown up- each one being distorted for one reason or another. Hilariously enough, all the characters in Crichton's recollection refer to Plokavians as "Plokavoids." Not so hilariously, the judges don't comprehend the distortion and sentence all the witnesses to death until Stark takes the blame. All Plokavians perceive things in exactly the same way, with a Photographic Memory and no personal colouring of memory or false memory syndrome. To them, subjectivity is a foreign term. Afterwards, they compared their stories and figured out that it wasn't any of them, Stark had hit the fire control panel but Crichton had just disabled it, which put the cannon back under the control of the Trigger-Happy Living Ship.
  • Lampshaded and Played for Laughs in one episode of Flashpoint.
    Wordy: Boss, witnesses saw teenagers bolt out of a restroom and up the stairs.
    Spike: Three teenage girls, four teenage girls, three girls and a boy...could be seven orangutans.
    Parker: How about a little less information and a little more intelligence?
    Spike: Copy.
  • A Fox Kids PSA (from the pre-Power Rangers years) had two kids on the verge of a fight over a skating collision/lunch mess because each one perceived the other's actions as more belligerent than they actually were (bringing about An Aesop about looking at the other person's point of view).
  • Frasier:
    • "Perspectives on Christmas". In this example, the characters' perspectives differed mainly in what they were able to see and how they interpreted certain lines of dialogue (as is the norm for misunderstandings on this show), rather than blatantly skewing things in their favor as in most comedic examples.
    • "Shrink Rap", in which both brothers undergo 'couples' counseling and outline the events which have led to their most recent relationship collapse. In general, they have a tendency to present themselves as being a bit more wise, thoughtful, and put-upon than they probably would be in the real situation — and the other immediately calls them on it. There's also a rather amusing bit where Niles recounts a story Daphne told about a couple who would frequently experience The Immodest Orgasm right next to her bedroom wall at night and her over-the-top efforts to show them up, culminating in this exchange:
    Frasier: Hold it, stop! Niles, you know full well that Daphne merely told us that story, she did not act it out!
    Niles: (genuinely confused) ...Didn't she?
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: "Will Goes a-Courtin'", where Will and Carlton refuse to pay Uncle Phil his rent because the air conditioner was broken. They end up having a pool party without Uncle Phil's permission, and Uncle Phil takes them to court about the whole ordeal. In court they tell outrageously different versions of the pool party:
    1. In Will and Carlton's version, the pool party is a classy, innocent affair where everyone is in old-style bathing suits and they dance in a circle holding hands. When Uncle Phil enters, a glass of water shakes à la Jurassic Park and he rips the head off of Carlton's duckie inner tube. He also yells at the 15-year-old neighbor girl who "wandered over, crying" as Will says. ("Hit the bricks, you little tramp!")
    2. In Uncle Phil's version, Will and Carlton are thuggish, and everyone is wearing revealing swimsuits, including the 15-year-old neighbor girl who wandered over, cheerfully saying "To hell with my parents! ...Will taught me that." Uncle Phil himself is just a meek, quiet man who accidentally steps on Carlton's inner tube. He told his story second and, when stopped, pointed out the others had been allowed to tell their cock-and-bull story.
    3. Of course, we saw the real pool party beforehand, where the party was not thuggish (but certainly not innocent), the 15-year-old neighbor wanders in on her own (not crying and not wearing a revealing swimsuit), and Uncle Phil spitefully pokes a pin in Carlton's inner tube (intentionally, but not violently).
  • The Game of Thrones Blu-ray lore does this with Westeros history. The people and events that viewers are familiar with look different depending on the characters describing them, in particular by adding a slant to make their own Houses look better off.
  • In Ghosts (UK), the episode "The Thomas Thorne Affair", features Thomas Thorne trying to tell Alison about his death, only for Robin, Mary, Kitty, and Humphrey to interject their own details, with differences such as Mary recalling everyone being completely bored by Thomas's preceding poem where Thomas remembered them enjoying it or Robin only able to relate the story with his usual stunted English. After Humphrey relates his own perspective (handicapped because he's mostly a decapitated head who could only see shoes), it reveals that Thomas's cousin manipulated the whole situation so that Thomas would believe he'd been rejected by the woman he loved and be killed in a subsequent duel over what was actually an insult to Mary Shelley rather than Thomas's would-be lover.
  • Done in a subtle way in The BBC's horror Mockumentary Ghostwatch. The same footage of apparent paranormal phenomena gets replayed with small differences in order to undermine the viewer's sense of reality - being broadcast in the pre-DVR days, the audience couldn't rewind and replay their own recording to check whether they really had seen what they remembered seeing.
  • Gilligan's Island had the characters writing memoirs of their lives on the island. There were flashbacks to previous episodes, retold as self-serving memories.
  • Good Times: The couch catches fire. JJ, Michael, and Thelma each tell Willona what happened. Of course when each tells their story, they paint themselves in an extremely flattering light and make the others look bad. In the end, Penny tells Willona that she is the one who burned the couch and the flashback shows how she tried a cigarette and drops it into the couch when JJ says that he did not like smokers.
  • Subverted in the sixth season of Grey's Anatomy: after a patient death, the chief interrogates a dozen doctors about the events of the night... and it turns out that all of the accounts are perfectly consistent with each other - even the crucial distraction and oversight is shown openly (although played for laughs) all along. The episode is named "I Saw What I Saw". The facts are consistent, but the opinions are often at odds (pointed out repeatedly via Ironic Echo Cut). For instance, Alex appeared to be shaky after donating blood, but it was later revealed that he left before donating, and was actually shaky because of a phone call from Izzie.
  • Hannah Montana has an episode where Miley and Jackson's dad spent the whole morning being surly and upset. Each described the same events of the previous day, portraying the other as a selfish Jerkass and themselves as perfect little angels. Turns out he was mad at both of them because they forgot his 40th birthday.
  • In the Happy Days episode "Fonzie Gets Shot", Roger, Fonzie, and Potsie provide differing accounts over how the Fonz was shot in the butt.
  • Highlander: "Through a Glass Darkly" features a Rashomon-style historical flashback. Duncan and Warren Cochrane were Scottish Jacobites who supported Bonnie Prince Charles and fought in the failed Jacobite uprising. Years later they visit the exiled Charles in France wanting him to lead another uprising. They both came away with completely different recollections of the event. Cochrane remembered Charles as a dignified elder statesman who declined their offer because he did not want to see more of his followers killed. Duncan remembered Charles as a broken-down drunk who was more interested in their money than their cause. Afterwards Cochrane is angry at Duncan for his lack of faith in Charles while Duncan thinks that Cochrane is deluding himself. The end of the episode suggests that both men saw what they wanted to see and the truth was somewhere in the middle. Cochrane is hero-worshipping Charles and fails to see how tired and sick Charles is. Duncan is still angry with Charles over the failed uprising and fails to see that Charles gets proposals like theirs all the time and just doesn't take them seriously anymore.
  • House episode "The Mistake". A patient's death caused by Chase's mistake is investigated by Stacy, the hospital lawyer, as the story is told through conflicting narratives by House and Chase.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, because Ted is (sometimes) an Unreliable Narrator, we sometimes see something from Ted's point of view only to have someone else explain what really happened.
    • In one episode, Ted is dating a woman who he introduces to his friends. At first we see it from Ted's point of view - Said woman says a sentence, then one of his friends seems to interrupt her with a thinly veiled 'Shut up!'. Then, the other characters reveal that she talks a lot (something an enamoured Ted hadn't noticed), and we cut back to her talking and talking and talking...
    • The St Patrick's Day episode had a subtler version: we see Ted go out with Barney and have a fun, carefree night, but the following day Marshall shows him accidental audio recordings of his conversations (he butt dialed Marshall and it went to voicemail). His dialogue during the night had a lighthearted attitude, but when reviewing the recordings he sounded a lot sleezier than he expected.
    • In "As Fast as She Can", Barney claims that when he was pulled over by a hot female officer, she asked him to get out of the car so he could do her. Robin and Marshall know that he was lying, but he denies it, and Future Ted interrupts saying that what really happened was that same cop arrested Barney for numerous moving violations and he and Stella had to bail him out.
    • "Oh Honey" has Marshall on the phone the entire time with different characters, learning how recent events transpired. Every scene is covered multiple times from different perspectives. At the end, he sets up a storyboard so he can go over everything with his mother and brother who, at different times, had been listening in.
    • In "The Ashtray" Ted, Robin and Lily tell the others about running into "The Captain" (Kyle MacLachlan) at an art gallery and going to his apartment. In Ted's version, the Captain is still angry at Ted for dating his ex-wife and threatens him with a harpoon gun. In Robin's version, the Captain comes onto her the whole night. In Lily's story, which is the truth, Ted is stoned and Robin is drunk and the one coming onto the Captain. In all three Barney tries to inject himself in the story even though he wasn't there. Though oddly the Captain seems to corroborate Barney's story that he pulled a play on the cute art consultant that worked for the Captain.
    • In "Zoo or False", there is a self-contradicting example. Marshall recounts the story of how he was mugged. When Lily starts talking about getting a gun, he changes the story to say he was actually mugged by a monkey. He goes on Robin's show to tell the story, but when the zookeeper also comes on and reveals that the monkey is to be released into the wild and be separated from its mate, Marshall says he was mugged by a human. When Lily reacts to this, he waffles back and forth several times before clamming up, and the truth is never settled. Though it's worth noting that the monkey story is not at all credible.
    • "The Burning Beekeeper" borrows the structure of The Norman Conquests (see under Theatre below), with Ted telling the events of an evening one room at a time.
  • In the Hunter episode "Unfinished Business", Hunter and McCall visit the department psychologist to hash out the tension between them. It turns out the friction stems from an event several years ago when McCall returned from a training session. She recalls him as being completely uncaring that she was back, being too preoccupied with his replacement partner to even acknowledge her, while he recalls himself and the other woman as being perfectly polite while she was incredibly rude to them. Unusually, we never see what really happened. note 
  • In In Your Dreams Jack and Lucy give different accounts of Jack's breakup. Jack's version is much more flattering to him, while Lucy's is probably close to reality.
  • In The Invisible Man episode "Going Postal", Monroe, Hobbes, and Fawkes all tell different stories in different styles to a Psychiatrist to determine why Hobbes has snapped. Monroe's is raw documentary footage, Hobbes' is Film Noir with a Bullet Time action sequence, and Fawkes' is a Hollywood Action Movie (He tries to narrate his story the same way he narrates the show, but gets cut off by the psychiatrist when he starts quoting William Butler Yeats). When the psychiatrist points out the only thing that all three versions agree on, Fawkes uses pure Genre Savvy to conclude that it was the cause. While we figure out what more or less actually happened, several minor points are left unclear.
  • The It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Who Got Dee Pregnant?" has the characters put together pieces from a Halloween party that none of them were sober enough to remember. Each version of the story makes Dee out to be more and more bird-like (she was dressed as an angel but everyone thought she was dressed as a bird), culminating in Mac's story, where she's been replaced by a live ostrich.
  • Done in Kenan & Kel, in the episode "I'm Gonna Get You, Kenan", where Rigby's gets robbed. Chris tells the story with himself as the hero, Kenan tells the story with himself as the hero, and Kel... tells a story about orange soda. Of course, we all saw the robbery take place beforehand; Kenan thwarted the robbery, by accident.
  • Comes up occasionally in the various Law & Order series, usually involving eyewitness testimony.
    • In one episode of the original series, detectives are trying to find a car that ran another car off the road (causing it to crash into a coffee shop, resulting in multiple fatalities). When they try to take statements from witnesses, their descriptions of the car are completely incongruous.
    • In one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Elliot is trying to interview witnesses to a playground shooting. Given that they're all young children, it...doesn't yield much in the way of useful information.
      Cragen: Kids give you anything?
      Elliot: Yeah, about 40 different versions about what happened.
      Cragen: Well, eyewitness accounts are bad enough with adults, what'd you expect from kids?
      Huang: Wild imaginations, high suggestibility, and difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality.
      Elliot: That's pretty much what I got.
    • In a later episode of SVU, Elliot and Olivia are trying to solve a cold kidnapping case; they note that they have three witness statements describing the car, and all of them disagree on color and body type. Incredibly, they still get a lead from that when one of the descriptions matches the car of a possible suspect.
  • Leverage:
    • The episode "The Rashomon Job" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a news broadcast on a famous antique dagger leads Sophie, Eliot, Hardison, and Parker to realize that they were all at the museum on the night it was stolen five years earlier. Hilarity Ensues as they each recount their version of events, and their recollections of each other on the night in question are somewhat skewed (Hardison seems to remember "Dr." Eliot as a psychopathic killer, and no one is able to get Sophie's accent straight), but they all ultimately agree on the sequence of events, and in the end, none of them came away with the dagger. Nate then reveals that he was there on the night in question as an investigator for the insurance company; the dagger literally fell into his hands by accident, and it provided the evidence he needed to prove that the museum owner was committing insurance fraud. The dagger had been reported stolen so the fence he had been using wouldn't spook and run. (He also depicts the tenacious security chief who threatened to bring the Leverage crew's efforts to ruin as actually a lovestruck buffoon upset with himself that he missed his chance to confess his feelings to the disguised Sophie, but it's implied that this is in reaction to Sophie claiming the man might have been even smarter than Nate himself; Word of God says that Nate's version of the events is "about 80% accurate.")

      One twist used in this version is that the actor playing each character doesn't appear in any of the retellings until that character tells his or her version of events. So, for example, there's a blonde waitress who appears in every version of the story who turns out to be Parker, but before Parker tells her version the waitress isn't played by Beth Riesgraf. Nate also manages to spin the fact that they all foiled each other as An Aesop about how his crew is better working with one another than against, as the team was starting to crack under the larger Story Arc.
    • The series finale "The Long Goodbye Job," although it's not made immediately obvious to the audience, makes use of a similar structure. It opens In Medias Res with Nate in custody after a job gone wrong; the first version shown is Nate's explanation of what happened. The woman he's telling the story to does not believe he's telling the truth and presents a second version before a final reveal shows what really happened and that almost everything about Nate's original version of the story was a lie and the job is still in progress. Like "The Rashomon Job," this episode also employs Cast as a Mask to hide things from the audience, in this case obscuring Sophie and Nate's particular roles in the con.
  • On Life, everyone has a conflicting story of how rock star Jude Hayes died. He didn't. It's implied he is mentally unstable and has been living as a homeless though rich man for years.
  • Series 2, episode 5 of Life on Mars has a scene told from a vindictive and sympathetic point of view. Of course, the sympathetic one is eventually portrayed to have been 100% accurate.
  • Living Single does this with Khadijah and Regine. Regine is creating a raisin cookie recipe for a contest, and Khadijah shares that the secret to her grandma's famous raisin cookies was prune juice. Later, when she tastes Regine's prize-winning cookies, she accuses Regine of stealing grandma's recipe. Regine denies the theft. Regine's story paints Khadijah as a gruff belligerent thug, while Khadijah's story makes Regine out to be a snooty Rich Bitch. Both ladies pretend they themselves were perfectly innocent and agreeable. The one constant in both stories is that Maxine comes over in the middle of the baking, says, "I'm too lazy to cook for myself, so I'm gonna mooch off you guys," and helps herself to plum sauce for her Chinese food. Not only is Max the one constant in each story, but she turns out to be the culprit all along; when she came over to mooch Chinese food, she inadvertently spilled plum sauce all in Regine's cookie dough, thus lending the cookies a pronounced prune flavor.
  • In Lizzie McGuire, Lizzie, Kate, and Tudgeman all give their P.O.V.s of a food fight. For good measure, the episode starts with the very end of the food fight. Kate and Tudgeman's stories featured ridiculous versions of themselves. Kate, being the Alpha Bitch, imagines herself walking around the school on a red carpet with a spotlight shining on her while everyone else gushes about how perfect she is. Tudgeman, a dorky nerd, sees himself as the star of some cross between A Beautiful Mind and The Matrix. Lizzie's version seems to be reality apart from the depiction of her parents blatantly favoring her brother.
  • In an episode of Magnum, P.I., Magnum listens to Rick, T.C., and Higgins explaining the events of a robbery at Rick's nightclub. Each gives a different version of the events. Magnum focuses on the details of the robbery that don't change in the retelling and cracks the case. Played for laughs: they each tell Magnum a different version of the holdup, with many argumentative interruptions by the others and more than one Self-Serving Memory. Magnum then recounts a fourth version based on what he's heard and what he knows of his friends before revealing the bartender let the thieves in.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Elrond has a different version from his friend about how he met Durin when Disa asks him. Durin told her that he saved Elrond from two hill-trolls, but Elrond's recounts him being the one who saved Durin from three hill-trolls, and is implied that his version is the truer one.
  • Mama's Family also had an episode called "Rashomama", where Eunice, Ellen, and Naomi tell three different versions of the same story of how Mama got hit on the head with a pot. The framing narrative takes place in a hospital, and at the end, Vint asks her what went on in the kitchen, and she says, "I've never seen any of you people before in my life!"
  • The M*A*S*H episode "The Novocaine Mutiny" has Hawkeye court-martialed when Frank Burns accuses him of mutiny. While testifying, Frank speaks (and narrates) his version of events, in which he struggles heroically to treat the wounded while the other surgeons mewl and cower. During the scenes accompanying Frank's narrative, he is shot in soft-focus, gleaming and white while shots of Hawkeye and BJ are dingy and unflattering, and for what may be the only time in the series, there is a Laugh Track in the operating room, giving more evidence (as if the audience were in any doubt) that Frank was telling a self-serving lie.note  Hawkeye gave his version of events (which more or less, falls in line with the way the characters normally act, and the Laugh Track is not present). Since we never see the real event, the suggested conclusion seems to be that Hawkeye's version of events is more or less correct, at least as far as the important points.
    Hawkeye: The major's version of what happened was, to say the least, fascinating. It was, to say the most, perjury! No, to be fair, I have no doubt that he remembers it that way. More's the pity. And there was some truth to the story. It was October 11 and we were in Korea. Other than that...
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Imprint", a single character variety is used — the disfigured prostitute tells different versions of the same tale as Christopher continues to dig deeper for the truth. Subverted at the end when it turns out that Christopher hallucinated all the prostitute's stories and is just insane.
  • An episode of Maude featured a party in which Maude's prized punch bowl was smashed. The next day, Maude demanded to know how it happened. Each character told the story in a different way, but despite the obvious differences, each version was heartily endorsed by the maid, Mrs. Naugatuck, with "And that's the God's honest truth!" It turned out the punch bowl had been smashed by an equally smashed Mrs. Naugatuck.
  • In The Middle episode "Hecks at the Movie" Frankie and Mike have very different accounts on how Mike shut Frankie in the middle of a conversation; in Frankie's account Mike was incredibly rude and everyone felt sorry for her whilst in Mike's account she was interrupting one of their friends telling a story and he was very tender and polite with her, of course the audience see was really happened at the beginning of the episode (unlike most Rashomon stories) which is part of the joke.
  • In My Name Is Earl, one story tells how four main characters tricked each other on some stolen silverware, each "part" told from a different character's view. Interesting in that none of the accounts conflict with each other, only differing in events that the character telling the story couldn't have known about. They form one long storyline with each account following the previous instead.
  • An episode of My Secret Identity involved a bank robbed by a singing man in a gorilla suit. Everyone told their own story to the cops, varying details like the style of music the robber used to announce his intentions, and often playing up their own role. The actual story, involving the protagonist's superpowers, was told at the end by the perp but dismissed as a hallucination.
  • MythQuest: One of the characters, Cleo, enters a Welsh myth as Blodeuwedd, but doesn't know anything about the story. She is accused of killing the king, and the trial features three versions of events, with a common dialogue. What differs mainly is the tone, mood, and timing of the conversation, indicating different motives.
  • Naturally, Sadie: In "Rashomon," Sadie, Margaret, Rain, Ben, and Arden each tell their own version of how the food fight at Acropolis Wow got started. (Some examples: Sadie gives Arden fangs, Rain gives himself a mustache, Margaret claims to have written a self-help book, and Arden gives Ben a French accent and recounts him flirting with her.)
  • After a bank robbery on an episode of NCIS, the cast interviews several bank patrons, all of whom give differing accounts of the number of robbers, their weapons, and their getaway car. The only witness who comes close on the last one is a military man.
  • Season 13 episode 4 "Divided We Fall" of NCIS: Los Angeles involves the team being interviewed by an Office of Naval Intelligence Inspector General after the mission to protect a compromised agent goes south when she ends up dead. They are isolated from each other so that each agent's story together will tell the whole story. The final person to be interviewed is Admiral Kilbride, who tells the interrogator that he shot the compromised agent because she defected, witnessing her walking downstairs with the reported assailants. He never tells the other agents this.
  • On NewsRadio, Catherine Duke decided to leave the station, but nobody was paying attention when she was telling why she decided to leave. The station owner, Jimmy James, wants to know why Catherine left, prompting about five different versions of the story, culminating with Jimmy's impression of what happened, a nonsensical sequence combining elements from each story.
  • Inverted in an episode of NUMB3RS. While reviewing the witness accounts of the crime that led to the death of an actor's brother, they realize that the statements are too consistent: they're almost word-for-word identical when some level of difference would be normal and expected. This leads the agents to believe that the witnesses may have been telling a fabricated story rather than the truth.
  • The Odd Couple (1970) has an episode that describes a party where Oscar and Blanche's marriage went on the rocks: first Oscar tells how Blanche was a drunk and Felix was a meddlesome whiner; then Blanche tells how Oscar was a lecher and Felix was a meddlesome whiner; then Felix tells how he was the life of the party and valiantly tried to save Oscar and Blanche's marriage.
  • Odd Squad: In "Recipe for Disaster", Olive and Otto explain to Ms. O why a case went wrong and created a vortex, each in their own way, and each telling a significantly different version of events. The villain Rainbow Robyn then adds her own version of events, which is probably closer to the truth.
  • Only Fools and Horses: The classic British sitcom features a scene where Del, Rodney, and Grandad are being interviewed at a police station, and each are asked to describe a thief. At the end of the three interviews, the Inspector recounts how, thanks to their testimony, the police are now searching for "a 6’7” dwarf, aged between 15 and 50, white male with oriental features, who’s as black as newgates lockup". The trope is subverted as it later turns out that all 3 of them were lying, and even when Del admits to being the actual culprit it's hard to say whether or not he's telling the truth or lying further just to upset the Inspector.
  • Perfect Strangers had an episode involving an encounter with a thug at a camping lodge. There was a minor subversion in that the first two stories were so over the top, nobody believed them. The police officer then asked if someone could tell him what happened without trying to sound like Indiana Jones. Everyone pointed to Balki.
  • Somewhat used in The Philanthropist. Every episode takes the form of a story being recounted, usually by Rist.
  • Players, "Rashocon". Before SVU, Ice-T was in a 1997 Reformed Criminal, Boxed Crook series about con men using their talents for good. This episode self-consciously used the Rashomon multi-perspective narrative structure to conceal the truth of what was happening until the surprise ending.
  • The episode of Power Rangers S.P.D. "Perspective", features the main five Rangers giving alternate takes on a battle that happened while the satellite transmission from the command center was down and thus Commander Cruger couldn't see what happened. Each of them states that they were the one who truly saved the day, with a running gag of Green Ranger Bridge losing the count of how many Krybots he killed in each version (even in his own). At the end of the episode, the transmission is restored and it's shown what actually happened: they were outnumbered when the main monster called for more Krybots and were saved by a mysterious floating ball of light (that in the next episode is revealed to be the Omega Ranger Sam). Due to budget issues, the various takes of the story use the same fight footage with minimal edits and dialogue changes.
  • Radio Enfer: Budding journalist Vincent tries to figure out who stole a prize envelop during a gala. High-strung Camille, who was in charge of the whole night, sees everyone as moving in slow motion, while Maria's version is similar to a soap opera (complete with love and betrayal). Jean-Lou's version (which nearly breaks Vincent) is a children's TV show and focuses on a cake instead of the prize.
    • Also happens in its English-Canadian adaptation, Radio Active: One student tries to find out what happened to cause a CD to get damaged, and so asks the other students. Each one has a different report on what happened in the room, how everyone acted, and what happened to the CD (one student claims he caught it in his teeth after another threw it at him). The only constant in any of them is one of the students reading a comic book wearing a hat (which changes depending on who's telling it). That student's retelling consists entirely of a shot of a comic book while the voices of the other cast members can be heard babbling incoherently in the background.
  • Creator Greg Garcia's next series, Raising Hope, did a similar episode, where the family recall the story of how Burt was kidnapped. Each person's story isn't so much changing the perspective as adding on facts that only they could've known.
  • RuPaul's Drag Race, the challenge of the season 7 episode “Ru Hollywood Story” involves the queens re-enacting how former series judge Merle Ginsburg left the show following its second season, told from the perspective of Merle, her replacement Michelle and of course Ru.
  • The Sanctuary episode "Folding Man" is entirely an homage to Rashomon.
  • "Judge it Up" from Shake it Up was inspired by this plot, where the main players battle it out in Teen Court, a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Judge Judy. It concerns main characters CeCe and Rocky vs. their rivals on the titular dance show, twins Gunther and Tinka. The setup is that the girls were hired to do a routine at the siblings' cousin Klaus' birthday party, but through some unknown circumstances Gunther and Tinka refused to pay CeCe and Rocky and the cake was ruined.
    • In CeCe and Rocky's version, they perform a highly intricate, professional dance in designer clothes that wows the crowd. The twins, jealous of the duo's talent, refuse to pay them out of spite. When Klaus comes to the girls' defense, Tinka smashes the cake in his face.
    • In Gunther and Tinka's version, CeCe and Rocky arrive late in ugly goth-inspired outfits and perform an extremely short routine where they prance around the stage and scream at the audience before rudely demanding payment. When Klaus complains about the poor quality of the performance, the girls yell at him and begin messily eating his cake with their hands. Disgusted by their behavior, Gunther and Tinka refuse to pay.
    • The truth is revealed when Klaus himself arrives at Teen Court, along with a friend of the four defendants who has the security tape from the day of the party. In it, CeCe and Rocky perform a competent, if not very remarkable, routine. Gunther and Tinka refuse to pay because the dance was not as intricate as the girls made it out to be in the pitch before they were hired. The four begin arguing, causing Klaus to come over with the cake and ask them not to fight. In the process, Tinka accidentally knocks the cake out of his hands, and it lands on the floor.
    • The episode ends with Gunther and Tinka finally paying CeCe and Rocky...but entirely in pennies.
  • The last Small Wonder episode (by production sequence) had Brandon, Harriet, and Jamie telling different versions of a foiled robbery. Although she can no longer talk, Vicki provides the real story when Ted connects her to the hotel TV set.
  • Smallville used this trope in the second season episode "Suspect". Lionel Luthor is shot at the Luthor mansion and the prime suspect is Jonathan Kent. After investigating a lot of people, Clark finds out that Sheriff Ethan did it.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "A Matter of Perspective" was a holodeck-aided version of this trope. Riker has one story; the people who think Riker murdered one of their scientists have another; and Deanna Troi tells Captain Picard that both sides are telling the truth, or rather what they believe is the truth. The actual truth does come out, but only because the holodeck recreates the crime scene almost exactly and is left on "crime scene." Also, all versions of the story have common threads that are consistent between them, and those threads also help lead to the truth. Riker is absolved of the murder, however, exactly what happened between Riker and the scientist's wife is left nebulous. The possibilities left open are her seducing him, him trying to rape her, and them mutually throwing themselves at each other. Sure, we know Riker as a ladies' man, but you never know... Or Riker and the wife simply misunderstood each other due to each perceiving the other's body language through their alien cultural viewpoint.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Living Witness", we see an alien race's holographic simulation of their contact with Voyager seven hundred years ago. A combination of cultural bias and historical distortion results in the crew being portrayed as violent, immoral thugs responsible for slaughtering innocents, including a heroic leader. When they find and reactivate a backup module for The Doctor's program, he is able to add a new perspective and set parts of the story straight. Even his account doesn't answer all of their questions, though. He knows that the crew weren't a bunch of mass-murdering thugs, and that the leaders of the two species weren't as black and white as history claims, but Voyager wasn't involved enough to understand the nuances of the conflict or pass judgment on those involved.
  • The Star Trek: Enterprise Courtroom Episode "Judgement" features this with Archer in a Klingon Kangaroo Court. The Klingon captain, Duras, claims that Archer formed an alliance with anti-imperial rebels and launched an unprovoked attack on his battlecruiser. Archer, on the other hand, says that the "rebels" had been exploited and abandoned and were starving when he found them and that Duras attacked him when he tried to settle things peacefully. As convincing as Archer sounds, he's still found guilty.
  • Strong Medicine features another version where we never see the incident in question when Lu and her accused rapist testify before the grand jury. She describes them having a nice evening at a reception to celebrate his appointment as Chief of Surgery (they're both doctors at the same hospital), him offering her a ride home when her car broke down, escorting her to her apartment, kissing her, then refusing to stop even though she repeatedly told him "no". In his version, it's she who kissed him and he insists that she said "no" and "stop" in a playful, flirtatious manner, indicating that she really meant yes. (It's unclear if he's lying or sincerely believes what he's saying).
  • Supernatural had an episode, "Tall Tales" where in Dean's version of events, Sam is much more effeminate, whiny, and much more deserving of his "Captain Empathy" nickname and in Sam's version of events, Dean's sluttiness, massive appetite, and stupidity are all exaggerated.
    Sam (from Dean): Dean, this is a very serious investigation. We don't have time for any of your blablablablah. Blablablablah? Blah, blablablablah. Blah, blablablablablabla. (pause) Blaahh?
    Real Sam: Right. And that's how it really happened. I don't sound like that, Dean!
    Dean: That's what you sound like to me.
Later on, from Dean's POV...
Sam: But I want you to know... I'm here for you. (pause) You brave little soldier. I acknowledge your pain. Come here. (hugs him) You're too precious for this world!
Real Sam: I never said that!
  • Switched at Birth: Whether Bay kissed Tank, or Tank Bay, is told by their two opposing stories, with no agreement.
  • ABC Afterschool Special: Teenage Confidential; Two parents notice their kid's rebellion. The dad (Sam McMurray) sees himself as the noble, concerned parent who thinks the incense at the bottom of his daughter's drawer might indicate marijuana use. The more easygoing mom (Morgan Fairchild) remembers him as a paranoid lunatic screeching about "reefer!" who took the incense as ironclad proof.
  • That '70s Show:
    • This happens when Jackie and Hyde explain how they got together. In Jackie's version, Hyde had been a perfect gentleman, and even called her "my lady." In Hyde's version, Jackie simply shows up in the basement and tells him "I want you". In the end, Donna wonders out loud "how the hell all this happened", which is followed by a depiction of what really happened. The two had been watching TV together when they started talking and realized that they were both bored and which point they then proceeded to jump each other.
    • In "Backstage Pass", Red and Kitty argue about how they first met. The only thing they both remember was meeting at a USO ball. In Red's version, he heroically punched out a Marine who was trying to have his way with her. In Kitty's version, she bumped into him while he and a fellow sailor were mooning everyone else. With the awkward implication that Kitty's version was the "right" one, they decide to go with Red's version should Eric ever ask them about that.
  • In the That's So Raven episode "The Lying Game," Raven student-teaches Cory's class for Career Day; at the beginning of the episode, we see that Raven has a juice stain on her shirt, Cory had thrown candy on the ground, Cory's sleeve is ripped, and a painting of the teacher happened to have Raven's head through it, causing the teacher to faint. In Raven's story, she's an absolutely perfect, kind, calm person while Cory is a horrible delinquent who throws candy, purposely sprays juice on Raven's shirt, pulls away from Raven as she hugs him, ripping his shirt, and ends up smashing the portrait over Raven's head out of malice. In Cory's version, Raven's an evil monstrosity while he's a perfect angel, and everything he did was in self-defense or Raven attacking him. Larry comes in and tells the real truth: a trophy falls onto the juice and stains Raven's shirt, Larry opens the bag of marshmallows badly and it explodes, Cory's shirt gets snagged on a hook, and Raven slips, causing the portrait to fall and Cory catches it. When Raven stands up, her head goes right through the picture.
  • In an episode of thirtysomething Elliot and Nancy had an argument after visiting Michael and Hope. During the visit, Nancy, who had been a cheerleader in high school, was asked to perform an old routine. When analyzing the argument later, in Elliot's flashback, Nancy was being blatantly sexual toward Michael while performing the cheer. In Nancy's flashback, when Elliot led her by the arm toward the door, he was brutally grabbing her, twisting her arm. Neither of those things had actually happened during the original scene.
  • Thunder Alley: Gil and his daughter argue over who owns some rare baseball cards. Their respective flashbacks to when Gil supposedly gave them to her contradict each other.
  • The Tony Randall Show had Randall's character and his employees sharing their self-serving memories of what happened on his first day as a judge.
  • This happens in the Ugly Betty episode, "Crimes of Fashion" where Betty interrogates Christina, Amanda, Marc, Claire, and then Alexis in order to find out which one of them pushed Christina down a staircase. Each suspect supplies a piece of the story which helps Betty build up to the final conclusion that it had to have been Daniel however, later on, Betty discovers it was really Alexis who had done it, which also explained her noticeably vague and shorter story.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • The episode "A Trip to The Dentist," the penultimate episode of the season, was about Veronica hearing differing accounts of the party where she was date-raped.
    • Likewise the episode "An Echolls Family Christmas," in which Veronica gets a different perspective on the events of a poker game from all the participants.
  • On Victorious after Trina's harness is cut in "Who Did It To Trina", the cast are questioned about their motives for doing it. Jade claims that she witnessed a furious screaming Tori angrily swear revenge on Trina, Tori claims that she saw a snarling monstrous Jade scream at Trina after Trina spilled her coffee on her, Robbie claims that Cat had sworn revenge after Trina pulled him away to make out in the dressing room, and Cat describes an episode of Drake & Josh. note  Andre, who just wants to go to meet up with a girl he’d met, lampshades the increasing absurdity and pointlessness of the questioning. In the end, the culprit is revealed to be Rex, who cut the wire as payback for Trina punching him, and Robbie had to cover for him.
  • The kids' series Wimzie's House uses this to teach kids that no one can remember something exactly as it was, as people tend to have bias or remember facts wrong, especially if it's over something like "whose fault it is".
  • The Wayans Bros.: In the episode "Fire!", Shawn's newsstand burns and everyone is a suspect. Each character accuses someone else and tells the police what they think happened. Hilarity Ensues as all the stories are so over the top, especially Marlon's. He accuses Shawn, but his entire story is about him having sex with multiple women at the same time. In the end, it turns out that no one is to blame because the fire was caused by faulty wiring.
  • Wynonna Earp: Wynonna and the immortal Doc Holiday visit the Wyatt Earp museum and see a film interview of an elderly Wyatt. He talks about his life and about his friendship with Doc Holiday. When talking about the Fight at the OK Corral, he mentions that Doc was the one who fired the first shot and started the fight. Doc is insulted by this statement since it is an element of pride for him that on that day he was acting as a lawman and only fired after being fired upon. Wynonna lampshades the fact that people's recollections change over time and over the years they start to remember things differently than they really happened. However, she never says which version of events she actually believes. As Wyatt's descendant, she does not have a good opinion of her ancestor but she also knows that Doc has a tendency to Shoot the Dog.
  • Also used in The X-Files, usually as the basis for a comedic episode.
    • In season 3 episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space", a famous author attempts to find out the truth behind an alien abduction by interviewing the abductees, witnesses, and FBI agents on the scene. Notable in that the story somehow gets more confusing with each successive version of the story, and every detail added not only fails to clarify anything but actually manages to make things even less clear, and by the end of it all that's been established is that absolutely nobody involved has even the faintest idea what actually happened, up to and including the audience... and it's beautiful.
    • Likewise, in the season 5 episode "Bad Blood", Mulder and Scully have to corroborate their stories on what to tell Skinner about why a guy who most certainly wasn't a vampire (but turned out to be anyway) got staked through the heart — by Mulder. And we get an inside view of how both Mulder and Scully see each other, which is generally comically different than how we normally see them.
  • You Me Her: Izzy, Jack and Emma recount their breakup later in Season 5 this way quite humorously at first before the real event is related, with comically exaggerated initial versions.

  • Adventures in Odyssey
    • "Two Sides to Every Story", where Jimmy and Donna Barclay tell two different stories of how they ended up with a fire truck in front of their house.
    • One of the live episodes, "Mandy's Debut", has its first segment dedicated to one of these plots, where Mandy, Connie, Eugene, and Bernard all recount why they think they caused Whit to have to go to the hospital. note  This leads to humorous moments such as Eugene's account of the story having everybody speaking in his signature Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness style.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dark Angel Chapter's history in Warhammer 40,000 has two distinctly different perspectives.
    • From the Loyalists' point of view, the Fallen betrayed their Primarch Lion El'Johnson, and the Emperor, by staging a Traitor rebellion on their home planet while Loyalists were away fighting in the Horus Heresy. Having come home, El'Johnson was furious at seeing his planet seized from him, by his own forces no less, and bombed them into submission before a freak warp storm sparked into existence (probably sent from the Traitor's daemonic masters), and destroyed the besieged planet and whisked the surviving away.
    • In the other version, some of the Fallen claim that they uncovered evidence that their Primarch wasn't as loyal to the Emperor as he appeared, and was deliberately holding back his forces to join the winning the side. The Fallen were then subsequently attacked and nearly exterminated in order to keep them quiet. The freak warp storm rose up, perhaps by chance or divine intervention, and saved the lives of the true loyalists.
    • The novel Fallen Anges just makes things even more confusing. The soon-to-be-Fallen uncover a Chaotic conspiracy that has nothing to do with Lion El'Johnson. At the very end of the novel we get the Cult's view of events: they were intending to seal away the daemons, not summon them, and they may or may not be caught in the middle of a Frame-Up. After the cult's defeat, the planet of Caliban declares their independence from both the Imperium and El'Johnson, with a huge multitude of possible reasons as to why.
    • As a matter of fact, this could apply to 40K's fluff as a whole, with all of it being written by the various factions (and allowing any continuity errors to be explained away as propaganda).
  • The scenario The Star Chamber for Delta Green is even called "Rashomon with anti-gods and automatic weapons." on the opening. The scenario has the PCs interviewing a cast of characters, survivors from a failed operation, and switching to play as them in the flashbacks, the players must find out who was at fault for the operation going terribly wrong.

  • Hamilton effectively utilizes this with Eliza and Angelica's respective back-to-back solos "Helpless" and "Satisfied." First Eliza describes meeting Alexander and their entire courtship leading up to their wedding. As Eliza's sister Angelica provides a wedding toast, the stage "rewinds" and we witness the same time period from Angelica's point of view, giving new insight to nearly every moment in Eliza's song.
  • Used in The Master Builder. Ten years before the play takes place, Solness (the title character) finished building a church tower in Hilde Wangel's hometown. After its dedication ceremony, something happened between them. Hilde says Solness basically made out with her; Solness says he doesn't remember anything like that happening. He later agrees that it happened, but it's not clear if it really happened, or if he's just agreeing because she's a Yandere.
  • Used in The Merchant of Venice to play with the Greedy Jew trope. Launcelot, Shylock's servant, complains to his father that he's so starved in Shylock's service that his ribs are visible. However, Launcelot just spent the whole scene practicing deceptions on his father's blindness—which means that nothing he says about his appearance can really be trusted. (This is open to interpretation since actors of all sizes have played Launcelot over the years—but even if he is skinny, you could chalk that up to a high metabolism.) The way Shylock tells it, Launcelot is a "huge feeder" who was eating him out of house and home. Of course, Shylock is a miser, so he can't really be trusted either. And so it goes... Bear in mind that it is likely that Shakespeare himself cast William Kempe in the role, who, shall we say, was not thin (he probably also played Falstaff); of course, which actor played which part in the original productions of Shakespeare's plays is not known for certain.
  • Noises Off is a variation on this. First we see them performing ''Nothing On'' during rehearsal. Then we see the play again from backstage as everything starts to fall apart between the actors. Finally we see Nothing On on its final day as the burnt-out performers start to forget the lines and blocking until the whole thing descends into chaos.
  • The Norman Conquests is similar — three separate plays (on three separate nights) about the same party, each set in a different place in the house.
  • An independent theatre piece called The Wedding Pool. Various scenes are reenacted a couple of times, often with only minor variations in what's actually said and done, but with radically altered pacing and tone of voice.
  • Jersey Boys features a rotating POV between the members of the Four Seasons and this occurs as a result. A few examples:
    • Tommy's narration implies he plucked Bob out of obscurity until Bob takes over as narrator and reveals that he already had a hit single with another band ("Short Shorts" by The Royal Teens).
    • Bob makes it appear that everything with the band was smooth sailing until Tommy's gambling debt was revealed. Once Nick takes over, it's shown that there were actually several incidents that created tension between the members and that one was just the straw that broke the camel's back.
  • See What I Wanna See has this as its first act. After a man is murdered in Central Park, a thief, the man’s wife, and a medium claiming to channel the husband’s spirit all recount what happened that night. Notably, this is based after In A Grove, the same story Rashomon was inspired by.

  • One of the most significant examples of this trope are The Four Gospels of the New Testament.

    • The oldest canonical Gospel, Mark, is quite short. This comes across even in Jesus's genealogy in Mark 1:1 which most people read past, where Jesus Christ is named "the Son of God." It is mostly written in simple language like an action script. It is directed towards a more matter-of-fact people, the occupying Romans. Mark's Gospel tells readers what Jesus did. It is themed around the Messiah's servanthood, a fulfillment of the Ox of Ephraim's standard in the Camp of Moses (the suffering servant).

    • The Gospel of Luke's main audience is to the Greek gentile (he himself a gentile believer), thus he begins his genealogy at Adam the common ancestor of all humanity. He tells the story of Jesus as the Son of Man (Seed of the Woman; the Kinsman Redeemer) and is therefore representative of Ruben's standard, a man. His Gospel tells us what Jesus felt, which was of great importance to the stoic and epicurean Greek philosophers.

    • Matthew's Gospel, as a Levite, is directed towards the Jewish audience telling of Jesus's royal pedigree from David and showcasing His fulfillment of prophecy in Scripture in regards to the promised Messiah. Therefore telling the story of the King (Judah's standard being a lion, which as we all know is the King of Beasts). Matthew focuses on what Jesus represents and fulfills in the Torah and Tanakh, and also tells us what Jesus said (as Matthew's Gospel has the most public discourses).

    • The Gospel of John is shorter than both Luke and Matthew, with a noticeably different structure and content than the synoptics, in addition to being much more spiritual and enigmatic in its tone, and even esoteric at times. It is representative of the final standard in the camp of Moses, Dan the serpent (Jesus made sin) which later in Dan's history became an eagle with a serpent in its mouth (man's sin paid for/God overcoming the serpent), to finally just an Eagle (the absence of sin) late in Dan's history. John's Gospel, which scholars believe to be written last, is to those waiting for the Messiah's return. It tells its readers who Jesus was/is/will always be, with Jesus making seven "I am" (the name God gives Moses when Moses asked what His name is) statements throughout, performs seven miracles, seven discourses, even down to the heptadic structure of the words and letters themselves. Mathematicians such as Harvard University's Ivan Panin recorded over 43,000 pages of mathematical discoveries in the Hebrew and Greek text of the Old and New Testament which he believed to be evidence of the Holy Spirit as the author, and as a result converted.

    • Luke and Matthew's Gospels tell more-or-less the same story as Mark, but they are also directed towards different audiences, so they expand it with numerous other events, characters, motives, and entire new subplots (i.e. the story of Jesus's miraculous birth, the Sermon on the Mount, the Doubting Thomas, etc.); hence why these three Gospels are known as the synoptic (Greek for "see-the-same") Gospels. However, there are seeming contradictions between the original parts of Matthew and Luke, most notably the genealogy of Christ being different. This however is reconciled when discovering that there is a case of Tangled Family Tree and Spare to the Throne. Matthew's genealogy is that of Joseph the husband of Mary from King Solomon, thereby preserving the royal line of succession from King David to Jesus, Joseph's adopted son. Whereas the genealogy in Luke's Gospel is Mary's through King David and Bathsheeba's second son Nathan, Solomon's younger brother. This averts the blood curse placed on the royal line of Judah through Solomon's line in Jeremiah 22:30, where the God of Israel curses Coniah and his seed in perpetuity. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus "is supposed" (nomizo/by the law) the son of Joseph, so too Joseph is "reckoned by the law" the son of Heli/Eli, Heli/Eli being the father of Mary, to which even ancient Rabbinic Jews agree by mention of Mary the daughter of Eli in their writings.

    Video Games 
  • The Firing Squad of the Agents of Mayhem each give Persephone various accounts of what happened during a mission to retrieve a weapon from LEGION:
    • Oni explains the details in a storyteller-like manner, going so far as to give colorful names to various LEGION troops (i.e: Ivory Eagle, Serpent Devils, etc.), which Persephone quips that it has "the flavor of a third-rate martial arts movie." She asks about the weapon they were sent to retrieve, and Oni said there was no weapon.
    • Kingpin's account is more ridiculous than the one above: once entering the lair, he tells Persephone they went in guns blazing, then going through hallways and into a room with ten robots... which he then changes to two when Persephone presses him on the matter but described them as if they were "juicin'." Persephone asks him about the weapon, Kingpin tells her the robots were the weapon, but they had to destroy them.
    • Persephone calls in Scheherazade, expecting a more realistic recall of the mission. Scheherazade tells her that the squad entered the lair with absolute stealth, while in-game, Oni informs the squad they had tripped a silent alarm, prompting Kingpin to ask him how he could know about it. Scheherazade continues on about them becoming "one with the darkness", even though there was a lot of shooting involved. After said shooting, they find what they were meant to retrieve in a box... which was empty, much to Persephone's chagrin. Scheherazade explains that the weapon is safe in her possession, adding that she had developed an "emotional attachment" to it. Persephone tells her that she trusts her judgement and warns her not to make her regret it.
    • In the end, it's revealed that the weapon (if it can even be called that), is a chinchilla that Oni and Kingpin are playing with. Scheherazade insists that they be discreet about it as Persephone is "a complete despot about her no-pets policy."
  • Call of Juarez: Gunslinger The tale of how the Dalton brothers met their fate in Coffeyville is told three different ways by three different characters; Ben (a Coffeyville native), Dwight (who has read about the event), and Silas (who may or may not have been part of the posse tracking the Daltons). About the only thing they can agree on is that the Daltons robbed banks in Coffeyville on a certain day.
  • Invoked in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3, where each Cast Herd get information from similar sources that directly conflicts with each other. The Big Bad was intentionally doing this, to forces all the characters to realize they need to stop fighting each other and realize they have to work together against whoever's behind the false information in order to get home.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series, the creation mythology, pantheons of deities, the story of the creation/formation of mortal life, and even many aspects of history itself vary significantly between different cultures. Each has a number of consistent elements but offers many contradictory details as well. In the series' famous Mind Screw fashion, these tend to be treated as All Myths Are True, regardless of the conflicts and contradictions, or at least that all are Metaphorically True. (The number of Time Crashes and Cosmic Retcons also plays heavily into this trope, at several points merging two contradictory timelines to make them both true.)
      • Clap Your Hands If You Believe is a key part of the series’s cosmology, as the existence of various deities is at least somewhat reliant on enough people believing in them. This allows contradictory interpretations of the same figure to simultaneously exist due to various religions believing different versions.
    • In Morrowind, the details of the Battle of Red Mountain and it's aftermath (the disappearance of the Dwemer, the death of Lord Nerevar, the ascension of the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur as Physical Gods, and the transformation of the Chimer people into the modern Dunmer) are recounted differently by each of the surviving parties — Dagoth Ur, Azura, the Tribunal Temple (which worships Vivec), Vivec (offering a different account than the Temple's version), the Ashlanders and the Dissident Priests. The Dissident Priests alone have several differing accounts — that is, one of the things they criticize the Temple for is being so sensitive about different accounts of the events at Red Mountain, so they've taken it upon themselves to gather as many different accounts as they can. They don't make any claim to know which account is true, though they phrase things in a way that make clear that they find something off about the Temple's story. Ultimately, even upon completing the main quest, you are never told what actually happened at that time. However, by speaking to all of those involved and doing your own research with in-game documents and books, you can at least rule a few of the options out.

  • Escape Velocity: Nova has an interesting method of this. By the time the player arrives on the scene, a good amount of the story has already happened, and the only way to learn all of it is to play every faction's storyline... But since you can only play one faction per playthrough, the only way to learn the full story is through Alternate Universes where the player chose different paths, resulting in wildly different outcomes and effectively making the player have different accounts of the backstory. Throwing a spanner into it is the fact that not all facts learned during a storyline applies to all the other storylines.
    • Override (Nova's predecessor in the series) has a more standard version — though in a twist it isn't apparent in the game itself, and it took Word of God to reveal it. Several of the storylines are mutually exclusive to do, but all of them happened (it just wasn't the same human that was involved in all of them, obviously).
  • An example comes in several endings of Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: Chonshu's ending has him voluntarily enter Kim Kaphwan's Taekwondo school, with Chonrei staying behind with Tung Fu Rue as shown in both his and Tung's endings. In Kim's own ending, both Chonshu and Chonrei join the school.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Per Word of God, the Nibelheim Incident is portrayed differently in various pieces of spin-off media because each one represents a different person's interpretation of the events. The original FFVII shows Cloud Strife's perspective, the Prequel game Crisis Core is Zack Fair's perspective, and the anime Last Order and mobile game Before Crisis is how the Turks believe it went down. While they all get the basic facts correct (Sephiroth finds out about JENOVA, burns Nibelheim to the ground, attacks Tifa, and finally goes into the Lifestream; some time later, Zack dies fighting off Shinra's forces), lines are changed and interpretations vary greatly. FFVII depicts the death of Zack himself as they're getting ambushed and gunned down by three Mooks; Crisis Core makes it an epic battle against practically the entire Shinra army, with the three Mooks being the ones left standing when Zack ran out of steam. Likewise, Last Order shows Sephiroth willingly jumping into the Lifestream rather than getting thrown in by Cloud because the Turks weren't actually present and that's how they assume it went down.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has shades of this with its multiple story paths, but it's ultimately a subversion. Information about the setting's backstory varies wildly depending on which route you're playing. However, adding up all three routes together reveals the same events happened the same way. Any inconsistencies result from characters not having the full story themselves, Metaphorically True, Self-Serving Memory, or plain having a vested interest in distorting events.
  • A particularly mind-screwy example is Jacket and Biker's fight in Hotline Miami, where both of them believe they won and killed the other. At the end of the "Neighbors" mission, Jacket encounters Biker, who tells the protagonist that he's "dead meat", initiating a boss fight. Like with every other enemy he's ever encountered, Jacket violently kills him. After Jacket's story concludes, we rewind back time get to play as Biker and see his side of the story. When the two meet this time around, Biker actually gives Jacket a chance to leave (to which the latter doesn't respond, as usual) and Jacket is dispatched rather easily instead of a boss fight occurring. The game's general ambiguity and Jigsaw Puzzle Plot lead to a number of different interpretations, such as the version of events where Biker wins the fight being its own alternate timeline.
  • This happens in Knights of the Old Republic whenever anyone talks about Darth Revan, and even moreso in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords with Kreia, who has her own agenda, and is an extremely Unreliable Narrator. The first game has you solve a murder mystery that plays out like this.
  • The Locksmith's and The Pickpocket's stories amount to this in Monaco. Both explain the same events that occurred over the course of the game (that is, the events you're playing), but each has considerable conflicts in the other's story, something Inspector Voltaire tries to press The Pickpocket on during interrogation. Made worse by The Lookout's prologues; while her stories take place before The Locksmith's and The Pickpocket's story, they still have unresolved discrepancies, most important of which being how she claims The Cleaner is still on the loose when the end of the Pickpocket's story shows he (as The Hacker) was captured with the rest of the crew.
  • One occurrence happens in Neverwinter Nights during the judge quest in Charwood. You are asked to find out what really happened that fateful night the children were murdered. Both lords, Jhareg and Kharlat, will tell slanted accounts of the event absolving themselves of the crime and blaming the other fully unless you have found their respective diary, which lets you force them into telling the truth, that they were guilty in part of the crime. However, to find the real truth, you must force a confession from the demon who manipulated them both.
  • Odin Sphere toys with this. The game has five separate main characters who interact at various points throughout the game. That said, the game's presentation of events does not change with a different character, but in learning their story you often discover reasons for seemingly inexplicable actions.
  • Arle and Schezo's scenarios in Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary have shades of this coupled with a pinch of Broad Strokes. It's quite clear that the overall tale is the same due to many recurring elements (Dark Prince's storm, Rulue as the penultimate boss, Ecolo being slightly involved), but the individual narratives aren't (for example, did Arle meet up with Schezo in his cave, or did Schezo find Arle after following Carbuncle?). Rulue also borrows some elements from both stories for her own, but hers is definitely not canon as she doesn't force Dark Prince to get rid of the storm.
  • In Resident Evil 2, the player can experience the first half of the story from one of the two main characters' perspectives and then play through the other character's account of the same events.
  • In Rift, it's difficult to say whether the Blood Storm got into Telara because the Vigil fucked up (as the Defiant would like you to believe), or if people should have known better than to mess around with magitek (as the Guardians would claim). To further confuse matters, each side's starting experience has the other just generally getting in the way out of sheer cussedness and brainlessness.
  • Shovel Knight became this after the first DLC campaign was released. While Shovel Knight's own story is a straightforward heroic journey to defeat the Order of No Quarter and the Enchantress, Plague of Shadows features Plague Knight, a hyperactive and slightly psychotic alchemist and former Knight of the Order of No Quarter, on his own quest to craft the Ultimate Potion to become the most powerful alchemist in the land. Or maybe not?.. This story runs more-or-less parallel with Shovel Knight's story, and even changes a little bit to reflect on Plague Knight's own perspective; for example, Shovel Knight is shown to be more of a Jerkass to the Knights than in his own campaign, though this is speculated to be because Plague Knight has Jerkass tendencies himself, and so sees Shovel Knights actions as unheroic as he himself is. It also reveals certain unexplained parts of the main game as the results of Plague Knight's doing.
    • One hint that Plague Knight might not be telling the whole truth about what happened lies in his fight against Shovel Knight—who's using relics he could not have had at that point in the course of normal gameplay (but would have had during the rematch, which is where Plague Knight might have remembered them from). Word of God is that Plague Knight is an Unreliable Narrator during the events of Plague of Shadows.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Adventure:
      • This game uses a downplayed version. It has six different main storylines which intersect every so often, and at every intersection point, the dialogue is slightly different between the versions used in each character's story. In some cases, this reflects the point of view of the characters: for example, Dr. Eggman is a card-carrying Large Ham in Sonic's story, but in Tails's story, he's significantly more threatening and subdued.
      • Usually, the events and outcomes remain the same, but sometimes they'll play out slightly differently to reflect the character you're playing as. A good example is the battle against E-102 Gamma. In Sonic and Tails's storylines, the character you're playing as is about to beat Gamma, but Amy steps in to stop him. In Gamma's storyline, Gamma is about to beat Sonic, but Amy stops him instead. Amy's storyline goes with Sonic's interpretation of events, but with Gamma still holding ground beforehand.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, it's debatable who won the character-on-character boss fights. Most of the cutscenes treat them as stalemates anyway, with two important exceptions being the final battles between Eggman and Tails and Sonic and Shadow. The endings of the Dark and Hero pathways contradict each other as a result, but both of them plausibly set up the Last Story.
      • In the Hero storyline, Tails defeats Eggman in revenge for Sonic's apparent death, while Sonic sends Shadow off to lick his wounds. Eggman still manages to sneak away with the last Chaos Emerald and place it into the cannon's console off-screen, but Sonic destroys the cannon before it can fire. Success! Right?
      • In the Dark storyline, Eggman defeats Tails, Shadow prevents Sonic from reaching the Eclipse Cannon, and Eggman's plan goes off without a hitch! So what's with the siren?
    • With Sonic Heroes using the simple storytelling style similar to the classic games, it's difficult to determine which team encountered Eggman (Metal Sonic in disguise) and defeated him in the three boss fights and which team won the team battles. Despite this, Metal Sonic still copied the Chaos data of Froggy and Chocola in Team Rose's ending and copied Shadow's data in the middle of Team Dark's story while the Chaotix learn that the real Eggman was locked up in a room by Metal Sonic.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) tries to stick to a straight Once More, with Clarity style of storytelling, but whenever two of the playable characters' stories intersect, things get fuzzy. Notably, both Sonic and Shadow confront Silver, but whoever's being controlled by the player has to win before the story can advance (averting Hopeless Boss Fight). And when Sonic and Shadow encounter Iblis, whichever one you're playing as does the fighting while the other stays in the background.
  • Suikoden III has the "Trinity Sight System," which allows you to play through the game's first three chapters from the perspectives of three different protagonists with many events being seen from completely different perspectives.
  • In Super Robot Wars Z, there's an interesting example. After Mission 25 (mostly involved in the plot of Getter G, including a Duel Boss fight with Mecha Tekkouki Oni, and some Aquarion plot, the group splits in three. One group consists firmly of Roger Smith, R. Dorothy Wainright, and Norman. One group decides to strike on their own (this being the cast of Overman King Gainer, Combat Mecha Xabungle, After War Gundam X, Getter Robo G, Genesis of Aquarion, Eureka Seven, Space Warrior Baldios, and Super Dimension Century Orguss), while the other joins ZAFT (this group consisting of the Minerva crew of SEED Destiny, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Zambot 3, ∀ Gundam, Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, God Sigma, and Gravion) Roger's small party meets up with the "striking out on their own" group eventually, and Duke Fleed eventually does as well. You actually have no choice as to which group you go with — if you chose Rand at the start, you get the "strike out on your own" group, while Setsuko gets the "join ZAFT" route. There's even a route split inside that split!
    • What makes it an example - as well as interesting - is that soon after you split you start getting odd accounts of the other side being needlessly violent - killing, destroying, and generally being evil. In Mission 39, both sides collide into one massive fight, the aftermath of which having your team realize that BOTH accounts they heard were false - they were both being manipulated into fighting the other (Incidentally, the main reason they realize this is due to timely intervention of Banjo Haran, who managed to not only save both teams from destroying each other but also freed Orson from his somewhat-captivity. Upon realizing they were tricked, the teams come together and enter the third arc - a massive Rage Against the Heavens/Roaring Rampage of Revenge on everyone who tricked them, as well as the villains to the galaxy.
  • Tales from the Borderlands is told in this way, with the protagonists Rhys and Fiona often adding hilarious "embellishments" to their side of the story.
    Fiona: ...We calmly discussed an alliance.
    (Cue scene of stuffy British cordiality)
    Rhys: Really? That's what you're going with? 'Cause I remember that a bit differently.
    (Cue Sasha trying to boot Rhys out the door of the party RV)
  • A gameplay mechanic in Tell Me Why; Tyler and Alyson can manifest visual depictions of their differing memories, and they must choose which one they want to place more trust in.
  • Touhou Project
    • In the shooting games each playable character set out to solve the incident by themselves, with other characters nowhere to be seen. Which character's route is canon and which ending they get are usually left ambiguous.
    • This is particularly egregious in Imperishable Night, where, presumably, nearly the same events have to happen at least twice in a row for the True Final Boss to be truly defeated (since you have to play one game being diverted and fight the regular Final Boss first).
    • Scarlet Weather Rhapsody is built around this, where playing different characters is not mutually exclusive plotlines, but apparently sequential plots that merely repeat similar battles over and over. It is because Tenshi seemingly goes out of her way to repeatedly get defeated in No Holds Barred Beatdowns. The timeline for Scarlet Weather Rhapsody shows that all routes, fights and endings happen together.
  • One of the more hilarious quest lines to come out of World of Warcraft's Cataclysm expansion is "The Day That Deathwing Came," concerning the dragon's attack on the Badlands. After asking some NPCs about it, you play through three reenactments of their stories: a dwarf claims that he punched his way through a rain of burning boulders to sock Deathwing right in the face, but a gnome interrupts and describes how he used a device to make himself big enough to snatch the dragon out of the sky and hurl him all the way to Kalimdor. And then an orc explains that he was showing off his motorcycle to a bunch of lovely ladies (and a blood elf male) when the dragon arrived, so he rode his flying motorbike to the top of a mesa to duel Deathwing in a knife fight, at which point the other characters interrupt and it all dissolves into chaos.

    Visual Novels 
  • Akai Ito: The event that led to the unsealing of Nushi did happen, but the main characters desperately want it to be forgotten, mainly out of concern for Kei's sanity. Each of them tries to spin a convenient explanation when Kei asks them, but ultimately Kei must confront the truth that only she knows. Kei's Freak Out makes Lifestream-poisoned Cloud Strife looks coherent.
  • The 1995 game Eve Burst Error may have been the first video game to use such a trope. The player can switch at any time between two different characters providing different perspectives of the same events.
  • Ever17 has two protagonists, The Kid and Takeshi. Each one appears highly competent in their own route while the other is a scared kid or a Butt-Monkey. There are also some subtle differences in the way events happen and are perceived. Or so it seems. They're actually narrating two entirely different stories, and the protagonists of each route aren't whom they appear to be in the other's route.
  • Fate/stay night has a bit of an interesting take on this trope. Due to the Second Magic and the way the Nasuverse works in general, ALL endings, even the ones that aren't in the game, are canon.
  • The manga-only Beyond Midnight Arc of Higurashi: When They Cry, which is directly inspired by Rashomon.
  • The Sound Novel games Machi (1998) and 428: Shibuya Scramble (2008) do something similar, but with larger casts of characters.
  • Ace Attorney bases itself off this trope. In a series of games where you need to make sure your client isn't found guilty, and find a substitute killer/kidnapper/thief/etc., you find that your client's testimony is very different from that of any witness or supposition by the prosecutor.
  • Most of Umineko: When They Cry is this. The only events that we know for sure actually happened are those that piece Battler or Erika witness from a first-person narrative perspective.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: The Strong Bad Email "couch patch" asks where the patch on the couch in Strong Bad's basement came from. Strong Bad and several other characters then relate widely divergent versions of what happened.
    • Strong Bad claims he cut the hole in the couch to hide his "Aztec gold", but had to close it up again when he unleashed "a stench of biblical proportions".
    • Strong Sad claims that the patch covers up graffiti from when Strong Bad was a kid and had a crush on Olympic runner Carl Lewis, who he assumed was a woman for some reason.
    • Homestar... forgets what everyone else was talking about, and talks about spitting Teddy Grahams on the ceiling before Strong Bad points out that the patch is already visible in the flashback. (He thought the subject of the email was "Teddy Graham Memories".)
    • Finally, an "anonymous" figure (who is clearly Coach Z with a digitally altered voice) claims the patch covers up a hole in the couch which he puked into after eating some bad gumbo Strong Bad made.
  • In the Camp Camp episode "Operation Charlie Tango Foxtrot", the residents of Camp Campbell find the Wood Scouts tied to a flagpole, and Davids asks them how they got up there. Each Wood Scout tells a part of the story:
  • In the OverSimplified video on the Pig War, Charles Griffin and Lyman Cutler have different perspectives on how the Pig War started when General Winfield Scott asked them about what happened. In Griffin's view, the pig had fled Lyman's property by the time he'd shot it, offered Lyman three wishes if he spared his life. In Lyman's view, the pig was dressed up like a gangster and actively threatening to eat Lyman's potatoes before killing Lyman.
  • Jack Rackam's Halloween special on Elizabeth Bathory is done in this style, and takes place in a court room with Elizabeth on trial for her alleged crimes. The story is told from the perspectives of three different characters:
    • Holy Roman Emperor Matthias takes the stand first, and characterises Elizabeth as a sadistic, bloodthirsty witch who intentionally lured virgin women to their dooms at her castle and bathed in their blood to restore her youth.
    • Elizabeth then takes the stand in her own defense, presenting herself as a good and noble woman who was a victim of unfortunate circumstance and slander and tried desperately to provide for her family and servants in the wake of her husband's death.
    • Finally, the story is retold from the perspective of Elizabeth's friend George Thurzo, who is tormented by the circumstances of the crimes, his decision to send four of Elizabeth's servants to the fire to protect his friend's reputation, and Elizabeth's suspicious refusal to deny the rumours about her.

  • In Blip, this is deliberately invoked (and lampshaded) by Liz, regarding the original falling out between K and Mary. Hester conjures up a replay of the event, but she was only there for the very end. Liz gives a deliberately exaggerated version, goading Mary into setting the record straight. As Mary's a cyborg, her memory is accepted as the definitive version of what happened—and Liz is hoping that an objective review of these memories will convince Mary that she wasn't completely blameless. Funnily enough, there are some details that are consistent throughout, such as K's use of Country Matters.
  • Darths & Droids:
  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, when Dan and Regina start telling other people the details of how they ended up hating each other, there are a few moments of this, namely with regards to meeting Wildy's mom, the former describing her having a more negative reaction to Regina than Regina herself.
  • Exiern has a sequence where the characters are visiting Tiffany's former village, and Peonie, Denver, and Niels hear three conflicting accounts from the villagers on who killed her parents and the reason for her exile. None of them are correct or actually lying about what they saw, but make assumptions based on their limited information, and Tiffany herself later explains what really happened.
  • The Heroes Of Middlecenter begins with the four main characters each showing their very different memories of the events leading to their first meeting.
  • Discussed and used in a strip of Joe Loves Crappy Movies. Ironically, it was used to describe the premise of Vantage Point, which wasn't a true example: the movie has several P.O.V.s but these are completely objective and merely follow certain characters. Similarly, the demonstration the comic itself uses isn't an example either, but also rotating POVs that don't conflict with each other.
  • Every storyline in Khaos Komix (except, of course, the first) starts with a side character recapping the events so far, which become the beginning of his or her own plot. The events and timeline remain the same, but the character interpretations vary depending on the narrator.
  • Played for laughs in the edition of Scandinavia and the World on Norway's butter crisis. According to Norway, Denmark is just hoarding butter and is unwilling to give him any despite the former's crisis; but according to Denmark, Norway is simply demanding him butter despite Denmark working like crazy to keep up with the orders he already has, and he knows once the crisis is over, Norway won't want any butter from him... And then there is Sweden's version, who just thinks both are idiots.
  • In the Con Screw storyline Seven Stories, Gavin tries to find out what happened at Rashocon by asking the seven major characters that had been there.
  • The Sluggy Freelance story "Ten Minutes at a Party" jumps in and out of this mode, following different points of view alternatively and showing the occasional event according to how a given character sees it rather than how it actually happens. (For example, Gwynn is shown as kissing a particular guy, but when she puts her glasses back on — she's Blind Without 'Em — he's suddenly vanished.) The real version is generally given later after the mistaken one. (For example, when the aforementioned scene is shown again, it's seen that Gwynn's intended kiss-target is carried away along with a herd of rampaging cows, while Torg happens to pass by, and she kisses Torg, and he runs away before she can get her glasses back on.) The only thing that is really left ambiguous in the end is whether Broadman was shouting "Who owns you guys?" or "Who owns you cows?" after beating up two guys in cow suits.
  • In Snowflakes, Both Wray and Greg have different accounts on how an airplane crashed into the side of the orphanage. Wray’s take, in typical Wray fashion, is a fantastical take on the matter complete with fighting were-yetis, shooting lightning out of her face, and ripping off video games she played. Greg’s take, however, is an entirely truthful retelling.
  • Wondermark, "In Which a Tale Is Recounted for Posterity". Grandpa Herschfeld uses his granddaughter's record of family history to complain about that time his wife put an empty bag of carrots back in the icebox. Grandma Herschfeld comes in to set the record straight. The Alt Text notes that "The final published account of the carrots-in-the-icebox incident reads like Rashomon."

    Web Original 
  • Cracked:
    • Ex-columnist Ian Fortey's last article for Cracked was Who Killed Ian Fortey? A Roshomon Style Murder Mystery with Ian himself as the narrator. They also misspelled Rashomon.
    • Another example shows up in Agents of Cracked, where four major characters are trying to claim responsibility for increasing the site's traffic. Dan's version is very dark and melancholy, while Mike Vision looks like "Term-O-Vision" on LSD. Mandy's is closer to reality, but Dan is completely absent, or played by someone completely different. Sarge's version is a merge of the same office scenes and his flashbacks. It eventually turns into a bit of a mess when they all start narrating at the same time.
  • LoadingReadyRun:
    • Rashomon is played with in the video The Season 4 Finale. In it, the usual characters are gathered as old men at the site's 30-year reunion. None of them can agree on what happened in the Season 4 Finale, each of them proposing their own self-interested version that the others claim is erroneous.
    • "Eyewitness Accounts," where this is played straight in which dozens of characters are recounting what happened at a mall incident.
  • A certain ponychan thread recounts the (almost certainly fictitious) story of a mugging averted by a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic keychain giving the would-be criminal second thoughts. Soon, we get the mugger's viewpoint. And then the ATM's. Things proceed to get somewhat more surreal than usual.
  • In the stories of the Whateley Universe, several events have been told from more than one perspective, but the perspectives are usually in different stories by different authors with different main characters. A good example is what happened the night that Solange sicced hitmen on some of the main characters.
  • In Red vs. Blue Season 11, the transport the protagonists are riding in mysteriously crash lands on a remote planet, and one of the subplots is figuring out what exactly happened. In a series of flashbacks, it shows that all of the protagonists had done something that could have possibly crashed the ship, from distracting the pilot to accidentally shutting down the engines. This throws up the question of which one of them caused the crash, or if it was all of their combined efforts that did it. Finally, it's revealed later that an alien tractor beam forcibly pulled the ship to the planet.
  • The Indian web series Permanent Roommates had an episode called "The Memories", where Mikesh, Tanya, and Purushottam tell Dinesh about an event that resulted in them losing their baby's first sonogram. Each person has a different account of the story, all glorifying the narrator. At the end of the episode, the sonogram is returned, and they try to make a new, happy memory together.
  • In the first season of the non-fiction podcast Serial, there are many testimonies about many events related to the murder, from people whose proximity to the case ranges from "best friends with the prime suspect" to "a random guy who claims to have discovered the victim's body during a potty break". Almost nobody's story completely agrees with the others, or with all of the known facts. Even people who are supposed to be on the same side, and have no apparent reason to lie or hide anything, can't seem to agree on fairly large details that should be very memorable, such as whether Adnan and his ex-girlfriend were on good terms between the breakup and the murder. People who claim to remember an event very clearly are equally confident in their conflicting versions of events — one is adamant that Person X was present at a gathering, the other is equally adamant that Person X wasn't there. It was bad enough during the initial investigation, which took place only weeks after the murder; it's even worse during the podcast's investigation years later, where some people's stories don't even agree with their original stories from years ago. Hell, even during the original investigation, a witness gave two testimonies that didn't line up with each other on several crucial points — proving that you really can end up with more stories than witnesses.
    • This also crops up in a related non-fiction podcast, S-Town. For one thing, it starts out with John B. McLemore asking Brian Reed to investigate a murder that was being covered up. He heard about this murder from multiple sources (including the perpetrator himself, who bragged about it afterwards), and heard the perpetrator's father discussing it on the phone when he thought he was alone. Then it turns out the murder never happened — the supposed victim is still alive and well. So how did multiple people come to think he'd been murdered, and what did John hear that guy talking about on the phone? Later on, while Brian is investigating a list of contacts and wonders why Faye Gamble (the town clerk) contacted people lower on the list sooner than the people at the very top, she claims she tried to get in touch with them but got no response, while the contacts themselves claim that they never heard from her at all. Also, at one point someone claims that Faye told them she never spoke to Brian; but according to Faye, she never said anything of the sort.
  • Invoked in Todd in the Shadows' Trainwreckords video on Mardi Gras, the album that killed Creedence Clearwater Revival. The members of the band have all given different accounts of what was going on behind the scenes, with front man John Fogerty claiming the other members felt overshadowed and demanded more artistic control, while the other guys insist that it was at Fogerty's request that they took a more active role. Todd specifically compares this discrepancy to Rashomon.
    I can't tell you exactly what happened next. The details are hazy, because the band members all hated each other and still do to this day, so there's a real Rashomon thing going on. I've done a few reviews of bands in meltdown mode, but those at least seem like an honest clash of personalities. In this case, one of the two sides is absolutely lying. Or maybe they're both lying. But they're not both telling the truth.

    Western Animation 
  • The Sonic Boom episode, "Fire in a Crowded Workshop" has Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, and Perci all giving different accounts of what happened when they came across Perci's broken bicycle. All of them are obviously falsified somewhat, with everyone making themselves out to be the Only Sane Man of the bunch. As it turns out, the most truthful account is Perci's, and the truth about how the fire in the workshop started is Sonic, Knuckles, and Amy all contributed to the fire, but the cause of the fire is Tails' security system short-circuiting.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: R.E.P.O.R.T.": The operatives of Sector V must report a failed mission, and each point of view is done in a different style; Numbuh One's mimics TRON, Numbuh Two's is styled after superhero comic books, Numbuh Three's is told through crayon drawings, Numbuh Four's is a spoof of Dragon Ball Z, and Numbuh Five's is modeled after old cartoons, and drawn in the style of series co-creator Mo Willems.
    • Notably, each operative's account picks up immediately after the previous leaves off, becoming less of a Blame Game and more of a baffling session of genre hopscotch.
  • King of the Hill episode "A Fire-Fighting We Will Go" has Hank and his friends working as volunteer firefighters and being investigated when the firehouse burns down. Each of them tries to implicate someone else for the fire:
    1. In Dale's version, he's muscular and dedicated while Hank's a Drill Sergeant Nasty barking orders at everyone, Bill is gorging himself on pizza bagels, and Boomhauer is lazily tanning. He claims that Boomhauer knocked over his tanning lamp in the rush to leave... and then remembers throwing away a lit cigarette onto the carpet.
    2. In Boomhauer's version, everyone speaks in his unintelligible Motor Mouth fashion... except for himself, who speaks normally and intelligibly for the first and only time in the series. He blames the fire on Bill leaving the toaster oven on after making a French bread pizza.
    3. In Bill's version, he depicts himself as even balder, fatter, and more pathetic than he actually is. He remembers shutting off the toaster oven but accidentally left the regular oven on after using it to toast marshmallows. He also mentions that he saw Dale at the back of the fire truck fiddling with the air tanks. Dale then admits that he saw Hank's tank was low on air and swapped it with his own because he knew Hank was the only competent one of the bunch and would need all the air he could get in order to save the other three when they inevitably screwed up.
    4. In Hank's version, all of them (himself included) are depicted as children doing their usual things, but "age up" to responsible adults when the alarm bell rings. He remembers personally taking care of the cigarette, oven, and tanning lamp before leaving, but then realizes the fire must have been caused by a faulty Alamo beer sign owned by the recently-deceased Chet Elderson. Though Dale was the one who actually plugged it in (to honor Chet's memory), Hank shifts the blame to Chet and convinces the fire chief to just call it an electrical fire so as not to sully his name.
  • "Rasho-Jackson" has The Jackson 5ive brothers telling different versions of what happened when they were late to a recording session: They helped a female motorist with their spare tank of gas only to run out of gas themselves. Each of the brothers tries to paint himself as the Nice Guy helping the motorist with other brothers in not-so-good lights: Jermaine was often called lazy (which he denied), Tito was pictured as a Handsome Lech (who argues that he was focused on the car instead of the motorist), Marlon was miserable, Jackie was called bossy (who argued that he was acting similar to George Washington), and Michael was called fussy. However, Berry had them followed with a film crew, and the important details were: They ALL gave her the gas willingly as their hands were over the can, their gas tank had a leak and Tito had a hard time getting a ride to the gas station before Jackie got the others to push the car out of the way of traffic—and out of Tito's sight.
  • The Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Once Upon An Ed" featured each of the Eds giving his skewed explanation of how the three of them wound up in Johnny and Plank's bedroom wall. Eddy's is basically a Marty Stu fanfic where everyone worships and grovels at his feet, Edd's is so precise you can still see the angles and guide lines for the art and not only has Ed and Eddy dumber than usual, but they actually listen to his scoldings, and Ed's is a surreal affair where the Kankers turn into a giant monster by eating radioactive mashed potatoes and Ed fights them off with superpowers.
    Eddy: Ed, your story's gettin' weird!
    • Ironically enough, Ed's story was not only the most accurate to the character's personalities, but the only one to actually answer Johnny's question. note 
    • The other interesting thing about this is that when you take pieces of the Eds' ramblings, you can piece together what happened prior to the episode. note 
  • Cartman from South Park, with himself regarding the invention of the joke, in "Fishsticks." An interesting variation in that it's only Cartman's Self-Serving Memory of events that we see, and that each time we see it, it becomes more and more removed from reality. The trope is used not so much to suggest that people's memories of an event will differ, but that Cartman is the kind of pathological liar who believes his own lies.
  • An episode of SpongeBob SquarePants entitled "Friend or Foe" has Plankton and Mr. Krabs tell SpongeBob conflicting stories about how they had a falling out over the Krabby Patty secret formula. Both try to make themselves look innocent and the other look rotten. In the end, Karen — Plankton's computer & wife — shows footage of what actually happened.
    • In Krabs' version, the falling out was due to Plankton going mad with the power being the only decent burger joint in town gave him over the other kids, prompting a fight that resulted in the formula torn in half and Plankton kicking Krabs out with a booby trap.
    • In Plankton's version, the falling out was due to Krabs being overcome with greed, and Plankton's the one to get kicked out. He also reveals that his half of the recipe read 'a pinch of chum'.
    • And finally, according to Karen (who was a security system at that time), the fight was started when Plankton and Krabs' first and only customer dies of apparent food poisoning. Nobody is kicked out, rather Plankton storms out and slams the door, resulting in various unspecified ingredients falling into the patty mix, creating the present Krabby Patty formula (the old formula is apparently the slop sold at the Chum Bucket).
  • The Simpsons did its own Rashomon in "Bart Gets Hit by a Car" where Bart and Mr. Burns both describe a car accident. Both, however, are exaggerating deliberately in order to get the case on their side — Bart describes Mr. Burns weaving all over, deliberately trying to run him down, and Mr. Burns describes Bart as a madman riding wildly all over the road while he desperately attempts to get out of the way. After he hits Bart, he gets out and has a Big "NO!". (Both stories are partially true: Burns honestly did hit Bart accidentally, but showed no remorse and instead became frustrated because now he would be late.)
  • An episode of Garfield and Friends, "Twice Told Tale", involved Jon and Garfield both trying to blame the other for a disastrous attempt at homemade yogurt. What makes this one interesting is that the story is the same — Jon takes Garfield out for yogurt, finds it too expensive, Jon heads home and decides to make yogurt himself, Garfield interferes while Jon leaves to answer the door, and things go out of control. The only difference is that each narrator makes himself out to be a perfect angel while depicting the other as a complete jerk. Odie's refusal to answer seems to hint that both were at fault. However, the episode never confirms which parts of the story were true and which were false.
  • The Stuart Little animated series episode "He Said He Said" had George blaming his friend Will for an incident involving Stuart's truck to slide on a puddle of water (since Will used a firetruck toy for the race that shoots water) and costing him the race. George, Stuart, and then Snowbell give their side of the story on what happened. Snowbell's story turns out to be the true one since, in reality, Snowbell caused a watering can to spill all over the track by sitting on a branch with his twinkle ball.
  • The Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Curling Flower Spaces" has each character recounting the previous week's show (not actually aired) in different ways: Space Ghost claims he "did sex" with Sarah Jessica Parker, Zorak says he traveled through space with the rock band Boston, and Moltar recalls a profound encounter with a talking car. Space Ghost's "battle" with a loose ceiling tile is also highly disputed.
    Zorak: Well, that ain't how I remember it — AT ALL!
    Space Ghost: What was that? Oh, the lying machine just turned on!
    • The only constant in each story is that Space Ghost was in fact hit by a falling ceiling tile (Space Ghost and Zorak confirm that Sarah Jessica Parker was the guest, though Moltar's version gives a brief and dismissive "Space Ghost was in the thing, talking to...someone" with Space Ghost laughing at footage of a cymbal monkey toy.)
  • The Batman: The Animated Series episode, "P.O.V.", features a variation. While the actual events play out "straight" for the audience, each of the three officers narrating the events gives a different take. Bullock's account is filtered heavily through Self-Serving Memory, as he tries to paint himself as the competent hero and Batman as the one who screwed everything up (we know who really messed up). Wilkes, the rookie cop, is being honest in his account, but due to a combination of his only beforehand acknowledge of Batman coming from the exaggerated urban legends about him and not getting a very good look at the events, he misunderstood quite a bit of what happened, resulting in him describing Batman as a supernatural being with magical abilities rather than a costumed crimefighter using convential tools and weapons. Montoya sticks to the more objective and important details in her account and as such she more or less tells what really happened, but she also mistakenly believes Batman was killed in the fire.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) used this one in "The Bare Facts", where the three girls tell The Mayor their versions of what happened while he was blindfolded and kidnapped by Mojo Jojo. Blossom tells a version that focuses entirely on her with a pink tint over everything, Bubbles tells a cutesy version depicted with crayon drawings, and Buttercup tells an action-packed film noir version. None of their versions explain that The Mayor is naked because Mojo stole his clothes when he kidnapped him.
  • Kappa Mikey episode "Splashomon" presents an utterly and hilariously absurd version of this. Especially silly are the stories presented by Gonard and Mikey. Gonard's story features him as a cowboy fighting an evil lobster bandit, while Mikey's is a spy epic that's so disconnected from reality it barely has a passing resemblance to what happened.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode, "The Great Divide", both the Gan Jin and Zhang tribes have different reasons to why they have been feuding for so long. The Gan Jins claim that the forefather of their tribe, Jin Wei, was attacked while transporting a sacred orb during their redemption ritual by a thief, Wei Jin, from the Zhangs. The Zhangs claim that their ancestor, Wei Jin, saw Jin Wei passed out on the ground and was returning the sacred orb to Jin Wei's tribe when they wrongfully imprisoned him for twenty years. Aang goes on to claim that Jin Wei and Wei Jin were actually two twin brothers playing a game when Wei Jin got a penalty and spent two minutes in the box. In the end, Aang admits that he made his version up to stop the dispute.
  • Rugrats episode "The Trial" in which the babies attempt to figure out who broke Tommy's clown lamp via a trial. It's played with quite a bit as Angelica keeps trying to paint Chuckie or the twins as the culprit through various reasoning (the twins spinning around it too fast and Chuckie being absolutely terrified of it and actually wanting to get rid of it.) This is a bit of a Hoist by His Own Petard moment for the real culprit, Angelica, who wouldn't have known those things if she wasn't there.
    • Another example in the episode "Reptar 2010" has the babies imagine their own endings for a Reptar movie after Stu's VCR eats the tape; each one believing that Reptar would do something that they themselves would likely do if they were in that situation: Chuckie believes he'd run away and find a somewhere to hide, Phil (and Lil) think that he'd play in the sewers, Angelica assumes that he'd boss everyone around to get what he wants, and Tommy thinks that he'd just want to have adventures.
  • In one episode of Sushi Pack, Tako and Maguro, finding themselves on an asteroid hurtling towards Earth with no memory of how they got there, go back and recount the day's events. Both remember things happening differently, and in the full disclosure denouement, Ben tells them that they were both right and wrong.
  • The Boondocks episode "The Story of Catcher Freeman" is told via conflicting historical flashbacks about a slave revolt on Colonel Lynchwater's plantation:
    • Granddad tells a cliched action movie plot, with escaped slave Catcher Freeman as a badass hero who rescues slaves from slavers; Thelma as a vapid but attractive Damsel in Distress and Love Interest; Master Colonel as the Big Bad; and Colonel's loyal slave Tobias, as a generally useless race-traitor house slave who wrote the world's first film script... before films were invented.
    • Ruckus tells a backward and racist story, with "Catch-A-Freeman" as a superhuman slave who captured runaway slaves; Thelma as an evil and promiscuous Femme Fatale who seduces Catcha; Master Colonel as a nice man who ineffectually tries to discipline ungrateful slaves who find Happiness in Slavery (which according to Ruckus was a jolly fun time where black people didn't have to work); and Tobias as Master's favorite slave, most definitely not the Colonel's son and... a generally useless race traitor.
    • Huey finally sets both of them straight with the true version, from the Internet, which reveals: The so-called "Catcher Freeman" was based on Tobias, Master Colonel's illegitimate slave son, Fake Ultimate Hero, a writing genius, and... a generally useless race traitor. He takes credit after he accidentally kills Master Colonel (he meant to shoot Thelma). Thelma was the real hero of the story, and Master Colonel was a fairly decent slave master, leaving Ruckus and Granddad in an agreement to disagree with each other, but more so Huey.
    • The episode ends while Riley tries to tell his own, intentionally inaccurate story.
  • Happens in the Johnny Bravo episode "Rashomoron".
    • In Suzy's story, she's busy having a tea party with her dolls when Johnny tries to flirt with a hot girl, who rebuffs him. Johnny, in a huff, decides to hold his breath at the bottom of the lake until the girl agrees to date him, only to emerge shortly later, covered in pond scum and gasping for air. Carl sends his toy [RC] robot Sparkly to help, which results in Johnny tripping into a tree and disturbing a beehive. A unicorn appears to try and save Suzy, when Johnny comes to try and steal its horn to sell on the black market, only to get trampled for his trouble.
    • In Carl's story, him, Johnny, and (a now human-sized) Sparkly are playing jump rope when the hot girl tries to seduce Johnny away, resulting in him falling into the lake. When Johnny emerges, Carl mistakes him for a lake monster and sends Sparkly to attack. During the battle, one of Sparkly's eye beams hits a beehive, prompting the swarm to go warn a mounted police officer. The officer and his steed proceed to trample the 'monster'.
    • In Johnny's story, Johnny (having just defeated a Ninja warlord) is propositioned by the hot girl, prompting him to dive into the lake to look for a black pearl as a gift. He emerges upon hearing the girl being menaced by (a now monstrous) Sparkly. Thinking quickly, Johnny grabs a beehive and chucks it at Sparkly, driving him off. Unfortunately, just as the girl is swooning over Johnny, he proceeds to make an off-hand remark about having any girl he wants. Enraged, the girl summons a rabid wild burro to trample Johnny.
    • Judging from all three stories, what presumably happened was Johnny tried flirting with a hot girl as always, then going into the lake for some reason (Suzy and Johnny's stories say that he went in on purpose). After emerging from the lake covered in pond scum, Carl mistook him for a lake monster and sends Sparkly to attack him. Their conflict setting off a beehive, and seeing how even Johnny's story includes it, he ends up getting trampled by a hoofed animal. At the end, the unicorn and toy Sparkly make an appearance, implying that Suzy's story was the closest.
  • In the Invader Zim episode named after Dib's favorite TV show, Dib and Zim end up on the titular Show Within a Show to give their viewpoints on a piece of footage by Dib catching Zim and GIR out of costumes on tape, and end up bringing in Gaz and an anonymous bystander called "Stacy" (who is definitively not GIR with his face blurred by the programme) who also give their viewpoints. Dib presents the footage as a dramatic 'human foils alien's sinister ploy' with Gaz as a Neutral Female. Zim's version has Dib being a bully who blackmails Zim with fake footage for his lunch money. Gaz presents the entire scene as Dib and Zim being drooling morons incapable of anything but grunting noises (but most likely presents the real reason why the tape ended prematurely; she kicked Dib in the shin). And GIR tells a wonderful tale about a giant squirrel. We'd tell you how it ends, but you wouldn't believe us.
    Presenter: ...What does that have to do with anything?!
    GIR: Me and the squirrel are friends.
    • Issue 39 of the continuation comics does something similar, as an alien observing Earth abducts Zim, GIR, Dib, and Gaz to his ship, due to them being the only beings present when his exploratory probe and its robot operator were destroyed, so that he can interrogate them on what happened, via putting them in a machine that plays their memories. Dib's memories show that Zim attacked his house in a Mini-Mecha made from random pieces of machinery, and when the robot showed up to meet Dib (due to detecting Tak's ship in his garage and determining it to be the most advanced technology on the planet), Zim took offense and destroyed the robot. In Zim's memories, he peacefully greeted the robot while in a much more advanced mech, only for Dib (whom he portrays as a drooling moron) to blow up the robot by accident. Gaz's memories show that she wasn't even paying attention to the fight at all. And GIR's memories... cause the memory machine to melt down and the alien's ship to explode.
  • Arthur:
    • "D.W.'s Snow Mystery". When D.W.'s prized snowball suddenly disappears from the freezer, she's quick to blame Arthur for it. We get separate recounts of the story by Arthur, D.W., Grandma Thora, Mrs. Read, Francine, and Buster. It's implied that Buster's story, despite being the most outlandish, is actually what really happened.
    • In "Arthur's Family Feud", Arthur's father's souffle has collapsed, and he wants to know who did it. Arthur and D.W., who were both in the kitchen at the time, give their own recounts as to what happened, each trying to make themselves look blameless and paint the other in a bad light. Arthur's story is done in a crayon-drawn style, while D.W. re-enacts hers with toys. In the end, Arthur and D.W. realize that they were both partially responsible.
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
    • In the episode "Speaking Terms", Rocko and Heffer are on a trashy talk show discussing how Heffer forgot Rocko's birthday. Rocko portrays Heffer as a careless Hulk-like monster while Heffer portrays Rocko as an overly anal-retentive grouch. An interesting wrinkle: in Heffer's version, his 'narration' claims that he had thoughtfully and lovingly picked out a gift for Rocko, while the 'visuals' clearly show him hurriedly making one on the spot. Heffer is knowingly telling a fib.
    • In "Floundering Fathers" Mr Bighead, Filbert, and Heffer all tell wildly-differing accounts as to who was the real founder of O-Town.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series had the Clip Show parody feature Randall's flashbacks to things that happened in the same episode have him portrayed as a genius gentleman, and Dante as a dribbling moron swinging a cat around by its tail and constantly saying: "I'm the biggest idiot ever!" In these flashbacks, Dante is responsible for things Randall did.
  • In one episode of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters the viewfinder the Gromble uses to view the students' assignments breaks down so the Three Amigos tells the class how their scare went at the opera. Ickis recounts the story as a Film Noir (with him as the hero) while Oblina recounts it by casting herself as an imperturbable superheroine. The Gromble, annoyed by their blatant fabrications, asks the less egotistical Krumm what happened, but he narrates a childish, simplistic set of events that only clearly indicates that Ickis and Oblina spent most of the assignment arguing. Finally the viewfinder is fixed and he forces all three of them on it to determine the true course of events — it turns out that the three kept screwing up the basic parts of the plan until they accidentally landed in the middle of the concert floor, at which point they panicked but fortunately so did the humans they landed in front of and soon the entire building was evacuated. Needless to say, the Gromble was only too happy to punish them for lying.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • One episode opens with the trio and Irwin dangling from a rope over a pit. Irwin asks how they got into that mess and the others conclude that it was due to them meeting Grim. Billy and Grim's versions are radically different with the former's portraying him and Mandy as space rangers who go on an adventure across the earth to gather Grim's skull, robe, and scythe to fully summon him and he then agrees to be their friend. Grim's is sympathetic and portrays himself as a hotshot in the underworld who lost to an evil Mandy in a duel and had to be her friend/servant as a result. Mandy gets fed up with their tall tales and briefly sums up the pilot episode as it happened while clips play. Everyone dismisses this story, with Grim saying "Oh please, that didn't even look like us!" Irwin is amazed at the stories but then says he was asking how they ended up hanging on the rope. It acts like a lead-in to another Rashomon-style story, but the episode ends as they fall and get eaten by the monster they're hanging over.
    • A variation in the pseudo-Picnic Episode has Billy preparing food to leave for it, though each other character in the house (Grim, Mandy, and Billy's mom) rejects his idea by recounting what happened last time: Billy, Mandy, and Grim have their picnic, Billy asks for the egg salad, then a sasquatch jumps out from a bush and runs off with the screaming Billy. Billy's dad then comes in, but his recounting shows him putting on the sasquatch costume before jumping out.
  • In one of the "Slappy Squirrel" shorts on Animaniacs, Slappy is on trial for the assault of her perennial nemesis Walter Wolf. The three witnesses called are Slappy's nephew Skippy (who portrays Slappy as an angelic Friend to All Living Things and Walter as a horrible monster), Walter (who portrays himself as an angelic Friend to All Living Things and Slappy as an evil, child-hating hag), and Slappy (who freely confesses to not only the initial accusation but a lot more screwball antics, including blowing the plaintiff to smithereens).
  • In the episode from Alvin and the Chipmunks, "Every Chipmunk Tells a Story", each chipmunk has a different version of how Dave's piano got destroyed and had instant pudding in it. Alvin, Simon, and Theodore naturally each paint themselves as an innocent, unwilling victim of the situation while their two respective siblings are portrayed as more bullying figures. The whole truth of what happened is never revealed.
  • One episode of The New Adventures of He-Man revolves around the Battle of the Quagmi Swamp. Good guys Hydron and Flipshot, as well as bad guys Flogg and Slushhead, each have their own version of what happened during the battle. Naturally, in every case, the one telling their version exaggerates his role and makes himself look like the hero. Unlike a lot of examples (but like Rashomon), the real events are never revealed, and the audience has to draw their own conclusions regarding what parts of whose story are true.
  • Camp Candy combined this with How We Got Here in the episode titled "Dear Mom and Dad". The episode opens with John putting out a fire where the mess hall used to be and openly wondering what happened. We then see one of the campers writing a note to her parents taking the blame for the fire and explaining why she's leaving the camp. We then see another camper doing the same while exonerating the previous camper. This goes on until John finds them all waiting for the bus to take them home and explains that he saw and fixed all their mistakes. His assistant finally reveals what really happened: a meteorite hit the gas line.
  • The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode "Not a Ghost of a Chance" provides a twofer. In the main storyline, the Joes (Hawk and Lady Jaye) and Cobra (Cobra Commander, Serpentor, and Dr. Mindbender) exchange verbal blows on Twenty Questions regarding the loss of one of two prototype stealth bombers (the Joes say Cobra shot it down, the snakes say nuh-uh). At the same time, while he's searching for the bomber's crew, Flint verbally grouses over some earlier perceived fraternization between Lady Jaye and the bomber's pilot. As it turned out, Cobra did shoot down the plane (and tries to go after the second prototype as well), and the pilot (an old flight school buddy of Lady Jaye's) was just asking her to a wallpapering party along with a lot of other friends.
  • Time Squad: "A Thrilla at Attila's" finds the trio filing a somewhat botched mission rehabilitating a not-so-threatening Attila the Hun (they succeeded, but got beat up in the process). Larry's account depicts Tuddrussel as a barely articulate caveman and Otto endlessly babbling historical trivia, while Tuddrussel's has Larry as a terrified sissy (complete with tutu) and Otto as Robin. Both claim someone else provoked the Huns to attack after they were trained (Otto in Larry's and Larry in Tuddrussel's) and cast themselves as the hero who fought them off. Only Otto's is the truth: he managed to pep talk Attila into action after Larry and Tuddrussel's training failed, and the two were beaten up after they laughed at him. Unfortunately, Otto's the only one who's not an official Time Force member, so his opinion doesn't count, and Larry and Tuddrussel make the report a fusion of their own stories.
  • Recess: "The Trial" has playground rat Randall accusing Spinelli of beaning him with a rock during a dirt clod war. The kids hold a trial and Randall, Mikey, and Spinelli are called to testify. Randall's version depicts him as an ultimate badass winning the war single-handed while Spinelli is a coward, hitting kids who have already been hit by dirt clods and beaning Randall with the rock because he is her quote "Moral and physical superior." Mikey's version portrays Spinelli as a battlefield angel bringing medical attention to injured kids. Randall hits her with a dirt clod during time-out and she runs off screaming that she's going to cream him. Spinelli tells the truth, that she had Randall at her mercy while holding a dirt clod not a rock, and that she forgot all about him while rescuing Ms. Finster's cat from a tree. It turns out that Randall actually hit himself with the rock and lied to get back at Spinelli for earning Ms. Finster's approval for this act. King Bob dismisses the charges against Spinelli and orders that Randall be given her punishment of a swirly.
  • Endangered Species: In "Tub of Troubles", Merl, Pickle, and Gull each relate their version of a disaster that happened in the tub ruining bath time. Merl's involves pirates, Pickle's in a James Bond style action film, and Gull's is part fairy tale and part spring break story.
  • The Venture Bros.: Over the course of the episode "Victor. Echo. November.", three different characters recount the tale of how Phantom Limb made his arms and legs invisible. It is completely different every time, though each also involves Billy "Quizboy" Whelan and how he himself ended up with a cybernetic arm. At the end of the episode, Dr. Venture even asks Billy directly about his arm; he replies, "That's an excellent question. I have no idea." The following season, the true story is told in flashback. It turns out everyone was wrong, though each story had a grain of truth (except Hank's, which was completely off the wall). Oddly enough, Billy's claim not to know his own story was also true.
    • "Operation P.R.O.M." features the revelation that Dr. Venture's nickname is actually a horribly disgusting sex act. Despite this, pretty much everybody has a different, lengthy definition of what constitutes a "Rusty Venture", but the descriptions have enough common elements (pretty much all of them involve some variety of scat) that it seems like they could have come from a single source. The creators have suggested that there isn't a "real answer"; the important part is that a show about a little boy having adventures somehow originated a sex move so gross and so legendary that its details are lost to myth. For their part, the fanbase seems to have decided that Brock's definition ("the name for when you jerk off so much, your dick gets all red and sore") sounds like the most fitting for Doc.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode "PPOV (Pony Point of View)", Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie go on a short cruise that ends with their boat sinking and the three of them furious with each other. Twilight interviews them separately to find out what happened. Rarity claims Applejack came down with Ocean Madness and steered the boat straight into a storm. Pinkie Pie claims that Rarity acted like an Upper-Class Twit at the worst possible time, preventing Applejack from steering them out of the storm. And Applejack claims that she was distracted from steering the ship by Pinkie's over-the-top party antics. The truth isn't directly shown, but by cross-referencing all three stories, Twilight determines that all three of them are exaggerating how bad the storm was, and it wasn't anyone's fault for sinking the boat—a wild bunyip did that.
  • Littlest Pet Shop with the episode "Sunil's Sick Day" where Sunil and Vinnie tell their own side of the story of a falling out they had. Sunil was mad at Vinnie for breaking his wand while Vinnie was mad at Sunil for stealing his tapshoes. in the end Sunil's wand turns out to be a trick wand while Minka had Vinnie's tapshoes all along.
  • The second episode of Downtown features this when Chaka and Mecca remember when they first met Matt and Fruity, and vice versa. All we really know for sure is that they were all in the park and Chaka was dancing in the fountain:
    • Chaka remembers herself as a voluptuous dancer that had the attention of every guy in the park, and that Matt and Fruity were lanky nerds.
    • Fruity remembers himself as a fit, confident skater, and Chaka as a plain, flat girl.
  • Episode "Between Friends" of Babar has Celeste and Zephir suing each other after a road accident between Celeste's car and Zephir's bike going into Court with Babar as judge. They both say their own versions Rashomon-style portraying the other as a crazy driver and themselves as the slow-pacing polite and responsible driver.
  • Shimmer and Shine: In "Dragon Tales", Zeta tells Leah, Shimmer and Shine about the day she met her pet dragon Nazboo. Then Nazboo tells his side a.k.a. the truth. In Zeta's version, the dragons' homeland, Manetikar, is described as a dark and horrible place where the big dragons used to pick on Nazboo until Zeta effortless defeated them and decided to pick Nazboo as her pet instead of a big dragon as she originally intended because she couldn't leave him alone with the bully dragons she didn't take in. Zeta also introduced Nazboo to the "tummy rub". In Nazboo's version, Manetikar is a light and beautiful place where the big dragons are kind and Zeta's attempt to tame one of them ended with her bring dragged around and she decided to settle for Nazboo, who already knew of "tummy rub". Zeta admits Nazboo's version to be truthful.
  • The Emperor's New School had an episode where Kuzco is accused of stealing a valuable mask he was supposed to be guarding. The events of the theft get told from the point of view of different characters, with each sequence being animated in the current narrator's doodling style. Kuzco is obviously an Unreliable Narrator who is telling a lot of lies to make himself sound better, and he claims that the Top God of their religion came in and took the mask, which nobody believes. The events are shown again from the perspective of Kronk, Malina, and Yzma. Kronk is more honest than Kuzco and spends too much time talking about unimportant details. Kronk was ordered by Yzma to steal the mask and frame Kuzco for it but forgot to do it. Malina's story is cut short by her skipping to the part where she accuses Yzma of being the thief though she didn't actually see it happen. Yzma tells a ton of lies about what she was doing on the night of the theft. It is then revealed there was actually another security guard watching the mask who claims that Kuzco really was telling the truth about a god taking the mask. Then the god shows up and reveals himself to be Pacha in a costume, who then explains why he took the mask.
  • Storm Hawks had an episode where each member of the crew tell completely different stories about how they got trapped in an Eldritch Location, with each of them claiming it is their own fault and they were lured in by something that they desire, causing all of them to get trapped. The improbability of the conflicting stories makes them realize that they actually have been trapped by a monster with illusion powers.
  • Clarence: In "The Interrogation," Mr. Reese finds "MR REESE IS A DUMMERD" written in marinara sauce on the side of his car and gets stories from his four main suspects: Clarence, Belson, Chelsea, and Jeff. Each sequence is animated in a different style: Belson's is gray and rainy, Chelsea's is windy, Clarence's looks like a kid's crayon drawing, and Jeff's is all in cube shapes. Belson admits the marinara sub was his, but he gave it to Chelsea "out of the goodness of his heart" (the truth being he simply dumped it on her). Chelsea recounts that she was enjoying her sub when an "unknown object" tripped her and she fled upon noticing the stains. Clarence then admits he saw Jeff do it, but his account is completely falsified: he imagines Jeff riding up on a motorcycle, knocking the sub out of Chelsea's hand, and writing the message himself. Jeff admits the truth: he bent over to pick up a guitar pick he saw on the ground, and accidentally tripped Chelsea. He tried to clean the stains but only made them worse—however, he has no idea who wrote the message. The ending reveals that it was Ms. Shoop, who did it right after Chelsea and Jeff fled.
  • In the WordGirl episode "A Hero, a Thief, a Store, and its Owner", a police officer happens upon a crime scene at a jewelry store, where WordGirl, Captain Huggyface, Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy, and Reginald the jewelry store owner are trapped in mounds of condiments from Chuck's condiment gun. When asked what happened, they each give their version of events which led them all being trapped together, each one painting the storyteller in a flattering light while painting the other people involved unfavorably so; Reginald's version gives himself super powers, Chuck's version paints himself as kind and noble, and WordGirl's version has Reginald being particularly prissy. The Narrator, having seen what really happened, steps in and explains that WordGirl's version of events was the most accurate.
  • The Wonderful Summer of Mickey Mouse opens In Medias Res with Mickey apparently destroying the Summer Spectacular fireworks show, and then discovering his friends are all implicated too. As the mayor tries to discover what happened, each of them gives their own version of events. For most of it, they're seperated, so we only get one viewpoint (although we often get Once More, with Clarity as random things that happen to one character turn out to be caused by another one), but the initial phone call Mickey makes is definitely an example: in his version, he's upbeat about everyone being on time, and Minnie says she'll bring goodies; in Minnie's version she has a long list of exactly what she's bringing that nobody else seems to have been paying attention to; Daisy saw the admonitions to be on time as directed specifically at her; Donald, being sceptical about the plan, remembers Mickey being defeatist rather than optimistic; and Goofy just recalls everyone babbling incoherently.
  • City Island (2022): In "Point of View," Watt, Windy, and Lidia all see something strange, but they can't agree on what it is. They each tell their own version of what really happened. As it turns out, they were all wrong - it was just a UFO-themed car wash.

    Real Life 
  • The term Rashomon Effect with a similar meaning was coined by anthropologists no later than in late 1970s and possibly even in the mid-'60s.
  • The Rashomon Effect causes obvious problems in court. In a 2014 Canadian case, R. v. Pashahzahiri, the judge specifically mentions both the film and the effect in deciding a case in which different witnesses in the same roomnote  testified variously that the accused threatened someone loudly in English, muttered something indiscernible in a foreign language, or said nothing at all.
  • Due to the unreliability of human memory, the way that preconceived notions can affect one's interpretation of a situation, and plain old dishonesty, pretty much any attempt to reconstruct a complex event using only eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence is likely to suffer from this — thus the saying about how 12 witnesses will give 13 different stories. This is frequently demonstrated in investigative journalism and crime documentaries, such as Serial (see above under Web Original) and Forensic Files.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Every Point Of View Is Different, Multiple Unreliable Narrators, The Rashomon, Rashomon Plot, Rashomon Effect


Who stole Donut's diary?

Blocky, Woody, and Firey provide testimonies. Blocky's is a troll, Woody's is a "translation" that's at first a subverted follow-up of Blocky's, and Firey's is honest despite being a lie in the end. Woody's "testimony" is an example of Four's [[BlackComedy dark sense of humor]].

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / RashomonStyle

Media sources: