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Stylistic Callback

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Somewhere between Mythology Gag, Development Gag, Continuity Nod and Production Throwback. This is when a work references stylistic changes since prior works in the same series.

When this is used to refer to events that happened at the time of the referenced style, it's a Retraux Flashback. Compare Nostalgia Level.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 2017 Tamagotchi short film Eiga Tamagotchi: Himitsu no Otodoke Dai Sakusen!, being made to celebrate the Tamagotchi franchise's 20th anniversary, features a few throwbacks to earlier installments of the franchise. In particular, the short has a unique art style combining the original virtual pets' modern blue-outline art style introduced in 2004 and the more detailed art style of the 2009 TV show (OLM Incorporated animated both the TV show and the short).

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield marked its 25th anniversary with a Story Arc where 2003 Garfield meets 1978 Garfield.
  • A Luann strip that ran several days before its 25th anniversary has the 2010 main characters commenting on their 1985 designs. "I'm glad WE never looked that dumb..."
  • In one "Ginger Meggs" strip, Ginger has a caricature done and says it looks nothing like him. The caricature is the original, when-your-grandparents-were-young artwork.
  • There is an Alley Oop story arc a few years ago where Alley's no-good cousin Early Oop shows up in Moo and makes trouble by impersonating Alley, despite Alley's insistence that they look nothing alike. Early is designed to look like Alley's original appearance.

    Video Games 
  • At one point in the original Paper Mario, there's a pot Mario can jump into. If he does, he comes back out as his sprite from Donkey Kong.
  • The Timeless River in Kingdom Hearts II is one big one to black and white Disney shorts. Also in the same game, at the start as well as in the Timeless River Sora wears his outfit from the original game.
  • The "1st gen ring" from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 is full of these, starting with flashbacks to the PlayStation-era graphics of Metal Gear Solid, up to and including a fully playable flashback sequence with graphics and gameplay straight out of Metal Gear Solid.
  • The final level in Kirby's Adventure is an abridged recreation of the original Kirby's Dream Land complete with the Game Boy's black and grey color pallet.
    • The Kirby Fighters sub-game in Kirby: Triple Deluxe features mostly retro inspired stages. However 3 in particular really stand out. First is Butter Building, which even retains its NES graphics for the stage itself and the enemies on it. Second is Coo's Forest, which emulates the coloring book style of Kirby's Dream Land 3. Finally the Fountain of Dreams takes on it's GBA visuals if played on the hardest difficulty.
  • Many of the structures used throughout the original World of Warcraft were deliberate callbacks to equivalent buildings featured in the previous RTS games, and occasionally a zone will make a stab at depicting the old-school units as well. For instance, in the Swamp of Sorrows a short quest chain stars the WC2 armies with Footmen, Knights, and Mages stacked up against Grunts and Ogres (and WC1 Warlocks subbing for Death Knights), while the Krasarang Wilds have references to WC units, heroes, and even tactics and metagame terms.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Homestar Runner cartoon No Hands On Deck!, Homestar undergoes a brief shift in art and voice when Bubs brings up "melonade".
    Homestar Runner: Yeah, melonade! We haven't talked about that much lately! Maybe we can eat some... (his head turns into that of his design from 2000, and his voice changes to match) marshmallows (his head and voice turn back to normal) too!

    Web Comics 
  • A Leaning on the Fourth Wall version appears in Girl Genius: the flashbacks are all presented in sepia tones, making them appear to be old print comics that have faded and browned. Surprisingly effective at conveying the point though.

     Western Animation 
  • In the The Simpsons episode "Homerazzi" there is one scene where Marge is taking a picture of Homer, Bart, and Lisa as they appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show' under a banner saying "Happy 1987". After the picture is taken, they fix their hair to become the normal versions.
  • In Runaway Brain, after the mind swap Julius finds some photos in Mickey's wallet. One of them is of Mickey as he looked in Steamboat Willie.


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