Follow TV Tropes

Following

They Walk Among Us

Go To

https://mediaproxy.tvtropes.org/width/350/https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/district-9_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85.jpg
Nope, nothing weird going on here.
Advertisement:

A sci-fi / fantasy trope.

Let's say, for instance, that you are a perfectly normal human being living in a perfectly normal house in a perfectly normal urban community. Every day you wake up, you go to work or to school, you come home and have dinner. You have perfectly normal friends and family you enjoy doing perfectly normal things with. Also, your neighbor is, say, a robot. And your robot neighbor lives in the perfectly normal house right next to yours. He also gets up every morning and goes on with his robot affairs. And as the both of you walk down the street, side by side, you meet other humans just like yourself, sure, but the robot community is there as well, minding their own business just like you do. And nobody thinks it's weird because, you see, they walk among you.

That's the main gist of this trope: in an otherwise normal world not too different from our own, humans share the world with something distinctly nonhuman, or at least abnormal or fantastic; another sentient species, or a different kind of being altogether. Their presence in the world is not regarded differently in any way from how we look at all the different races and ethnic groups here. Needless to say, Fantastic Racism tends to ensue, but though this is a common staple, it's not a necessity.

Advertisement:

Related tropes include:

Fantasy beings Walking Among Us is often a component of a Magic Realism setting. For beings who Walk Among Us without our knowledge, see The Masquerade.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The alien from the Babbel language course commercials, who despite looking somewhat like a Xenomorph Xerox finds that his greatest social impediment is the language barrier (until he uses Babbel to learn English of course, then he gets invited to dinners and tells funny jokes to the humans there).
  • Modern-day cavemen in the famous GEICO commercials.

    Anime & Manga 
  • According to Yuki, Data Interfaces, time travelers and members of the Organization have completely infiltrated North High because of the titular character, Haruhi Suzumiya. Proven in the eight novel, where the Student Council President is a representative from the Organization, and the secretary is a Data Interface named Emiri Kimidori.
  • In Lyrical Nanoha, pretty much any clones, programs, cyborgs, etc. are politically considered people and therefore blend into society to the extent that most of the active characters aren't even regular born humans.
  • Not only are the titular critters all over the place in Pokémon, but they often appear to have replaced every sort of real animal.
  • Any Macross series that takes place after Super Dimension Fortress Macross is likely to include some thirty-foot tall Zentraedi walking around and nobody really blinking an eye. Macross Frontier even has a mixed-size shopping mall, where some human characters hang out with a Zentraedi friend by being on the third floor, equal to her eye level.
Advertisement:

    Comic Books 
  • Mutants in X-Men. Even Nightcrawler can walk around undisguised and few people seem to care. (One issue has him and Wolverine walking around in public and 'Crawler worried about it... only for a pretty girl to slip him her phone number.)
  • In fact, superhumans from both Marvel Comics and DC Comics often walk among normal humans with little fanfare.
  • The Bone Cousins in Bone. People remark that they're funny-looking a few times but it seems to be more of a case of them being from another part of the world. A later book show a more cosmopolitan city, with plenty of fey-like or gnome-like creatures, so it's no surprise the Bones would be ignored.
  • All manner of bizarre creatures in Hellboy, including the titular character, despite looking like a Big Red Devil.
  • Costumed Heroes in Watchmen.
  • Funny animals in Midnite, the Rebel Skunk
  • The titular characters in ElephantmenHalf-Human Hybrids of hippos, elephants, and various other African megafauna.
  • In Arrowsmith, various fantasy races such as trolls live alongside humans; albeit as second-class citizens in many places.

    Fan Works 
  • The The Conversion Bureau genre typically consists of the Kingdom of Equestria popping up on our Earth and setting a divisive cultural exchange in motion — whereas humans may not enter the Equestrian island, which is protected by an anti-human forcefield, many ponies travel and settle in human countries. In most iterations, racism and political strife on both sides usually destroys any chance for peaceful coexistence, and end with one side forcefully usurping the other.
  • Essentially describes the Doctor’s final plan to deal with the T-Virus in Dangerous Tenant; having determined the nature of the T-Virus, he intends to modify it into a new form that he calls ‘the D-Virus’, which will infect humanity and preserve the virus’s existence without actually causing any kind of mutation to the subject and rendering them immune to infection from other strains of the virus.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Pixar's The Incredibles, Supers go through most of their lives just like everyone else.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Thursday Next blatantly plays with the Fantasy Kitchen Sink. The first of its two main "gimmicks" is that genetic engineering has allowed humans to resurrect several extinct animals, and as a result, mammoths migrate through Swindon, dodo birds are the popular pet of choice, and Neanderthals fight discrimination from humans and live in their own separate, politically anarchic (but peaceful) communities. The second gimmicks involves living literary characters. It's complicated.
  • In Who Censored Roger Rabbit?? humans and toons coexist.
  • Fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters in Nursery Crime.
  • Monsters and occult powers in the Anita Blake series.
  • Robots in Isaac Asimov's science-fiction. They're never treated as equivalent to humans, but the human response to them frequently echoes something from actual human history. Earth society resents them for displacing human labor (similar to the way many societies treat immigrants), while Spacer society treats them like slaves, generally ignoring them unless there's something they want a robot to do.
  • Discworld. Particularly in Ankh-Morpork, which is inhabited by humans of many ethnicities, trolls, dwarves, gnomes, vampires, golems, small gods, the occasional talking dog ...
  • Vampires in The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries and later weres.
  • In Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet by Kirk Scroggs, Danvers can't remember if the entire cast of The Muppet Show always lived in his home town, or if it just happened after his transfromation. No-one else seems to find it odd.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Vampires in True Blood.
  • Humanoid Cylons in the last season of Battlestar Galactica.
  • Any of Jim Henson's works involving the Muppets, but the effect was not handled the same way in every case. In Sesame Street, for example, humans and "monsters" recognized each other as different, but in The Muppets Show there were instances where ordinary humans and the Muppets were in perfectly equal standing. (As in, a humanoid muppet and a real human were both "human")
  • The world of Special Unit 2: All sorts of supernatural creatures still live among the humans. There is no organized Masquerade; most people don't realize they're there but the Chicago Police Department has established SU 2 to deal with them.
  • The Newcomers, a.k.a. Tenctonese, in Alien Nation.
  • Puppets in Greg the Bunny.
  • Power Rangers:

    Video Games 
  • Vortigaunts in Half-Life 2 have reached this status. No one bats an eyelid at them (except the Combine who harass them just as much as humans).
  • The Gurhal System in Phantasy Star Universe really doesn't care if you're human, newman, beast, or CAST, because they're all on equal standing. Though the four races have planets (or a space station) to themselves, other races can and do live there with equality (excepting those bigots that no amount of time will erase).
  • In The Sims, your human sims can live among servos, vampires, werewolves, plant people, and other supernatural creatures, and no one bats an eye.
  • The Touhou Project takes place in a Fantastic Nature Preserve where humans, youkai, fairies, ghosts, deities, etc. coexist and regularly interact, and only a minority of named characters are human. It's by no means an integrated society, and the various groups tend to have their own territories, so youkai openly visiting the Human Village make the locals unhappy and uncomfortable, and those that cause trouble will probably be driven off by a youkai exterminator like the two main characters. Meanwhile, any humans who start poking around Youkai Mountain are likely to be chased away by the local kappa and tengu, and will probably be harassed by fairies along the way. While the Spell Card Rules the major players have agreed to provide a nonlethal means of conflict resolution, and an understanding that despite their taunting, Gensokyo's youkai won't try to eat people, this only applies to local humans - any outsiders who wander into Gensokyo and get caught outside the Human Village are fair game.
  • XCOM: Chimera Squad takes place 25 years after a successful Alien Invasion resulted in a Vichy Earth scenario, and five years after a resistance movement overthrew the alien "Elders." So humanity now has to coexist with not just the hybrid peacekeepers created by the alien regime, but also the various other races that served as the Elders' Battle Thralls: sectoids, mutons, vipers, and more. The game's setting of City 31 is one of the most successful examples of post-war integration, and even elected a hybrid mayor, but there's still undercurrents of tension between the races. The titular combat unit is thus an experiment of sorts, to see whether a collection of human, hybrid and alien operatives can form a cohesive team.

    Web Comics 
  • Questionable Content is set in an alternate-present Massachussetts where true Artificial Intelligence is common; the first AI characters are Robot Buddies like Pintsize who are initially treated like possessions, but an expanding cast of Robots with day jobs is introduced. It's mentioned that The Singularity passed and AIs were granted full citizenship without any particular hassle and, indeed, without most people noticing.
  • As the nature of megacrossovers this is the norm of the Buildingverse so for a perfectly muggle waitress to see Thor chasing Nyan-cat down the street is a Monday. There are some works that allude to some kind of a Masquerade, but it can't be too serious if aforementioned waitress can turn around and date an elf.
  • Stories set in the Sam & Fuzzy-verse past the Myth Arc are like this. The Masquerade has been well and truly broken, and at this point the sight of werewolves, robots, vampires and a dinosaur with a monocle has become normal to the average citizen, and Jess the shapeshifting slug monster has no problems getting Tinder dates while proudly displaying her species on her page (some Fantastic Racism is to be expected, but nothing systemic).
  • Girl Genius: People in Europa (which is run, badly, by Sparks) live alongside robots ("clanks") and various "abominations of science," to varying degrees of acceptance. Under Baron Wulfenbach's Empire, "constructs" (often, but not limited to, patchwork reanimated people a la Frankenstein's Monster) are granted equal rights to people, though it's noted that in smaller towns, Fantastic Racism is in full effect.

    Web Original 
  • The Orion's Arm worldbuilding project includes every possible kind of being in a science fiction setting (genetically modified humans, uplifted animals, robots, cyborgs, sentient vehicles, etc.) co-existing in the same interstellar civilization.
  • Due to the Mega Crossover nature of the PPC, it is not exactly uncommon to see a protoss, an earth pony, and a World-1 human walking the same halls.

    Western Animation 
  • Magical creatures in American Dragon: Jake Long.
  • Toons again in Bonkers. The "human" characters were also animated, so they made them a bit more realistic and detailed than is standard for Disney fare, to make it easier to differentiate.
  • Family Guy features bipedal, sentient animals (such as deer or dogs) of human-like intelligence; who have (nearly) the same rights and privileges as humans (such as insurance policies). The main example would be Brian; who's allowed to drink alcohol, go to college, and even date human girls (a guy in the case of his cousin); all without anyone batting an eyelash. Usually. Sometimes the show treats Brian like a dog (conveniently ignoring the bipedalism and power of speech) when the plot calls for it. They even had Peter randomly shout "Ah! Talking dog!" before the break in one episode. In general, they go with whatever would be funnier in the circumstances.
  • The titular creatures of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
  • Aliens, robots, and other science-fictiony things in Futurama.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report