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Voodoo Shark

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Zoidberg: [underwater] My home, it burned down! How did this happen!?
Hermes: That's a very good question!
Bender: [picking up his still-lit cigar from the underwater ruins] So that's where I left my cigar. [puffs on it, blows a smoke ring]
Hermes: That just raises further questions!

The writers catch a particularly bad Plot Hole, but they have to leave it in because it's a critical part of the story. So the writers make an attempt to handwave this plot hole away, except the handwave itself is a Plot Hole. It might even make the initial Plot Hole even bigger. This plot hole in a plot hole is what we call a Voodoo Shark.

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Coined by Chuck Sonnenberg, the term refers to the novelization of Jaws: The Revenge where the eponymous shark seeks out and attacks the living relatives and friends of Martin Brody, following them all the way to the Bahamas. A voodoo curse had been placed on Martin and his family to explain how a shark understands the concept of revenge and how it's able to keep finding these people. What makes it the trope namer is that the writer doesn't bother to answer the question of why the voodoo curse was made in the first place, or any of the other countless questions that come to mind.

Similar to Dork Age but specific to an episode's plot device. Compare to Author's Saving Throw in that not only is it on a plot device level, and that the creative staff is able to catch it before the final product ever leaves for production, but also in that it tends to fail miserably. Compare also to Justified Trope, except a Voodoo Shark moment requires the justification to fall flat, inadequately justify, or otherwise simply fail so that suspension of disbelief remains lost. Also compare to It Runs on Nonsensoleum, in which an explanation like this is played for laughs instead of presented straight. Dan Browned can be considered similar, in that specific knowledge about the subject at hand causes the hand wave or attempt to justify the trope to fall apart. Can overlap with Misaimed "Realism", where attempts at making a game more realistic have unrealistic consequences.

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Not related to Jumping the Shark or Hollywood Voodoo. Compare Scully Syndrome, where a character in-universe will concoct ridiculous explanations for things, and Unscientific Science, which similarly attempts to spackle over questionable science and technology the same way the Voodoo Shark does for plot points.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • When talking about What Could Have Been with his run on the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog comic, several of former writer Ken Penders' explanations for the events in "Mobius: 25 Years Later" come off as only creating more plot holes than they fixed.
    • Locke's sickness and death was due to cancer he developed from a bad interaction with his self-experimentation to create Knuckles and the Master Emerald. If that's so, why doesn't Knuckles have cancer, even though he resulted from those same experiments?
    • Rotor's Word of Gay reveal would not have impacted his modern-day depiction; he would've only realized he was gay five years prior to the events of Mobius: 25 Years Later. After he was already married to a woman. Ignoring the fact that having Rotor only be gay in the future means nothing to the readers, having Rotor find out that he's gay so late in life, and during what's implied to be a long and fulfilling marriage, really strains the credibility of this reveal.
    • Also according to Penders, this was the significance of a bit in #157 where Eggman calls him "dear Rotor" and Sonic assumes this means Eggman knows something he doesn't. The implication from that is that Eggman is planning to blackmail Rotor... only that suggests that Rotor's homosexuality is blackmail material. So are the Freedom Fighters homophobic, then?
    • According to Penders' original idea: M:25YL is supposed to be the "true" future, and the one where Nicole came from, which doesn't really make that much sense. First of all, the story was built around time needing to be fixed to prevent The End of the World as We Know It, and Ken's run ended with Sonic going back in time to do just that. No way you can claim it to be the one true future, in that case. Second, unless Past Nicole was destroyed before the story started — and Word of God confirmed she wasn't — both Nicoles should exist at the same time. Thus, the two Nicoles should have the info they need to figure out what happened and how to fix it, but the story claims they don't. It was later retconned that Nicole comes from the same Alternate Universe that Eggman came from, and that the "X Years Later" Zone was a separate one from both of the others.
    • In Ian Flynn's follow-up, it was mandated that Shadow be the Big Bad, having conquered the world in Sonic's absence. The reason Shadow was able to do this already confused many, since there was never any explanation on Sonic's disappearance or subsequent reappearance other than time travel. But the fans were mostly wondering why a Shadow Archetype Byronic Hero like Shadow was suddenly a tyrant. The explanation was given in Mobius: 30 Years Later that Shadow was doing it for Maria. Unfortunately, this made just as little sense, since Maria's wish for Shadow was to give people a chance to be happy; Maria's words would really have to be contorted to justify Shadow's actions.
      • It was established that Sally married Shadow in this universe too. When Shadow is defeated, it's revealed that Sally still loved Sonic, and only married Shadow to try and tame him. How Sally thought marrying Shadow would placate his tyrannical ambition in the slightest is not explained.
    • When a World-Healing Wave de-roboticized everyone, a select few roboticized characters were untouched. Most of the explanations as to why made sense — Jules would die because the process would restore his old war wounds, and the Dragons weren't on the surface when it happened, and so missed the wave entirely. However, Bunnie's explanation repeated the same 'she replaced her old limbs' handwave from way back. Before all this, the wave undid Eggman and Sniveley's roboticization by giving them entirely new bodies. Why this happened for Eggman and Sniveley but not Bunnie goes unexplained.
  • Batman:
    • The biggest issue in the mythos, especially nowadays: why doesn't Batman just kill The Joker? Many answers have come forth, anything from Batman thinking that if he breaks his one rule he won't have the willpower to make himself stop killing all criminals (Ra's Al-Ghul is a madman Bats is definitely willing to kill to stop, but Ra's has the advantage of having access to Lazarus Pits so he won't stay dead) to Batman thinking that killing the Joker really isn't going to do anything to reduce crime in Gotham (someone just as bad if not worse will just appear, he thinks, but certain arcs make clear that even an Ancient Conspiracy like the Court of Owls has nothing on the Joker in terms of viciousness) to Commissioner Gordon enforcing Batman's decision and declaring that if he ever kills the Joker, Gordon will consider him just as mad-dog crazy as all of the other Gotham supercriminals and bring him down (the Joker is a very notorious Cop Killer) to Batman thinking that the decision to kill the Joker should only be in the hands of the law (New Jersey (where Gotham is sometimes said to be) is a state with no death penalty). Some arcs even provide a more supernatural explanation like Joker making people believe that he's a demon in Endgame and post-Rebirth it's been revealed that the Joker, if killed, will exude a variation of the Joker Toxin that will immediately turn whoever is in the vicinity into a virtual Joker clone (this is the origin of The Batman Who Laughs, even). In the end, the true reason is simple: Joker stories sell.
    • The toxin explanation itself has a few problems.
      • How does the Joker, who is never portrayed as anything more than a fairly smart and very dangerous Monster Clown, have the knowledge to create a neuro-toxin that can transform anyone into a perfect replica of himself and implement it into his heart? He's good with chemicals, sure, but this is pushing it pretty damnably far.
      • If the Joker has the ability to create a variant of the Joker Toxin that powerful, why would he only use it as a back-up plan in case he dies? Why not mass-produce the stuff and use it for another round of anarchy? Sure, they might betray him, but he's the Joker; about half his character is wrapped in the fact that he isn't about long-term planning or weighing the consequences.
      • Even with the explanation in place, what's stopping Batman from just killing him? Locking him in an air-tight chamber, lethal injection, explosions, there are plenty of methods that could allow The Joker to be killed while negating the danger of a toxin. Even just holding his breath may work, depending on what kind of toxin it is.
      • What about every other dangerous Bat-villain? Do they have similar countermeasures, or does Batman only need a reason to not kill the Joker? Mr. Zsasz comes to mind, as his entire character is based on him being a compulsive murderer responsible for hundreds of deaths. At least the Joker is sometimes more reasonable or less psychotic.
      • Perhaps most glaringly, how does Batman know any of this?
    • Batman fans were understandably outraged when Stephanie Brown, the fourth Robin was brutally Stuffed into the Fridge during Batman: War Games. Due to the backlash from fans, she was brought back several years later, with the reveal that she had faked her death and gone into hiding. Though most fans were willing to swallow a clumsy retcon in the name of Stephanie returning and Leslie Thompkins (who was changed from deliberately letting her die to orchestrating Steph's time in hiding) no longer being totally unlikeable, it still raised a few questions:
      • Why did she need to hide? It didn't seem like Black Mask cared enough to be hunting her down. If she needed time to recover, it'd probably be better to do it in a place with Batman's resources rather than the next continent over.
      • What reason was there to keep this hidden from everyone, including people like Tim and Cassandra who could definitely be trusted? (Well, barring certain Executive Meddling.)
      • Most glaringly: Stephanie's ghost showed up twice in the pages of Batgirl (2000), and was clearly more than a hallucination, giving Cassandra advice she couldn't possibly know!
    • When DC redesigned Batman's costume in the 90s for the Troika storyline, they decided to release a book called Knight Gallery, which showed off the various rejected concepts. However, to explain the book's existence further and offer a framing device, they offered the idea that Batman himself had created the artwork, and the reader was essentially looking at Batman's own concepts, facilitated by little notes in the margins supposedly by the man himself. Unfortunately, this results in most of the notes making very little sense, because the concepts are too finished to look like something Batman sketched up in a brainstorming session: for instance, he remarks on one fully-colored and inked illustration dripping with detail to "drop the shoulder spikes." It also makes very little sense that instead of refining the designs one at a time, all the designs seem to have been made from scratch. And on top of all that, why would Batman spend what looks like hours drawing, inking, and coloring dozens of costume designs that are almost completely cosmetic? Shouldn't he be, you know, stopping crimes?
  • Captain America:
    • Captain America's shield is described as being made of Vibranium, a material that's said to absorb all kinetic energy from impacts. If that were the case, it raises a host of physics problems: bullets should stop dead rather than ricochet off it, it shouldn't be able to actually hurt people by bashing them with it, and most damningly, it shouldn't be able to be moved at all, since moving an object imparts kinetic energy to it. That's fine; they've retconned the shield to be a vibranium/adamantium alloy rather than pure vibranium (the alloy being created via an unrepeatable accident). But then, how was the shield crafted in the first place, if the alloy would absorb and/or deflect any energies directed towards it?
    • Captain America's shield, after being broken to pieces in Fear Itself, is repaired by Tony Stark, adding the Asgardian metal Uru. This doesn't explain why a broken and repaired shield, with the addition of a metal known for its heaviness, would function just as well aerodynamically as before, not showing any change in weight when carried or thrown, especially if this is unenchanted Uru. And if the Uru is enchanted, because Tony Stark just knows how to work enchantments into it, then why leave the shield as it is without adding flying and laser beams (especially given that this is Tony Stark we're talking about)?
    • Captain America was famously frozen near the end of World War II after falling into the Atlantic Ocean, and was found decades later after Namor accidentally freed his body from a block of ice. This falls under Artistic License – Biology, with the handwaved explanation that the Super Serum in Cap's veins prevented him from freezing to death or drowning. John Ney Reiber and Chuck Austen apparently thought this was too unbelievable, and instead came up with a story revealing that Cap never fell into the ocean, and that he'd actually been put into cryogenic stasis by the government after being given Fake Memories from a virtual reality helmet. Rather than being found when the Sub-Mariner came across an Inuit tribe that was worshiping his body, he was instead found when Namor stumbled upon the abandoned lab where his stasis tube was being held. So apparently, the science behind the Super Serum allowing Cap to survive freezing temperatures was too far fetched, but the government having access to the advanced virtual technology required to recreate realistic fake memories in 1945 somehow wasn't? It also raises the question of why the government left Cap to rot in a derelict lab somewhere to begin with, when they clearly thought he was a valuable enough asset to warrant being kept alive and frozen in the first place.
  • There was the attempt to absolve the Incredible Hulk of any major charges for his rampages by arguing that, improbably, he's never killed anyone during them. Apparently Bruce is so concerned he might and also that intelligent, he subconsciously restrains the Hulk and calculates his actions so he never kills anyone.
  • The leadup to DC's Infinite Crisis revealed that the pocket paradise which Alexander Luthor had created for himself, Superman-2 and Superboy-Prime at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths was actually more of a Phantom Zone, sealed off from the rest of reality by a crystal wall which showed all the DCU's events in real time. The crisis proper started when Superboy-Prime, disgusted by recent events, punched the wall in frustration, shattering it and freeing himself and the others to try creating a Merged Reality, whether it wanted remaking or not. This would have worked eminently well as an allegorical image, but Word of God stated that the wall was an actual physical representation of the DCU's timeline, and used the damage caused by Superboy's punch as a catch-all handwave to explain away some of the event's less explainable facts, most notably "dead Robin" Jason Todd suddenly waking up in his grave and Maxwell Lord's completely-out-of-nowhere Face–Heel Turn. The fans were neither convinced nor amused, and "SUPERBOY PUNCHED TIME!" became something of a rallying cry. Since then, the editorial staff seems to have realized its mistake, and has been at pains to re-retcon some of it. For example, lines from the Batman & Robin title strongly suggest that Todd's body was actually rejuvenated in a Lazarus Pit, which makes for a far more palatable explanation. The single comic book issue devoted to explaining this stated that Jason Todd's mind was rejuvenated by a Lazarus Pit... after Superboy-Prime punched him back to life. Later stories seem to have quietly dropped the Superboy part.
  • JLA: Act of God: Every explanation or handwave as to why this group of heroes was affected by The Black Wave or where this group went just generated more questions (without really answering the first one). The technological heroes are still active, so why did Kyle Rayner's Green Lantern ring, Atom's shrinking rig and Steel's armor stop working (And why did Steel's armor start working again)? Why did the Black Wave affect heroes of extra-normal origin (like Superman, Aquaman, Starfire or Martian Manhunter), since they had no metagene to neutralize? The magic heroes suddenly vanished. So how are Wonder Woman (empowered by the Greek Gods) Billy Batson (Captain Marvel is explicitly magic-powered), the Linda Danvers Supergirl (an earthborn angel) and Red Tornado (at the time was an Air Elemental) still around? Also, the answer the comic all but states ("God did it") comes with it's own questions. Namely A) Why? B) If this, indeed, some sort of punishment for metahuman arrogance, why then allow them to pick up where they left off with technology? Is throwing tanks around in power armor that less likely to feed arrogance than genetics or magic? C) Why allow them to truly start over via Superman and Wonder Woman's son?
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes comics were fairly notorious for Monochrome Casting and Humans Are White, with the common joke being that the team had more blue people on it than black, and even crowd shots often being edited to remove black people. In the 70s, it was revealed that this was because... all the black people on Earth had become racial separatists, and now lived on an island off the African coast that occasionally vanishes entirely. On top of being staggeringly racist (Mike Grell even had a Writer Revolt over it), it raised countless questions. How did the entire black population of Earth become racial separatists, a viewpoint controversial even then? Did Earth become so racist at some point that even native Africans wanted to leave their homelands? Why are black people still the biggest prejudice target when aliens are walking around? How can this one island support a billion-plus black population? Why didn't they just colonize another planet? Pretty much every writer since has completely ignored the idea, and for good reason.
  • The Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty graphic novel has to explain Liquid's repeated spiritual possession of Ocelot, which goes unexplained in the original game. The comic does some scenes from Ocelot's point of view, showing him having visions of The Sorrow, a spirit medium from the next game, and Ocelot's biological father. Readers may assume that this implies Ocelot unknowingly inherited spirit medium powers from his father, which was and still is the common fan theory... except later Snake corners Liquid to ask him how he's able to possess Ocelot and Liquid states that it's because of powers he inherited from his father, stating that Solid is not in command of the true magic built into Big Boss's soldier genes. Due to the nature of the series it perhaps should be clarified that the ability to possess things through his body parts was never, ever shown as being one of Big Boss's abilities.
  • The Mickey Mouse comic "Topolino e il mostro di Micetown". Basically: near the end of the story, the villain has used his transformation machine to turn into a duplicate of Mickey. Due to the way the transformation process works, the villain will change back within a few seconds, at which point the original Mickey will be disintegrated. However, the transformation machine then simply explodes for no reason, which saves Mickey. He later tries to explain that the machine became "confused" because he and the villain looked exactly alike, which is an explanation that makes no sense in any way (for one, the machine's express purpose is to make two things look exactly alike, so why doesn't it explode with every use?).
  • The 2017 Runaways series insists that it's only been two years since the death of Gert, which happened over a decade ago in the real world. It might have been feasible to reconcile this with the Comic-Book Time, except that the Runaways have participated in a number of Marvel events in the years since, raising the question of if all those events, some of which destroyed whole cities, all happened within a two-year span.
  • There was a time where writers kept trying to explain the famously fan-service laden Power Girl costume. The resultant explanations were almost invariably absurd, the most infamous being the claim that she left the "boob window" on her outfit with the intention of putting a Superman logo there once she got his permission (if it was such a big deal, why not just put some normal cloth there and patch the logo over it later?). The worst part about is the completely unnecessary nature of the answer; Power Girl could just like the costume design.
  • Spider-Man: Aunt May's return from the dead in late 1998's "The Gathering of Five/The Final Chapter" storyline deserves a mention here. For easier reading, we'll list the sequence of events leading up to the Voodoo Shark moment in numbered order.
    1. Aunt May was in a coma. She awoke, eventually, and shared many anecdotes and heartwarming moments with Peter and Mary Jane, and congratulated Mary Jane on her pregnancy. She even admitted that she had known that Peter was Spider-Man for some time, because Peter couldn't have lived under her roof for so long without her at least seeing the signs. She was in denial for quite a while.
    2. In Amazing Spider-Man #400, Aunt May suffered a relapse, and passed away peacefully in bed. Peter held her hand as she passed away, reciting their favorite passage from Peter Pan: "second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning". At May's funeral, she was buried next to Uncle Ben, with her gravestone reading "SHE TAUGHT US LOVE." To many fans, this was seen as a well-done Tear Jerker moment, and a good send-off for the character.
    3. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras insisted that Aunt May be brought back from the dead. It didn't matter that Aunt May's death was handled just fine in the eyes of many, it didn't matter how much of a Tear Jerker it was, it didn't matter that there was a funeral, and it didn't matter that the characters had moved on. Harras was the boss, and his word was law.
    4. Thus, the Voodoo Shark moment. In 1998's "The Final Chapter", Spider-Man enters Norman Osborn's house, only to find Aunt May alive and well, waiting for him. Norman Osborn explains that he switched Aunt May with an actress engineered to be identical to Aunt May, who spent a long time practicing her mannerisms until they were identical. It was this actress who died in ASM #400.
    5. This led to several questions. For one, how could this actress be so good as to fool Peter Parker? Aunt May was practically his mother. They lived under the same roof together, and Peter would have known something was wrong; even if his Spider-Sense somehow didn't activate, this actress couldn't possibly keep up the act forever. Second, just when was this "switch" made? How could this actress have practiced Aunt May's mannerisms, and become so good, when the real Aunt May was in a coma? Third, why in the world would this actress stay in character even when she was dying? Osborn claimed she saw it as "the performance of a lifetime," but you'd think such an apparent maestro would want (and be able to qualify for) an actual acting role, not impersonating some random old lady unknown outside of her own family. Fourth, where and how did Norman find this absolute savant? Fifth, if Norman wanted to emotionally torture Peter by making him think his surrogate mom died, why not just kill her? The books never provided any answers, and just moved on from there without addressing it any further.
    • Also in One Moment in Time, Quesada claims that One More Day was retconned out of continuity and Mephisto never made a deal with the Parkers — so he never saved Aunt May; she got better thanks to Peter's love and determination. After everyone up to God himself told Peter that May was as good as dead.
      • Similarly, when Aunt May gets shot, the comic decides to fill the plot hole of Peter having people that could heal Aunt May by having Doctor Strange give Peter the power to be in all places at once, allowing Peter to ask everyone for help, but is unable to get any assistance. This is quite a plot hole: how can no one in the Marvel universe fix a bullet wound other than Mephisto? Doctor Strange can grant Peter omnipresence with a flick of his wrist, but he couldn't heal a bullet wound? Doctor Strange himself is a surgeon; is using magic to help Peter really so much less intensive than just doing surgery?
      • Also, why is continuity altered? Because of Peter's deal with Mephisto? So Mephisto undid his own deal as part of the deal? That seems ... self-defeating.
    • Mention must also be made of the return of the clones to kick off The Clone Saga:
      1. In 1992, during the Evolutionary War Crisis Crossover, The High Evolutionary kidnapped the Gwen Stacy clone, hoping to figure out how her creator, an otherwise ordinary college biology professor, could pull off a scientific miracle like making virtually-instant, viable, fully-grown clones.
      2. He discovered that Prof. Warren didn't, in fact, clone Stacy or Spider-Man: He used a retro-virus on two innocents with similar phenotypes to Peter and Gwen and used it to overwrite their DNA and turn them into virtual clones. This is pretty much confirmed when one of the Young Gods (an obscure group of uplifted humans from different cultures and time periods Marvel attempted to resurrect) removed the virus from the Stacy clone, turning her back into the woman she used to be. No more Gwen Stacy.note  A later issue of Web of Spider Man explains that recurring villain Carrion was the result of a variant of the virus that went bad, becoming The Virus.
      3. Along comes the Clone Saga, where all that gets tossed out the window. Not only are the clones back (including the presumed dead Spider-Clone), but the Gwen Stacy clone has reverted to being Stacy again, and complaining about how that Young God tried to turn her into someone else. How? The High Evolutionary lied about the retro-virus out of jealousy. Turns out he and Miles Warren (AKA The Jackal) were colleagues, once upon a time, and he couldn't stand the fact that Warren figured out the holy grail of biology when he, with all his other accomplishments, couldn't.
      4. So... Why didn't he just admit defeat at first? He'd never shown that kind of Dr. Doom-like ego before. Or why didn't he study Gwen longer to try cracking the code? And why would the Young Gods go along with the lie? And how could she revert from the Stacy clone if there were no virus (and how did she change back to Stacy)? And to muddy the waters further, the "Carrion as The Virus" retcon was kept, explaining that the retro-virus was real, just a side project of Warren's.
      • The whole mess was the result of Science Marching On: In the years after the original Clone Saga, scientific research indicated that human cloning wasn't possible and so the retro-virus retcon was meant to cover for that. But then Science Marched On again and human cloning was back in the realm of possibility, making the retcon completely unnecessary. Not that it was necessary to begin with—was scientific accuracy really that important in a story that stars people with radioactive spider powers?
    • Speaking of the Clone Saga, it turns out that Peter was the clone and Ben the original. A ballsy move, and one the writers eventually decided to undo by explaining that the genetic tests had been rigged... somehow... even though Peter and Ben did the tests themselves. The rigging was done by a friend of Peter's, who turned out to be, with no plausible motive, working for the long-dead Norman Osborn, who was alive with no satisfactory explanation given. The whole thing just degenerated into a mess of Voodoo Sharks. Of course ignoring the obvious solution is that the labels just got mixed up.
  • The biggest Voodoo Sharks in The DCU might be some of the explanations of Superman's Clark Kenting. Modern stories tend to use fairly sensible reasons (he disguises himself in more subtle ways like posture or voice, he's created various alibis that "prove" Clark and Superman are different people, most people don't assume Superman has a secret identity). But for a brief while in the Bronze Age, it was canon that Superman's nearly Paper-Thin Disguise worked despite all the close calls because he also had a "super-hypnosis" power that prevented anyone from noticing Clark Kent's resemblance to Superman. This depended on his glasses, which were made out of pieces of his Kryptonian spaceship; in one comic Lois Lane saw Clark Kent in a suit and no glasses and assumed it was Superman trying futilely to disguise himself as Clark. Fine, fair enough, Superman does lots of things superhumanly well due to his speed and intellect and they're all called separate superpowers. But this just raises more questions, like why does a wig work as a disguise for Supergirl? Why does this disguise work over television? Also, there are many stories where Batman and Superman dress as each other. Does Batman have Bat-hypnosis? And why doesn't Superman use his hypnosis in more obvious ways, like hypnotizing villains to stop being evil?note 
    • Pretty much any explanation of the source of Superman's powers falls into this, bar maybe the original one of Evolutionary Levels. For much of the Golden Age, he was explained as a Heavy Worlder, with Krypton's high gravity being the source of his power... but that only explains maybe his Super Strength, and even then, Krypton would have to be bigger than any planet we've ever seen to explain the level that his strength is usually at. This was changed to him being powered by yellow sunlight, which explains where his other powers come from, but even then, the stuff he routinely accomplishes should require a lot more energy than any amount of solar radiation could provide. Plenty of writers combine the two explanations, which does alleviate some of their issues by combining the powerboosts, but that opens the hole of why red sun radiation totally depowers him when it should simply bring him down to being a Heavy Worlder.
  • Transformers:
    • In IDW's Transformers reboot comics, Simon Furman felt that there should be some kind of explanation as to how the whole gender thing worked for the Transformers. The explanation given (Arcee was formerly "male", until Jhiaxus genetically modified her to have female gender) comes off as a little strange, raises massive Fridge Logic issues concerning the Transformers portrayal as living beings, and inadvertently causes some serious Unfortunate Implications. Ultimately it seems that the only impact this explanation had on the IDW-verse as a whole was preventing all the female Transformers other than Arcee from appearing, leading to later writers more or less providing an "out" to excuse natural female Transformers and than quietly ignoring the Arcee explanation. Not to mention it didn't delve into how reproduction works for Transformers, something that is directly linked to the whole gender issue, forcing a later writer to work it out.
    • Marvel's The Transformers featured a good number of these, due to being Merchandise-Driven and advertising an increasingly gimmicky toyline, but the pinnacle would likely be the Pretenders. In the toyline, Pretenders were simple hollow action figures of armored humans and monsters that could pop open to reveal a simple Transformer. This was interpreted by the comic writer into being a fifty-foot organic shell resembling a human or a monster, which contained a regular-sized robot controlling the shell like a sort of reverse mechsuit. But then why are they called "Pretenders"; what could they possibly pretend to be? This was explained in a storyline where Arc Villain Scorponok inexplicably decides that his army needs subterfuge (something he'd never needed before), and rather than simply having his troops take on new altmodes, he designed the entire process (despite having no prior scientific inclination) and subjected six previously-unseen troops to it. He claimed that, under their new guises, their identities as Decepticon soldiers would remain concealed—because apparently, a giant weapon-wielding monster is completely inconspicuous. Then, when the Autobots get sent info explaining the process, they reverse-engineer the process to create their own Pretenders, for no apparent reason. Keep in mind, size-changing technology was pretty common in the series, so there was no reason to make the Pretenders giant to begin with and they could have easily just been a way to hide as humans (indeed, that was the route Transformers: Super-God Masterforce went with).
    • The Beast Wars toyline featured two characters named Prowl, one an owl and the other a lion who was part of a combiner. Much later, the Beast Wars Sourcebook claimed that the lion was the same guy as G1 Prowl, since he was on a team with guys named Ironhide and Silverbolt. Okay, fair enough, but the owl Prowl was the one who had a very similar bio to G1 Prowl, looked a little similar, had the same motto and function, and even "believed himself to have been a great military strategist in a former life." To reconcile this, the Sourcebook claimed that this Prowl was actually Prowl II, a clone of Prowl who originated from the Japanese series Binaltech. Except Binaltech can't canonically lead into Beast Wars; it's explicitly an alternate timeline. And even if it could by Broad Strokes, by the end of it, Prowl II was effectively dead. The whole thing became one of the longest-running Continuity Snarls in Transformers, until it finally got a patch job in "Ask Vector Prime" as the Binaltech Prowl having hopped universes and recreated Prowl II.
    • The fandom's equivalent to "Superboy punched time!" would be the Unicron Singularity, a Negative Space Wedgie caused by Unicron's death. This served as a Cosmic Retcon intended to explain a variety of things, most notably why Transformers Cybertron is so different from the shows it was meant as a sequel to (the actual reason being that it was a Dolled-Up Installment). Most fans found the whole thing fairly baffling, especially given the many snarls that resulted from this. For example, combination in Cybertron is treated as an unheard-of innovation, when nearly every Autobot in Transformers Energon had some form of combining ability. What the heck did Energon look like with no combining involved? And if Cybertron isn't a sequel to Energon, but instead some unseen parallel version of Energon that happened without its central gimmick, then why bother calling it a sequel at all? Later material to involve the Singularity realized this and tended to use it as a joke; one thoroughly tongue-in-cheek story claimed that Off-Model animation is the result of the Unicron Singularity.
    • The "multiversal singularity" conceit, a concept going on during a period when Hasbro was attempting to focus on the Thirteen, was pretty infamous for creating these, to the point that it ended up getting erased by Cosmic Retcon. The idea is that certain characters have only one version of them who exists in any universe—so for instance, the Sideways who pops up in the Unicron Trilogy is the same guy as the one who pops up in Robotmasters. Also, the Thirteen, a cast meant to be major figures in the lore, were all treated as such. Sensible enough on paper... but it quickly created a ton of problems, with the most infamous being what happened with The Fallen when he appeared in the second live-action movie. He's clearly not the same guy as the one in his first appearance in the comic series The War Within, and moreover, he dies at the end of the movie. When asked if they were the same guy, Hasbro confirmed this was true, and The Fallen's bizarre multidimensional powers meant that dying wasn't really a problem for him. However, this raised the problem that he also loses in the various adaptations, retellings, bios, and other merch connected to the film, including a "young reader" adaptation where Optimus casually throws the guy into space, and each one of these is meant to be its own universe. This created the situation where an interdimensional dictator with vast unholy powers apparently traveled to dozens of worlds to attempt the exact same scheme over and over, and failed every single time. What a loser.
  • West Coast Avengers had an awkward storyline in which Mockingbird allowed the Phantom Rider to die because he had drugged her into loving and sleeping with him. Things became more awkward in the Mockingbird solo series, the final issue of which seemingly implied that Mockingbird and the Phantom Rider's relationship was consensual, which contradicts absolutely everything that we had been previously shown, and raises the unfortunate implication that Mockingbird had cheated on her husband with a man who she then killed for... some reason (to cover up the affair?) while lying and saying that it was because he had brainwashed and raped her.
  • Marvel again: The retcon that adamantium caused lead-like blood poisoning. Given adamantium's stated properties, its allergenic properties should be more like titanium than lead (i.e. should not cause a universal reaction). It was stated that Wolverine and Sabretooth's healing factors could deal with the blood poisoning.note  It was assumed that adamantium-bearing bad guys Lady Deathstrike and Cyber, being cyborgs, had some sort of artificial mojo to deal with it. Which left the otherwise normal Bullseye, who had adamantium-laced bones, and had neither a healing factor nor cyborg parts to explain why he hadn't keeled over with blood poisoning. Rather than answer the question, they eventually stripped the adamantium from Bullseye.
    • According to Daredevil #197, the process that was performed on Wolverine was done using incomplete notes, hence forcing a need for Wolverine's healing factor to keep him alive, while Bullseye's process was done by the originator of the method, which did it 'properly' and hence Bullseye does not need a healing factor. What keeps this in Voodoo Shark territory is that the process was performed to let Bullseye move again after he suffered a severe spinal injury that paralyzed him, and if they removed the adamantium, HOW DID BULLSEYE SUDDENLY MAGICALLY HEAL HIS BROKEN BACK?
  • There is a common fan explanation that Secondary Adamantium (not quite, but still nigh–indestructible, with the added benefit that this makes it much easier to produce and therefore much more common) does not cause blood poisoning, allowing for Bullseye's spine to be made from that. (Also provides a potential explanation for Wolverine's Power Creep, Power Seep if his second adamantium skeleton is secondary adamantium, allowing his healing factor to focus on other things.)
    • Secondary VS: Adamantium is very heavy (Wolverine is 5' 2" and 300+ lbs with adamantium attached.) How was the otherwise un-enhanced Bullseye able to move at his normal speed after receiving the treatment?
    • Wolverine and related characters have another one that sprung up in the late 2000s, which tried to maintain some tension when Wolverine can heal from pretty much anything — Wolverine, and by extension Sabretooth, Daken, X-23 and everyone else in that "family" of characters, will die from drowning. The explanation is that, if their brains are cut off from oxygen long enough, they die like anyone else, which also explains why beheading would kill them. Okay, so... how about just shooting their lungs into oblivion so by the time they regenerate, the brain is dead? How about an explosion that destroys the lungs and airways? How about brain damage that stops the body from breathing? How about all those times the characters are functionally dead and walk it off? Basically this means you could kill one of these guys the same as any other person as long as your method involves depriving the person of air or fucking up their lungs bad enough. The comics have largely ignored these possibilities and maintained the whole "beheading or drowning is the only way" idea.

    Fan Works 
  • In Boys und Sensha-do!, it is stated that sensha-do uses simuniton (which comes up as the reason why Miho survived getting directly hit by a round), since it's dangerous enough without live ammunition, but this does not match some of the effects the tank rounds have when striking things other than tanks.
  • In Chatoverse Conversion Bureau, Earth and Equestria are established early on as being governed by differing physics models, with Equestria and every other known alternate reality being permeated by a force which destroys any Earthly technology it effects. Early on the reason is given that Equestrian physics breaks terrestrial quantum mechanics, which underlies both biology and the advanced technologies of the world. The details are further elaborated upon in Recombinant 63: A Conversion Bureau Story, in which it is revealed that the Equestrian reality is completely and utterly divorced from that of Earth, to the point that its matter is composed of entirely different fundamental particles. Despite being intended to explain the differences between the two worlds, it actually raises questions as to how the two dimensions are able to interact at all.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Subverted: when Bulma asks her mother why she never seems to age, she replies that Dr. Briefs won't let her, which seems to play this trope straight at first. The subversion comes later when we discover that Dr. Briefs keeps cloning his wife to keep her young.
    • When Goku randomly reads Krillin's mind, his only explanation for when he was able to do that is "Muffin Button!", the joke being that it makes about as much sense as the canon explanation. (The canon explanation being that he somehow acquired the ability while training in high gravity.)
  • For an In-Universe example, there's Equestria: A History Revealed. Lemony Narrator Loose Change often tries to justify her insane conspiracy theories, all of which revolve around Princess Celestia being a secret evil overlord. This is in spite of Celestia clearly being the Big Good of the setting and a benevolent monarch with a 100% Adoration Rating. The whole premise of the fic is Loose Change clearly twisting the facts to suit her own purposes, often relying on tremendous leaps in logic in order to make them fit. Loose Change even has some kind of self-awareness, often pointing out the glaring plot holes before handwaving it off with something even more questionable.
    • In one of the chapters, Loose Change tries to explain the question of Starswirl's place in the timeline, as he was recorded to live in two different time periods centuries apart. Loose Change says that Starswirl had a son, also named Starswirl the Bearded. But then this is complicated by the fact that she brings up that Starswirl specifically said he was infertile. So instead, Loose Change handwaves the problem away by saying Starswirl traveled back in time to create a time clone of himself who he then adopted as his son. She then ends the chapter by saying that this is a totally reasonable explanation, and that questioning her makes anyone who does a moron.
  • Many FiM fanfictions, dissatisfied with the apparently geocentric model of Equestria, try to explain Celestia and Luna's powers with "more realistic" scenarios, such as them actually rotating the planet with their powers rather than moving the sun and moon. Invariably this causes epic levels of Fridge Logic to kick in as the reader realizes that it would involve ridiculous levels of God Mode power, cause epic worldwide catastrophes every time the sun was raised, or violates show canon all up and down the line— and usually all three.
  • My Immortal's author's notes often "explain" plot holes with bizarre nonsense.
    • Particularly amusing is Tara (the author) apparently being under the impression that Snape hating Harry is a deviation from canon and explaining it thus: "da reson snap dosent lik harry now is coz hes christian and vampire is a satanist". Of course, Snape does hate Harry in the actual series and there was already a canon (and completely reasonable) explanation.
    • The main character, Ebony, is in the Slytherin house to fit with her gothic persona (since canonically, Slytherin is the most sinister of the houses) and Tara wanted Harry, Hermione, and the Weasley siblings to be in the same house as Ebony even though they're canonically in Gryffindor, so she explained the house-swapping as a result of the canon characters turning evil, but seeing as Ebony is fighting against the bad guys, why would she hang out with them if they were evil.
  • The Nuptialverse has a self-admitted example: In a flashback, Twilight explains to Spike that it's impossible for ponies to shapeshift anything. This was meant to explain away why it never occurred to Twilight that the Cadance who didn't recognize her was an impostor and why the shapeshifting was a uniquely changeling trait. However, it was pointed out that Twilight has shapeshifted several things in the show proper. The author has since rewritten it to state that shapeshifting one sapient being to another takes a load of magic, more than many can use, making it impractical for a pony to disguise herself as such.
  • A semi in-universe example occurs in the fourth episode of Peeking Through the Fourth Wall (a fanfic where characters from The Loud House mock their fanfiction) reading the fanfic Road Trip Rage where Lincoln suggests two explanations for his sisters in the story not acknowledging his absence, but neither is satisfactory. It could have been an accident, but then how come they were so oblivious? Or they could've done it on purpose to nab his seat in the car... but none of them did. Lucy also offers an explanation for why Lincoln is acting as though they reached the park when the restrooms were behind the van so logically they should be in front if they were going back from the park (they spent their day at the park and went in a circle), but that makes even less sense, because how could they have gone that far without noticing Lincoln was gone?
  • In The Prayer Warriors, Jerry suddenly learns about the presence of a traitor in the Prayer Warriors during his first fight with Percy Jackson, but doesn't know who it is. It is later revealed that God told Jerry this in a parenthetical note, but not only is it said to have taken place before Percy's attack, God never mentioned the identity of the traitor.
    • Later on, Grover's multiple deaths and returns (he is killed three times in "The Evil Gods Part I" alone) are said to be because he is often being cloned. No such explanation is given for all the other characters who died and came back multiple times.
  • In The Loud House fanfiction Singled Out (no relation to the episode), Lola's uncharacteristically evil behaviour is explained away by a reveal that she's Satan, but that just raises more questions:
    • Doesn't Satan have better things to do than take the form of a random six-year-old girl to be a pain in the neck to an equally-random eleven-year-old boy?
    • Lucy apparently knew Lola was Satan and how to vanquish her/him, so why didn't she do it sooner? Also, Lola blackmails Lucy with knowledge that she practised dark magic, so couldn't Lucy just as easily blackmail Lola with knowledge that she's the devil?
    • Lola/Satan implanted Bobby's dad, his servants, and Hugh, with microchips to control their actions, starting with the episode "Study Muffin" that happened way before the events of the fanfiction, but her reasons for doing so were related to the "war" that happened in the fanfiction, which doesn't add up. Also, if Lola had Satanic powers (which could explain Lisa's reasons for going along with it), why use microchips?
    • Was Lola a normal girl who was corrupted by Satan, or did Rita (her mother) give birth to a normal girl (Lana) and Satan at the same time?
  • While the rewrite of Sonic X: Dark Chaos does a great job of filling the numerous plot holes in the original, a few explanations do fit this trope.
    • If Tsali is so powerful, why didn't he just kill Sonic and his friends in the very first chapter? It's because Maledict was monitoring him and ordering him not to. But this turns into a plot hole because Tsali can still resist and defy Maledict - which exactly what he does later as they animosity between them grows. Downplayed later on, as it's revealed that Tsali is terrified of pissing off Satan (and for good reason) and when he ignores Maledict and decides to attack the Blue Typhoon in Episode 73, he fully expects to be harshly punished for it... but he decides killing Cosmo and Sonic is worth it and doesn't care anymore.
    • Exposure to Dark Chaos Energy is established to be able to rapidly evolve Shroud parasites. Despite this, during his fight with Dark Tails in Episode 69, Tails does not lose control and mutate into Shroud Tails. This is explained later on - Tails has to directly absorb Dark Chaos Energy to mutate. However, this doesn't explain his first mutation in Episode 67...when he wasn't exposed to any energy at all. This is handwaved later on that the transformation in Episode 67 was an angry "spasm" rather than a full evolution, but it's not much better.
  • In Transplanted Character Fic Tales of Attornia, chapter 8, Phoenix gets attacked by a dragon and Maya enters Super Mode to protect Phoenix and effortlessly kills the dragon. When asked why she didn't use it earlier when Phoenix was trying to hunt her down she claims that overusing her Super Mode can kill her. What makes this handwave fail is that, in battle in question, Maya was completely screwed and she knew it. Phoenix had her already defeated, ready to kill her, and the only reason she's alive was that she accidentally mentioned Mia, who was her sister and Phoenix's mentor, and because of that Phoenix changed his plans to take her alive instead. Until that point it was basically a choice between certain death and possible death, and Maya choosing the former comes across as Too Dumb to Live.
  • Lampshaded in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, when the supposed ghost of Kaiba turns into a... gay clown, or something. This is meant to poke fun at an edit done by 4Kids' Macekred dub; in the original version, the "clown" is simply a master of disguise hired by Pegasus to eliminate players unfortunate enough to cross with him. In the 4Kids version, he actually is Kaiba's evil side brought back from another dimension.
    Gay Clown: Actually, I'm not a clown. I'm Seto Kaiba's evil side brought back from the Shadow Realm by Pegasus
    Yami: That's even less believable than the whole ghost story! You don't even know what you are, do you?
    Gay Clown: No...
    Yami: Didn't think so. MIND CRUSH!
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    Films — Animation 
  • Bambi has one in form of how fast the characters age. The original movie implies that the Spring after Bambi's Mother died is the immediate Spring afterward, making it rather strange that Bambi has suddenly undergone a big growth spurt when we had last seen him as a scrawny fawn (to say nothing of how Bambi should have already been close to that large by winter if real life deer aging is taken into account). At least one of the Dell Comic adaptations of the first movie, as well as the midquel movie, tries to Hand Wave this by stating that the spring we see Yearling Bambi in is actually takes place a year after that fateful winter and isn't the immediate spring, which gives a much more plausible length of time for Bambi to grow so much. But then another Disney comic adaptation also stated that it was the immediate spring and not a later one. And then the Dell Comic book adaptation of Bambi's Children throws a wrench into all of this by having the eponymous fawns abruptly shown grown up after winter via a Time Skip—but this time, the narration explicitly points out that it's the immediate spring and not a later one!
  • Despicable Me heavily implies (although never outright states) that Gru created the Minions, since we see a "blueprint" of a Minion in the background of a shot of Gru's lab. However, when it came time to do a spinoff featuring the Minions, that was understandably too restrictive, so the Minions instead became creatures that existed since the dawn of time to serve evil. Of course, that leads to some very awkward questions - not least, did Hitler have Minions? So instead, the Minions became depressed after the defeat of Napoléon Bonaparte and hid in a cave for 150 years, conveniently avoiding the horrors of the 19th and 20th centuries until they pop out...er, at the height of the Cold War. An awkward handwave to deal with an awkward handwave, but probably better than the alternative. Still leaves quite the Inferred Holocaust on the Minions' hands, though.
    • Another Voodoo Shark is that the Minions movie mentions the minions always follow the most evil creature they can. Seeing as Gru suffers heavy In-Universe Villain Decay starting from the first movie, which only gets exacerbated in the second (at least in the first movie he was trying to commit an act of supervillainy. In the second he's actively working against villains), it makes one wonder why the Minions bother to keep following him at all instead of changing their allegiance to another, more competent villain. However, in the third movie, the Minions finally ditch Gru because they wish to be villains again. It doesn't stick.....but in the long run, they go to work for his brother, Dru.
  • In Felix the Cat: The Movie, The Duke of Zill, the ruler of an alternate dimension Felix travels into, based his giant Master Cylinder off of the one in Felix's dimension to serve as his ultimate weapon and the source of power for his mass-produced cylinder army. The movies tries to handwave how this is possible by showing the Duke's blueprints, which have a comparison chart between the main universe's Master Cylinder and Zill's take on him, but this opens up a big Plot Hole—the Duke didn't have access to the Dimensporter technology that allowed Felix to travel into the dimension, so how could he have possibly known about or seen the Master Cylinder in Felix's universe? It's particularly glaring as the writers could have just as easily not had an alternate universe at all and, if they even felt the need to explain "Oriana" in the first place, simply had it be a different country which Felix traveled to.
    The Nostalgia Critic: Why the fuck did we have a different dimension in this movie?! Why couldn't Felix just be in Oriana, the strange world? He's already strange; he's a talking cat! It's not like the real world meets something odd and whimsical. IT'S WEIRD-ASS SHIT MEETING WEIRD-ASS SHIT! So this plot point has no purpose! It's just wasting time, something you'll find this movie is very, very good at!
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Big Bad Sunset Shimmer has inexplicable knowledge about how taking the Element of Magic to the other world would be useful to her Evil Plan despite it only being recently rediscovered. The Fall of Sunset Shimmer comic explains this by showing her finding notes revealing the other world, presumably including that info or enough for her deduce this. This only raises the question of how whom wrote the notes knew it would effect the Element, as it was only in the possession of the Princesses who state they never went to the other world.
  • The Unshaved Mouse refers to Pocahontas suddenly being able to communicate in English with John Smith after listening to the wind with this exact term linked to this very page. He did it again in his Atlantis: The Lost Empire review, when he called out the movie's explanation of the Atlanteans' ability to speak surface languages as Atlantean is the root of every modern language, which means they can automatically speak English. If you don't know why this is complete bullshit, consider the fact that even Old English is nothing like the modern language, and knowing one will not help you understand the other.
  • The Nostalgia Critic complains in his Quest for Camelot review about trees and plants in a forest becoming animate during a musical number. During one of his "Fuck-Ups" videos, he says that a frequent user response was that the forest was enchanted. He points out that this just raises more questions. He also points out that some of the movie's other "explanations" (like Ruber getting the potion from some unseen witches who are only mentioned once) fall into this trope.

    Folklore 
  • In Inanna's Descent to the Netherworld, Ereshkigal's first husband, Gugalana, has been killed off by Gilgamesh and Enkidu in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Ereshkigal is mourning for him and gets to keep Inanna's husband Dumuzi for six months of the year, as Laser-Guided Karma for her trying to steal Gugalana and getting him killed in the first place. OK...but Ereshkigal is the goddess of death and the underworld. Shouldn't Gugalana be down there with her? One theory among people who have studied the myths is that Ereshkigal is merely the gatekeeper and cannot go into death itself to find him, though not enough of the original myth survives to confirm this.

    Literature 
  • Animorphs:
    • Morphing heals you, since it's based on DNA. So why didn't Elfangor just morph and demorph to heal his injuries? In The Andalite Chronicles he claims he was "too weak to morph," but he had enough strength to give a multi-chapter Info Dump and a token fight before Visser Three killed him, and the Animorphs have frequently managed to morph under more dire conditions. This is chalked up to Early Installment Weirdness, as K. A. Applegate freely admitted that she forgot about or changed aspects from the earlier books.
    • This provides a case in point: in Megamorphs #2: In the Time of the Dinosaurs Tobias gets his wing broken. He tries morphing and demorphing, but his wing is still broken, so apparently only your morphs heal that way and not your regular body. Except that in Megamorphs #1, Rachel specifically mentions how the scratches and scrapes on her human body are healed after she de-morphed. Another explanation suggests that morphing can't heal them when they're Time Traveling, but there's no reason for that to be the case.
  • In the beginning of the novelization of Back to the Future, unlike the movie, Doc says he got the idea for the time machine by having a dream about the DeLorean many years ago. But then this implies that he would have inspired the DeLorean Motor Company, and not the other way around, and raises questions about how that interaction would have worked.
  • The Cold Equations, to necessitate its infamous events, claims that the ship is so stripped-down and minimalistic that it only has enough fuel to carry one person and some supplies on the journey, and therefore the only option is to kill the second person. Ignoring the massive amount of No OSHA Compliance involved in this, descriptions of the ship suggest that not only is it a lot more spacious than such a statement would imply (an airlock, a closet large enough to hold one person), but it's got quite a few things that could be thrown out the airlock instead, including a chair.
  • In the later Enderverse books, it's strongly implied that the "two-children-per-couple" rule was specifically created by the founders of the One World Order as a Batman Gambit; such an obviously oppressive measure would provoke dissatisfaction such that the OWG would dissolve almost immediately once the existential threat to humanity was dealt with. Except what government do you know would intentionally install a mechanism to destroy it in the future? And if the government felt it necessary to dissolve after the threat was dealt with, why would it need a Batman Gambit in the first place?
  • The first Goosebumps book Welcome To Dead House has a pretty big one: the whole town consists of undead, who are destroyed by sunlight; at the end Amanda manages to push a tree down and expose them to sunlight, which destroys them. Apparently they were tormented by their existence and thank Amanda for releasing them from their torment. While it does make for a bit of a Tear Jerker it also makes you wonder why the hell they didn't just walk into the sunlight themselves a long time ago. You could handwave it by saying they have some religious prohibition against suicide, however, that doesn't really fly when you consider that it's not really suicide since they're already dead.
  • There's a minor Plot Hole in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that the Chamber's entrance is discovered to be in the plumbing of an abandoned girl's bathroom, when it was supposedly created a thousand years prior to the series, long before the invention of plumbing. Rowling attempted to answer this question in an article on Pottermore, which explained that the plumbing was added in the 1700s, and prior to that, "wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence." On top of being an incredibly baffling attempt at worldbuilding, it raises the following problems.
    • Medieval castles didn't have plumbing, but they had plenty of ways to manage waste, including chamberpots (which are mentioned in the series), privies, and outhouses. Why didn't the people of Hogwarts use those methods? (There are records of people relieving themselves on the floor in medieval castles, but this was not the norm.)
    • Vanishing spells in the world of the series are shown to be rather complicated affairs, not taught until at least the fifth year, and pulling one off was considered part of an exam. Did students fourth-year and under just sit around with soiled robes, or need to ask for help?
    • Was this a common method in the wizarding world? If so, how did kids sixteen and under, who can't use magic outside school, handle their waste? If not, why would newcomers to Hogwarts be a-OK with an environment where their teachers and classmates poop on the floor like dogs?
    • Why not just set up outhouses and then have someone else (like the house-elves) come around every day to vanish them, or invent some kind of item with a Vanishing spell built-in?
    • If wizards already had a basically functional system, why would they feel the need to incorporate something as extensive as plumbing? Keep in mind that wizards eschew Muggle technology enough that they still use quill pens and parchment paper in the 90s.
    • The only described protection for the Chamber of Secrets before the bathroom is a trapdoor, which makes it even stranger that it was somehow never discovered for centuries.
    • Apparently, the Heir of Slytherin at the time, Corvinus Gaunt, managed to interfere with the project enough to protect the original trapdoor and transfer its hidden-language wards to one of the sinks, which raises the question of how a teenager was able to do this, much less without anyone noticing, much less a member of the notoriously inbred and violent Gaunt family. And if Gaunt could do all this, it seems like it'd be a lot easier to just block up the original passage and make a new entrance elsewhere. A girl's bathroom sink isn't what you'd call a convenient place for your hiding spot.
    • Descriptions of the Chamber in the books imply its entrance passage is connected to the plumbing - the passage is said to branch off in several places, and the basilisk used the pipes to traverse the castle and hunt people. So either the designers of the plumbing saw this passage, shrugged, and built their pipes in and around it without bothering to investigate further, or Gaunt managed to conceal the passage to people who were building into it.
    • And since the historical date of the invention of indoor plumbing apparently matters all of a sudden in this magic wizard castle, how does a system installed in the 1700s have a U-bend, something that was invented in 1880?
    • Finally, why couldn't the wizards just invent a small, horizontally oriented portal to the ocean or the like to use as a toilet? Seems a lot like it would be a lot less gross/annoying than just soiling themseleves and then casting a spell to teleport it away.
  • In The Rowan, it was assumed that "Prime Travel Sickness" — chronically severe vertigo caused by interplanetary teleportation — was simply part of being a Prime, the strongest level of psychic talent. The appearance of wild talent Jeff Raven, who could teleport between worlds with no ill effects, caused further investigation. It was uncovered that "Travel Sickness" was the result of Prime Siglen imprinting her own condition (an inner-ear defect that produced said severe vertigo) on her peers and protégés — i.e., every other Prime that wasn't Raven. But there was explicitly three centuries between The Rowan and its prequel Pegasus in Flight. In that time period, either Siglen and her peers are the first generation of Primes, no Prime-level psychic talent attempted interplanetary travel via teleportation, or no one noticed that "Travel Sickness" wasn't a big deal until Siglen made it so. All of these are equally unlikely.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events:
    • The Great Unknown is a mysterious question-mark-shaped thing that prowls the oceans. Half of the characters are utterly terrified by it, to the point where Count Olaf is willing to abandon the sugar bowl to escape from it, and the other half have no idea what it is. The closest thing to an explanation in the series comes from the Kit Snicket at the end of the last book, where she implies it's a metaphor for death. Fair enough. Then along comes the sort-of prequel series, All the Wrong Questions, where it's revealed that the Great Unknown is actually a sea monster called the Bombinating Beast with no particular connections to anything. This makes no sense at all. Why would the Quagmires and the Widdershins be willing to give themselves up to such a thing, particularly the Captain, who claims to know its nature? And why does Lemony continue to let his sister believe in something he knows isn't true, when he places such an emphasis on not deceiving people? The Netflix adaptation, which confirms the Great Unknown to be a sea monster, notably removes the bit about the Quagmires and Widdershins giving themselves up to the Great Unknown, having the characters reunite under other circumstances.
    • The End implies that the sugar bowl is a vessel that contains the seeds of a horseradish/apple hybrid, which provides a cure to the world's most deadly poison. If that's true, and other people know it, the villains have a bit of explaining to do as to why they're willing to burn down half the planet in order to get their hands on some apple seeds. This gets even worse when you remember that regular horseradish plants are an equally-effective cure, rendering the sugar bowl almost completely worthless. This is another one where the Netflix adaptation ends up patching the hole: the sugar bowl contains a special type of sugar derived from a botanical hybrid, which not only cures the poison but also grants permanent immunity to it.
  • The old Star Wars Legends had something like this as official policy. The rule was that if you were writing something and found a contradiction, you couldn't just throw out the contradictory information, you had to find a way to integrate both explanations (even if one part was considered more true).
  • Twilight has quite a few, usually concerning Stephenie Meyer's explanations about how a vampire's body works:
    • Meyer states that when a human becomes a vampire, all of their bodily fluids are replaced with a type of venom. This presumably means that vampires are unable to have children, as the males can no longer produce semen. In fact, in earlier books Edward's siblings occasionally expressed envy of Bella's ability to have children as a human. But then, vampire Edward impregnates human Bella. Meyer is now forced to backtrack, stating that the venom can take over "some of the functions" of the fluid it replaced, and that only female vampires can't have children because they cannot menstruate. But this still doesn't explain why the other male vampires didn't try to have children with human women if they really wanted to.
    • In the first book, Bella is immune to Edward's mystic vampire telepathy, but Jasper can still use his emotion control powers to calm her down. In later books, Meyer makes it explicit that Bella is immune to all vampire powers, but now she needs to explain how Jasper can get through to Bella. She did so by saying that her immunity only protects her against mental powers, and that Jasper's power was physical because it directly altered her brain chemistry. This doesn't explain much, because Bella can resist other vampire powers that sure seem physical (like electric shocks), and Jasper's power can affect vampires as well, who — as explained above — don't have those brain chemicals humans do because it's all been replaced with venom.

    Myths & Religion 
  • One of the explanations in mythology/folklore for vampire's Missing Reflection is that they have no souls. The problem with this is neither do all the various inanimate objects in the room which still show up in mirrors. The second (much more logical) explanation is that mirrors are made using silver and silver is considered a really "pure" metal so it won't hold the vampire's reflection, (for similar reasons as to why the Silver Bullet trope exists). Similarly, this might also explain the "Vampires don't appear in photography" concept. Early film used silver particles.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Deadlands: In the Hell on Earth setting, modern technology does not function in the Sioux Nations. Alright so far, but then how is Deadwood, the capital of the Sioux nations, a sky-scraping metropolis and a center for Ghost Rock Mining? The answer: the city and the highway connecting it to the rest of the country are lined with totem poles that protect technology spirits from nature spirits and allow tech to function. Where do these totem poles come from? Why don't enterprising people make more of them? It's never explained. A simpler explanation for how Devil's Tower still allows technology to function (there's an active portal to the Hunting Grounds in the middle of it) makes rather more sense.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In most editions, arcane spellcasters (i.e wizards and sorcerers and the like) suffer a chance of their spellcasting not working when wearing armor - the heavier the armor, the higher the failure chance. Most likely, this is done for game balance reasons, but the in-game explanation is that wearing armor makes it harder to do the gestures for the spells properly. But if that's true, why is divine spellcasting that requires gestures completely unaffected by armor? Are cleric spells just less complicated, or something? And if mobility is so important, why doesn't encumbrance affect spellcasting? Why isn't there a Dexterity requirement for spellcasting if these gestures need to be so exact? This is all compounded by the creation of several classes and prestige classes that can cast arcane spells while wearing armor without their spells failing, usually to compensate for weaker spellcasting. Generally no explanation is offered for their ability to bypass this restriction. Even the AD&D Second Edition Player's Handbook dedicates a paragraph or two to exploring reasons why Armor and Magic Don't Mix, and admits even the wizards themselves aren't entirely sure.
    • Many Dungeon Masters, and some official sources, attempt to rationalize the game's hitpoint system as being more like "luck", "skill" or Plot Armor, to avoid invoking Charles Atlas Superpower. Rather than a high-level warrior taking a battleaxe to the face and shrugging it off, he's really just getting nicked as he dodges aside or deflects the blow, but as his hit points diminish, his luck and ability to stay alive dwindle. But this doesn't jibe with how hit points work in all other regards, where they clearly represent the physical toughness of characters or objects. It's especially problematic with healing spells, which are now largely "healing" a character's Plot Armor. Also, a character's hit points protect them just as well when they are submerged in acid, lava, or something else harmful (it won't be pleasant, but it's absolutely survivable at high levels), when they can't possibly dodge or avoid it.
    • Most forms of stun or immobilized give the attacker advantage when attacking the enemy, a way to simulate the idea that when you attack, they cannot defend themselves so you are able to hit them easier. However, you still can miss despite them being unable to dodge your attack. Its commonly justified as being that while they cannot dodge your attack, the attack hits a part of the enemies armor/body that qualifies it as a miss, or that the attacker is unable to hit due to tripping up in some way. The issue with this approach however is that it doesn't make sense logically speaking. For starters, if its a case of the player hitting the wrong spot, why would they hit there when they could hit anywhere else? While someone could have armor thick enough to block it, if the person lacks armor, it doesn't make sense for them to somehow not at least damage them. This also doesn't work on things without armor since they shouldn't be able to just naturally tank an attack; how can a character miss hitting a stunned wolf with their sword if the wolf is unable to move and has no armor? Its almost entirely a gameplay mechanic without a way to justify or logically explain it from a story perspective.
    • An example specific to one monster: Time elementals (which first appeared in 1st edition but were later converted to 3rd edition in the third party book Tome Of Horrors) cause wounds that never heal naturally and make it harder to bring a victim back from the dead. The in-game explanation is that their attacks cause "cell death", the problem being that a lot of damage sources (such as freezing cold or electricity) also cause cell death (in real life, at least), but aren't any harder to heal than normal.
  • Forgotten Realms:
    • Starting with 3rd edition, there has been the infamous Wall Of The Faithless, which is basically a giant wall around Kelemvor's (the god of death's) realm were people who didn't worship any god(s) in life have their souls trapped and slowly disintegrated until they simply cease to exist. At first there was no explanation for why the Wall existed, but when the writers realized that the Wall made Kelemvor (who is intended to be Lawful Neutral) seem like a massive asshole, they decided that the Wall was made by the previous death god Myrkul (who was evil) and Kelemvor wanted to remove it and just reward or punish unbelievers based on their deeds in life. Unfortunately, this made enough stop worshiping gods (who need worship to survive) that he had to put it back in place. The problems with this explanation are two-fold: 1. Getting a good afterlife isn't the only reason people worship gods in the Realms, as they provide other benefits such as giving their clerics magic powers (among other things) and. 2. It still makes Kelemvor look bad, as it raises the question of why he can't just make the souls of non-believers cease to exist, as that seems far less cruel (and happens anyway after the Wall is done with them.)
    • The official lore for 5th edition states that when Ao remade the Tables of Fate and separate Abeir and Toril, the effects of the first sundering from many years in the past, "flowed through time" and caused a second sundering. This is why so much of the Forgotten Realms lore changed heavily as a result. This raises a lot of questions about why only this event happened. The first sundering happened for completely unrelated reasons and Ao had no direct hand in it, so how could its effects "link up" to the cause the second, especially with Ao doing something that in theory is supposed to bring stability to the land instead of harm. Also, why is it that this event was able to flow "forwards in time"? Other events in the past have never had such an effect as far as officially, so it doesn't make sense for it to be that unique. The other is that it raises a question on how time works in the Forgotten Realms, as it implies that said event somehow affected the future tangible instead of simply being an event in the past that already happened. If that is the case, than why hasn't other events like the Time of Troubles or Spellplague have similar effects that caused events many years later to have similar issues?
  • Warhammer 40,000: This happens with such frequency in the fluff (as well as numerous ret-cons) that Games Workshop has outright stated that if something sounds contradictory or weird, chalk it up to Imperial Propaganda.
    • This seemingly explains why the Eldar Avatar is suppose to be a literal incarnation of the god of war, but gets its molten ass handed to it on a silver platter every time a major character needs a Worf to Effect.
    • A particular one was an attempt to justify Abaddon, who was widely seen as a General Failure. His motivation is to conquer the Cadian Gate, since attacking it is the only reliable way out of the Eye of Terror, and if he destroyed it, then it means his troops can flow out uninhibited. In early editions, nearly every Black Crusade organized by Abaddon was aimed at the Cadian Gate, which made him look incompetent because he'd taken 10,000 years and he hadn't conquered one planet. It was then revealed that Abaddon's Crusades had other targets, and he's just trying to soften things up and make space unstable before he besieges Cadia as a killing stroke. Except... if Abaddon's found a way out of the Eye that lets him conduct operations on the level of Black Crusades without needing to go through Cadia, then why does Cadia matter at all? Why not aim his Black Crusades anywhere but the most fortified planet in the Imperium? The whole thing required another wave of retcons to explain why Abaddon didn't just go full-steam-ahead to Terra the moment he was out of bounds. The eventual explanation was that the Imperium had misunderstood or forgotten the planet's real importance; it wasn't keeping Chaos forces contained in the Eye, it was keeping the Eye itself contained. The defenders figured this out right before he destroyed the planet and a permanent warp storm covered half the galaxy.
  • The third-party adventure "World's Largest Dungeon" falls into this a lot.
    • It proudly advertises having every monster in the game, with the Excuse Plot of taking place in a massive underground prison complex built by celestials. Nonetheless, it ends up badly stretching that logic to deliver on its promise, which is nowhere more obvious than with its pseudodragon encounter: a Neutral Good creature that celestials would want to leave alone and that wouldn't make much of a prison guard. The book claims that the pseudodragon ended up there by mistake, as the celestials thought it was a baby red dragon. But while that very mistake is common for novice adventurers (it's basically the reason pseudodragons exist), it makes no sense for someone any more knowledgeable about dragons—among other things, a wyrmling red dragon is about the size of a St. Bernard, while a pseudodragon is a Shoulder-Sized Dragon. This isn't even mentioning that they're intelligent and capable of telepathic speech, so the pseudodragon should be able to point this out and ask to be released, and a simple Detect Evil spell (which nearly any celestial can cast) would verify it was telling the truth. So either the celestials running the dungeon are complete morons, or they're such paranoid jerks that they locked up the dragon anyway. This is especially Egregious considering most pseudodragons are purple or maroon and not red, which, combined with the size difference, makes it seem like the celestials had a massive case of in-universe Critical Research Failure when they made the dungeon.
    • The explanation for the many deadly traps in the dungeon is that they were put there to keep the original prisoners contained. Fair enough—except that the prisoners are demons, devils, and undead, and many of the traps involve the use of poison. All three of these creature types are immune to poison. Furthermore, many regions make use of unbreakable walls of force (in a dungeon where teleport magic doesn't work). Why not dispense with the traps and just put up more walls?
    • A xill wizard character has the motivation that he's taken his army inside the dungeon in the hopes of freeing a pit fiend, who can use its wish-granting ability to help the xill find the location of a Sealed Evil in a Can. But why would a rather powerful wizard looking for a wish invade a notoriously inescapable dungeon, instead of just shelling out the money for a luck blade or a wish scroll? And why would he want to free a pit fiend for his wish, a creature that would be a Jackass Genie at best, assuming it didn't just kill him? The pit fiend isn't even the only thing in the dungeon capable of casting Wish, so why not just bully one of the efreeti into line? It would be much easier to just say he was there to free the Sealed Evil in a Can because it was in the dungeon to begin with.

    Theatre 

    Toys 
  • My Little Pony: The Dream Beauties look like horses, in contrast to the Shetland pony-looking designs of the other toys. Instead of being a separate type of pony, this is handwaved as the Beauties being "teenage ponies". This just makes things confusing. Horses don't age like that and most of the previous characters were already adults.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney featured psyche-locks - red locks over a person's heart that are a visual representation of how much a person is willing to hide a secret, only visible to one who holds an explicitly magical charm. Fair enough. In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, one person had black psyche-locks over them, which could not be removed at all and no explanation was given as to what the hell was up with them. The next installment gave an explanation - the black psyche-locks hide a traumatic secret that the person is repressing - in other words, not even they know the secret and it's potentially psychologically damaging to interrogate them about it. But the secret hidden by the black psyche-locks in Apollo Justice was a motive for murder, and it was something the person spilled the beans about in court after a little prodding (albeit possibly losing his mind as a result). The question of how exactly that was worthy of black psyche-locks has bothered the fandom ever since, and has resulted in countless amounts of Wild Mass Guessing.
  • The final DLC for Aliens: Colonial Marines, Stasis Interrupted, attempted to explain away Corporal Dwayne Hicks' survival after the events of the second film (after it was originally suggested in the base game that he was kidnapped by Weyland-Yutani soldiers and replaced with a body double in his cryotube). However, the attempt to do so created more questions than answers:
    • Hicks himself is not wearing the same clothing he wore at the end of the film (wrapped up in bandages with shorts on), and has a green shirt on while in cryosleep, while the individual who "replaces" him (Turk) is wearing bandages in the exact same places. Moreover, Turk only ends up in the cryotube when a W-Y soldier stuns him, throws him in the cryotube and activates it. It becomes a Contrived Coincidence that Turk just happens to be impaled by a safety beam when the EEV crashes, thus rendering his face unidentifiable, even though Hicks' dog tags are seen in the third film during the morgue scene.
    • While the facehugger was off of Ripley by the time she descended into the EEV in the third film, in the DLC, the facehugger is still on her as the cryopod ejects, making it highly suspicious as to why the Fury 161 prisoners never discovered it when they rescued her from her cryopod after it crashed.
    • During the firefight in the cryopod chamber, an errant round of gunfire grazes the Facehugger attached to Ripley and causes the electrical fire which eventually results in the pods being evacuated. This is despite the acid blood not being anywhere inside the pod when Ripley examines it in the film, nor corroborates with the broken (but not burnt) glass on her cryotube and the acid stain on its side.
    • Even though Weyland-Yutani infiltrated the Sulaco a short while after cleaning out the Sephora, it still takes them another two days to locate and find Ripley on Fury 161, even though they were operating in the same area and they only responded (in the film) when Ripley told them about the xenomorph specimen they had contained. Furthermore, Hicks and Stone are present just before Ripley jumps into the molten lead, and make no attempt to yell at or stop her, nor is Michael Weyland injured from Aaron's attack like he was in the film.
  • Asheron's Call attempted to make an in-universe explanation for why monsters respawn: They are actually teleporting in through portals that Asheron's spell (the titular "call") opened on their respective homeworlds. While this might make sense for Mooks and random animals, it falls completely flat in explaining why named/unique NPCs respawn (unless we are meant to assume they have an endless supply of expendable clones they keep sending through when they die for some reason). Later it was said that unique NPCs actually respawned due to lifestones (In game devices used to set your respawn point), while this might make sense for intelligent creatures, it still doesn't explain how unique animals and the like can respawn, not to mention the obvious problem that in most cases theres clearly no lifestone nearby. Really, this is one of those game mechanics that should have just gone unexplained.
    • Another one from the same game: The gameplay only takes place on the island of Dereth, which, while big for a game world, is still only about as big as Ibiza, while the whole planet Auberean was about the size of Earth. The whole reason players are confined to Dereth? When the Olthoi (a race of killer insectile creatures that the Empyreans summoned by mistake, resulting in them leaving and Asheron sending out his call) invaded, most of the world was infested with a magic nullifying breed of Olthoi, making it basically uninhabitable. The Voodoo Shark comes in when you realize there's absolutely no in-game explanation for why Dereth is apparently the one place on the planet the anti-magic olthoi can't go, not even some throw-away line about how some kind of magic protects the island.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! added cryo as a new element/damage type, which is all fine and good except the game takes place before Borderlands 2, which notably doesn't have any cryo weapons. The explanation for why is that Marcus (the Arms Dealer) couldn't get any of the frozen methane they use. The problem with this explanation is that Marcus is presumably not the only arms dealer on the entire planet, and even though he's the only one in Sanctuary (the main town in the game) it's hard to believe the Crimson Raiders and their friends couldn't some how get some teleported in from somewhere else on Pandora (or even Elpis itself, as there's no indication teleportation has any range limit as long as there is equipment on both ends.) And even if you do accept that the vault hunters just couldn't get their hands on any, there's absolutely no reason Hyperion's soldiers and robots wouldn't wield at least a few.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow claims that the castle the game takes place in is an exact replica of the Trope Namer for Chaos Architecture for the purpose of avoiding an Artifact Title (the game doesn't take place in Dracula's Castle, AKA Castlevania), which would merely be trivia otherwise.
  • A pretty infamous one happens in the Chrono Trigger universe. In Chrono Trigger the "nation" of Porre mostly consists of a humble town with an inn, a port, and a selfish mayor that you can turn into a generous one due to judicious use of time travel, but is otherwise fairly unremarkable. In Chrono Cross, suddenly Porre is a giant military nation that pretty much took over, sacked, and burned much of the rest of the world, or at least the kingdom of Guardia, a mere five years after the present era of Chrono Trigger (which is revealed in the epilogue from the PS1 port). This despite the fact that Guardia actually had a standing army, not to mention it was likely under the protection of Crono, Lucca, and Marle, who had previously single-handedly defeated Magus' army, not to mention several other armies from the past and future, including a giant space hedgehog responsible for creating and then destroying humanity as they knew it. So what's the official explanation of Porre's sudden inexplicable rise to power, according to canon? The DS release of Chrono Trigger had Dalton (the comic-relief villain from 12,000 BC whose only real technology was stolen from Belthasar and who ends up being so incompetent that he defeats himself in the final battle against him) somehow end up in the present, whereupon he used magic or something to build an army out of a tiny little town and take over the world, apparently subduing at least some of the party from the original game (you know, the party that had already defeated him several times by that point). This also has the side effect of making Dalton into possibly the biggest Karma Houdini in game history, as he's not even mentioned in Cross, much less defeated.
    • A character named Guile appears in Chrono Cross that was clearly at one point supposed to be Magus (they look almost identical save for a mask that Guile wears, they're both shadow (or black-elemental) magic users, they both have the same running animation), but that plot thread was cut for space, leaving Guile as a separate person who just happened to be similar to Magus without having any actual connection to him. Then the DS port of Chrono Trigger comes along, which implies that Guile actually is Magus, just a Magus from an alternate dimension that suffered amnesia after not being able to defeat the "Dream Devourer" and getting dumped in the present era somehow. Not only is this an incredibly convoluted explanation, it makes the whole "Magus is Guile" thing basically pointless.
  • In the Crysis games, the Ceph are radically different from the first game to the second. In the first game they can only survive in extremely cold environments and use mainly cold weapons. Outside their main spaceship they have to wear flying Powered Armor with Combat Tentacles, whereas when you enter their spaceship for a level you find it has no gravity and encounter some "naked" Ceph that look like floating wraith like creatures. In the second game you find a different "breed" of Ceph invading New York which have little in common with those from the first game, other than both having tentacles: the Crysis 2 Ceph don't fly, don't use cold weapons, are far more humanoid, and, most strikingly, while they all wear some armor, all of them have some body parts exposed to the outside world, indicating they can survive fine at normal Earth temperatures as said body parts don't immediately burn/melt. The second game had no explanation for why this new group of Ceph seemed like an entire different race. The third game finally revealed that the Ceph from the first game are the original, unmodified kind, as their home planet was all sub zero temperatures and low gravity. At one point after coming to Earth they changed their biology through some kind of genetic engineering to create the more "Earth-friendly" Ceph from the second game. The problem? The same game says the Ceph first came to Earth 65 million years ago. So unless it took them 65 million years to create the new kind of Ceph, it raises the question of why the original, cold based Ceph still exist at all, as there's nothing indicating the race is immortal, so you would think they would have just phased out the original type of Ceph in favor of the much more useful and versatile new kind found in the second and third games.
  • In Descent 3, there is a mission that takes place in an underground temple on Mars. In the temple are so called "martian nomads", which the mission claims are horribly mutated humans (they look rather similar to Jawas), who forgot their origins and built the place. The problem is, the temple is pretty ancient looking,including some weird icons of some deities you have to collect to progress at one point. While one can handwave this by saying the ruin was built by some other (now gone) race, that only raises the obvious question of who this race was and what happened to them? The game never brings this up once, not even a "no one knows who originally built the ruins" type line.
  • In Doom 2, the revenant enemy is described in the manual as being created from a demon who was brought back as an undead of some sort. The problem is if that's the case, why don't they look like undead versions of demons (none of whom bar the rather uncommon arch-vile are completely humanoid) instead of all looking like humanoid skeletons with shoulder-mounted rocket launchers? You could say they're actually reanimated zombies, but this just makes the problem worse, as the zombies (with the exception of the chaingunner) are basically The Goomba, whereas the revenant is relatively powerful (they have 300 hp, enough to survive a rocket or super-shotgun blast) and it doesn't explain how they got the rocket launchers. Not to mention the question of how you could raise a zombie again. Later games offered the much more reasonable explanation that a revenant is an undead made from a human, distinguished from the zombies by an infusion of exotic energy, some Body Horror mutations, and cyborg parts.
  • The HD remake of DuckTales justifies Scrooge and his companions' ability to breathe on the Moon as the result of Fenton's "Oxychew Taffy" invention. This fails to explain how the Beagle Boys and Glomgold are also capable of breathing on the Moon.
  • Fallout 76 got some flak when it revealed that the Brotherhood of Steel would be making an appearance, despite the game being set not long after the war and two thousand miles east of the Brotherhood's founding base of Lost Hills. This is explained by the existence of a satellite that the Brotherhood managed to access, allowing them to establish bases as far as Appalachia. This doesn't explain the following:
    1. Why isn't this satellite or the other bases founded with its broadcasts mentioned in any of the other games? It apparently went down at some point, but you'd think they'd bring it up in any of the histories you read of them.
    2. The Brotherhood in 3 is around was because the founding California chapter decided to make an expedition, ending when they reached DC. Why did they need to march from California to DC if they had bases all around the country? The West Virginia Brotherhood was destroyed, sure, but the mere fact that they existed at all implies the Brotherhood would have many other bases. Was it the only other one in the entire nation?
    3. Why do no accounts of that trip mention checking up on other bases, especially when it would have passed right through West Virginia?
    4. Why would the Brotherhood—defined by being secretive, insular, and none too fond of the US government—put out broadcasts to US army bases around the country asking for recruits?
    5. The prior games seemed to imply that the Brotherhood's many foibles are the result of generations of buildup and mysticism, but 76 shows its Brotherhood as pretty much fully-formed despite being less than twenty-five years old. Why were these people just okay with joining this weird anachronistic Machine Worship cult that calls scientists "scribes," when the actual United States existed less than a generation prior? Similarly, why were people—trained and loyal United States soldiers, no less—willing to roll with all of this on the basis of some distant satellite broadcast? They've never even seen this Codex they're now planning to live their lives by. The founder of that chapter was apparently friendly with Roger Maxson, but it doesn't explain everyone else in her unit being willing to go along with it.
    6. It's a major point in the older games that the Brotherhood didn't know about Super Mutants or the Enclave until very recently. Yet both of them have a presence in Appalachia. The Enclave were at least somewhat hidden (though it seems pretty weird that the Brotherhood wouldn't investigate their bunker), but the Mutants are much more common and were explicitly in conflict with the Appalachian Brotherhood. So either the satellite communications that proved the basis of their entire religion and allegiance went down before even a single Super Mutant was done growing, or they did encounter them but never phoned back and went "Hey, Maxson, we just fought some muscular green people made by FEV. Wild, huh?"
  • A minor case in Far Cry 2, which, in an attempt to justify the Universal Ammunition system (wherein, for instance, you can get ammo for your primary assault rifle by walking over any other assault rifle dropped by an enemy), went out of its way to include a weapon based on the obscure and rare 7.62x51mm AR-16 rather than a regular 5.56x45mm M16, so that it would make perfect sense for you to get ammo for it from G3s and FALs that fire the same ammo in reality. The problem here is that the by far most common weapon of its class, the AK, fires an entirely different 7.62mm round than any of the other three. Not to mention as well it was inconsistent with most of the other weapon types, where the question was entirely ignored (the .45 ACP Star Model P, 9x18mm Makarovs, and .50 AE Desert Eagle all share ammo, not to mention how picking up a small can of gasoline gives you flares for the flare gun) or averted where it shouldn't have been due to game mechanics (the "Craftsman Shotgun" from the DLC, being in the sidearm slot, doesn't share ammo with any of the primary shotguns, despite them all using the same 12-gauge shells).
  • Final Fantasy X-2: In game, there was a minor character named Shinra, who discusses wanting to find a way to harness the Farplane as a source of energy. This was originally just a cheeky and fun Mythology Gag to Final Fantasy VII. Later, the Ultimania clarified that this hint was to allude to the idea that the X was actually a distant prequel to VII as Shinra's descendants would create rockets and travel the world of VII, which raises so many questions that fans outright refuse to accept it as true. For starters, if this was true, does this mean humans in VII are actually aliens? Are the Al Bhed the Ancients? Was there life on the planet before this event? Many of these questions make VII more confusing as a result.
    • This confusion is further amplified in Final Fantasy VII Remake. A picture can be viewed within the Shinra Tower that shows what is very clearly the same character from X-2 (helmet, goggles and all) pictured as part of Shinra Corporation's founding board of directors. It is unclear whether this was intended as an Easter Egg or an attempt to bolster the connection between the games, especially given how it went out of its way to change or canon-weld different parts of the VII Compilation.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden got one when it decided to retcon an origin story of an antagonist. Grima debuted in Awakening, which took place two thousand years after the first few games in the series. No explanation is given as to where he came from, only that he was defeated a thousand years ago. A later remake of the second game reveals he was created a thousand years before the first game and lived beneath an ancient forgotten city. This raised some significant questions. Namely, how did no one notice a super powerful dragon hellbent on eradicating the world living beneath a city for over two millennium (he's not even that difficult to find, the protagonist seemingly does it just wandering around). Specifically, why didn't the superpowered, nigh-invulnerable mage Gharnef not notice him when he had spent years in control of said city and was specifically unlocking its secrets?
    • The Japanese version of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn had one so bad the English localization re-wrote it entirely. Ike encounters the Black Knight and wonders how he survived the previous game despite Ike defeating him in a duel and a castle collapsing on top of him. In the Japanese version, the Black Knight explains that... his Warp Powder malfunctioned and teleported his soul and armor to the castle Ike fought him at, but not his body. This raises far too many questions: why has Warp magic never done that before, or since, in the series? What happened to the soulless body he left behind? How did the Black Knight's soul re-unite with his body? Who recovered his armor from the ruins? Why was the Black Knight completely unfazed by this and cared more about his duel with Ike than fixing a Teleporter Accident that could leave him body-less? The English localization changes this to the Black Knight letting Ike win the duel due to discovering something about Ike's father through dialogue that always existed. Presumably, he escaped the collapsing castle due to being at full strength and prepared for it.
    • Fire Emblem Fates introduced three Nohrian characters named Laslow, Selena, and Odin, who not only looked identical to three characters from Fire Emblem Awakening (Inigo, Severa, and Owain respectively), but also had the same voice actors. Initially it seemed they were just copies to attract fans, but in game it was revealed the three are the same three characters from Awakening. Nothing in game explained how they were in Nohr, so a DLC story was released that explained that the good half of the games Big Bad Anankos requested their aid in stopping him and protecting his child Corrin. This creates issues however, because nothing in the base game at all lines up with this. For starters, they were sent to Nohr to protect and help Corrin, but they never once indicate they seem to really know who Corrin is, nor do they express a desire to fight for Corrin, as seen when the three would rather fight and die for the Nohrian sibling they serve in Birthright. They also never indicate in their supports that they know whats going on, despite Anankos providing them information that is clear enough for them to know what to do. It also fails to explain how, despite running into an at the time evil Lilith, they seem perfectly fine with her being Corrin's maid in what can be only a short time after they arrived in Nohr, despite the only time they met Lilith involved her trying to kill them. Anankos's involvement also brings up the major issue of how they can return home as their supports imply, as they only got to the world of Fates via a literal Dragon god of time. Theres also the simple matter of it being contrived how none of the other child units from Awakening appear, leaving a question of why Anankos only chose three random characters. Its believed by fans that the characters were included only because they were (in Japan) voted three of the four most popular characters from their game and generation, so an explanation was never intended until the game came out and one was made last minute.
  • In Grandia III, one of the main characters is a "Communicator", a person who can speak to powerful beings called "Guardians". Since Communicators are extremely rare, the protectors of the Guardian "Drak" don't believe you actually have one and turn you away, saying that while they can't talk to Drak they can at least protect him. Ten seconds later, they let you through when Drak tells them to let you pass! So why did they say they can't talk to Drak, and if they can, why do they need a Communicator? Not to mention the fact that Drak apparently knows who you are and why you're here, when your whole reason for coming was to bring him a message that he apparently already knows by being a Guardian.
  • Halo:
    • In the first game, Covenant weapons like the Plasma Rifle and Plasma Pistol didn't use traditional ammo systems and instead had more of a battery that they used that, when overused, would make them no longer function. In game it was never really explained why the weapons became unusable but the early novels said that the reason why in game the weapons were essentially thrown away after use was because humanity lacked knowledge of the Covenants weapons to understand how they work and how to get them to essentially "reload", compared to weapons like the Needler which is more ammo focused. While this explains why in the first game you would stop using them, games after the first never address this at all. For example, Halo 2 and Halo 3 allow you to play as the Arbiter, who, as a member of the Covenant, would logically know how they work and should be able to avert them not working properly, but instead the weapons fuction like they did in the first game. Its a hole in the story that never gets elaborated on.
    • In the first game, the enemies all had names that were designed to make it easy to tell what their role was. Grunts were The Goomba, Elites were a Elite Mook, Jackals were less named for their combat role but their appearance and laugh, and the Hunter was a Boss in Mook Clothes. It was justified in game by the fact that these names were what humanity called the Covenant, but in Halo 2, the Covenant say these names like its what they actually are. Later lore would provide names to the races of the Covenant, but its something that doesn't make sense at all and never gets addressed.
    • Master Chief's armor in Halo 4 looks very different from his armor in Halo 3, even though he has been stuck on a drifting starship for years. The canon explanation is that his AI Cortana repaired it with nanomachines, but despite completely altering its appearance the breastplate still has a gash received in Halo 3.
    • In the first cutscene, Spartans are shown fighting in Chief's upgraded armor, not the weaker variants they wore in that time. It's implied that Halsey is imagining that scene, but she's never even seen Master Chief's new armor and has shown distaste for personalized variants. Later, Word of God stated that Chief's new duds were actually made to look like an older Halsey-designed model.
  • In Heavy Rain there's a Voodoo Shark that was created when they removed another Voodoo Shark. Ethan Mars has unexplained blackouts and tells his psychiatrist about dreams that very strongly imply he is the Origami Killer. In the original script, Ethan had a psychic link with the actual killer, resulting in the dreams and blackouts. This explanation for the dreams and blackouts was a Voodoo Shark all on its own; after it was removed, the dreams and blackouts which now had no reason became their own Voodoo Shark.
  • In HITMAN (2016), the ICA training missions take place in a facility which is expressly stated to be All Part of the Show — weapons are "simulated", all of the other people you encounter in these missions are stated to be actors, and the sets are obviously faked (with cardboard decorations in several locations). Despite this, 47 can shoot, stab and kill with reckless abandon. The Voodoo Shark moment comes almost immediately — knives can be visibly stuck in the heads of NPCs, targets can be drowned in actual water, and you can beat anyone in the level with blunt objects to reckless abandon. It makes no sense why any of the participants in the training missions don't break character and try to signal for help from the handlers, even when it's possible for 47 to go on a killing spree (and the interface will even tell you that a "Non-Target" has been killed). Even moreso, several of the technicians in the Jasper Knight training mission will notably break character and call 47 a "crazy bastard" for utilizing an ejector seat to shoot Knight straight into the roof of the facility.note 
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us has pretty rampant Power Creep, Power Seep, with characters at Badass Normal level or barely above, like Deathstroke or the Joker, fighting Physical God-tiers like Superman or Wonder Woman. The story mode justifies this by having the weaker characters take a Super Serum pill that vastly increases their strength and durability. This does explain why they don't die in the first hit, but it introduces the question of why they haven't changed up their fighting style. For instance, Deadshot and Green Arrow both use mundane projectile weapons, but their bullets and arrows don't just pointlessly bounce off everyone they fight. Are Deadshot's bullets taking pills, too? Not to mention the pills are introduced after you've already fought a few battles between characters with wildly divergent powers.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is significant Time Travel, right up until the ending. Many fans deduced that Ocarina, canonically the earliest game at the time, finishes by creating two divergent timelines. Then, speculation raged as to which games - before and since - belonged to the "Adult" and "Child" timelines, hinging on how Link defeated the evil Ganondorf, and what became of the hero afterwards. While there were several games that unquestionably belonged to the described timelines, there were several games, such as the first Zelda game, A Link to the Past, and their followups, that left fans scratching their heads when it came to timeline placement. Finally, the Hyrule Historia came out, to much anticipation, hoped for as the final word to quell these debates once and for all. So imagine the confusion when Historia said that, in fact, Ocarina ends with three divergent timelines - "Adult," "Child," and a timeline where Link actually failed, and this timeline was where all the games that didn't have an obvious timeline placement were put. This confused fans greatly, because since when are Link's failures taken seriously in-universe, instead of just being a "Game Over" screen? Fans are also confused on how the Bad Future games are even canon (instead of being What If? games) if they're the result of Link dying. And if Link died in Ocarina and that created another timeline, then why isn't there a timeline split for every game where Link could have died? (It can't just be "because time travel"; multiple other games, including the Oracle games and Majora's Mask, have involved time travel.) And if there does exist an alternate timeline for every game, then what happened in those dozens of other timelines?
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Faron the Water Dragon floods Faron Woods just in time for you to get her piece of the Song of the Hero. Her explanation for all of this? She was trying to drown all the monsters in the area, and she can't just give you the piece, so she tests you by having you collect tadtones. This explanation not only fails to point out that you saved her life, but at no other point is Faron Woods ever stated to be overflowing with monsters.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, the Minish speak a different language than the humans, which naturally causes Link some trouble when he visits their village. Festari, a resident of the village who does speak human language, points Link to an item called the Jabber Nut, which lets Link understand the Minish language. As a side-effect, it apparently lets him talk to animals. However, this opens up a couple plot holes. First, Link's talking hat Ezlo admits that he's not very familiar with the village's dialect and thus doesn't understand most of what they say, but after Link eats the Jabber Nut, Ezlo understands everything perfectly as well, despite the game never hinting that Ezlo ate any of it. Second, Link can only understand animals while he's small; when he's full-sized, it all sounds like regular animal noises. The game never bothers to explain either issue.
    • Link: The Faces of Evil attempts to handwave why Link only has his sword to start with in an offhand line of "There is no time; your sword is enough!" As it turns out, both these things are completely wrong; your starting sword isn't nearly enough to handle the game's challenges, and you've got the entire game's duration to spend looking for items to make up for this. Apparently, Link has time to fight his way through poorly-designed cave levels to find fetchquest items, but not the five minutes it would take for him to go to the armory and pick up his equipment before leaving.
    • The official timeline has The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games featuring the same Link as in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Link looking younger than before can be explained as an art-style change, but this doesn't explain why Zelda has a completely different design than before and why she doesn't recognize Link.
  • In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Luigi uses E. Gadd's teleport system called The Pixelator to go from his bunker to each level, and regardless of where Luigi's at, he can always be pixelated back at the level's end. At some points, the game features Escort Missions where you need to rescue E. Gadd's Toad employees from paintings so they can be pixelated back as well. However, you still need to escort them to specific points so they can be pixelated out, a problem Luigi doesn't have to deal with. E. Gadd tries to justify it by saying he can't pixelate two characters at the same time, and you need to escort the Toad to his own Pixelator Screen before Luigi can get teleported out, and this is a Voodoo Shark in two ways. First, at no point is it explained why E. Gadd can't simply pixelate them one at a time. Second, the final escort mission has you rescuing two Toads, and they use their Pixelator Screen at the same time.
  • The switch in ammo mechanics between Mass Effect games. In the first game, there wasn't one: ammunition was a block of metal, from which sandgrain-sized pieces were torn off and magnetically accelerated. Instead, there was an overheat mechanic. In Mass Effect 2, however, this system was replaced by disposable heatsinks that function the same way ammunition does in every other shooter. It's explained away by it being the system the geth used, and being superior to the previous method of disposing heat, allowing More Dakka to overwhelm shields. The Voodoo Shark moment comes when you realize that this new ammo system, which it should be noted was reverse-engineered from a hostile life-form that doesn't trade or interact with the rest of the galaxy if they can help it, has completely replaced the old system all over the galaxy in two years. Apparently the entirety of galactic weapons manufacturing output was redirected to the new system, all the old guns were destroyed, and nobody seems to sell the old weapons any more despite the obvious logistics advantage to the old system. This also appears to have been applied retroactively through time too, since somehow the weapons found on derelict ships and uninhabited worlds that have lain untouched for as much as ten years use a new heat sink system only developed two years previously. (Although you can find a retrofitted M-7 Lancer that still uses the cooldown system in the Citadel DLC for 3, which just raises further questions.) In fact, when Shep wakes up in ME2, s/he can somehow instantly tell that a pistol lacks a thermal clip. A conversation with Shepard fanboy Conrad in 3 lampshades the hell out of this change, where he makes many of the above criticisms and Shepard doesn't actually have any answers to them.
  • Then there is the Extended Cut of Mass Effect 3. With the release of this DLC, the writers attempted to solve the plot hole regarding Commander Shepard's squad that s/he took on the Conduit Run. The squadmates somehow got onto the Normandy in the minutes between Shepard being nearly incinerated by Harbinger's beam and the ship fleeing from the Sol System as the Mass Relays transmit Shepard's choice of signal. How did they solve that? In the scene where Harbinger uses his lasers to quickly take out ground forces like it is Omaha Beach, the squad members get injured. What follows raises more questions than it answers.
    • Shepard calls the Normandy to pick the injured teammates up. The ship arrives the surface in 5 real-time seconds, seemingly ignoring the raging space battle above and the fleet of Reapers it had to get through just to make it into the atmosphere.
    • Harbinger seemingly forgets to just destroy the ship for the two or so minutes it's hovering near the Conduit. This is despite it being (a) a massive target, (b) the primary source of additional Alliance troops who are now pouring out of the back, and (c) the Alliance's flagship. Additionally, due to the way the camera is oriented, it appears as though Harbinger simply stares as the Normandy lifts off in front of it and flies off.
    • Overall, the sequence blatantly contradicts the whole reason why the ground assault was even staged in the first place; namely, that it was far too dangerous for any craft larger than a shuttle to get that close to the frontlines. It's especially glaring because the finale of the first game hinged on Joker being able to drop the Mako with pinpoint accuracy when he had a lot less room to work with.
  • Mega Man X6 establishes that Zero didn't die at the end of X5, he "Hid myself to repair myself." Okay, the series uses a million Shōnen tropes so He's Just Hiding! and X Never Found the Body. Waaaaaaait a sec, that didn't stop X back in X2 from finding and reviving Zero. Aaaaaaaand, X was mortally wounded from the same attack at the end of X5 and he recovered! Oh wait, X's creator, Big Good Dr. Light, was able to repair him. Despite being long dead by that point. X6 also established that somehow, Dr. Light repaired Zero too. Wait, X and Zero are both Black Boxes that are notoriously hard to analyze, let alone repair. And Zero is the Anti Anti Christ created by the Greater-Scope Villain that Dr. Light should have no idea about. Wait, is Dr. Light a prerecorded message or some kind of Energy Being who learned how to analyze and repair Zero? Oh, my head hurts now.
    • Another theory for how Zero was rebuilt was that Isoc had something to do with it. Much like Serges from Megaman X 2, Isoc has various traits and details that would imply that he's actually Dr. Wily reincarnated. Evidence to support this in Isoc's case is his fascination with Zero, yet bitter hatred to X, the fact that Isoc can paralyze Zero thanks to knowing every detail of how he functions (most experts who analyse Zero are left baffled), and even being voiced by Takeshi Aono, who had also done voice work for Dr. Wily beforehand. It would be much more likely that Isoc repaired Zero as opposed to Dr. Light's hologram (which neither X5 nor X6 makes clear as to how this hologram happened or how he can repair a destroyed robot). However, this raises a few more questions. Much like in X2, there's no proper hint as to how transferring a human's mind to a robot's is at all possible, and if Isoc rebuilt Zero, then why did he leave him out to roam the world again without doing anything to make him carry out Wily's will? If Isoc really is Wily, it would make more sense than Zero's bizarre Unexplained Recovery that most assume, though it still leaves many questions unanswered.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Possibly intentional in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which was partly a Writer Revolt against fan desire to explain Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's deliberately inexplicable events:
      • Vamp's immortality was ascribed to Nanomachines, although Naomi specifically mentions that they only work because he already has a supernatural and unexplainable regenerative ability, as if to annoy as many people as possible.
      • Liquid's supernatural possession of Ocelot is explained as Ocelot having used a combination of nanomachines and psychotherapy to convince himself he's actually Liquid. However, it's explained that Ocelot actually did this after the initial possessions we see in 2, which are apparently supernatural in nature.
    • Metal Gear Ac!d does a partial Doing In the Wizard by explaining Alice's 'remote viewing' Psychic Powers as the result of her personal familiarity with the facility (and her direct involvement in the Howard Burton murder case she solved in the backstory). However, she also has psychic powers anyway as she believed herself to be possessed by the spirit of a child she murdered.
  • Metroid:
    • In the first Metroid Prime, the Space Pirates find the titular creature in the Impact Crater, take it to their labs for experiments, and then it escapes back to the Impact Crater in time for the final boss showdown. But this seems to ignore that the Chozo had sealed Metroid Prime in the Impact Crater with twelve Plot Coupons and that the Pirates shouldn't have been able to actually reach it without them. The Chozo Lore does state that the seal may not hold for long, but then why does Samus need the Plot Coupons to get in if the seal's already broken? In the EU and Trilogy re-releases of the game, the Pirate Logs are all retconned into things like "we've detected something huge at the center of the Impact Crater, but we can't get to it because of the seal." But Metroid Prime still has all the weapons and barriers it absorbed from the Pirates, now with no explanation because it was stuck in the Impact Crater. Its Enemy Scan even states that it has a host of natural and mechanical weapons, regardless of the version. The game doesn't state the mechanical weapons are Space Pirate, but how it could have acquired them is still left unexplained.
    • Metroid: Other M:
      • This game attempted to justify the lack of Samus's arsenal with the "authorization system"; to wit, she still had all her powerups from the previous games but was only permitted to aid the military investigation so long as she only used her weapons when authorized by the commander. While this does make sense for the Power Suit's stronger weapons (the Power Bombs are said to be capable of vaporizing a person on the other side of a wall; the mission is ostensibly a search-and-rescue), it falls flat on its face for defense and mobility-based upgrades, which have no potential to be detrimental towards the mission. Even worse, Adam frequently refuses to authorize upgrades that would greatly simplify the current task that he has assigned Samus. The two worst examples occur when Samus is chasing down the lizard monster: Samus has to travel through the Pyrosphere, which damages her just by being there, but Adam waits until she confronts an enormous lava monster to authorize the Varia Suit, which protects her from the heat; once she resumes her hunt, she finds that the only way forward is a Grapple Point, and yet Adam opts not to authorize the Grapple Beam and send Samus elsewhere to check for survivors instead, seemingly under the impression that the path was simply impassible. To cap it off, Samus still starts out with far less health and missile ammo than in the last game and has to collect more by finding upgrades around the station, so it doesn't even justify the Bag of Spilling.
      • Other M also features, as a major plot point, the idea that the Federation has been engineering unfreezable Metroids. Except the game features many other Metroids that are fully freezable. It attempts to justify them as "control groups" or "too young", but it ends up casting major doubts on the idea, especially since we never actually see an unfreezable Metroid and Adam acknowledges he doesn't know if the idea is true. The only evidence is a corpse apparently left by a Metroid in a cold area. Not to mention the idea that Metroids are completely invincible when not frozen is a Retcon (they can be killed by other means in most of the games) and even contradicts the ending of Super Metroid (and by extension, Other M's opening cinematic), where a powerful Metroid was killed by Mother Brain without using ice of any kind. It ends up making Adam's fate look like something of a Stupid Sacrifice.
      • On a similar note, Other M indicates that the method by which Metroids become Queen Metroids is genetic, and that some Metroids (including the baby) are just meant to grow into Queens. Except every Metroid in that particular game had its genes derived from the baby. Why aren't they all Queens?
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Mortal Kombat X introduced a new character named D'Vorah, a member of a bug race called Kytinn, as an agent of Kotal Khan, and later The Mole for Shinnok. In an attempt to justify her importance and existence, the developers made a chapter focusing on Raiden where during a flashback to the events of Mortal Kombat II, it is revealed D'Vorah was at the events of that game, even fighting Raiden before leaving. This presented several issues about her status as character that was there all along, most of which being why she never was involved with the tournament despite her supposed importance as a warrior of Shao Khan. Other issues arose with her when Mortal Kombat 11 attempted to justify her existence further with statements like her being responsible for killing Jerrod, the king of Edenia and Kitana's father. These once again raised many questions that neither game tried to explain. Why was she not part of any of the tournaments despite her allegiance at the time, nor her lack of appearance in any other major events. Why would Shao Khan have a random bug woman kill the king of the place he was invading, especially when it had been established Khan had been the one to kill him? How come Raiden wouldn't find it strange that Shao Khan had a powerful bug like ally on his side who vanished for years only to suddenly reappear? These issues have resulted in the character becoming quite polarizing by the fans.
    • Mortal Kombat 11 brought Sindel back as a playable character via DLC. Her pre-release bio however revealed she was being retconned into being an Evil All Along Gold Digger who helped Shao Khan kill her husband Jerrod and plunge the world of Edenia into being merged with Outworld, just so she could marry Shao Khan. In an attempt to explain this, the writers claimed that Sindel was killed by Quan Chi and her death was manipulated into coming across as suicide. However, none of these changes line up with the games that came before 11, or even with dialogue in 11 itself like Geras' intro with Kitana. For starters, Sindel's bio in Mortal Kombat 9 kept the same backstory as her original timeline, but with the inclusion of her death creating a barrier around Earthrealm that prevented Shao Khan from invading, something that was shown in said game as being real, hence why they needed the revived and undead Sindel to get around it. If her death was not suicide than, where did this barrier come from and why it was there? If Sindel really did get killed by Quan Chi, how could he cover it up so well that nobody thought it was odd a powerful and sadistic person like her would commit suicide? Beyond that, how could Kitana ever think her mother was loving and a good person if she never acted as such? Unless Sindel was that much of a liar that she treated Kitana well for her whole life so Kitana would never know, it doesn't line up with Kitana's memories of her, as we see Sindel openly dislike Kitana because she's too much like her father. Initially there was hope this was just her Revenant self being tricked, but the Aftermath DLC story released over a year after the game came out confirmed that the retcon real and not just a trick. According to the writers, they did this to avoid Unfortunate Implications, but in doing so fans agree her character was made even worse.
  • The creators have kept schtum on the real reason but one of the many supposed ones as to why Adolf Hitler was censored in the PSP port of Persona 2: Innocent Sin was because, apparently, the Japanese video game rating system now "prevents people with a real background from appearing in fictional media". Which only raises questions as to why other games featuring historical figures like Frederick Chopin and countless Chinese heroes are O-Okay. Realistically, it probably had more to do with the fear of offending international players. By giving Hitler a pair of sunglasses and calling him "the Fuhrer". Yeah.
    • Speaking of the Persona series, Persona 4 ends up creating one in regards to Teddie's nature. He's a shadow. While this does explain why he was in the TV world and knew about shadows, the questions it raises could fill up a light novel trying to explain them. Namely, if Teddie is already a shadow why does he have a shadow self? Why does coming to terms with his shadow give him a Persona when he is a shadow? Can every enemy gain their own Persona or is Teddie special? And if so, why? Can every shadow grow an entire, different body inside themselves or is Teddie summoning his human form when in the real world? Why does he keep fighting as the bear form in the TV world when all of his friends, who are human, can enter fine? Is the human body something that can only appear in the real world, or is his bear outfit just protective? Why was he only able to enter the real world after growing his human body? Many shadows feature significant distortion to their facial features, if they have them, but why does Teddie just look like a bear mascot? It just raises too many questions.
  • The Professor Layton games zig-zag this. In some games the explanation for all the weird things going on requires some thought to make sense, sometimes it works in context of the series logic and other times it is straight up ridiculous.
    • Professor Layton and the Curious Village has the reveal the entire village is populated by robots and the place is a Secret Test of Character to see who is worthy of taking care of the founder's daughter and claiming his fortune. Why a simpler solution was not used or how these robots could be so realistic is never addressed but considering the plots of the next two games, it is logical at least.
    • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, there is seemingly an eternally young vampire living in town. In actuality, he's not a vampire — it's just that hallucinogenic gas leaking from the nearby mine has caused a shared hallucination everyone in town is having that he's a youthful vampire, and that the town is unchanged from many years ago, despite the residents aging but not realizing it. So how is it possible for no one to notice they are aging while the town crumbles around them? If the residents are hallucinations as well, how can everyone have conversations with them? How can everyone have the exact same hallucinations? Finally there is the matter of the titular diabolical box. The box is rumoured to kill anyone who opens it. The reason is the hallucinogenic gas is embedded in the structure of the box and it kills anyone who opens the box believing the rumors while those who don't believe survive. How the gas is capable of doing that is anyone's guess.
    • In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, Layton appears to travel in time to London's future. In actuality, he's traveling by elevator to an exact copy of London built in a giant sinkhole and cavern directly underneath the real London, which has been built and populated in secret without anyone ever realizing it. So how does no one in future London notice they are underground (if you look closely there are hints the sky is permanently foggy or full of industrialised smoke so it is possible this is obscuring everything), are all the residents of Future London in on the act and if not how is that possible? Then there is how a second city could exist under London without anyone noticing. Oh, and the ending implies time travel really is possible.
    • Professor Layton and the Last Specter is fairly logical if thought about. The Spectre is the result of a giant machine the Big Bad is using to destroy the town and a prehistoric sea creature battling. The fog used to hide the machine's appearance means the two end up looking like one creature.
    • In Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, every strange thing happening is the result of stage magic and Lost Technology respectively.
    • In Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney it is eventually discovered that all of the magic witnessed in the town of Labyrinthia was faked by a corporation as a part of a scientific experiment. Everyone in town had been living under hypnosis thanks to a substance that made them extremely susceptible to suggestion that they were constantly exposed to. One of the effects of the hypnosis was that residents could not see material of a certain color, thus allowing the operators to make themselves and their equipment "invisible." Furthermore, a contamination in the local groundwater meant that anyone in town who heard the ringing of a silver bell would instantly pass out, making it possible to set up complicated illusions "instantly" because any witnesses would not notice the missing set-up time. Fair enough. The problem is that magic is also used outside of Labyrinthia on people who had not been hypnotized and were immune to the bells in locations that the company could not possibly have foreseen magic would be necessary, including Professor Layton's own office. One particular example is from the opening cutscene: A statue in a public park in the middle of London is brought to life and appears to punch a speeding car into a tree. What really happened? The statue was actually a robot that the company coincidentally had donated to the park, and it literally punched the car into the tree. The reveal also completely overturns an earlier case in which the culprit used a spell to create a magic portal through a wall. The best explanation given is that the company literally cut a hole in the wall and patched it up without anyone being able to tell afterwards.
    • Parodied heavily in this video, where Layton explains that a slightly oversized dog is in fact a detailed simulation created by holograms from a satellite, shared hallucinations, dozens of paid actors, and Descole dressing up as the dog, all in the name of a man trying to impress his neighbor. The idea that it's just a regular dog is immediately dismissed.
  • In Psychonauts, Raz's multiple lives in mental realms are justified with Raz having multiple layers of astral projection that weaken his link to the mental world, and if he runs out of lives, he gets ejected. Health drops are also explained as Raz collecting mental health from the realm. However, this raises a lot of questions when Raz has the same mechanics for mental health and extra lives in reality.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction introduced the idea that Ratchet's race, Lombaxes, were functionally extinct, and Ratchet was the Last of His Kind. Many fans pointed out that this didn't make sense, because Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando had seemingly featured a different Lombax, Angela, without any implication that she and Ratchet were the last of their species. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time decided to patch this by having a pair of radio announcers acknowledge that Angela exists and is indeed a Lombax. However, one of the main reasons given in Tools to prove Ratchet was the last one was that he'd never seen another one, a claim he didn't contest. Prior to this, one could maybe assume that this meant the Future trilogy was a Soft Reboot and Angela didn't actually exist in its continuity, but now she does, so the whole thing no longer works.
  • Each Rune Factory game has a character explain early on that you're not killing the monsters you fight, but sending them back to the Forest of Beginnings where they came from. This is credited to a magic spell on your weapons called "Retornen" (or "Tamitaya" in 4). Problems:
    • This enchantment is, supposedly, applied individually to every weapon, tool, and spell you own. While the ones you buy are easily explained, it's a little harder to believe for the ones you find lying in chests or dropped by monsters. And it's completely inexplicable when Item Crafting — in every game, you're an Amnesiac Hero, so the only way you'd know how to cast Retornen yourself is if you learned it onscreen, which you never do.
    • You can tame monsters and have them fight by your side. There's no reason to believe these monsters have Retornen, and no other explanation is offered for why their attacks send monsters home instead of killing them.
  • The scenario writer for Shin Super Robot Wars came up with the infamous "Master Asia is an alien" idea after watching Mobile Fighter G Gundam and thinking "No way a human can do all that!" Completely glossing over how pretty much every Gundam Fighter in G is capable of super human feats, most notably Domon himself, yet he's not revealed to be a non-human.
  • Silent Hill 2 has a possible ending which was intended as a parody of this trope. Silent Hill 2 is a macabre Survival Horror title featuring a young man who receives a letter from his deceased wife, imploring him to meet her at "their special place", which turns out to be a weird ghost town where all his subconscious fears and guilt manifest. It's in general a Tear Jerker Mind Screw of a game. This ending's explanation of it all: The Dog Was the Mastermind. Literally.
  • In Sir Basil Pike Public School, the game only spans three days. Word of God is that it's the last week of school, but this doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a few reasons:
    • A Big Game subplot is introduced (and poorly resolved just as quickly). School sports seasons typically end a few weeks before the last week.
    • No one alludes to it being the last week of school, which would obviously be a pretty big deal for schoolchildren and warrant at least one mention.
    • Both Ted and Ms. Pruet teach their classes. During the last week or two of school, teachers typically allow students to use the classes as extended study halls. Additionally, Ms. Pruet gives an assignment to Tammy and Tariq on what is supposed to be the last day of school.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Word of God's explanation for why humans appear in some Sonic the Hedgehog games and not others is that the cast can freely jump between a World of Funny Animals and a human world. Not only is such a thing never hinted at in the games note , it flat-out contradicts multiple games and characters' backstories note . Some of the most notable examples being: Sonic Adventure (Angel Island and the ruins of an echidna temple are a short train ride away from a human populated city), note  Sonic Adventure 2 (Shadow was created by human scientists decades before Sonic was born, note  Rouge is a spy for the human military organization GUN who's high ranking enough to be in direct contact with the President of the United Federation, and Professor Gerald based the core of the ARK on the Master Emerald's shrine), Sonic Battle (Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Rouge live in or around Central City, the capital of the United Federation), Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (Silver lives in the Bad Future of the human populated Soleanna), and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (GUN is stated to be investigating rampaging security robots, which are controlled by a master computer near the ancestral home of the avian Babylon Rogues). Making matters worse there wasn't technically a Plot Hole which needed fixing. Some fans were upset by Sonic Adventure's introduction of human NPCs (other than Eggman) into what they had imagined to be a World of Funny Animals (and Eggman), or at least wanted to see some more Funny Animal NPCs mixed in, but fanon had long since handwaved their absence with the more palatable explanation that humans and ''Funny Animal'' communities are geographically isolated and Funny Animals living alongside humans (and vice-versa) are a minority. Finally, there's no explanation for why when Sonic is held prisoner for six months in Sonic Forces he doesn't simply use his dimension switching power to escape, not even a throwaway line about how Infinite or Eggman have some kind of device/power that keeps him stuck in that dimension.
    • One manual explains the presence of Wisps in games besides Sonic Colors despite the Wisps leaving Earth at the end of that game as some of the Wisps having stuck around on Earth and occasionally helping out Sonic. But if that's true, doesn't it void the point of Colors's whole plot? Why are the Wisps okay with being weaponized in conflicts that don't involve them when their prior motivation was to not be used as weapons? Why would they want to stick around on a planet where they were enslaved and where they're in danger, instead of going home? Why don't we see this Wisp diaspora anywhere? And why don't the other characters mention this—especially Eggman, who used them as power sources before and would have every reason to try again?
  • In several missions of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Jim Raynor and his raiders have to steal important artifacts from a group of protoss called the Tal'Darim. Even though they were crazy fanatics, Jim still came out as the bad guy here because he was the aggressor who attacked people who were minding their own business to steal their religious relics. So in the sequel StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, it was revealed that the Tal'Darim were actually working for Big Bad Amon, which made it okay to attack them. However, because Jim had been (unknowingly) stealing the artifacts for Amon's Dragon Emil Narud, it now meant that the Big Bad's minions were paying Raynor to steal from themselves. It was thankfully rectified in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which clarified that the Tal'Darim in Wings of Liberty had gone rogue and didn't answer directly to Amon anymore. Except that this in turn raises the question of why wouldn't the loyalist Tal'Darim, who are a major galactic power in their own right, simply wipe out their renegade brethren and retrieve the artifacts. It's not like finding them was an issue, since Narud points you at every last one. It would make sense if he wanted to avoid Tal'Darim casualties when a convenient patsy was available, but as it happens, he couldn't have possibly cared less, and Tal'Darim themselves were fanatics who would've eagerly thrown themselves at either the renegades or the Queen of Blades for their god.
  • The Star Ocean franchise has had a bit of a problem with the setting, story, and characters being seen as a Cliché Storm, with elements like characters using medieval-style weapons in the future, symbology being magic, and things like Global Currency. Most of these were considered Rule of Cool logic that lots of other games used. The third game attempted to explain these and more with a Shocking Swerve: the entire setting of the Star Ocean franchise is actually set inside a MMORPG created for 4D beings, and the Big Bad wanted to have them erased for learning symbology. This raised so many extra questions that it's become what the franchise is most known for. What about other people playing the game? How is maintenance done on a game of such scope and scale that it created an entire universe? Does this mean the first two games are not also retroactively set in a video game? How could it be possible for a video game MMO to run long enough that at least in game wise, thousands of years of civilization and life had been born? If the characters Grew Beyond Their Programming, how did anyone not notice until now? And after the servers are wiped, how do the characters and their universe inexplicably all survive like nothing happened? The twist is canon to the Star Ocean series, but it was so divisive upon release, it hardly gets mentioned anymore. The fourth game in the series had to use an Author's Saving Throw by introducing the concept of The Multiverse, thus leaving the twist in while having a way to work around it, and in general, the developers seem to treat it as an Old Shame.
  • The information from the Shadaloo Combat Research Institute profiles on the Street Fighter V Character Encyclopedia website raises a number of questions, such as the suggestion that Unknown Soldier Red from Forgotten Worlds is Two P from Final Fight, or that characters from different Street Fighter adaptations and Street Fighter 2010 are in a shared continuity.
  • In Superman 64, the horrific draw distance is explained by "Kryptonite fog". However, this raises the question of how Superman is able to breathe, let alone fly. This might qualify as a double Voodoo Shark as it was already established that Superman is trapped in Luthor's virtual reality simulator, meaning they could just claim Luthor deliberately made it harder to see when he programmed it. There was one comic where Kryptonite was released into the atmosphere and Earth itself was uninhabitable by Kryptonians (it was solved by self-replicating nanites, don't worry), and the level of Kryptonite in the atmosphere was at lethal levels for Kryptonians... and yet, you could still see through the atmosphere fine. Perhaps slightly green-tinged, but still fine. If Kryptonite fog was thick enough to not see through, Superman wouldn't just have trouble flying, there is a serious question of how he would be able to survive that much Kryptonite radiation, even from orbit.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, the Yoshis Mario can ride will dissolve if submerged in water. This is done for gameplay reasons to provide a challenge in which you ride Yoshi through a series of platforms situated above water, and having to start over if you fall into it. The manual tries to justify this by explaining that the Yoshis on Delfino Isle are a different breed. This explanation raises the question: why would the Yoshis on a tropical island evolve to become deathly allergic to the water surrounding them, when traditional Yoshis are fine with it? The claim was revisited in 2015's Encyclopedia Super Mario Bros., which explains that the Yoshis in Sunshine are not indigenous to Isle Delfino, but rather, were created from Bowser Jr's paintbrush along with most of the enemies in the game (and indeed, being harmed by water is their common link). The guide does not explain why the Yoshis are the only one of Bowser Jr's creations to not be hostile to the player, however.
  • Parodied in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Swindle at one point asks why the Autobots' transport didn't just fly from the start if it can fly faster than it can be driven. Onslaught meekly says that it probably takes a lot of energon to fly it. When Swindle starts pointing out the problems with this theory, Onslaught basically tells him to shut up.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Big Bad Lazarevic is looking for the next Plot Coupon in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Because he doesn't know the precise location, he essentially invades the place and turns it into a war zone. There's a brief line about how the Nepali army can't do anything because he riled up the local guerrillas. However, this doesn't explain why the entire Nepali army is occupied, nor why they think fighting guerrillas is more important than stopping a war criminal with an army of mercenaries from literally demolishing their capital and all of its temples. At a bit of a stretch, the damage Lazarevic inflicts to Kathmandu is so severe that it's not inconceivable that the army and guerrillas would temporarily put aside their differences just to drive him out.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • A rather complicated example regarding the Big Bad Lich King from Wrath of the Lich King. Many fans complained about Arthas being stuck with the Villain Ball in the expansion after the Lich King (which he was now permanently half of) being played up as a Magnificent Bastard in the previous game. In what appears to be an attempt to justify it, Blizzard gave the explanation that Arthas's spirit actually destroyed the spirit of Ner'zhul (the previously sole spirit of the Lich King, who most certainly qualified for Magnificent Bastard status, and Arthas supposedly not so much). However, that caused much more confusion considering previous interviews and scenes stating that Arthas and Ner'zhul were one being (flat out stating that neither persona existed anymore, only one Lich King), and the game itself seemed to contradict it (one quest has the Lich King stating that he used to be a shaman, which would be true for Ner'zhul but not for Arthas).
    • During Cataclysm, some quests would have the Forsaken resurrect people they just killed, with those people seemingly eager to serve Sylvanas and kill their former comrades. This raised several issues that can be summed up as "Why are they attacking their former friends?" and "Why are they so eager to serve those who just killed them?" meaning accusations of mind control went rampant, and seemingly completely discredited the Forsaken's Dark Is Not Evil theme. Blizzard's attempt to answer both of those questions ("They attack their former friends because when being resurrected, they suffer a state of frenzy that makes them lashes out and attack those nearby" and "there is no mind-control, but undeath affect emotions, and they realize they're safer serving Sylvanas, plus they're free to leave if they want") didn't help much, since it still left "Why wouldn't they attack those who raised them then?" and "Why the hell would they willingly serve someone who just made them kill their former comrades by taking advantage of their trauma of being raised?" as burning questions.
    • A controversial one came about near the end of Warlords of Draenor. Word of God explained that the Archimonde we fight at the end of the expansion is the same one we killed in Warcraft III. To explain how he's back, and why he's in an alternate timeline, we were given the explanation that demon souls regenerate in their home plane and transcend all realities. This immediately led to a huge ton of questions about how pretty much any past encounter with the demons made sense. For one, if the same demons have to move between all timelines, that implies that they go through every timeline in order to repeat their actions exactly in any timeline where those actions were not a Point of Divergence. For another, many demons, Archimonde included, were not born as such, and were corrupted, so what happens to all of the other Archimondes in any number of infinite timelines who also get corrupted into demons? Also, while this was seemingly meant to make the Legion feel like more of an insurmountable threat, it only made it seem like we'd done a good job forcing them to respawn in just a single timeline, let alone all the others out there that could theoretically become our allies. It should be noted that neither of these things have been referenced much in game (and sometimes they're seemingly contradicted, like Velen being forced to kill his demon-corrupted son being seen as a tragic end, instead of just a matter of time before he'll respawn and get another chance at redemption). It also raises the question of why any demons stay in the Twisting Nether i.e the one place they can be Killed Off for Real, rather than getting to another plane as soon as possible. Finally, Archimonde and Mannoroth both died on Azeroth in the third game, but while Achimonde would later return in Warlords of Draenor, Mannoroth never returns despite the fact all his deaths occur in ways that would let him return, which raises questions of why select demons seem to be able to respawn but some just vanish for good.
  • In Zombie Driver, The Mayor pops up early in the story to tell you that he'll pay you for killing the zombies that are destroying his city. The game neglects to mention who's giving you money when you destroy the city as well.

    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 
  • Played for Laughs in Adventurers!, where Webrunner proposes a ludicrously implausible explanation for why Inexplicable Treasure Chests are lying around everywhere.
    "Why dance through caves you ask? Well, that's what tiny robot pirates do."
  • Played for Laughs in this comic from the Bouletcorp. How did Jesus walk on water? He must have added cornstarch to make a non-Newtonian fluid. But where did he find all the cornstarch needed? Why, from miraculously multiplying cornbread of course!note 
  • Frequently parodied in Darths & Droids when the players point out some of the insane lapses in logic in the Star Wars universe, particularly the GM's explanations for how Coruscant can be a planet-wide city... jokes recycled from the same author's Irregular Webcomic!, where it was eventually lampshaded with a cutaway to a pirate captain:
    Captain: Arr! Take that, you scurvy equine!
    First Mate: But captain, that horse be dead!
  • Parodied in Dresden Codak: "I bet it's like when you find out Santa isn't real, and it was really just Bigfoot giving you presents."
  • MS Paint Masterpieces has one robot ask another why they have incredibly obvious power gems that just draw enemy fire, to which the second robot replies (after getting shot multiple times in said gem, to no effect) that it just looks cool.
  • In the NSFW Mega Man gender-bender comic Rock Gal:
    • One of the villains explains to her lady friend (as they're torturing the title character) that if a female robot's breasts are smacked too hard, they lose energy in a manner similar to human lactation. All this does is raise the question of why the hell anyone would deliberately design a robot to lose energy. (In this case, "to prevent an overload" doesn't cut it)
    • Later handwaved a second time by implying that everyone who builds these robots are massive perverts (as if that weren't obvious enough). Still doesn't explain why such a massive flaw would be included in the design.
  • Terror Island:
    • Played for Laughs and lampshaded in one strip.
      Liln: It's been a long time since you guys went shopping. Why haven't you starved to death yet?
      Sid: Now that Stephen's the Czar, people have been sending tributes. Some of them are edible or near-edible.
      Liln: But Stephen's only been Czar for a few days.
      Sid: Aorist sent the stuff back in time.
      Liln: Wait, what?
      Sid: Oh, right. I mean forward in time.
      Liln: That wouldn't work.
      Sid: What, and you think going back in time would?
    • Another Played for Laughs example occurs in Strip #37, when Jame asks how Center of the Earth University doesn't melt from the heat at the centre of the earth. York explains that "Center of the Earth University" is a Non-Indicative Name — the university is actually located on the surface of the Moon.

    Web Videos 
  • From Obscurus Lupa's review of Vampire Dog:
    "Okay, get ready for this—we actually do get an explanation for why Vampire Dog eats Jell-o. But rather than give a satisfactory answer here that clears anything up, they instead open up a whole new can of worms."
  • The (in)famous YouTube personality Paul Joseph Watson once made a video about how soy products lower your testoterone and make you less manly, which is a massive case of Artistic License – Chemistry to begin with, but even ignoring that: at one point H.Bomberguy made a video about Watson's video that pointed out that Brain Force (A suppliment promoted by Alex Jones(who Watson works for) that supposedly makes you more manly, among other things), contains soy. Paul's "Explanation" was that Brain Force is so effective at making you more manly they had to add some soy to make it weaker, which makes about as much sense as having pills that cure cancer include some carcinogenic compounds to keep them from being too effective.

    Western Animation 
  • Lampshaded in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "Halloween":
    Darwin: How come we can see you every day, but we need this to see [other ghosts]?
    Carrie: Duh! Because I was born a ghost!
    Darwin: How does that work?
    Gumball: Duh! [beat] Actually, I have no idea.
    • This gets a somewhat more sensible explanation in "The Mirror", which explains that Carrie's father was a human who fell in love with a ghost. He found a spell that enabled him to touch ghosts and ended up having children with one.
  • Frequently used on American Dad!, particularly in regards to the details of Roger's many disguises.
    • In "Shallow Vows", Roger is pretending to be a wedding planner, and introduces Stan to his sons — two college-aged men who act as if Roger is actually their mother:
      Stan: How is that possible?
      Roger: I know. I look too young to have kids in college.
      Stan: No, that you have children when your persona is completely fabricated—
      Roger: We are the music makers. We are the dreamers of dreams.
      Stan: That is an unsatisfying answer.
    • In a later episode, it turns out that one of his personas is married to a prison warden:
      Steve: You... you've been married to him for thirty years? Where do you find the time?!
      Roger: When you're in love, you make time.
    • In "Don't Look a Smith Horse in the Mouth", Stan ends up going to an office for his horse. He goes with Roger who just hopes that he isn't the person in charge. When they get there, Roger is seated at the desk nearby. Stan simply looks to his side and sees Roger gone. He doesn't even question when Roger argues with himself. Like other encounters, how Roger can switch wardrobe and position while also being the active secretary for a doctor who is in his office isn't explained. All Roger is happy about is that he's the secretary and not the doctor.
      Roger: Thank God I'm just his secretary.
      Secretary Roger: I'm an associate!
    • In an early episode, Stan gets fed up with Jeff living with them and asks why he doesn't live with his own folks. Hayley explains that he hasn't spoken to his dad in years and his mom ran away before he was born. Stan asks how that's even possible.
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben 10: Alien Force has Gwen's magical powers explained as alien powers inherited from her alien grandmother. The episode in which this revelation is made clear goes on to say that there is no such thing as magic. This despite on a previous episode Gwen clearly used divination to locate their enemies, to say nothing of how the former series Ben 10 showcased spells read from incantations, a fountain of youth, and soul-swapping. Then, Word of God would go on to say that both Hex and Charmcaster are in fact magic users, with Ultimate Alien giving the impression that Gwen has both alien superpowers and magical abilities. She simply doesn't know where to draw the line between them since they're similar and come from the same source ("mana").
    • Ben 10: Omniverse is filled with this trope, on various levels:
      • Several of the retcons and continuity changes were handwaved in "So Long and Thanks for the Smoothies" by the Universe having been destroyed by the Anihilarg and Ben rebuilding it as Alien X. any little changes can be attributed to Ben's flawed memory or inability to use Alien X properly. How he re-created parts of the Universe he had never seen or heard of, and how an alien whose power is to be omnipotent can make mistakes in rebuilding the Universe, is left unexplained. Some fans consider this to be the animated equivalent of the "Superboy-Prime punches time" meme.
      • The Rooters story arc makes a retcon in an attempt to explain some controversial AF elements, such as the change in Kevin's origin (who went from being a Mutant to a Half-Human Hybrid descended from an alien species known as Osmosian) and the existence of various Human-Alien Hybrids. Said explanation is that Osmosians actually are a subspecies of human similar to mutants, the various hybrid kids were actually regular humans who got their alien traits by being guinea pigs for a black op, and none of them remembered this because they suffered Laser-Guided Amnesia. Problem is, that doesn't explain why nobody before questioned the fact Kevin claimed to be from an alien species that apparently didn't exist, nor does it explain why nobody ever questioned how the Plumber's Kids were the sole alien-human hybrids of their kind in existence.
      • In season 1 of Omniverse, Malware somehow manages to destroy Ben's alien form Feedback (despite the form being basically just DNA inside the Omnitrix). The reason given to explain why Ben can't just scan Conductoid DNA again to re-acquire the form is that Malware's tampering with the Omnitrix caused a failsafe glitch, leaving the Omnitrix unable to acquire this particular DNA ever again. The problem? Ben has changed Omnitrix twice since this happened, so there really is no reason for following models of the Omnitrix to still suffer this glitch.
      • With how complex the lore is, there may be an explanation: the DNA samples that the Omnimatrix uses are actually stored physically inside the 'Codon Stream' on the artificially constructed planet Primus, tended to by techno-organic creatures created by Asmuth. Because the first two versions of the Omnimatrix could not store DNA sequences within themselves and needed to re-download the sequences for each transformation, Malware's corruption could have spread into the entire Primus system. Until Ben was able to reunite a version of the Omnimatrix with the original DNA sequence that Malware had stolen and kept within himself, the damage could not be reversed.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Word of God's explanation for what ghosts are: they're not dead people, they're beings from another dimension who have taken on the memories and appearances of dead people. Fan reaction to this proclamation was uniformly negative, with some believing it to be a cop-out attempt to appease the Moral Guardians, especially since it seems to contradict the show itself! Most notably, Poindexter, a Deliberately Monochrome ghost stuck in The '50s. Because that's when he attended Casper High when he was alive.
    • Word of God has also stated that, despite her ghost gimmick being based partially around teenage rebellion and Lancer calling her a "teen idol" in her debut episode, Ember herself is actually in her early twenties. It's speculated that this was an attempt to discourage pairing her with the fourteen-year-old protagonist in fanfiction by making the age difference squicky. If so, it shows a fundamental failing to understand the Internet.
  • Word of God of Ed, Edd n Eddy says that Plank is just a hunk of wood. While most of the strange incidents concerning Plank could be the insanity of Johnny, Plank's owner, a few things just can't be explained. For example, in "Rent-A-Ed", Plank told Johnny that Eddy had messed up the kitchen — while Johnny was trapped in a tree far away from the incident. He also manages to sprout a branch in "Scrambled Ed", and drives a bus in Big Picture Show.
  • Lampshaded in Family Guy:
    • In "The Former Life of Brian"...
      Stewie: Say, Brian, now that I think about it, how can you possibly have a thirteen-year-old son when you yourself are only seven?
      Brian: Well, those are dog years.
      Stewie: That doesn't make any sense.
      Brian: You know what, Stewie? If you don't like it, go on the Internet and complain.
    • ...and in “A Fish Out of Water”
      Salty: The longer we stay here the more people'll question how a fisherman with no engineering background managed to build a sophisticated talking fish robot.
  • Futurama:
    • Fry often prefers this type of answer in situations where he doesn't want to think — even when there's a perfectly logical explanation. For instance, when Earth is threatened because Omicron Persei 8 can't watch the ending of an ancient TV show:
      Fry: It's crazy! How could they even know about a show from a thousand years ago?!
      Farnsworth: Well, Omicron Persei 8 is about a thousand light years away, so electromagnetic waves would just recently have gotten there. You see—
      Fry: Magic. Got it.
    • In the fourth movie, Richard Nixon's head (through Fry's mind reading) admits that the one thing they never figured out was that they really did fake the m
Moon landing — on Venus!
  • In "The Deep South", Zoidberg builds an underwater house, only to lose it almost as quickly:
    Zoidberg: My home! It burned down! How did this happen?!
    Hermes: That's a very good question!
    Bender: So that's where I left my cigar! (blows a smoke ring)
    Hermes: That just raises further questions!
    • Another example from the same episode comes when Bender asks how the people of Atlanta could have evolved into mermaids so quickly. It turns out that the caffeine leaking from the Coca-cola bottling plant really sped up the process.
  • How faster-than-light travel was achieved in-universe: scientists increased the speed of light.
  • In "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", Morgan asks Fry why he has a cap full of yogurt in his locker. He replies that it used to be milk, but it expired because, as he puts it, "time makes fools of us all". This of course raises the question of why he had a cap full of milk.
  • In Gargoyles, the gargoyles' ability to turn into stone at sunrise is repeatedly said to be a simple biological trait that gargoyles evolved naturally. Yet for some reason, their clothes also turn to stone along with their bodies. Greg Weisman eventually explained this in his "Ask Greg" Q&A forum: thousands of years ago, a Roman sorcerer cast a spell on all gargoyles to make their clothing turn to stone at sunrise—all because mischievous humans used to regularly steal sleeping gargoyles' clothes, leaving them naked. So in other words: one human sorcerer changed the course of an entire species' evolution for all eternity with a single spell, and he did it because he was tired of having to look at naked gargoyles all the time.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Fans wanted to know what Dipper really thought of Pacifica. Gravity Falls: Journal 3 at least implies he could have developed a crush on her, but it also has a mild case of this trope: The episode "Roadside Attraction" showed he was still obsessed with Wendy at the same time, and in said episode, why did Dipper flirt with all these girls because he was desperate to be with anyone when he already had a new potential love interest? And why is this never addressed or alluded to during the rest of the series, even when Dipper and Pacifica depart in the last episode, when Dipper getting a girlfriend was a significant plot point in the series? These issues could, to some extent, be explained by saying Dipper is simply in denial (he did cross those sentences out in the journal, after all) and that it's more than possible to be attracted to multiple people at once, but it still would have made more sense to simply not address it in Journal 3. Wouldn't it be easier to just have "Roadside Attraction" take place before "Northwest Mansion Mystery", especially as it was a Breather Episode with no plot relevance?
      • It does...in production order, which also explain's Ford's absence.
    • Also in Journal 3, it's said that .GIFfany survived "Soos and the Real Girl" and went into Rumble McSkirmish's game. If that's true, why didn't she appear with him during Weirdmaggedon? We didn't see every character from his game then, but one does still wonder...
  • Parodied in Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Molotov sees a dancing house and demands an explanation. Heloise replies that the house owed her a favor.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • The use of platinum armor to make mechs immune to metalbending. Even if you handwave wave the rarity and expense of so much platinum by saying it might not be as rare in the Avatar world, that still leaves the issue that platinum is a relatively soft metal (closest to soft iron), so would make horrible armor for any purpose other than resisting metalbendingnote  Any strong Earthbender (of the type likely to be part of any defensive force) could destroy any such mech with a single boulder. And any sort of electroplating or platinum alloy would reduce the metal's purity, lowering its resistance to bending. Also, like gold, it's heavy, which would make it a doubly-horrible choice for armoring Kuvira's giant mech from season 4. It could be argued that the platinum armor is meant specifically to counter metalbenders, who the show portrays as suffering from Crippling Overspecialization. But that makes sense for Zaofu and Republic City, not the Earth Kingdom at large. And any attempt at arguing that Avatarverse platinum might not correspond to real world platinum (might be stronger, not as heavy) means that it isn't really platinum: it's Unobtanium being called "platinum".
  • Played for Laughs in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Baby Cakes", when the Earth Ponies Mr. and Mrs. Cake have two children — one of which is a unicorn and the other one is a pegasus. When asked about this, Mr. Cake gives a convoluted genealogical explanation (including a relative who is related by marriage, not blood), then adds "That makes sense, right?" (complete with nervous Aside Glance). Fanon has since assumed that the three races (earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns) can and often do intermarry, and the resulting foals are usually either of the races of the two parents. If not, that can be explained by an ancestor of one of the two parents being that race or, if fans are feeling much more cynical, that Mrs. Cake was unfaithful.
  • Played for laughs in Phineas and Ferb. When the anti-intellectual bully Buford is revealed to be fluent in French, he waves it off as being easy to learn if you know Latin. Another episode had an acknowledged one when Dr. Doofenshmirtz's teleporter, after spinning a wheel of possible destinations, sends its targets into his pants. He figures out that the he confused it with his dry-cleaning wheel, hence why his pants were among the possibilities...but he has no idea why his dry-cleaning wheel is a thing that exists.
  • Regular Show: No one on the Party Horse homeworld knows why an education in Earth's U.S. History is now compulsory for all Party Horses, although Principal Party Horse somehow believes that partying without a clear knowledge of the history of a country on a planet very far away is somehow deficient.
  • Played for Laughs by The Simpsons:
    • In one of the Bizarro Halloween Episodes (which was also a Superhero Episode), after Bart and Lisa save Lucy Lawless from a supervillain, she calmly picks them up and flies them home:
      Lisa: Wait a minute, Xena can't fly!
      Lucy Lawless: I told you, I'm not Xena -- I'm Lucy Lawless.
      Lisa: Oh.
    • Also Played for Laughs in the first Halloween episode, where they encounter Kang and Kodos.
      Marge: You speak English!
      Kang: I am actually speaking Rigellian. By astonishing coincidence, both of our languages are exactly the same.
    • A straight example in "That 90's Show". The first flashback episode took place in 1974, and the second flashback episode, which supposedly took place not long after the first, took place in 1980. In this episode, Lisa asks what they were doing during the six years in between (ie: the time between when Homer and Marge first met and when Bart was born). Accordingly, this episode should have taken place in the 1970s. But guess where it actually does take place.
    • The episode featuring a guest appearance by Ray Romano (as "Ray Magini") centers around all the other characters thinking Ray is made-up, and Homer getting increasingly defensive about the existence of his new friend. In the end, after Ray's existence is revealed to everyone, it's explained (by Stephen Hawking, no less) that one of the reasons Bart was not able to see him in an earlier scene, despite standing right beside him, was because a reality-warping wormhole had spontaneously opened up in front of Ray. The audience is clearly being trolled at this point, since that same scene featured Bart holding a giant pile of stuff that could have easily been used as an explanation for his blocked line of sight.
  • South Park:
    • Played for laughs in the Scooby-Doo Affectionate Parody episode, "Korn's Groovy Pirate Mystery". At the very end, when Korn is going through the process of Doing In the Wizard to explain the presence of the pirate ghosts, the methods turn out to be complete nonsense. The ghosts were created using a flashlight and cotton swabs, and a Ghost Ship was made using a mirror, a candle, and two squirrels.
    • In the Imaginationland three-parter, a subplot explaining how the terrorists gained access to the gateway to Imaginationland (they stole it from the Russians, who planned an attack in our imagination back during the Cold War) was cut because it raised more questions than it answered.
  • Parodied in the Teen Titans Go! Island Adventures five-parter. After the Titans get stranded on a deserted island, Robin claims they can no longer use their powers just because they're stranded on a deserted island and thus can't just fly back home, even though they still use their powers several times.
  • Invoked by Word of God for Transformers Animated. The writers announced that they would not be revealing anything about the origins of the Allspark because the explanation would risk being so bizarre that it shattered the audience's Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The Star Wars Midichlorian example was specifically cited.
  • Winx Club 4Kids dub, "Magical Reality Check": It's already bad enough that the would-be Author's Saving Throw (where Knut comes in and says that he couldn't find the herb ingredients that the Trix wanted for a potion) is placed in the middle of the episode (and not brought up again at the end where it would be relevant; this comparison includes the throw), but it also raises the question, "Why do the Trix perform their plan to steal Bloom's powers after they're told that they lack the necessary ingredients?" (as well as "Why don't they bring that up when the plan fails?")


 
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Alternative Title(s): Explanation Completely Fails, Nonsensical Explanation, That Just Raises Further Questions, Closing One Plot Hole With Another, Handwaving Yourself Deeper, Explanation Plot Hole, Recursive Plot Hole

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Futurama - Zoidberg's House

Dr. Zoidberg's new shell home burns down...underwater. Hermes' remarks neatly embody how the trope functions.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (28 votes)

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Main / VoodooShark

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