Follow TV Tropes


Rule Of Three / Anime & Manga

Go To

The Rule of Three in anime and manga.

  • Ah! My Goddess features a Goddess who plays the part of Mercury in the Honest Axe myth. The first time she makes the offering, it is a gold and silver harp to the man who she comes to love. The second time, it is an exceptionally sharp axe to herself so she can break free from her spring. The third time, it is a gold and silver bike to Keiichi who is on the verge of losing Belldandy in a bike race against God.
  • Most of the skits in Daily Lives of High School Boys rely on a triple repeat of the same joke or three jokes with the same theme.
    • Three students slip on frozen puddles in one skit.
    • Yoshitake's Paper-Thin Disguise as Karasawa by wearing a white cap works three times in the Kick The Can skit (twice on Mitsuo).
    • Mitsuo makes three attempts to get a soccer ball past Hidenori during the Sure Kill Shot skit. Third time is the charm in this case.
  • Dokuhime has triplet princes who were predicted to be the "perfect child, protecting child, and destroying child", the last one having a tell-tale birthmark (the king loved them so he marked the other 2 and raised them all the same). Sure enough, one is posing as the deceased king, another is the poison tester, and the 3rd alone is a brilliant engineer but was so traumatized by seeing his father's death that he looks a lot younger and can't stop killing things, but that hasn't yet proved anything. Despite being triplets they no longer look the same: the one who's posing as the king looks older while the one who is traumatized and can't stop killing looks younger.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, before King Kai (King Kaio) agrees to train someone, they must make him laugh with a joke. Tien performs the multiform technique to create 3 bodies just before shouting the punchline. Thus making his joke 3 times funnier.
    • Trunks and Goten had to attempt performing a Fusion Dance three times in order to correctly obtain a powerful new form to fight Evil Buu.
    • Later during the Tournament of Power in Dragon Ball Super, it takes three times for Goku to get a handle on, improve and eventually complete Ultra Instinct in episode 130. With that third time making the difference in allowing Goku to finally overcome Jiren’s overwhelming strength and render him beatable.
  • The 3 kids Maurice, Maeter, and Linck in Eureka Seven, as well as the number of times Nirvash and TheEND fight each other.
  • Eyeshield 21 ends with 333 chapters. Many of the close friendships in the series are in groups of three.
  • In Fairy Tail, there are three true Dragon Slayers: Natsu, Gajeel, and Wendy. Also, there were three active S-Class mages in the guild: Laxus, Erza, Mystogan. Then: Erza, Mirajane and Mystogan. Later: Erza, Mirajane, Gildartz. After the Time Skip: Erza, Mirajane, and Laxus.
  • Advertisement:
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, each priestess gets Three Wishes. Miaka's evolve from entirely selfish to a combination of selfish and selfless, to entirely selfless over the course of the series as she plans out what to ask of Suzaku. She only actually makes two wishes.
  • Rule Of Three is referenced in Golden Boy by a couple of proverb-misquoting Yakuza members: "Even Buddha only waited three times."
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: The third Endless Eight episode has Itsuki state that "We have entered an endless recursion of time." three times in a row.
  • Manga covers for Highschool of the Dead, the main girls stars at each 3 volumes with no changes so far, the formula is one volume for Rei then Saeko and finally Saya, they are the only main characters to appear on covers.
  • The Mazinger series used this trope continuously. Starting with the original TRILOGY:
    • Mazinger Z: The eponymous Humongous Mecha is a Combining Mecha formed by three parts: Mazinger-Z, the Hover Pilder and the Jet Scrander. The Photon Atomic Power Research Institute is protected by three Humongous Mecha: Mazinger-Z, Aphrodite-A and Boss Borot. Throughout the series three FemBots show up: Aphrodite A, Minerva-X and Diana-A. Prof. Yumi is aided by three scientists (Profs. Morimori, Sewashi and Nossori). The Boss' gang is formed by three members: Boss, Nuke and Mucha. Dr. Hell never had more than three Co-Dragons at once, and several times he sent three-mecha teams to take down his enemies (Aeros B1, B2 and B3; Megaron P1, P2 and P3). Baron Ashura kidnapped three workers of the Institute in one episode (Kasuya, Kata and Yokoi). A Mechanical Beast could split in three parts could act and attack independently...
    • Great Mazinger: The Fortress of Science is protected by three robots: Great Mazinger, Venus-A and Boss Borot. The Bridge Bunnies are three. Prof. Kabuto had three sons Tetsuya, Kouji and Shiro...
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Prof. Umon was assisted in the Lab by three Bridge Bunnies (Hayashi, Yamada and Aoi). Makiba family was formed by three members: Hikaru, Danbei and Goro. Duke battle partners were Kouji, Hikaru and his sister Maria. Grendizer got three MidSeason Upgrades: Double, Marine and Drill Spacer...
  • Background material for the original Mobile Suit Gundam notes that standard mobile suit tactics for the Principality of Zeon involved squads of three Zakus. The Federation fudged this a bit for space battles, mimicking that with three GMs per squad, but with the addition of two Balls as support. This also comes up in many of the Universal Century series, where while the number of leading protagonists who pilot them will vary, it often ends up that there are three mobile suits among them (for instance from the original series, Amuro's Gundam, Kai's Guncannon, and Ryu and Hayato's Guntank).
  • Naruto:
    • There is the three-man team that is ubiquitous in the ninja world, affecting everyone from the main trio (Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura) to their compatriots, the Sand Siblings, the Legendary Sannin, the Amegakure Orphans...
    • There are three exalted eye techniques in the ninja world: Byakugan, Sharingan, and Rinnegan. The Mangekyo Sharingan has three main techniques: Tsukuyomi, Amaterasu, and Susano'o. The Rinnegan has six (3+3) main paths, the leader of which, Deva Path, has three techniques at his disposal: Almighty Push, Universal Pull, and Planetary Devastation.
    • Kurama has had three hosts throughout history: Mito Uzumaki, Kushina Uzumaki, and of course, Naruto Uzumaki. In the Fourth Ninja World War arc, however, it's revealed that Minato Namikaze became host to Kurama's Yin half as a result of the Reaper Death Seal incident, despite being dead. Similarly, the Ten Tails has had three hosts: the Sage of the Six Paths, Obito Uchiha, and Madara Uchiha.
    • Three Uchiha who don the mantle of Akatsuki: Itachi, Sasuke, and Obito.
  • In the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, First Impact happened before humanity existed, Second Impact in the last two decades, and the objective of NERV is to stop Third Impact.
  • One Piece
    • There are three marine Admirals: Akainu, Aojiki, and Kizaru. During the timeskip, with Akainu's promotion and Aokiji's resignation, Fujitora and Ryokugyu are drafted as new Admirals.
    • Three great powers: the Marines/World Government, the Shichibukai, and the Yonkou. after the Levely, the Shichibukai are abolished and set to be replaced by the SSG.
    • The Monster Trio in the Strawhat crew consists of Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • The anime always has three main characters (Ash and his two companions, one male, one female, with Hoenn being the exception due to Max tagging along, and Kalos with Bonnie being part of the group), plus the Team Rocket trio.
    • According to Pocket Monsters: The Animation, if a gym leader loses three times in a row they are forced to quit. This causes many gym leaders to bribe trainers in order to lose.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Sgt. Frog episode 9 has Moa blowing up Giroro and Keroro twice in a row. Then it happens a third time, and the narrator explains that this is due to the conventions of humor.
  • In Transformers: Armada, the ultimate weapon, the Hydra Cannon, is made of three smaller uber-weapons, the Star Saber, Skyboom Shield, and Requiem Blaster. Each of these is itself made of three Mini-Cons.
  • Vampire Game has 3 princes who are the 3 "adopted" sons of the king. Well, 2 were adopted and the 1st was illegitimate.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are three Legendary Dragons and three corresponding Legendary Heroes. We also have the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon and Cyber End Dragon, formed by fusing three of the same monsters into one. Egyptian God Monsters, of which there happen to be three, demand a sacrifice of three monsters to be summoned though this trope is subverted in this case with said 3 God monsters having their fusion form thus leading to 4. There are also three levels of the Orichalcos: Seal of Orichalcos, Orichalcos Deuteros and Orichalcos Tritos. There are three powerful magicians (Dark Magician, Dark Magician Girl, Magician of Black Chaos) that form a trio.
    • Subverted as though there seem to be three Phantom Beasts, they have their fusion form. And three Wicked Gods. And the English manga was published as three series (Yu-Gi-Oh! for the first seven volumes, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist for Duelist Kingdom onward, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium World, following the Duel City finals).
    • ARC-V portrays the three Extra Deck summoning methods (Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz) with this dynamic, with each having its own dimension and specializing duelists. In-story, Pendulum Summon (which focuses on quickly amassing materials for the aforementioned methods) and the Standard Dimension (where all three co-exist without any of them being dominant over the others) act as bridges between them.
    • VRAINS has Yusaku Fujiki stating many things in threes very often. It's because during the Lost Incident ten years prior to the start of the series, a voice told him to think of three things which saved him for succumbing to the hellish reality he was forced into and dying in a pit of deep despair.
    • The same goes for quite a few regular cards. There were originally three Harpie Lady Sisters, three monsters that made up the Gate Guardian, three Machines that make up the XYZ-Dragon Cannon and of course, one of the biggest rules in the game is that you can have a maximum of three copies of a card in your deck (at least in most cases).
  • In YuYu Hakusho, there are three main worlds separated dimensionally: The human world, the spirit world, and the Makai world; the latter in turn has three major rulers: Mukuro, Yomi, and Raizen ( when the latter one dies, a tournament is run to decide who will rule all three worlds). Averted in the second movie, where it's revealed that there is actually a fourth world.