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- Crossovers with Ranma ½
- The Fuku Fic subgenre revolves around one simple question - What if Ranma Saotome became a Sailor Senshi (or at least a Magical Girl)?
- The Ranma ½ / Urusei Yatsura story Lum Sum Purple is basically "what if Shampoo was Lum's opponent in the tag game, and ended up accidentally marrying her?". Since Shampoo isn't a pervert, she defeats Lum using her own fighting skills, and the Accidental Proposal occurs when she gives Lum the Kiss of Death, and it's misinterpreted as the Kiss of Marriage. Also, since Ataru isn't around to wake Kurama up, that honor falls to Perfume (an Original Character who happens to be Shampoo's cousin).
- Ranma Club asks "What if Ranma Saotome was the reincarnation of the Specialists (yes, all of them), and moved to Magix, where the entire Winx Club fell in love with him?".
- Take the Green and Go - What if Shego of Kim Possible went back in time and drowned at Jusenkyo? And what if Ranma fell into the same spring she drowned in?
- Child of the Storm: What if Thor is Harry Potter's father? The results are more awesome than it sounds.
- The fanfic The Dimension Hoppers covers this from various power rangers/sentai (and a few others)
- The Grim EDventures of Ed, Edd, n Eddy asks the question "What if Grim never met Billy and Mandy but Ed, Edd n Eddy instead?"
- Ghoul Instructor Naruto asks "What if Naruto was the gym teacher at Grimwood Academy instead of Shaggy?"
- GarfBob SquareField: What if Spongebob Squarepants ended up at a pet shop and was brought by Jon Arbuckle?
- Fluttershy and the Iron Giant: what if The Iron Giant landed in Equestria and befriended Fluttershy?
- Last Child of Krypton: What if Shinji Ikari was Superman?
- Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: What if Asuka Langley Sohryu was Superman's biological daughter?
- 10 ton adventure asks "What if Ben 10 had been there for Dumbo instead of Timothy Mouse?".
- The Vampire of Steel: What if Supergirl didn't get killed by the Anti-Monitor and met Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
- Tom and Jerry: The Harry Potter Days can be boiled down to "what if Tom and Jerry became the pets of Harry Potter, and were assigned to protect him by Dumbledore?".
- Love Hina fic The Beast That I Am: What if Shinobu Maehara became the She-Hulk?
- Love Hina Double Trouble: What if Keitaro was Philip's partner in Kamen Rider Double instead of Shotaro?
- The Bubblegum Crisis / Ah! My Goddess crossover A Goddess Comes to Call asks what would've happened if Keiichi HADN'T wished for Belldandy to stay with him. He instead wishes for the girl who would be perfect for him, and ends up with Chihiro. Belldandy, meanwhile, is accidentally summoned fifty years later by Linna, who makes the wish for Belldandy to stay with her, and the goddesses (and Mara) get involved with the Knight Sabers and boomers (and Girls' Love).
- As This Train Goes, a Recursive Fanfiction of Edventure of the Thousand-Year Door, answers the questions "What if Sarah was the legendary hero? What if Edd and the others weren't charged with collecting the crystal stars?"
- Turnabout Storm: What if no Big Damn Hero had come to turn the tides of the case when all seemed lost? A contest held by the author encouraged fans to answer this themselves by creating their own Downer Ending, the winner becoming the "official" alternate outcome.
Anime & Manga
- Ah! My Goddess
- Ah! My Goddess: What If? is pretty much dedicated to this trope. From Keiichi's wish being granted by a different mystical being to Keiichi gaining an angel, the world of Ah! My Goddess is changed with each question.
- The fanfic The Goddess and the Sky, asks "What if Sora was the one who was visited by Belldandy?" Answer: after tasting Belldandy's cooking, she accidentally wishes that Belldandy would marry her.
- Ah! My Valkyrie asks "what if Lind was the one who granted Keiichi's wish instead of Belldandy?". If you're wondering why Lind's the one granting wishes, she was asked to fill in for Belldandy.
- The plot of Dirty Sympathy is "What if Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney was a "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder" in which Klavier and Apollo, trapped in abusive relationships, agree to take down the other's abuser. Daryan Crescend didn't kill Romain LeTouse and Kristoph didn't kill Shadi Enigmar, they were both framed.
- There have been a few fics in Axis Powers Hetalia asking what would have happened if the Americans hadn't won the American Revolution.
- The Bleach fic Downfall works on this premise, messing freely with everything, while explicitly keeping everyone within their canon character constraints. Aizen is a plotter. Unohana is Team Mom... and she kills people with her bare hands
- The Death Note fanfic Constant Temptation can be summed up as "What if L and Light fell in love with each other, and had to deal with Beyond Birthday?".
- The Digimon fanfic A Girl and her Bat asks "what if Demidevimon was Kari's partner instead of Gatomon" (as well as "what if Puppetmon made a HeelFace Turn?").
- At least 90% of The Familiar of Zero fanfics have the same concept — "What if Louise summoned someone (or something) OTHER than Saito to be her familiar?" It's a good excuse to write a Crossover. Of course, it doesn't necessarily have to be a crossover - many stories have her summoning a more badass version of Saito, or an Original Character.
- The Fruits Basket fanfic "Eyes of the Cat" is solely dependent on the premise that Kyo, as the cat of the zodiac, may be able to see ghosts.
- Fullmetal Alchemist fic The Riderless Horse asks what would happen if Olivier Armstrong had been killed during the events of the Promised Day. Answer: a huge power vacuum, which gets worse when Fuhrer Grumman is assassinated and leaves Amestris with no single leader. Neither of the two opposing factions can take power - Mustang wants a bloodless coup, and General Hakuro hasn't enough support - and so events very slowly begin to spiral towards civil war.
- Love Hina has several. Notable ones include Contract Labor (what if Keitaro WASN'T an Extreme Doormat?), An Alternate Keitaro Urashima (What if Keitaro DIDN'T take the promise so seriously?) and For His Own Sake (What if Keitaro finally wised up to the abuse he was suffering?).
- Kid Keitaro: What if Keitaro had been 8 years old when he came to the Hinata Inn?
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Game Theory: What if Precia wasn't quite as crazy? It's rather astonishing how spectacularly the story goes Off the Rails from canon due to that small change.
- ''Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In several bonus scenes the author described several alternate scenarios where Asuka became The Spectre, Raven, Etrigan, a Red Lantern... rather being Supergirl.
- In fact, the ENTIRE concept behind the Superwomen of Eva series is "What if (insert female Eva character here) gained the powers of a female Marvel or DC superheroine?".
- Advice and Trust is an alternate universe where Shinji kissed Asuka back when she kissed him. Some of the consequences caused by that change are: Shinji and Asuka getting together and befriending Rei, Rei falling for both teens, Hikari becoming an Eva pilot instead of Touji, Shinji never merging with Unit-01...
- A Crown of Stars features a scenario where Shinji and Asuka's lives got worse after Third Impact until someone from another dimension took an interest in them.
- The Child of Love is an Alternate Universe fic where Asuka had sex with Shinji and got pregnant, and that situation forced both teenagers to get their act together, fix their relationship and learn to be parents.
- Children of an Elder God replaces the canonical Eldritch Abominations with the Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos. As a result the main characters look saner but they become Humanoid Abominations, and their world is more insane, darker and bleaker.
- Evangelion 303: What if Second Impact never happened, the Children were adult soldiers who pilot experimental jet fighters instead of mechas, and SEELE was a terrorist organization?
- Ghosts of Evangelion explores what could have happened to Shinji, Asuka and their world after the end of the show.
- HERZ: SEELE fails to take over NERV in 2015. SEELE is exposed, NERV becomes an UN anti-Evangelion proliferation organization, and the main characters spend the next decade getting over their psychological issues and thwarting SEELE's plans.
- Higher Learning: What if after Third Impact, Shinji and Asuka's grandson went back in time and became their teacher to help them with their psychological issues and so averting the end of the world?
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide features an alternate universe where NERV manages through political maneuvering to avert SEELE's attack for a time, which further results in the seclude for the Human Instrumentally Project being pushed dramatically back. Shinji gets time to recover somewhat from his latest traumas and tries to fix his relationship with his family while his father and SEELE make plans for their imminent confrontation, using new puppets and tools.
- The One Piece fanfic Though a Bird Can't Fly, That Doesn't Mean It Never Will asks the question "What if Kuina had been blinded instead of killed in her accident?"
- John Biles' Ranma ½: Elseworlds (sadly on extended hiatus) explored variations such as "what if Ukyo stayed together with Ranma from the start?" to "what if Akane went to Jyusenkyo instead of Ranma?" to "what if the story takes place in the World of Darkness?"
- Several Rosario + Vampire fanfics revolve around the question "what if someone OTHER than Tsukune entered Yokai Academy?". Like the Familiar of Zero example above, it's usually an excuse for a crossover, Rosario To Kiva being a notable example.
- Sailor Moon fanfic Cardinal King asks, "What if the Senshi had been corrupted during the Silver Millennium instead of the Shitennou?".
- Respect explores what would happen if Yayoi Kise became a Puella Magi instead of a Precure. The results aren't pretty.
- Urusei Yatsura: Love to Skate!, asks "what if Ataru WASN'T the one chosen to be Lum's opponent in that fateful game of tag?". Among other things, there's no Defeat by Modesty (Lum lets the Original Character who replaces Ataru win after he saves her from a nasty fall), and the Accidental Proposal occurs when his rhetorical question about proposing is taken out of context.
Film - Animated
- Shen vs. Kai asks what Kung Fu Panda 2 would've been like had the Big Bad of Kung Fu Panda 3 also been involved.
- This trope is the driving force for the premise behind Where There's Life, There's Hope, a The Lion King fanfic. What if Simba had actually taken Kovu when Zira "offered" him, but to protect him and give him a better life? Needless to say, everything changes.
Film - Live Action
- A Song of Ice and Fire
- In the The Joinery, the entire premise is what if Ned Stark became king instead of Robert Baratheon and married Cersei Lannister.
- The Alternate Universe Fic Ned Stark Lives, which is about Eddard Stark being allowed by Cersei to take the black instead of being executed by her insane son. Despite the War of the Five Kings being more or less averted by this change, the story is just as violent as the original series.
- The Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit
- Walt Disney Presents: The Lord of the Rings: What if Walt Disney made The Lord of the Rings into an animated movie?
- Sent Home Tied Up in a Sack, asks "What if Elrond DID send Pippin home from Rivendell?" The answer...Well, let's just say Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! is putting it mildly.
- Episodes from Middle Earth consists entirely of one-shots asking this question. Some of them are light-hearted (e.g. "what if Bilbo and Thorin got turned into children?"), while some are dark and depressing (e.g. "what if half of the company died in the Thunder Battle?").
- Quite popular for fanfics of Worm - unsurprising, since it is about superheroes. One of the most popular concepts is to swap main character Taylor's insect control power for something much more potent, but sometimes they play off of more For Want of a Nail type changes.
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic Difficult To Fight Against Anger is a what if story where Warren Mears doesn't kill Tara Maclay, but instead sexually assaults her.
- Die Anstalt: A Posse Ad Esse: What if Dr Wood's powers were real and tangible? What would happen if, by a fluke, they spread to every toy in the building?
- Prompt #3 for the Star Trek Online forums' Unofficial Literary Challenge #7 asked for the writers to do this with their cast of characters. The results:
- Marcusdkane's "Turn a Different Corner" had Marcus Kane stay on Vulcan and marry his friend T'Reya in 2363, rather than rejoining Starfleet to command the USS Akira.
- Worffan 101's untitled entry changed a major detail of his prime universe Romulan character D'trel's backstory. Instead of D'trel's lover Adani being captured and tortured to death by the Tal'Shiar when they raided a Unificationist cell, D'trel died instead of Adani. The story then proceeds to the present to analyze the results of the less-bloody-minded Adani being the one to face Hakeev instead of D'trel.
- StarSword's "The Road Not Taken" decided that rather than transferring to Starfleet when the Bajoran Militia disbanded its Space Navy, Kanril Eleya stayed in the Militia and became Space Police. In the present Eleya is now a captain (O-3 rather than O-6) in the Militia and the security chief of Deep Space 9. Results are mixed: while it's mentioned briefly that the Borg attack at Vega Colony resulted in the complete destruction of Starfleet's forces without Eleya having been there, Eleya herself is actually happier.
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command fanfic Revenge Of The Energy Vampire - What if Nos-4-A2 survived his apparent destruction on Planet Z, and went after XR for revenge?
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- There are a few [MLP:FiM] fanfics out there that ask the question: "What if Rainbow Dash failed to/didn't pull off her first Sonic Rainboom?" Here's such an example.
- Your Best Shot asks, "What if Rainbow Dash had been present when Discord gave the Mane Cast their first shot at him?" The result: Twilight and Discord swap powers, and part of their physical appearance.
- Party of None explores what would happen if Pinkie Pie overpowered Rainbow Dash when the latter tried to take her to her surprise birthday party during her Sanity Slippage. Let's just say it's not pleasant...
- The Pony POV Series addresses multiple what if scenarios whenever someone looks into the Truth and glimpses The Multiverse. These vary from relatively minor changes ("What if Celestia turned Nightmare instead of Luna?") to more major changes ("What if Applejack was a different Element of Harmony?"). Many recursive fanfics have been written based on these scenarios.
- The Simpsons fanfiction The Thompsons answers the question "What if Homer and Marge were not the parents of Bart, Lisa and Maggie?"
- Empath: The Luckiest Smurf has two "what if" scenarios, explored by Empath's great-grandson Traveler who has the power to explore the alternate timelines of those that he comes in contact with (similar to Waverider's ability from Armageddon 2001). In Smurfette's alternate timeline, she falls in love with and marries Papa Smurf, having a child through him and causing the entire Smurf Village to rebel against Papa Smurf and throw him and his new family out of the village. In Hefty's alternate timeline, Empath returns to Psychelia and in time becomes the next Psyche Master while Smurfette falls in love with and marries Hefty, resulting in Empath-as-Psyche Master abducting Hefty and torturing him out of spite for not being able to marry Smurfette.
- Steven Universe
- The Steven Universe fandom has a common AU called "Momswap", which is basically "what if Steven was being raised by the Homeworld Gems instead of the Crystal Gems?". Here is one of the better versions.
- Both Connie Parallel and Buck Dewniverse ask "what if Steven WASN'T the human-Gem hybrid?".
- Opal, Sapphire, Ruby, and STEVEN! asks "what if Opal was the permafusion instead of Garnet?".
- An Unexpected Child, a Superjail! fanfic, basically answers the question "What if the Mistress had gotten pregnant with the Warden's child after the Lockdown of Love?"
- Total Drama
- In Legacy, the climactic encounter with the chainsaw psycho note turns out differently than the canon version. That single change drives the entire story, with consequences that are still felt a decade later.
- The premise of Total Drama Island, by Gilbert and Sullivan is just what the title implies, to wit: "What if Gilbert and Sullivan had written Total Drama Island?"
- A central conceit of The Legend of Total Drama Island is "What if Total Drama Island had been played for drama instead of laughs?" The result is one of the darkest Season 1 remakes in the fandom.
- Total Alternate Island is a retelling of the first season, but with six additional campers joining the game at the start. This also alters some couplings as well.
- This Yin Yang Yo! fanfic is where the Series Finale takes a sinister turn for the worse.