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Unreliable Narrator / Fan Works

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Unreliable Narrators in Fan Works.

  • All For Luz: It's made clear in Season 1 that Luz should take anything that All For One says with a grain of salt. For example, he claims that his Quirk is unique in The Multiverse, but even disregarding the Nine incident his plan canonically involved copying his Quirk and passing the original onto Tomura, which would have been made impossible to even attempt by this if what he's saying is true , and his brother having a similar Quirk that would become One For All proves that the All For One Quirk isn't an exception to Quirks having a genetic basis (he does latter admit he lied about that). He also claims that his Quirk comes with a built-in craving to steal Quirks, but it's entirely possible that he's just trying to push Luz into starting to steal powers, especially given how he seems to show concern to her despite being canonically The Sociopath that doesn't care about anyone besides himself, though it's possible that self-preservation is also a factor, given that his vestige's existence is tied to her's now. In chapter 16, its revealed he told a half-truth with the other half being his More than Mind Control on the girl's emotions playing a factor.
  • Code Prime: Megatron is this during a conversation with Suzaku regarding the War for Cybertron - while he acknowledges that neither side is completely good or evil, he implies that the planet becoming uninhabitable was a result of the conflict getting out of control, rather than him deliberately poisoning the core with Dark Energon to try and gain planetary domination. He also insinuates that he gathered the Decepticons and rose up against the ruling council because they refused to accept Optimus' peaceful solution to dealing with planetary unrest, when in actuality, they stepped down willingly and named Optimus the new leader, causing the envious Megatron to rise up over not getting what he wanted. And lastly, Megatron indicates that he tried to reach out to Optimus and seek some form of alliance, only to be rejected, conveniently leaving out that Megatron was turned away because he was a despot whose own actions are the entire reason Optimus turned against him.
  • Concept Road. For a character preemptively familiar with all the worlds he goes to, Louis Starsky sure doesn't always have his facts together. For example, he believes that Miku Hatsune was the first Vocaloid preceding Meiko Sakine and Kaito. He's also convinced that Kino from Kino's Journey is a dude. It should also be noted that several context clues within the same chapter(s) strongly suggest that this is not a mistake on the actual author's end.
  • Dogbertcarroll's stories on Fanfiction dot net include one where Xander Harris has a cosmic event happen and gets dropped into the Justice league, literally during a meeting. He describes Batman as being possibly the most sociologically driven man in the DC Universe but also deadly necessary. Of course, this is Xander's viewpoint, and the man has been somewhat unreliable narrating himself, as anyone who's ever watched/critiqued "The Zeppo" can tell you.
  • Elementary Particles: reprinted from the reminiscences of Professor Bernice S. Summerfield by Paul A is a retelling of parts of the Doctor Who New Adventures Sherlock Holmes crossover All Consuming Fire, which uses the facts that a) the book itself clearly states that Holmes and Watson weren't their real names and b) Benny is well known for re-writing her diary on post-it notes, to present a version that instead features Madame Vastra and Jenny. And a coda in which she rewrites it again so they're a couple of Pakhar named Basil and Dawson.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku's perceptions can color the third-person narration. It calls Katsuki Bakugou a "stand-up guy" right before he begins threatening to beat up another kid for taking the last cupcake.
  • The Sassgardian is the worst offender in Superhero RPF. He insists, for example, that Loki is a Lovable Rogue with a heart of gold; he even has his Tumblr to prove it! He is Loki. But several other characters are super heroes or villains too, protecting their secret identities, so being unreliable narrators is pretty much unavoidable.
  • With Pearl and Ruby Glowing: In several stories, some details shown in the movie fragments are left out, sometimes on purpose, other times because the speaker doesn't have all the details, and villains deliberately omit certain parts of their story to make them seem more innocent. The collection Heat of the Heart has it as a running theme, with the speakers either outright lying, being uninformed, being in denial, or suffering from delusions.

Ace Attorney

Avatar: The Last Airbender

  • When In Doubt Go To The Library: As Zuko realizes the Fire Nation's historical records might not be entirely truthful, Wan Shi Tong explains him the historical national narrative — since countries and peoples want to be the best and feel best about themselves, they will build a narrative fitting their ideals, with everything they approve emphasized and the events going against their favored mindset downplayed or outright ignored. Hence the importance to be open-minded when studying history, as there might be an unknown variable lurking somewhere in another nation's records.


  • A Piece Of Glass: The story is sandwiched together from the POV of the Joker, his Original Character accomplice, Breech Loader, and Batman himself. The Joker sees his demented social experiments as perfectly acceptable. Breech repeatedly insists that morals and sanity are moot points, being a matter of perspective. Neither is sane, but Through the Eyes of Madness both are convinced they are right. Interestingly, through Batman's POV, he's not that different...

Case Closed

  • In Dominoes, Shinichi's abusive Control Freak father Yuusaku can alter and edit memories, and has clearly been using these abilities to mess with significant portions of his son's mind. This raises serious questions about just how extensive these sessions are, and how much Shinichi honestly doesn't remember, as well as how much this impacts his internal narration.


  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Denial is told from the perspective of Teruteru. He remains as the viewpoint character even after he's hit with the 'Careless' Despair Disease, for a touch of Through the Eyes of Madness.
  • let's go out with a bang! downplays this with Miu. Events from her perspective are not distorted in any way, allowing the reader to see details that she's missing or overlooking.
    • For instance, a key part of Miu's issues stem from the blatant Double Standard in how she and Kokichi are treated: she's The Friend Nobody Likes who gets constantly berated for retaining all her nastier habits from the game, while Kokichi seems to get a free pass for all his casual cruelties. The reader, meanwhile, can see that while there is bias involved, things aren't quite as lopsided as she believes; Kokichi is called out on his shit quite regularly, much more than she realizes. He's just completely ignoring it.

Danny Phantom

  • Familiar Corpse follows Vlad's point of view in the wake of a tragic incident wherein the Fenton parents captured and tried to dissect Danny Phantom. Throughout the work, Vlad mentally denies any attachment to Danny, viewing matters entirely through the lens of how he can twist things to his advantage. Upon learning just how bad things have gotten — namely, that Maddie is completely in denial about the revelation that Danny is Phantom, he realizes that he could completely clear up the misconception... and chooses not to, for fear of poisoning his own relationship with her.

Death Note

  • Death Note Chaotic: Any time the story is being told from Russell Thorne's perspective, it tends to be misleading. He never lies, but his motivations change how his actions are interpreted later on.


  • Two of Six: The entire fic is from Dick Grayson's point of view and starts when he is not in a happy place mentally, shortly after his little brother was killed and right around the time his wedding to Starfire went to hell, she dumped him and he was kicked of the Titans. This means that he makes some hilariously wrong assumptions about the little bossy secretive stalker kid that breaks into his apartment, reminds him of the night his parents died, and tries to force him to make up with Bruce.

Disney Animated Canon

  • The Bolt Chronicles: In the first person point-of-view story "The Box," Bolt has no idea what has happened to him (he's trapped in the title object), thinks his show is real, and believes he has superpowers. Between his confusion and mistaken assumptions, his account of what is occurring bears little resemblance to reality.
  • In Pirates Versus Privates, Mickey sends letters to Ortensia describing his 'relationship' with Minnie. Suffice to say, the picture he paints is dramatically different from the reality of the matter.


  • The museum curator from the King Superman story The Courier Who Had Cheated Death averts this trope. On one hand, every detail from the story he told was true. On the other hand, he was the murderous psychopath from the story, and the 'display dummy' he mentions offhandedly is implied to be another of his victims.

For Better or for Worse

  • All over the place in The New Retcons since for most of the story it's written in the style of the characters writing letters. Including an insane Elly. In the comments for one of the letters, the authors and fans discussed this trope with regard to Liz, and whether she was one about the going after.


  • Pipeline is primarily told through third-person limited, using Kevin's thoughts and perceptions of things to tell the story. Kevin's kind of a... self-informed guy, so this has interesting results. He's got the best of intentions, really, but his perceptions of the way Ben is acting towards him are much harsher than Ben means them to, and his irrational dislike of Dexter makes the boy genius out to be the bad guy sometimes when they really have similar values and goals.


  • Hunting the Unicorn makes liberal use of this—though there isn't any intentional misleading, there are two instances that make use of this for huge impact: "The Hunters" reveals that Blaine isn't a virgin, and it's elaborated very painfully in the following chapter. "The Butterfly" is where David tells a counselor that Blaine has a stalker and has no idea about it.

Harry Potter

  • Suggested in The Power of Seven; Snape reflects that Harry's current multiple relationships are similar to James's reputation when he was at school, but considering Snape’s views of James there is no way to be sure if he’s exaggerating just how many women James was actually involved with.

Higurashi: When They Cry

  • Cicadas Case Of The Endless Dreamer:
    • One of the narrators refers to themselves as The Unreliable Narrator. In the final side-story, they declare themselves to be Hanyuu.
    • The narrator of the main story of the first arc also deliberately lies and distorts things throughout the work, all for their own purposes.

Katawa Shoujo

  • From Shizune's Perspective: Being deaf means that Shizune cannot always say for certain what others are talking about, aside from what Misha translates for her or what she speculates upon. Some of her assumptions turn out to be incorrect.

Lyrical Nanoha

Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • In The War is Far from Over Now, most of the characters' points of view is colored by their own biases regarding a current situation and/or simply not having all the information. Notably, Tony Stark doesn't view himself as an official Avenger, merely a consultant, and doesn't understand why everyone acts like he's the leader of the Avengers. Others' viewpoints make it clear that Tony has been handling pretty much everything regarding the Avengers, especially after action clean up and the media, and Fury viewed the whole "consultant" thing as merely a formality and is genuinely confused as to why Tony doesn't realize he's the leader of the Avengers.

Monster Rancher

  • Phoenix's Tear: Reignition: Golem doesn't fully trust his own memories in Reminiscence, wondering whether he's recalling certain details correctly or if his mind is embellishing or exaggerating in places. Like whether the sky actually was so gray and dismal when he was shown the grave of lost discs for the first time. He also struggles to recall what the 'fortune hunters' looked like, which may be connected to how much damage he dealt to them during his Extreme Mêlée Revenge. Kind of hard to remember faces or other details when you spent more time with them as battered and broken bodies...

My Hero Academia

  • but you gotta get up at least once more: Izuku has an extremely low opinion of himself, which heavily skews his perspective. For instance, when he notices that others keep regarding him with sad expressions, he assumes that they're disappointed in him, as opposed to sympathizing with him.
  • Cain: Katsuki is a Villain Protagonist who completely rejects any suggestion that he could in any way, shape or form be wrong. In order to justify his skewed views, he engages in massive amounts of Doublethink, such as his insistence that Izuku is simultaneously an utterly worthless Quirkless loser who can't do anything but cry and a manipulative mastermind who's got everyone around him dancing on the ends of his puppet strings. As a result, Katsuki's narration reaches levels of Through the Eyes of Madness at times, particularly when it comes to his sexual harassment of Izuku — the author implied that he deliberately downplays it as part of his Self-Serving Memory, but left ambiguous just how much's he's glossing over or leaving out.
  • Flashback: The list of villains Eri brought back and gave to All Might was very detailed and information, offering plenty of opinions as to who could potentially be swayed to their side and recruited. This list was also written by Toga Himiko, making it naturally biased and failing to take into account things like what kind of crimes they committed, what sort of justice was owed to their victims, and how receptive they would be towards the concept of redemption. Sir Nighteye remarks upon this.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • Contraptionology!: Applejack spends most of the story first under effects of sleep deprivation and then of three different forms of mind-altering magic. Generally, it's made clear to the reader what's going on but the significance of ongoing events often flies over her head as she narrates.
  • Diaries of a Madman: Navarone is an in-universe example, as he often leaves stuff out or puts misleading information in his journals. Discord is a straighter example, as he flat out lies to the reader.
  • Equestria: A History Revealed: Loose Change, the narrator, has a tendency to present her conspiracies as fact, which is both disorienting and highly amusing. She often makes unbelievable, sometimes asinine leaps in logic in an attempt to twist what she finds to fit her own theories, and any holes in her logic are Hand Waved away by Loose Change with strange explanations that poke even more holes in her logic. But it is this nature of hers that the entire concept of the fic centers around. It is possible to get a glimpse of actual Equestrian history through her eyes, once one wades through the enormous fallacies and insane conspiracy theories she presents. But the fic mostly consists solely of Equestrian history as seen through Loose Change, whether the reader wants to accept it as accurate or not.
  • The Getting Back on Your Hooves side story "Another Happy Mother's Day" is told from the perspective of Checker Monarch after her defeat and fall into insanity at the end of the original fic. Considering she's insane to the point she's suffered a Loss of Identity and created False Memories, it's impossible to tell what details of her past she gave are real and which are false.
  • Not The Hero: Discord himself notes that his perspective may be altered by Anon's reality-warping powers.
  • Possibly Dominic in Pink Personal Hell And Altering Fate. Early in the story, he tells the reader how bad he has it, such as how his group doesn't bother to communicate with him and dumps half the project on him. However, when he arrives to give a presentation with Gummy attached to his finger (It Makes Sense in Context) they actually laugh with him. Granted, later on, the mirror shows moments he'd rather not see...
    • One thing that also makes a bit of sense with the story's main twist is Pink Personal Hell is revealed to be In Medias Res to Altering Fate - it can be read in a way that Dominic is remembering his so-called "Pink Personal Hell" during the events of the "Altering Fate" narrative from his perspective - which still plays true to this trope as Dominic glosses over a lot of events.


  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison is primarily told through Sakura's perspective. Thanks to her Cynicism Catalyst, she believes that practically all shinobi look down upon those from civilian backgrounds like herself, which heavily colors her perspective of others and causes her to draw conclusions that aren't necessarily true.
    • As an example, she quickly decides that Kakashi sees her as the most disposable member of Team Seven, and that she can't rely upon him to do anything to help or protect her if things go wrong. In reality, Kakashi does care about her; he's just not a very good teacher and makes poor decisions about how to manage their team.
  • Unchained (Umei no Mai): Several of the characters who have point-of-view segments throughout the work don't have all the relevant information about what's going on, as well as seeing things filtered through their own personal biases. Tobirama is particularly interesting in this regard; not only is he Locked Out of the Loop, he deliberately practices Selective Obliviousness as a survival mechanism, not wanting to confront all his complicated feelings about the feud between the Senju and Uchiha clans or his imprisonment by the latter.
  • your move, instigator (draw your weapon and hold your tongue): Everything is filtered through Sakura's perspective; as a young child, she doesn't pick up on everything that's happening around her, and naturally tends to miss various nuances and subtleties.
    • For instance, she and Kiba recall their teacher's hands constantly shaking while he was teaching them. Both assume that Bekko-sensei had weak hands; it's heavily implied that Bekko was deeply upset by how he was being forced to teach four and five-year-olds to become Child Soldiers.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • A Crown of Stars: In chapter 49 a character is being filled in on the history of the Angel War and the post-Impact world. However Misato had some creative interpretations of the events. Asuka suggests him that he ignores everything Misato said.

Omen IV: The Awakening


  • Time to Disinfect exclusively follows Mari's perspective, explaining her interpretation of everything that happens around her. Unfortunately, due to her autism, she frequently overlooks or misinterprets things, and thus the narration does as well.

One Piece

  • Copycat Isn't a Compliment: Ami struggles with severe anxiety issues and overstimulation, which can cause her to miss crucial events and details. She sometimes runs on autopilot, and can't recall what she witnessed afterwards. She also has trouble reading people and social situations, and ends up leaping to the worst possible conclusions at times.


  • Makoto's Lies plays with this: while Makoto is largely an observant and reliable narrator, her emotional awareness isn't the best, and she misses details that the reader is likely to pick up on. For instance, she fails to pick up on the hints that Haru has developed a crush on Ren, or that she secretly resents the fact that she only met him long after he'd fallen for Makoto.


  • Obsession shows Corbin as a caring father who simply doesn't know how to care for his strange son. Said son is narrating, however, and describes his father as a heartless fool and constant embarrassment. He's also narrating as an adult, so this isn't just a child's perspective.
  • In Revenge of the Narrator, the replacement Narrator tells the reader halfway through that everything the original Narrator had said was a lie.

The Powerpuff Girls

  • Villain is filtered through the perspective of a deeply jaded and embittered Buttercup.

Real-Person Fic

  • A Splitting Of The Mind: The main character Gerard is schizophrenic and we are told that "they" were after him. It is later revealed that it was all a hallucination.


  • In Angelica's Diary, Angelica is the narrator, but, being delusional and three years old, she is very unreliable. For instance, she claims Charlotte goes for long runs, but the implication is that she's cheating on Drew with Jonathan. Angelica also claims that there are rocks everywhere with the babies' names on them, but really it's a cemetery and the babies are dead.

Sailor Moon

  • All over the place in I'm Here to Help. Emerald's narration portrays Crystal Tokyo as a Crapsaccharine World where everyone is brainwashed and the senshi rule with an iron fist, but the only reasons actually given for how the kingdom is bad boil down to "it's boring". It doesn't help that Emerald is several hundred years old and insane. (Pluto's interference near the end could indicate some truth to his argument, but she gives no reason for her actions beyond "I don't like how Crystal Tokyo turned out", which still gives nothing solid to go off of.) Meanwhile, the two sections told from the point of views of the future senshi depict Emerald as a dangerous murderer, while the past senshi and Luna see him as shifty and untrustworthy. It's difficult to say exactly how much of this was intentional. The author's notes at the end say that there was a lot more going on than we see, but we're never told what it was. The possibility of everything being revealed in a sequel was mentioned, but that never came around.

Star Wars

  • By the Sea: Obi-Wan narrates the majority of the story, and the entirety of the first installment of the series, Flotsam and Jetsam, which chronicles the development of his relationship and eventual romance with the merman Cody. Obi-Wan's perspective is heavily tinted by his own preconceptions of merfolk (most of which are not applicable to Cody's kind), his own stubborn obliviousness and internalized homophobia preventing him from noticing Cody's growing affection for him, his general unfamiliarity with merfolk culture, and the language barrier between the two preventing either one from using their words until much later. Rereading this story, especially the first installment, is a lot of fun because with the added context from Cody's POV sections in the sequel and snippet collection, the reader is able to pay careful attention to Cody's reactions and decipher what is actually going through his head and just how wrong Obi-Wan is at the time.

Steven Universe

  • Dark Dark Ocean Dark is tagged with "unreliable narrator"; however, it's unclear what Jasper is being unreliable about.
  • Just a Normal Coffee Shop is set inside Rose's Room, which heavily impacts the POV of everybody trapped inside as the Room fight to keep them all there and unaware of their circumstances.

Tolkien's Legendarium

  • Home with the Fairies downplays this. Maddie is not trying to lie, but her misunderstandings affect the narration, especially in the early chapters, when the Language Barrier is still a major problem. For example, Maddie visits the town of Fornost, but it might not be Fornost; Maddie later uses the name "maybe-not-Fornost". Then in chapter 13, Maddie believes that Lord Kinsey will fire her if "gossip gets out", but this might not be true; Lord Kinsey might or might not believe the gossip. A writer's note on chapter 14 declares Maddie as an unreliable narrator.

Total Drama

  • Brett's mother in The Legend of Total Drama Island recounts long-past events with inhuman precision, but she also embellishes some details, fills in gaps with informed guesswork, and lets her biases influence some characterizations. Indeed, those cartoonish elements in the original that are retained in the reimagining could well be chalked up to her embellishments. It's called a "legend" for a reason.

The Twilight Saga

  • Elspeth of Luminosity narrates the second book, and whenever under Allirea's power sees her as "not important". This leads to glossing over some important dialogue, with a little Unspoken Plan Guarantee.

Welcome to Night Vale

  • Carlos in his chapters of Compliance and Procedure. His narration includes, for instance, domestic abuse, emotional manipulation not being mentioned as such, and sexual assault/rape being seen as consensual sex (the following chapter proves that it very much is not).

Alternative Title(s): Fan Fiction