Trope Workshop:Foreigner Excuse

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Imbox style.png This page needs some cleaning up to be presentable.

This was found lurking in Useful Notes but seems more like an embryonic trope. Let's see if we can punch it up a bit.


Are you harboring a/an alien, angel, anthropomorphic animal, brainwashed test subject, clone, demon, goddess/god, inter-dimensional traveler, living weapon, mermaid, superbeing or synthetic human bishojo/bishonen?

Do you need to Hand Wave their bizarre behavior?

Do you live in an area of culturally homogeneous quaintness where Nothing Exciting Ever Happens?

Then do we have the excuse for you!

Yes, an unfortunate bit of Truth in Television is that an average person really isn't particularly world savvy, possibly even less than the stereotype of the average American. And in most countries, it seems that even non-Patriotic Fervor-affected people tend to blame just about anything on the influence of other countries on tourists and students. So, thanks to this very human tendcency, everything from being totally unfamiliar with human social interaction, all the way to magical powers, can be hand waved under the pretext of having been or coming from out of the country. Just claim that your new artificial/supernatural/otherworldly new friend is a foreigner or spent too much time abroad and suddenly your relatives and neighbors will accept anything that come from them, from violating every unwritten rule of social interaction to suddenly gaining wings with "ah, that's foreigners for you".

The American version of this tends to require the alien/mermaid/robot/whatever to actually be from another country, most notably Estoooooooooooonia or any remote Ruritania-like territory.

If the story takes place in a rural area and the weirdness is more mundane, they can get away with the relatively closer (in geographic terms) "they come from the Big City".

Subtrope of Wild Card Excuse, which is itself a subtrope of Blatant Lies.

Examples of Foreigner Excuse include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's: In order to explain why she had nearly zero knowledge of life on Earth, Fate was introduced to her new classmates as being from overseas.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Encino Man: As mentioned above, the eponymous character's oddities are explained away by claiming he's a foreign exchange student from Estonia.
  • The Coneheads film, inspired by the classic Saturday Night Live sketches cited below.

"We are from... France."

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

Oral Tradition, Myths and Legends[edit | hide]

Visual Novels[edit | hide]

Suzuku: Ah, that explains it.
Nishimoto: That's someone who lived abroad for you.

  • In Fate/stay night, Shirou's cover story for Saber when Taiga questions her presence is that Saber is a foreigner friend of his deceased adoptive father Kitsurugu who came on an unannounced visit and only just learned of the latter's passing. This story does the multiple feats of explaining away Saber's appearance, unusual "name", her apparent familiarity with the Emiya household -- and even her sword skills.
  • In the Otome Game Nameless - The One Thing You Must Recall - the heroine Eri, to cover the fact that her ball-jointed dolls came to life and transformed into normal-sized humans that are now living in her home, concocts a story about them being family friends and distant relatives who just emigrated and moved with her. It would have been more credible if she hadn't said that they were all from Africa.[1]

Other Media[edit | hide]

Real Life[edit | hide]

  1. To give context, Eri is a Korean girl, and even with Mukokuseki applied, it's implied that her dolls' human forms tend towards the Caucasian and Eastern Asian side of looks.