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Spongebob: Squidward, you don't need television. Not as long as you have... *makes rainbow appear from hands* Imaaginaaation!

A person with a huge imagination, who spends most of the time in his or her own imaginary world, frequently out of touch with reality. Often the main character, and usually a Cheerful Child and/or a Cloudcuckoolander. A show with them has lots of imagination sequences (like a Dream Sequence, Power Fantasy, or extended Imagine Spot). May have an Imaginary Friend. In many (but not all) instances, the imaginative character is a Reality Warper, and his/her odd daydreams can temporarily become real.

Examples of Mr. Imagination include:


Anime and Manga

  • Osaka from Azumanga Daioh, who is also the embodiment of the Cloudcuckoolander.
    • Sakaki is prone to this as well.
  • Ryou and Fuu from Sketchbook, who manage to inhabit their imaginary world together. This is more pronounced in the manga than in the anime, though.
    • Sora is also this to a lesser extent.
  • Yotsuba from Yotsuba&! has some of this, but she generally tries to involve other people in her fantasies. Where by "involve" we mean "drag along willy-nilly in her wake".
  • Hosaka from Minami-ke, usually centered around his obsession with Haruka. He even fantasizes that her younger sisters are his daughters after being told Haruka "had kids."
  • Julia from Strawberry Shake Sweet often has very vivid fantasies about Ran.
  • Keitaro from Love Hina was pretty bad about this, at least early on in the series.
  • The character Vincent from Cowboy Bebop The Movie lives in a constantly delusional psychosis that makes him see butterflies everywhere. This is not played for comedy, as his unstable mental state led him to become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Kisaragi from GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class has the tendency to withdraw into her rather extensive fantasies, which often involve kittens or bunnies.
  • Bud from Transformers Cybertron.
  • Suzu from Amuri in Star Ocean has an elaborate escapist fantasy world in her mind, complete with and Imaginary Friend named General Panda.

Film

  • Fight Club: A darker variation on this is the adult (and apparently sane) main character.
  • Brazil has a variant. Sam Lowry has vivid dreamlife which he thinks about during his waking life. Specifically; the Girl Of His Dreams.
  • The main character, Babydoll in Sucker Punch spends most of the movie in imaginary dream sequences (in which she is engaging in erotic dancing). Near the end, we find the trope amplified since she was lobotomized early in the film.
  • The eponymous character from Amelie.
  • Antonia's daughter from Antonia's Line. For example, she imagines an angel statue hitting the priest with a wing, and imagines her dead grandmother sitting up and singing at her funeral.
    • Later, Antonia's great-granddaughter has a similiar vision the day Antonia dies, seeing family members long dead happily visiting a family picket. Note that only two people in Antonia's line have the visions: the artist (the daughter) and the great-granddaughter (hinted to become a writer). The two that don't have any visions are Antonia (a farmer) and her graddaughter (a mathmatician).
  • Alice, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master spent a lot of time in daydreams.
  • Kitten from Breakfast On Pluto.
  • James Barrie spends much of Finding Neverland imagining a more fantastic version of the events he's experiencing, ranging from games with the Llewelyn Davies boys (a western shootout with the boys as cowboys and James as a native; a pirate ship with the boys as pirate captives of James and Sylvia) to "enhanced" versions of the events he's seeing (raining in the theater as his play bombs; the boys starting to fly as they jump on their beds).
  • Nick Chapman, the protagonist of The Big Picture, frequently imagines scenes from his life playing out the way they would in a movie. Understandable, as he did just graduate from film school.

Literature

  • The definitive example of this trope may be the titular character of James Thurber's short story The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, first published in 1939. Indeed, "Walter Mitty" is often used as a kind of generic term for any ineffectual dreamer.
    • John Candy's character in Delirious was sort of an Expy of that character.
    • As was Snoopy.
  • Johnny Maxwell, the young teenager from the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy (Only You Can Save Mankind, Johnny and the Dead, Johnny and the Bomb) by Terry Pratchett. He is rather introverted, quiet, sober and has few friends. He isn't one of the cool kids, he isn't uncool, he's socially invisible. Of course, in the books reality is much stranger than Johnny's imagination, or sometimes his imagination spills over into reality. He listens, and the silent people begin talking to him; video game aliens speak to him in his dreams, he can see the spirits of the dead while walking home from school through the cemetery of his small English town, and he learns the ability to travel through time and to take others with him, from an old "differently sane" trolley (a shopping cart, for Americans) lady. In other cultures and times, Johnny would have been a shaman, or a visionary.
    • When asked if the events of the books were "really happening", or were merely Johnny's imagination coping, Pratchett replied that it was probably both: "He deals with all the problems on their own terms and half the time he's projecting reality onto fantasy. So: is what happens in the books real? Yes. Does it all happen in Johnny's head? Yes."
  • Perhaps a better Pratchett example would be Adam from Good Omens. Also takes on the Reality Warper subset.
  • An alternate interpretation of the novel/film American Psycho is that Patrick Bateman is an horrifically morbid example of this trope.
  • Harold from Harold and the Purple Crayon and other books.
  • Billy Fisher from Billy Liar and Billy Liar On The Moon by Keith Waterhouse, and various adaptations.
  • Don Quixote who believes he's a knight and imagines many things that don't exist, such as a herd of sheep being an army and windmills being giants.
  • Anne Shirley of L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series is the epitome of this trope.
    • All of her children fit this trope as well, though her middle son, Walter, is closest.
  • The strictly speaking unnamed child protagonist in Tove Jansson's short story "A Tale of Horror" ("En hemsk historia"), who is very imaginative and can't tell apart reality and the things he imagines. After being left without dessert for claiming his little brother has been eaten by a snake, he decides to run away. He encounters Little My, who freaks him out by imagining even more horrible things than he does. Afterwards he's quite affronted that anyone could say such things when they are not really true.
  • Dallas in Sharon Creech's Ruby Holler.
  • Leslie Burke from Bridge to Terabithia .
  • Deconstructed horribly in When the Windman comes By Antonia Michaelis. Pareidoile definitely has imagination - but since she imagines bad' things (like the titular Windman), she lives in constant fear and is unable do many things other kids can.
  • Tre from Stuck begins off as one and, while he becomes less so in the later part of the book, he still has it and definitely so in the final chapters.

Live Action TV

  • J.D. of Scrubs is one of the most well-known and highly-developed adult examples of this trope, to the point where it's hard to use Imagine Spots when playing this trope straight on TV nowadays because peoples' minds will automatically jump to Scrubs.
  • Elmo from Sesame Street.
  • The kids from Barney and Friends.
  • Blue the dog from Blue's Room a spin-off of Blues Clues.
  • Lieutenant Barclay from Star Trek the Next Generation had at least fifteen holodeck fantasy worlds in the episode "Hollow Pursuits", including one involving the senior officers in the role of the "Goddess of Empathy" and The Three Musketeers. After he realizes that he doesn't need that kind of escapism, he deletes all of his holodeck programs -- except for number 9.
  • A constructive variation is in the old Tvontario educational series, Write On! where half the episodes were of Henry, a young reporter, gets reamed out by his editor on a mistake in writing and suddenly has a Walter Mittyesque daydream where he is a dashing hero having strange adventures that illustrate the particular writing lesson. Here's a complete episode with one such daydream.
  • The title character in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
  • Andy from Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
  • Possibly the first example on a television series, John Monroe (William Windom), the protagonist of My World and Welcome to It.
  • The main character from the Doctor Who episode "Love and Monsters.". Also an unintentionally darker example, as it could also be a slight Sanity Slippage.
  • This is definitely played with in a certain medical drama. The titular character, who already has a good deal of psychological problems, is also blessed with a tendency to experience massive hallucinations, mostly because of his drug (ab)use. This can lead to very weird situations, including (but not limited to) the end of season five, where House hallucinates his intercourse with Cuddy, and the end of season two, where House ends up hallucinating an entire episode after being shot.

Newspaper Comics

Real Life

  • Probably half the people here.
  • Many people in the entertainment business and fiction authors of any genre, which are two fields that require a large and constantly expanding imagination in order to be successful.
  • Anyone who's been to Epcot might recognise these lyrics: "'Cause at the start/of everything that's new/just one spark/lights up for you..."
  • In the MBTI, most people who get typed as a INxx type will usually fall under this trope, though INFPs tend to be the quintessential example.

Tabletop Games

  • In Steve Jackson Games' Toon: The Cartoon RPG, the "Toony Tykes Adventures" setting allows players to make kid characters. All of them gain the power "Overactive Imagination" by default, which basically allows them to enact this trope.
  • Dreamers in Grimm were like this in the real world. This is mostly a good thing in the Grimm Lands, as it's based on imagination and fairy tales. Not only do they understand it better than anyone, but they're experts at reshaping it to their will -- any child with Imagination as their iconic core trait can do this, but not only do Dreamers have the highest starting Imagination, they get it as a free iconic core trait and can spend their normal one on another to increase their options, or on Imagination to have each Imagination they expend for this purpose count as two. The downside? Their getting lost in their own fantasies, thoughts, and nightmares makes them more susceptible to things that toy with their mind, like illusions or charm spells.

Theatre

  • Georgina Allerton in Dream Girl.
  • Jojo from Seussical

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • The Looney Tunes shorts "Boyhood Daze" and "From A to Zzzzz" featured a boy named Ralph Phillips who was always doing this.
  • The titular characters of Muppet Babies.
    • A lot of their adventures had footage from movies such as Labyrinth, Star Wars and Oliver .
  • Many episodes of Rugrats are centered on the babies imagining some mundane task as a great adventure, with occasional flashes of what is really happening interrupting it.
  • The Simpsons did it. Lisa occasionally drifts off into a fantasy world to avoid the grim reality of living life in Springfield. It?s also subverted, as Bart has lost his ability to use his imagination along with his ability to focus? on? um? ah forget it let's watch some TV.
  • Stacy and Bradley of Stickin' Around; part of the Theme Song went "for your big fat information, this is our imagination"
  • The characters from The Backyardigans.
    • They're also quite the "Five-Man Band" (although a lot of the time they switch character type) and on their adventures have been many different things. For instance: in a Halloween special Tasha played a mad scientist with Austin playing her assistant, Tyrone playing a mummy, Pablo playing a vampire, and Uniqua playing the part of a kemonomimi werewolf.
  • Bobby from Bobby's World.
  • Eliot from Eliot Kid.
  • The title characters from Little Bear and Franklin.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants. There was that episode with the box...

  SpongeBob: "Squidward, you can make this box whatever you want it to be with... *makes rainbow appear from hands* ...Imaaginaaation!

  • Ellen from Ellens Acres
  • Jibber Jabber
  • Doug
  • It is implied that Isabella Garcia-Shapiro from Phineas and Ferb spends much of her time daydreaming about her crush, Phineas, turning into a centaur and carrying her off along a rainbow. She calls this fantasy, "Phineasland," and can drift off even while Phineas is actually talking to her.
    • Also Phineas, and to a slightly lesser extent, Ferb. Anything they set out to do, they will do it, even though it seems to break the laws of logic and indeed, physics.
  • The premise of the childrens' show Billy.
  • The "Magnificent Muttley" bits on Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum.
  • Jake of Adventure Time is sometimes close to this, particularly in the episode where everything he imagines becomes real.
  • Arnold from Hey Arnold started out as this, before the show expanded and began to put the spotlight on its Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • The eponymous Mona the Vampire.
  • Eddie Storkowitz, the lead character of Birdz, spends a lot of his time fantasizing that his peers are in movie settings.
  • Rufus is this in spades in the pilot for The Dreamstone. Oddly despite being a dominant trait, and the key reason he gets a job assisting the Dream Maker, it is only refered to in a handful of episodes afterwards.
  • Mac of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is the most-often seen one, though his own "imaginary friend" Bloo has an active imagination himself. Goo, however, is this as her main characteristic. In her premiere episode, she creates a crisis in that her imagination is way too active that her imaginary friends, which become real, immediately overcrowd the mansion the show is set in.
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