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"Take it! I'm supposed to be the one who laughs lastEven though it's Monday! Summer clothes'll fix it -- Cuuute!"
Because of my sailor uniform, that's the conclusion
I'm in a bad mood, what to do?
—Lucky Star opening theme (okay, it sounds better in Japanese, but...)
Sailor Fuku refers to the characteristic "sailor suit" schoolgirl uniforms worn in Japan. Sailor fuku uniforms are actually based on late Victorian/early 20th-century "rational dress" girl's fashions (themselves based on European naval uniforms), but the prevalence of sailor-suited school girls in anime, manga, and other forms of Japanese media show how iconic the sailor fuku is in Japan. This is true despite many Japanese schools having switched to more Western-patterned uniforms. However, there are some American schools that use Sailor Fuku.
Sailor-suit uniforms may be a vehicle for Fan Service as well, as the uniform skirts are often depicted as being unrealistically short. This alteration is so common that it is rarely commented on or questioned, though it may be off-putting to those who are not used to anime or manga based media. Uniforms may be altered in other ways to distinguish certain characters, especially ones considered particularly beautiful.
It may depend on the region, but in Real Life recently the sailor suit (and the traditional male counterpart, the gakuran) has become largely the domain of middle/junior high schools, whereas high schools have shifted towards more fashionable or professional-looking styles of uniform, often with tailored blazers, vests, neckties, and plaid skirts. Elementary schools, if they have a uniform, tend towards collarless jackets and skirts with suspenders -- and sometimes, students wear their gym uniforms during class and change into their formal uniforms when outside of the school or attending ceremonies.
In an inversion of a western trope, in the 70s and late 80s, the common image of a female delinquent had an extremely long skirt, but this appears less frequently these days..
See School Swimsuit for another type of Japanese uniform often used to a similar effect in media.
Compare School Uniforms Are the New Black, since some examples here have the uniform as their standard outfit.
Anime and Manga
- Though the central female characters of Sailor Moon are actually junior high-schoolers, not only do they all wear sailor uniforms in their "civilian" lives, their Senshi uniforms seem to be clearly based on them as well; indeed, this is where the "Sailor" in the name comes from. This is later justified when it is revealed that the sailor-suit concept comes from ancestral memories of the heroes' uniform, not vice-versa. And later, five of the girls (Usagi, Makoto, Ami and Minako) attend the same highschool, which also has fukus (only in a darker shade of blue compared to the junior high ones).
- Toune in Melody of Oblivion, who goes around fighting Monsters wearing sailor fuku.
- Kagome in Inuyasha wears her school uniform while hunting monsters in the sengoku period, centuries before they were invented. She's a time traveller from the present day and Word of God says--tongue planted firmly in cheek--that she prefers it because it's durable. At the very end, however, the audience sees her as a highschool uniform -- but it's a blazer one. Then, her now middle-school aged brother Souta is seen in a gakuran.
- Stable Time Loop! Her legendary exploits in the past inspired the invention of the fuku.
- On the other hand, a number of minor characters in the Sengoku Period refer to her "that strangely and scantily clad woman" as a result.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has fukus for the girls and blazers for the boys (and Rina)
- Misaki of Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer wears her uniform to play Angelic Layer, as do a few other characters.
- In Tasogare no Udewa Densetsu, one of the fetished-up outfits that Shugo discovers in a treasure chest is a sailor fuku.
- The character designer for the .hack//Another Birth novels has mentioned considering giving Akira a sailor fuku in the real world, but decided against it as they were overused, and gave her a less common blazer uniform.
- Ouran High School Host Club:
- Haruhi, the local wholesome female cross-dresser, infiltrates an elementary school with a 17-year old male classmate named Honey who has a HUGE case of Older Than They Look. Honey dresses in his old elementary school uniform while Haruhi puts on her all-blue middle school sailor fuku. The rest of the club admits that the two stick out anyway so the disguises are useless: they just wanted to see Haruhi in a schoolgirl's uniform.
- Haruhi's middle school uniform shows up again in the Alice in Wonderland inspired All Just a Dream episode.
- The Ouran Academy has fukus for the middle school girls and more elaborate dresses for highschool ones, but that doesn't stop Renge from occasionally cosplaying her favourite Visual Novel's heroine in fuku.
- The all-girls school St. Lobelia has fuku uniforms, which actually resemble long skirts.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei: Itoshiki works in a a school that has gakuran for boys and fuku for the girls. Still, Matoi uses a hakama and Kaede/Kaere has a Western outfit.
- Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star and Heartcatch Pretty Cure both have their respective heroines wear sailor suit-esque school uniforms (although the ones in Heartcatch are dress uniforms, they're still sailor suit-esque nonetheless). Miki's school uniform in Fresh Pretty Cure can also be considered an example.
- Suzumiya Haruhi revolves around a high-school club, and thus, sailor fuku appear in abundance. In Volume 1 of the novels, Kyon wonders if the principal has a fetish for this since male students wear blazers and ties, but girls wear the more traditional sailor uniform.
- Lucky Star's Anime Theme Song is titled "Motteke! Sailor Fuku". The CD has a B-side titled "Kaeshite! Knee Socks".
- The junior-high aged Sora wears one in Digimon Adventure 02.
- Ruki wears a Western uniform in Digimon Tamers, though she always changes out as soon as she gets home.
- Miyako/Yolei gets one in the third movie -- and wonders whether she can wear her cargo pants under the skirt.
- Hikari gets hers in Digimon Tri, while Sora and Mimi go to highschool and switch to blazer uniforms. Meiko Mochizuki, on the other hand, has an uniform that looks pretty Western, but has a fuku-like collar.
- Mahou Sensei Negima, though only to point out that the fact Sayo wears one is proof that she died a long time ago as the girls now wear blazers instead.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha also based her battle uniform on a sailor fuku, although her young incarnation has a considerably longer skirt than normal.
- This seems to be the uniform at the Mid-Childian school Harii Tribeccah goes to in Vi Vid.
- Kimura in Azumanga Daioh suggests sailor uniforms as a gym outfit.
- Chiyo's two friends from elementary school wear these upon entering middle school. Chiyo's somewhat jealous that she'll never get to wear one because she skipped ahead to high school, but they note that they are not likely get into her school.
- Full Metal Panic Fumoffu
- A delightful sequence occurs where Kaname Chidori, normally dressed in the school's fairly unusual outfit, agrees to become "manager" for a rugby club: and so puts on a more traditional sailor fuku (and carries a kettle).
- When Commander Mardukas has just threatened Sousuke with terrible retribution should he do anything indecent to Tessa while she is staying in Japan, when the girl in question enters wearing a Jindai High School uniform. Cue open-mouthed response from both males, until Tessa asks what they're staring at.
- Hitomi from Vision of Escaflowne wears her school uniform for most of the series, even though she's been transported to another world where Japanese high schools are not present. In one episode, she's given a local dress to wear, only to rip off the skirt so that she can run freely later. (Interestingly, the dress rips completely cleanly and evenly, leaving her with an outfit that looks amazingly similar to her school uniform.) The uniform itself is, at first sight, a fully Western one. However, a closer look will show that the collar of the jacket looks a lot like that of a seifuku, even including a red scarf.
- In one episode of Bottle Fairy, the fairies, while imagining going to school, are all in sailor fuku... except for Cloudcuckoolander Hororo, who dresses up in the equivalent iconic uniform for kindergarten and elementary school. The others get her straightened out by the time "class" starts, though.
- The manga version of Read or Die included this when parodying (but using) Fan Service moments, with Yomiko donning one of the much younger Nenene's fuku. It's even lampshaded.
Yomiko: Even though I'm 25, it looks good, right?
- A variant of the standard sailor uniform as a one-piece dress somehow winds up in the thrift store in Haibane Renmei, where Rakka buys it and wears it for the majority of the series.
- Love Hina, the younger tenants are occasionally seen in them, and Kitsune and Naru are prominently seen in flashbacks...and, occasionally, not in flashbacks.
- The sailor fuku's worn in Mariasama ga Miteru are an interesting variety, in that they have very long skirts and are generally not very flattering. In that, they may actually be more like the real thing.
- Also notable in that they appear to be one-piece dresses, as opposed to the typical separate blouse and skirt.
- Nobel Gundam from G Gundam is a Humongous Mecha dressed in a Sailor Fuku. As if that weren't nonsensical enough, it's from Sweden of all places. Presumably the scientists who designed it were a bunch of weeaboos (it does show its Scandinavian roots in another way, though...).
- Similarly the VF-1A "Angel Bird" variant Valkyrie from the first episode of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Though it never transforms out of fighter mode on-screen, the paint scheme becomes oddly familiar in Battroid mode. One of the many such Easter Eggs thrown into the first few episodes of the series.
- The sailor uniforms in Saki appear to have quite some variation in skirt lengths, ranging from way below the knees to ultra-short, permanently flashy miniskirts--the latter usually reserved for younger characters, sometimes combined with Zettai Ryouiki.
- Aoi Hana: The all-girl high school attended by Akira, Fujigaya, has relatively realistically depicted sailor fukus, with skirts way below the knee.
- Takane Katsu in Burst Angel wears this, wields a sword, and drives a motorcycle. And she's a police officer who snags Jo's arm with a thrown cuff on a chain. Strong candidate for Fetish Fuel Station Attendant?
- While the tops of Hayate the Combat Butler's Hakuou Academy have resemblance to the style, the skirts are ankle length. Isumi still dislikes them for being 'breezy', though she wears kimonos.
- Hanaukyo Maid Tai La Verite episode 8. When Konoe doesn't have any civilian clothes to wear, her assistant Yashima Sana dresses her in one of these and then puts on one herself. They look like a cross between a normal Japanese School Uniform and a Catholic school uniform.
- Cherry Juice: Haruka Fukushima, author of the shojo manga, admits in the omake that one of the main reasons she decided to make a high-school romance series was so that she would have the opportunity to draw Sailor Fuku.
- Kochikame: Special Detectives Moonlight and Venus are male variants of Sailor Fuku who make their role in fighting crime using old fighter jets and made appearances in every TV special.
- Bleach: The high school attended by the lead character and his True Companions has gray gakurans but not fukus, and thus it was not seen for most of the early manga. This makes the appearance of Lisa Yadomaru, a woman who looks like she's in her twenties, wearing the fuku a little jarring.
- Following the Time Skip, Ichigo's sisters Yuzu and Karin wear fukus on entering middle school.
- Some flashbacks involving Orihime and Tatsuki have them in middle school, wearing white and blue fukus. Similarly, the scene where Chad met Ichigo has both in black gakurans.
- Yukio Hans Voralberna from the X-Cution arc wears what seems to be a modified gakuran.
- Karakura High may not have fukus now, but they did use them around two decades before the story. Masaki Kurosaki aka the future Kurosaki family matriarch and her schoolmates were shown in blue fukus with no scarf and with very short miniskirts.
- An illustration from the Bleach JET artbook has Orihime and Ichigo's son Kazui and Rukia and Renji's daughter Ichika at junior high age. He wears a gakuran and she's in a fuku.
- A ending sequence in Naruto featured a high school with these uniforms. It was also made into some bonus scenes for the DVDS's. The associated fetishism was interrupted when said fukus were worn by Orochimaru and Kabuto.
- Trans girl Nitori from Wandering Son owns one, despite her school not using them.
- The True Companions split off into various high schools some time later. Kanako, Momoko, and Chizuru got in schools that have fukus; the Nitori sisters, Riku and Makoto go to schools that have the contemporary "blazer" style uniforms, while Takatsuki and Saori got into schools that are uniform-free. Nevertheless, Nitori got a new girls uniform matching the one in her school.
- Yuki became a hikikomori after an incident where a bunch of bullies, peeved at her being a trans girl, forcibly put a fuku on her.
- The antromorphized Sealand in Axis Powers Hetalia always wears a sailor suit. Italy sometimes wears a top that looks like a sailor shirt too.
- According to some sketches, the Asian girls (like Taiwan and Vietnam) wear fuku in Gakuen Hetalia.
- Tomonaga Yoshiko in Sisterism wears one in a chapter.
- A oneshot in Robot: Super Color Comic takes place in The Future where Sailor Fuku are no longer used however the protagonists of the chapter wear them while going to a picnic. They try to cosplay as 21st century girls, eating food from that period (crepes) and going down to the long-since evacuated areas below ground.
- Parodied along with just about every other anime trope in Martian Successor Nadesico. Impractically short-skirted sailor fuku feature prominently in the titular space battleship's "Early 21st Century High School" virtual reality entertainment program and one character trying to seduce another hacks the program to make her skirt even shorter.
- In Millennium Actress Chiyoko is often shown wearing a sailor fuku in the scenes depicting her childhood: it's a genuine 1930s-era winter uniform made out of heavy wool for durability and cut with "room to grow" bagginess.
- Fushigi Yuugi:
- Out of the four Priestesses, only Suzuno is seen wearing a fuku: Miaka and Yui have blazers, while Takiko wears hakama (Though Word of God says that Takiko did wear the fuku briefly when she lived in Tokyo). It's justified since Takiko and Suzuno are from either The Roaring Twenties or The Thirties, alias the times when the fuku was implemented.
- In Fushigi Yuugi Byakko Senki, Suzuno's adoptive brother Hidero wears a gakuran. Her Earth Love Interest Seiji is seen wearing what seems to be another -- but it's an actual military uniform, as he attends the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. (An old photo shows his younger self in a gakuran, though)
- In the Suzaku Ibun DS dating sim, Miaka and Yui's expies Madoka and Misaki wear uniforms that, like in the case of the above mentioned Meiko Mochizuki, seem to be Western-looking but have collars that resemble fukus. In Kagami no Miko, however, Mariko and Takumi wear 100% Western school clothes.
- Saint Seiya didn't use this trope until the Saintia Sho Spin-Off was released. In it Saori Kido aka Athena is the Student Council President of a private school on top of being The Ojou, so she and her Bodyguard Babes alias the Saintia use the school's fuku. (Ironically, in the CG movie Saori wore a blazer uniform)
- The middle-school arcs of Captain Tsubasa zigzag things around a bit, since near all the schools have boys wearing gakuran while the girls use blazers. The big exception is Nankatsu Junior High, which has blue fukus (dark red in the first anime) for the girls -- and then they switch from fukus to blazers in the highschool division.
- In Hibike! Euphonium, Kumiko Oumae invoked the trope on herself because she chose her high-school based on it being among the few in her tometown (Uji, a famous city near Kyoto) that still had sailor fukus as girls' uniforms.
- In Candy Candy, the girls from Candy's Boarding School in Edwardian England uses one-piece dresses that look like fukus (or more exactly, like the "rational dresses"). They come in two flavors: white with red (anime)/blue (manga) ribbons for normal daily wear, and black with brown ribbons for Sunday. (And the skirts were notoriously shorter in the anime.)
- Subverted in Sakura Namiki: the cover has two girls wearing seifuku, and the initial pages feature girls who also are in seifuku too... but the Sakura Institute has Western-looking outfits for their students. It's implied that both hakama and seifuku were the schools' uniform in the past, however.
- In Kodomo no Omocha, when Sana is old enough to go to junior high, she attends one where the boys wear Western blazers and the girls use sailor fuku.
- Taishou Yakyuu Musume is set in 1925, few after the fuku was introduced as a school uniform. Many of the girls in the cast wear it instead of the traditional hakama, save for four of them: Koume, Shizuka, Tamaki and Noe.
- The middle school attended by the cast from Hikari no Densetsu has white/blue fukus for the girls and gakuran for the boys.
- Subverted in Attacker You!, where You Hazuki wears a white and black fuku... at the beginning, since she's a New Transfer Student. Her Tokyo school has gakuran for guys and blue-grey blazers for girls instead.
- The Boarding School attended by the school-aged cast in Busou Renkin gives gakuran to the boys (like Kazuki himself and his Muggle Best Friends) and a sort-of Gothic Lolita uniform to the girls (like Kazuki's little sister Mashiro, who explicitly enrolled in the school because she liked it). Tokiko, however, wears a normal sailor fuku because it's a quite simple one that won't be shredded when she uses her Renkin.
- Detective Conan zigzags it:
- Beika Junior High has gakuran and fuku, while the highschool division switches to blazers. As such Shinichi, Ran, Sonoko, Sera are seen in blazers in the present, but junior-high-time flashbacks have them in fuku and gakuran
- Heiji and Kazuha's Osakan highschool has fuku and gakuran, and the same goes to Momiji and Okita's Kyoto school AND to the Tokyo highschool attended by the Magic Kaito cast (Kaito, Aoko, Akako, Suguru, etc.).
- The Detectives Koshien case involves a gathering between highschool-aged Amateur Sleuths: Heiji has to wear his gakuran, Suguru uses his Custom Uniform (he's a New Transfer Student), Junya puts on the blazer of his Hokkaido school... and when Koshimizu shows up in a (rather traditional looking) blue fuku, the cast realizes that she is a girl and not a girly-looking dude. The "dress codes at school" deals are alluded to as well, since Koshimizu complains that she must keep her pleated skirt long enough to please the school authorities.
Live Action TV
- Kamen Rider Kabuto: Tendou Juka, Tendou Souji's little sister, is a prime example. Some consider her an example of Lolicon pandering.
- Surprisingly, Star Trek: The Original Series. In the episode "Court Martial", a young girl is wearing a futuristic sailor fuku. Humorusly enough, it looks like something Sailor Mercury would wear.
- The live-action adaptation of Blood: The Last Vampire has finally brought this fetish to the silver screen.
- Emily Browning's character in Sucker Punch appears to do this.
- In Two Brothers Raoul, a French boy in 1920's French Indochina, wears the Western sailor suit fashion that became the basis for the use of sailor suits as school uniforms in Japan.
- Featured prominently in Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (as the title indicates), a film about an Ordinary High School Student who inherits the leadership of a Yakuza clan.
- Almost Angels depicts the Real Life sailor suit uniform of the Vienna Boys Choir. Needless to say there are several variations from the Japanese school girl model, most notably the use of trousers instead of skirts.
- Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill wears a Western uniform as explicit Fetish Fuel. Her fetish is gutting men who think she's trying to appeal to their fetish.
- Chibi from The Birthday Massacre wears a sailor suit in the video for "Looking Glass".
- AIR is not set in a high school, but all the girls wear their uniforms almost all the time.
- Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro na gives sailor uniforms to about half the haremettes; in an odd twist, poster girl Feena is among those that do not.
- Sakura and Karin from the Street Fighter series both dress in sailor fuku. It's so much a part of who Sakura is, that she wears it as her fight uniform in Street Fighter IV, despite Word of God stating that she's over twenty now. Both girls ditch their fukus in Street Fighter V, though Karin's official clothes look a little like her old fuku and Sakura can get hers back as an alternate outfit.
- Guilty Gear: The Jellyfish Pirates wears this as their uniform, though they tend to replace the skirts with short pants.
- Hinata Wakaba from Rival Schools.
- In the sequel Project Justice, Akira transfers to an all-girls school named Seijyun Academy. The girls there wear Western uniforms (though with seifuku-like collars)... but the ones from the local all-girls gang, led by Aoi "Zaki" Himezaki, wear black fukus with longer skirts. The other transfer student, Yurika Kirishima, has a dress that resembles a fuku.
- Athena Asamiya from Psycho Soldier. Her King of Fighters incarnation was suppossed to fight in a sailor fuku but the creators thought that it would be "too risqué", and limited the outfit to her pre-fight animations. Years later, she actually fought in such outfit in SNK vs Capcom (Neo Geo Pocket version); and finally, from The King of Fighters XI onwards she actually fights using a school uniform... as late as it may seem.
- Kasumi and Ayane from Dead or Alive have, in some games, alternate outfits that are school outfits, all for Fan Service purposes, of course, but also note that they're supposed to be that young.
- Saki from the Oneechanbara series has a sailor suit as her default outfit.
- In Tekken series, Mishima Polytechnic School (handled by the Mishima clan and attended by Jin, Xiaoyu and Miharu) has Western uniforms for the boys, while the girls wear clothes that seem to be a cross between blazers and fukus (especially their collars). When Asuka arrives to the cast, she can be seen at times wearing her own school's Western uniform.
- In the standard branch of the Tokimeki Memorial series (aka Tokimeki Memorial 1 to 4), actually only the first game has a Sailor Fuku as the High School's uniform, the other three using Blazers. When Tokimeki Memorial 4, set in the same High School (Kirameki High) as the first game fifteen years later, was announced, some fans cried They Changed It, Now It Sucks regarding the change of the school's iconic Sailor Fuku to a Blazer-type uniform : the complain fortunately dried down quickly, thanks to Konami's clever move of making Kirameki High change gradually its uniform, so that the two senpai characters keep the Sailor Fuku as the last class wearing it, while the main protagonist and the characters in the same year as him and below christen the new Blazer.
- Arguably subverted in the Touhou series. Despite having an Improbably-Female Cast with hundreds of characters:
- the only character who's canonically a schoolgirl never wears a uniform,
- only two of the characters have been officially depicted wearing a sailor outfit,
- both of those characters' outfits featured shorts or culottes instead of a skirt, and
- one of them gets a free pass on account of actually being a sailor.
- In Recettear an Item Shops Tale, the strongest and most expensive clothes that can be purchased that playable (though the NPCs can be sold it as well, obviously) female characters can equip and be sold is a sailor uniform, whose description reads "Confers great power upon women of any age group." Though if male characters come in asking for clothes, you can sell them this also (though the playable male characters cannot equip it, which would make it funnier).
- In The World Ends With You, a sailor uniform and gakuran can be found as special clothes.
- In Kisetsu o Dakishimete (the 2nd game of the Yarudora series), the school blazer Mayu wears when the player character first finds her is a plot point. At several moments of the storyline, they use it to try and find the school it's affiliated to, and consequently discover Mayu's identity. It doesn't work, nobody they ask has ever seen this blazer. When following the "Spirit of the Cherry Trees" storyline, it's implied the blazer is the one Mayu's sister Mami, who just came back from overseas, wore when she was accidented.
- In Valis, Yuuko Ahso wears a sailor fuku for the first few stages before getting her trademark Chainmail Bikini. The blue skirt matches the color of her hair. It returns in Valis II as one of her selectable outfits.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has Rena Ryuugu and Satoko Hojou. Their school in Hinamizawa doesn't have a dress code, but Rena still wears a blue and white fuku with a yellow scarf (apparently, her old school's one) and Satoko's light green dress has a fuku-like collar.
- The Persona series, which features several highschools, zigzags the trope quite a bit: sometimes they use fuku and Gakuran (like in Persona 4), sometimes the students wear Western clothes (like Persona 3 and Persona 5), and at others both styles show up (in the original Persona the boys wear gakuran and the girls use blazers; Persona 2's cast uses Western clothers save for Jun, whose school used gakuran). There was even an exhibition at SEGA Fes2019 that had ALL the school uniforms used in the series, and a DLC for Persona 5 allows the charas (who use Western blazers in their school) to wear other schools' outfits.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace pictures herself and most other female characters wearing fuku in her school-related Dream Sequence. This is probably meant to imply that her impression of school up until that point came almost entirely from watching anime. Judging by the design, it's specifically Azumanga Daioh.
- The heroine of MAQ #41 used to wear Japanese uniforms to school. Since she lives in the United States this was viewed as quite odd and helped make her a target for bullying.
- The Wotch: The spell used to turn Professor Sorgaz into MingMei Wu was allegedly created by a "rabid anime fanboy" which is why she ended up Ka-fuku'd as well as "Ka-Girled." Since it also gave her a Chinese name he must have been ignorant as well as rabid. She ditches the fuku after Anne undoes the part of the spell that is messing with her head.
- Sailor Nothing, as well as Sailors Truth and Beauty, wear embellished versions of their school uniforms when they're in sailor form.
- Vocaloid Rin Kagamine wears a sailor fuku top, though it's sleeveless. Her twin brother / mirror image Len wears a sleeved one.
- In the Whateley Universe, Tennyo's school uniform is based on this design.
- Katana, the (at first) girl Outsider in Batman the Brave And The Bold, wore a sailor suit in Season 1. However, in Season 2, she ditched it for the classic costume of her comic book counterpart.
- Lily wears one in Kappa Mikey, even though she actually is not a student.
- Totally Spies: Madison, the President's daughter wears one.
- Napoleon Dynamite: In the second episode, a scantron dating machine pairs Napoleon up with a Japanese foreign exchange student named Tokiko, who's sporting Sailor Fuku and every other Japanese schoolgirl-related trope you can imagine.