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Maybe it's a Slice of Life story, trying to focus on the daily lives of the protagonists and their interactions with the community.

Maybe it's a gritty urban drama that highlights Mundangers and Adult Fears like drug addiction, gang wars or racial profiling.

Maybe it's an Anvilicious story about race relations, or immigration, or the importance of faith.

There's is only one problem...

...the giant squid monster levelling the city while all of this is happening.

This is a subtrope of Planet Eris and Thanos Ensues, when the writers try and write a story about mundane concerns while, in the same shared universe, a Physical God, or an Eldritch Abomination, or an Alien Invasion, or a Zombie Apocalypse, is about to unleash The End of the World As We Know It, or is currently trying to Take Over the World (or the universe).

This trope was identified and named by the Turkey City Lexicon.

Examples of Squid on the Mantelpiece include:

Anime and Manga

  • A lingering problem with Ah! My Goddess. Sure, Mara is a Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, but it's hard to take Keiichi and Belldandy's mundane concerns seriously knowing there are demons out there plotting to wreck havoc on humanity.

Comic Books

  • It's hard to take The Joker's reputation as "the most dangerous supervillain alive, so much so that Batman should just kill him" knowing that Darkseid, Mongul, the Anti-Monitor and Parallax are out there.

Animated Film

  • This trope is the reason why the "family" aspect of The Incredibles isn't as prominent as Brad Bird wishes it would be.
  • It's hard to take the Friendship Games in Equestria Girls: Friendship Games seriously while Sci-Twi is using the Spectrometer to suck the positive energy out of the students and unleashing Eldritch Abominations. It's even harder when you take into account that Starlight Glimmer is wrecking havoc on the space-time continuum during all of this.

Live-Action Film

  • Often said to be a problem with Space Jam, as Michael Jordan's more mundane concerns don't gel with the main storyline of the Looney Tunes trying to stop aliens from enslaving them.
  • Once the Super Hot Giant Alien is unleashed, Dude, Where's My Car's plot of Jesse and Chester finding their car and finding the anniversary gifts for the Twins grinds to a halt, and doesn't resume until the Super Hot Giant Alien is destroyed.

Live-Action Television

  • Once Upon a Time often has this problem when they try to tell a more "mundane" story centered around Storybrooke or Hyperion Heights.
  • A frequent problem for the Arrowverse, as the "gritty crime drama" plotlines of Arrow often happen as the same time the Earth is threatened by metahumans over at The Flash.


  • This trope was a problem when Mecha Maid tried to work on her post-Coronel Glass trauma, as she had the tendency to do it right in ther middle of supervillain attacks.

Web Original

  • A recurring problem for That Guy With The Glasses, as the universe-thretening villains of Atop the Fourth Wall often ennact their schemes while the more mundane events of the rest of Team Channel Awesome's videos are happening.

Western Animation

  • A recurring problem for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, as Slice of Life episodes are sandwiched between "event" episodes that open and close the season.
  • The sitcom-like problems faced by Morty's family in Rick and Morty often happen at the same time the Earth (or the universe) is threatened by some bizarre problem.
  • Parodied on some early episodes of South Park. The 6th episode of the first season had Death chasing the boys through town, but their parents were too busy crusading to get a crude show about farts taken off the air to protect their children.
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